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A Small Business PR Strategy That Will Plaster You Across the Papers

Written by Peter Visser

Getting publicity is great for any business, especially a small business. It adds to your credibility, it drives more leads, and Google loves you for it. But the biggest questions is: How?

How on earth does a small business get publicity without hiring a PR firm raking you across the coals for immeasurable results? The answer lies in a little PR strategy I developed a couple of years ago. The best thing about this neat little system is that you can make it as big or as small as you want.

The thing about PR

Before I dive into the strategy, there is one thing you should know. It is very difficult to measure the success of a PR campaign. Seriously. If there was an algorithm that could do it, it would have to have a convolution of metrics that will make your head pop.

I use a very simple method. I just count how many newspapers contacted me, or my client, for an interview. That’s right. By using this strategy there is a very good chance of a reporter contacting you to set up an interview.

One client I did this for got featured in the Huffington Post, Christian Post, got a radio interview, and was in the back pages of the Los Angeles Times. If you want specifics on that case study then give me a call.

The PR Strategy

Step #1 – Do something newsworthy

I know this sounds difficult, but it really isn’t. I usually create a YouTube video and push a 100,000 views to it. I know what you are thinking. WHAT?!

How on this green Earth do I push 100,000 views to my YouTube video? Well, it is much easier and cheaper than you would think. By utilizing, and VirURL you can easily get tens of thousands of views. For more info on how to do this read the following article I wrote last week: How to get 100,000 Views to Your YouTube Video.

Once you have a video with tons of views you can write enticing, and newsworthy, press releases. Imagine the following title landing in the newspaper ‘Small Business Owner Bamboozled by Overnight YouTube Success.”

I realize that this might seem like a monumental task so here are a couple of easier suggestions for newsworthy content.

  • Give money to charity.
  • Give away your service or product to a person in need.
  • Use a case study to show how you helped the average John Doe.
  • Re-launch a service or product while supporting a controversial cause, like Gay Marriage.

So you don’t really need a video even though it does help a lot, because there are so many other possibilities. You just have to be a little creative. I would suggest locking yourself, and your business partner/helper, in a room and spit balling ideas on what you can release to the press.

Don’t fall into the trap that most companies fall into – boring old crap that journalists and people will ignore.

Step #2 – Write your press release

Writing a press release is a bit more specific than it should be. There is a proper format and you need include certain bits of information, and it needs to be a certain length. Unfortunately for us, journalists made all of these rules and we can’t ignore them.

Here is an example of a press release format provided by Publicity Insider.

Press Release Format

Make sure you stick to that format, otherwise your press release is going to be a massive waste of money.

A couple of things to remember about the writing style:

  • Ignore all those idiot driven press releases with ‘Break Through’, ‘Unique’, or ‘State of the Art’. They have been ineffective since the war ended (the first one).
  • Think like a journo (journalist). You are reporting the news. You are not launching a product or doing ‘PR’. That means never referring to ‘I’ or ‘we’ unless you are quoting someone.
  • You should ideally keep your press release to 500-700 words. Any more than that and you will be glazed over.

Get your press release written for you

I know. None of us have any time to write a press release, and if we do, will it even be any good? What if it sucks? Luckily for us, there are thousands of professional journalists that do a bit of writing on the side.

Head over to and get a 5 star author to write your release. It should be no more than $50, which is an absolute bargain! Make sure to let them know about any quotes, stats, or other bits of information you want in there.

Step #3 – Distributing your press release

So now you have your awesome release written by some savvy cigar smoking freelance journalist. What now?

Well, the pros in the industry all use PR Newswire, but it is expensive and a bit confusing. You want something that is simple, and much, much cheaper. Introducing PRWeb. You can get a basic press release from just $99 – bargain! However, I would recommend looking through their packages and seeing which one you can afford.

Their premium services go to premium news papers like the New York Times, USA Today etc. You want to reach them as much as you want to reach the local guys. If the national news agencies find your story interesting, they will pass it on to a local newspaper to find out more about you.

Step #4 – Engage & Respond

The fourth step gives you about a 20% boost in your exposure and brand awareness. By engaging i.e. commenting, answering questions, responding to blogs etc. you will encourage people to find out about your business.

So how do you do it? How do you find out where people are talking about you?

You should keep an eye on every single website (about 300 million) that have anything to do with blogging or news. Luckily for you, there is a system out there that already keeps an eye on all of these guys. The mighty Google!

Google Alerts

You should go to and set up an alert for your company name, or your personal name, so that you get an email at the end of each day, letting you know exactly where you were mentioned.

Go to these pages and interact. It is an amazing way to get people to talk about you a bit more.

Frequency & the Overall Cost

In a nutshell, how much is this going to cost you, and how often should you do it?

The costs really vary depending on how huge you want to go with this thing. I’m going to try and break it down for you.

  • Writing the press release: $50
  • PRWeb premium release: $400
  • Video creation & promotion: $2,000-$4,000 (optional)

I would definitely recommend doing this about 1-3 times per quarter. The more you do it the more you will appear in the press, especially the local press. Be careful though. If you don’t have anything newsworthy to report, then don’t do it. You will waste both your money and your time.

Is this right for you?

In theory this is right for every business, but there are many other online marketing mediums you should be using before doing PR like blogging and SEO/content marketing. They are cheaper and give you more measurable results.

Have you ever used a PR strategy? What was the outcome?

About the author

Peter Visser

Peter has been in the online space since 2008 when he created his first online company. Since then he’s made all of his money online. As well as designing and implementing custom strategies for businesses, he is also an avid fan of any kind of beer.

  • Robert Hawkins

    I’ll have to try this, I’ve been having trouble with pr for my small business.

    • Let me know how it goes for you. If you stick to it on a constant basis, then you will build up tons of authority.

  • Ana Beatriz

    All these tips sound great but the cost is a bit steep for some of us newer business owners to do very often. Do you have any way that a person could implement this strategy on a tighter budget?

    • Hi Ana. I personally feel that this is the best way to do it, but there are cheaper alternatives to You could go to PR Leap, or PR Free. Of course you don’t have to do the videos, because that is where the real expense comes in, but the ROI is worth it.

  • Keren Dix

    Wow! How helpful! I am about to start new business in the next couple of months (gotta save funds) and this is sets me in the right direction. Yes I have to agree that those of us starting without a lot of funds may find it challenging but I am willing to adapt the ideas to fit my needs. Thank You

    • Hi Keren, I am glad I could help. You may want to look to blogging and content marketing before you decide to splash out on PR.

  • Lisa P.

    This article was surprisingly “Helpful”, and beyond “Insightful” for my husband and I…. Thank You so much for giving us key points to think about through our journey ahead….!!!

    • No problem Lisa :-). I am glad it was useful for you.

  • ChrisP

    These are definitely great ideas! Wow, I am just blown away.

  • doraexplora700

    one thing that i might have problems with is the cost. the ideas are indeed great, but i would need to invest a decent amount first. i liked the idea of using youtube. also, i think the other ideas are great for a small business to get noticed

    • Yeah unfortunately you can’t get anywhere without spending a bit of money. If you take out the video though, the costs come down dramatically. You can also elect to go for some of the smaller press release packages they offer.

  • matthew oden

    these are great ideas to expand your business. the money is a lot to consider but it does get your business out there so you may recieve more customers for whatever service you are offering. great article!

    • Thanks! You have to keep in mind that there are some tangible long term benefits too. If you target a keyword, then you are going to get recurring visitors from the search engines.

  • samanthatrieve

    I never knew much about PR and have been trying to understand it all. This article has helped tremendously.

  • Jack Jargens

    There is some really good information here. I had no idea it could be that easy to creat a youtube video and get it viewed by thousands of people that quickly, that is amazing. The the pricing for all the PR work seemed very reasonable, I can’t wait to get involved!

  • Aliza shrestha

    thanks for the information

  • Gaurab Khatiwada

    these are great works

  • Scott Stevens

    What would you advise for someone who can’t even afford a basic press release?

    • Hi Scott. If you can’t afford a basic release I would suggest focussing on other forms of marketing, like going to networking events. But since the basic press release is only $99, you must be in a very sticky situation.

  • Michael D

    I completely agree with the idea of leaving out the hype yet people strill use words like ‘breakthrough’ etc etc . When will they learn…
    As for getting someone to write your press release, what sort of standard can you expect for $50? will it need further editing?

    • For $50 you will get an incredible standard with perfect grammar. The key is to be very detailed in what you want written in the release.

  • Christine Wenger

    I love your idea of generating publicity by donating to charity or by using your product to help a person in need. Not only are you gaining recognition for yourself, you are also helping someone in need. I can’t agree with you more when it comes to avoid such overused phrases as “Breakthrough.” As an English major, I was taught to avoid cliches and use my own creativity when crafting words.

    • If you can connect with people emotionally then it will spread all over the internet. So you really get the best of both worlds 1) you help someone, 2) you make more money :-).

  • Nasir Ali

    PR is very important for small and medium size website. When website pr is best many kind’s of works do this pr site. This article is written well and many valuable information add this article. So it is very helpful for website owner.

  • Latifah Lewis

    I’ve always tried to get thousands of youtube views for my videos, thanks for the recommendation links to use

    • No problem. is absolutely awesome for getting legitimate YouTube views.

  • Indumathi Palanisamy

    I had no idea it could be that easy to creat a youtube video and get it viewed by thousands of people that quickly, that is amazing. The the pricing for all the PR work seemed reasonable. This article has helped tremendously.Thankyou

    • I know it is amazing isn’t it? Just imagine how many celebrities do this in order to seem more popular.

  • Tom

    I came here for the article but stayed to learn how to get 100,000 views to your youtube video

    • I deliberately wrote the two articles close together, because they go hand in hand. Glad you liked them.

  • Gary Roberts

    I am just getting my feet wet with IM & just by reading this fantastic article I am picking up so many different methods of advertising your products & services.

  • KelCol

    I am fairly new to all the ins and outs of promoting a product, but I now feel
    that I have a fairly good understanding of the aspects involving internet
    marketing now, due to these insightful articles. Everything I learned here has
    been so highly informative and useful. Time to put it into motion!!! I’ll be back..

    • Thanks Kel. Well you can look forward to plenty more articles in the future.

  • aqibjav

    never felt determined to do something, im looking forward to the youtube idea as well keep it up mate

    • Thanks. Let me know if you have any questions about it.

  • Muzahid Oly

    I visited the page where you can get more view on your Youtube video and I will try your tips

  • Caitlyn

    Hey Peter! This article is great! It outlines different ways to promote yourself (or your product) that are very easy to understand especially for those, like me, who have no idea where to begin. I will definitely be using your guidance to up the view count on my youtube videos! With so many people being able to make a career out of youtube (I saw first hand at PLAYLIST LIVE this year), this info is very much appreciated! Thanks, Caitlyn

    • Hi Caitlyn. I am so happy you found it useful. It definately makes it easier to get you YouTube view count up.

  • James Tollson

    Great post! I have a question though: Are there any other ways to do something “newswrothy” without using the internet?

    • Hi James. You can definately do something newsworthy without using the internet, like help out charity etc. But I would still use the internet to do the press releases because you get tons of search engine benefits as well.

  • Daniel James Seakins

    i enjoyed reading this blog post and learned a lot, the lay out was great and easy to read, i will recommend it to my friends and come back to this when i need to read it again in the future

    • Thanks Daniel. Yes please tell as many of your friends as you can 🙂

  • Zosaef Ranjit

    i am really glad to get this information because i also want to publicize the video that i created and i am sure this would work for youtube videos

    • Yeah it works really well for videos, but also to push other business goals as well.

  • lyn collins

    I am a first timer when it comes to this business and although it is very hard to get started reading this post give me lots of ideas on how to be successful.

  • Sally Black

    Hmm PR interesting… never knew that…

  • Kristina Sraga Macan

    Starting a new business is always scary at first. You want to succeed and not have to shut up shop in a year or two. A company I worked for over 10 years ago did a great press release about something that they did for the community and it helped the company so much. They were seen as a company that was also doing something for the community as well as making money in the process. This was before You Tube. But in this day and age You Tube videos are a fantastic PR tool that too many companies don’t even consider but should.

    • Hi Kristina. You are absolutely right. YouTube is very under utilized when it comes to PR and SEO marketing.

  • Brad

    I don’t think people understand how valuable Press Releases really are. They do not cost anything and can boost your rankings with Google. Ideally how many Press Releases are required to for Google to detect your site?

    • Hi Brad. There are some free press release websites, but I won’t pay any attention to them, and neither do any journalists or bloggers. They might be ok for link building, but I wouldn’t count on it. If your aim is to get in the local, and perhaps national, press then you should really look to use PR Web or PR Newswire.

      On your second point. Google will ‘detect’ your website after just one press release, but you need continuous link building and content creation to move up the search rankings.

  • Chris P

    Hi Guys, I currently do marketing for an IT company. The Article is a very good read! Covers most point. The costings are a bit shaky !! personally it doesnt take into account the cost of free services or donation which to gain press coverage must be substantial. aswell as that i’ve encountered the question” you’ve done it for free for them ? why not me “

    • Hi Chris. Great point! This article doesn’t include the cost of creating a ‘newsworthy’ story, especially not if you have to give away a project for free. However, every business does something newsworthy every 3 months or so. i.e. if you have a very happy customer you could do a case study about how your business helped them out. You have to make sure you have an incredible headline though, otherwise a story like that won’t get off the ground.

  • Robert Ainsworth

    PR is actually very interesting, i’ve been almost addicted to it recently. Really looking to break into it for a career, such a versatile area. Any ideas on how bes to do so?

    • Hi Robert. I don’t know if I am the best person to ask about this, because I have never been in the PR business. I have just done a lot of PR for other small businesses as part of an overall online marketing strategy. I would suggest going to Publicity Insider because they have tons of information on PR.

  • neirah davis

    This article is very informative. It outlines major details on how to boost your business through publicity. I have always been thinking of way to keep my business booming. Anyone here tried PR before?

  • Waleed Chaudhry

    Interesting and useful read, Seems that PR is easily one of the most important aspects of a successful business. This article simplifies it in a way that makes it easier for everyone to understand, even those with no prior knowledge about PR. I do wonder however, if making the video and promoting it is really worth the cost.

    • Hi Waleed. I agree that if you were to use PR as your main driver of traffic and leads it can be very successful, but there are other things you can do to become a successful business, especially in the online world.

  • Siobhan Murphy

    My boyfriend started his own property maintenance business with a friend last year and I think I’ll show him this article. Any advice to drum up new business is good for him.

    • Hi Siobhan. That’s great! This is also a great way to get links back to his website to improve his Google rankings. Feel free to ask me any questions.

  • Roy Smith

    I never understood what a huge benefit PR was to a successful business until I read this article! It definitely enlightened me to help me be able to promote in a successful fashion.

    • Good stuff Roy, it’s all about sticking to one thing and doing it right before moving onto the next.

  • Robynne Legault

    PR is something that has the potential to either completely ruin a business or push them past the boundaries into being successful. Your recipe for PR success is easy to understand and I would recommend any business owner or professional to read it.

    • Thanks Robynne! Yep, using this method regularly also means that any negative PR will be buried amongst dozens of positive PR pieces.

  • John Davies-Beckers

    Wow, I never understood the importance of PR until I read this article. I help a friend run a small business doing a little a bit of wholesale and this is definitely going to help us.

    • No problem John. Thanks for reading :-). Let me know if you have any questions about the online aspect of running your friend’s business.

  • Nicole Evans

    This is a very detailed and well presented article on the importance of PR to even the smallest business. I would like to know where you rate the newest “fad” of marketing on social media sites such as facebook, twitter and google? I would really be interested to read your views on those platforms.

    • Hi Nicole, thanks for your comment. I don’t rate the social media ‘fad’ much for small businesses. Unless you have saturated search marketing (which is unlikely) you shouldn’t spend too much money on Social Media. You should obviously utilize the ‘free’ side of it and cultivate a following that way, but there is no point paying for followers, or fans. I have a more detailed article on it here –

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