One of the most challenging things for a small business to obtain is, with great irony, often described as being “free” — as in, “free publicity.” But such publicity can cost a lot of time and creativity and hard work. (Thus, the more enlightened marketer calls it “earned,” not free or paid.) Traditionally, the work of someone who helps raise the visibility of a business or product is a public relations expert. Big companies and their experts know that getting covered by the news media adds credibility, recognition and brand reinforcement to a business of any size. But I think that’s especially true for a small business. These days, it is even harder to get covered by the news media. Why? There are fewer and fewer full-time reporters or producers working at traditional media companies. That’s because there are fewer listeners, readers or watchers of those channels. (I blame those new-media online sources like

Some public relations tips from the experts

Recently, Anna Issac, writing for the Telegraph, asked several public relations experts for their tips to small businesses who hope to gain recognition in their targeted media (be it, hometown or the industry in which they work).

“The reality is that you have about four lines to pique their interest, and if you spend that time not getting to the point of your story, you will have lost them…Don’t force a story to tie in with a national or global event – it almost always sounds as if it has been.”

(Shauna McCarthy, Edelman)

“Translating your drive, energy and confidence in a written press release can be hard. Keep it simple, refreshing and to the point. If you get this right, journalists will write and readers will engage with you and talk about you….Stay away from unrealistic clichés such as ‘groundbreaking’ or ‘world’s first’. Save them for the cure for cancer.”

(Jenny Tod, Marlin PR)

“It also helps to begin your approach by following journalists on Twitter, to get a sense of what interests them, then start talking to them about it. And be persistent; building relationships with journalists can take months, or even years.”

(Zoe Amar, Zoe Amar Communications)

For more tips, see: the Telegraph”PR tips for small businesses”

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