Don't want to spend a fortune on promoting your business? Don't worry, there's plenty of do-it-yourself PR you can do with a little time and effort; but not much cost.
Andy Yates, entrepreneur and director of Huddlebuy.co.uk, the daily deals site for entrepreneurs gives Real Business readers regular money-saving tips to help business owners save thousands of pounds. You can follow Andy on Twitter here.
Read all about it! PR can be a cost-effective way to promote your business without having to pay a fortune on marketing. Here are some top tips on how to make sure potential customers read all about you.
Tip 1: Find a good angle
Why are you unique? Are you doing or offering something different? Have you got a great story to tell? Have you got some interesting research or new way of looking at things? Is there something different about your product or service that people want to hear?
A good angle (or preferably angles) can work wonders with journalists, bloggers or visitors to your website and help bring in business. But you have to find something interesting to say if you really want others to spread the word for you.
Put yourself in a journalist’s shoes and ask what you would write about and find interesting about your business.
You can spend huge amounts of time and money on PR - but if you don't have a decent angle it might all go to waste.
Tip 2: Keep it simple
Businesses can do a lot of PR themselves without having to hire an agency.
Once you have a good angle, don’t spend a long time concocting an opus of a press release. Keep things simple, short and straightforward.
Write a punchy and engaging introduction that sums up what you want to say in a paragraph. Add some interesting background to you and your business, a simple quote and contact details.
Then try this out on targeted journalists that you think are relevant for this sort of story. If it is a local story, try local newspapers, radio, online sites or bloggers. Is it specific to your industry? Then focus on trade publications and websites.
Only when you have a truly fantastic angle to offer should you try the national press; but do your research and be prepared for knock backs as the bigger the publication the less time the journalist may have. Don’t worry - if you believe your story is strong enough, dust yourself down and keep trying!
Remember: You can find out the right journalists to contact by reviewing the relevant publications and websites to see if they have covered similar angles or areas in the past. Think about customising an introduction (…I read your great article on xyz and thought you would be interested in our latest news…).
Offering targeted journalists an exclusive ahead of a wider distribution can also be a useful tactic to get some high profile coverage in places of real value to your business.
Building up strong relationships with the right journalists over time can really help your business. But be patient; blockbuster coverage doesn’t happen overnight. Don’t spam or annoy contacts, but keep trying with new people and new ideas. If you really have something interesting and unique to say somebody will bite eventually.
Tip 3: Promote yourself
Add a press section to your website to let everyone know who you are, what you do and why you are doing it.
Tell your story, your mission, your background in a punchy, interesting and inspiring way. Add client testimonials and interesting case studies. The human touch is a great way to get your story across and significantly increases the chance of coverage.
Regularly add your latest news and spread this via social media and regular communications, such as newsletters.
Add images and videos that really bring your story to life and allow them to be downloaded and shared.
If customers, suppliers, journalists and followers can see you are building up momentum, it will help with your credibility and coverage.
Tip 4: Spread the word
If you don't have enough time to contact a lot of journalists, press release distribution services can get your news out to a large number of news outlets.
Try Huddlebuy; we're offering a discount on distribution through leading supplier PR newswire.
A good strategy is to target some key journalists or influencers yourself, combined with a wider press release distribution to get your story out there to a wider audience.
Services such as Pitch Engine are good for creating a company profile and bringing together a number of sources of information for the press onto one page.
Next time: more tips to make sure you cover that coverage.