This is our second of four features featuring expert PR tips for small businesses. Victoria Blakeley is a Director at Citypress, an integrated PR, digital and communications agency – here she shares her top tips for getting your business noticed.
If someone has just launched a business and wants to get media coverage, what’s the best way to go about it?
Firstly, think about why you want to get media coverage in the first place. Who do you want to know about your business? Are you trying to raise your profile to a business audience? Or do you need consumers to be aware of what you’re selling? Once you’ve defined this, you can start to plan how to target them. There’s a huge variety of media to consider, from national and local newspapers, through to blogs and websites. The key to success is picking the right media for your audience, and then creating tailored content that is going to excite and engage them.
Contacting the media about a launch isn’t enough to get featured; how does someone make their story interesting or relevant enough to get featured?
Consider what makes you and your business stand out. Maybe you’ve started a business after working in a job that was entirely unrelated, or maybe you’ve had overnight success by stumbling across a niche in the market. Whatever it is, if you can find a quirky angle, you’re more likely to engage a journalist with your story.
What are your top tips for putting a press release together?
If it’s going to make the news, it has to be reporting on something new. Really think through what your main point is within the release, to keep it concise and clear for journalists. It’s useful to include a comment so that journalists can use it within their piece, and also provide clear contact details in the ‘notes to editors’ at the end so that they can contact you for more information. And don’t forget to proof read it!
What are the common mistakes people make with press releases?
Overwriting. It’s best to keep them concise as journalists are generally short on time.
How do you build relationships with key media contacts?
Be useful and reliable to journalists and they’ll always know they can come to you if they have features in the pipeline that would be suitable.
Editors work far in advance of the publication date; generally what is the rule?
Unfortunately, there are no hard and fast rules to follow here. It depends on the media title. Generally, if it’s a monthly magazine, you could be looking at anything from 2-5 months in advance, so it’s important to act quickly if you have news to share. Many trade media titles have their feature schedules published on their
websites, however with consumer media it’s more difficult to work out, your best bet here is to make contact with a member of the editorial team to find out.
How can we position ourselves as experts and contribute to their features with our expert opinion?
As a business owner, you’ll definitely have expertise and experience that is worth sharing with others. Get in touch with journalists and briefly explain your background and expertise, highlighting the kind of topics you’re available to comment on. Also, it can be a good idea to follow your target journalists on Twitter as many of them will ask for contributions this way.
What are your top PR tips for small businesses?
Time and budget is usually tight when you’re starting up a new business, so keep your PR focussed on the things that matter. If you’ve defined your target audience, and the media they’re most influenced by, then focus your efforts there – it’ll pay off for you in the long run.
Follow Victoria on Twitter: @vickybbb