One of the most common complaints of small business owners is that they do not have the budget for advertising. While that is usually true, that does not mean you cannot get your message out there, and reach thousands of interested readers with the information you would like them to see.
The answer lies in publicity and media, and if it is done correctly, it is both free, and the perfect way to generate interest in your company, site or product.
The most common and well known way to generate media interest in your company, product, or service is to write a press release. You might not realise it, but most print and online news and media platforms are constantly on the lookout for free content, and most are willing to publish press releases about topics that relate to their niche. This is a free service, and since news outlets have high readership, including other news outlets and journalists, it is a great way to build buzz.
There are a few things that need to be borne in mind about press releases though. First, they are not advertisements. They have to be newsworthy in order to be treated as press releases, and they usually have to be written in a third party, objective style that presents the facts – not as sales copy!
A good idea is to take a look at other press releases on line or off, and make a note of the style that they are written in. That will give you a good idea of how to write a press release, but what about content? For that, you will have to find something newsworthy to write about. It could be the launch of your company, or a new product, or a successfully completed project. It could be a new appointment, or an upgrade to your services. Nearly every company, even small businesses, have at least a few newsworthy stories to share, and those are the ones you want to turn into press releases.
There are even free online press release portals that you can submit your news to yourself, which have a global following, and they are a great way to get started with your own publicity drive.
What about other ways of using the media for free publicity though?
Several people have used the concept of notoriety – by suing major corporations and pulling other stunts. Those methods may have worked for some people, but they are very risky.
A better idea would be to write an informative article on your industry or specialty, and submit it to trade publications in your area. If it is published, you will usually have your name, company information and contact details included with your article, and you could find yourself getting business that way.
Another idea would be to volunteer your time for charity events. Local news media usually cover charity events anyway, and having your name, and that of your company tied to an event like that can be great for your business.
Other publicity generating ideas could be as simple as running a competition, or as crazy as a world record attempt. As long as it is news worthy, and you make sure that people in the news and media industries know about it, it should get you the attention you want.
The main benefit of using publicity and media instead of traditional advertising is that it is a lot cheaper than paying for advertising. You can do most of the work yourself, or you can hire a freelancer to craft your press releases and other materials for you.
Publicity and media of this type also has a much larger audience, and if your press release is syndicated or referenced by other media sites, you may find that your website traffic spikes dramatically, and your sales follow suit.
Getting to know the editors of magazines and other print publications can be the trickiest part of the publicity and media process, but focusing on publications that are closely related to your field is usually the easiest way to get around this problem.
Deciding what’s newsworthy and what’s not can also be a learning curve, but if your press releases and articles are well written and topical, you should find that eventually, you are taken seriously, and your content is published. So why not start looking for newsworthy information about your business, and practice writing press releases, or think up new ways that you can get local media attention? It is a great way to get free advertising, and will certainly get your business on the map.