Public relations – how to make your business well known

Without a clear strategy you will lose an abundance of opportunities of doing PR that will not come back, you will react too slowly and lessen the impact of what you are doing.

How do you get your business in the papers?

How to succeed with PR

To be able to swiftly react to news you really have to know what you are aiming for with your PR activities. What’s your target group? What’s your message? Who’s your spokesperson? What issues do you want to be associated with?

Whenever headline news is associated with what you do, contact media and make a statement. Journalists are keen to hear from companies involved in the sector.

Contact news agencies

Whenever there is news you would like to comment on call news agencies immediately and make a statement. The earlier you call the higher the likelihood of you being quoted.

Focus on developments in your area

What’s being debated in parliament? What events are taking place? Inform journalists about news in your company that are related to what’s going on and issues being debated. Don’t forget to give them background, facts and comments.

Scoops give opportunities

Whenever a newspaper has a scoop you can give them additional information and your points of view. Journalists will be keen to publish what you say since you prove that their scoop really was remarkable.

Take advantage of lack of headline news

When there is lack of news it’s easy to get an interesting story published. And getting your company in the papers during the weekends is not as difficult as during the week. It’s not for nothing that Wikileaks always release their documents on Fridays. Always be prepared to take advantage of not much happening in the world by having press releases and articles ready to submit. And make sure that spokespersons are available to comment.

Anniversaries and jubilees are good occasions

An easy way to start a press release is by stating something like “with our national day coming up…” and then going on to whatever it is you would like to get published. Volvo for instance got a lot of coverage by taking advantage of International Women’s Day by launching a car developed by and for women in connection with it.

Timing is key

Save your news until you need publicity, for instance because of fundraising or an IPO. A good example of that is how some fundraising organisations try to get as much publicity as they can at the end of the year which is the time when they raise funds.


If you want to impact decisions being taken you need to start lobbying long before the matter will be decided upon. For instance, if you are keen on being voted entrepreneur of the year it’s a good idea to start submitting articles to the opinion section of major newspapers just before the jury will meet to decide who will be the lucky one.

Avoid days when much is happening

The day the budget is released, war breaks out somewhere or someone famous is taken to hospital it’s a waste of time to try to get your press release published. It will not work for the simple reason that other more important events are taking place.

Forget about sending emails

Call the journalists. This is by far the most effective way to connect with media because they receive hundreds of emails every day. While everyone else is scared of getting a big no in their ear, having a bit of courage will get you further in the PR game.

The press release is dead. At least, the old press release where you e-blast news desks, reporters, and news-wires. While online media releases do serve SEO purposes and have track-able metrics, in a world of spam the last thing an editor wants is another generic email about the launch of something.

How are you handling your PR? Still sending press releases by email? Do you usually get your press releases published? Have you developed good relations with journalists in key papers? What strategies have you tried and which ones work for you? What suggestions do you have for companies trying to get more impact from their PR activities?

Photo: PhotoXpress – Christopher Hall

74 responses

  1. Some good points, Catarina.

    I've long believed that PR is the least understood part of marketing: too often, people think it is a question of press releases about new products.


    PR is about managing everything to do with your organization's image – and no press release should ever go out without an opinion. Simply announcing version 2.132 of a product is guaranteed to get you ignored.

    Use the media (in all its guises) to establish yourself/company as an expert in your field and you will get all the coverage you can handle.

  2. Catarina:

    Knowing what you want too do with PR gets you pretty far in the battle. You are correct that one more press release in the pile will not necessarily get you any news. You offer some good suggestions. One more I would add is to think about more local or community newspapers. They ofter have web editions as well. They are seeking content and most interested in filling the paper for each edition.


  3. I have a designer/illustrators micro-event that I'm going to start planning so these tips come in handy. Thanks.

  4. Good ideas Catarina. I also learned from Sally Shields, to tie into news headlines. She is a master at PR. I don't agree that emailing press releases are dead, in particular since just last week, I emailed about being one of 365 women selected out of 5,000 to have a few-words-of-wisdom appear in a woman's calendar. It appeared, people noticed, the email worked. Maybe that is because it was local news? Great post.

  5. Hi Catarina,

    Thanks for the great suggestions about how to handle PR. I know that I certainly learned a lot from your article. Rob's suggestion about local or community newspapers is also valuable. Thanks Rob!

  6. Although I do do do much PR these days you are right about the relationships. This has always been the case , just the channels and tools that you can use today have increased. The old spraying of press releases were hit and miss.

    Very good article Catarina.

  7. Hey Catarina,

    Do you know a good method to gather contact information for journalists? Definately agree with the need for relationship building in PR and finding exactly what they want to publish, but often it is hard to make that initial connection. Any advice is very appreciated!


  8. Great suggestions Catarina. Lack of headline news – never really thought of it as a opportunity until now. I especially like the Volvo anniversary example. Very useful! Thanks.

  9. You always provide great tips. This is very useful who is trying to make good PR. Do the journalists actually take calls from people? How can we create that kind of connection? Everyone give attention to the expert in the field. You are talking about big shots in their field right?
    My recent post New Crochet project

  10. Great post Catarina. Certainly highlights some timely reminders on how to take the initiative when it come to bringing your expertise to the public domain.

  11. Brilliant, Catarina.

    When the Bush Gore election was on, I decided to become the virtual candidate for the US Senate. I posted a website. That tie-in help every website I designed skyrocket in the rankings. A sample website I put up for a potential client skyrocketed to # 6 in the search ranks overnight. I was interviewed in the local paper.

    Still, location, location, location. I was selling to a niche market and I failed to pursue skills needed for the larger market. Also, I did not have "a plan".

    Once you are prepared to take advantage of good PR, be prepared to capitalise on it by having the skills and products you want to sell.


    My recent post China! Economics! Diversification!

  12. Catarina — Excellent tips. I do disagree about not using email or press releases. In the U.S. a brief email with a compelling subject line is usually the preferred method of communication for journalists. It's very difficult to get them on the phone, although following up an email pitch with a phone call can work. Also, a press release is often distributed "for the record" by big companies that have a major announcement such as a merger or new product release. In fact, a public company is required to announce major developments that have an impact on their share price — that's usually in the form of a press release (plus other legal notices). Jumping on the news and sending out a quick pitch with your POV on the topic is also very effective.
    My recent post Why Can’t Graphic Designers and Their Clients Ever Agree?

  13. Catarina,

    Thank you. I KNOW I need to do a better job of marketing our efforts. Talking with the Press and other industry bloggers is something I have nothing with. I know…lost opportunity, huh?

    With our next event, I'm going to branch out and talk with some publishers to help get some "press."

    Thanks for the tips.

    My recent post Be More Proactive Using These Four Tips

  14. Great tips Catarina. PR is something that I neglect. So, I appreciate your reminder. Thankfully, I have made a connection with the editor of a monthly business journal. All of my correspondence with her has been via email. To date, I've only submitted my workshops to her training calendar but I have toyed with the idea of approaching her with a monthly article. I think she would be receptive to it. This would not be a press release but I think it would be a wonderful opportunity. What are your thoughts on this?
    My recent post Tracking Changes to Your Website Blog and Social Media Strategy

  15. This is very true that public relation is one of the main key for promoting business or making up business well known. Without having good and closed public relation it is almost impossible to build up business well known. SO public relation is mostly important. Thanks

    My recent post Try New Strategies But Never Ignore SEO Marketing

  16. So many ways to approach your customer….so true Catarina!
    I try to work with a decisive approach in everything I publish. A clear stand point – opinions – directions – final goals

  17. Two of my clients regularly create press releases. I think the media they serve expect to hear from them, so the press releases always get attention. But this is because of years of building relationships. And I'm sure they do it all through email now – much more efficient. I have another client who gets her clients in the Wall Street Journal – she also seems to know the ropes and how to do this.
    My recent post Pixel? My Image has Pixels?

  18. Catarina,
    I am working on it! Honestly this has not been my priority number one to get media coverage. I try to approach things from local perspective – interacting and spreading ideas among people in my surrounding. But I have thought of approaching various medias….

  19. Yes ma'am. Lately my PR has not really been a focus. LIkely it needs to be with my book ready to be released soon. Since we've been traveling, all for pleasure, about 80% this year, the time to focus on these important issues somewhat dropped off my to do list. I'm letting your post serve as a reminder Catarina.
    My recent post 4 Specifics to Celebrate for Introvert Freedom

  20. Excellent points Catarina. I'm amazed how misunderstood PR is in general! A case in point is within the cruise industry as a whole. With more than few disastrous in the last few years, I think they've done the worst job in the PR department. Instead they've issued a series of press releases and decreased pricing hoping to bring the business back up to snuff. I'm not sure anyone has a focused PR campaign in the industry!
    My recent post Freedom… Where’s The Justice?

  21. Great advice Catarina. I particularly like having matte stories prepared in advance for those slow moments in the media. I also think it's helpful to try to think outside of your immediate sector and reach out to media folks in other areas. For instance, I work with eye doctors, but I'll reach out to technology writers because with so many of us being on computers there are eye strain issues that need expert advice.
    My recent post Today we celebrate

  22. Catarina, this post is a gem. All these helpful suggestions in one place. It is so easy to ignore using PR and so foolish. Relationships are key in business and I enjoy that. Sitting at my computer all day makes me eager to network or touch base with a good connection.

  23. Hi Catarina – Building a relationship with the media is really not that difficult. As you say, be prepared and know your facts. One other thing I found – help them out. Sometimes they have a no-show and if you are willing to jump in to be interviewed at the last minute, they remember that and will often repay the favour many times over.
    You’re also right about the emails. They are very impersonal – not exactly relationship building stuff.

  24. All pertinent points, though I will admit to being slow to learn what to even put in my newsletters since I am trying to draw attention to both my writing and editing. At least I’m headed to a writing conference next week and will get some ideas from that.

  25. Very good suggestions on using PR to promote your business. Forward planning is one thing I am not very good at as I can never think so far ahead…that’s where PR firms are very good as they know what article at which stage will create the best impact. In fact some of points are worth bearing in mind even when blogging e.g writing recipes for certain big events and not posting them at weekends etc as I have found that my blog doesn’t get many hits atr weekends.

  26. What a wealth of information that is too often overlooked. I think when it is applicable, new or developing businesses should consider what their PR strategies and tactics should be in order to take advantage of timely opportunities that can be missed as you stated. Great tips!

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