If you run a small business, you might not want to spend a lot of money on a dedicated public relations agency. At the same time, local PR can be an effective way to increase brand awareness in your community and potentially generate sales leads down the line. So how can you be your own PR agency?
Your primary objective is to get your business mentioned in print newspapers and magazines, on the Web, and on TV. In order to do this, you have to reach out to reporters. And what do reporters want? Fresh, compelling stories with a good news “hook” — something that’s timely and relevant and shows why people should care about it right now.
Your story should go into a press release which you then send to local TV, print, and Web reporters. Press releases are usually brief, to the point, and contain all the relevant information up front. Somebody who doesn’t read further than the first paragraph should be able to understand the gist of your story. (You can find examples galore of good press releases at PR Newswire.)
After the first paragraph, you can get into a little more detail about your story or product. Include a quote or two from a company official. Reporters love quotes, and they really love quotes that they can just lift from a press release and plop into a news story. In order to make it easy for them, make sure that the quote can stand alone on its own and doesn’t refer back to information elsewhere in the press release.
Here are some appropriate news topics for a press release:
- Volunteering or charity work
- New product releases
- Expert advice
When you’re done writing your press release, have somebody else look at it — preferably somebody from outside the company. Ask them if they understand what idea you’re trying to promote and why it’s important. If they don’t understand those two things, you need to write another draft.
Through consistent PR efforts, you can establish your business as a leader and yourself as an expert. Here are some recent results of CMIT’s PR outreach: