Behind almost all great product launch coverage or business, reviews is a great public relations strategy. That said, PR is hard. Pitching with journalists, bloggers, and influencers globally is easier said than done. It needs a specialized team for getting the media interested in your story. And most importantly, it is expensive and most start-ups and small businesses don’t have enough budget to hire an advertising or PR agency.
The good news is: You don’t have to. There is absolutely no need to spend your money on glossy ads in magazines or on TV commercials. There are ways to generate positive buzz about your business without breaking your bank, thanks to the Internet and social media. So even if you don’t have the means to retain a PR firm on high fees, your PR efforts don’t have to take a beating. Here are 4 budget strategies to get you going.
1. Reach out to your industry influencers on social media
PR is all about creating a good communications strategy and for that, you need to connect with the right people. Unlike established PR firms, start-ups that are doing their own PR don’t have the advantage of robust media lists but that shouldn’t stop you from reaching out to the right kind of audience. Identify the reporters, industry influencers, and appropriate outlets who cover your industry and market on social media. Reach out and cultivate a relationship with these influencers before sending your pitch.
You can ask them to become a brand ambassador, write a review, or ask them to hold a giveaway along with you in order to generate buzz about your business. In fact, this strategy can help you reach out to more number of people out there compared to any glossy ads. A 2016 study found that 49 percent Twitter users rely on influencers when it comes to buying something online. So you’re keeping your business on the radar of these influencers by maintaining regular communication.
You can use LinkedIn Inmail to pitch journalists without spending much. In addition, you can sign up for Help A Reporter Out or HARO for free to connect with journalists who are working in your industry. Pitch these journalists for articles when you see any opportunity suitable to your small business PR needs.
2. Publish articles on free content sites
The role of content in marketing is no more a secret. And PR is all about content; the more interesting one you have, the better buzz you can create. Use it to establish and grow your credibility as a thought leader in your particular domain. The best part is: You can do it for free.
There are many websites where you can become a regular content contributor without spending a dime. These free opportunities are probably the best to legitimize your expertise. However, the only condition is that it must be original, high-quality content, which the readers want to read. Better yet, these industry news and blog websites also allow you to link back to your company website, which means you don’t have to pay any additional advertising cost to draw traffic to your brand.
Some of the platforms to target include LinkedIn Pulse, Medium, and Hubpages etc. Besides, there are many other free content sites to publish your articles, just make sure to promote the links of your published articles on your social media network to ensure a maximum amount of traffic.
3. Create buzz with PRWeb
Creating and distributing your press releases is a pivotal part of your PR strategy. While creating the press releases is often easier, distributing it to the right channel is often a challenge for many. You need a distribution service that will help you reach out to a large number of news outlets at once. PRWeb is arguably the best platform to do it. All you need to do is draft a newsworthy press release for your start-up – be it a product launch, fundraising, a promotional event, or an update, and submit it to this channel. PRWeb will distribute your press release to search engines and news sites for national and local journalists to find more about you.
While this service isn’t free (their basic subscription package starts at $99), it is still a great way to spread the word about your business quickly and effectively. Let’s take the example of Practo, a fast-growing healthcare app, which is said to have a valuation of $650M. While the company has some newsworthy press releases, they make it a point to distribute the same on appropriate channels, thus reaching out to thousands of journalists.
4. Join Twitter conversation
Twitter is one of the best platforms to build brand awareness as well as to create a business buzz without burning a hole in your pocket. If used rightly, it can also help you establish your brand as an industry thought leader. To begin with, simply create a Twitter page for your brand and start following people who are interested in your domain. Keep posting valuable content that your target audience will find useful consistently. At the same time, monitor Twitter for relevant keywords and hashtags using Hootsuite or other social monitoring tools. It will hardly take 10 minutes a day or so to gain insight into your industry trends.
Look for conversations about your industry, business or products and join them when appropriate. This will not only help you identify media opportunities and target prospective customers, but you can also establish yourself as a thought leader with your insights. Besides, it can help you understand what consumers do or do not like about your business/products. And the best part of joining a Twitter conversation is that you can get your brand name out there and increase your brand mentions to create a buzz.
In this post, we have discussed 4 easy and budget-friendly PR strategies, but it is not an extensive list. There are many more and all you need is to test and hone your messaging skills in real time to do some active public relations. Don’t worry if you don’t have a full strategic communications plan, just get your foot in the door. However, it is also important to remember that these budget-friendly PR strategies will need some effort on your part. They are also time-consuming, but if done rightly, your start-up PR endeavors will help you create a never-ending buzz about your business, and that’s worth every minute.