How to Overcome the Scariest Parts of Small Business PR

It’s Halloween. Spiders, witches, and jack-o'-lanterns can be found lurking around office desks and window displays. But I know what’s really giving you a fright—those fears surrounding your first PR pitch! 

I understand that as a small business owner, your business is your baby. It feels precious and requires lots of nurturing. It can be scary to think about leaving its reputation to the hands of a media outlet. 

You might also have anxiety about the timing of your exposure. Is your business ready to get public attention? Here are a few tips I always tell my small business clients when they bring up these very valid concerns. 

Reframe your attitude towards feedback 

Especially in the business realm, feedback can get a pretty bad rap. It’s often thought to be synonymous with critique, negativity, and conflict. When in reality, you should be craving feedback in order to grow a healthy business. 

Putting your business in the public eye through a media placement is one of the best ways to start a conversation with your audience. Nobody is asking you to do stand-up comedy or perform a Shakespeare ballad, you are simply sharing the story of your business. The likelihood that the majority of the feedback you will get will be positive is very high. 

Use the feedback you get to build an even better business and don’t take responses from “haters” to heart. Putting yourself out there always comes with a risk. So instead, focus on the nice things your supporters are saying! 

Let go of the narrative and hope for the best

The one price you pay for earned media is that you don’t have direct control of how the story will be told. It’s highly unlikely a news outlet is going to go out of their way to make your brand look bad, but it’s always a risk you take with PR. 

In my experience, if the outlet doesn’t like your brand, they end up not writing about it. When you craft your pitch, you’re putting your best foot forward by putting your business in a good light. They still have the freedom to find any skeletons in your closet or controversial issues your company has faced. 

The smartest thing you can do as your own publicist is take the most likely possibilities into consideration and assess if the risk is worth it. In most cases, it certainly is. People appreciate small businesses and want to support what you’re working towards. 

Even if you don’t hear back, just keep pitching

One of the most terrifying sounds in the world of PR is absolute silence. You’ve put in the time and effort to form an appealing pitch and send it out to media outlets in your target market. 

Days, weeks, and months go by with no reply. Don’t take this as a sign that you should stop promoting your services. It’s just not your time yet. Have patience and remind yourself that a media placement will happen eventually. 

Oprah was fired from her first on-air job and Steven Spielberg was rejected twice from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. I’m confident you can handle a few obstacles on your way to success. 

Just stay confident in the story you’re telling and the product or service you’re offering the world. You’re braver than you think you are! When in doubt, remember why you became an entrepreneur in the first place. 

Rebekah Epstein