How to Do PR Outreach for Local Businesses?

Winning PR mentions can earn you significant authority, social proof, and popularity. But, even the seasoned marketers may fail at getting their pitch across to top-tier publications.
That said if you wish to earn valuable PR mentions for your local business, plan a thought-out PR outreach. Here is how you do it:

Eight Step-by-Step Process to Do PR Outreach

1. Define the Goal of Your PR Outreach Strategy

As you commence with your PR strategy, you need to set the right goal for your PR strategy. And this goal must resonate with the journalist whom you wish to pitch. So, what are the goals you might wish to achieve through your PR outreach?

  • Earning a qualitative and relevant link for your business
  • Getting your business mentioned across local media sites for brand awareness
  • Promoting an upcoming product or service and initiating a buzz around it
  • For example, Elon Musk sent Tesla into outer space through SpaceX, which created a lot of buzz and publicity as it will float between Mars and Earth for millions of years.
  • Getting your spokesperson (CEO/ CTO/ Digital Manager) to feature their views in media or podcasts
  • Getting your research article or story published as a guest post in a popular local publication

Related: Press Releases and SEO
The goal you choose defines the journalist you select and the pitch you create.
Here is a sample for requesting a backlink to your site from a journalist:
Meanwhile, here is another example for getting your guest post published in a publication:
Now, as you brainstorm for the right goal of your PR outreach, you need to dive deeper into the PR story you pitch. Let’s understand it in the next section.

2. Craft the Insightful & Intriguing PR Story that You Wish to Pitch

An established journalist is likely to receive a dozen to hundreds of pitches every day. As per research, a popular publication receives 71 pitches per day.
That said, you need to make your PR story exclusive and intriguing. Today, only a few journalists might be interested in covering not-personalized press releases.
Instead, they prefer to cover personalized articles, impressive infographics, exclusive survey insights, etc.
Here are some tips for creating your intriguing PR story:

  • When your business launching an exclusive product or service that may intrigue a huge audience
  • If you conducted a unique survey relevant to your target audience and wished to promote it
  • If you have prepared infographics or data visualization, you can pitch these as resources
  • If your business solves a unique problem for a huge audience, journalists might show interest Here’s an example of the same.
  • Offer expertise-based tips which a journalist may find valuable enough to quote as “expert’s advice.”
  • If there is something unique about your culture, the way you hire, or the way you give back to the society
  • Do you provide deep technical information to a topic well-surfaced by many publications?

Next, you can also do competitor research to get PR topic inspiration. You can simply check the referring domains of your popular competitors to find their PR mentions.
Here you can check what kind are PR stories they are promoting.
Ahrefs, Moz, and SEMRush are some tools that will help you with the competitor analysis.

3. Leverage PR Opportunities through HARO and PRWeb

Many businesses also utilize HARO and PRWeb services for their PR outreach.
HARO sends you messages from journalists who are looking for new story sources. Or they might be looking for expert quotes for their drafted stories.
If you find a query relevant to your expertise, you can send your pitch to the journalist. Further, if he finds the story intriguing and insightful, he will bring it to life.
Next, you can try PRWeb or PRNewswire.
These press release services pitch your story to thousands of publications on your behalf.
But, the chances of getting your story across reputed publications still depend upon your story’s exclusivity. However, these services aren’t always budget-friendly for small businesses.

4. Design and Store Your PR Media Kit and Story Draft

So, by now, you might have finalized your PR story idea and drafted the same. Some businesses may also like to pitch the journalist for a collaborative PR approach.
And a significant amount of journalists love to add their personalized touch to the final story. So, you can create and draft up to 75% to 80% of the story and pitch a journalist to contribute.
Just make sure that the journalist resonates with the PR topic, and you keep your resources drafted.
Next, create and store a professional PR media kit for your business. A media kit is a folder of sorted-out information about your business. It includes your website metrics, site logo, business info, and contact information.
You must also add your social media handles, popularity metrics, social proof, previous press mentions, etc.
Store this media kit in Dropbox or a PDF version on the cloud.
Here is an example of a comprehensive, one-pager media kit from Bunsen Burner Bakery:

5. Find the Journalists that Befit Your PR Strategy

Here you step into the most crucial stage of your PR outreach journey – Finding the right journalist.
You need to check which publications are interested in covering local business stories.
Moreover, you might wish to post a PR story on startups, technology, or customer service. So, you need to find publications and journalists who post similar stories.
One way to find the right journalist is through manual research. You can start with searching the publication that posts about your story niche.
Use a query like: “{niche + location} news”
Here is an example for finding publications that post about “web development” in Austin:
Next, you can check the authors who have written about your relevant niche in these publications. Some publications also allow guest authors, so check author profiles to find editors with multiple posts.
Related: Importance of Guest Posting & Tips to Strategize It
Now, note their email Ids and use them for your outreach pitch.
You can also use various PR tools to find the relevant journalists for your PR. Some such tools include - NinjaOutreach, JustReachOut, Cision, etc.
Moreover, the competitor analysis also helps you find journalists. And the journalists that collaborate with your competitors are also likely to collaborate with you.

6. Build a Connection with PR Journalists

Let’s understand that PR outreach is substantially based on relation-building. 64% of journalists report relation-building as an important factor for PR outreach.
So, if you have a personal connection, a blogger/journalist is more likely to read your pitch.
Following and commenting on the posts of your targeted journalists wouldn’t hurt. Moreover, this is an important exercise to personalize your email pitch.
Moreover, you can follow them on LinkedIn and Twitter. Comment on their LinkedIn posts and Retweet their Tweets. Here’s a screenshot of CNN’s journalist who has immense followers and receives good engagement on the posts.
You may go unnoticed a few times as there’s immense competition, but consistent engagement and perseverance will help in the long run.
This approach helps you generate a familiarity for these journalists. Next, you send them a LinkedIn connection request and congratulate them on their achievements.
Next, you need to create a perfect Subject line and email pitch.

7. Structure Your Email Pitch to Grow the Success Rate

It is crucial to realize that popular publishers are usually bombarded with 50 to 150 PR pitches every day. And they are most likely to skim across their mails to open only the most promising ones.
So, you need to practice the right email pitch for your PR Outreach.
Start with crafting an intriguing and promising Subject line.
Take a look at the below image. You may have received similar subject lines that can’t resist you from clicking through.
Journalists receive a lot of emails with a variety of subject lines. So it needs to be short yet insightful to generate curiosity. Personalized subject lines also work well for many journalists.
Next, you need to structure your email pitch. Here is a break-down of a promising pitch structure:
Accompany the “Hello” with the journalist’s name to keep it personalized.

  • Commence the first paragraph with a touch of personalization. You can refer to a recent blog or story published by the Journalist. And here, you can state your relevance with this story.
  • Next, mention the purpose of this email and how the journalist can help you. It can be about covering your PR story, interviewing your CEO, publishing your infographic, etc.
  • In the next paragraph, continue by explaining how your story is exclusive or highly valuable. It is the part where you state the crux of your PR story. And it is the right place to link your draft, resource, site, etc.
  • Give your email an appreciative sign-off. Thank the journalist for his attention and how you look forward to a positive response. And end the email on a polite note.
  • Lastly, add your name, designation, and contact details.

Here is an example from Hunter:

8. Check the PR Shelf-life and Set up Alerts

Make sure to check the shelf-life of your PR story.

  • It can be a timed story to offer a sneak peek of an upcoming event or news.
  • It can be an evergreen PR story like an insightful tip.

You need to check if your targeted journalist covers stories with a short shelf-life or evergreen stories.
Next, you might need to pitch to multiple journalists and publications until you hit the right cord.
Moreover, you can check the results of your efforts by tracking brand mentions. Tools like Talkwater, Awario, etc., can monitor your brand mentions online.
Also, you can use free Google Alerts to set up alerts for your brand name. You can also define alerts for your product name or your competitor’s brand for analysis.

Helpful Tools to Do PR Outreach

1. ProfNet

This platform allows journalists & bloggers to find relevant experts for their PR articles. You can subscribe to ProfNet and choose your topic of expertise. Next, you can expect inquiries from journalists.

2. JustReachOut

This professional PR software helps you find daily press, guest posts, and broken link opportunities. You can also take the assistance of outreach experts and search journalists for your niche topic.

  • Starts @ $199/month

3. Cision

This tool helps you pitch to journalists from CNN, New York Times and publish your PR through PRNewswire. You can track niche-specific news, find journalists, and even check your media coverage.

  • Starts @ $20/month

4. Muck Rack

Use this tool to search relevant journalists based on your location, niche, media outlet, etc. Further, check which article/story a journalist is covering in real-time. You must consider building an email list and schedule emails.

5. NinjaOutreach

The platform boasts a huge database of over 25 million bloggers and influencers. Use this database to create your email list and schedule the email. Also, track the campaign progress on your email id.

  • Starts @ $49/month

PR Outreach for Local Businesses – FAQs

Q1. How can Public Relations Professionals Help My Local Business?

Ans. A PR professional helps your brand earn mentions across popular media publications. Moreover, they facilitate roles like:

  • Building media relations
  • Creates the PR outreach strategy
  • Monitors brand mentions and outreach efforts
  • Managing corporate communications
  • Building blogger and influencer relations and campaigns

It can also help to improve your local SEO.

Q2. Which PR Tools Should I Explore for PR Outreach?

Ans. ProfNet and HARO help you receive collaboration requests from Journalists for their stories. JustReachOut, Muck Rack, and Cision are other tools to find relevant journalists and email your pitch.

Q3. What Value PR Outreach Draws to My Business?

Ans. A well-executed PR outreach strategy allows you to gain brand mentions in top-tier publications. You can pitch for a backlink, post your article, promote your product/brand/resource, etc.

Q4. How Can I Calibrate the Results from My PR Efforts?

Ans. You can leverage Google Alerts and define alerts for your brand name or promoted product name. Also, use the tool Mention to check your brand mention across the web. Also, check your link profile for earned backlinks and SEO metrics for referral traffic.

Q5. What are the Types of PR Pitches Usually Reflect Good Success Rate?

Ans. Personalized and relevant pitches work great for PR outreach. Some types of email pitches include:

  • Highlighting a minor error in a journalist’s post
  • Offering the journalist a resource for his story
  • “Followed your advice” pitch
  • Pitching a PR story highly relevant to the journalist’s pitch
  • Offering insights into an upcoming news

Key Takeaways

  • Choose the right PR goal, i.e., link-building, product promotion, brand mention, etc.
  • Create an exclusive or intriguing PR story
  • Prepare your story draft and your PR media kit.
  • Find the best PR journalists, bloggers, or influencers. Use PR tools, competitor research, and manual research for the same.
  • Define a promising email pitch and build a connection
  • Pitch to several journalists/bloggers
  • Monitor your brand mentions, links, and referral traffic

Rank Your Website

Joseph Schneider

He has spent more than 12 Years strategizing and executing SEO campaigns. He is interested in writing Digital-marketing, PPC, and Social Media Marketing related topics.


Joseph Schneider

He has spent more than 12 Years strategizing and executing SEO campaigns. He is interested in writing Digital-marketing, PPC, and Social Media Marketing related topics.