Grow your business by doing your own PR

New York City is full of powerful PR firms, but do you have to pay a fee to come here? No. With a little common sense and dedication, DIY PR can go a long way, whether you’re a business owner, entrepreneur, or have a side hustle you’re looking to grow without quitting your day job (yet).

“PR is one of the most incredible tools for building awareness for your brand, but it has a bad reputation for being reserved for traditional corporate brands with big budgets only,” said Meg Androsiglio, Founder and President. of Meg Androsiglio PR in Syracuse, NY. “In reality, public relations and media relations are about visibility, building mutually beneficial relationships and increasing your impact. Every entrepreneur should have a PR strategy in their marketing mix.

Gabie Kur of Long Island, senior vice president of public relations for the marketing and content agency Password, agreed. “While hiring an agency is an effective solution when you’re ready to ramp up your PR efforts and need more firepower, you can tackle PR internally by being scrappy, ingenious and creative.”

Use these strategies to be your own flack.

Do this exercise for a week

Create a VIP media list of the top 10-15 publications and their top reporters who would likely care about your business.
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Androsiglio’s first tip on how to get media coverage has nothing to do with the pitch.
“For a week, write down how you talk about your brand’s business and products. Write down any words that pop up or descriptive words you use,” she said, adding that you need to be sure to pay attention to what resonates with your audience, team members and on social media. “At the end of the week, audit your one-liners. Keep the clearest sentences and lose the rest. You will have a message start from your main brand, which is a north star when you do your own PR”

Make a targeted list

“One of the biggest factors in getting coverage is being deeply aware of the kinds of stories, angles, and conversations that are happening in your space and who is leading those conversations,” Kur said.

She suggests creating a VIP media list of the top 10-15 publications and their top reporters who would most likely care about your business and its point of view. (Note: don’t ignore freelance writers who also write for many pubs.)

“From there, make sure to follow their discussions on Twitter, read their cover religiously, and know exactly what they want to feature,” Kur said.

Then it’s time to “find value-added reasons to engage with them,” Kur said. “Go to the threads they have on Twitter and add interesting information. Give them access to data, information, your network or other valuable resources that would help them beat. The first time a reporter sees your name in their Twitter notifications or inbox shouldn’t be when you pitch it to them. Instead, you want to be seen as a well-connected expert in your field who can provide them with something valuable.

Create Google News alerts

For example, if you’re a personal trainer, Androsiglio recommends setting up Google alerts for phrases like “personal trainer tips”, “exercise trends”, “mind-body connection” and popular terms in your industry. .

“Alerts will show you daily what the news looks like in your niche, and you’ll be better informed about which editors are writing the stories and which publications are sharing your news,” she said.

Find the contact details of the publisher

Business woman working on laptop.
Make sure your website bio shows your passion and knowledge.
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Google, LinkedIn, Twitter and writers’ personal websites are all places you can find contact information. “You can honestly find a lot of direct emails with a simple Google search,” Androsiglio said.

Write your company bio

Having your company biography or your founder’s story in clear, eloquent terms is a must for your website, and you can repurpose sections of it for media outreach, social media copy and more.

“Start with your origin story – a simple letter explaining why you started your business,” said Jesse S. Gaddis, account supervisor at RLM Public Relations​ in the center east.
Make your story sincere. “Show your passion and knowledge for what you do – consumers and decision makers generally tend to relate to each other,” Gaddis said. “Put these words on your website under your ‘about us’ and other relevant marketing materials.” As your business grows in popularity, journalists will already have your story at their fingertips when they interview you.

Use tools to move forward

There are sites where you can apply to be a cited expert in your field, promoting visibility and authority.

“Journalist query sites like HelpAReporter.com and Qwoted are two freebies that are very useful,” said Brian Hyland and Jesse Nash, co-founders of Cricket Public Relations, LLC of Whippany, NJ. “But be quick to respond. There is a lot of competition there. »

These sites also have premium versions that unlock additional features such as keyword alerts and search functionality.

Another route to follow is the path paved with the proverbial golden trophies. “There are probably multiple awards (industry, local business and national) that you are eligible for,” Hyland and Nash said, checking off examples such as “30 under 30” lists, “best local marketing campaign” , “best product design”, etc. The cost of entry tends to range between free and $500.

“Win the prize and promote it!” they said.

Do not harass journalists

You need to know when to step back in your throwing attempts.

“Even if you’re sure your business or a story angle might be perfect for a reporter, it might not be right now. Relentlessly following or being bossy on social media is a surefire way to get a reporter to blacklist you,” she said. “Review and optimize your approach – maybe the timely hook just wasn’t the right one at the time. Or maybe they were just too busy. Then, in a few weeks or months , try again with a new hook.