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Using a PR company versus learning how to get your own publicity

by | April 1, 2021

Have you thought of hiring a PR company to help raise the profile of your pet business?

Maybe you’ve thought about how you’d like to get publicity, so for your product or service to be featured in newspapers, magazines, on the radio or TV but felt unsure of how to go about it.

If that’s the case, then you may have considered hiring a PR company or consultant to help you achieve this.

But there are lots of things you can do as a small business owner to get publicity on your own.

You don’t need to hire anyone to do it for you. It just takes a little research and strategy and you can learn how to approach journalists and give them what they want.

In this episode I cover the differences between using a PR company to promote your business versus learning how to get publicity for yourself.

Plus the pros and cons of both options so you can make a decision that’s right for you.

You can listen in on the player link below or continue reading as a blog post:

• denotes an affiliate link, meaning if you click through and buy the item, I will be paid a small commission. This does not affect the price you pay.

How it works

Using a PR Company

You pay them to work with the media and secure coverage for you and your business in newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, websites and with influencers.

Learning how to get publicity yourself

You manage your own media coverage, so you choose the publications and key people you’d like to work with and approach them yourself.

What is the cost

Using a PR Company

Hiring a PR company can vary from £350 a month for a PR consultant to help you for half a day to a day on your publicity to £6000 a month if you were employing a large PR firm.

Another option is to use a pay per result firm like Sanity Marketing – find out more here.

Or a service like Write On Time run by former journalists Christian and Michelle Ewan where you pay them to write a press release and put it out for you to suitable publications.

The cost for this is £549 and you can find out more here.

Learning how to get publicity yourself

You can learn how to get publicity for free by listening to podcasts and reading blogs where experts share tips. (like this one!) 

I have a one year long membership programme – it’s for a year because this is how long I find it takes for people to get into the swing of things and implement the advice.

This costs £97 a month and you can join the free publicity challenge ahead of the next launch here.

Another option is to buy a book, all these below are under £15 and give you a roadmap to follow.

I would recommend the following:

Your Press Release is breaking my heart by Janet Murray – buy here on Amazon*.

Hype Yourself by Lucy Werner – buy here on Amazon*.

PR School by Natalie Trice – buy here on Amazon*.

Publicity Tips for Pet Businesses by ME! – buy here on Amazon*.

Time

Using a PR Company

They do the work for you, so you save time. You may need to have a monthly call or discuss reports or ideas but they will spend their time working for you.

Learning how to get publicity yourself

You will need to spend time learning the skills you need to manage your own publicity. 

It’s also a good idea to set aside some time each week or month to think of ideas, look for opportunities and send pitches.

Generating ideas

Using a PR Company

The PR company will come up with ideas for campaigns and you may have some input in this too.

This is important as you will be more aware of what your clients and customers are talking about and what their concerns are.

Learning how to get publicity yourself

You come up with the ideas as you’re running your business day to day. 

You know your business best and, once you understand publicity, ideas will come far easier.

You’ll also be able to take an idea and sniff out opportunities around that idea. 

For example, if you ran a mantrailing business and saw a request about finding missing dogs, you could put yourself forward for it. 

Finding publicity opportunities

Using a PR Company

If you’re paying for a PR company, they should be looking for opportunities for you every day.

Journalists use services like Response Source where they will request products to review or experts to speak to about a topic.

Plus the #journorequest on Twitter. A good PR will have contacts with journalists who will know their clients and approach them direct too.

Learning how to get publicity yourself

There are lots of ways of finding publicity opportunities thanks to social media. 

On Twitter, journalists use the #journorequest hashtag to find experts, case studies and products to write about.

On Facebook, groups like FeatureMe and Lightbulb connect members of the public and business owners to journalists.

To learn more about this, you might like to check out my interview with Jill Foster, co-founder of FeatureMe here.

How to win press coverage from Facebook Groups with Jill Foster

Dealing with journalists

Using a PR Company

The PR company will be the first point of contact with the journalist, and they may arrange interview time with you.

They will be able to find out the questions you might be asked to help you prepare and will act as a buffer.

Learning how to get publicity yourself

You will deal directly with the journalist. This may sound daunting at first, but as one of my free Facebook group members said recently, they don’t have six heads and bite.

Once you have helped a journalist once, your goal is to build a relationship and be their go-to person.

This is what I teach inside my membership and the proof that is is totally possible is in this interview with Karen Boyce.

How Karen secured more than 30 pieces of publicity in a year.

What to do in a crisis

Using a PR Company

If something happens in your business and you’re in the media spotlight, this is when you will see your PR come into their own.

They should be able to know what to say and defuse the crisis, minimising the impact on your reputation.

Learning how to get publicity yourself

It can be scary of course. You may feel paralysed at first and not know what to say, but take a deep breath and with the right support, you can manage the impact on your brand.

This is one of the modules I teach inside the membership, and if you do need support, you can book in for a Power Hour here.

Developing skills to promote your business

Using a PR Company

You PR team will no doubt have years if not decades of experience in the industry and will have qualifications and ideally a background in journalism.

They will have the skills to create ideas, pitch, write press releases and follow up.

Learning how to get publicity yourself

You can learn the vital skills you need to get media coverage. You’re probably already have them if you’re regularly writing e mails, newsletters and social media posts.

It’s all about storytelling and writing pitches and press releases can be learned easily. 

Again, this is a key part of my membership along with feedback and guidance so you feel confident in putting yourself out there.

Pros and cons of hiring a PR company and learning how to do it yourself 

To conclude and help you decide which option is right for you, here are some pros and cons for both hiring a PR company or consultant and learning how to do it yourself.

Pros

Using a PR Company

They will have the experience, contacts and using them will save you time and take the hassle away from raising your profile.

Learning how to get publicity yourself

You are in control and can be reactive, so respond quickly to what is happening in the news, build relationships with journalists and save a lot of money!

Cons

Using a PR Company

It’s expensive and there is no guarantee the materials they create to help you raise your profile will be picked up. This is out of your control.

Learning how to get publicity yourself

It’s time consuming, you may not have the experience and you need to go and find ideas and contacts yourself.

So I hope that’s given you plenty to think about, whether you’re thinking of hiring a PR firm or learning how to do it yourself.

If you’d like recommendations on PR companies who have a track record in helping pet businesses get coverage, do feel free to message me.

And if you’d like to discuss whether the membership programme is right for you, you can book a free 15 minute discovery call here.


If you found this helpful, you might like to read What’s the difference between a pitch and a press release or Five places to pitch story ideas about your pet business

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Publicity and Marketing for Pet Preneurs Businesses Mobile

Hi, I’m Rachel, a freelance journalist and PR and content consultant and crazy dog lady!

I’ve written so many stories about animals and pet brands that I wrote a book on how pet entrepreneurs can do their own PR.

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