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How to get great press on a small budget

By Corinne Card, co-founder of Full Story Media and Coverage Class

Big businesses pay thousands of pounds to PR companies to get them great press. But start-ups and SMEs need the boost publicity can give just as much, and are sometimes more deserving of attention. Here are four steps to getting the press your business deserves, without the need for a big PR budget.

Invest in great imagery

OK, this is supposed to be a list of ways to get press without a big budget. But even as a start-up, you would be wise to invest in a set of professionally taken photos, both of yourself and of your product. 

The cost will be around £250, but you’ll find the resulting set of pictures are an invaluable, long-term asset. You can use them in so many places: on your website and social media channels, on printed credentials and slide decks and, most importantly for this feature, they’ll help you get excellent press. High-quality photos mean journalists can allocate more space for your article, meaning more coverage for your business for years to come.

Learn to write a decent press release

Many people, including some professional PRs, send out articles that could never be used by the press. If you want a chance of being published by authoritative media, you need to study and learn how news stories work. 

There needs to be a good headline that’s relevant to the readership. The story needs to be written in the third person. You’ll also want to include a quote, or quotes, from the business owner: you! This might feel strange, but it’s how the article will be published, so save the journalist a job. 

Finally, include a link to your site and some kind of editorial justification for journalists to leave it in – for example a discount for readers or an upcoming event. This will bring customers but also help your site to rank in Google.

Find reader angles

Another key to getting good press is to consider which readers might be interested in your story. As a start-up or small business, your story might simply be that you’ve launched, but already there will be a range of interested parties. People in your area may be interested to know of a new business launching near them, so include local papers and radio channels on your list. You might also be able to find business titles local to you, or relevant to your industry. 

Finally, don’t forget the people who educated you. Universities and colleges love to hear about successful alumni, and their sites are authoritative and a great place to be published. Tweak your release so it’s relevant to each readership, and send it along with a high quality photo or two.

Keep going

Once you’ve got the hang of PR with your launch story, keep thinking of what those same audiences might like to know next. Perhaps there are exciting things happening with your company and its members. Maybe a celebrity tried your product and gave amazing feedback, or an employee or customer did something newsworthy or went viral on social media. 

Maybe you can start to create stories, by carrying out surveys or preparing infographics which are useful and relevant to your market. Each time, keep thinking of new audiences that could be interested – with a great story your business could gain national press attention.