Over on Instagram Stories I asked you what blog topics you’d find useful, and you overwhelmingly voted for how to do your own PR. It’s a bit of a niche skill, but once you make a habit of working on it regularly, it becomes second nature and the rewards are endless.
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I remember starting university, way back before Instagram and blogs were a thing (there’s no quicker way to feel ancient than remembering this). Twitter was just emerging, and you could only send tweets from a desktop.
But in a world where faxes were still more common than followers, I was strongly advised to do my own PR by one of my tutors. I remember being a bit baffled. Surely PR was for brands trying to get press coverage? Was there more to it than that? There was. Heaps. And the new ways to do your own PR are still rapidly expanding.
Here are my top tips:
1) Write a blog regularly. There’s no easier way to write long form copy, introducing who you are and what you do to an unlimited audience.
It’s not just the freedom to write any length or topic, but the chance to carve out a niche if you have one – what are your readers going to return to you for again and again?
Blogs aren’t just about readership either. They’re brilliant for increasing your Google ranking, forming a community with the people you want to engage with, and set a precedent in the type of content you’re putting out into the world. Once you’re established, you could host guest blogs and vice versa to increase your SEO and coverage.
2) Set aside regular time for your PR. I always say to others working in communications, ‘treat yourself like an additional client’. If you’d allocate X number of hours per week to each client you work with, do the same for yourself. Thinking about clients’ strategy? What about yours? Planning their social content? What will yours look like?
3) Make friends on Twitter. It’s where 99% of the media hang out online, and I personally find it a lot more successful for getting in touch than email.
4) Know your social platforms, and what they do for you. If your posts do consistently well for your target audience on Facebook, but you’re putting your energy into LinkedIn, ask yourself if it’s worth it. Don’t follow a rule book for using the most important social platforms for business, prioritise the ones most useful to you. Be present on all the main ones, but watch how you spend your time.
5) Know what’s interesting about you. I’m not talking about how many beermats you can flip off the edge of a table, but what’s interesting from a media perspective. For instance, if I approached the media with a pitch to cover Ella St Communications that went along the lines of ‘I’m Laura, and I’ve relaunched my digital marketing business’, the best response I could hope for would be “So what?”. However, if I carefully targeted editors and publications with an audience that matched mine, and approached them with a story about how a new scheme to launch the careers of teenage mums, using flexible working internships and skills matching had seen a record uptake, then that might go down pretty well. See no.8 for more info.
6) Timing. Nobody knows when something huge is going to break. But monitor the news carefully before a pitch. If something big is stirring politically, hold back and wait for a time you’ll be heard. This applies nationally and locally. If you’re getting in touch with regional press, make sure there are no big events taking place at the same time.
7) Create a stir. The other option of course, is leering the media to you. How could you grab their attention? Or maybe the attention of social media? Creating a hashtag and inviting others to use it in a way that promotes your message is a great way of letting people find you and what you’re doing.
8) Ask yourself these questions when you think you have something to shout about: Is it new? Is it exciting? (Credit to my previously mentioned university tutor for these. These questions were rule numero uno on my PR course and they’ve stuck in my head ever since.)
9) Lastly, have confidence. Know your worth. Nobody is going to talk about you if you can’t confidently do it yourself, and once you believe in your own expertise, you’ll be valued for it. Getting your own PR coverage isn’t just about getting your business/event/news mentioned, it’s about being endorsed by that publication as having expertise worth profiling.
Would you add any different tips? Let me know what’s worked for you, and what you’re going to try out for the first time to work on your own PR.
If you’re still feeling the overwhelm with managing your own PR, get in touch for a chat about how else you might be able to improve your media strategy. I offer free 30-minute consultations to all start-ups and small businesses.
Follow @ellastcommunicationson Instagram.