How to do your own PR

If you’re planning to DIY your PR, the first thing you need to work out is why you want PR. I know that sounds strange because surely everyone just wants PR, but it’s absolutely key to setting up the whole process.

It might be that you want to establish credibility for your brand, maybe you want to position yourself as a thought leader or perhaps you simply want more customers. It doesn’t matter what your reason is but the fact that you know what you want to achieve is.

So once you’ve worked out the why, you need to think about the who. Who do you want to know about your business and which media do you need to get into to reach them?

Then it’s all about working out what your story is and how to build a strong one that journalists will want to write about. This is usually where most businesses come unstuck. A profile on your business is not a story to most journalists.

The best thing you can do is read the publications that you want to get into to get a feel for the kind of stories they run. You’ll notice that most stories lead with a news angle – be it a brand new offering or product that hasn’t been thought of before or a ‘sweeping statement’ about the industry or category. For example, in 10 years time people will no longer drink coffee but rather inhale it and then talk about how their product is driving this change.

Now that you have your story worked out, you need to draft your media materials. This is typically a media release with a catchy, click-bait headline and all the information the journalist needs to write their story. It also includes a couple of quotes from you and your contact details in case they want to talk to you.

Increasingly however, many are foregoing the media release and focusing on really interesting and insightful pitch emails to journalists so don’t let writers’ block stop you contacting the media just because you can’t finish your media release.

The most important point of all is to make sure you don’t just blast the same email out to a load of contacts. Journalists are far more likely to run your story if you’ve thought carefully about what story works for them specifically. And nothing irritates a journalist more than getting a pitch about something that has absolutely nothing to do with their area of expertise.

And lastly remember PR is about building relationships with the media so say thank you if a journalist writes a good story about you; it will go a long way to making you memorable and you’ll find it easier to pitch to them next time.

Jocelyne Simpson has 20 years of PR experience advising and running PR accounts for some of the world’s most loved brands like Coca-Cola, American Express, LEGO as well as countless startups and small businesses.

 She is co-founder of I Do My Own PR, an online tool that enables small businesses to do their own PR. She is also co-founder of PR agency, Good Citizens.

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