Public relations is all about building relationships with various media outlets and communicating your unique story to these audiences in order to promote your business and boost its credibility. While many businesses opt to hire an external public relations agency, that’s not necessarily the only way to derive value from the PR process. In fact, you can use DIY public relations—by yourself—to increase awareness of your small business.

1. Make Your Business Newsworthy

You may have awesome things happening in your business, but if you don’t position the details in an engaging way, no one is going to care. Before pitching anything to the media, take the time to choose an angle that highlights how your business is unique and interesting. You should be able to set your business apart from your competition with the information you are sharing, and if you can’t, you may want to keep searching for a better topic to take public.

2. Learn How to Write and Distribute a Press Release Online

Press releases have been around for a very long time, and some professionals question their relevance in public relations. While the format of has changed quite a bit, press releases still provide an effective way to reach a large number of people quickly. When submitting a press release for online distribution, it is important to format a press release correctly and to use legitimate press release distribution sites.

3. Take Time to Build a Media List

PR requires a list of media outlets that you can pitch to. Start by doing a Google search for news organizations in your specific industry, then make a short list of relevant media. You may need to do some digging to find contact information for each outlet, but having your own media list will be well worth the effort—this is DIY public relations, after all! Keep in mind that social sites like Twitter and LinkedIn can also be great sources to search.

4. Pitch It Right—Doable Even If It’s DIY Public Relations!

Your pitch is what will get you in the door, so if it’s lacking, you will never make it past the initial contact. The trick is to get to the point of your pitch in the first 2–3 highly engaging sentences to capture the reader’s attention and provide a reason for him or her to continue reading. Once you have done that, you can provide the details and your contact information. The best pitches are personal and creative, so take time to craft one that shows the personality of your business.

5. Sign Up on HARO

Help a Reporter Out (HARO) is a website that brings together small business owners and industry experts with journalists who need expert quotes or information for an article. It’s a great (and free) way to help build brand awareness and become recognized as an expert in your niche. Frequently scanning requests and taking a few minutes to reply with your expertise can lead to a mention on an outlet like The New York Times or CNN, which can be invaluable to your business.

These DIY public relations tips can help you develop new interest in your business if you are willing to dedicate the time and energy needed to execute them. Remember, public relations is only one part of your marketing strategy. For the biggest results, create a comprehensive marketing plan that incorporates several types of marketing tactics working together in an integrated and cohesive way.

Alyssa is a digital strategist, content marketer, and small business consultant with more than 15 years of experience helping businesses reach and engage with their target audience. In 2011, she founded the Small Business Bonfire, an online community for small business owners that also includes a blog and weekly small business newsletter with actionable tips and advice.