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5 Fresh PR Ideas If You're Tired of Knocking on Closed Doors

There's an opportunity for everyone to grow through publicity - you just have to find the right one.

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Some say all you need to get publicity is to send an email to a journalist offering information, like expert commentary or an exclusive into a specific topic. The problem is in today's world, we have an abundance of information available to us at the tips of our fingers. What most of us are struggling with is having enough time and attention span to process all that information — including journalists, who get hundreds of pitches in their email every day.

If you've been trying to get some exposure for your personal brand or your startup, here are a few ideas for you to test out. Some of them will help you get attention without having to go through a journalist or editor first, while others would help you stand out in the editor's inbox.

1. Apply to be featured on a "Best Of" list

In my public relations agency, we find that applying to be featured in a publication's "Best Of" list works magic for promoting podcasts, books and retreats. Many independent sites run their own lists, while others have annual nominations which are open for submissions. Being featured in a "Best Of" list brings you a completely different kind of reader.

Let's say you've submitted your business book, whether it's new or published previously, to several of those lists. The "Best Of" list is a great opportunity to be discovered by people who may have never heard of you or your brand. These readers would likely land on the list after searching for something like "best business books" on Google — then bingo, they are already looking for what you have to offer. At the same time, a feature like this also gives you an instant credibility boost.

Pro tip: if you are a contributor to any niche sites, you can write your own "Best Of" list, depending on the publication's editorial policy. This is a great opportunity to build relationships with people in your industry.

Related: 4 Simple Reasons Why Your Small Business Should Have a Public Relations Strategy

2. Offer your physical products to gift guides

If you have a physical product, there are a few times throughout the year when pitching it is easie: Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Siblings Day, Christmas, even Singles Day (because everyone loves to treat themselves). Media outlets are going to be on a hunt for new gift guide ideas about two or three months before those holidays. While annual celebrations are an excellent way to gain exposure for your product, it goes without saying you should still be doing your research on media that would most likely resonate with your product, company values and target audience.

And yes, books still make an amazing gift for almost any holiday. Pitching a book could be your solution if you don't have any other physical products to offer.

3. Conduct a study among your customers

Journalists love data. The good news is this data doesn't need to always come from a science lab and peer-reviewed studies. Sometimes a quick survey of a specific segment on a specific issue can be just as valuable as getting a quick look into a trend that's developing as we speak. For example, when the pandemic started, we recommended one of our clients, who is a fitness coach, to survey his list about their go-to fitness solutions when locked at home. Several thousand people ended up submitting their responses, and media outlets loved the real insight into how fitness habits are evolving.

If you do decide to use this tactic, don't forget to tap into your inner sociologist and ask your respondents demographic questions, so it's easier to derive trends and conclusions from the results you receive.

Related: 5 Effective Thought Leadership PR Tactics for Your Startup

4. Share a solid business case

Has there been a time in your business when you felt like nothing went right? Have you found a way out of it? Business media publications love case studies and how-to articles. I'll give you a hint: every business likely has cases like this. They don't have to be ground-breaking seven-figure deals or "rags to riches" kind of stories — think small, but specific.

A good case study will show how you managed to impact one specific key performance indicator (KPI) in your business. The best case studies are those about the KPIs which are fundamental for business: profits, revenue and customer retention. Maybe you've figured out a hiring strategy that really impacted your customer retention, or had an insight about switching from one niche to another, that made it easier to get leads and customers. Turn that into a case study, and pitch it as a story.

5. Become a guest contributor

You don't necessarily need to go through journalists to be featured in media anymore. Many publications value information that comes directly from industry insiders, instead of journalists who often cover many topics at once. You'll be getting exposure to a new audience in exchange for committing to one or two articles a month.

I always use this strategy with my clients. Writing for a professional publication takes as much time as writing for your own blog, yet the benefits of exposure are much greater. You might not get accepted as a contributor from your first submission, so don't rush it starting with the most popular publication in your niche. Read their contributor guidelines carefully — you might even need to build a portfolio before applying to your dream publication.

Personally, I now have a good number of articles I've written about my business; however, I want to switch to writing more about lifestyle topics. I chose my target publication — a goal that makes me excited and quite nervous at the same time — and instead of pitching them directly, I've decided to first pitch a few articles on similar topics in smaller publications to add some weight to my application. Writing for your blog works as well; however, if there is a chance to write somewhere where you'll have the benefit of editorial feedback, I strongly recommend it.

Related: How to Get Your Business Better PR

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