3 Reliable Lessons for Small Business PR

“Alright, now you try it!” These words either invoke excitement or fear in beginners. The process can seem simple when watching somebody else demonstrate. The real test comes when it’s your turn to give it a go. 

To help with any anxieties you may have about putting your small business PR strategy into motion, I’ve come up with a list of go-to strategies. Embracing change and innovation is key to succeeding in the PR world. But especially when you’re just getting started, these methods will help you build up your confidence. 

Think of this list as a handy toolbox to use when you’re struggling to get the results you want out of your current PR strategy. Like any new skill, it’s always good to practice the basics. 

Pitch ideas that relate to the media’s timing 

Instead of starting from scratch every time you craft a pitch, take a look at the calendar. The media is taking into consideration upcoming holidays, seasonal topics, and breaking news when they plan their stories. 

Doing even a little research on trending topics or scanning headlines can help you make your pitch more relevant. There’s always some way you can add a timely spin to your story angle that will make it that much more appealing to your media contacts.

If you pick an angle that is timely it also forces your media contact to consider your story sooner rather than later. For example, a story about how your business is introducing more green practices might be a more evergreen topic, while linking it to the recent Climate Strikes or Earth Day puts more of an “expiration date” on the story. 

Keep your PR pitches short & concise

Every good journalist knows less is more. When you’re trying to capture someone's attention, it’s best just to get to the point. 

With the rapid pace of modern life, it’s rare people have time to slow down and read lengthy proposals. And in the case of more reporters, they simply don’t have time.

A good reporter also knows that their readers may not make it to the end of their article. This is why they use something called the inverted pyramid to include the most important information in the lede. You may even find the who, what, where, and why all answered in the first paragraph of a breaking news story.

One helpful way to pare down your pitches is to try writing the entire pitch in just one sentence. Figure out which details you want to emphasize and put them towards the top.

You can also try scanning your complete pitch to see which words or fragments stand out. If they don’t include the details you want to come across, it might be worth rewriting.  

Always follow-up after you pitch 

Believe it or not, what often separates pitches that turn into placements from those that sit in inboxes—is a simple follow-up. As mentioned earlier, the world of media is fast-paced. It’s easy for your media contact to miss your pitch the first time around. 

Following up after a few days also shows that you’re responsible and persistent. Just be prepared to rework your pitch or come up with a new one if nobody is responding. 

Most of the responses I get are typically from the follow-up email. So instead of thinking of it as an extra step, always set a reminder for yourself and include a follow-up email as part of your regular PR strategy. 

As you continue to flex your DIY PR muscles, these go-to strategies will become second nature. 

Find more lessons, strategies, and other small business resources in my online shop. 

Rebekah Epstein