Getting publicity for your business is a powerful way to share your message, build your brand, raise your profile and reach new clients. 

Dina Behrman, PR coach and founder of mediafriendlyexperts.co.uk, shares tips for doing your own PR.

As an entrepreneur, getting publicity in the mainstream media can really skyrocket your business. Appearing in newspapers, magazines, blogs or even on TV and radio can massively help you to raise your profile and grow your business, by getting you in front of tens of thousands of your ideal clients.

And contrary to popular belief, media relations doesn't have to be costly, especially if you take control of it yourself.

So here are five essential tips for doing your own PR.

1. Get media ready

What would happen if I introduced you to a journalist tomorrow and they wanted to write about you? Would you be ready? Make sure you're prepared to deal with the press, by ensuring that your website is up-to-date and you've got some good quality, recent photos (headshots of you, images of any staff members and product shots if relevant) ready to send out to a journalist at a moment's notice. Make it easy for journalists to get in touch with you. Have a press section on your website with information about you and your business, and contact details that are easy to find.

2. Be newsworthy

If you want to share your story with a journalist, you need to make sure it's newsworthy. That means you ideally want to have some kind of news hook to hang your story on. So, maybe there's a report that has recently come out relating to your area of business that you can comment on. Or is there something seasonal you can tie in to your story? For example, if you're a relationship expert, you could offer tips to have an argument-free festive season in December. Or you could offer a Valentine’s Day survival guide in February.

3. Be the expert

Appearing in the press is a really effective way of positioning yourself as an expert in your niche. Show journalists that you know what you're talking about by presenting yourself as the expert. Doing things like publishing blog posts on your own site, writing guest blogs for other sites, penning guest articles or being interviewed on a podcast or radio show all help to cement your expert status.

4. Connect with the press

Be proactive and get in touch with journalists and editors. Work out which publications or media outlets your ideal clients are likely to be reading, and target them. Search on Twitter for journalists to connect with, or try Google searches to find their email addresses. If Google doesn't yield results you may well have to go old school and call up the publication's switchboard to check what the best email address is. Most journalists prefer to be pitched by email in the first instance, so put together a simple email that explains who you are, what your story is and why you think they'd be interested in it.

5. Follow up

Sometimes you’ll pitch a journalist and not hear back. This is quite common and is not a definite sign that the journalist isn't interested. In fact, journalists are generally so busy that often they won't respond to an initial email. So always, always make sure you follow up. Send a follow-up email, or get on the phone and check if they're interested. Don't be a pest or bombard them, but a single follow-up email or call, could mean the difference between you getting coverage or not. So when it comes to PR, always be persistent.

Dina Behrman will share more tips for doing your own PR in a free webinar at 12pm on 21 January 2016. Register here.

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