It’s no secret that getting your small business noticed can be difficult without the right tools, especially when cash flow is limited, But it doesn’t have to be impossible. Whether you’re starting a new business from scratch or adding a fresh feature to an existing product, there are several effective ways you can gain free PR without compromising on quality. Here are some ideas:
PR is all about building relationships. This doesn’t mean sending bulk emails and press releases to just about anyone you come across.
The great thing about living in this era is that we are more connected than ever. That means it’s relatively straightforward to identify the most influential people out there and sending information their way. LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook are particularly effective avenues worth exploring.
Journalists are frequently scouring social media looking for a great story. All you need to do is identify the key voices. Do not, however, flood them with too much at once. Remember, journalists receive around 100 press releases on average per week. 68%% of journalists prefer receiving the facts and are turned off by too much text, so keep all communication to-the-point.
Become the story
Brian Scudamore, founder and CEO of O2E brands, explains that there’s more to self-driven PR than simply relying on the press to pick up your story. He suggests finding breaking news stories that the press is already covering (or eager to cover) and inserting yourself into the conversation in a way that promotes your business.
For example, during the Vancouver Canucks NHL playoff, Brian knew that the media would be all over the game. So, he pulled up in a junk truck in front of the stadium and sold 1000 blue wigs to fans before kickoff. The media not only noticed swarms of fans in blue wigs, but wanted to talk to Brian about who he was and why he was there.
This is an example of knowing how to work the press to your advantage and there’s no reason you can’t creatively find a way of doing the same.
Promote customer success stories
A good story is worth sharing. If your product or service has had a positive impact on one of your customers, find a way of telling their story on your website. These stories not only help bring in customers and grow existing customer trust, but can be picked up by news outlets and retold to bigger audiences.
Facebook does this particularly well. They have a dedicated section on their site that shows off how their advertising services have been a real game changer to thousands of businesses. If you click on one of their stories, one of the first things you see is a list of highlighted statistics outlining how that business grew through Facebook advertising followed by a compelling success story.
You can do something similar. On your website, create some customer success stories with an initial focus on key facts and photos followed by a story. For example, if you own a diet food business, ask one of your most successful dieters to send in a before and after picture, as well as their total weight loss achieved through the diet. Then give them a call and interview them about who they were before their diet and how much better their life is now. Type it up and send it out into the world.
Stories like this work wonders for growing trust and recognition of your brand.
Go for an award
Winning an award (or just being shortlisted) can really boost PR for your business. There are a number of small business awards you can go for depending on where in the world you are. These include the Best In Biz awards and Dream Big awards. But don’t be afraid to also submit yourself for local awards in your area. Any press is good press, even if it’s just in your local newspaper.
Present a win-win scenario
When a journalist sits down at his or her desk on a Monday morning and logs on to find thirty new unread emails from PR agencies, it’s just business as usual. But an email from you may stand out if it presents an opportunity for the media outlet as well as your business.
If you do your homework, you’ll know that every media outlet has a specific readership they need to keep engaged. Then the question becomes, how can your small business increase the magazine or news site’s reader interest while also shining a spotlight on your latest products and services? A detailed but to-the-point email outlining these mutual benefits will be well received.
A small business shouldn’t need to hire expensive PR services. If you remain focused and target your communications appropriately you can be sure to maximize exposure and drive your business forward.
About the Author: Matthew Murray is the Managing Director of Notable, a business solutions firm based in Singapore. Notable helps businesses form in Singapore and matches them with clients looking for their services.