You’ve got a great story with your company, and you think it’s one that deserves to be told. If you’re not sure how to get your news in magazines, websites, newspapers and blogs, read on. I’ll address a lot of common misconceptions about PR.

1. I need a PR team or agency to do the pitching.

Not true at all. If you’re a small business owner with the time and inclination to learn how to do your own public relations, you don’t need to hire a professional (though they might have the contacts to make the job easier).

I know PR pros hate me already for making them null, but the reality is, a lot of small businesses will never have the budget to hire a full time PR employee or even a freelancer. And these guys deserve their PR too!

2. If I try hard enough, I can make the Wall Street Journal.

I’m not saying this is impossible, but consider it a pipe dream for now. Every one of WSJ (or any other well known publication, for that matter) gets dozens to hundreds of press releases in their inbox every day, so it’s hard to have a story compelling enough to make them care.

Instead, focus on your local newspapers and publications. Find blogs and websites in your niche. The more publicity you get, the more likely the big players are to take notice of your brand.

3. I should attach my press release to the email I sent an editor.

False. Editors get enough spam, and an email with an attachment on it from someone they don’t know is a red flag that sends it straight to the trash. You’re better off pitching a well crafted email with a few bullet points that highlight key points of your story. You can link to the online version of the release if you’d like, or make them ask for it if they’re interested.

4. I need a press release.

Again, PR folks, forgive me. You don’t really need a press release to pitch your story. They’re going to do their own homework if they choose to write about you, and while a press release can provide some background to your news, it’s not a requirement. Do have online resources you can point journalists to for more information.

5. Distributing a press release online results in magazines writing about us.

In fact, online distribution is a great SEO booster. Sites like PRWeb send your release to dozens of news and niche sites, where you have a link back to your website. Google likes this, and moves you up in search results.

But the reality is, editors don’t scour the web for press releases looking for stories very often. You might luck out, but I say keep your online press release strategy SEO focused.

More Pitching Tips

The best time to send your email pitch is Tuesday through Thursday, midday. That way, you avoid being lumped in with the Monday mail that gets trashed easily, and you avoid the early-escape Fridays where your email will be ignored until Monday. Or indefinitely.

Spend time scoping out the journalists that cover your beat. Read their articles so you get a sense of what they look for in a story. Do this long before you actually want to pitch them.

Follow journalists and editors on Twitter. Respond to their tweets. Show you’re paying attention, again, long before you need them. The best way to get a story is to have a relationship with a media contact so that they come to you for the story.

Subscribe to Help a Reporter Out. It’s a free service that connects journalists to sources. Journalists post what they’re looking for, and if you fit the bill, you can respond to their posting and become a source for an upcoming article.