Entrepreneurs often wear many hats, from sales, IT whizz and bookeeper. PR is just one of the many hats. All areas which compete for your time.

Good PR can make the difference between your launch making a mighty dent or making a ripple.

The good news is that the media (and we’ll include bloggers here) are much more likely to want to deal with the founder or business owner than a PR professional. So, don’t think you need a big budget to get good PR.

Here’s 7 low cost tips to help you do your own PR and help your next product launch or your business become more noticeable.

1. Start small

No matter how good your product,  it’s unlikely that you’re going to appear on the front page of the national newspapers when you announce your product.  So start by building up your credability by working with your local paper or free paper to feature a profile of your product.  That way the nationals are more likely to take notice of what you have to say as you’ve established credibility.

2.  Become an ‘expert’ source

You can establish your credibility as an ‘expert’ by helping reporters answer questions about your market or solutions for their problems.  One such site for bringing reporters and sources together is Help A Reporter. This is a free resource which lists media opportunities and sends out daily round ups of stories needing sources to subscribers.

Another way to connect to reporters or bloggers covering your niche is by following them on Twitter and keeping upto date with what their doing.  That way when you here them mention what they’re doing you can helpfully help them out.

3.  Be Timely

Reporters by and large are looking for newsworthy stories ie current. So consequently it’s no good telling them about your Christmas products in February.  But do bear in mind that some printed magazines start putting together their editions several months before publication, so that means that if you want coverage in time for Christmas, you need to be contacting them in September /  October.

4.  Be Different

Just think of your own email account and how many messages you get which you delete without opening.  In all honesty it’s probably going to be the same for reporters and bloggers.

So if you want to be noticed, you need to be noticed.  How about sending postcards or greetings cards instead of emails? For many  people getting something in the mail is something of a novelty and if it’s personalised, rather than ‘junk’ mail it’s more than likely to get you noticed.

5. Get on YouTube

Personality is a big thing in PR – Just ask Gary Vaynerchuk – make your own videos and talk aobut the product. They don’t have to be Hollywood directed and produced just good quality and make sure your personality shines through.

6. Share your press

Whenever you get press be sure to shout about it on Twitter, Facebook  and your blog.  With retweets ans shares your publictiy can snowball.

Don’t forget that by posting links to your media coverage can help you get more press.

Consider putting together a media kit on your website whcih includes photos, links to you videos together with contact information.

7. What to do if it all goes wrong

First thing is to keep your cool. When someone does write aobut you show your manners and thank  them. If facts are incorrect or if important information is missing contact the reporter or editor and ask for a correction. Don’t come out all guns blazing as that never looks good. But if something is libelous or contains serverly damaging information you may wish to seek the advice of a lawyer and maybe more specialist PR advice.  But that, is almost certainly not going to be cheap.

The most cost effective  solution is to write a response politely correcting the facts and Tweet it like mad and tell your biggest fans your existing customers who may well come out and defend you.

What do you think? Any ways you’ve got cost effective PR?

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