03/01/2014 05:58 GMT | Updated 04/03/2014 05:59 GMT

How to Get Free Publicity For Your Business

If you're a small business owner or an entrepreneur then I'm sure your business is your pride and joy. You've worked evenings and weekends to meet deadlines, slaved over spreadsheets and spent more hours than you'd care to recall 'working the room' at networking events. But it's all been worth it - because you know that your business is the mutt's nuts. But does everyone else know that? And if not, how do you get the word out?

This is where PR comes in. A well-planned PR campaign can generate media coverage that will reach your ideal clients to let them know just how fantastic your business is. Which, when they read it, will convince them to buy from you.

But when money is tight, how do you go about carrying out a successful PR campaign? After all, not everyone can afford to hire a fancy schmancy PR agency to do the job for them.

As someone who teaches entrepreneurs how to do their own PR, I believe that DIY PR is something that's accessible and achievable for all small business owners. And it doesn't have to cost the earth. In fact, often there is no cost involved at all. So take a look at these tips on how you can get free publicity for your business...

Create A PR Strategy

First things first, if you're going to carry out a PR campaign you need a strategy. Spend some time thinking about exactly what you hope to achieve with your campaign. After all, you know what they say - fail to plan and you plan to fail. Work out what results you'd ideally like to see from your PR campaign. Are you hoping to gain more exposure for your business, win some speaking gigs, promote a particular item, generate more sales? When you've done that you can start to think about how you plan to achieve those things.

Pick Your PR Tools

Once you've decided what you want to achieve with your PR campaign you can start to think about how you're going to do it. You may decide to send out a press release, or perhaps you'll organise a press event? Another option is to try guest article writing or guest blogging. Decide which PR tools you want to use and how you will utilise them.

Work Out Your Angle

If you do decide to send a press release, you will need to work out your news angle. Decide what newsworthy story you can tell about your business. Spend some time coming up with some ideas that will wow journalists, and will show off your business in a positive light.

Contact Journalists/Bloggers

Whether you are sending a press release, holding a press event or hoping to write a guest article or blog post, you will need to get in touch with journalists and/or bloggers. Do your research and find journalist and blogger contact details by looking through the publication or searching online. Remember, email is often the best option in the first instance as it's less intrusive than a phone call. Draft an email with details of your press release, your event or your ideas for a guest article or blog post, then send it out to your journalist or blogger contacts.

Shout About Your Success

If and when you do get some media coverage it's important to tell people about it. Post links to your article on Facebook and Twitter, write a blog post about it and include it in your newsletter. Appearing in the media can give you and your business fantastic kudos, so don't be scared to shout about it.