In having a very limited marketing budget early in opening a business, it teaches a valuable lesson in PR. I am in the tutoring industry, which isn’t all that glamorous, so I have to make a lot of noise to get noticed and create an aura of fun. Last year, my company Begin Bright was on the front cover of the Sydney Morning Herald, on 7 news, in the Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Telegraph, on the cover of My Business Magazine, on main radio stations, as well as being in industry publication and websites. I didn’t spend a cent.
Getting free PR isn’t difficult, it’s just a bit of effort and persistence.
If you’re willing to put in the effort, here’s some simple things to try to generate great PR for your business:
- Write an article You know about your business and everyone has some knowledge that someone would love to learn from. Write a bank of articles that your target market will love to read.
- Compile a list of related industry sites Go onto Google and make a list of at least 50 sites that your target market frequent, including the contact person, phone number and email address.
- Write your bio and insert your links Write a bio that’s 2-3 sentences long that will appeal to commonality with your audience. Insert links in your articles that relate back to your website or other sites that your audience will like.
- Distribute your writing Send personally to every contact that you acquired in step 2. The following day, give them a call to ask if they received your article and if they would want to use it on their site. Most sites are very happy to have fresh content created, so it’s quite easy to get your articles published if they’re quality.
- Enter awards programs The marketing exposure that awards programs can provide is exceptional. Not only do some programs have really great prizes, but they can generate a lot of flow on media coverage and boost your credibility in the market place. Definitely worth a few hours of work.
- Voice an opinion Don’t be afraid to speak your mind. The reason we were on the cover of the Sydney Morning Herald is because we’re changing the way early education is offered in Australia. Having a strong opinion and being able to voice it can cause your audience to love you or strongly disagree with you. Both results are excellent from a marketing point of view. Those that love you will become loyal customers and proud supporters, and those that disagree will continue to talk about you.
- Befriend your industry media In main stream media, such as the newspapers and online sites, work out who the editors are of each area that’s applicable to you and form a relationship. If they publish you, say thank you. I routinely send a box of chocolates or a book to people who have published me with a hand written thank you card. The next time they need an opinion on a topic, they think of me. “Thank you” goes a long way in creating a lasting relationship.
- Milk your 15 minutes of fame Once you are published, let the world know. With winning one award, we were in two magazines, a newspaper and 5 well known website blogs. This generated a huge boost in our public perception and our database. Take advantage of the opportunities that are given to you.
- Build credibility with logos Once you’re in a well known publication, that builds your credibility. Let people know on your website by using those publications logos and including the articles.
- Routinely send press releases and articles Until you’ve built an amazing profile, it’s rare that you will get called specifically for your input. You have to ask for it. Every month, create new great content and send to your contacts that you’ve made. If something amazing happens in your business, send a press release.
- Keep a high social media presence On Facebook alone, there are 3.5 billion posts liked and commented on every day. Your business needs to be part of that conversation. Find out where your target audience is. There’s not much point spending all of your time and money on building a presence on Facebook, twitter, google plus, pinterest, LinkedIn, Flickr, etc., if that’s not where your audience is. Go to where your customers are and do it really well.
- Get customers feedback If you have a great business, you have happy customers. Ask them for their feedback in the form of a written or verbal testimonial and publish it on your website and in social media. People love social proof and you’ll feel great when you hear how much what you do is impacting others.
Then REPEAT. Good luck ☺