What are the best tools to use for DIY Public Relations?

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Answered by: Connie, An Expert in the Public Relations Category
When it comes to promoting your small business, one of the most cost-effective strategies is to utilize public relations tactics. Do-It-Yourself Public Relations Strategies can help your business grow.

Public relations, or PR, creates awareness, interest, desire or action in or toward your business. Most people think of PR as "getting your name in the paper," but that's actually just one aspect of PR. DIY Public Relations can also involve direct communications with employees, customers, or investors, or with the general public or a subset of it.

Public relations is a subset of marketing, and the best thing about DIY Public Relations is that it's usually more affordable than other types of marketing.

Think about advertising: You pay for an ad or a series of ads, and that guarantees your information will appear on a certain day in exactly the format you want. With PR, there is no guarantee your information will appear, and you can't control when it runs, or how much of what you provide runs. With PR, you are submitting a news item, and you are not paying for it.

You probably have heard the term "press release” or "news release." In PR, this is your primary tool. With a well-written press release and the right media list, you can promote your business for free.

What constitutes a good press release?

     It tells a story about the people in your business and the activities they are involved in.

     It tells about a special event you are sponsoring.

     It describes new products or services you are offering.

Those are just a few examples. Let’s apply those examples to a real estate office. Headlines of the releases could be: "Jane Doe Receives Her Real Estate License and Joins Home Town Realty," or "Home Town Realty to Sponsor Upcoming Pancake Breakfast," or “Home Town Realty Offers New Home Staging Service.” You get the idea.

If you can fit your news into one or two paragraphs, it will have a better chance of running in a newspaper than if it is two pages long. If you include a photo or other graphic, you increase your chances of publication even more. In fact, one of the best news releases is simply a photo with a caption, often called a photo release.

An example of a photo release for the real estate company could be a picture of key staff wearing aprons and chef hats. The headline would be "Home Town Realty to Sponsor Upcoming Pancake Breakfast" and the caption would say, "Jane Doe and John Smith of Home Town Realty prepare to serve citizens at their upcoming pancake breakfast to be held Friday at Main Street Hall from 7 a.m. - 9 a.m. The team at Home Town invites you to bring your friends and family by to enjoy pancakes with all the trimmings to celebrate their fifth year in business."

Submitting the release is easy. Simply email the photo and caption to the editor of the local newspaper. Staff members are usually listed on the publication's website. Send your information well in advance of the event, and make sure that your content is understandable and error free.

For more on do it yourself marketing tips, contact XYZ Public Relations.

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