When developing a PR strategy for your business it can be very easy to get overwhelmed, especially when you are going after a national (or international) audience. On top of that it can be incredibly difficult to stand out from the crowd with journalists who are pitched by hundreds of people a day. So, if you do not have a big public relations firm behind you, how do you get media attention?
Here are 7 free (or low cost) ways to focus your PR efforts!
- Create a Press Page for your website–Make it easy for journalists to get in contact with you and to know the basic facts about your product or service. Your Press Page should include direct contact information (include cell phone and email), a quick company overview, biography and head shots of key staff, statistics that tell your story or highlight your expertise, your logo and tagline, a list (with links!) of articles written/quoted/mentioned/etc. This is also a great place to keep all media releases. A Press Page also is great for organic search!
- Develop your pitch (but don’t forget to be personal)–Just like the famous “elevator speech,” you should have your PR pitch developed to perfection. You only have a few seconds to capture attention and let the journalist know exactly why they need YOU as a source. Focus on what makes you different and why you are the “expert” people want to hear from. I recommend trying to get the main pitch down to one sentence. Yes, just one! BUT and that is a big but, don’t create a one size fits all template. Your business isn’t one dimensional—your pitch shouldn’t be either. Create a pitch for different parts of your business and expertise as well as the type of person you are pitching (a mom blogger is looking for different things than a Wall Street Journal reporter.)
- Create a spreadsheet of contacts—When you get the contact information for a publication, journalist or blogger, input as much detail as possible into the spreadsheet. Notate every time you have an interaction with the contact. Highlight specific references to their work. Remember, you want to be personal when you send your pitch. A journalist is much more likely to read an email that begins with, “I was blown away by your piece on free ways to get media coverage.” The spreadsheet will also help you to keep track of your last pitch/reach out to the contact. No one likes a nag or someone who is constantly peddling their goods. On the other hand, you want to keep in front of valuable contacts by providing relevant material when it is available so…
- Send out media releases for important updates, product releases, and notable changes ONLY–Do not feel like you should be sending out media releases all the time—journalists will get very tired of seeing your name associated with non-news. But when you do have something important going on write a clear, precise media release and send it through as many outlets as possible (see below). A media release does not need to be in a standard format. Catch attention with an infographic or a SlideShare link. It is OK to think outside the box—as long as it doesn’t waste the journalist’s time with fluff.
- Use free (or low cost) options to get your media release out–Of course you should use your own blog and social media sites. Don’t forget LinkedIn—many journalists look to LinkedIn for resources and thought leadership. You should also use free press release sites like PRUrgent, PRLong and Newsvine. For big announcements you can serve as your own PR Agency and use newswire services like PRWire and e-Releases but they carry a hefty price tag ($129-$499 per release). Send your release to specific journalists on a local level highlighting your company as a local business. Or reach out to journalists using prfarm.com, a free website of emails for journalists covering a multitude of topics (for only $9 you can get the entire list of 585 emails!)
- Help A Reporter Out and Pitch Rate—Sign up for a free account on helpareporterout.com and you will receive emails 3 times per day with requests from journalists for specific topic experts. Respond to the queries that match your expertise or product focus. There are paid versions that allow you to have more specific alerts and profile information starting at $19 per month. Pitch Rate is also free and will send you a daily email with potential topics.
- Reach out to the blogging community—Bloggers are amazing. They recognize the need for cross promotion and are typically willing to be a resource for businesses that are looking to get their name out. It is important to recognize that the focus of your pitch should be about the blogger NOT you. If you are just starting out focus your efforts on smaller blogs within your niche. Take the time to subscribe to the blog, read several posts and the “about me” section…really get to know your target and the blog’s readership.
Once you get media attention, don’t forget to use it to your advantage! Create a blog post with a direct link (journalist love extra traffic!) Post it to your social media sites. Add it to your Press Page. Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn—press typically leads to more press!
Have you developed ways to get media attention? Share your ideas in the comments!
Tags: Blogging, Free, Low Cost, Media, PR, Public Relations, Tips