Dealer Resources

Simple Ways to Use PR For Your Business

Big businesses often hire Public Relations firms (PR firms) to promote their businesses to the various news media outlets. Even without a big “publicity budget,” you can do some PR on your own, and reap the benefits that free publicity can bring:

Call the advertising department of every local newspaper and regional magazine and ask for a copy of their editorial calendar. This is a free listing of all the special topics and sections coming up during the year. It will tip you off to sections where you story ides would be a good fit, so you can contact the editor weeks or even months ahead.

Invite a reporter from your local newspaper or web outlet to lunch or coffee. Instead of asking, “Will you do a story on me?” instead ask, “How can I help you?” Offer yourself as a resource in your area of expertise. Talk about trends you see in your industry.

Build a network of retailers in your area, and agree informally to refer each other to reporters seeking comment, as well as customers with complimentary needs.

Consider starting your own cable access tv show. You could do shows on babies, weddings and occasions, and have guests from complimentary industries like florists, photographers and caterers. In many places the airtime is free–call your cable company for details.

Write how-to articles for newsletters published by groups in your community, or for those read by audiences who buy your products. Be sure the last paragraph tells readers how to contact you.

Don’t forget newspaper and magazine columnists. They’re always hungry for fresh ideas. Keep in touch with them and feed them ideas regularly.

Get on your local TV news and orning TV news feature shows. Tie your products to a breaking news event. Pitch yourself as the local angle to a national story, or suggest a feature story with great visuals.

Write articles for electronic magazines and include a paragraph of information at the end that leads readers to your website.

Contact your trade association and ask them to refer reporters to you. Many reporters who don’t know where to find sources on a particular topic start by calling trade associations.

Always refer to yourself as an “expert” in your marketing materials, at your website, in introductions during public speaking engagements, and in your media kit. The media always seek out experts and interview them.

Pitch stories about yor products that tie in to the weather. Weather stories are mandatory at most media outlets. Newspapers and TV stations, in particular, are always looking for fresh angles that tie in to today’s and tomorrow’s forecast.

Pitch story ideas about your business to the reporters who gover the retail beat for your local business journal.

By Joan Stewart, as it appeared in the Retail Advisory column of Darrah & Co. magazine.