Girl With BullhornIt’s surprising to me how many small businesses don’t leverage public relations for their businesses. I assume they think it’s complicated and expensive, and therefore don’t bother with it. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth!

PR is a fabulous way to connect with potential customers, journalists, and even bloggers. And it’s easy to DIY. Here are a few tips to get you started.

1. Write press releases. You want to show that your business is moving and grooving, and you do that by issuing press releases online. When you use a press release distribution service like PRWeb, it disseminates your news to dozens of news and industry sites, so your press release gets seen far and wide. With a link back to your site, people can easily click to learn more about you.

2. Share that press release everywhere. On your site. On your blog. In your email newsletter. Through social media. The more places you share it, the more eyeballs see it.

3. Maintain relationships with the media…before you need them. If you’re planning to pitch reporters with news down the road (and you should), it’s important to start those relationships now, before you need to ask them for a favor. Follow reporters that cover your beat on social, share their content, and comment on their articles.

4. Customize your pitches. When you’re ready to email those reporters with some amazing news, craft a unique letter for each. In it you want to show the connection you have (“we’ve chatted on Twitter about our industry”), and sell them on why your news is relevant to their readers.

5. Only share really newsworthy stuff. Reporters are inundated with crappy pitches. They do not care how amazing you think your product is. But they might care that Target just agreed to carry it. So save the really juicy news for the pitches and toss the rest.

6. Learn the art of writing a press release. It’s not complicated, I promise. I’ve actually written several blog posts with templates for press releases you can use. There’s a specific formula that, once you master, makes it easy to write new releases.

7. Follow up on your pitches. Once you’ve emailed reporters, wait a week, then follow up via email. I use this trick to get their attention: I forward the original email, but I change the subject to “Re: previous email.” I tend to get a quicker response from this email. If they don’t respond then, mark them off your list and head to the next good candidate for your story.

8. Constantly be looking for news angles. When you’re immersed in your business, it can be hard to see the big news that others will care about. But try to see your company as an outsider would. What would be impressive? That would make for a good press release.

See? That wasn’t so painful. Generating publicity for your small business isn’t difficult, if you put effort toward it. Get more great PR tips in our Free PR Guide.