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DIY PR

In the digital age, PR is essential for earning media coverage and boosting your company’s image. However, many PR agencies often carry an overhead cost that isn’t realistic for startups and smaller businesses. If this sounds like a familiar story, it could be time for you to consider doing your own PR. 

In this guide, we want to set you up for success by giving you as much information as possible to help you make an informed decision for your company. If you’ve been struggling to find a PR representative or feel that a PR agency is out of your budget, we’re happy to tell you that with the right approach, you can learn how to do your own PR like a pro!

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about DIY PR, including:

 

Should I Do My Own PR?

In the fast-paced nature of today’s culture, it makes sense that you might want to hire professionals to take the weight of PR off your shoulders. However, there are countless reasons why hiring a PR agency might not be practical for you at this stage in your business. 

If you have a limited PR budget, it’s essential to consider alternative ways of gaining media attention, starting with empowering yourself to take the wheel. 

In this section, we’ll walk you through the pros and cons of doing your own PR vs. hiring a professional so that you can properly consider each option. 

Pros of DIY PR

There are many advantages to DIY public relations, as it grants you the power to control the messaging around your business. When you have more control over the messaging, you can directly engage with media representatives and build more authentic relationships to boost your PR efforts. 

Here are a list of advantages to doing your own PR: 

 

    • Save on Cost.  Agencies can become expensive and don’t always guarantee successful campaigns. 

    • Strategy Flexibility. Doing your own PR allows you to manage and adjust your strategy in real time. 

    • Direct Contact. Some journalists are more open to messaging that comes straight from the business rather than receiving a press release or pitch through a third-party agency. 

In short, handling your own PR can be a smart move for businesses that have time on their hands and are looking to save money.

Cons of DIY PR

As you take in the advantages of doing your own PR, take some time to consider the disadvantages of managing everything on your own. Remember, it’s totally okay if your business requires extra help with your PR campaigns. 

Here is a list of disadvantages to doing your own PR: 

 

    • Time. If you do not have adequate time, you could get in over your head and overload your schedule, scattering PR efforts. 

    • Lack of Experience. You may not have the experience to write compelling press releases or pitches, or to manage an event or campaign alone. 

    • Access to Journalists. Agencies have access to media contacts that may be inaccessible to the general public. 

Recognizing the disadvantages of DIY PR can help you be honest with yourself about the time and skillset you have available to dedicate to public relations. If you need extra help with your efforts, don’t fret – after all, that’s what agencies are for.

How to Do Your Own PR

If you know the risks and find the right approach, managing your own PR can be a smart move for your company. Whether you’re a solo entrepreneur, small business owner, or influencer, DIY PR gives you control over your narrative by allowing you to speak directly on behalf of your company and helps you better connect with your audience. 

If you feel confident that you can handle your own PR, simply follow these steps:

 

    1. Set Your PR Goals

    1. Develop Your PR Strategy

    1. Choose Your PR Channels

    1. Put Your Strategy Into Action

1. Set Your PR Goals

A great PR strategy starts with clear, attainable goals. Think about the message you want to send and who you want the audience to be. Are you preparing for a product launch or hoping to enhance your company’s image? Knowing what you hope to achieve will help you find the best messaging for your campaign and create a PR strategy that directly reflects your business’s needs. As you complete this step, write several SMART goals before heading to the next step. Remember to make your SMART goals specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound for the best results. 

2. Develop Your PR Strategy

Once you’re clear on your goals, it’s time to start developing your PR strategy. Start by researching your target audience; this will help you identify the best messaging to extend your reach. Then, look at the competition, assess what is and isn’t working for them, and find places where your messaging can fill in gaps in the market. 

Once you have a solidified message, decide whether pitching stories to the media, press releases, events, or social media campaigns are the best vehicles for your message. Dedicating time to developing your strategy will help you achieve the goals you set in Step 1. 

3. Choose Your PR Channels

Once you have a solid strategy, it’s time to find the best channel to connect with your audience. If your audience is younger, you might opt for digital channels such as social media, podcasts, and blogs. Alternatively, consider traditional channels such as printed newspapers, radio, and television if your audience is older. If you’re looking to reach a larger, more dynamic audience, using a mix of digital and traditional channels gives you an advantage to extend your reach. 

Once you have selected your PR channels, edit your messaging appropriately. Think about it,- an influencer on social media will have a much quippier script than one you’d put in a news article. Take stock of industry trends and guidelines for each channel, and don’t be afraid to adjust your messaging as needed.

4. Put Your Strategy Into Action

With everything in place, it’s time to put your campaign to the test. Once you know what you hope to achieve and the best methods to get your message into the world, the final step is creating a timeline and pitching your ideas to journalists, getting active on social media, and writing your first press releases. 

As you begin putting your plan into action, keep your finger on the pulse of your engagement and be ready to change your strategy based on what is and isn’t working. Successful PR requires flexibility and diligence, so keep adjusting and working hard until you see results. 

9 Tips & Ideas for DIY PR

As the steps above help you create your first PR campaign, we’re here to equip you with a fully stocked toolbelt to strengthen your DIY PR efforts. Using this list, find small ways to work these tips into your campaign as you see fit. 

Here are 9 tips and ideas to strengthen your DIY PR campaign: 

1. Be a Good Storyteller

Sharpening your storytelling skills will help you in every aspect of your PR endeavors. Whether creating better pitches or press releases, strengthening your company’s story, or writing more engaging content on social media, becoming an engaging storyteller is an invaluable skill for the PR professional. 

If you’re feeling stuck in your storytelling abilities, take local writing courses or ask for professional feedback from trusted individuals within your industry. Learning how to weave in strong narratives will help you better tell your company’s story in a way that authentically engages your customers. Sharpening this skill will also help you create a brand voice for your business that is memorable and hard to copy. 

2. Pinpoint Journalists in Your Industry

You might feel inclined to contact any journalist when you start doing your own PR. However, the best way to get your stories in front of the right audience is to pinpoint journalists specializing in your industry. Doing so will secure the appropriate coverage to position your business as a trusted leader in your industry. 

A good way to connect with journalists in your industry is to check out who competitors are interacting with on social media. Are your competitors following any reporters or media outlets? Do some research and follow the journalists who speak to your business. 

Another great resource for pinpointing journalists is searching for stories similar to yours but where you have a unique insight or edge. This ensures that your pitch can target a journalist with experience writing similar content while allowing them an opportunity to cover a story with a fresh spin. 

Alternatively, you can let our network at Qwoted do the work for you. Our network lets you see when your pitch has been read and when your profile has been viewed. Join today, and let the media come to you with targeted opportunities. 

3. Diversify Your Pitches 

You might want to find a “one-pitch-fits-all” solution when drafting pitches. While this feels safe initially, it can be a huge roadblock in authentically connecting with the media. When pitching a new journalist, personalize your pitch to match their expertise, research the stories they have covered, and express why you want them to cover your business. Doing so will build stronger relationships with those you end up working with. 

Some great ways to connect authentically with journalists are reading their previous work, personalizing the subject line so your pitch doesn’t get flagged as a mass message, and engaging with them on social media. 

4. Rejection is Redirection

When you start sending out pitches, you may get caught off guard by your first rejection. Within PR, know that rejection is completely normal and often redirects you to journalists more aligned with your needs. Hearing “no” is part of the journey and can help you strengthen your PR efforts by using each rejection as a learning opportunity for growth. Remember, your pitch could have been rejected for a number of reasons that aren’t personal, and sometimes rejection all boils down to timing. 

There are many reasons behind rejection; for example, a journalist could have recently covered a story too similar to your pitch, or maybe the journalist is oversaturated and doesn’t have time for new pitches. Don’t let rejection get you down, and use every “no” as a learning experience to strengthen your pitches, adjust your messaging, and seek journalists who are better aligned with your company’s vision. 

5. Get Social on Social 

The core of PR success revolves around connection. An active social media presence is a huge resource for connecting with customers, journalists, and others in your industry. 

Leveraging social media in your DIY PR strategy helps you build more meaningful connections with your audience, building your trust and credibility. Social media is a great way to use a more personalized voice for your company that positively represents your business. Staying consistent on social media and creating a content strategy position you as a reliable source that offers information while creating authentic engagement. Building a digital community can powerfully enhance your company’s reputation, strengthening your PR efforts. 

6. Include Visuals with Your Pitch 

Studies have shown that press releases with photos generated 94% more views. Incorporating visuals to showcase your services and products will better connect journalists with the story you are pitching. Consider what visuals can support your vision when pitching a story. High-quality images can give you a leg up on the competition and be the resource that sparks creative inspiration in journalists.  

Think through what visuals you can offer and use your own photos to give your pitches a personalized edge. Planning out visuals as part of your process will help strengthen your company’s image and help customers and journalists better understand your vision. 

8. Use PR Tools like Qwoted

Qwoted offers free accounts for experts without PR representation who want to secure press coverage for themselves or their businesses. Our platform is a wonderful way to connect with a global network of journalists and build authentic relationships with the media. This is a great resource to get featured in the press without paying for an agency. Create a free profile today and receive media requests in real time! 

9. Ask for Customer Feedback 

Feedback gives your company valuable insights into customer satisfaction. By asking for feedback, you can see the strengths and weaknesses in your products and services. Incentivize testimonials by offering a promotional code for their next purchase or ask those who have had good experiences with your business to leave a review sharing their story. 

When you get feedback, convert it into testimonials to share on social media to attract new customers. People who see glowing reviews are more likely to support your business over the competition. 

Conclusion

At the end of the day, only you can decide if handling your own PR or hiring an agency or freelancer is best for your business. If you’re feeling ready to become a PR master, revisit this guide as needed to refresh your knowledge of the steps you need to take to ensure you’re successful in your endeavors. For greater confidence on this new journey, keep our tips in your back pocket and leverage them to your advantage.

With these resources in your toolbelt, you can take control of your business’s narrative and create a PR campaign that works for you without breaking the bank. 

Ready to get started? Make a free account on Qwoted today and draft your first pitches!