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DIY: Public Relations for Small Businesses

By: Jessica Urgiles-- 2015-06-20 10:30 am --

“If I was down to my last dollar, I’d spend it on public relations.” - Bill Gates

Why does one of the most successful entrepreneurs alive feel this way? PR is an indispensable part of any business and is critical to the success of every company. Small businesses sometimes have to cut corners, however, public relations isn’t the place to do it.

If the money to hire an in-house public relations professional or PR firm simply isn’t in the budget, then entrepreneurs need to get creative. Until you can afford a pro, here’s how to do your own PR:

Press Releases

You don’t have to be a wordsmith to write your own press releases, but you do have to know how to write well. Ideally, press releases should be less than 400 words and the boilerplate (a brief description of your business at the end of the release) shouldn’t exceed 100 words. This article by Fit Small Business features real press release examples (including one from DollarDays!) that you can use for guidance.

Pitch Perfect

Once you have a newsworthy story and press release to go with it, you need to pitch it. Twitter is the preferred social media platform of journalists and media outlets, but finding the right people on it can be time-consuming. A News Tip makes it easy to find journalists by what they tweet – directing you to those that cover topics pertaining to your business. You can also use it to email journalists your pitch and track the open rate of your messages!

Pitching is an artform – one that perhaps you don’t naturally possess. If you find that journalists are opening your emails, but aren’t showing any interest, you may need to revise your pitch. Tiny Pitch, the little brother of Pitch Engine, was created just for small businesses. You can compose your press release on any device and it will redesign it into an interactive web app for impactful delivery. You simply email Tiny Pitch your press release, headline and pictures and they will transform it for you at no cost.

Social Media

While PR pros eagerly keep up with the ever-changing social media sphere, busy entrepreneurs don’t have the time to do the same. At the very least, you need to be aware of the current laws. The Federal Trade Commission recently updated its social media endorsements policy. Familiarize yourself with it here to avoid making any illegal (and costly) mistakes in your social media promotions. The FTC also has an advertising guide for small businesses that you can access here for the federal truth-in-advertising standards.

The right media attention can catapult your small business. Mastering press releases, pitches and social media will help build your brand’s reputation and gain press coverage. While it’s not easy, your PR efforts will definitely be worth it.