Top DIY PR for startups and small businesses
With Lucy Werner
Lucy Werner, PR Expert and Founder of
The Wern.com, a PR consultancy for startups and small businesses, shares
her top tips for creating your own PR.
Creating affordable and easy PR for your business
Do you know how to create DIY PR for your startup or small business? Where does PR feature on your list of priorities?
When you’re a startup business your ‘To Do’ list can feel overwhelming. I am aware that I’m going to have to embrace PR for AMotherBrand at some point, but I am definitely putting it off. This is most likely because a) I don’t know where to start, b) I’ve got no budget for it and c) frankly, I find the concept of hyping myself and my business just a bit … well, awkward. Luckily for AMotherBrand, Lucy Werner is here to help and share her top tips for easily (and affordably) promoting your early-stage business.
Lucy Werner, PR Expert and Founder of The Wern
Lucy Werner is a PR Expert and Founder of The Wern.com, a PR consultancy for startups, small businesses, independent brands and entrepreneurs. She’s also a mother of two and a perfect example of #amotherbrand. Lucy set up her business with her husband and Creative Director, Hadrien Chatelet. This has meant they’ve been able to share parental leave and they work from their home office, as and when they choose.
Lucy’s recently had her second child and having worked right up until the birth, she’s taking some time out to be with her baby. During this time she’s going to be working ‘on’ her business, rather than ‘in’ her business. This doesn’t mean we’ll stop hearing from Lucy however, far from it. This is because Lucy’s mastered how to shout loud and proud about her business on social media… whilst she’s actually in her PJs, enjoying blissful newborn baby snuggles.
This sounds just perfect, not to mention a brilliant skill for all of us #amotherbrands to master. Who doesn’t want to be able to promote their business, whilst actually at the playground pushing a swing or hearing about your child’s day at school?
Lucy kindly shared her top tips for quick, easy and low-budget PR for your startup business.
First things first Lucy, what does PR actually mean for startup or early-stage businesses and why is it important?
For me PR is about the skill of hyping yourself or your business. Small businesses can’t compete with the extortionate marketing and advertising costs of global conglomerates but learning how to do PR can give you the edge because you are able to be agile in a way that bigger companies can’t.
It is a free skill that can create brand awareness, build meaningful relationships, create new business opportunities and ultimately help to increase your turnover.
For example, I only started to get inbound requests for paid-for speaking gigs and blog posts, podcasts invites and panel requests after I shouted about being a communications expert for startups. These brand awareness tactics in turn have also generated new business leads and opened up alternative revenue streams for my business.
When you start thinking about promoting your business – what are the key questions you need to consider?
What are your business objectives? There is no point getting PR for the sake of it, you need to know exactly what the call to action is.
Also, know who you are and what you are about. What makes you different?
How can you describe what you do in one sentence?
What are you an expert in?
Can you apply any of your story to your competitors? If so, try harder, what is unique to you that cannot be applied to anyone else?
Do you need a big budget to get started with PR for your startup?
Absolutely not – the only cost is your time. Once you learn the tricks, it’s rinse and repeat.
How much of your PR can you do on Social Media?
It depends where your audience is. If your customer uses social media, which channels are they and what are they looking for?
I use social media as the megaphone to amplify my existing PR strategy but I am not reliant on it alone.
Do you have any social media tips and tricks you can share with us?
Try and show the true version of yourself as much as possible. If talking to camera is awkward for you than just share photos of yourself behind the scenes instead.
Find new and original imagery/design. Personally, I’m over the flat lay image of a mac book and a latte or portrait shots of people holding a coffee looking thoughtfully into middle earth.
As a business expert, I would put all my chips on LinkedIn. Janet Murray does this really well.
If you are a product, become a content creator. Focus on a newsletter and a brand personality over your Instagram brochure of products. Soda.Says is a brand that is killing it with their content.
Do you have any key Dos and Don’ts for contacting journalists?
Don’t blanket email a whole bunch of journalists the same information. Pick five and really research them; what their columns are called, what day they are published, what they have written about recently (and don’t pitch the same idea).
Follow them on social channels and engage with them (don’t stalk)
Join Lightbulb – a forum for entrepreneurs to connect directly with journalists giving requests
Follow #journorequest on twitter for live journalist request for case studies, it gives you an idea of what they are looking for
Make sure what you are pitching is relevant to any requests and their audience and give them everything at once. If a journalist is asking for a specific case study then make sure what you are pitching is exactly what they have asked, give the details in short succinct details.
Do we have to learn how to write press releases?
Is it true that all publicity is good publicity?
Ha. No, it’s not and in fact one of the worst things you can do is promote your business if you don’t have the infrastructure or back up plan and this can be in a positive way too. Appearing on TV could lead to your website crashing and then do you have the IT support/customer service staff to deal with that?
Any final top tips?
I have built my own six-figure business from only PR-ing myself so here are a few lessons I’ve learnt along the way.
1. Just start, write a communications strategy and content plan (this can be really simple) and stick to it.
I tasked myself with x3 guest blog posts, x3 panel events and x3 podcast interviews for myself in the first quarter of this year.
These building blocks were enough to catapult my business.
2. Attend as many events where you can meet journalists or learn about PR.
I do this for myself even now because I think it’s always important to brush up on your skills and make face-to-face connections where you can.
3. Read the magazines you want to be in, listen to the radio shows you want to speak on.
4. Learn how to describe what you do so a 5-year old or so your Gran will understand it.
With many thanks to Lucy for her kind advice. If you’d like to know more about her work, check out https://www.thewern.com/ or find her @wernchat
If you’re anything like me and you can’t get enough of Lucy’s advice, check out her new book ‘Hype Yourself” available here.
Has this given you new ideas? Which tips do you like best? Let me know in the comments below.