4 Free, Easy PR Tactics for Your Small Business
1. Contribute to trade publications. See whether any of the trade publications you read accept articles written by outside experts. Media organizations are under intense pressure to publish new web content daily — and many of them lack the resources to keep up with demand. Help them fill their quotas and promote your business at the same time. For example, if you own a fitness studio, offer to write a weekly column about new exercise techniques.
Downplay any sales talk, and make sure that your bio at the end of the article provides a description of your company and a link to your website.
2. Pitch trend stories to mainstream media. Become your own PR agency. Think about new developments in your industry: Consolidations? Increased hiring? A certain type of product? Security breaches? To boost the odds that an editor will accept your pitch, your information should be accurate, compelling, and new. Offer yourself up as a knowledgeable source on the topic and you could be mentioned or even prominently profiled in an article. If you can explain complicated topics to reporters in plain English, business-focused and specialty publications may be particularly interested in speaking with you. Send an email directly to an editor (which can usually be found in the About Us section of a publication’s website) with two to three story ideas. HARO is another invaluable way to find reporters in need of sources.
3. Make a swap for services. Can you offer time (yours or an employee’s) or goods in exchange for prominent placement in a local newspaper, a banner at a regional conference or seminar, or a brochure that will be disseminated at a community event? Trade your services – such as the design of a brochure, basic accounting help, resume writing, or IT assistance — and you could have yourself a deal. Or, if appropriate, offer to place another company’s logo and website link on your site in exchange for appearing on theirs.
4. Think “local.” Have a new store opening, a revamped menu, or an open house in the works? Have you hired a new manager recently? Small community publications (from newsletters to newspapers) often have space to fill, and many are open to running brief articles about area businesses. In addition, create flyers and post them at local coffee shops, grocery stores, the library, and other bulletin boards around town. Consider listing your company with online outlets that cater to localized resources, such as Google Places and Craigslist, which will increase your chances of being found in internet searches.
Sarah Johnson is a business writer for Intuit and is passionate about solving small business problems.