So what actually is PR? As a PR consultant and coach, I am asked this a lot! PR is simply how you communicate with the public or the media. It’s all about engaging communication with an aim to maintain a positive image, uphold your key messages and create a strong relationship with your audience.

PR is used in businesses of all sizes, no matter what the size of your team or turnover is. Businesses with a capped marketing budget or small businesses with no spare money for advertising can hugely benefit from PR and, used correctly, will explode you profile and your business income.

The age old saying ‘people buy people’, is relevant for PR as well as sales. In essence, PR is selling you the person to your potential customers through sharing your own personal stories, your business journey or even advice for your audience.

Show the person behind the business and your audience will really relate to you, start to trust you and therefore more likely to buy from you.

Did you know that PR was recently proven to be 90% more effective than advertising?

It could easily cost you a few thousand pounds or more to advertise in a magazine. It could cost you absolutely nothing to have your article published in that very same magazine. And this is why PR can be more effective than advertising.

Of course there’s a time and place for advertising and I’m not saying it isn’t something anyone should consider. BUT there are many more ways we can get our message in front of our audience.

Think about it… as a potential customer would you be swayed to visit someone’s website from an ad you flicked past in a magazine? Or would you be more swayed to immediately buy because you read an article that shared expertise and really solved a huge problem that had been bugging you for months. I know which would make me more likely to buy!

You may also find ‘3 things to do before embarking on your own PR’ helpful to read too.

Let’s do this!

The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to PR

Discover the secrets to raising your business profile from crafting email pitches that wow editors to positioning yourself as an expert in your industry. This guide has everything you need to get start managing the PR for your business like a pro.

Here’s what you will find in the guide:

  • how to become a thought leader in your field
  • ways to research opportunities to feature in the media
  • how to shape your story
  • clearing the fear of visibility
  • how to reach out to the media
  • how to pitch your ideas (and get a tonne of media coverage from it)
  • ways to follow up and connect with journalists

Part 1: Become a thought leader in your field 

To become a go-to person in your field, you need to consider commenting on news stories and industry issues. It’s an exciting opportunity to put your opinion into the world for your audience to see. Journalists will always be writing about topics relating to or directly effecting your industry or services and when they do, you can become the person they want to talk to.

When you stop following everyone else’s opinions and voice your own, this is when you become a thought leader.

Here’s a few ideas to get you started…

What is a thought leader?

Why you should consider positioning yourself as an expert

3 simple steps to becoming an expert in anything

20 ways to become the ‘go-to’ expert in your field

60 ways to increase influence online

Part 2: How to research opportunities in the media

Prior to researching anywhere it’s a good idea to come up with a wish list of publications, podcasts, TV shows basically anywhere you’d love to be published. It’s a wish list so anything goes. A private Pinterest board can be really inspiring to see all the logos together in one place.

There will absolutely come a point when you can become less proactive in sourcing these opportunities. Once you start establishing yourself as an expert the media will start to find you!

Here’s how to easily research what the media are looking for…

Monitor what your audience (and peers) are saying with Twitter lists

Make Google Alerts your own personal research assistant

50 PR ideas for your small business

21 ways to find speaking opportunities

Part 3: How to shape your story or idea

Whether you have a breaking news story, a story from your business journey or an idea for an article, you need an ‘angle’ or a ‘hook’. This means you need a real reason for the media to publish you.

What are the readers are going to get from reading or listening to you? How does it benefit the media outlet? For news stories there are 5 values the media rely on to decide if a story is newsworthy; human interest, relevance, timeliness, conflict and controversy, and location.

Remember, PR is about giving value sharing advice and stories, not just talking about your latest product.

Start shaping your story with these creative ideas to find your angle…

The viral power of storytelling

How to find what is newsworthy in your business

What’s your angle?

6 tips to tell your business story like a TED pro

How to write a press release that gets you in front of journalists

5 tips for great PR story angles

Part 4: Clear your fear of visibility

When we put ourselves out there into the world it can easily be daunting and bring up a lot of fear. What if people don’t like us? What if people think we don’t know what we’re talking about? What if people think we’re a fraud?

If you feel like a fraud or that you’re not an expert yet, you are not alone. Self-doubt and ‘Imposter Syndrome’ are extremely common and effect most people at some stage in their career. Dismissing positive feedback can happen without realising you are doing it.

One way to combat the mental block around becoming more visible is to write the worst case scenario down. What’s the worst that could happen from sending that email pitch to an editor? That they won’t reply. When you see it written down, it won’t look as scary.

Here’s ways to recognise any blocks you have around becoming more visible and how to break through them…

Pitch yourself in the face of fear

Imposter syndrome: why do so many women feel like frauds?

8 practical steps to getting over your imposter syndrome

How to become confident putting yourself ‘out there’

Part 5: How to reach out & put yourself in front of the media

Media coverage is an invaluable way to raise your profile and get you in front of new customers as well as engaging with your current clientele or shareholders. By putting a little thought in and being proactive you can start to reach out to editors, journalists, basically anyone with influence that writes about your industry in the media.

Here’s how to start getting noticed and building relationships with the media…

The 10 commandments of media outreach

Tips for a media outreach strategy that sings

How to target local and national media

4 powerful social media outreach tactics

How to be your own PR machine

Part 6: Pitch like a pro

Editors, journalists, producers, everyone involved in the media receive tens, hundreds, even thousands of emails each week from people trying to get media coverage out of them. Most of these will go unread or ignored. Writing a dull subject line or not addressing the email to an actual person are the easiest ways for the recipient to press delete, before they even read what you had to say.

Before reaching out, ensure you’ve done your research, tailored your pitch to the right person and absolutely know that your idea is perfect for the media outlet and their audience.

Here are the tried-and-tested secrets to getting your pitch read and your idea published from the pro’s…

How to pitch your ideas to the media (and cheat sheet)

8 no-fail strategies for pitching to the press

Advice from 10 news organisations to help you tailor your story pitches

Pitch Perfect: 4 steps to capture the media’s attention

How journalists want you to pitch your story

Breathe life into your public relations story and make your pitch extraordinary

Part 7: Following up 

Follow up emails require the same level of thought as your initial pitch. First consider your overall objective of the email. Is it to get a meeting with the recipient? Is it for them to print your news story? Having an objective allows you to craft an effective follow up email.

The basic principles of a follow up email for your media pitching is the same format as a sales lead follow up or even after a job application. We need to keep things brief, get to the point and not waste the recipients time.

Check out these creative ways to increase your chances of a response to your follow up… 

The delicate and necessary art of the follow-up

5 golden rules of following up with journalists

4 pitching hacks: a cheat sheet for PR follow-up calls

The ultimate guide on how to write a follow up email