A Beginner’s Guide To PR: How to Network + Build Your Media List
I’m really excited to have a special guest on the blog today, Amanda Cowan of A.FAYE PR, who is going to talk to us today about, you guessed it, PR.
As a small business owner, PR is often something we associate with big companies, fancy champagne receptions and a huge advertising budget. However, whilst this might be true at the higher end of the scale, PR is something that small business can absolutely benefit from as well.
So, with further ado I’ll let Faye take it away and show you all about how you can build your media list and network for your business!
How to Network + Build Your Media List
I’m sure you’ve heard this phrase before, “it’s all about who you know” – and if you haven’t, implement it, starting NOW. Especially in the realm of small business owning and entrepreneurship, a key to success really is all about who you know and who you choose to connect with. Below I’ve listed some tips on how to network and build your media list, further enhancing the success of your brand of business.
Connect, network and befriend
As you’re building your media list, it’s just as important to get to know your contacts as people, not just as writers and journalists you reach out to when you need an article written for yourself or a client. Connect with the contacts you believe you will be reaching out to more often than others, and also the big-timers. Introduce yourself, ask questions about where they live, their hobbies, favorite artists or genre of music, etc. Contacts are more likely to respond to and accept your pitch if you’re personable in the approach. If you’re located in the same city, make plans to grab a cup of coffee, or to meet up at a future event. Networking is the most important part to growing either your business or your client’s. Again, it’s all about who you know. Get to know others and create some friendships. I can’t tell you how many of my connections have turned into close friends, and I will be forever grateful for those relationships.
Attend networking events in your city or town
There are always networking events taking place for young entrepreneurs and professionals. Often times I scour the Facebook events tab, or events happening in my city on Eventbrite, where you can narrow down the category of event. I try to attend at least 2-3 networking events in my city a month. Sometimes they are brief morning meetups with coffee, sometimes they are full-on jam-packed happy hours – regardless, it’s an easy and accessible way to network with others in your city. Networking events are also a great place to pick up potential clients, as many small business owners attend in search for graphic designers, publicists, social media and branding mavens, etc. Smile, mingle and make those connections!
Always keep business cards handy
You never know who you’ll sit next to on a plane, run into while grabbing your morning coffee, or get a conversation started with while waiting in the doctor’s office. Really! Always have a set of business cards handy in your purse, all of your contact information on a small piece of card stock. Be sure to grab one of your acquaintance’s too, if they have some. Within a week of meeting, send a brief email intro to get the conversation going again.
Join Facebook & LinkedIn Networking Groups
There are many Facebook and LinkedIn networking groups out there for you to join, depending on your industry. Some are broad and consist of any and all people working in PR, marketing and media. Some are more narrowed, with anyone working in the music industry. Joining them all doesn’t hurt you – except you may get annoyed with the abundant notifications. Once a week I choose to scour these groups in search of posts that either fit myself or a client. It’s a great way to automatically connect with someone, just shoot them a quick intro via Facebook messenger!
Organize and update your media contact sheets
Organization is key, and so is updating your media list. I try to do this at least once every two months or so. That means going through emails, messages and business cards and jotting down the email addresses of new connections I’ve made. Organizing your media list by industry is helpful beyond measure. For example, I utilize Google Docs for everything: easy to update + you don’t have to keep sending the updated version to your team, they’re already linked! Create a spreadsheet tab for each industry (music, fashion, general lifestyle, entertainment, travel, health & wellness, etc.) and add your contacts by outlet, email address, name of journalist/writer, genre or focus and any additional details you might want to include in each horizontal row. Arrange your contacts alphabetically, and you’re lists are easy to skim through when searching for someone specific.
Amanda is a detailed public relations manager, editor and social media manager. With many years of experience under her belt in professional performance and networking in the entertainment and lifestyle industries, she has had the opportunity to wear many hats and hold a variety of different positions. Her intrinsic love for culture and lifestyle, curiosity for new places and panache for writing and public relations have led her to starting A.FAYE PR.
Amanda resides in Pittsburgh, PA with her bearded man, Scott, and on-the-go toddler, Willow Mae. When not discovering new electronic music, planning her next getaway or organizing fundraisers for her non-profit, Diamond and a Dream, you can find her visiting new restaurants and craft breweries, scoping out hidden coffee shops and enjoying her busy life as a work-from-home stay-at-home hipster mama and #girlboss.