The art and science of public relations can be tough to master, which is why so many companies turn to well-established PR agencies to help them get in the game. But having the budget to engage an agency is not always available to small businesses. This luxury may come down the road, but if your budget won’t allow it in the near-term, there are still steps you can take on your own to get some PR benefit. Here’s a look at two ways to handle the media outreach part of PR for your small business.
Start by asking yourself why you want coverage. If you’re packaging something as news, make sure it really is something newsworthy. Some items that qualify include details around funding, important hires, awards and recognition or a new product release. A new company website that better enables you to serve your clients and customers counts, too; look at what Apple Rubber posted about its redesigned website. If you just want a reporter to know about your company without something substantive, save everyone some time and wait to approach reporters when you have something meaningful to say.
Once you know what your news is, think about which reporters would care. For example, if it’s a funding announcement, seek out business and financial reporters. If it’s a product announcement for parenting-related software, research the journalists who regularly write about tech or parenting. The best way to search for these individuals (assuming you don’t have access to a costly media database) is organically through a search engine like Google. For the software example above, try search terms like “parenting” and “software,” along with the name of the state in which you live. Know your industry, and familiarize yourself with the journalists and publications who tend to cover your industry’s news, along with news about your competitors.
Most journalists are slammed with emails day in and day out. In order to make yours stand out, aim for brevity. Take a look at HubSpot’s free press release template and sample in order to get a feel for the key components that should be included in your press release. Then write a corresponding email to go with it. Your press release should link back to your website at least once within the copy, so be sure you also write a blog post about the news you’re sharing so reporters can quickly find more information on the topic.
Craft an email, and include the press release both as an attachment, as well as pasted into the body of the email since many journalists don’t like to have to open attachments. Be quick and to the point, letting the reporter know why you think their readers would care about this news, what the news is, and who they can contact for more information. Be prepared with supporting images, quotes from the company’s leadership team, and additional information that a reporter may request to supplement a potential article.
If you want to send your press release out over the wire, there are plenty of distribution services to choose from. Some common favorites are Marketwired, PR Newswire, and Business Wire.
When it comes to your PR, you can achieve significant success through your own DIY methods. Just be sure to properly identify the media contacts you reach out to, and make brevity the name of the game. Journalists will appreciate the research you’ve put in and your consideration of their time, and you may find them quite a bit more willing to write about your company.