A DIY Guide to Becoming a PR Expert

See also: Customer Service Skills

What if I told you that this was the year that you let people know about your business? Sounds exciting, right?

Apart from advertising, another way of spreading the word about your business is through Public Relations. It is much cheaper and more authentic.

But, advertising and PR seem so similar right? No, they are entirely different.

What is Advertising?

Advertising is nothing but creating paid announcements that are promoted through various channels including TV, radio, and the internet.

What is PR?

PR is a form of strategic communication that helps to build a beneficial relationship between the company and the public.

PR is a great way of connecting with people as they are more likely to believe the facts in an article than via paid advertisements.

But, for most small and developing companies, budget is a significant constraint and they can't afford to hire a PR manager. You have managed to run a business for so long, so why don’t you be your company's own PR manager too?

You don’t have to be an expert to get attention and you will have a better understanding of your business than an outsider. But, you have to learn how to create talking points, do interviews and pitch your brand to the media.

Before we dive into the details, figure out if you have a newsworthy story. Public relations is the art of influencing and persuading people. If you convince a reporter or a blogger that your content is worthy, they will promote it for you. Through this, you will get more prospects asking about your product.

For instance, take the Oscar-winning movie Whiplash. It was a career breakthrough for screenwriter and director Damien Chazelie. The movie initially started off as an 18-minute short film that appeared at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. It went so viral that a full-length version of the short film was made and, in the end, it made it to the red carpet.

These are the points that you must consider before coming up with a newsworthy story:

  • How is your brand different from others?
  • Have you received any testimonials from industry influencers?
  • Are you planning to launch a new product or service?

With these points in mind, these are some of the areas that you have to concentrate on.

1. Identify the Right Members

Just for the sake of getting publicity, don’t target your story to everyone. Instead, promote it to reporters and analysts who are well known in your industry.

Adopt a personal approach and cover what the reporter or analyst has posted recently. Even here, Damien Chazelie is a great example. He could have sent a copy of his short film to all the reporters and executives in Hollywood in the hope of getting identified. Instead, he targeted Sundance, and it eventually led to his big break.

So how can you apply this strategy in the business world?

Say you’re a cake baker, and you have created a new website that gives all the details about the services you offer. In addition to the site, you must have a blog that offers simple DIY tips and videos relating to baking.

Find influencers and reporters in your field and send the videos and articles to them. Also, when sharing this with them, include a personalized note and ask them to recommend you as a source for future stories related to your niche.

2. Know Where Your Customers Are

Know Where Your Customers Are

Find out the social networking sites that your target customers are most active on.

Once you have identified the platform you have to participate in it, answer questions that users have relating to your industry and offer tips. The aim is to create a friendly presence among them. For instance, take Damien Chazelie, he had something unique to show his audience that eventually lead to a full-length movie.

So how can you apply this strategy in the business world?

Let us return to the cake baking example. There may be many users who comment on articles and pictures relating to baking. Go through those comments and see if you can add any value to them.

Similarly, you could comment on YouTube videos that are relevant to you.

3. Social Media for Communication

Any positive news coverage about your piece will be good publicity. But, don’t wait and beat around the bush. When the opportunity doesn’t present itself, you need to create it.

Invite influencers on social media to ask questions and give out helpful answers so that everyone can publicly view them. When you do this from time-to-time, you will create a good reputation for your brand or service.

When Whiplash was nominated for the Oscars, fans became curious and wanted to see the short film version. So they used the #Whiplash hashtag to search for it. This created a lot of buzz on social media platforms. Also, according to Idigic, tweets that include hashtags receive two times more engagement than those without them.

So how can you apply this strategy in the business world?

Use the search options that are available on social networking sites to find questions related to your field and answer them. You could also use tools like Scoop.it to find content that is relevant to you, or use international SEO services.

Further Reading from Skills You Need

The Skills You Need Guide to Business Strategy and Analysis

The Skills You Need Guide to Business Strategy and Analysis

Based on our popular management and analysis content the Skills You Need Guide to Business Strategy and Analysis is a straightforward and practical guide to business analysis.

This eBook is designed to give you the skills to help you understand your business, your market and your competitors.

It will help you understand why business analysis is important for strategy—and then enable you to use analytical tools effectively to position your business.


Remember that whatever you say can end up in the story. So while answering questions live to influencers or reporters, think twice before saying anything. Create a list of talking points so that you will not miss out on the important topics that you want to discuss.

Perhaps you’re not a big brand like Starbucks, Apple or Reebok. Maybe you’re running a small business that sells a product that most people are not aware of. This is not a problem. Always communicate on platforms where your customers are active and use social media to connect and engage with them.

Keep in mind that all these strategies cannot be mastered in a day. You need to be patient to see results.

So keep these above tips in mind while promoting your brand and you may hit upon something that could be a game-changer in your promotional activities.

About the Author

Susan Smith - iDigic

Susan Smith is a writer at iDigic.

She mostly handles content related to social media marketing and using the social media platform to leverage brand awareness.