You really don’t have to be married to an expensive agency to get
the best out of PR. In fact, journalists much prefer dealing directly with the business owner or a member of the team, rather than having to go through a middleman.
So what’s the secret to going it alone and getting good value from 'Do It Yourself' PR? Let's start with the what, when, who and the how, and get you up to scratch on the latest tips.
The what is all about closing your eyes and envisioning your press release featured in the news. What does it look like, what does it say to a reader and what makes it so compelling that you want to read on to the very last sentence? Of course, appearance is down to the editor, but the construct of your press release should be exactly as you would want to see it. So be sure to include a sharp headline, an introduction on what it's about (in just two sentences), relevant quotes (aim for two - one ideally from a recognised ‘name') and a high quality image - this can often change your result from going unnoticed, to getting covered.
The when is owned by the journalist. Try and align your news release to coincide with other associated news stories or events. For example, any time around the Tour de France is a great time for businesses selling bicycle products to use this as a news hook and tie the event name into the title of their next press release. So make sure you are tracking key events within relevant industries, to help get your timing right. You can use a business calendar for that. Watch out for editorial requests going out through Twitter (and JournoLink) too.The Who
The who is often the key to good coverage. Building up relationships with a small group of local journalists often pays dividends. Sector-specific journalists and bloggers can be cultivated too however, so ensure you are up-to-date on their latest articles and use social media to comment your thoughts on them. Tweet and retweet - there is no substitute for feeding a journalist’s ego.
The how is your final step. Using a mix of social media, targeted distribution services and relationship building techniques, you are now ready to successfully pitch your story. Without a nifty distribution service, pitching to journalists individually can become time-consuming, and relies on catching the right journalist at the right time, to get any possible listening time. If you do go down this route, it is well worth trying to find out from your favoured journalists when their best contact times are.
To find out how to use social media to boost your PR, have a look at our blog about it.