Four tips on how to handle your own public relations as an entrepreneur

As a journalist, it never ceases to amaze me how entrepreneurs and business owners get in their own way when it comes to receiving media coverage. You can imagine how happy I was to hear Myleik Teele address this topic in her "How to handle your own PR" podcast.

If you have just launched your own business and you don't have the budget for your own public relations team to interact with the press, here are some of the items that Myleik suggested that business owners need to take care of ahead of time.

Take photos

As an entrepreneur, you should have high-resolution images of yourself, both headshots and full-body photos. Take some time to really think about how your photos can tell a story. Your personality can still shine through while being professional.

You should also have high-quality images of your product for the press to use. Be sure to have a Dropbox share link that you can give to media outlets for easy access. If you do choose to go the Dropbox route, make sure that each photo is clearly named and labeled with a description. You could even go as far as signing up for a Bit.ly account and creating a custom URL that will redirect to your Dropbox link.

Tell your story

Make sure that your business has a clear story or narrative. It's very important to have an understanding of what you do, what your skills are, the kinds of businesses that employ you and how you deliver results through solving a particular problem in the marketplace.

Story Template:

I am a/an _______________ (what you do) with a passion for ______________ (what your skills are). I love working with _______________ (kinds of businesses and people you work with) to _______________ (problem that you solve).

Online presence

You have to be easy to find! Deadlines are real and if a journalist can't find you or your contact information, then that reporter will have to move on to the next.

Having a website is a must. Thanks to Squarespace, a drag-and-drop content management system, having a sleek website is easier than ever. In addition, before you launch it, you should at least have these items in order:

  • Domain name. (Professional websites don't have ".wordpress" or ".squarespace" or ".tumblr" in the url. You can actually purchase your domain name through Squarespace as you're putting your website together.)
  • About page. (Feel free to tweak your elevator pitch here to tell more about your brand, along with a photo. You will have to tailor some of your information to the industry that you are in. From hours of operation to customer testimonials, it will vary.)
  • Contact page. (Your phone number, location and email address should be here. Speaking of email, please invest in a business email address and retire that @gmail address. You can set up a custom email address using Google Apps.)

Respond quickly

Save yourself some time emailing back and forth with reporters by having templates of responses ready for media and interview requests. You should have that elevator pitch, address, phone number, cost, prices for your services, your elevator pitch and more. It would also be helpful to keep this information in the notes section of your phone while you answer emails on the go.

Ameena Rasheed