Public relations isn’t for the easily discouraged. It takes thick skin and a willingness to fail—repeatedly.
For small businesses without the resources to hire a PR agency or an in-house specialist, crafting a cohesive PR plan can seem downright impossible. For these reasons, many companies don’t even try.
That’s a shame, because PR can generate leads, authority and revenue for small businesses. Here are five simple PR tactics you can use to promote, plug and propel your company toward prosperity:
1. Templatize pitch emails.
I would never recommend pitching reporters with a generic email. Reporters can sniff out impersonal baloney a mile away. However, creating a template with evergreen elements of your pitch can save you time. This could be your product description copy or your company’s philosophy.
Personalize your pitch, but save yourself time by creating buckets of reusable copy.
2. Include your customers.
Most bloggers and reporters aren’t looking for companies to talk about; they’re looking for stories to tell. More often than not, your story won’t be of interest to them.
What about your customers? Think about which of these ideas is more interesting: tooting your own horn about how great your company is, or a story about how a particular customer’s life improved after using your service. Find advocates in your customer base, and use real-life case studies for credible PR points.
3. Scour monitoring services.
I use free services such as Google Alerts and TalkWalker to monitor news about trending topics, my company, our competitors, my company’s CEO and anything related to our industry. Alert tools help me monitor the landscape and adjust PR tactics accordingly.
4. Use HARO for quick hits.
Help a Reporter Out is a free service that reporters use to find expert sources. Sign up, and you’ll get requests to shed light on various topics.
Not all requests will be in your wheelhouse, but you may be the right person at the right time for the right publication. It’s worth a try.
5. Ride the coattails of national stories.
Newsjacking, or creating content that dovetails with larger news stories, is an easy way to drive traffic and generate attention. Do you run an immigration legal practice? You could blog about national immigration reform. Own a manufacturing plant? Offer a firsthand view to reporters covering American manufacturing.
Different stories trend every day. Why not make your business part of the conversation if you have something relevant to add?
Developing a successful, sustainable PR strategy takes time, nuance and commitment, but there are plenty of simple (and free) PR methods that can burnish your business and help you find new customers.
A version of this article originally appeared on Business 2 Community.