Social Media and traditional paid advertising may be great ways to promote products and services, but many business owners forget just how big an impact a news story can have on the growth of their business.

Public Relations is about controlling the narrative around your business, and not only can it carve out your position as an industry expert, it’s also free.

I’ve dealt with many business owners who don’t even know where to start when getting in touch with the media. Those that have been featured in the local news often only appeared there after a post went viral or a big event impacted their business.

What if you could take the first step, create the right content and choose the right topic to get the media talking, though? Below are some of the ways you can start building your public brand and controlling the public narrative around both yourself and your business.


1. Write Press Releases

A press release is a statement written by businesses or organisations and distributed to local journalists. Crafting a press release takes practice, but it’s a great skill to have. Whenever something new happens in your business, whether it’s an award, new product, business milestone or trending topic, you can give your own perspective on it and send it to local journalists.

One of the big benefits of sending out press releases is that journalists don’t need to chase you for comments, photos or information. Instead, a good press release can end up in the media with very little editing. This means journalists are more likely to use a press release, as it cuts down on the time they need to invest in the story. It also means they’re more likely to get the story right and you’ll avoid being misquoted.

A well-written press release involves a newsworthy angle, a short explanation of the details behind it, some quotes from people involved and some relevant photos.


2. Create a Media Kit

The media aren’t the only sector looking to collaborate with people who have something to say. Having a pre-prepared media kit is a quick way to look professional and speed up the process when people ask about collaborations, reviewing products or interviewing you.

A simple summary of your business, a list of your major products and services, your achievements, points of difference and photos should all make an appearance in your media kit. This information can then be used by anyone who wants to talk about your business, making it a great time saver as well as making sure everyone talking about you gets your brand story right.


3. Be a Source

The media needs you just as much as you need them. With tight deadlines and stories across a wide range of topics, journalists are always looking for experts with experience and knowledge in different sectors. Build up connections with local journalists so you’ll be the first name they think of when they need a quote for an industry story.

On a wider scale, resources like Sourcebottle, HARO and Twitter are a great way to have your opinions, comments and products featured in major news outlets nationally and worldwide.


4. Build your Personal Brand

You may go through many businesses in your lifetime, but there’ll only be the one you. It’s important to be known for your own knowledge and experience outside your business, instead of your entire life being interwoven with it.

Although being known for your industry knowledge is a great way to promote your business, your personal brand shouldn’t just be one dimensional. Think about how you can build yourself up as a person who isn’t limited by the skills you use, but instead as a face and name with broader experience and knowledge which may inform other business owners and build relationships.


5. Don’t Be Afraid to Talk About Yourself

To become an expert in your field, it’s important to be able to summarise who you are, what you do and why people should listen to you. Having clear and succinct bios on your Social Media and website About page, practising your in-person pitch and crafting a great email signature are all important ways of doing this.

When you do make an appearance in the media, don’t be afraid to share it. Tell your followers on Social Media and add a link to your website, letting your customers know what media outlets you’ve been featured in. This builds brand trust and credibility.


Go Get the Media Talking!

Journalists always need stories and expert sources, but tight deadlines and limited resources mean they won’t always have the spare time to chase you and wait for a response.  Make it easy for them by sitting down and writing a media plan, figuring out how you can connect with new journalists, or send out press releases each quarter. Plan your media kit. Look for collaborative opportunities and industry trends where you’ve got something to say.

With a little bit of work, you can soon see your name and your business featured in the news once, and then on an ongoing basis as you build up your network.