You know when you have all of these words busting out of you and you have to make a huge effort to put them into some kind of order because you’re so excited? That’s about where I am at the moment. I’ve just got back from Janet Murray’s Soulful PR Live 2017 event in London where we met 8 UK journalists working for mainstream publications. Funnily enough they were not anywhere near as terrifying as nerves prior to the event had led my body to believe. And I expect they were just as surprised to learn that they had been terrifying as I was surprised to learn they were not. Here are some of Janet’s tips from the event on getting PR for your business.

Can you afford advertising?

When you’re running a small business finances are likely to be tight. You probably can’t afford to spend £43,000 for a page in Metro. Or £16,000 for a page in Grazia Magazine. And it’s even less likely you can afford the £51,000 needed for a 30 second spot during the ad breaks in Coronation St. But armed with these tips and a lot of hard work on your part, you can get publicity for your business for free.

What result would you like to achieve from PR?

Before you start your PR journey you need to plan a strategy. The first part of your strategy should be to pinpoint your objectives and articulate what you’d like to achieve. Be specific. Do you want your brand to become better known? Why? Make your end goal absolutely clear.

Research publications and journalists you’d like to reach

Now that you’ve established your objective, think about your target audience and the publications they read. Start with the top few, and research those publications. Let’s say you’re targeting medium businesses, your targets might read Guardian Small Business, Forbes and Entrepreneur. Study those publications and discover what kind of articles they like (features, opinion pieces, listicles?) and what sectors they cover. Then ‘lightly stalk’ the journalists and start to engage with them on Twitter.

Think about your story

No national publication is going to be interested that your business has won an award, that it’s your anniversary or that you have a new product out. You’re going to need to be a bit craftier that that. What subjects are you happy to talk about in your life that might be interesting? If you can talk about something fascinating or life-changing, then plan that pitch. When something happens that can be a peg or hook for your piece, you’ll be ready to pitch it to a journalist.

Lay the groundwork for your pitch

All 8 journalists at the event received at least 30 pitches a day. Some received many more. As you can imagine, a busy journalist is only going to read the most enticing ones.

1st rule: Janet Murray recommends a short pitch title which does exactly what it says on the tin.

2nd rule: keep your pitch short. Keir Mudie from the Sunday Mirror suggests 300-500 words at the most.

3rd rule: Maya Wolfe-Robinson from The Guardian Opinion says you should peg your pitch to a current news story.

4th rule: Anoosh Chakelian from the New Statesman says don’t pitch at the weekend or late at night. So many pitches will come in the early morning that yours will be at the bottom of the pile.

5th rule: Lynn Enright from The Pool suggests you make sure your content is right for the publication you are pitching.

6th rule: Andrea Thompson from Marie Claire says it’s great to include a video or interactive element.

7th rule: Abigail Radnor from Guardian Weekend says research Press Days – Tuesday is the best day to pitch to her department.

8th rule: Catherine Carr from BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour recommends building networks with your local BBC radio stations before trying to pitch to national radio.

9th rule: Adrian Butler from ITV’s Good Morning Britain suggests you get yourself out there on social media as an expert in your field so that you can be easily found.

If you’d like to read more about Soulful PR Live 2017, have a look at Janet Murray’s mega round up post here.

We’ll cover more on pitching in the next blog, and we’d love to hear what steps you’ve taken to get yourself and your business more PR ready. Get in touch!