One of the most daunting things about PR is the amount of your time it can consume - time you could fill doing one of several (hundred) items on your business owner To Do List. The time you could spend doing your own publicity outreach and the opportunities and ways you can share your brand are often limited only by the lack of hours you have available in a day to "work it", it being your PR plan.
I hear you. I get you. When I worked full time in the world of PR I felt like there was never enough time, so I can only imagine how difficult it is when the pitching side of your business is what you do in addition to your actual business! That said, I've learned some tricks along the way that help me work faster and (the key...) work smarter when trying to fit public relations outreach into my day-to-day activities. Today I'm going to share one of those tricks with you, which comes from the "prepare in advance, save time in the future" category of tips and strategies.
There is a specfic and major buzz-building type of pitch that every business owner should create and have available to themselves at all times, which can then be modified in a moment's notice and sent off to the media. This saves you time and lets you avoid the constant writing and creating them when the needs for them arises. Instead of worrying about the actual creation end, you'll only be tweaking them and sending them to their desired target. Below I'll break it down and tell you why you need it and how best to use it in your outreach.
#1 The Pitch Sharing Your Tips/Advice/Opinions on a Specific Subject
The Scenario: You've seen the PR lead: a member of the media is looking for tips, advice or comments on a specific topic, whether it be small business owners weighing in on their favorite Apps, business resolutions or their opinions on a new situation impacting entrepreneurs around the country. At the same time it could also be a member of the media asking for industry-specific tips that a business owner in your niche could weigh in on (tips for packing better, keeping kids entertained on road trips, keeping jewelry safe at the beach, eating healthier on vacation...). The point is, the time will come (and if you're really engaged in yoru outreach and checking PR leads regularly, these times will come regularly) that someone will want someone like you to share insight or anecdotes. In times like these, the early birds nearly always get the worms. Sure, they want good advice and answers but what the media also wants is speedy advice and answers.
What To Create: This isn't a feature story about your business or your "a ha moment". This isn't a way to slide in a new product launch plug while sharing your expertise. This is your chance to let them know who you are, why you are someone they can trust to weigh in on the topic, and then you have to actually share your tips/advice/information. This means you must create a template of a pitch (I often call them Root Pitches) that includes your introduction, a quick sentence or two about who you are and what you do, a link to your website, and room for a sentence after that which hammers home why you're the perfect person to answer their query and be included in their article. What comes next? The bullets! Pre-make those puppies and leave them blank, and then when the moment comes, you fill them in along with making the introduction more request-specific. As with every pitch, you don't want to leave them hanging after you give them the goods, so after you create a space to deliver your bullets, end with a "next steps" sentence. Sharing how they can connect with you should your advice or tips be useful to them!
This is Sabina Hitchen from Tin Shingle (www.TinShingle.com) the national entrepreneurs community and resource where we make getting the word out about your business accessible, affordable and understandable for entrepreneurs around the country. I saw your request looking for tips about work-life balance and would love to weigh in with some of my best-practice, tried and true solutions. Working with business owners from coast-to-coast I hear stories about the need for just this on a regular basis. As an entrepreneur who balances two businesses with her personal life I've definitely had to make work-life balance a priority, and use the strategies I've shared below on a daily basis. I hope they will be of use to you!
Let me know if I can get you any more information or expand on any of the tips below. I am always available to discuss them via phone or email. Looking forward to connecting!
See what I did there? I have a template that I have filled in a bit to show you how it works (the underlined sections are totally customizable).
I can't tell you enough how essential it is that you create these ahead of time. It allows you to pop in your tips and customize your intro (and your "why you should use me as an expert" sentence in at least half the time it would take you if you were writing it all from scratch!
One more thing! Before you say to me "well I make products, so I most likely will not be asked to weigh in as an expert on anything" I say to you "AS IF". I also say, "if you're making money of creating any type of product, you are an expert in the field in which you are creating." A jewelry designer could weigh in on traveling with accessories or protecting them at the beach. An air-conditioner company could weigh in on saving money on cooling costs in the summer. A food brand or restaurant could talk about a wide array of food/nutrition related topics. And of course, with the trend towards small business and entrepreneurship growing at such a rapid pace, media stories calling for small business owners and experts to weigh in are popping up nearly weekly! You get it...you're all experts with tips to share, and when you share them you have to be fast and one of the first to the editor or producer's inbox.
Do you have your Expert/Tips pitch created yet? Are you ready to share your thoughts or opinions or advice (and thus your business) at a moment's notice? If so, double check that pitch now, if not, add it to your "must do" list for this week! The amount of time you spend on it now, will save you multiple times that amount in the future!