Getting Press: Here's 14 Public Relations Tips For Brands & Small Business
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It’s not easy running a business. You have to produce a quality product, find new customers, provide impressive customer service and then, (when things go right) you need to market your success stories.
We set out to get tips from PR professionals at over a dozen companies and asked them to share some of their best public relations tips they use to get press for their company and/or clients.
What are new ways that brands and small businesses are getting publicity?
1. Start With A Compelling Story
"Your rolodex is getting less and less important. What has become important is having a compelling story. You can reach just about any journalist or editor now, you just need to get their attention. Publicists argue that they already have their attention, but without a compelling story, even a publicist can't do anything. Lastly, journalists love to speak to the source, much more than the source's publicist." - Erik Huberman at HawkeMedia
2. Focus On One Or Two Outlets And Follow On Social Media
"Social media may not be "new" to everyone, but I work with many small businesses who avoid it because they're overwhelmed by it. Where do I start? What do I post/tweet? I find if they can take the time to focus on one or two outlets, this can be effective in helping them achieve media coverage. For example, on Twitter, they can "follow" reporters of interest. Many times, reporters will follow them in return. If they can start out by keeping up with just a couple of outlets, I find they're more likely to stay with it and get results. - Michelle Messenger Garrett, PR Consultant
3. Team Up With Tech Partners
"SMBs should team up with the technology partners who they enjoy close partnerships with. Together they can share their business growth stories, case studies of effective marketing programs and other news. Typically those technology firms employ a marketer (like me) who is focused on working closely with customers in these ways. SMBs should also: - Ask their technology partners to be included on their website - Connect with them on social media to have their posts shared with a broader audience" - Elizabeth Ducoff, Head of PR at Swipely
4. Use Permission Based PR
"Traditionally, when we wanted to get media for our clients, we'd just send a pitch email, including the media release. While this worked for some, it wasn't foolproof for most startups. Now, we identify a month early what journalists we're targeting and send a simple intro email; introducing ourselves and asking their permission to send them a pitch(s) in the future. We also ask what style they prefer, how much notice they like, etc. Not only does this work - we've noticed a large increase in coverage rates as a result." - Heather Carson, President and Co-Founder of Onboardly Media
5. Use LinkedIn Inmails
"80% of publications about our company were the result of InMail enquires (Forbes, PCMag, PCWorld, ZDNet, etc). And probably at least 50% of our biggest leads were the result of using LinkedIn InMails.
The key for effectively pitching journalists with LinkedIn InMails are as follows - Do research and contact only people who are the decision makers - Make your pitch short. - Alter your pitch a bit for each instance. For instance, when I know that a person writes about small business technology, I'll open with 'I realize you get a lot of pitches from SMB technology vendors'. When journalist writes about social media, I'll change it to 'social media startup'. When it's personal productivity, I'll change it to 'personal productivity app makers' and so on. This is VERY important. - Place a hook inside your pitch and end your pitch with a question. This way you get more responses." - Dmitry Davydov, Chief Marketing Officer at Bitrix24
6. Use Snail Mail
"We've gotten some great radio, TV and print clips by actually using the US Mail. Social media has taken over to the point that no one is using the mail anymore for pitching. So, your package can get noticed in their mailbox. A client was introducing a new recycled paver product (made from recycled scrap tires) that fits into a grid and has a very unique feel. We mailed 200 of the rubber pavers with each editor or broadcast host's name on it. The results were phenomenal in our industry: 3 radio home improvement shows, one home improvement TV show, 25 interviews at our big trade show, and dozens of print and online hits. We stood out!" - Maureen Murray, Owner at Precise Communications
7. Use Video
"Using video lets people share short newsworthy stories and post it for others. It allows the world to see your brand and get a feel of what you do. Anytime you can get real people to talk about a product or service it creates trust and opens for doors for major opportunities. Lastly, using video heightens your core audience senses by adding credibility. If you are a life coach or speaker - people want to see you in action before they attend an event or book you, so it is a great way to be seen and heard." - Vannessa Wade, Connect The Dots PR
8. Use Google Plus
"Bring a new idea to a niche community. In our case, we use Google+ to share our art with more than 728,000 followers/art lovers everyday. We have grown from about 1,000 followers to our current following in less than 6 months. We started posting regularly on the site and then began hosting monthly live battles via Google Hangouts. This allowed us to share the real-time artwork of artists in the US, Spain, France, Poland (and more to come!) with our fans all in about 90 minutes. On a more ongoing basis, we receive hundreds of likes and comments daily and have been able to source new artistic talent and open more international doors through Google+. Just by bringing a new idea to a burgeoning web environment has allowed us to see tremendous gains in our social currency." - Scott Hazleton, Marketing Director, ArtBattles
9. Partner, Partner, Partner
"If you have a powerful value prop, there are probably many organizations that can benefit from it while connecting you to many more people. For Pixineo (www.pixineo.com), we partner with incubators, providing their community with 20% off. They benefit by providing a valuable resource to their members at a discount while we get that much more publicity and traction to write home about." - Zahir A. Dossa PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology & Co-Founder at Pixineo
10. Find Inbound Links
"One quick way to find out why your competitor is doing so well with their PR is by finding out who is linking to their website. By using a tool like Majestic SEO you can quickly see how many links you are getting compared to your nearest foe and discover influencers that might want to blog about your product or service and link to you. Links are still very important as a search ranking factor in Google and Bing, so Majestic is an excellent tool for digital PR and social media influencer outreach. Best of all it's FREE to use!" - Mel Carson, Founder, Delightful Communications
11. Monitor Reporters Using A Private Twitter List
"If you're not monitoring reporters on Twitter (using a private list,) then you're missing out on a vital opportunity to learn what makes them truly tick. Twitter is the holy grail of PR - it allows you insight into what reporters are actually interested in, and what they want to know, all from behind a "veil," so to speak. Pay close attention, then strike when the iron is hot, and they'll think you're clairvoyant with how targeted your next pitch is." - Flynn Zaiger,CEO of Online Optimism
12. Be A Thought Leader By Sharing Helpful Industry Data
"Thought leadership (eek, a buzzword) can be a bold strategy that some companies are hesitant to invest in—by which I mean providing your audience or customers with useful, genuinely interesting content that's intended to inform on larger trends (not persuade on the level of your company or product). Tactically, that can mean different things, depending on your business. For B2B companies, providing insights and potential opportunities backed by research can be very effective; data is press-worthy, especially when the stats you're citing haven't already been stated in a million different ways. I would also suggest that conceptual frameworks are easy for the press (and your audience) to grab onto." - Kim Gaskins, Director of Content Development at Latitude
13. Craft Your Expertise Into A Well Written Guest Blog Article
"We have been using a company called Influence & Co for the past 3 months. They craft my expertise into well-written articles and then get them published in great online publications. It's really easy and we've seen the traffic to our site double." - Mark Hodges, CEO, BrookDaily
14. Do Something Philanthropic and/or Green
"A great way to get publicity can be to write about a conservation or philanthropy that you support. Green is a big topic right now and if you institute a recycling plan, change to biodegradable packaging or perhaps have a company outing to plant some trees - this is a great story to share. Any philanthropic event is a media eye-catcher too. Have your staff participate in a charity walk or 5K, raise money for a good cause and make a donation. Then share your actions and encourage others to give back. Promote your story and be certain to share any media you receive with your team, clients and potential clients." - Ed McMasters, Director of Marketing and Communications at Flottman
What tips do you have for us? Let us know in the comment section (or join our Google Hangout).