100 Free PR Tips to Make Your Business Soar
To help make it easier for you, I've put together this shortlist of the best 100 PR tips you can use to start building brand awareness now FREE.
1). Pick five to ten media outlets where you'd like to be featured, conduct a Google search to find the right media professional's name, and add his or her name to a spreadsheet.
2). Research what the media professional covers. Know his or her beat. Read a few articles so you know his or her writing style. Be sure to follow him or her on social media as well.
3). Create a press kit and make it downloadable on your website. Make sure to include your bio, company fact sheet, product/service sheet, previous press clippings, and your headshot.
4). Look for media opportunities by subscribing to the free PR resource: Helpareporter.com. You'll receive emails daily with inquiries from the media looking for experts and non-experts. You can also look at ProfNet for media opportunities.
5). When you're ready to start writing your pitch, begin with the headline or subject line. Ask a question or make a provocative statement to pique the media professional's interest. Limit it to 10 words.
6). The body of your pitch should be between 200-300 words with a 200-word boilerplate or bio. Be sure to include five to seven bullet or talking points. And most importantly, include your contact information.
7). Make sure your pitch is newsworthy and timely. Tie your story to something that's happening in the news at that moment. Examples include: how to get your best beach body by summer, the Oscars, Christmas, etc.
8). State all of the important information in the first paragraph. Be sure to answer the "who", "what", "where", "when", "why", and "how".
9). Pitch a story idea or segment idea, not your company, product, or service. You'll never get a response if you do.
10). Follow up a few days after your initial pitch by email (never call). If you don't hear back after your follow up, you can follow up one more time before moving forward.
11). Include a call to action at the end of your pitch. Ask if the media professional would like to receive more information, do a demo, or receive a sample.
12). Don't use the shotgun approach where you send one pitch to 1,000 different media outlets at once. (Only send one of the same pitch to five or 10 media contacts at once when you're announcing a new product or service).
Send customize pitches that will provide real value to the media professional and his or her readers.
13). Although I'm sure you hear it time and again, build relationships with the media. Take the time to send a thank you note after an interview or story run.
14). Make it easy for the media professional to get additional information or samples.
15). Be ready for interviews at any time especially if you plan to do radio interviews.
16). Understand that the media works on short schedules that change consistently so it's important that you're flexible and realistic with your expectations.
Don't tout your media coverage to others until it comes out. There's nothing worse than telling everyone you're in a story in a magazine only to find out that the story was cut due to space limitations at the last minute.
17). Never ask a media professional if he or she received your email and when your story is going to go to print.
18). Follow local reporters and journalists on social media so you know what beats they cover.
19). Don't discount the importance of pitching your story to bloggers. Depending on your industry, some bloggers can be more influential and help grow your brand more effectively than magazines and other online media outlets.
20). Pitch podcasts for interviews. Again, some podcasts reach more listeners than traditional radio outlets.
21). Write clearly and concisely since you only have three seconds to capture a media professional's attention.
22). Always offer and make yourself available for interviews.
23). If you're looking to gain more visibility online, answer questions on Quora.com and other question websites. Many of experts do.
24). Always keep in mind when pitching a journalist or blogger, what are some of the best ways you can help with a story?
25). Include your hobbies and other interesting facts into your bio.
27). Offer to guest blog for blogs and online websites relevant to your niche. The top tier outlets accept articles from experts.
28). Offer your story as an exclusive to an outlet where you want to be featured.
29). If you're holding an event, offer pre-event coverage to help drive sales, attendance, and reach more audiences.
30). Publicity does not happen overnight, so you will need to be patient as you grow your media relationships.
31). Avoid including the words: "premium", "leading", "innovative", and "superior" in your pitches, or they will end up in the trash.
32). Tailor your messages to meet the tone and style of the outlet you're pitching.
33). Address the media professional by the right name. Don't address him or her by "Hi there" or "To whom it may concern" unless you want your pitch to end up in the trash.
34). Stay away from generic email addresses like: Contact@Magazinename.com. There's a pretty good chance no one checks them.
35). Team up with a local charity to reach more audiences. Local media love covering cause-related marketing and partnerships.
36). Send your press release over the free wires. PR.com and PRLog.com are the best and offer the best reach free.
37). Make sure to include a link to images via Dropbox.com or on a website within your pitch. Never send attachments because the media doesn't open them.
38). Add a "Press" or "News" section to your website.
39). Make sure to include "For Immediate Release" on any press release to distribute (unless it's under embargo).
40). Nothing is ever off the record when it comes to doing interviews so always be careful of what you're going to say.
41). Become a reliable resource for the media professional. The more value you can provide, the more likely that media professional will be to call on you when he or she has a relevant story for your expertise.
42). Schedule meetings with editors so they can get to know you.
43). Don't pester the media to find out when your story will run. Rather, set up Google Alerts and monitor social media for any mentions of your brand, company, or name.
44). If you're going to do a radio or television interview, make sure you have down your sound bites. Remember to talk slowly too.
45). In today's digital age, be prepared to discuss certain aspects of your personal life.
46). Always be prepared to answer intimate or challenging questions. You can only prepare yourself so much before interviews.
47). If you happen to call a journalist or producer, always ask if he or she is on a deadline. If so, offer to call back at another time.
48). Repurpose old articles and submit to other relevant websites and blogs to gain more backlinks to your website.
49). It doesn't matter how much publicity you've received in the past, you're never too big to do an interview (unless you reach the same level of fame as the Kardashian clan).
50). Make time for publicity outreach weekly.
51). Keep in touch with the media by asking what a specific editor or journalist is working on.
53). Make sure you have a dedicated email address for the media. You can use yours as well - just make sure you monitor it.
54). Make sure you pitch the right media professional as there are several that may cover similar or the same beat.
55). The secret sauce to getting media coverage has two elements: 1) the relationship you have with an editor; and 2) how you package your pitch. It's so important for you to develop relationships with the media if you plan to do your own PR.
56). If you send out a press release, make sure it follows the appropriate format which is AP Style. You can find out more about the appropriate style in my PR book here.
57). Be prepared for rejection. You're probably not going to hear back from 75 percent of the journalists you pitch, but don't give up. There's just a pretty good chance that your story is not relevant to what an editor or journalist is covering at that time.
58). If you received a celebrity endorsement, pitch it to the media to see if there's any interest.
59). If you don't have funds for blog sponsorships, then offer a gift. Often times, a blogger will be willing to write a review or a post about your product/service in exchange for your product (especially if it is a high-ticket item).
60). Don't discount the value of freelance writers. Often times, freelancers don't have as many deadlines to meet as staff writers, so I always urge my clients to connect with the right ones. You can find freelancers in your industry on LinkedIn.com or the contributor section of a magazine.