When your business is just getting started, you might not have the budget to hire a public relations and marketing firm. But don’t put your PR strategy on the back burner. A few do-it-yourself options can help you promote your company, until you can hire some professional help.
Do Your Research
A major component of public relations is building connections and relationships with people in the media. Often, one of the things that makes a PR firm so attractive is its ability to connect with key media influencers in order to promote your company and its products and services.
Without a firm behind you, you don’t have access to those contacts. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t try to establish connections yourself. It can take a bit of research and digging, but learning who covers your industry and for what publications, then taking the time to reach out to and introduce yourself to them can be well worth the effort.
Although it’s traditional to reach out to people who work in media, you don’t necessarily have to limit yourself to reporters or journalists. It could benefit your company to connect to a local business that offers a complementary service, for example.
Focus on What You’re Saying
Knowing what your company’s message or story is is crucial if you want people to pay attention to you. Remember that PR isn’t the same thing as advertising. A media outlet typically won’t want to cover a business if the coverage feels like a blatant ad for the company.
Make sure you give the media a “why.” What’s the special hook for your company, why is it different from the others out there, how does your company benefit the community, if at all?
To figure out your company’s message, it sometimes helps to look at what other businesses use as their story or messaging. Look at the key stories of competing businesses and craft your company’s stories in a way that responds to or is considerably different from those stories.
Get Noticed on Social Media
A sharp social media strategy should be part of every budget-PR plan, as social media has changed PR in several ways, as this article from Cision points out. Even if every traditional media outlet in town is ignoring your requests, you can use social media to get your story out there.
Depending on how well you use it, the information you put on your company’s social media pages can end up reaching millions. For example, you might share the story of your company’s beginnings on Twitter. An influencer, someone with a massive Twitter following, might see that story, be moved by it and share it with his or her followers. All of the sudden, your company is getting a considerable amount of attention, without having had to spend much, if any, money.
While social media success stories abound, keep in mind that there’s no way to guarantee your business will be the next viral sensation. Along with telling your company’s story, use social media as a way to interact with your current customers. Offering great service online can do a lot more for your business’ public image than hoping that one day one of your posts will go viral.
Although PR is more than just sending out press releases, sending out releases is still an important part of the process. Online newswire services, such as PRWeb, are a great, inexpensive tool to use. The services distribute press releases to journalists, bloggers and others in the media, around the world, at rates that start at less than $100.
A survey conducted by Vitis PR found that 37% of journalists use newswires daily and 30% use them occasionally. You might not establish a long term relationship using a newswire, but you just might catch the attention of a journalist who wouldn’t have found out about your company otherwise.
While budget-friendly, DIY PR techniques can help your company when it’s just getting started, in the long run, you’ll want to work with a professional to develop a comprehensive PR strategy. When you do have the budget for it, a strong PR strategy can end up reaping numerous rewards.