Eight essential PR hacks for small businesses looking to get into the media

Have zero connections in the media but can’t afford the PR agency price tag? You’re not alone…It’s a common mistake for a new business or start-up to think that doing your own PR is out of the realm of their capability.

But with a few simple PR hacks, we’ll help you to think like a publicist so you can start engaging with the media.

Read, watch and listen

Know the media and know your media. Consume as much news as possible from a variety of sources. From reading the local newspaper to subscribing to industry newsletters, this will give you an understanding of what stories make the news and how your business can be a part of them.

Relevance

What media is your target audience consuming? Which publications cover your industry? Familiarise yourself with relevant outlets where you can envisage your business being featured.  Look at other articles that have been written about similar products/businesses and make a note of the journalists who have written these stories. For example, does said journalist love new gadgets for the home? Are you launching a new gadget for the home…? Bingo! We’ve got a match. Tip: Set up Google Alerts to track specific keywords relevant to your industry and be the first to hear about new stories you can piggyback. 

Build a media list

To contact the media, you need their details. Journalists often include their email addresses on articles they have written, check their byline or call up the publication and ask for their contact details. It’s best to try and get a direct email address and not an [email protected] or [email protected] one which is likely to be unmonitored. Tip: Sign up for Source Bottle, a free platform that journalists use to find people like you to help with their stories.

Grassroots

Don’t solely focus on the ‘major players’, grassroots PR counts too. A full-page feature in a major metro newspaper is a total coup but it’s often the most difficult to land, so think broadly by including blogs, newsletters, podcasts and speaking engagements in your hit list too. Look at all opportunities, big and small and drill down location-wise, start national and work your way down to all of the local/community opportunities.

Pitch perfect

No one sells a start-up or new business better than its founder. So draft that media pitch, include a catchy subject and then get straight to the point of your email summing everything up two or three paragraphs, tops. It must be immediately clear what the story is for the media title – is it a new product, innovation in the space or does your business coincide with a ‘national day’? Keep it short, sharp and snappy. Tip: Sign up for Diary Days & Dates, a comprehensive list of national and international days the media will be talking about and when.

Attachments

Journalists are time poor; they receive hundreds of emails every day and your job is to make their life easy. Paste everything into the body of the email so it can be easily digested and then located by those all-important inbox search filters.

Follow up

Haven’t got a response right away, don’t be defeated – a quick follow up is essential.

PR yourself

Lastly, the one thing that publicists all have in common is the satisfaction of seeing something you pitched being broadcast. Even if you’re not a bona fide pro you’ll enjoy the feeling too. Don’t forget to PR YOURSELF – share your win across socials, newsletters and any other channels as this will help to cement your credibility and grow your profile.