PR, or Public Relations, is one of the most powerful forms of marketing for your small business, particularly if you are working to a tight budget (aren't we all?).
“If I only had two dollars left, I’d spend one dollar on PR.” – Bill Gates
Not only is PR more effective than advertising in magazines, newspapers or blogs, but it is also far cheaper. You may have to pay a PR agency or freelancer and a photographer with experience in press shoots, but it should be money well spent (assuming you have a decent story, or 'hook' in the first place).
However, to save money, you can do it all yourself and it can still achieve the desired results. Writing an effective, catchy press release, supplemented with a great photograph is often the difference between getting good coverage or none at all. With a little bit of practice you can learn how to craft a press release and take a decent photograph.
I used to run an independent record label and, in general, the best press and radio coverage was achieved when we handled it ourselves, instead of using agencies. We knew our product (our artists) better than any agency could, and we were far more passionate about our latest record releases than they ever would be. And passion can help achieve column inches!
I suggest you read local business magazines and blogs to see how the journalist has structured the feature, because most of it will be lifted from a press release. Likewise, the photographs that form part of the story. Study the photographs and work out how they are framed, what the people are doing in the shot, what is in the background, what props they are using, what the lighting is like (for example, people often assume that beautiful sunny days are the best for shoots, but subdued sunlight is usually better, to avoid severe shadows and people squinting!).
When getting your photograph taken it often feels very unnatural - the poses you are asked to be in, how close you have to stand to the next person, or the false smile you have to hold until your face aches - but the end result often surprises you.
The strength of a great PR agency often lies not in their ability to write a great press release, but in their 'little black book' - the relationships they have with journalists and news editors - and that is generally what you pay for. However, that is where services like JournoLink come in.
JournoLink is a PR toolkit which helps you get media coverage. Whether you want to promote your product launch, announce your crowd funding campaign or comment on the latest industry stats, JournoLink gives you the tools to do so. It is a press distribution service in that it will send your press release to the right journalists for your story, so you don't have to spend time developing your own 'little back book'.
Another great feature is that it will send you email alerts when journalists are looking for specific news stories e.g. "Joanne Bloggs from JB Magazine is seeking female entrepreneurs who started their business on a shoestring budget with a deadline of Tuesday, 08 November 2016 18:00. To reply to this request, just type your reply directly to this email and it will be sent directly to the journalist."
We have negotiated a 20% discount for those of you who are keen to give it a go, meaning you only need to pay £20 per month, or £160 for the year. You will get a 30 day free trial too.