How to Do Your Own Small Business PR

small business pressA fantastic way to develop brand awareness for your small business is to be featured in the press. Whether you are local or national, featuring in newspapers, on radio or on television can have enormous benefits. This is so important that many businesses employ PR agencies to assist them in the process. However, this can be very expensive. However, it is possible to do your own small business PR.

Here is an except from an informative article written by Janet Murray titled ‘How to get press coverage for your small business’ from


Decide who you want to reach

Press coverage may be free, but your time isn’t, so be clear about why you want media exposure and how it will help your business. You might want to generate new leads, attract investment, recruit new talent – or something else entirely. The reason isn’t important. What matters is that you have one.

Find out what they read, watch and listen to

Once you’re clear on your objective, think about who you want to reach and find out what they read, watch and listen to.

It pays to be specific; if your aim is to ‘get more clients’, you’ll struggle to identify suitable publications or programmes. A more specific target audience like ‘working mums with jobs in the financial sector’ will make it much easier to decide which publications or programmes you should be targeting.

If you’re wondering how to find out what the people you want to reach read, watch and listen to … just ask. Creating an online survey or questionnaire using a tool like Survey Monkey can take minutes and a small sample of people (between 10 and 50 is ideal) who fit your target audience can provide you with enough information to create a shortlist of target publications.

Leave your ego at the door

You may like the idea of coverage in the Sunday Times, but if your ideal customer reads the Sun, you could be wasting your time.

And don’t assume national coverage is better than being featured in the regional or trade press. If you’re looking to target people in a specific area or industry, placing a story in a local newspaper or industry title might be far more effective than a double page spread in the Daily Express.

Gather contact details for relevant journalists and editors

Many publications list contact details for journalists and email addresses are sometimes included. If they’re not, you can usually work out the email format by looking at addresses that are listed (advertising sales contacts usually are).

Radio and TV producers and researchers can be harder to track down, but social networks like Twitter and LinkedIn can be useful.

If it doubt, just ring up and ask. And don’t take it personally if people are a bit short on the phone, as newsrooms are busy places.

Steer clear of generic email addresses, (e.g. news@ or features@) as in many cases these are not checked regularly. Make it your mission to get the name and email address of the person who will make the decision about whether to use your story or not.

Target your publications and programmes – and carry out research to do so

Most journalists receive hundreds of press releases and email pitches each week. Few have time to read them all (in fact, many get deleted, unopened) so the closer your idea is to their ideal story, the more likely you’ll be to get their attention.

Most press releases and email pitches fail because the sender hasn’t bothered to read the publication they are pitching to (or watch in the case of radio and TV). Start by researching the kind of stories that have been covered – ideally over a number of weeks or months – and you’ll have a much better chance of success.

When you’re gathering contacts for your target publications, it’s a good idea to find out about lead times (the period of time between an editor or producer commissioning an article and it being published or broadcast) which are generally longer than you think. Consumer magazines can work up to six months ahead, for example, and call a newspaper at 3pm with an idea for the following day and (unless you’ve got the scoop of the century) you’ll have missed your chance.

Write an email pitch or press release

Local newspapers are often short-staffed, so a well-written press release, with all the relevant information may be printed with very few changes. There are plenty of examples of press releases on the web. If you’re not confident in your writing skills, consider outsourcing the job to a freelance writer. Most freelancers have websites. Look for someone with a background in journalism as they will also be able to give you feedback on whether your story will grab.

If you’re pitching to an industry, consumer or national publication, a few paragraphs outlining your idea in an email is often enough. An email header that includes the phrase ‘story idea’ and a compelling one-liner that describes your story is more likely to get a journalist’s attention.

It’s fine to pitch ideas over the phone too. Just avoid obviously busy times (like deadline day on a newspaper or just before the news bulletin on a radio programme) and have an email pitch or press release to send if you’re asked – most journalists will.

And don’t write ‘on spec’ articles, as these rarely get published.

Be prepared to follow up

If a journalist is interested in your story, they will generally get back to you within a day or so. But in a busy newsroom, stories can get missed, so don’t be afraid to chase up pitches or press releases by phone or email. If you’ve chased a few times and you’re not getting anywhere, it’s probably safe to assume the journalist is not interested and offer it elsewhere.

It’s fine to offer the same story to different programmes or publications – as long as you’re upfront about what you’re doing. Bear in mind that there can be rivalry between different publications – and even on different sections of the same newspaper, magazine or programme. While it’s tempting to go after as much press coverage as possible, if a journalist who wants to cover your story sees it somewhere else, particularly before theirs is due to run, they won’t be very happy with you. And it’s never worth risking long-term relationships for short-term gains.

Be realistic in your expectations

I’ll be brutally honest. Securing press coverage – particularly at a national level – isn’t easy. Building a media profile can take months or even years, so don’t be disappointed if you’re not an overnight success. Some journalists will ignore your press releases and pitches completely. Others will knock back your ideas over and over again. But if you’re persistent, consistent, willing to learn from your mistakes (and you will make them), you will get results.


If you visit the original article you will also be invited to join the Guardian Small Business Network. You can register for free and it has lots of benefits. But in the meantime, reflect on the above article and think about how you can get press coverage for your business.

Managing A Small Business

Managing a small businessManaging a small business is a headache and a challenge even at the best of times. Conceptually, it is very easy to explain yet difficult to execute your theories correctly in practice. It is quite important for one to know how to manage a small business, especially if your aim is to start and run the enterprise successfully. It is also hard for a venture to succeed without proper guidance. Employees, money, and time have to be managed efficiently and effectively for the business operations to run smoothly.

On the other hand, a well drafted and carefully planned business strategy helps a great deal in the overall management of a small business. The business plan helps one to understand all the aspects of that particular business and steps involved in their operations.

Tips on How to Manage a Small Business:

· Financial Management

When managing a small business it is essential to administer the finances wisely since it is a determining factor that highly influences the success of your enterprise. Cash flow forecasts are handy tools if done accurately, to ensure that cash is always available whenever it is required and determine the amount of money needed at a given time. Good management will ensure that loans applied for are only as much as can be repaid, as early as possible. Proper bookkeeping and maintaining records of all transactions in an organized manner will help improve fiscal management. Having the plan to reinvest profits earned in assets and so forth, will be a good sign of good management.

In addition, making use of finance related software lessen the energy and time spent in managing and accounting for the business funds. Make sure that all the taxes returns are filed on time and opt for a sound insurance plan for the enterprise since it offers security to the business and you are assured that the venture will continue whatever the case.

· Human Resource Management

Managing employees in a business is necessary since you are in a position to ensure that they perform the duties and responsibilities given to them as well as ensuring that they are motivated, happy and satisfied with working conditions. Assigning the right person to the right job as well as the proper delegation of responsibility is yet another aspect, which should be taken into consideration when managing your personnel. Periodic checks have to be carried out to test their performance as well as ensuring that they are well behaved and that they create a good impression and reputation when they interact with clients.

· Marketing and Sales Management

Sales and marketing are aspects of a business that require proper management. Suitable strategies need to be implemented to improve sales as well as ensuring that targets are achieved. Maintaining excellent relationship with your dealers and suppliers is also essential. Effective planning warrants that the enterprise is well equipped to handle any situation. Always have a ready plan for the course of action to be taken if the sales targets set are not achieved.

Employ proper and appropriate advertising strategies such as the use of online and e-mail marketing besides other marketing plans. This helps you to promote your services and product as well as creating business awareness.

To wrap up, these are just a few tips on managing a small business. When all aspects of a company are well managed and well-coordinated, the business will function smoothly ensuring that it will succeed. Some firms offer services as well as products that will help run and manage a business efficiently. For more information on picking the right advisers, click here.

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