How to do your own PR for your business

Halima Khatun

PR for your business

So you’ve got a great product or service, and now you need PR to promote it to a wider audience to make people aware of what you do, and gain those crucial clients.

So what are your options?

Well, there are a wealth of tools available through social media, whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest.  All these platforms are free and well used, however you’re competing with hundreds – if not thousands – of similar businesses pumping out similar messages on these sites.

There is of course the option of paid advertising in your local media.  This is ideal as it would guarantee you coverage, and the advert can be written in your words.  However, advertising, which is often an expensive route, is less credible as the reader knows it’s a paid placement – essentially, you’ve bought the positive words they are reading.

For a business like yours, it is much better if you gain column inches with credibility, and that is where PR comes in. PR, or public relations, is the practice of working with the press and media to raise awareness or influence public opinion of a particular person, organisation, issue or event.

So essentially, it’s getting a good story about your business featured in a publication or news outlet your audience will read.  With good PR, you shouldn’t have to pay for the feature, the merit of the story should secure its place.

How do you actually do PR?

However, for many businesses, PR is a scary word.  The thought of calling up a journalist about a story fills them with dread.  And many business owners simply don’t know what kind of stories will interest the media, and if they have anything to offer that’s newsworthy.  There is of course, the option of hiring a PR consultant.  I offer consultancy which offers a guaranteed ROI that outweighs your spend.  However, for many small businesses, budget is the issue.  And that’s where being empowered to do it yourself is an ideal route.

I’ve been working in PR and journalism for over a decade.  And in this time I’ve pitched stories to the national press, the regionals, online publications and the broadcast media.

Crucially, I’ve also provided media relations training to business owners, and junior PR executives.  It is during these training sessions that I realised that textbooks mistakes were being made again and again when it came to engaging the media.  Simple faux pas such as pitching to the wrong outlet, not fulfilling interview requests or chasing for coverage meant businesses got off on the wrong foot with the press, resulting in their stories being ignored.

When working with start-ups and small business, common issues come up.  One start-up said they’ve rang dozens of journalists, but none give them, their business, or their story, the time of day.

The irony is, having worked in the media with strong connections in the press, many of my journalist contacts have divulged their biggest bugbears over the years.  They’re the kind of things you wouldn’t necessarily think about, unless you were in their inundated, overworked, shoes.

Let me help you

And that’s where I come in.  My job is to bridge that gap in understanding between journalists and businesses, find the best stories a company has to offer, and pitch it in a way that a journalist will want to read it. This has worked well for my clients, who are mainly medium sized businesses and corporates.  But I wanted to do something to help support businesses just like yours, and demystify PR, which is often seen as a dark art.

You see, there is a bit of an art to engaging the media, and I’d like to help you learn it.

For 2016, I’m offering small businesses 1:1 PR masterclasses, where you can learn the following:

  • How to find a newsworthy story and angle within your business
  • How to find, approach and use case studies in the media to showcase your business
  • What to expect from PR. What good PR looks like (particularly useful if you’re looking to outsource your PR to an agency/freelancer, but don’t know where to start)
  • In the mind of a journalist, what works for them, how to write in their language
  • The different ways of approaching a journalist – press releases/email pitches/phone pitch
  • How to get that pitch right
  • How to simplify your story for the press and public

This in-depth, intensive masterclass sessions should leave you with the ideas, understanding and confidence to be able to get in touch with the media and pitch your story. The sessions doesn’t come with any strings.  You’re not locked into a three month retainer, instead you can leave the masterclass empowered with the skills and insight to make PR work for your business. If you’re interested in a PR masterclass, please drop me an emails on halima@hkcommunications.co.uk.

For more information click here HK Communications

     

About Halima Khatun: Halima Khatun2

Halima Khatun is a London-based PR consultant with nearly ten years’ experience in consumer and B2B PR and communications, with a background in broadcast journalism (ITV and BBC).

Halima has worked for Bell Pottinger North, part of the largest PR group in the country, as well as providing PR consultancy for the UK’s leading private healthcare and social care providers respectively. She has also lead the communications and marketing function at an international NGO.  Amongst these big corporates and brand names, Halima has also worked with some brilliant SMEs and start-ups, helping them build their reputation at grass-roots level.

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