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Like most business owners, Nicole Ashby, founder and director of FIFO Families, knows the importance of positive media exposure. So to generate publicity for her business, she engaged a public relations agency.
“It was a bit of an experiment to get more media exposure,” she says.
Ashby spent $15,000 for three months of the agency’s services, which included writing press releases. While the agency successfully attracted media attention for the company, it came at a considerable cost.
So Ashby, who has done hundreds of media interviews and knew how to get in touch with journalists, decided to save money and handle the company’s public relations herself.
“They were just lovely and really knew their stuff, but as a micro business we just couldn’t sustain that kind of expenditure,” she says.
Avoid shelling out the big bucks and take these DIY public relations tips.
Use online resources
Social media and online platforms have made the media game a less expensive venture for small businesses. Sites such as SourceBottle are connecting business owners and entrepreneurs with journalists and bloggers for free or at a fraction of the cost of hiring a public relations agency.
Clients are looking for their expertise to be recognised by media and not just dismissed like most PR releases these days.
Become an expert
Whether they know it or not, small business owners are authorities in their fields, and they can capitalise on their expertise.
Nic Hayes, director of Media Stable, says his company helps position business owners as experts in their industry and connects them with media professionals.
“Ultimately, clients are looking for their expertise to be recognised by media and not just dismissed like most PR releases these days,” he says.
“They generally have a story to tell but don’t quite know how to communicate it to new and traditional media.”
Know what the media needs
Publicity not only promotes a business, but builds credibility advertising cannot match. Tapping into this valuable exposure by creating successful public relations hinges on building good relationships with journalists and knowing what the media needs, says Hayes.
“The media wants to hear from the business owners, but they don’t want to be sold to or pitched products and services,” he says.
“The media is looking for quality stories and content that fit and suit their audience.
“PR is never easy as it does depend on relationships and we all know good relationships take time and need to be mutually beneficial.”
Kate Jones writes for the business and money sections of The Age and Sydney Morning Herald. She also writes for The New Daily, TAC, RMIT and is a news writing tutor at Monash University.