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Last Updated on by Noni May
Estimated reading time: 30 minutes
When I first started working for myself I fell completely in love with PR for my business. Let’s be honest guys. A business strategy does not work if people don’t know you exist. I worked in PR & Communications and learned everything there is. I now help entrepreneurs and creators like you to benefit from PR and especially FREE publicity to make the most out of your business.
If nobody know you exist, is it really worth it? Will you be making any sales? Will you feel like a successful entrepreneur? I leave the answer up to you, but if you’ve been struggling with making sales or getting new clients, read this!
What is PR? And how can Free Publicity or PR help me grow my business or blog?
So, when you work in PR you get this question a lot: so WHAT do you do exactly? Is it like Samantha from SATC just sitting behind a fancy desk, enjoying the postman and going to party’s all night?
It doesn’t really matter if you don’t really know the answer yet.
Let me explain: although I’ve never really worked at a PR firm, I do work with PR firms a lot since I’ve been blogging for so long.
The thing I did was more PR/Communications/Marketing at a company, which I like much better than just PR at a PR firm.
But people asked me these question anyway.
The first part not so much, but the second part yes, but that’s not what you’re paid for and to be honest it’s not really fun to host one of the best party’s of the year and stand at the door all night with people trying to sneak in to the party or read off your guest-list haha.
The better deal is when you get invited to these party’s and that’s what we’re gonna try here.
People need to know who you are and what you do.
I think people need to read about you at least 3 times in a time span of 2 months in order to get their attention.
Yep, that’s scary and horrible, 3 times is a lot.
But look at yourself, when you read the paper or a magazine there’s so much new information coming on to you, it’s hard to remember particular people. So let’s move on to the fun stuff, getting your business or blog in the press.
PR is not the same as free publicity. PR is an investment in your company’s image, reputation, and bottom line; it’s usually a paid service. It takes time to establish relationships with journalists and editors, who will write about you or take notice of your product only if they trust that you’re credible and worthy of their readers’ attention. PR is not a short-term strategy; it lasts for months or even years as long as the story is still relevant to readers.
Get it? And there’s also free publicity, which we can include under the Public Relations umbrella. It’s like the word it says: free publicity (emphasis on free).
Because your job isn’t to get to know as many people as possible, or go to party’s every day.
Your job is to get your creations or business in the press. And you can totally rock that behind a computer. With sweatpants & Netflix on the background and popcorn in your hand. Oh yeah.
If I can do this, so can you.
Free publicity happens when someone else writes about or talks about something related to yours on their own volition—and there’s no guarantee that this person will provide the coverage you want (or even anything positive). The best way to increase exposure for your brand is by creating content that people are naturally interested in sharing themselves—and then reaching out directly when appropriate!
So let’s promote yourself for free with PR in this Ultimate Guide to grow your business the easy way.
A press release is not the same thing as an article.
It’s a common misconception that a press release is the same thing as an article, but they are very different. A press release should be used to announce newsworthy events, whereas articles need to be more detailed and substantive. So when you write your next one-time event or ongoing series of events (like anniversary celebrations), remember that you’re writing a marketing tool, not just some random piece of content that will make its way into someone’s inbox. If you’re interested in a press release template, see here.
You need to establish yourself as an expert on the topic.
This is not something that can be accomplished overnight, and it’s not as simple as just throwing your hat in the ring and declaring yourself an expert. People are going to want to know what makes you qualified, so it’s critical that you show them how much knowledge you have about this topic. You’ll also want to make sure your content is high quality and accurate; if people think they’re being misled or deceived by a post, they won’t trust the source again.
Google is constantly changing its algorithm (about 500 small updates times a year!) for a more improved experience and to beat the spammers.
That’s no news for most of us, but did you know that with its recent updates it’s more likely that PR is gonna be more and more important.
Staying on top of the Google game is important for every marketer, publicist, online business owners or creator. And PR and content marketing will be more and more important. And that’s a very, very good thing because it will stop spammers and grow authentic businesses.
Of course, spammers will always find their way up to the first page, but with this, it’s hurting the journalist’s integrity, and I don’t think a journalist that takes its career serious would work with SEO spammers.
Real, authentic articles will rule the first page and the top. Which means SEO is out, and PR is in. Read more about why Public Relations is King.
Need more reasons? Read them here: 8 reasons to fall in love with free publicity as your #1 business promotion tool
PR is the best way to communicate to the public what your brand + business is all about. This is harder to show on social media – even if you have a well thought strategy. Telling your story in the media will boost your authority in your niche, you’ll become the go-to person. And bonus, this attracts new media opportunities! Read more on why public relations are important here.
For the past years I’ve worked in PR/Communications/Marketing. I’d say, Public Relations is by far my favorite biz tool to grow your business, and especially FREE PR, because:
So you should start immediately. I can’t repeat it often enough! New entrepreneurs often think that if they spend some money, the success will come. Sometimes this works, but often this isn’t the case. Don’t throw away money without a clear strategy!
Startup founders, newly creators and long time creative entrepreneurs all benefit from a press mentions here and there. But don’t use your startup budget for hiring an expensive PR company with a commitment for at least 6 months!
I know, as a former PR/Communications/Marketing employee/freelancer that PR isn’t bullsh*t. You need it to grow your biz. But I also know it’s something you don’t wanna spend a lot of money on. Here are 7 reasons why your PR efforts + strategy shouldn’t cost you money.
Ok, so let’s dive in to it ourselves right? It’s completely free! Are you ready?
Let’s download your checklist to see if your business is ready to get started with PR.
So, are you ready to hear the truth and get your business in the press? Because the truth is really simple:
PR is all about reaching out to people all the time, being visible all the time and telling the world what you do. If you don’t tell the world what you do, how do you think people will get to know you?
It’s all about reaching new audiences by finding them, instead of waiting to get discovered.
To be successful at PR you don’t need to be an extrovert or a really aggressive networker. You can do it from home in your sweatpants and for free. What you do need is the knowledge on how to reach out to journalists, how to find the right journalists, knowing how to create an interesting story and knowing when to reach out to journalists (including that follow up!).
Oh, and before we start, I wanna clear something up. My PR training isn’t about creating ads, throwing money around like confetti or paying for your visibility. Its all about time trading for results. So if you put the work in it, it will pay off. So. Now we got that off our chest, let’s dive in to the actionable steps!
The thing I hear the most from people who want to break into PR is: “I don’t know anyone”. And while it may be a massive requirement if you want to work at a PR firm to have a big network, it certainly is not if you want to do your own PR.
You can find most journalist’s contact information in the magazine or online, and with some courage anyone can pitch anyone cold, without knowing them. And I promise: courage will come along the way as you collect email addresses and names (or Instagram handles of course).
You’re not building your email list to not use it right? So if you see a ton of names and contact information in front of you, I’m sure you’ll feel confident contacting them.
So, you want to learn how to find their contact information? You can find the lesson here.
You should always focus on where your customers are. Don’t focus on the publications you love, or think are a great fit. In the long term, you’re better off building a network in the places your customers hang out.
Your business can only grow if potential customers know and hear about you. Sure, it’s an ego boost if your niche’s top publication interviews you, but that way, only your competition will know about you. That’s not how you grow your actual business. How you get more clients or traffic. So let’s figure out what publication your customers are reading.
How? The easiest way is often over looked, but it’s directly ask your audience. Do you already have a newsletter list with customers? That could be a start.
Now, we don’t want to make it too obvious in a survey that it’s about the question how they consumer their news, because this can influence their answer. Running a survey is basically one of the very basics of marketing, so I won’t go in to it that much but don’t forget to find out where your people hang out.
Other ways to do this are: Think back. Who were you a few years back? Before you knew what you know now. Where did you find the answers of your questions? For me, I read a lot of travel related magazines, because I wanted to learn and consume everything about traveling full-time, the cheapest places to visit, etc. Now, I can really grow my business quickly by pitching to travel magazines, since I now help others reclaim their freedom the easy way. Another example, if you work with people who buy new bathrooms (yes, pretty much the most boring example ever haha) you want to show your business in interior magazines and be interviewed by Podcasts about moving and redecorating. And to be honest, it’s not ALWAYS necessary to be super specific. Let’s go back to the festival example. This is something that can be covered by women magazines, all papers etc, because it’s something that a lot of people love to do, no matter what job they’re in or where they live.
Here’s something to think about: a strategy doesn’t work if people don’t know you exist. Having a great story is the best way to grab their attention. Today, if you want to succeed as an entrepreneur, you also have to be a storyteller.
There is a difference between internal and external PR, and for free publicity, we’re talking about external PR, because we’re talking to people outside your biz.
So let’s assume the reason you want to start with PR and free publicity is one of the following:
In order to reach these goals, you have to start at the beginning. And the very start of your press attack is your story.
This is the beginning of your story. What do you want to tell the world? What’s your message? This can vary from one press attack to another. You want people to relate to you. Keep it interested for them. Inspire them. Don’t just tell the world who you are. If you keep them interested and inspired, they’ll want more.
Remember, news stories have to include one of these to be interesting enough to write or talk about:
1. Why are you passionate about what you do?
2. Why do you create your product or service?
3. Why do you love your customers?
4. Why does your business matter?
5. Why should people care about your business?
7. Why should someone read your blog and share your content?
8. Why should someone be inspired by your business?
9. Why should your customers talk about your product?
10. Why should a journalist tell your story?
And remember, old news is no news. So a big part of succeeding with your press attack is having a good story. You should translate that story, in to the rest of your business. Make it very clear and recognisable for newbies what you’re all about. I hope you have something like a mission statement in your business plan, well, if you have, story telling is the way to translate your mission in to your marketing and PR plans.
If you want people to adore you and your brand, make sure you tell the same story every time. But, select the right story for the right audience. So it fits the publication you’re talking to. I mean, who hasn’t heard about all the awesome things Richard Brandson did before he started Virgin? Or sophia amorossos girlboss story how she build nasty gal?
A short exercise: try to answer these questions in one sentence. If you can’t – keep practising until you can, because nobody will believe your story if you can’t tell the story convinced enough.
A little exercise I often do with my clients, is interview them like I’m working on a story and record the conversation. This helps them a lot, not only to get their story straight, but also to hear it back (iek!) and to really think about things. You can easily do this by asking someone to be the most annoying journalist they can think of by questioning everything you say. Super annoying but super useful!
If you can’t come up with a good story, try to create a story around something that’s already news. I have a real life example. I had an escape room client, and their newest escape room missed out on press when it opened. We started to work together later, so I had to create a new story, to make it interested for the press. I found out that it’s 20 years since the first Mission Impossible, and the escape room had some mission impossible aspects like lasers. So that’s how I pitched it to a big tv news show and they went for it! The focus of the story was not all the time about my client, but it was great because they got national tv time!
Sometimes I like to work from the content marketing side, and pitch a client with something else in mind. It was a beauty product that is gluten free, vegan and free from everything that harm you haha. So I pitched an idea for a story about whats in other beauty products. They mentioned the beauty product I worked for as an example with a small interview. That was enough to be featured in a womens magazine.
So, before you come up with ideas, make sure you keep your goals and your why in mind. Do you want the mention? Or do you want to tell a story, to let people know what your brand is about and the importance, like the last example.
In order to succeed at PR, you have to set some goals. Communication goals.
Your PR strategy should compliment your current business problem, your own situation, your brand and the culture of your biz. That’s why PR is always custom work. But there are systems that will always work.
So back to PR planning, PR planning is deciding how to change you current situation to your ideal situation with your PR process.
If you want to make PR a part of your business instead of a one time fling, this planning is necessarily. And you’ll need a press calendar for that. Read along to find out how!
A press calendar basically is a calendar system you use to reach out to press when it’s most convenient for you and them, for the best results.
This is when we dive in to your blog or biz press coverage so I have a little exercise for you. Think about a topic you want to be known for, and that can be picked up by journalists as news or interesting fact. Don’t keep in mind your own business, but work with what’s interesting for the publication’s audience, because that’s what its all about. Nobody really cares about YOUR business, it’s all about what’s in it for them.
For example, most magazines work 3 months (sometimes even more months) in advance. A rookie mistake is emailing or calling a magazine about your christmas collection two weeks before Christmas, because they’ll be working on the summer issue. Haha.
So it’s important to know your deadlines and to plan and schedule well. You can find my press calendar template (fill in the blanks style!) and guide here.
Like every topic, there are a few mistakes people often make. But, with my experience in the Public Relations and journalistic field, I can help you avoid these common mistakes.
To avoid these mistakes and more, check out my Crash Course PR & Free Publicity to do your own PR without making mistakes!
Keep in mind, that like I said before, press releases may change over time. You remove boring information and replace them with more valuable and up to date information.
Writing a good press release is a time consuming project and unfortunately I can’t discuss every detail here. I’ll just walk you through it quickly and give you all the things you should keep in mind here.
Besides a press release, you should also send a media kit and a press kit with your press release or you should have it ready. I talk about media kits in my free ecourse about media kits, subscribe here: www/nonimay.com/mediakit and everything about press kits and what should be in them in my course Master the Media.
Want to turn your influencer business, blog, website, shop or company into a successful press attention machine and a profitable business? Sign up for A media kit that sells.
Learn how to successfully pitch to the right person and how to totally rock every e-mail! This free e-mail course shows you a step-by-step process to create not only an awesome product to pitch your own product, but also how to convert the first e-mails into brand collaborations, sales and press mentions!
A press release is nothing more than a (preferably) 1 page article with your news. There’s a fixed structure how you should build up your press release. I have created a worksheet to help you write your press release. You get it for free if you join the Crash Course or you can get it in my content vault.
It also includes a few very valuable tips to write your press release that will almost guarantee publishing! It also includes examples of ‘real life’ press releases, the things that every press release must have and a very important checklist you need to check before you send out your press release!
Are you ready to send out your press release? We have PR goals, a good story to tell, a small ‘press list’ and a press calendar, so I think we’re ready now to go public. Iek, scary!
First, let’s prepare your message to send out. There are two common types of press mailings. I’m a big fan of pdf’s + word docs as an attachment and just a short PERSONAL email. The second one, which I usually don’t open is the one you copy paste the whole press release in to the email, and just add your information in the bottom for more information. This one is usually used when you’re mass emailing your press list, and is fine but probably not the most converting email you can send.
Want to know what both emails also include? Check it out here.
A professional looking email address. @ yourbusiness – name.com to look legit. If you’re in serious business, you have your own email address, that’s just a fact. If you don’t have any yet, create one first and double check if your outgoing + incoming mail works. Also double check the next things to avoid ending up in someone’s spam inbox or worse, never reaching the journalist at all:
These days, everybody needs money and especially startups, small businesses and publishers. This results in a weird world, where basically everybody tries to get money from everybody, and it’s very likely journalists will try to make you pay for an advertorial.
Trust me, they don’t want to, but they have to. An advertorial is, simply put, an article paid for. In the online world this is also called a sponsored post. Among one of the other options they’ll probably offer you in exchange of visibility are: a nice reader deal, a (paid) giveaway or advertising like banners.
But I’m all about FREE publicity, so don’t trap into the pay-for-visibility-trap. Here are a few strategies you can use for free publicity:
And of course check out all the free PR tips in my crash course as I have a lot more!
Journalists get tons of pitches every day. And unfortunately, pitching is one of the most difficult parts of PR. In fact, most people find it so difficult, that it puts them off starting PR completely. When I receive press releases or pitch emails, I know 1 second after I open the email, if it’s for me or not. It’s often not just the subject line or the many copy-paste design fails, it’s 80% of the time just not a subject I write about, or at the time I’m already busy with other articles. So let’s downsize the other 20% of the reasons why journalists turn down your awesome pitch in a simple list, find them here.
Like I said before, free publicity is absolutely free, all you need is a little time. It’s a big misconception that public relations or even marketing always cost a lot. I never pay for my PR, I do them myself or work with a PR agency and I never paid a dime! My little secret? Free publicity!
When I first started out, I had a hard time figuring out which free tools I could use to make my press attack easier. luckily for you, I found a lot of tools, most of them free, to use for a successful pr strategy.
the first thing you should do is think of a pr budget. Do you wanna spend money on PR? Remember that if you work without a budget, you probably have to make a time trade. You’d have to spend more time on your PR, but that’s fine. Sometimes I’d rather work a day in my weekend that pay for something I can easily do for free.
I have listed a big list of free tools to use for your strategy in my course, because when I say free publicity I mean FREE publicity. To get started I suggest you created a free account to build your list. But there are so many more tools out there to use!
Like I said, you can do this with free tools if you’ve time. But let’s say you go for the option with a PR budget. How much money can you set aside for your PR activities?
Go through the last 6 months of your business and figure out if you’ve had a steady €30, €100 or €500 extra that you can invest into your business on a monthly basis.
In your budget plan, make a difference between free publicity, PR tools and other marketing strategies like advertising, email marketing and copywriting, photo and design services.
If you set a PR budget, its used for time-saving equipment and tools. We can set up automations and analytics that will buy you a lot of time.
You’ll need to make sure you get the right tools that will bring in the best results right? So where do you start?
I added all the links and tutorials to the software in my course and also 50+ additional -but very handy- tools!
There’s so much there is to learn about PR and I can’t wait to give you all my knowledge. I have created a course and a crash course about PR & Free Publicity to tell you all about it. Things we’ll discuss are among the following steps to learn about:
Are you ready to start with PR? I know it’s hard to figure out:
✓ reach out to journalists?
✓ write a press release
✓ know how much budget you need to set aside for PR?
✓ start with free publicity and PR
✓ get your first press contacts ?
✓ who do you reach out to if you want media attention?
✓ how much should you pay for press coverage?
✓ why should I reach out to press?
✓ the systems you need in place in order to organise everything
✓ what do journalists want?
I’ll tell you all the secrets you’ll normally only learn by working in the field. After years of working in PR and as a journalist, I know all the secrets: both the publicist and journalist side. Check out my Crash Course to shine & enjoy more freedom!
If you want to learn more, head over to my Crash Course PR & Free Publicity here. In the course I will talk about the PR and free publicity strategies I use, to get any business in the press within 60 days!
… earn some money hustling hard?
… have a clear design, brand and personal voice?
… are ready for more sales, more press features and more traffic?
… are a freelancer, creative biz owner or blogger
your blog or biz’s first media mentions in 60 days
– the benefits of pr
– reasons why public relations are important and why you should start asap
-the reasons why your pr efforts + strategy shouldn’t cost you money
– we’ll check if your blog or business is ready for pr
– we will get started with pr
– create a press calendar
– write a press release
– talk about your first press contacts and reaching out to journalists
Know that cold calling and emailing is not the fastest way to get press coverage, so make sure you plan enough time and you start as early as possible with your press attack!
We talked about a press calendar here a little bit, but in Master the media we’ll talk about a press calendar and which times and days are best to send out your press releases and when to take action and get social with the journalist.
My course Master the Media: press coverage NOW is the DIY step by step guide to free publicity for businesses that shows you how to have your business mentioned in the media (for free!). It’s a proven and easy to follow way to get your biz or blog mentioned in the press. It’s less advanced than my course Oh My Press, Master the Media will cover all the steps you need to start right now!
Doors aren’t always open for Master the Media or Oh My Press so make sure you’re on my list to hear it first!