Now that we are a good several weeks into 2014, and most resolutions have already gone by the wayside, let’s talk about something tangible and easily attainable for 2014 like your PR goals! I’m sure you want free publicity for your business.

Do you want to get on local television? Get featured in a national magazine? Get a story written about your business in a trade publication? Where do you want to see your business in the media in 2014?

How to Get Free Publicity

Follow these 10 EASY steps for PR success this year:

Step 1 – Decide what your PR goals are for the year.

Step 2 – Make a list of your top 5, 10, even 20 media outlets in which you’d like to be featured. Be realistic and include local media. It’s the perfect place to start and a great stepping-stone to national coverage.

Step 3 – Determine what it is that makes you or your business newsworthy for that particular publication/show. Make sure you know the media outlet and how you can make your business fit in their format. This step is vital for your PR success.

Step 4 – Do the research to find who the right contact person is. Read the magazine/newspaper or watch the show. Use Google and even pick up the phone to find out who the contact is.  NOTE: If you are pitching a business story, don’t send it to the beauty editor.

Step 5 – Connect with these journalists on social media. Twitter is great for this! See what they’re talking about. What types of stories do they cover? Like, comment on, and share their work. They’ll love you for that!

Step 6 – Come up with a great story idea to submit to the journalist (refer back to Step 3)

Step 7 – “Hook” them in with the headline. A winning headline is crucial if you want them to read on. A boring headline equals boring content and they likely won’t go any further.

Step 8 – “Show” them the story or segment. Map it out for them so they can see how it will look on the pages of the magazine or on air. Make it easy for them to do their job by showing them how perfect your idea is for their outlet.

Step 9 – Keep it brief and easy to read. Journalists are inundated with email. Show them you value their time by providing them a great story idea that is easily read and very visual for them.

Step 10 – Last but not least… follow up. But don’t hit “send” on the email and then pick-up the phone.  Give it a few days and follow up via email. No response? Give them a quick call.

If you don’t hear back the first time, don’t give up. PR is a lesson in perseverance.  Stay in touch with the journalist via social media and keep sending in your ideas. Don’t send the same one over and over but emailing them a new, creative story idea once a month is just fine!

Good luck and let us know how it goes.