No matter what industry your company is a part of, you're bound to be facing competition—a lot of competition. To stand out from a sea of lookalikes and wannabes, your company must reach out to the right people.

That outreach starts with maintaining an effective network of press relations.

For a lot of companies, finding PR success can be extraordinarily frustrating—especially when just starting out. But the good news is that it's actually fairly simple to get your brand name out there and in the media.

Put on a smile, be patient, and follow the following five simple steps.

1. Make the right connections

Even the most extraordinary press release on earth will be ignored if it's not sent to the right people. So, before you start cold-calling journalists with news about your company's innovative new products, sit down and think about who it is you're talking to.

First, assess your target audience and decide which media outlets members are most likely to be using day in and day out. Then, take a look at each section of those publications to figure out where your business story would fit. For example, are you trying to raise awareness about a new tech product, or are you announcing a new company scholarship?

Not everything qualifies as a breaking news story, so you should bear in mind that firing off a quick email to the editor-in-chief of a national newspaper is a waste of time and energy. It will never be read, and you'll probably end up getting listed as spam.

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image of Nash Riggins

Nash Riggins is an American business journalist based in central Scotland. He writes for the Huffington Post, World Finance, EuropeanCEO, and the New Economy. Follow his blog:

Twitter: @nashriggins