Are you starting a new business or looking to grow an existing company? If so, then it’s helpful to learn how to work with traditional media and online press outlets in order to maximize the power of coverage. And while there are standard PR strategy basics that are handy to know, one of the best ways to create buzz around a brand is to think outside standard-issue confines.
Why is publicity helpful for small businesses?
PR strategies can help generate exposure, of course. In addition to increased name recognition and being able to reach a targeted audience, it can help increase revenue and boost your website’s search engine optimization (SEO) performance. The best part is that publicity is usually free — part of what makes it so incredibly helpful, especially for those wielding limited marketing budgets.
What types of publicity opportunities should businesses look for?
One-on-one PR is a great way to build trust and credibility with the media. If you can get featured in a magazine, newspaper, or on a media website, those are key pathways for sharing a brand story and its unique messaging. It also helps to differentiate you from competitors. The next best option is to get quoted in an article or story. While not as prominent as a feature profile, it’s still a valuable way of getting exposure, and can lead to more and larger opportunities with a publication, especially if you’ve been able to provide a helpful contribution.
The process begins with contacting editors and other journalists. Use tools like Google Alerts to track down those who might be interested in your story, but make certain that those you select cover the area of your company’s expertise/niche. In addition to this, pitch reporters who work for publications serving your ideal customer base. For example, if you own a beauty brand, magazines like Allure and NewBeauty are great avenues to pursue. This helps you reach beauty-loving audiences that would more likely be interested in buying your products.
Out-of-the-box PR strategies
Basically, anything you can do to stand out helps get media attention. Here’s a real-life example of a novel strategy my parents used. Since they own a company (Dandy Productions) that revolves around a cast of patriotic children’s characters (including their registered trademarked character, Yankee Doodle Dandy), when I was born on July 4th (coincidentally), they gifted US Savings Bonds to all newborn babies born in the same local hospital on that day. This resulted in a timely Independence Day-themed story on the front page of the local newspaper, which gave them positive exposure and recognition.
Another creative tip might be to host a company-sponsored event or contest that’s fun and different. For example, if you own a food brand, consider holding a publicity photo shoot in which models are dressed as master chefs and photographed with your food products, or host a publicity product sampling event where people can taste the food in exchange for answering publicity questions about your company.
The point of doing all this is not just to earn publicity, but to generate the kind that’s beneficial for your particular type of business — that will be an engine for sales and attracting new customers.