PR Tips

[356] How to build your audience through Twitter (and create FOMO)

Does Twitter confuse the heck out of you?

If so, you’re not alone.

It's a busy, fast-paced platform that can feel overwhelming at times. But with the right strategies, it can be a powerful - and quick - way to attract and connect with your ideal clients. Plus it’s a great way to reach journalists and influencers in your space. 

In this episode Twitter expert and ‘FOMO creator’ May King Tsang explains how you can build your online audience through Twitter. She explains everything from hashtags and DMs through to Twitter Chats and using Twitter lists to cut out the "noise". 

Plus she shares tons of ideas on what kind of content you should be posting on the platform.

Even if you're already using Twitter, there's tons of practical advice and tips you can start using today.

{Click on the player above to listen to the podcast episode and/or read on for a detailed overview. Scroll down to the bottom to read the show notes including all the links mentioned in this episode.}

 

How does Twitter work 

For the uninitiated, Twitter is like a big online party, says May King. There are groups of people having topics about different topics. You can join conversations that interest you or you can start your own. Anyone you want to talk to is just one tweet or direct message away. And the best thing is you can ‘stalk’ people (e.g. prospective clients, journalists and influencers) and gather information that will help you make a better first impression.  And - unlike on platforms like LinkedIn, where people can see you’ve been checking out their profile - they will never know you’ve been listening into their conversations. 

Connecting with journalists on Twitter

Twitter started as a breaking news platform - and still is. So if you want to connect with journalists, Twitter is definitely the place to hang out. Journalists are actively looking for people to talk to for the stories they are working on. Following hashtags like #journorequest and #prrequest can be a great way to connect with journalists who are looking for stories - without having to send a single pitch or press release. 

Find out how to connect with journalists on Twitter. 

Twitter chats 

A Twitter chat is a public conversation that revolves around a unique hashtag  e.g. #contenthour (N.B. hashtags group together tweets on a similar topic). A Twitter chat can be ongoing, but more commonly are hosted at a regular time and/or day (e.g. once a week or month) - which is why May King compares Twitter chats to TV programmes.

Twitter chats are a great way to network with your ideal clients  - without even leaving your house. 

While she is not aware of any online lists or directories of Twitter chats, May King suggests carrying out a Google search for Twitter chats that are relevant to you/your industry. 

Find out how to take part in a Twitter chat. 

Twitter lists

If you’re following a lot of people, Twitter can feel really noisy, May King suggests creating Twitter lists of people you want to follow e.g. journalists in your industry, prospective clients, so you can follow along with what they’re up to. Twitter lists can be both public and private, so no one needs to know you are ‘stalking’ them.

How to reach out to prospects on Twitter 

One of the best things about Twitter is that anyone you want to talk to is just a click away - including your ideal clients. But blundering in and pitching people over Twitter is probably not the best way to go about it. If there is someone you want to connect with, you can start by liking and retweeting their posts (i.e. sharing their posts with your followers), then move onto replying to their posts and/or starting conversations with them on Twitter. Then, when the time feels right, you can ask them to follow you (if they’re not already) and take the conversation over to the direct messages. In the direct messages you have up to 10,000 characters to play with (as opposed to 160 characters in a standard tweet). 

Spending a bit of time ‘listening’ to what they are tweeting about first can be a good idea. That way you can establish common ground e.g. they like cats, went on holiday to Croatia and/or watch the TV show Casualty too. This can make it much easier to strike up a conversation later. 

Creating a great Twitter bio

Most people will decide whether they want to follow you within seconds of looking at your Twitter profile, which is why May King suggests spending some time getting this right. 

A good quality headshot is a must.  You can also use the cover picture (which sits just behind your profile pic) to promote your products/services. As May King puts it, this is basically your “billboard.” So for example, if you are running a live event, you can list the name of the event, date and venue and a call-to-action to buy a ticket. 

You can use a free design tool like Canva to create an attractive cover picture or hire a designer to create one for you. 

Make sure your bio (just 160 characters on Twitter) explains clearly what you do. If you have a branded hashtag (i.e. one you have created just for your business), you can add it into your bio. 

Twitter allows you to pin a tweet to the top of your feed (known as a ‘pinned tweet’). This is the first tweet, someone who follows you will see, so use this space wisely. You could share an amazing testimonial from a client and/or promote one of your products/services, changing it up as and when your priorities change.

What kind of content should you be sharing on Twitter

While there are no hard and fast rules about what to post on Twitter, as with all of your social media content, remember it’s not about you. It’s about adding value for your followers. Which is why the following types of content generally get good engagement: 

  • Content that educates your followers about your area of expertise e.g. helpful blog posts, tips, useful articles (and not just your own) 
  • ‘Live’ coverage of events you’re attending/speaking at (including photos and videos)
  • Conversation starters/polls 

Just because you’re using Twitter for business, doesn’t mean your content has to be serious. For example, May King recalls being at a conference and asking her followers whether they preferred pastries or fruit for breakfast (as that was what was on offer) and getting really good engagement. 

It’s important to give your followers a sense of the person behind the brand, which is why May King Tsang regularly tweets about her love of Karaoke singing and tea. While this might seem frivolous, it’s actually really important. 

“I think a lot of people, too many people are trying to jump five steps forward and try and close that deal but we can't close that deal before getting to know somebody getting to you know build a relationship with someone and build a rapport with someone and how do you get to know someone and build a rapport with someone? It is the small talk. The "What did you watch on TV? What did you get up to "at the weekend? Do you like bananas or apples?" That really helps build the relationship.

Podcast shownotes

  • How May King became a FOMO creator (04:25)
  • How Twitter works and how it can help your business  (11:49)
  • How to get publicity for your business by connecting with journalists on Twitter (17:00)
  • How Twitter chats can build your audience and business network (18:01)
  • How Twitter lists can reduce the noise and help you connect with prospects (22:37)
  • Key points about your Twitter bio and profile and why it needs to reflect what you do (28:07)
  • Types of content you can post on Twitter and why it’s really important to engage (32:32) 
  • How showing your personal side on Twitter can help people connect with you (36:56)
  • How to find clients and raise your profile on Twitter (41:21)
  • Why you need to ‘walk the talk’ and demonstrate you are an authority in your field on Twitter (45:40)

Resources

May King Twitter

[233] How to monetise your personal brand with Chris Ducker (podcast)

[247] How to find customers on Twitter with Samantha Kelly (podcast)

[259] How to build a loyal following on Twitter with Madalyn Skylar (podcast)

[267] How to get more engagement on Twitter (podcast)

[300] How to Build an audience and why you need to  (podcast) 

[334] How to build a large audience without paid advertising with Callie Willows (podcast)

[343] The three audiences you must build to create a successful online business (podcast) 

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How to find time for PR in 2018

If you want to find more time to promote your business in 2018, you need to work smarter - not harder. Here’s five PR strategies that will help you do more in less time.

Schedule

Getting press coverage is all about timing. So when you suggest an idea to a journalist, the first question they will ask themselves is ‘why do people need to hear about this now?’ (or next week/month, depending on how far they work ahead). This is often referred to as the ‘hook’ or ‘peg’ for a story.

But most publications and programmes work much further ahead than you might imagine (monthly magazines typically work at least 3-6 months ahead, for example). That’s why why devoting a morning or afternoon to mapping out the key dates, awareness and anniversaries that are relevant to your industry or area of expertise - across the entire year - can be a smart move.

The bonus? You’ll also come up with tons of ideas for your own blog/podcast/vlog and social media platforms.

A little forward planning helped inspire this article on why we need to talk more about miscarriage in the Guardian, Jacqueline Hooton’s opinion article in the Independent on why you shouldn’t share your back-to-school photos and this Huffington Post article on five reasons to give Dry January a go from Kate Beavis.

If you’d like some help with your planning, you can download my FREE 2018 media calendar here.

Mapping out key dates, awareness days and anniversaries for the coming year can save you hours of time

Follow the news

If a big news story breaks that relates to your area of expertise, contacting the media to offer comment - or write a follow-up article - can be a smart move. That’s exactly what personal trainer and fitness model Jacqueline Hooton did when she heard the model Bella Hadid being criticised for being too thin, after landing a big contract with Nike. It resulted in this article for the Independent on why we should stop demonising thin women.

Remember that breaking news doesn’t always have to be controversial. If you’re a relationship expert, you might offer comment on a celebrity wedding (or a divorce/break up). If you’re a stylist, you might offer comment on an unusual outfit on the catwalk or red carpet. If you’re a social media consultant, you might offer comment on the latest online craze. If people are talking about it, journalists will be looking for people like you to talk to.

Do bear in mind, however, that things quickly become ‘old news’. If a story comes along you can respond to, you can’t afford to wait until you’ve dropped your kids at school, written that blog post or cleared down your emails - you need to act fast. Here’s how to write an email pitch for a journalist.

Setting up Google alerts for subjects you know you can talk about in the media is a good idea. It’s also worth keeping an eye out on social media for breaking news (Twitter is great for this).

Recycle

Aim to repurpose every piece of content you create. Instagram updates can be turned into tweets or posted on your Facebook page. Vlogs and podcasts can be transcribed and turned into blog posts. Story ideas you pitch to newspapers and magazines can be adapted for your blog or for guest posts on sites like the Huffington Post (find out how to become a Huffington Post blogger, here). For example, I’ve taken the theme of working for free and turned it into content for the Guardian, Entrepreneur and my podcast.

Scheduling your content, across the year (or at least up to three months ahead) will allow you to space out your content, so your followers don’t find it repetitive.

Collaborate

The algorithm for social media sites like Facebook and Instagram rewards engagement, so the more comments and shares you get, the more people will be shown your content. But this can be hard - particularly when you’re just getting started on a new platform. Forming groups with other business owners who are also looking to grow their social media engagement (sometimes known as ‘pods’) and commenting on and sharing each others’ content - can be a great way to accelerate the process. I’ve created a number of growth ‘pods’ for members of my Soulful PR Studio - which has allowed some members to 10x their social media engagement. Committing just 15 minutes a day to being part of a pod can save you hours in the long run.

Don't be afraid to recycle social media content for other platforms.

Create habits

When you’re busy helping your customers or clients, PR can often end up at the bottom of your to-do list. But if you’re not taking daily action to promote your business, when you get to the end a busy period, you may find business is slow. Making PR part of your daily routine - as little as 15-20 minutes a day - will ensure you have a constant stream of leads and clients.

Most experts agree that it takes at least 30 days to form a new habit, so commit to one daily PR activity today - one that takes just 15-20 minutes - and in a month’s time you’ll have invested a day in your PR. Just think of the impact this could have on your business.

You could commit to being part of a social media growth pod, monitoring the news every morning or planning out your content for the coming week/month.

I encourage my clients to commit to a #dailypitch - where they suggest an idea to a journalist, pitch themselves to be a guest on a podcast or put themselves forward to speak at an event - every single day. If you did that every single working day of the year (252 days), just think how many pieces of guest content - and more importantly - links back to your site you could create in a year. Find out more about pitching guest content here.

Pink 2018 media planner and wallplanner
My 2018 media diary comes with over 1000 key dates, awareness days and anniversaries - which will save you hours of time on content planning

Want to save even more time with your PR? You can still grab one of my fab media diaries, which lists around 1000 key dates, awareness day and anniversaries and will save you tons of time on your planning. You’ll also get a monthly newsletter with updates on new books, films, TV programmes and other key developments you can use in your media planning.

Order your copy here. 

 

What's the point of press coverage?

If you run your own business, you may be wondering if it’s worth bothering with traditional PR i.e. coverage in newspapers, magazines and on radio & TV.

You get that it could raise your profile, but you're not sure how it could impact the bottom line of your business.

Here’s four reasons why you should care about traditional PR.

1.It will boost your credibility

Not everyone gets the chance to be interviewed for the BBC or quoted in a top-selling magazine like Marie Claire or Grazia. So if journalists from those kinds of publications or programmes think it’s worth talking to you - or featuring your products - you must be brilliant at what you do.

That’s what your prospective customers or clients will think when they visit your website and it says (ideally on the homepage) ‘as featured in’ the Guardian, Telegraph, BBC, Marie Claire, Huffington Post….’ (or wherever you have been featured). It will also impress potential sponsors, brands, book publishers, event organisers who are looking for speakers - anyone you’d love to work with, in fact.

And of course you don’t just get to share your media success on your website. Talking about your media appearances on your social media platforms - and sharing photographs, links and cuttings where possible - will also help you spread the word that you’re brilliant at what you do.

Vintage Style expert Kate Beavis has been featured in many national publications, including The Guardian, Elle, Psychologies, Marie Claire & Cosmopolitan,which she believes has raised her credibility. She's also appeared on national TV.

Kate Beavis with Eamonn Holmes from ITV's This Morning, after she appeared on the show

2.It will sends traffic to your website

Being featured in the press often means getting a link back to your website from a more influential site. Not only can this be great for your domain authority (which means you should rank high higher in Google), it will also send traffic to your website.

For example, this article I wrote for the Guardian on how to write a press release (published three years ago) sends tons of traffic my way, as do my other articles for the Guardian on small business PR. This particular article ranks on the first page of Google - above my article on my own blog on the topic.

Relocation consultant Melanie Haynes says this article (published over 18 months ago) on how she built a business out of being an expat in Copenhagen still sends her leads and clients, as does her regular column in the expat newspaper the local dk.

Arabel Lebrusan jewellers saw a huge spike in web traffic when this Daily Mail article appeared about an unusual wedding proposal - featuring one of their engagement rings.

Even if you don’t get a link back to your website, if people read an article that features you or hear you on the radio talking about something that interests them, they will ‘Google’ you and head over to your website to find out more.

3.It can help you get clients and customers

If you’re getting more traffic to your website as a result of your press coverage, these are leads you can convert into customers.

Designer and photographer Emma Mapp had a huge increase in orders after her stylish camera bag was featured in the Guardian’s 2016 Christmas Gift Guide. She’s also made sales from her coverage in Stylist and various in-flight magazines.

This article I wrote for PR Week on why I think every PR professionals should spend time in a newsroom before they practice landed me a consultancy job worth around £2k plus dozens of sales of my book. I have even got clients from this piece I wrote about why we need to talk more about miscarriage - proof that people like to do business with people.

Academic Lucy Parsons had a big surge in book sales after her article on how to ace every exam you’ll ever take appeared in the Daily Telegraph. She also got a coaching client directly from the article.

Emma Mapp's camera bag was featured in Stylist magazine resulting in an increase in orders

4.It’s free

A few figures for you:

Cost of a full page advert in a regional newspaper: around £2k/$3k (based on rate card price)

Hiring a PR company £12k/$18k a year (based on three days a month at a modest rate)

Cost of a full page advert in national newspaper £20k/$30k (based on rate card price)

Cost of getting coverage in a magazine or newspaper £0/$0

It gets better; not only is coverage in the media absolutely free, it’s also better for your business or brand. A journalist choosing to feature you because they think their audience will be interested in what you do (rather than because you’ve thrown a wad of cash at them for an advert) will give you far more credibility.

That being said PR is not a quick-fix solution. While you do hear of the odd article that leads to mass sales, for most business owners, PR is a marathon, not a sprint. A one-off feature in a newspaper or radio interview isn’t going to make you millions. But a steady stream of newspaper and magazine articles, and radio & TV appearances over a number of months - or more realistically - years, will help you build credibility and make sales.

If you’re serious about getting PR, you’ll need to roll up your sleeves and put in the ground work. As with anything you achieve in your business, success is rarely the result of a one-off action. It comes from a series of actions you repeat, day after day, week after week, until you get so good at it, you can almost do it in your sleep.

My blog and podcast are full of resources to help. But if you’re keen to get started and don’t want to waste time searching for everything you need,  join my online PR course Soulful PR for Starters.

You’ll be guided, step-by-step through everything you need to learn to get high-profile media coverage for your business. While you’re working through the course, you’ll also get access to me - both in a dedicated Facebook group and on a series of live coaching calls.

Click here if you're ready to learn more about Soulful PR for Starters.

How to prepare for Soulful PR for Starters

Enrolling in an online course a big investment of your time and money. To get the most out of the experience, preparation is vital.

There is nothing more annoying than starting a course then finding you can’t find the materials or haven’t got enough time to complete the activities

With that in mind, here’s everything you need to know about preparing for Soulful PR for Starters, which opens again in March. 

1.Set up a dedicated email folder for Soulful PR for Starters

Redirect any mail relating to Soulful PR for Starters to the folder, so you can find emails relating to the course easily - including your login details for the members’ area (these will be emailed to you when the course starts officially).

Whitelist my email address (i.e. add it to a safe list of emails) to ensure they don’t end up in spam. The method for doing this will vary according to your email provider, but if you Google ‘how to whitelist an address with [INSERT NAME OF EMAIL PROVIDER]’ you can easily find instructions.

2.Bookmark the learning area (and this post)

Bookmark this post so you can revisit it when you have any questions. We’ll be updating it with more info over the next few weeks.

On the first day of the course you’ll receive your log-in details for the learning area (where the learning materials will be stored). Bookmark this URL when it arrives.

3.Introduce yourself in the members’ area

There is a private Facebook Group for Soulful PR for Starters students. This is the place to pose questions (both to myself and other members) and have conversations.  Do go ahead and introduce yourself to the other students.

4.Join Twitter (if you haven’t already)

Twitter is the social media network where most journalists hang out - and we’ll be making the most of it during the course. So if you’re not already active on Twitter, set up an account and start using it.

If you’re a complete newbie, this article on how to get started with Twitter is a useful guide.

If you want to get more experience of using Twitter, do join my #soulfulprhour Twitter chat on Sunday evenings 8-9pm (BST). If you a complete newbie, read my guide on how to take part in a Twitter chat.

You might also want to follow our Soulful PR for Starters Twitter list.

5.Study the course schedule (and get key dates in your diary)

Spend some time familiarising yourself with the course schedule, including when you’ll receive the learning materials. Soulful PR for Starters is an eight-week course that includes six classes (video lessons of around 30-45 mins long plus related activities). You’ll also get five bonus sessions, which will be published at regular intervals during the course.

Here is an outline of the programme:

Session 1: Setting your intentions

Session 2: Connecting with journalists who are already looking for help with stories

Session 3: Developing story ideas for journalists

Live call 1. Date and time tbc. N.B. NO NEW SESSIONS WILL BE PUBLISHED THIS WEEK

Session 4: Pitching to journalists (including press release writing)

Session 5: Dealing with journalists (including finding their contact details)

Session 6: Maximising your press coverage (how to make each story go further)

Live call 2. Date and time tbc. 

Bonus material will be published at regular intervals during the course.

Bonus modules:

  • Traditional PR for social media managers and marketers (available September 11)
  • Newsjacking (using topical news stories to get media coverage)
  • Dealing with negative comments/criticism
  • 3 x video interviews with editors from Marie Claire, Grazia magazine and the Huffington Post - in which they share their tips on how to get featured in their publications
  • Influencer marketing (an introduction)

6.Do some background reading

If you’re new to PR, it can be a good idea to do some background reading before you start the course. My book, Your Press Release is Breaking My Heart, is a great starting point but is absolutely not compulsory.

As a minimum, I would recommend reading these blog posts:

How to tell your story in the media (without being boring)

How to write emails journalists will actually read

How to connect with journalists on social media (without feeling like a crazy stalker)

If you're new to PR my book is a great starting point but is absolutely not compulsory

7.Consider blogging about your experience

Taking an online course can be overwhelming. There is so much information coming at you, it can be easy to miss things. Reflecting on your experience and setting goals can be a great way to document your progress as copywriter Tarzan Kay does in this review of Marie Forleo’s B-SchoolYou may also be able to turn it into useful content for your own audience.

I’d recommend writing a ‘before’ and ‘after’ blog post. Stating publicly on your blog that you are taking an online course also gives you accountability (telling your audience you’re learning how to get traditional PR coverage means you have to follow through, right?).

8.Block out time for follow up

It’s easy to finish an online course full of brilliant ideas. Sadly, it’s just as easy to get bogged down the minute the course is over, forget everything you’ve learned and not follow up on what you’ve learned. Make sure this doesn’t happen to you by blocking out a few hours (ideally in the week or so after the course finishes) to reflect on what you’ve learned and make a plan to put it into action.

If you haven't yet enrolled in Soulful PR for Starters, you can do so here

 

10 common concerns about enrolling for Soulful PR for Starters

Investing in an online course is a big decision. Not only is there the cost of the training to consider, you’ll also need to set aside time for learning, which might mean taking time away from your business.

It’s natural to worry about whether you’re making the right decision in signing up for an online course (and the consequences of making the wrong choice).

With that in mind, here are some of the most common concerns prospective students raise about joining my Soulful PR for Starters course

If you’re not familiar with Soulful PR for Starters, it’s an eight-week online programme that covers everything you need to know to get high-profile coverage in newspapers, magazines and on radio & TV - for example: understanding what journalists are looking for in a story, writing pitches and press releases, finding journalists’ contact details, helping journalists find you online and a whole lot more.

The course is suitable for small business owners who want to do their own PR. It is also suitable for those who want to offer traditional PR as a service to their clients e.g. social media managers, marketing professionals and PRs.

Concern 1: ‘I’m not ready for PR’

Some prospective students tell me they love the idea of the course - and are keen to get national press coverage for their business - but want to wait until they’re ready to launch a new product or programme.

My advice

It’s never too early to start building your media profile - particularly when you consider lead times on national publications and programmes. Monthly magazines can work up to 3-6 months ahead, weeklies 4-6 weeks ahead, while some TV/radio shows are made up to a year ahead. Wait to learn about PR and you may miss the boat on cracking your ideal publications or programmes. That aside, just because you’re not ready to launch a new product or programme - doesn’t mean you can’t be featured in the press right now (in fact, if you’re running your own business, you absolutely should be). And building relationships with national media contacts now will make it far easier to get PR around your launch.

Concern 2: ‘I’d rather wait until I can afford to hire a PR company to do it for me’

Some prospective students tell me they’d rather put off getting press coverage until they can afford to hire a PR company - usually because they feel they don’t have time to do their own PR (see concern 3).

My advice

Hiring a PR firm could cost you upwards of £300 a day (and much more in many cases). So you’ll need a budget of at least £7.2k a year for just a couple of days support a month. Do you really want to wait until you have that kind of budget to get press coverage for your business?

With the right strategies in place, doing your own PR doesn’t have to be time-consuming. And when you do have the budget to outsource, if you know how to pitch a story, find journalists’ contact details or what to include in a pitch or press release, you’ll be much better placed to make the right hire.

Concern 3: ‘I don’t have time’

Some prospective students tell me they don’t have time to do their own PR. That they are too busy running their business to contact journalists, write email pitches or press releases.

My advice

Getting press coverage can help attract visitors to your website, build credibility and raise your profile both with prospective customers and in your industry - all of which generates leads and sales. So if you can’t make time for activities that generate new customers/clients, you may need to rethink your priorities. You might be busy right now, but if you’re not generating a constant stream of leads and sales, things might look different in a few months’ time.

With the right strategies in place, doing your own PR doesn’t have to be time-consuming. For example, a short email is often easier (and much more effective) than a press release

Concern 4: ‘I’m not a very good writer’

If you don’t have much experience of the media, you may be under the impression that the only way to be featured in newspapers and magazines is by writing the content yourself. Some prospective students tell me they are worried their writing isn’t good enough for PR.

My advice

There are plenty of ways to get featured in newspapers and magazines - without writing the content yourself. In fact, if you contact a journalist with an idea, they’ll generally either interview you over the phone or get you to answer some questions via email.

So if you want to get featured in the press, the only thing you need to be able to write is an email to a journalist. That’s it. You don’t even have to write press releases (unless you really want to).

That said, there are opportunities for you to write for the media e.g. opinion articles or practical ‘how to’ articles that can be great for business. If writing’s not your thing, you can always outsource that part to a copywriter.

Concern 5: ‘I don’t have anything interesting to offer journalists’

Some prospective students tell me they can see how national media coverage could help their business - they just don’t have anything interesting to offer journalists.

My advice

In 16 years of journalism, I’ve yet to come across a business owner who doesn’t have an interesting story to tell or an expert point of view that is helpful to journalists. Doing an online course will help you understand what you have to offer that journalists might be interested in. You’ll also learn about what journalists are looking for in a story (and what they’re not) so you can identify the publications and programmes you should be targeting and the best way to ‘pitch’ your ideas.

Concern 6: ‘I’ll be inundated with orders I won’t be able to fulfil’

A common concern I hear from owners of product-based businesses is that if they get featured in the national press they’ll be inundated with orders they can’t fulfil i.e. they don’t have the stock.

My advice

As much as I’d like to tell you that a single piece of national coverage will make you millions...this is very unlikely to happen. If you have some experience of marketing, you’ll know it takes, on average, around seven or eight touchpoints before a prospective customer buys. PR is just one of those touch points. So the more times a prospective customer sees/hears a mention of of your business or product, the more likely they are to buy. Yes there are always exceptions. But if you happen to be in the minority of businesses that does manage to make a ton of sales off one piece of press coverage, that’s a good problem to have, right? You’re resourceful enough to find a solution.

Concern 7: ‘I sell products rather than offer a service.’

Some prospective students tell me they don’t think the course is right for them because they run a product-based business.

My advice

If you’re looking to get national press coverage for your business this course is relevant for you. The learning materials include strategies and resources specifically aimed at product-based businesses, including examples and case studies. 

In our group coaching calls and private Facebook group I will be able to guide you on the best ways to get media attention for your business - whether you sell products, services (or something else entirely).

Concern 8: ‘I’m not ready to be the face of my business’

Some prospective students tell me they want press coverage of their product or service - but they don’t want to be featured in the media themselves.

My advice

Here’s some tough love: journalists are far more interested in people than products. So unless you’re prepared to step out from behind your logo, your media opportunities will be limited to the odd review and/or product round-up. Investing in a PR course - created by a journalist with 16 years’ experience in the industry (that’s me!) - will open your eyes to other ways you might be able to get your business featured in the press and should help allay your fears about being in the limelight.

Journalists need people like you to help them create content for the publication or programme they work for, so if you’re not taking advantage of this, you’re definitely missing a trick. Learning about how they work and the daily pressures they face will help you feel more comfortable about being featured in the media.

Concern 9: ‘I’m worried about looking stupid’

Some prospective students tell me they don’t think the course is right for them because they don’t know much about PR.

My advice

If you don’t know much about PR this is exactly why you should be learning about it. Soulful PR for Starters students are typically small business owners (of both product and service-based business), social media managers and marketing professionals with one thing in common: little or no experience of PR.

Concern 10: ‘Traditional PR doesn’t work’

Some prospective students tell me they had an article in a newspaper in a magazine - or appeared on radio or TV - but 'nothing happened'. 

My advice

Would you expect your business to blow up after posting a couple of tweets or Facebook updates? Of course not. It's exactly the same with press coverage.

It takes, on average, around seven or eight touchpoints before a prospective customer buys. PR is just one of those touch points. So while you do hear about the odd bit of press coverage that goes viral, for most people it’s more of a slow burn. And like everything else in your business, you need to keep at it. The more times a prospective customer sees/hears about you or your business, the more likely they are to engage with you. So the more press coverage you can gain over a number of months or years, the bigger the impact on your business.

You may have noticed I haven’t included ‘I don’t have the budget’ in this list. That’s because, over ten years of running training courses, I’ve yet to meet anyone who can’t think of ways to fund training they really want/need.

Interested? You can find out more and sign up here.

Media Enquiry Services: Costs and comparisons for small business owners

Want your business featured in magazines, newspapers and/or radio and TV - without writing endless press releases - or hiring a PR company?

Using a media enquiry service - which puts journalists who are looking for help with stories in touch with people who want to be featured in the media - can be well worth the investment.

Subscribe to a media enquiry service and you’ll get emails in your inbox every single day from journalists on high-profile media outlets like the Guardian, Marie Claire magazine and the New York Times. All for as little as £20 per month. Sounds almost too good to be true doesn’t it?

But how do you decide which media enquiry service is the best option for you?

Find out in my guide to media enquiry services for small business owners.

Response Source

 

Subscribers to this service receive requests from journalists for case studies, experts and article ideas (by email). Journalists must specify a deadline (time and date) so subscribers can gauge how urgent the request is.

Prices range from £430 for a single subject category (including health, women’s interest and beauty and personal finance) to £15,355 for all 25. Small business owners typically subscribe to three or four categories. At the time of writing, ResponseSource says that 5500 people have submitted nearly 30000 enquiries over the last 12 months.

In the past week alone, I’ve personally been featured in Daily Mail, Women’s Running magazine, and been quoted in a number of articles on business websites - simply by replying to media requests from ResponseSource. Many of my students have also had success with ResponseSource, being featured in Marie Claire, the Daily Mail, Psychologies, Grazia, Good Housekeeping, Stylist and Top Sante, amongst others.

Pros:

ResponseSource offers a week’s free trial of its service.

Cons:  

Expensive for small business owners. However, if you consider the cost of the service spread over the year - compared to the cost of hiring a PR company (upwards of £300 per day on average) - and the potential return on investment, it can actually be really cost-effective PR option for small business owners. 

You will get a LOT of emails. However, if you want great media exposure, this is a small price to pay: you can always redirect them to a specific folder in your inbox.

Cost:

£430 to £15,355 (plus VAT) - although the top end price is for everything and it's very rare people take all categories. 

HARO

 

Although it's billed as the ‘most popular sourcing service in the English-speaking world’ HARO does seem to be mainly used by the American press (and global outlets such as Reuters and Mashable). HARO distributes over 50,000 queries from journalists every year, so it's definitely worth signing up for the free basic subscription - which includes emails about media opportunities, delivered to your inbox three times a day - to see if it's right for your business. 

Pros

There is a free version and there is no year-long contract for any of the upgrades, which can be cancelled at any time. The upgraded subscriptions include extras such as keyword alerts to filter requests and early notification on opportunities that are a good fit for you. 

Cons

Many of the requests are for US-based publications

You will get a LOT of emails. However, if you want great media exposure, this is a small price to pay: you can always redirect them to a specific folder in your inbox.

Cost

From free to $149 a month.

Gorkana

 

The Gorkana media enquiry service works in a similar way to Response Source. Subscribers to this service receive requests from journalists for case studies, experts and article ideas (by email). 

Pros

Subscribers can opt to only receive email requests that are relevant to them.

Cons

No set price list available. "We offer a cost effective solution and the fee structure is determined by the services required,” is all we could glean.

Cost:

unknown

 

Source Bottle

 

This media enquiry works in a similar way to Response Source and Gorkana i.e. subscribers are sent relevant media opportunities by email.

Pros

Subscribers can choose which countries they receive requests from (including the UK, USA and Australia) - which is useful if your business only operates in certain areas. You can also opt to receive request on specific topics, so you're not overwhelmed by irrelevant queries.

Upgrade for $25 per month (GST inc) and Sourcebottle will match your profile to media requests - and pitch to the journalists who post them on your behalf, which could save you lots of time.

Cons

Many of the requests are for Australian publications (where the service was set up) so might not be suitable if you want USA/UK coverage.

Costs:

Free -$25 per month

Ace Media

 

A relative newcomer on the scene, Ace Media seems to be aimed at businesses keen to get into product round-ups (e.g. gift guides and fashion pages) features and similar types of editorial. There is an image gallery where businesses can post pictures of their products (searchable by journalists) which is also handy.

Pros

There is a free seven-day trial available and prices start from £20 a month, with no contract or minimum term. Ace Media seems to be much more small business friendly than some of the other services.

Ace Media also offers Influencer Outreach, which might appeal if you also want to collaborate with or be featured by influential bloggers.

Cons

Possibly only suited to those in lifestyle/fashion/beauty sectors, although this is obviously a positive point as well as a drawback. Mainly British.

Costs:

Free to £60 per month

JornoLink

 

JournoLink has more of a focus on business sector publications and press release distribution (although subscribers do get media enquiries from journalists via email). It also has a calendar of events you can use to create PR opportunities for your business. Other features include a PR Toolkit with online guides to giving media interviews, writing more effective press releases, dealing with journalists and other useful information. 

Pros

There is 30-day free trial. Small business friendly.

Cons

Heavy focus on business publications (rather than consumer).

Costs:

From £25 per month (£200 for a year)

 

Why not join my free 10 Day PR Challenge? Click here to get involved.