What Small Businesses Can Do to Get Free Coverage in the Press
Updated: May 24, 2021
Getting mentioned or featured in a positive light in the press or other media is one of the highest endorsements you can get for your brand, and it can create great gravitas for your business.
Generally speaking, the larger and better known a brand is, the more likely it will get 'natural' or 'organic' coverage. But if you are a smaller operation, not yet widely known, there are some proactive things you can do to boost your chances of getting a mention.
These kinds of efforts are known as Public Relations - or PR - in the marketing world, and you can try a few of them yourself if you have the time!
Focus your PR efforts
The world of PR is huge - spanning the large national newspapers to niche industry-led magazines to influencers of every size.
Before you jump into sending press releases, spend time working out where you want to spend your PR efforts.
Who are you targeting?
What do they read / where do they consume their content?
What type of people are they following?
Decide who’s in your top tier and your wider tier. Once you’ve decided this, do a bit of research into the main journalists at these publications, read some of their articles and get to know the sort of things they say / like. What stands out for you? Make some notes for later on when you start to pitch.
Make it easy!
Journalists are busy people and they receive A LOT of press releases, emails, calls and product freebies every day, on top of actually having to do their job of writing and researching for articles.
Whatever your PR target, make sure you tailor your pitch to the publication / journalist. Make it personal, show you’ve done your research and explain why you think your product or service should be featured in that particular publication.
Yes it will take slightly longer than a blanket approach, but it’s worth it. Even if your product or service doesn’t instantly get picked up by that person, you'll be on their radar.
Create a strong, simple press release
As above, journos and PRs are short on time.
Put together a simple, concise press release with the most important information at the top of the release!
Don’t repeat yourself and have some amazing images to support your release. If you’ve got a product, it’s important to invest in some quality 'cutouts' of your product (pictures of your products with no background) as this is a must.
Budget for product gifting
If you’ve got a great product, a key part of PR is making sure everyone knows about it! Your PR budget should include a proportion for gifting. Again, you choose your publications and how you want to gift, but it’s a great way to get your product in front of the right people.
Make sure you’re ready to go
We all like to get carried away from time to time but don’t run before you can walk. Don’t start spending time on PR / gifting before you’re set up. Relevant social handles / presence for your brand and a professional, working website (including e-commerce purchasing if you have a product) are so important before your start shouting about your brand through PR.
You’ll also want to think about / be prepared for someone to be your spokesperson. People buy from people and this has never been more prevalent than in the new era of independent / start up businesses.
If you’ve got a great story - tell it and be confident in doing so.