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Tip #16: Getting in your Local Press, our Advice on Public Relations

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What is Public Relations?

What exactly is public relations? Well, basically it means getting your business in magazines and newspapers editorially, as opposed to paying for adverts.

For most sole traders and small business’, the key place to do this is your local press and related websites where potential customers are most likely to read your news.

There are also opportunities in the building services trade press, which can be useful if you’re trying to attract the attention of other businesses in your sector.

Why is PR Important?

It’s a way of getting your businesses message out there that’s not direct selling, so some people view it as more credible and potentially interesting for the reader.

What makes a Newsworthy Story?

As mentioned, direct selling is not PR. Newsworthy stories might be:

  • Charity work – if you as an individual or your business does something good for charity that’s reasonably impressive, and/or engages the community in some way (climbing Everest, or working with a local school, for example).
  • Expansion – significant expansion, particularly if it means you’ll be creating more jobs in the area. Official openings might be attended by the press.
  • Case studies – impressive buildings, eco projects and anything that’s unusual. Case studies are usually most relevant to the trade press, but can be of interest to local media if it’s a building of significance to an area.
  • New staff – mainly of interest to the trade press, particularly for larger companies.
  • Personal achievement – overcoming adversity, or a significant career change to achieve your goals.

What’s most important is pictures. Without a good image, the press is unlikely to use a story.

How do I get in the Press?

Pretty much all magazines and newspapers have a website where you’ll find a list of contacts.

Local newspapers might have several contacts – sports, business and charity reporters, for example.

Send your idea/brief overview of your story to the relevant reporter and the editor, with some pictures.

If you’re a confident writer, you could put some suggested words together – most of the time the local press will do this for you.

If something’s time sensitive, make sure they have enough warning before the event.

While there might not be loads of PR opportunities for your business, a good one can have a very positive effect on brand recognition and attracting potential customers.

People may be more confident to employ someone they’ve seen positively represented in a magazine or newspaper they trust.

There’s no harm in trying, so if you’ve got something worth shouting about, have a go!

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