5 PR Hacks for Small Businesses 0 90

No week goes by without a couple of very odd press releases landing in my inbox. And when I say odd, I really mean it: from PR agencies promoting the launch of the latest car models (I have never written about cars) or the classic release featuring a non-story – sometimes even price lists or other marketing pieces far, far away from journalism – I get sent it all. As you might expect … yes, they get deleted at the speed of light.

But how, actually, can small businesses and freelancers try to get featured in the media in 2022?

For a start, what PR teams or anyone working behind communications must keep in mind is: journalists don’t publish information about companies; what the media is looking for are engaging stories that can appeal to their many readers. It is as simple as that. It is storytelling, and not how much a product or service costs, that will catch the attention of professional journalists.

With that in mind – and to spare the poor inboxes of journalists working in a variety of newsrooms across the country, here are five PR hacks that might help your business land a feature or an interview in your local papers, or even national press.

Tailored media list is the key

It is not about quantity but quality when it comes to creating a good list of contacts you should be sending your well-crafted press release to. A small pool of, let’s say, 30 journalists within your niche is more valuable than sending it to 500 professionals that don’t even sporadically write on topics common between their target audiences and your target clients.

Start by cultivating good relationships with the media and create your own media list of bloggers and journalists writing about your industry. Although it is a painstaking process that you can’t cheat on, if you want to get results it is also a rewarding one. And no, never buy mailing lists off the internet. They are often loaded with contacts that are neither updated nor useful to your business.

Leverage trending content

Thanks to hashtags and social media, it is easier than ever for businesses, big or small, to spot trending topics and take advantage of them. So, if something related to your industry is trending on Twitter or being exhaustively shared on Instagram or Facebook, carefully jump on the bandwagon by sharing insights or knowledge about your business to position yourself as a market leader in your field. Every day, the news cycle brings dozens of opportunities for businesses to get great PR by relating their story to an existing news story.

Be aware of deadlines

There is no point in spending time and resources writing the perfect press release and then sending it to your news outlet of choice on a Friday afternoon. When planning press releases, make sure you are aware of their deadlines, and you will already be a big step ahead. Different organisations have different deadlines, with magazines often going to print weeks in advance. Even daily publications tend to have a schedule for special supplements featuring anything from economy to gadgets and fashion. The same applies for radio and TV.

Storytelling is your friend

When sending out a press release, detach yourself from your business and ask the following question: is there a story here? And would I publish that story? It goes without saying that, before sending a press release to bloggers and journalists, you must double-check to see if the story is clear and if all contact points are included at the end of the press release, as some journalists may want to get in touch to ask questions or even expand your material into a longer feature.

The bottom line here is that a press release is a story that the media can share with their readers and viewers. It is less about your business and more about a wider appeal.

Learn to follow up properly

First things first: following up on a press release isn’t simply forwarding it again. As a journalist I can tell you this right now: nothing is more infuriating that that junior PR employee resending the same material every other day, hoping that, one day, you will open your inbox and magically fall in love with the old content they are trying so hard to plug in the media. If re-sending something, offer a new piece of insight or reassure the journalist you are contacting that you are available to talk over the phone or to organise for he or she to talk to a representative of your company to get some valuable quotes than can positively add to a possible feature.

Keep in mind that, at the end of the day, there are over 5.6 million small businesses in the UK, but not all of them will spend time trying to figure out how to work with journalists. If something newsworthy is happening within your business and you can write a press release that is both informative and features a relatable story, you are already well ahead in the PR game.

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Marcio Delgado is a Journalist, speaker and a Content Producer working with brands and publications in the UK and Latin America.

How is Coronavirus affecting content creators’ income? 0 653

It is official: we are four months into 2020, and a lot has changed since the last time content creators ventured out of their houses for a photoshoot, or to create a branded campaign from scratch.

From Asia to the USA, from Europe to Latin America, current travel restrictions and self-isolation recommendations mean that more people than ever before are working indoors, across all corners of the world, helping fight the spread of Covid-19.

So, how are influencers balancing life in quarantine, creativity restraints, and the loss of income generated by the global pandemic?

Matteo Castellotti – Ski instructor and blogger

Double Impact

“As a content creator and ski instructor, I have been doubly impacted because you need to be outdoors to carry out both activities, and, right now, it is not a possibility here in Italy.

It has been a month since the last time we were allowed out of the house properly, and the number of deaths caused by the coronavirus is worrying.

We try to remain courageous and support each other, but the truth is, we don’t know when all this will end, and life will be back to normal. Hopefully, everything will be resolved as soon as possible.”

Matteo Castellotti – Ski instructor and blogger

Renata Oliveira – Model and Lifestyle Influencer

Leveraging the Engagement Spike

“It affected me directly as I had worked with brands canceled, as well as a work trip carefully planned to take place during Easter that has been canceled.

I am very practical, though, and as I suddenly found myself at home with lots of extra time, I have dedicated my time to creating content that can help my followers through their quarantine.

From tips to recipes, I am doing whatever I can to keep my Instagram active and useful, besides leveraging the increase of traffic and engagement I have noticed since this novel coronavirus started to change people’s online habits.”

Renata Oliveira – Model and Lifestyle Influencer

Giovanni Aguayo – singer

Fitness Routine Dropped

“Although I love my two dogs, staying full time indoors with them is also driving me insane. I miss going to the gym – and for once, my fitness routine has totally dropped.

I’ve been trying to keep a healthy diet but, I’m just at home watching movies all day. I haven’t been back to work in 2 weeks, and I truly miss it, even seeing my co-workers and just people in general. As an influencer and content creator, the virus has had a kind of up and down effect; for example, I haven’t had any new products for product placement, but I have learned a couple of new things for myself. I’ve learned to dance more, keep in touch more with my family and friends (over FaceTime, of course). In fact, lately, I have been putting together a lot of dance videos, and have even learned a couple of choreographies.

The virus itself is horrible, and I wish it can go away soon, so we can continue with our normal lives and normal living and rebuild a financial structure. Tons of businesses have closed down here in Las Vegas, and hotels and casinos are all boarded up to keep people away.”

Giovanni Aguayo – singer

Dr. Bucandy Odetundun – Brand influencer and Medical Doctor

Negotiations On Hold

“I’m a stay at home mum, and I usually use the time when my son is at the nursery to create content for both my YouTube channel and my Instagram. However, right now, my son’s nursery is closed, so it is really difficult as he consumes most of my time.

It is not only affecting my creativity but my income, too. I had a few brands in which I was at an advanced stage of negotiations for an Influencer Marketing campaign before the lockdown. Unfortunately, they had to put everything on hold due to the unprecedented times.”

Dr. Bucandy Odetundun – Brand influencer and Medical Doctor

Why is everyone launching info products and how to successfully create one? 0 752

Unless you have managed to totally disconnect from the online world since the beginning of 2020, you will have noticed that, in recent months, everyone seems to be launching one or more info products. These products aim to provide well-crafted explanations, through a variety of domains, delivered in a simple and digestible way.

Wherever you look, someone is advertising a new online course, a podcast series, a free or paid ebook, the updated version of a digital workshop, or several video tutorials.

For a brand, it can be a case of raising awareness or upselling a product.

For freelancers, an info product can become a sizeable income stream as, every time someone signs up for a paid info product, its creator will be the one retaining the majority of the amount charged.

The topics, as you would imagine, are as wide as the web itself.

From detailed steps on how to rank on Google; running a Facebook ad campaign for the first time; creating a Youtube Channel; learning to do your own PR; launching your own fashion label; becoming an Influencer; or, building a marketing funnel – to name just a few – chances are you will find info products out there for almost every need.

As someone working with influencers on a regular basis, I have never seen so many creators turning their hands to developing content that helps others – and charging for it.

However, before spending time and resources creating an online product, what are the tangible results that should be expected in a very competitive digital world?

Recently I set out to learn golden tips from the experts in helping brands diversify their digital portfolio, and from those ones who had already launched their own info products, and here is what you should watch out for if you want your info products to be successful.

 

Test it with a small group

“To avoid wasting time or money, sell your info product to a group of testers before you create any of it. This serves three purposes: it ensures you have a product that people are willing to pay for, it allows you to modify or add content as you are getting real-time feedback and, finally, it creates motivation to complete it!”

Joanne Mosellen – Online business coach

 

Aim to establish trust

“There are a number of ways you can create an online course, but I find using software like Thinkific is easiest – just upload your content and it will help you format your content into a learning dashboard. However, as there are a lot of really terrible courses and ebooks on the web at moment, to be successful you need to establish trust by including real testimonials on your sales page, offering a money-back guarantee, and even giving away a sample chapter or lesson of your course so individuals can get a sneak peek.”

Meg Marrs – Founder of online dog training course K9 of Mine

 

Be authentic and provide value

“I just launched a YouTube channel called “Millennial Tips for Small Businesses” because I felt powerless as my company Cropsticks Inc. took an 85% loss due to the pandemic.  We provide commodity products for the foodservice and hospitality industry. So, on my new YouTube channel, I share any business resources I have found with other small business owners.  Just 2 weeks in and 700 views down, I feel more powerful than ever because Cropsticks feels seen.  Our story was covered in a local magazine, a national retailer reached out after seeing the video, and I even secured a partnership with TikTok. Most importantly, I feel like I’m truly helping my community. It’s worth putting yourself out there but, as you do it, be authentic and provide value to your audience.  Ask yourself, is this information I am glad to have learned?

Mylen Yamamoto – Creator and Founder of chopsticks.co

 

Finding your niche is key for an info product’s success

“You need to focus on the relevant market and provide a product that is legitimately helpful to people looking to succeed in it. Always invest time and efforts in continued product creation and dedication to quality. And for those doubting, don’t get down on yourself or your knowledge. Something you consider basic can be exactly the piece of knowledge another person is dying to have.”

Rob Level – CEO at Smart Rapper – Online Education for Rappers and Recording Artists

 

Hire a good content writer to get traffic

“We launched a suite of digital workshops for new remote workers and haven’t paid for any ads to bring traffic to the site. Instead, we have invested time and money into writing content that is so helpful and original that it has driven enough organic traffic to keep us more than busy. For example, we hired a writer to create 51 unique icebreaker questions to kick off a meeting and it performed extremely well”.

Michael Alexis – CEO at teambuilding.com

Why is everyone launching info products and how to successfully create one?

Distance education and online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic are increasing demand for information products.

Carefully plan your sales page

“The barrier to entering the info product market is practically non-existent, as anyone can use free resources to produce, distribute, and earn money from an info product that can be sold over and over again, with little to no further investment, once it is created. However, as enticing as all of that sounds, consider the way you plan to drive traffic to the info product sales page. I see people spending a lot of time and energy creating a course or other digital products; however, without being able to drive customers to the sales page, they can’t make any money”.

Ian Kelly – VP Operations at NuLeafNaturals

 

Spreading knowledge leads to endless opportunities

“Your first info product should be about a topic that you can have hours’ worth of conversations with a stranger about, the subjects that makes your blood pumping with excitement. Take time to study how the content of other info Products similar to yours are creatively presented in a practical way.

Info products are a great way to spread knowledge that you feel strongly about and to establish yourself as a subject matter expert. You never know where your brand might end up and who might see your brand. It could lead to endless opportunities, as long as you put the time in and get better over time.”

Erin Rodriguez – Founder of dripacademy.org

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