Feeling shy about getting your story into your local paper?

Are you feeling shy about getting your business into your local newspaper? Maybe you’re worried that your story isn’t good enough, your business isn’t big enough or you’re afraid of feeling rejected if they don’t feature you?

This is the editor of my local paper, Ben Raza of the Bedford Times and Citizen, speaking at a workshop I attended last weekend:

Ben was talking about citizen journalism and I’ll tell you more about that in a minute. But what really grabbed my attention is that there are very few local reporters out there these days, so your local papers need you to tell them what is going on.

Of course you should be choosy about the stories you send them. You should be sending journalists good, interesting stories that their readers will enjoy rather than boring sales pitches. But in my experience, business mums tend to be too modest with their PR and there’s not much of a risk of us annoying our local press!

So what is citizen journalism? It is local people reporting on what is going on in their area, rather than it being done entirely by journalists. In fact, I’ve just joined #citizenbedford, which is my local citizen journalism project that will be documenting Bedford’s progress as a Portas Pilot town. Which is why I was attending the video, audio and journalism training on Saturday (here’s a pic of me being filmed).

(To find out more about the project, use the #citizenbedford hashtag on Twitter, YouTube or Google. Or you could keep an eye on out local community paper, the Bedford Clanger as well as the Bedford Times and Citizen.)

So don’t be shy, contact your local paper!

UPDATE 8 November 2012: Just to prove Ben means what he says, the Bedford Times and Citizen published my article today.

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Finding PR Angles for your business

Today I have Julie Sherwood’s (of Get In The Press) second guest post on PR. In this article she looks at the often overlooked subject of finding an angle for your press release.

(Don’t forget to take a look at her first post, So what is PR… exactly?)

Over to you, Julie!

The trick with PR is to find a news-worthy hook for your press release. Easy if you have something obvious to shout about; a businesses award you’ve won, a major new contract or a new product line. But there are plenty of other ways you can find an angle too.

You can get creative by linking in subjects relating to your business. This can lead to two things: it opens up potential features you could be featured in AND it positions you as an expert in your field. Don’t be afraid to pitch a feature or article idea to a journalist – just be sure you can back up your idea with stats, facts or expert opinion.

Another option is to keep up with trends in the news, and get in contact with the journalist offering additional statistics, a different view or findings. If an announcement has been made about new health findings, can you offer a supportive view or a case study for a feature. Continue reading “Finding PR Angles for your business”

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. Continue reading “So what is PR… exactly?”

From Tweet to Telegraph

Proving that PR is possible on a tiny budget (in fact no budget at all!) Business Plus Baby guest contributor Frances Weir had her children’s book box featured in last week’s Telegraph Magazine, as the direct result of a Tweet…

“I had read the ‘Children’s Notebook’ column in the magazine before and thought it was beyond my wildest dreams to ever feature there” says Frances. “But out of interest, I decided to Google the name of the columnist, and I saw she had a Twitter account. So I Tweeted her, asking if she would like to receive a sample. She sent me a Direct Message in reply and I posted the bookcase to her”.

After receiving the box, the columnist contacted Frances to ask for more information about how she came up with the idea. Two weeks later, Frances had an email from the Picture Desk of the Telegraph asking for a cut-out product shot, and a lifestyle shot for the 22 October issue…

This demonstrates what a powerful PR tool Twitter can be for small businesses, as it gives immediate access to journalists (and celebrities) with just a click of a mouse.

Congratulations Frances!

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