Marketing and strategyIn our hyper social world, small business and entrepreneurs are increasingly shying away from public relations as they embrace tools such as Twitter and Facebook to build their business.

Despite what you may have heard, traditional PR, especially media relations, remains a highly effective strategy that drives business results. PR definitely should not be ignored in favor of social media or other marketing tactics, but used as a key piece of a strategic marketing plan.

Why You Can Do Media Relations Yourself

If you want to get started with media relations, it’s important to know that you do not necessarily need a high priced PR firm to get the job done. In the current climate, it is more acceptable for companies or individuals to do their own media relations, as reporters, editors and bloggers, are stretched for resources and want reliable sources and content they can trust. Relationships matter, so if you take the time and energy to connect in an authentic way, you can quickly stand out.

Plus, information on how to connect or work with the media is readily accessible thanks to the interwebs. No need for expensive PR databases or relying on a firm to do the work for you.

The goal of any DIY media relations for your business should be to build awareness and credibility for your business without breaking the bank.

Here are three effective DIY media relations tactics you can put to work in your business:

1. Press Releases

Press releases, while a fairly traditional PR tool they are still highly effective. The key is to use them the right way by ensuring there is actual news to share. Product launches, major company announcements, partnerships and more all may be press worthy. Write the release following standard press release conventions and formatting and carefully proofread it before finalizing it. From there, you can choose to distribute it via email to key media local, business or trade media outlets and possibly use a newswire service.

2. Local Media

Local media offers a way to build your confidence with media relations and secure coverage within your community. Most cities have a daily paper as well as multiple TV and radio stations that always are on the lookout for great local stories and experts. You could pitch yourself as an expert on a specific topic to offer commentary on a trend or issue. Use the Internet to seek out assignment editors, business editors or small business editors. If your business has a specific area of focus such as food, fashion or technology, look for editors/writers who cover those specific beats. If you live in a larger centre, you may have specialty publications relevant to your business such as parenting magazines or a food guide. The key with pitching is to keep it short and to the point and make a point of establishing why you are a credible expert.

3. Authorship Programs

Authorship programs, where experts author articles for trade publications or blogs should be a staple in any PR program. Start by researching blogs in your market or trade publications and see if they accept guest blog posts or contributed articles. Take the time to read the website or publication to get to know their style, what topics they cover and then come up with a series of story ideas that would be a good fit.

Prepare short pitches outlining the story idea or for trade publications you may need an outline or detailed proposal. Just ensure you follow any writer’s guidelines. From there, email them the pitch or submit the proposal, and wait to see if it is accepted. Not every pitch will be accepted, but over time you’ll build a body of work as an expert as your work gets published.

Now is the time to go DIY with your media relations. It offers a proven way to build your credibility and boost your awareness without a lot of financial investment on your part. You just need to do a little research and go from there.