How do small businesses get noticed by the media? If you think it’s a press release, think again.
Hiring someone to write a press release can be very expensive—especially when you’re a small businesses working with a shoestring budget.
Not to mention the fact that 99% of all press releases are usually incredibly generic, filled with a ton of shameless self-promotion, and totally lack any real zing or story.
Before you waste hundreds and hundreds of dollars on a press release, you’re way better off trying to generate some of your own buzz.
Let's take a look at my top Do-It-Yourself PR tips...
Tailor Your Pitch
The best pitches aren’t pitches at all. They’re personalized conversations around a shared topic of interest.
That means you always, always, always need to research who you’re reaching out to, what they typically write about/cover, and have an idea of an angle that you think would be a great fit for their audience.
Ask yourself “Why would readers be interested in this story? My story?”
Just because you added a new product feature and you’re super excited about it doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone else will be too.
Instead of just focusing solely on your business and your news, think about how you might be able to tie both into a broader story around a particular topic.
Identify Relevant Media Contacts
Google possible topics. Once you identify a media contact, review a handful of their previous posts to get a sense of whether or not your story might be a fit. If they include a bio or profile, look for any information you can use to tailor your pitch.
Look for opportunities to engage with them via social media. Start following them on Twitter. Retweet a few of their posts.
That way you can start getting on their radar and building some rapport before trying to connect with them via email or phone.
You’ll be amazed at how well this strategy can work.
You can also check out services such as Help A Reporter Out (HARO). Reporters and bloggers who are on a deadline and looking for sources will often post media opportunities around a particular topic or story.
If you want others to get excited about what you’re talking about, you’ve got to be excited. This is one of my absolute favorite examples!
At last year’s Entrepreneur's Growth Conference, I was in a session on pitching your business to the media. Someone in the audience stood up and started talking about a product she created—a completely new and patented ear plug she designed because her husband had an earth rattling snoring problem.
The more she talked, the more her passion and personality showed—by the time she finished, all of the panelists wanted her contact information. A few weeks later, an article about EarMuffers appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
By: Shawn Graham
[Image: Flickr user Neon Tommy]