Do-It-Yourself Media Relations: 5 Easy Steps

Public relations is vital to building your company and promoting your brand. If you’re a small business, non-profit, or start up, however, your budget might be too tight to hire a public relations firm to publicize your products and services to reporters and bloggers.

Here are five easy steps for successful do-it-yourself media relations:

1. Create a Press Kit

Every company should have a press kit: a hard-copy version, contained in an attractive folder, and an electronic version for e-mailing and posting on your website. A press kit is a collection of written materials designed to introduce your company and its experts to the media. Your press kit should include the following:

  • A cover letter or cover e-mail introducing your company
  • A press release written in the third person seeking to demonstrate to the media something newsworthy about your company (often the press kit is meant to back up this press release)
  • A backgrounder explaining what your company does, why it exists, and what its goals are
  • Biographies of key experts
  • A list of subjects or issues your experts can address
  • A photograph of your experts or company in action
  • Endorsements from customers (testimonials) or brief stories about how your company or expert helped a customer (case studies)
  • Collateral materials, such as a company brochure, postcard, fact sheet, newspaper ad, etc.
  • For electronic press kits, videos, audio clips, podcasts, etc.
  • Reliable contact information should a reporter or blogger want to get in touch with you
2. Make Press and Blogger Lists

When your company needs to make a major announcement, you’ll need to be able contact reporters and bloggers quickly. If you’ve created press and blogger lists beforehand, you’ll be ready to go. Here’s what you’ll need to do:

  • Develop specific profiles of each type of person you want to purchase your products or services (e.g., moms who buy organic foods, people who drive hybrid cars, middle-aged urban men who are physically fit, etc.).
  • Create a press and blogger spreadsheet for each category.
  • For each category, identify relevant magazines, websites, newspapers, blogs, newsletters, business journals, etc. and input the publication or blog’s name and contact information into your spreadsheet.
3. Develop Tailored Pitches

Next, you’ll need to tailor a short pitch for each publication and blog on your lists. Your pitch should describe your products in a way that makes them relevant to the publication’s audience and recent articles. It also should communicate all the essential points in no more than a minute.

4. Introduce Yourself

Give the reporters and bloggers a call or send them an e-mail introducing yourself (and your pitch) and offer to send over a press kit. Tell them that you will have some news announcements in the coming months and that you want to keep them in the loop. By getting your company’s name on their radars with a pleasant introduction, you’ll increase the chances they’ll run your story when the time comes or call one of your company’s executives when they need an expert’s opinion.

5. Keep Track of Pitches

Whenever you call or e-mail a reporter or blogger, update your spreadsheet. Indicate when you sent your pitch, what you pitched, and who you sent it to. This will help you keep track of who you’ve contacted and when. Contacting reporters and bloggers too much will build a name for you quickly—but the wrong name.

Do you have your own do-it-yourself public relations ideas? Share them here.

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About Monica

Monica specializes in strategic communications, web and new media, and print materials with an international or multi-cultural context. She has worked on national public outreach campaigns targeting multi-cultural audiences and has conceptualized, written, and/or designed multiple websites. Monica also has written, edited, and/or designed high-profile newsletters, brochures, and reports, including some prepared in collaboration with the White House. She holds a bachelor’s in journalism and a master of international service with a focus on international communication. Monica is based in Washington, D.C.