When you're starting to think about getting press for your business, don't fall into the trap of thinking you need to wait before you can start making real progress. While a PR firm will have more resources and connections to use to help you, there are also many things you can do as an individual that will help get the word out about your company. Here are five tips that you can use to start getting press right away:
Send a Pitch to a Reporter Covering Your Niche
Thankfully the Internet has made it very easy to do research on reporters. You may have a tough time getting picked up by a reporter at a mainstream news outlet like CNN or Fox, but look to local newspapers and small blogs to see if there's anyone who would be interested in your business. Make sure you get right to the point when you pitch, and be able to take "no" for an answer. Pitching can be a numbers game; just make sure you exercise all of your options.
Start a Conversation with a Reporter on Twitter
Twitter is a great platform because it gives you a window into whatever someone is doing/thinking. Many reporters regularly use Twitter in order to connect with each other and to make themselves available to anyone who wants to pitch them. A large part of getting press is building relationships with reporters. Once you have built up a good rapport, it will be easier to ask them if they'd be interested in covering your business. Just keep the conversation casual and don't segue into business too fast.
Write a Blog Post About the Latest Trend in Your Industry
People tend to notice when someone talks about the bleeding edge of any industry. A great way to get publicity to write a blog about whatever the hot topic is in your industry and shop it around to different media outlets. The Huffington Post is very open to accepting pitches for individual blog posts, and LinkedIn is a great platform to spread your post around.
Pitch Outlets for a Contributor Column
This is taking the blog idea one step further. Outlets such as Inc, Entrepreneur, and the Huffington Post accept pitches for contributor columns. As long as you have something valuable to write about and commit to contributing at least once a week on a frequent basis, you should be able to secure yourself a contributor column (with some persistence). Attaching your name to a well-known outlet is a great way to get publicity, as the outlet will promote your articles as they would their own. The followers you build through your column will translate nicely to interest in your business.
Go to Networking Events
Don't get the wrong idea -- you shouldn't go to networking events just to tell everyone how great your business is. However, by getting to know people in your industry, you'll be able to open doors that could lead to getting great press down the line. Networking events are great because you'll never know which connections will come in handy at what times. The more you get out and network, the more you are creating potential for yourself (and your company) to get noticed in a big way.
These five tips are ways you can get started in gaining publicity right now. Don't wait and think that you need an elaborate plan in place before you start promoting your brand. Remember: every minute your business spends out of the public eye is a minute that one of your competitors can build up their own brand awareness.