After personally consulting hundreds of entrepreneurs and training even more through my It Girl course and media appearances, I see the same concerns about public relations rearing their ugly heads again and again.

“I don’t have the money to hire a PR person.”

“I don’t have the time to market or promote my business.”

“I’m overwhelmed and don’t know where to start promoting my brand.”

“I’m not sure how PR can even help me—I’m just getting started!”

Guess what? These concerns are valid.

As an entrepreneur, influencer, or side hustler you’ve already put your time and money—possibly your life savings—into your hopes and dreams.

It’s scary!

It also is perfectly normal to have no idea how to pitch or promote your dreams. And to be overwhelmed by fear of failure.

Which is why I’m on a mission to help entrepreneurs create visibility through strategic public relations.

The magical world of PR can be somewhat of a mystery to many of us. Getting started can be as challenging as navigating your way in a new city without cell reception.

The good news is, with time, research, and the tips below, your brand can be in the news today!

Find free

Taking advantage of free PR resources available should be the first stop for anyone looking to get press.

It also is the easiest. Sign up for all the free PR tools you can.

HARO, more formally known as Help a Reporter Out, provides you with real-time media opportunities up to three times daily that come straight from journalists on a deadline who need a source. You can filter opportunities by industry and start submitting your info immediately wherever it is relevant.

Study up

All magazines and online publications rely on advertising revenue.

As such, they post a publicly-accessible editorial calendar at the beginning of each year for prospective advertisers to plan their budgets around what topics each publication plans to cover.

You can easily find these calendars on the advertising or media kit section of their websites. Check out the editorial calendars for all publications in the Meredith Media family (i.e., SHAPE, Martha Stewart Living, Magnolia Journal, Family Circle, All Recipes, etc.), for example.

Using these editorial calendars, you can plan your own strategy and pitch with relevance when you know the magazine is looking for the news you can provide to them.

Quick tip: Print outlets operate more than three months in advance of their issue date. Keep that in mind as you pitch to give reporters enough time to craft their story and to have any chance in swaying it with your angle.

Want to get ahead of the game and lay out your own content calendar for keeping track of your pitches? Download the actual planning calendar I use to pitch, Pitch 52!

Engage with reporters

I know it’s hard to believe, but reporters are people too.

Just as you would strike up a conversation with any other human being, there’s no better way to catch a reporter’s attention than to engage them on a story they’ve just written.

Obviously, their latest work is something they have a professional, and sometimes personal, interest in.

While you may be tempted to respond directly to the comments section of the article, the best way to contact a reporter is to send him or her an email. This way, you can demonstrate thoughtful analysis and commentary on their piece.

Plus, your direct contact information is now at said reporter’s fingertips. 

Is your business related to a story that just made the latest issue of Entrepreneur? Email the writer and show them why you’re a valuable source for future and related industry news.

Even better, ask them if, based on their article, they’ve considered an alternative conclusion to the topic at hand and why they should.

Start a list

It’s hard to reach out to the media when you don’t know who you should be reaching out to. Make this easier on yourself by creating a target media list.

This media list should be a running list of writers and reporters, their contact info, and a link to their latest article related to your business and industry.

Both nationally and by niche. 

Prior to getting started, ask yourself these four questions:

  • Who is your target customer?

  • What is your target customer reading?

  • Who are the reporters at these outlets?

  • Have they written about your product offering or industry previously?

Let’s use LOHO as an example. They recently wrapped up a funding campaign to bring their patented tights that fit just like your favorite lace underwear to market, and are looking to target body positive-minded women and fashion lovers.

What are fashion lovers reading? What else are body positive-women shopping for?

Besides fashion and lifestyle blogs and publications, LOHO’s target audience is reading daily print and digital outlets, plus watching lifestyle-shaping television shows. All of which have a national audience.

At the local level, LOHO will need to take a closer look at city-specific media outlets, such as The Seattle Times, Seattle Metropolitan, and KOMO-TV in Seattle (their home base).

Most importantly for LOHO (and you), each audience must have their own master list. In this case, LOHO will need separate directories for fashion lovers and the body positive crowd.

Manifest it

As a child, I learned if you want something bad enough, you put it out into the universe.

Then you go after it.

Now a professional, I put my goals down on paper. Then hold myself (and others) accountable until said goal is achieved.

The same principle applies to getting your brand in the news, which is where a PR vision board comes into play.

It also is why I ask every client early on what PR success looks like to them. Down to their top five specific dream media coverage gets.

Your PR vision board should list the media outlets you want to be written about in and how you’re going to make that happen.

By creating this list, you’re creating a relevant strategy to connect consistently with the reporters you care about.

Ready to get press act as your own publicist? Get started today with It Girl!