There are several powerful public relations agencies in New York City, but is a retainer fee required to succeed? Nope. If you’re a company owner, entrepreneur, or have a side hustle that you want to expand without quitting your day job, DIY public relations may go a long way with a bit of insight and commitment (yet).
Meg Androsiglio, founder and president of Meg Androsiglio PR in Syracuse, New York, noted that public relations is one of the most powerful tools for promoting a company, but it has a negative reputation for being reserved for traditional corporate firms with large expenditures. “In truth, public relations and media relations are about exposure, establishing mutually beneficial partnerships, and expanding your influence. Every entrepreneur needs a PR plan as part of their marketing mix.”
Long Island’s Gabie Kur, senior vice president of public relations at marketing and content agency Codeword, concurs. “Hiring an agency is a great answer when you’re ready to grow your PR efforts and want more firepower, but you can handle PR internally by being resourceful, inventive, and scrappy.”
Use these methods to be your own flack.
Perform this workout for a week.
Create a VIP media list of the Top 10 to 15 newspapers and their beat writers who would most likely care about your brand.
Androsiglio’s first advice for obtaining media publicity does not include pitching.
“For a week, take attention of how you talk about your brand’s business and products. Note any one-liners or descriptive terms that spring to mind,” she advised, adding that you should pay close attention to what connects with your audience, team members, and social media followers. “At the end of the week, undertake an audit of your one-liners. Keep only the clearest sentences and eliminate the rest. You will have a foundation for your master brand message, which is a compass while doing your own public relations.
Make a targeted roster
“Being acutely aware of the sorts of stories, viewpoints, and discussions occurring inside your sector, as well as who is driving those conversations, is one of the most important components in obtaining coverage,” stated Kur.
She advises compiling a list of the top 10 to 15 newspapers and their beat writers who are likely to be interested in your firm and its viewpoint. Note: Do not overlook independent journalists that contribute to a multitude of publications.)
“From there, make it your business to follow their talks on Twitter, study their coverage constantly, and learn precisely what they wish to feature,” Kur said.
Then, according to Kur, it is time to “find value-added reasons to interact with them.” “Jump into their Twitter conversations and give insightful commentary. Provide them with access to data, insight, your network, and other useful resources that will aid their cause. This should not be the first time a reporter sees your name in their Twitter alerts or email inbox. You prefer to be perceived as a well-connected expert in your profession who can provide them something of value.”
Establish Google News notifications.
For instance, if you are a personal trainer, Androsiglio suggests that you set up Google alerts for keywords such as “personal trainer advice,” “exercise trends,” “mind-body connection,” and other prominent terms within your sector.
“The notifications will show you everyday what the news in your specialty looks like, and you’ll learn more about the editors who are creating the articles and the sites who are spreading your news,” she explained.
Identify editor’s contact information
Ensure that your website bio demonstrates your enthusiasm and expertise.
Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, and the personal websites of authors are all viable resources for locating contact information. “A simple Google search will yield several direct email addresses,” stated Androsiglio.
Write your company’s biography
You must have a clear and elegant business bio or founder’s narrative on your website, and you may reuse portions of it for media outreach, social media content, and more.
Jesse S. Gaddis, account supervisor at RLM Public Relations in Midtown East, advised, “Begin with your genesis narrative – a basic letter on why you founded your firm.”
Make your narrative sincere. Gaddis advised, “Show your enthusiasm and competence for what you do – customers and decision makers prefer to empathize.” “Include these words in your website’s ‘about us’ section and any other pertinent marketing materials.” As your firm obtains reputation, journalists will have your narrative readily available when it comes time to conduct an interview.
Utilize tools to advance.
There are sites on which you may apply to be a cited expert in your profession, enhancing exposure and authority.
HelpAReporter.com and Qwoted are two free journalist inquiry sites that are quite valuable, according to Cricket Public Relations, LLC co-founders Brian Hyland and Jesse Nash of Whippany, New Jersey. “But be fast to answer. There is intense rivalry in the marketplace.”
The paid editions of these websites unlock extra features such as keyword alerts and search capabilities.
The path filled with metaphorical golden prizes is yet another worthwhile path. “You are certainly eligible for a number of awards (industry trade, local business, and national),” noted Hyland and Nash, citing “30 under 30” lists, “the best local marketing campaign,” “the best product design,” etc. The entry fee often ranges from free to $500.
They advised, “Win the prize and market it!”
Don’t pester journalists
You must know when to dial back your pitching efforts.
Even if you believe that your business or story angle would be ideal for a reporter, it may not be the right time. “Incessantly following up or being pushy on social media is a definite way to be blacklisted by a reporter,” she added. “Revisit and improve your strategy; perhaps the timely hook wasn’t appropriate at the time. Or perhaps they were simply too busy. Then, try again in a few weeks or months with a new hook.”