For many small businesses, getting great press coverage can help product and brand awareness. And with the holiday season upon us, a few PR hits can give your sales a nice lift now and into the future.
I’ve been able to get great press for my business the last two years (The TODAY Show (twice), CNET.com, The Wall Street Journal, and Martha Stewart, to name a few) and I’d like to share four tips you can use this holiday season and beyond to help get PR for your small business.
1. Leverage websites that connect media and sources
An easy and effective way to get PR for your small business is by using websites that specialize in connecting potential sources for articles with the journalists and bloggers who write them.
I’ve had success with Just Reach Out (JRO), a site where you can do a keyword search and it will give you a list of people who have written about those keywords, along with profile information about the writer (Twitter, email, etc.), so you can contact them. JRO also recommends email templates, which is a big help.
You can use JRO search to see who is writing about your competitors, or your business category. Be creative.
JRO gives you a few of these queries for free before you have to pay a $65 monthly subscription. I’ve easily gotten more than $50,000 in sales from a couple of my big PR hits, so $65 is a small investment to make for potentially large returns. (And JRO’s founder, Dmitry, is super-responsive and helpful; tell him I sent you, if you give JRO a try.)
Other popular online resources that connect sources and journalists include:
- ProfNet — This resource from PR Newswire enables you to sign up as an expert and set up preferences to receive media leads.
- Muck Rack — This robust tool lets you search for relevant journalists and bloggers to pitch, receive email alerts when journalists tweet or link to articles matching your search terms, and more.
2. Send cold emails
Knowing how to send cold emails is important because reporters and high-profile bloggers do not want to be pitched via telephone.
I wrote a cold email that got my company featured on the popular tech blog, CNET.com. I love these tips the CNET writer put on his personal blog about the mistakes people make when pitching him via email:
- They don’t tell him what the product actually is.
- They don’t include a link.
- They get his name wrong.
- They use poor grammar.
- They don’t know his audience.
Keep your pitch short, follow these tips, and you have a shot at getting results from cold emails.
3. Use your network
This one can work wonders, too! I used LinkedIn to get a warm introduction, which ultimately led to not one, but two great write-ups for my company on MarthaStewart.com.
I also like using Facebook groups to build relationships with other interesting people.
I am a contributor for a popular website, which has a wonderful Facebook group filled with incredible professional writers and bloggers who have tons of reach with my target consumer. A few weeks ago I posted in the group that if anyone was doing a holiday gift guide, I’d like my company to be considered for inclusion. I already have about five great writers/bloggers doing a product review for the holidays and/or including my company in their holiday gift guides.
There’s a key to making this approach work, however, as my buddy, Mario Armstrong, taught me:
You have to have your community in place before you need it.
So, make sure you’re building networks, engaging with others, and helping people before you need to make an ask of them.
4. Make the most of affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing can work, if you work it. I’ve used ShareASale for a few years and have had success. Some affiliates will write blog posts about your product, and it was because of an affiliate blog post — which a producer found while on the hunt for new products — that my company ended up with a terrific feature on the DIY Network. Not only did that feature drive sales last year, it has re-aired several times, and will re-air twice in the next month.
Every time it re-airs, I get sales.
I also recently sent an update to my list of 90 affiliates with a message about an increase in commissions for the holidays, and I’ve gotten a few sales already because of it.
There you have it — four proven ways entrepreneurs can hustle for PR to help cut through all the marketing clutter consumers receive, and hopefully build your brand and drive sales.
Good luck out there!