No Big Publicity Budget? No Problem.

If you just opened for business and want to spread the word, you don’t need a lot of money to hire a big PR agency. You can get some great publicity on your own. It is just going to take some extra time and effort.

Where do you start?

To begin, you will need to do some research and answer a few important questions. Here are some quick steps for starting your research process.

1. Know your target market.

What do your customers read online and in print, listen to on the radio and watch on television?

Figure out the most popular media venues for your target audience. Depending on your products and services, conduct online searches by typing in keywords such as: “medical service magazines,”   “realtor periodicals,” “online recipe businesses,” “gardening blogs,” “technology radio programs,” etc.

Some of the search sites I use include the following:


Yahoo Search,



(You probably know some other good research sites too. Please feel free to share them with everyone in our comments section.)

Start with some general searches online and then look for more specific sites pertinent to your target market.

2. Find the right reporters.

Once you discover the media venues that your target audience finds interesting, you’ll want to look for the reporters at each of these venues who cover your particular area of interest or “beat.”

Visit your local library or bookstore, look online, listen to the various radio programs, or watch the shows on television. Figure out who will be interested in talking about your business.

3. Learn the reporter’s style.

After you’ve narrowed down your choices and understand which media venues and reporters you want to target, familiarize yourself with their particular columns or segments. This way, you’ll learn more about each reporter’s tone and style and the topics he or she targets on a regular basis.

And as you review the information, think about ways you can fit into each of these media venues. What kind of interesting and unique trends, stories, case studies, information, and ideas can you offer each reporter or writer?

4. Create a contact list.

As you make notes about various reporters and how your business can fit into potential stories in the future, you’ll also want to start your own media-contact database.

Use a simple Word table or Excel spreadsheet and make columns that include: Media Name, Address, City, State, Zip, E-mail Address, Phone, Fax, Notes, and any other pertinent data you need.

Usually, media-contact information is available on the venue’s website or in the first few pages of the publication. Also note that you can always call the media venue directly and ask the receptionist for the information.

However, some office assistants may connect you directly with a reporter. Then what do you do?

If you are not ready to talk to that reporter yet, be sure to tell the receptionist that you just need the contact information. You do not want to make a bad, first impression!

If you are connected with the reporter, simply introduce yourself as a new business owner, and ask if he or she would like to receive the latest news and information about your company.

Hopefully, these simple tips will help you start your PR program. I also offer free information via my monthly newsletter, “Rembrandt Writes Insights.” Simply enter your e-mail address at

Thanks for reading. And I’ll be in touch with more startup PR information soon. Until next time, feel free to send me your ideas, comments and suggestions. I’d love to hear from you!

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