When it comes to marketing, if you’re a small business owner or sole trader your mantra may well be ‘affordable yet effective’. We all want to get the word out about our businesses, but doing it without spending a fortune is generally key.
Which is just one of the reasons PR is often dismissed by many entrepreneurs. Too expensive? Too difficult to do on your own? Too inaccessible? There are a host of misconceptions about PR.
But the truth is, getting media coverage for your business is a brilliant way to get your business ‘out there’. And you don’t necessarily have to spend big bucks on doing it. In fact, there are a range of free PR tools that you can utilise to get brilliant publicity for your business for free.
Of course, it’s not just the costs involved, or lack of, that you need to consider. PR is great for raising your profile, creating a buzz about your business, positioning you as an expert in your field, building your brand, reaching new audiences – the list goes on.
So when you look at it like that, can you afford not to be including PR in your marketing efforts?
Take a look at these free PR tools you can use to help get your business written about in the press.
The press release
The number one free PR tool for anyone wanting to get some publicity for their business. A press release is a document that you can submit to journalists to notify them about your news. Start by working out what your newsworthy angle is, then write up a press release that incorporates all the information about your story that a journalist may need. Email it to journalists and editors at various media outlets and if it’s of interest to them, they will publish your news. It’s worth bearing in mind that statistics show that editorial is generally seen as being seven times more effective than advertising. So if you can nail your press release, you’re laughing. The cost? Either the time it takes for you to research, write and send out your release, or the relatively low fee of hiring someone to write it for you.
The guest blog post
Now that you can find a blog on almost every subject out there, blogging is an important consideration for anyone carrying out a PR campaign. And guest blogging is a really good way to get some fantastic coverage and generate free PR. When you partner up with another blogger you’ll immediately benefit from their following. So pick a popular blog and you’ll open yourself up to a potentially massive audience who wouldn’t know about you otherwise. Simply think about subjects that you are happy to write about, and find blogs that fit with those. One way to make sure you’re targeting the right blogs, is to think about where your ideal clients hang out. What blogs are they likely to be reading? If you can bag a guest spot on a blog that’s popular with your ideal customers, you’ll massively boost your PR efforts. Remember there are also big news sites that host blogs (think Huffington Post, Forbes, etc), so consider approaching these as well for even more exposure. The cost involved? Just the time it takes to research and write your blog posts.
The social networking sites
You may already be focusing on your social media efforts, but did you know the likes of Twitter and Facebook can also be utilised to generate some free PR? Most journalists are on Twitter these days, so it’s a great place to connect with members of the media. Meanwhile, the various social media platforms offer the chance for you to ‘publish’ your own content online. Social media is also effective for letting people know about any media coverage that you have achieved – whenever you have an article published it’s important to post links to it on all of your social networks. And of course, social networking for the most part is completely free.
The speaking gig
When you’re thinking about your overall PR campaign, it’s good to look at ways to get yourself ‘our there’. A speaking gig can be a great secret weapon for generating free PR. Find the right audience and you can demonstrate your expertise by talking about your specialist subject. Make sure you look for speaking opportunities where your ideal clients are likely to be. If you’re new to public speaking, start off with a local networking group where business owners are given the chance to talk about their businesses, then work your way up to bigger gigs. If you want to go for the double whammy, you can use your forthcoming speaking gig as the basis of a press release too. Again, no cost involved, except the time it takes to write your speech.
Now you have some effective free PR tools, think about how you might utilise them in a PR campaign. Got any queries or comments about how to achieve free PR? Leave a comment and let us know.