Business development 7 March 2016

Flat-pack PR: Five things to consider if you’re doing it yourself

DIY public relations
DIY public relations could benefit your business more than you realise

We’re a nation of DIYers, and I’m not just talking about the occasional Saturday trip to B&Q. Just last week, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) announced that there are now 4.66m people in the UK that are self-employed, representing 15 per cent of the total workforce.

To add to that, Cambridge Satchel Owner Julie Deane announced her support for the army of small business owners, driving sales from their kitchen table. But, from my experience, many British small business owners haven’t yet wised up to the notion of DIY public relations, even though it could benefit them immensely.

As a previous small business owner myself, I understand it’s hard. Fulfilling orders, sourcing manufacturing and even tweeting your latest product line are all firm priorities and PR just doesn’t seem to get a look in. But if there’s one thing we know, PR is the marketing Goliath ­– tackle this giant and you’ll be the strongest player in town. Here’s a few starting points to get you thinking.

Share your story

 You may have started your business for a bit of extra cash, but we both know you’re more passionate than that. Maybe you were bored of the 9-5, maybe you had a life changing trip or maybe you saw a prime gap in the market. Tell us how it all started.

Have your visuals at the ready

Make sure you’ve got some nice photos that show, not only the benefits of your product or service, but your personality and passion as a business owner. Most journalists will want to include images like these alongside your article, and why give this up for a boring stock photo?

Research the news agenda

We like to call this the PR “golden triangle”, matching your story with a date and a publication. If you keep an eye on key news dates in your industry and generate content around them, you’re guaranteed to get coverage. To get started, look out for key dates in central government, national holidays and events and get then in your calendar now before it’s too late.

Write a headline to remember

Make sure you spend at least 20 per cent of the time it took to write your press release, focusing on an attention grabbing headline. Whether you write it first, last or in the middle, this is the first thing a journalist will read so make it snappy.

Don’t forget to format

If your press release looks like a press release, then a journalist will take it a lot more seriously than they would an informal blog post format. You can find great templates online, but the key thing is to make sure you include contact details, dates and other relevant information which may affect the subject of the release.

Emily Jane Brown is head of partnerships at JournoLink, which provides an online PR toolkit to small businesses.

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