9 Tips to Turn Your Business into a PR Success
From writing the prefect press release to knowing how and who to target; here’s a PR expert’s advice on how to increase your business’ chances of getting noticed
Getting your story into the press, be it newspapers, online or even the local newsletter, is a great way to tell people about your small business; but the steps to getting there can be confusing.
The fundamentals of public relations (PR) are mostly based on common sense, but below we’ve listed nine key tips that can boost your efforts to get your business and its news into the media to increase your coverage – and hopefully bring you more customers.
- Think about your business and what could be interesting to a journalist
Take the time to research the publication or broadcaster you are interested in, and use this to determine how you will pitch your business to the journalists working there. Perhaps they will be interested in your businesses back story, how your business idea is unique or funding news.
This may seem simple, but it will help you to flesh out the context of the press release you want to send and by catering it to the organisation’s usual content, you will increase your chances of getting your small business’ story picked up.
- Know what you want to tell the world about your business
Creating stories about your company, along with actually running a business may sound impossible but there are some typical news-worthy announcements your business could be making as it grows.
Here are just a few examples:
- Launches (you’re starting your business or releasing a new product)
- Fundraising (you’ve just raised £10,000 in your crowdfunding campaign)
- Milestones (your company turns five, surpasses 10,000 users, gains 50,000 followers on Twitter, etc.)
- Acquisitions (your company acquires, or is acquired by, another company)
- Awards or inclusion on a notable list (and it doesn’t have to be The Times Rich List )
- Get the business press release’s headline right
The next step is to write a press release and another tip to getting it noticed is to create a catchy headline. This is because in one sentence, a reader needs to know whether there is anything worth writing about, and whether there is a good enough story behind it to justify reading it.
A good guide is to imagine the journalist scrolling through an endless inbox and you have to give them a reason to stop at your story.
- Don’t stop at email
Email is the preferred form of contact for most journalists, but you can also contact journalists via social media such as Twitter or LinkedIn; send your pitch through to the “info@,” “tips@” and other general tip lines too.
You can also follow up an email with a phone call, most media groups get hundreds of emails every day and a quick call could be your way of beating the crowd (make sure you leave a reasonable amount of time before phoning though, as journalists can get annoyed if you’re too pushy!). Finally, go to events like trade shows and networking evenings as you often get to meet journalists in person.
- Industry trade publications may not be the only media companies interested in your business’ story
Be sure to think outside the box and look into other publications that may be interested in what your business is about. For example if you are in the consumer tech industry, there are a myriad of newspapers, business magazines and blogs that have tech reporters.
Think about where your user base is concentrated, either by geography or by interest, and go after publications that are targeting this group too.
- Offer your business’ story as an exclusive
Offering an exclusive on your firm’s story lets journalists know that if they are the first one to get back to you, they are going to have a story no-one else will. In a highly competitive media environment, this gives journalists an incentive to snap up your story before someone else does.
- Treat journalists how you would like to be treated
In all your interactions with journalists, a little politeness goes a long way. When you consider that journalists receive dozens of pitches every day, stand out by being polite in your communication with them.
Additionally if a journalist contacts you or asks for further information, make sure to reply promptly – by being polite and reliable you can build relationships that can benefit your business into the future.
- Time your pitch perfectly
The best time of day to get in touch with journalists is mid-morning or early in the week. Journalists are more likely to respond because they have had time to clear all their overnight emails and most urgent work. It might seem like common sense, but PR pitches still come in at 4.59pm to every journalist’s inbox.
- Think of PR as a continuous process
Keep a list of journalists who got back to you, even the ones that didn’t cover your initial press release but asked you to keep them posted in the future. It is never too early to plan your next announcement and thinking of your PR efforts as a continuous process rather than one-offs will make it easier to garner coverage next time.
PR may seem like an impossible task for a busy entrepreneur but once the initial groundwork is done and you have built up a few publications that are interested in your company; then simply sharing your businesses achievements could mean media coverage.
With so many new start-ups emerging daily, standing out from the crowd is really important and PR will help your company get noticed, ultimately increasing your customer base and profitability.
Andrew Wight is part of the Publicize team, a start-up looking to change the way start-ups and small businesses approach PR.