While working with a public relations firm can be beneficial in many ways, it may not be practical for your company to utilize their services due to costs or other constraints. There are some ways you can try to do your own PR, but know that there are times (now and in the future) when you will need guidance, assistance, and advice that a PR firm can provide.
When working as a company or business, your efforts ought to be spent on what you do best: business. Conversely, you knowing what you do best means that you are the best person to do your company’s PR because of that knowledge. So, how do you create a plan that works if each extreme seems to be the best option? Compromise, and create a plan that fits the current stage your company is in. In the early stages of your company’s life, know that some things will need to be done in-house to save on expenses. If that is the case, hire someone who knows what they are doing and can focus on that alone so you can focus on the rest of the business’ ventures. When you are able and can afford to do so, make hiring a PR firm a top priority as they may be able to save you future costs and do what needs to be done correctly.
PR firms and boutiques have a wealth of information they have worked hard to acquire. That information includes tools they utilize like their media contacts, their employees, and the tactics they’re discovered that work and do not work. These things are hard to acquire on your own if you are busy developing your business, product, or services. PR should not be seen as an alternative to advertising but rather a complimentary tactic that may be more beneficial to a company, especially in its early development and life cycle. As such, PR should be a tool you use in the very beginning of your business development. Advertising is meant to keep your company in the minds of consumers after publicity has helped to build your brand. (For more on why PR should be used first, click here.) In the beginning, advertising won’t do much good for your brand.
Until your company needs advertising and until you can afford a professional PR firm, here are some ways to create your own publicity:
- Write. Hire an employee that writes well and get their assistance in creating exceptional copy that you can be proud to submit to the web, send to media contacts, or to send to your buyers/target markets. This can include writing copy for your website, blog, or press releases. To get your content included elsewhere online as well, be sure to write about other things concerning the entire industry your company is in. This can help you to get quoted in other blogs, business editorials, etc. Additionally, read what others have to say, where they have made mistakes, and where they were successful.
- Contact the media. I recently conducted an interview with Liza Anderson of Anderson Group Public Relations. She mentioned that really knocking down the door is a great way to ensure your story is heard. Moreover, she recommended that you make your pitches concise, succinct, and complete. Also, remember that you don’t have to contact them just when you have a story to pitch; contact them about an article they wrote, connect with them online, or contact them after they write about your company to thank them or ask them to correct a mistake.
- Host events. This can be a fundraiser, sampling of your products, etc. Just be sure to do the steps above to let the world know about the event. Be sure to invite media, especially those that are interested in your company or industry.
- Give. This doesn’t have to be monetary gifts, but they do have to be things of value, which can be informational content. Buyers don’t want something for free that they won’t utilize; the effects of a useless free item are the same as not getting anything at all. Instead of wasting your time and energy in giving away something that customers won’t find valuable, share your knowledge. Give away advice and talk about your experiences.
- Do research and share it. This can go hand in hand with the above point as something valuable, especially to people interested in your industry. Do a study and publish your findings; it’s also a good way to get mentioned in other publications, blogs, etc., and you may make some of your target market remember you.
- Get involved in social media. This is a somewhat old tip, but some companies still have yet to get involved. This is an effective way to talk about your industry and company with other businesses and customers, so utilize this free tool to do just that. Also, be sure to monitor what others are saying about you on these platforms so you can respond and perhaps start a conversation.
What are some ways you create publicity without the help of a PR firm? Should companies ever do their own PR?