Can you do PR yourself? Yes.

After looking at the cost of PR services and seeing a 6-month minimum contract, you might be having seconds thoughts. It’s a lot of money. And PR companies can’t actually make guarantees. So, you may be wondering, can I do PR myself? The answer is yes. Absolutely you can.

Briefly, I need to clarify PR isn’t just about press coverage. The true magic of PR comes with aligning internally on messaging, creating a strategy, customer identification, and utilizing proper trust channels. BUT assuming you found this article wanting press coverage, that’s what will be the topic.

Do I need a PR company to reach journalists?

Many founders or CMOs have been told they need a PR person to reach journalists on their behalf. This is a lie (and kinda dirty). You can send an email to your favorite journalist or DM them on Twitter right now and pitch a story. In fact, this is how my entire PR journey started. I cold pitched the The Wall Street Journal and they ran my op-ed nationally. Most journalists post their email addresses online.

PR companies, ideally, should help you with strategy, but you don’t need them to pitch a story. After a few 90 minute training sessions with founders, I’ve seen them land stories in major publications like The New York Times. For those who asked me, can I do PR myself, they’ve proven it!

Do PR people have connections?

Most PR companies lie about their “connections” but yes, some do have connections. That’s not a guarantee of placement, however. (Unless they’re bribing the journalist—yes, this happens.) In fact, my own editor from my time at The Washington Post never ran a single story I pitched him when he moved to CNN and I became a PR person.

I have dozens of great friends who are journalists that have never run my stories. I actually think my relationships hurt me, because they have integrity and wanted to avoid any perceived bias.

When most people say they have connections, what they actually have is purchased lists from various database websites.

Can I do PR myself?

In summary, can you do PR yourself? Yes. You can create various story angles, pitch them to the right journalists, and get some big wins. Should you get professional training first? Yes. Does hiring a PR company expedite a few things? Yes. But you don’t need a ticket to ride the PR train. It’s free for all.

I’d recommend the following list of articles. I wrote them to help point you in the right direction. You can also email me at [email protected] if you’d like to discuss building your own in-house PR engine.

In-house PR starter pack

Here’s my full model to break down how PR works, and how to organically make in rounds into various hard-to-reach customer segments.

Working with journalists

Relationships With Journalists Aren’t A PR Advantage. And That’s Good

How to build a relationship with a journalist the right way.

How to get executives interviewed in the media without error.

How to leverage a press hit once you get an interview opportunity.

What to do before a media interview

How to pitch journalists

The FART Method: How to write the perfect pitch email.

Why journalists don’t respond to your emails and pitches?

Curious how to get a journalist to cover your story?

How to get news coverage? Think about the value you’re giving.

PR messaging and foundation

Trust channels. What are they and how do you use them?

The best startup press ideas you can start RIGHT NOW.

How to get free press. PR pro breaks it down for founders.

“Can I do PR myself?” core pack

Founder, your startup baby isn’t that cute.

How do you measure ROI on PR? Here are 5 methods.

How long does PR take? Probably longer than you think.

What’s the difference between public relations and advertising?

Get media coverage for your startup by flipping your focus.

Technical PR Questions and Budget

How much does PR cost? Here’s the break down.

How to convince your board to spend on PR and marketing.

PR without a budget? Learn messaging, assets, and resources.

PR Do’s and Dont’s

Can I buy a mailing list and add it to a newsletter? It’s risky.

Don’t screw up your earned media opportunity.

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Hi, I’m Justin Brady. I amplify inventive companies (and their people) to new audiences by identifying and utilizing their customer’s trust channels. I wrote for The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post and I hosted the founders of Starbucks, Hint and on my podcast.
Full Bio | [email protected] | Read about trust channels

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