Blog & Company News

Nov 4, 2010

How to Be Your Own Public Relations Firm: Part One

I would guess that most of you don’t have marketing or public relations budgets that parallel those of Starbucks, Google, or Apple. If you do, please ignore what I’m about to say and call your big-city public relations firm to set up your next campaign brainstorm session. For those of you who don’t, you’re not alone. You can still invest quality time into your own PR efforts. It’s a do-it-yourself world these days, especially because people are operating on leaner budgets. Many free tools exist to help you step up your efforts. I’m happy to share whatever I can with you, but I will do so in increments—otherwise, this entry could become quite long. I’ll start with Peter Shankman. A few years ago, Shankman launched a free service called Help a Reporter Out, which, according to the website, now has more than 100,000 sources and more than 29,000 journalists. Shankman deploys a newsletter that pairs journalists with sources (usually PR/communications folks and business owners). The idea is that reporters, producers, freelance writers, magazine editors, and bloggers send Shankman queries in search of sources who match their queries. The reporters’ timetables can range from, “I need this ASAP for a story I’m turning in for tomorrow’s edition,” to, “I’m looking for someone to be included in next month’s issue.” Although a lot of queries are posted, there is also a lot of competition to answer the queries—so the faster you respond, the better. Before you start pitching reporters about your business, read, “The Five Rules of HARO.” Also, go to this link for some pitching tips. I don’t recommend jumping into the pitching pool until you’ve done your research, because you may end up here. You don’t want that. One of my favorite things about HARO is that it gives you access to what’s coming down the pike in your industry. Many times, I get an idea for a pitch based on something I see in the HARO email. Let me know in the comments section if you like this series. If you do, I’ll continue to post PR nuggets for the taking. Also, let me know if you have a particular PR issue you’d like to see addressed.