Tips on gaining free publicity
If your business has limited funds for marketing, then consider ways of gaining free exposure or publicity for your products and services. Here are a few ideas from among the many possibilities.
Send the media information
All media (newspapers, magazines, radio and TV) are eager for content to fill space or air time. They will not give you free advertising (they prefer that you to pay for that), but they are looking for interesting, newsworthy stories, particularly stories with a human interest angle. So send them interesting stories about your business.
For example, you run a hairdressing salon (or perhaps a gourmet cooking school) and a celebrity expert is coming in to demonstrate the latest in hairdressing styles (or the latest cuisine). There are certainly two good stories there. If you sell cars, you might be supplying a special model to a local sports personality, or you might be offering a free car or van to a local charity - another story opportunity.
Target the media that potential customers read, watch or listen to
Target the media that potential customers read, watch or listen to and then study the material that gets published or broadcast. This will help you to spot opportunities. Also ask yourself, 'What do I read? What stories interest me?' Some people have a natural flair for publicity; others need some help to beginto develop a feel for what will gain publicity.
Consider using a freelance journalist (or perhaps a retired journalist) to help you get started. The journalist can show you how to put together fact sheets and media releases with a better rate of success than your own attempts. The journalist is also likely to have many valuable contacts in the industry.
Get to know the local media
Make a point of getting to know the names of the media people in your area.
For example, the editor of your community newspaper, radio and TV journalists. For instance, if you place adverts with a newspaper use the opportunity to visit the newspaper’s office to meet the editor and senior journalists. Keep in touch with them by sending information about your business or about the industry you work in.
Become the expert
If something affects your industry, send in your comments. For example, a tax cut, tariff change or trade treaty with another country that will affect your industry or an emerging technology that is likely to transform it. The media might not use your comments every time, but you have started to establish yourself as someone with opinions on the industry.
You can slowly build yourself up to become the expert.
Start taking notice of the spokespeople from the business world the media do use or refer to. You’ll see the same faces time and again. These people are not picked by accident; they are chosen because they deliberately set out to establish themselves as spokespeople. You can do the same by starting modestly at first (perhaps at the community newspaper or radio level first) and then aiming for increased recognition.
Persistence is important. You’re unlikely to succeed with every story you send in so keep trying. It can be a numbers game: the more stories you send, the more likely you are finally to get your material accepted.
Increase your chances by:
* Starting with the smaller local papers in your area (whether this is a suburb of a city or a rural area). They are less demanding in terms of content. Most areas have a free local paper.
* Targeting a specific section of a publication (for example, the sports or business section).
* Producing timely articles. Keep aware of local and international events that might make your material more relevant or topical.
* Always writing about the human impact of your stories.
What others say about you
One of the major benefits of gaining free publicity (apart from the fact it’s free) is that what others say about your business carries more weight than anything you say.
Write articles or columns for publication
For example, if you run a garden centre, can you contribute to the gardening column in local publications? If you build boats, can you contribute information to boating magazines? For every industry there is some specialist publication that offers opportunities. If you can’t write, simply put your thoughts in bullet point form and give them to a writer to edit and shape for you. The publicity is free.
Create newsworthy events
What can you do to make your business stand out and attract publicity? For instance, can you work with a charity in support of a worthy cause? Can you sponsor a local sports team or community event? Are any celebrity customers likely to visit your business?
Get a good visual spectacle happening for the cameras. Something with more originality than boobs is good.
Getting involved in local activities can be a great way of attracting publicity. This doesn’t have to involve you giving away funds; you could instead donate product or services or some resources.
Study other businesses
Start studying how other businesses manage to attract free publicity and then work out how you can do something similar for your business. It comes back to the fact that the media are always looking for newsworthy stories. With a little creativity you can help them and gain significant exposure for your business.
An 11 step marketing roadmap
When it comes to marketing, how do you start and what’s the most logical order to proceed?
Plain English Explanations for Terms on this Page
Marketing is often confused with advertising. In reality it is much more than this and must be considered before you launch your business.
A tariff is a type of tax imposed by the government on goods imported into the country.
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