Paperwork, pen, writing, planning

Have you thought about hiring a PR agency but don’t know where to start? Have you tried to do PR yourself and failed? Are you currently using a PR agency and feeling disappointed by what they’ve achieved?

If you can answer ‘yes’ to any of the above questions, you’ve come to the right place!

First off, there’s no ‘right’ way to do PR. In my twenty years as a publicist, much of what I achieved for my clients was down to already knowing or being able to find the right journalist for the story I was pitching. Relationships are key and, thanks to Twitter, far easier to foster than you might think.

Here are my five tips to generating media awareness for your product or service without spending a penny.

  1. Sign up to and subscribe to their free plan. This handy website will send you a daily digest email, broken down by subject, of the journalists who have used the hash tag #journorequest and are seeking spokespeople for their articles. Check it daily and you'll begin to see trends emerge making you better at knowing what makes a good story .
  2. Write a blog. If you’ve an opinion on your industry and are happy to share it, then blogging is a great place to begin. I’ve had my blog posts republished on trade sites, giving them a much bigger reach. Check out too as another place to post your blog.
  3. Make friends with a freelancer. As the number of in-house staff on the papers dwindles, the number of freelance journalists seeking work increases. If you’ve read an article about the sector in which you work and want to get in touch with the journalist who wrote it, search for them on Twitter. It will usually say in their biog whether they’re a staff or freelance writer. Ask to send them a DM (follow them first) and take it from there. If you have a bit of cash, and they are freelance, you might ask them if they want to help you with writing a press release too.
  4. Create a survey. If you’re short on ideas, survey results make great copy. I use Survey Monkey, keeping the questions to ten so that I don’t have to pay to use the software. In the final question, I ask the respondents to leave their email in exchange for entering into a prize draw to win a small prize (gadgets like tablets work best). I then can post the survey on competition portals (if your survey has mainstream appeal) or more niche sites such as Facebook groups and similar. Weave the results into a press release for instant appeal.
  5. Network, network, network. Since I transitioned my career into technology, I’ve spent about an hour a day sharing my knowledge on start-up Facebook groups and attending networking events. The result being that I’ve become a ‘face’ on the start-up scene and am approached almost weekly by a journalist or blogger seeking to use me for a case study or wanting me to provide a comment. There’s no better way to attract the attention of journalists then to become known in your sector.

By Suzanne Noble, co-founder of Frugl