There is a new breed of publicist working to get the media’s attention. They may not have degrees in PR, communications or journalism and publicity isn’t their core focus. They are small business owners – bypassing PR agencies and taking on the job themselves.
Doing your own PR is certainly not rocket science, but it helps to have some basic know-how about the media and publicity process.
Good books and some professional advice can go a long way in boosting your PR success, but it also helps to hear directly from other small business owners who have rolled up their sleeves and done it themselves.
Learning from others, you can avoid making basic mistakes and improve your chances of getting publicity for your business.
So here are 10 tips from DIY publicists who have seen their business covered in national magazines through to TV programs. These are their real-world tips that have been most useful in their quest for media exposure…
10 killer tips for promoting your business and getting priceless publicity:
1. “Know your customer and research which media they read. Then, make sure you introduce yourself to the editors of those publications, learn how to write a great press release, and get yourself onto their call-out lists!,” says Catherine Langman of Cushie Tushies
2. “Know your brand, be consistent with it and utilise social media – Twitter, Facebook and Blog to create a buzz about your product,” says Kathy Jackson, from The Cupcake Wrapper Co
3. “Be newsworthy. I’ve made the mistake of emailing journalists with information about a new product, for instance, and been thanked politely for the information but told that they couldn’t find a relevant news angle to write about. Journalists receive many emails a day requesting a story, so you have to catch their eye with something that’s relevant for them,” Joyce Watts, founder CycleStyle
4. “Get some professional guidance of some sort. Provide an exceptionally good product or service and your customers will love it and talk about it — sometimes on TV!” says Delia Timms, founder of findababysitter.com.au
5. Use online video to promote your business – “Be clear about the story you mean to tell in your video and make sure it is delivered in a sharp and succinct manner… I think the average YouTube video length is 2.5 minutes. And do not forget to maintain quality of sound and lighting,” Jodie Fox, co-founder of Shoes of Prey.
6. “Build great relationships with journalists and editors and always be willing, ready and able to provide quotes, articles and images if they request them. Also do your research on what they do and make sure what you are pitching is on target,” Leah Squire, BYO Kids
7. “When there is ground breaking news you really must hit on it (and respond) ASAP,” says Antonette Golikidis, Little Innoscents
8. “Make sure you can deliver your message in a short media-friendly way. Think like a journalist. Be brave and whenever you see something to comment on, just send an email,” Carolin Dahlman, The Love Coach
9. “Be prepared to sell yourself by writing your own articles. Local media are more than happy to print because they don’t have to write it themselves! An interesting article is great free publicity!” says Gabrielle Edwards, American Yarns
10. Make sure you follow up the journalists – they may use your stuff but not let you know. And, don’t take a brusque disinterested voice on the other end of the phone or rejection personally. It’s not all about you!” Victoria Kasunic, Clinical Psychologist specialising in men’s health and happiness.
Julie Morgan is the director of JMM Communications and founder prguru.com.au