Today, many entrepreneurs don’t understand the impact that publicity can have on their products and services. In fact, they often think that publicity is only for celebrities, athletes, or large corporations. However, that’s simply not true. As someone who has worked in the PR field for more than 14 years, I know that the right coverage in the right publication can produce brand awareness, revenue, and bring even larger media opportunities.

Here are the top five things entrepreneurs can start to implement now to generate media coverage without spending a dollar on hiring a publicist or PR firm.

Core Publicity Objectives

Figuring out what your primary objective is for your publicity campaign is essential. If you don’t have any in place, then you won’t be able to evaluate and measure your results. So, start to think about what your objectives are and what you want your next media feature to achieve. Is it creating buzz, positioning you as a thought leader within your industry and target audiences, generating traffic and potential leads to your landing pages, adding credibility and trust to your brand, increasing email and newsletter subscribers, improving conversions, attracting investors, or enhancing brand awareness? Once you know which objectives are most important to your business, then you will be able to develop a publicity strategy with the right messages that target the right editors and journalists at the appropriate media outlets.

Publicity Messages

Your brand messages build the foundation of your publicity campaign. These messages help you prioritize your outreach and ensure uniformity throughout your PR copy. Each message should be concise and express one thought only. These messages often include brand differentiators, innovation, core values, mission and vision, and value proposition and essentially build a certain perception within your target audience’s minds. With key messages that are clear and concise, you will garner effective media coverage.

Right Media Outlets

Determining where your story will fit and whether that story will help grow your business can be tricky if you’re just starting out. A few ways to find out where your story can fit and what impact it can have on your business, think about where you already have existing media or influencer relationships. Do any of your colleagues, friends, or peers have media or podcast relationships? If you don’t have any relationships, don’t fret. It’s not a big deal—we all have to start from somewhere. You can also do a simple Google search to find the best and most relevant blogs within your niche as well as look at iTunes to find the top and mid-level podcasts in your niche. Doing all of these things will help you determine where your audience is and have the best shot of having your story or article published.

Personalized Communication

To build long-term relationships with the media, personalizing each pitch you send is key. Emailing the same pitch to 500 different editors and journalists is not an effective publicity strategy. To gain media interest, each one of your pitch letters needs to be customized with the person’s name, outlet, and tone of the outlet’s writing. Start by selecting the 10 media outlets relevant to your business and drafting individual pitches that match the voice and style of that outlet.

The Right Blogger and Influencer Collaborations

Collaborating with the right blogger or influencer can be a game-changer for your business. However, if there’s someone you admire and want to work with, but they charge a sponsorship fee, you can try gifting them (but this doesn’t always work).

You can try gifting goods to bloggers/influencers who match your brand and aesthetic. For example, if you own a prestige beauty brand, then collaborating with bloggers/influencers would be highly beneficial to your brand. You could consider sending your entire collection of what you’d like her to test and endorse. And if the influencer or blogger loves the product, you can offer an entire year’s worth of products.

If you want guaranteed exposure, then there’s a pretty good chance you’ll need to fork out a large sponsorship fee. But before you send anything, always get in touch with the blogger/influencer or her manager to make sure she’s interested in testing your products. In a lot of cases, notable bloggers and influencers are selective about the products they want to test.

Communicating the benefits of your products or services can be difficult in today’s overly saturated market. But when you focus on conveying the benefits in clear and concise language, you will have a better chance of generating the coverage your venture needs to build awareness.