Budgets are tight when you own a small business. Getting press is a must for expansion, but retaining a public relations firm can put a serious drain on your expenses. So how do you find opportunities for media coverage without breaking the bank? Here are 3 free tools that can help you with your in-house public relations:
Twitter – If you’re not on Twitter, you’re missing a huge opportunity. This 24-hour news feed / social media network can do wonders for PR…and it costs nothing. Reporters and media types hang out on Twitter all day, every day. Often times, they look to their followers for story ideas, leads and resources for pieces that they’re working on. Get on Twitter and follow the reporters and outlets that cover your industry. You never know when the right opportunity will fall into your lap…I mean…timeline.
HARO (Help a Reporter Out) - This social media site is like a “want ads” for reporters. Thousands of reporters post their story topics for brands and businesses to respond to. Odds are, there is someone out there writing a story that your business could be a part of. You can even sign up to receive daily inquiries from reporters that are covering topics your brand or business would be a perfect fit for. HARO is the perfect tool for those who aren’t savvy in the art of the pitch.
See my post on the 5 must-haves for a good press release if you’d like to get better, however.
Email - Every small business owner lives through his or her email. Use it to your advantage when it comes to PR. There is nothing wrong with reaching out to reporters that cover your industry and introducing yourself. You never know when they may be working on a story that’s right up your brand’s alley, and remember you as a source. Just don’t spam them, please.
One quick email introducing yourself and your company with a small description of what topics you can provide insight on will do. Don’t get disheartened if they don’t respond, though. Just because they don’t reply, doesn’t mean they won’t remember.
Nothing can take the place of a PR consultant when it comes to getting press and publicity. But these three tools can help you to keep costs down while getting building your brand’s exposure.
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