So what is PR… exactly?

Introducing my latest guest blogger here at Business Plus Baby….Julie Sherwood of www.getinthepress.com. Welcome Julie!

PR is all about getting the press to talk about you and effectively gaining ‘free advertising’ for your business. PR – or public relations – is the art of getting news about your business in the press. It’s an area that is often overlooked in small businesses, but can reap fantastic rewards if taken the time to understand.

Understanding how PR works is the first step in generating press coverage for your business.

Journalists source their news and features from people like you and me. They need people to provide them with new research, statistics, product news and imagery. By understanding that crucial fact can open up so many doors for you.

Think about how may newspapers and magazines there are – daily, weekly and monthly magazines that all have content to fill. Don’t forget radio, and online media. Every journalist wants to find the next big thing – a reputable spokesperson, the latest must-have accessory or exclusive research findings.

The media source news themselves but also rely heavily on people contacting them with information. This is sent in the form of a press release, but also by building a relationship with PR companies and businesses. If a journalist needs an expert quote then often they will call someone they know, who they have built up a relationship with – or often use a press release that lands on their desk at the right time.

But it’s not quite that easy.

Get further than the editor. There’s a person responsible for the food pages, technology, finances, news pages.

The downside is editorial staff do get swamped with press releases. Some receive hundreds every day. Most sent by email and some in the post. They are also hounded on the phone by PR execs ‘just chasing up that press release sent last week’.

Find a happy balance.

Make sure you identify the right journalists for your story. Get further than the editor. There’s a person responsible for the food pages, technology, finances, news pages.

Read the publications and pages where you would love to be featured. Understand how the writer works;

Know their deadlines and press days. Ask the editorial assistant when the magazine ‘goes to press’ and avoid contacting them in the run up.

Send out regular press releases, when you have something news-worthy.

Remember you may not get immediate press coverage from every press release. But it will help build up a relationship with your key contacts.

Next time we’ll look at how you can develop PR angles for your business.

Julie Sherwood runs PR Consultancy www.getinthepress.com and rents a journalist database for the parenting/women’s consumer press at www.parentingmagazinecontacts.co.uk

Julie will be writing more articles on PR here at Business Plus Baby soon. To make sure you don’t miss any of them, why not sign up to my weekly newsletter? Click here to find out more…

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