How Small Businesses Can Do Their Own PR

Public relations has long been viewed as an unsolvable mystery for the average small business owner. If you can’t afford to hire a PR agency or you don’t have a preexisting connection with a prominent journalist, you might assume that the benefits of PR just aren’t in the cards. It’s not as if PR is a technique that can be learned just like marketing or sales, right?


Thanks to recent advancements in artificial intelligence, small businesses can conduct media outreach initiatives entirely on their own, and without that hefty monthly retainer most PR agencies charge. AI has essentially removed the thick cloud of mystery that previously surrounded PR and broken it down into a series of manageable steps, all of which can now be mastered by someone with no previous PR experience.

What constitutes a good story?

The process of obtaining earned media coverage begins with a good story. If you’ve never done PR before, you might not know what kind of stories are currently generating the most interest in your industry. So, how do you figure out what your audience wants to read? In the past, you might have had to comb through multiple publications, talk to some of your industry peers, or scour social media to answer this question.

Fortunately, multiple AI-driven PR platforms provide media monitoring capabilities that can shorten this step to a matter of seconds. All you have to do is enter a fairly general topic (e.g. your industry, your products or services, etc.) to find out which stories in relation to this topic are gaining the most media coverage and interactions with readers. These platforms can even tell you which industry-related topics are appearing most frequently on social media, and whether they are being discussed in a mostly positive or negative light.

As a general rule, a good story is always helpful to its intended audience and publication. In other words, it gives readers something they need or want to read, rather than strictly focusing on your marketing goals and desire for revenue. So PR success requires that you put the needs of your audience above your own need to promote your business. PR isn’t like advertising, where you get to control the message completely. It’s about exhibiting a genuine desire to further a journalist’s agenda and educate your audience.

Crafting your pitch

Step two is arguably the most important, and that’s crafting the pitch. If you’re not the creative type, this can seem like a daunting task. Welcome to the revelation that is generative AI. As long as you know the central message of your pitch and its most newsworthy points, generative AI can do the rest of the work.

In case you weren’t aware, generative AI has evolved to the point where many PR pros are regularly using it for short-term tasks, like writing pitch emails. Now that you have your AI-generated pitch in front of you, you can add in little details that might make the story more intriguing and distinct. Generative AI can also provide an eye-catching email subject line as well as the ability to choose the most appropriate tone for your pitch, which may vary by industry or even media outlet.

Targeting and personalizing your pitch

Now it’s time to choose your media targets. Large PR agencies often rationalize their outrageous monthly retainers by suggesting that they possess some sort of “secret code” for gaining the attention of journalists. In truth, journalists are happy to hear from anyone who can give them a useful story idea.

Generative AI can also help you here. Once you enter your completed pitch, generative AI can instantly provide you with a list of relevant journalists along with each journalist’s statistical probability of covering your story. You can also see the primary topics each journalist typically covers and the journalist’s current activity level.

After becoming more familiar with different journalists’ previous work, you can incorporate each journalist’s individual interests and priorities into your pitch. The more valuable your pitch seems to that specific journalist, the more likely they are to say “yes.”

It’s important to personalize your pitch to each journalist. Personalized pitches are more likely to get picked up because they stand out from the wave of irrelevant pitches that flood so many journalists’ inboxes on a constant basis. Avoid the “spray and pray” mentality when it comes to promoting your business. It can be tempting to simply send your pitch out to any and every publication and hope for the best. A far more effective strategy is to target and personalize. Choose fewer publications, then spend more time crafting your pitch.

The value of doing your own PR

In addition to saving you precious time and money, AI-powered platforms can teach you an invaluable skill with the potential to burnish your business’s reputation and vastly increase your customer base. A feature story in a media outlet shows readers that your business has gained the respect of an objective third party, which signifies stability and trust. This can be particularly advantageous in today’s topsy-turvy economy, when consumers often turn to the media to make sure they’re spending their money as wisely as possible.

Also, the more pitches you compose with text generative AI, the better you’ll get at expressing your ideas clearly and persuasively without sounding contrived or self-promotional. This technique can take you very far when it comes to forming meaningful relationships with journalists as well as crafting your own messaging like a true PR pro.

Composing and targeting your own pitches is a great starting point towards mastering the basic fundamentals of effective PR in general. Eventually, you’ll understand how to influence public opinion and exhibit firm control over your business’s story.

About Carson Derrow

My name is Carson Derrow I'm an entrepreneur, professional blogger, and marketer from Arkansas. I've been writing for startups and small businesses since 2012. I share the latest business news, tools, resources, and marketing tips to help startups and small businesses to grow their business.