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SMB PR 101

January 10, 2011

Ink.

Every small business wants to generate some, but not all can afford to hire a PR agency. If that’s your situation, learning the basics of PR and making a plan for getting your company name out there is a must. After all, if you’re not putting the word out there, why should others?

Here’s a basic overview to get started.

Step 1: Make a list

Do a little sleuthing online and create a short list of key media for your industry. Think beyond just newspapers and magazines – include websites, blogs, podcasts, TV. Consider how localized your customer base is and let that influence your media choices.

Step 2: Tailor your pitch

Many media outlets receive hundreds, even thousands, of press releases per day. The key to standing out is to be clued in. Learn exactly what editors, journalists, publishers and producers are looking for and structure your pitch to help them with their needs, not to simply push your own agenda. Read up on the particular vehicle (and section within it) you hope to appear in so you can structure your story appropriately.

Format matters, too, folks. Find out whether each media outlet prefers releases and pitches to be submitted in the body of an email or as an attachment.

Step 3: Be good to go at any minute

You never know when a great opportunity will present itself and real-time journalism can mean lickety-split deadlines. Create a PR folder on your computer filled with high-resolution logos, photos, fact sheets, video samples, and screenshots. You'll never miss a key opportunity because you couldn’t hustle when it mattered.

Step 4: Follow up

Call or email to make sure your pitch was received and to gauge interest. You might not get a reply – due to the reality of time-strapped staffers – but following up increases the odds of learning something that helps you tailor your next pitch for more success. Plus it makes your name familiar, a crucial step for building relationships with the press.

 Step 5: Keep your ear to the ground

Round out your short media list for increased success. Consider subscribing to Help a Reporter Out (http://helpareporter.com/), a free daily newsletter that alerts you about upcoming stories and provides details for sending your story directly to the reporter or blogger looking for sources.

Step 6: Try, try again

PR is a numbers game. The more you’re in it, the likelier you are to win it. Make a commitment to pitching a certain number of stories a month and stick to it, regardless of your success rate as you start out.

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One Comment
  1. Thanks for this! The website is actually http://helpareporter.com – Appreciate the mention!

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