How to create your own publicity
Not every business can afford a PR firm, but it is possible to get publicity for your business on your own. A story is a story, whether it comes from a PR consultant, or you.
Editorial copy is worth three times the equivalent in paid advertising. Why is this the case, apart from the fact that it’s free? Basically, it’s to do with credibility. Everyone knows an ad lauding a product or service has been paid for by the owner.
In the case of editorial, however, we are seeing ‘news’, as determined by a journalist, who is paid to be ‘objective’. Sure, there are exceptions, but it is this credibility that makes publicity so valuable.
Research also shows that editorial is more likely to be remembered long after the memory of most paid advertising has vaporised in the cerebral cortex.
Here are six tips to help you create your own publicity:
"Tap into seasonal events or hot news topics that have some relevance to your business by offering some specialist advice, such as romantic ideas for Valentine’s Day, or budget tips for a recession."
1. Determine how your market gets their information
There’s really not a lot of point getting a story about your plumbing business in Business Review Weekly. If you have a very specific market, it should be fairly obvious what media they use. For instance, most young people use social media, while business people are more likely to readBRW, the Australian Financial Review or online news sites etc.
If you don’t already know, you can always ask clients directly, through a survey form. It could be a magazine, it could be small business blogs, or it could be Facebook. Once you identify which media to target, you can then start formulating your story.
2. Find a news angle
Here are some ideas to get your brain juices percolating:
- Human interest – Have you’ve overcome certain obstacles to get where you are? It may not seem like a story to you, but to your local community, your story could be really interesting.
- Has your business/product won any awards?
- Can you involve a local identity or event?
- Can you genuinely help disadvantaged people/animals/children in some way with your business? This can provide a wonderful human-interest angle.
- Tap into seasonal events or hot news topics that have some relevance to your business by offering some specialist advice, such as romantic ideas for Valentine’s Day, or budget tips for a recession.
Want more articles like this? Check out the Public relations, PR section.
3. Devise a fantastic photo opportunity
Great visual opportunities can be a huge draw card for the media. Going to a small amount of effort to organise props or set up at an interesting location could be just the thing to get you noticed by a journalist and photographer.
I once brought in some husky dogs when promoting an expedition to the South Pole. We got lots of TV and print coverage with those gorgeous canines – and the dogs didn’t even need to set paw on any actual ice – the expedition was using kite sleds! (That was part of the story).
Of course, you do need a story, but if you can make it easier for the media by providing lovely visual options, so much the better!
4. Make it easy for the media
Prepare a simple one-page media release that you can email to your target outlet. You only need three or four paragraphs that summarise your story – and you don’t have to be a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer. Include your contact details and try to prepare a short, catchy heading.
WARNING: Don’t make claims that are not true. You will be found out and your credibility will be gone forever.
5. Be creative
You’re the one who knows your business best. Why not try to think of some creative ways of developing a profile for yourself that promotes your expertise and the “brand” of your business? You could approach a paper about setting up a weekly advice column, or a talk-show spot.
6. Be persistent
If a journalist is not interested, try another media organisation, another journalist or another story idea. One thing PRs are not known for is a thin skin!
Try and think of new angles every few months to build up your profile. You could target new types of media or go back to the same journalist and work on building a business relationship with them and – before you know it – you too could be managing your own bubbling PR campaign!
What are your tips for creating your own publicity?