Whether you are a local brick and mortar business or an international corporation or an entirely online business, publicity is an important part of your marketing arsenal. Publicity differs from marketing in the sense that it is more about creating relationships and drawing attention to your business/event/project, introducing your business to your ideal customer.
There are many ways to do this and many media to participate in, in order to accomplish the goal of getting your business in front of th right eyeballs and then engaging them in something that they feel is important to them. Remember, as you do this that this is not about you or your business or what YOU want. It is completely about your customer and their needs, desires and interests. If everything you do in your business revolves around your vision and goals for your business, you will miss the boat and never really understand why.
Secondly, this isn’t about waiting for the right opportunity to promote your business comes along. It is about creating opportunities to delight and surprise your ideal customer/client/recruit/reader.
So what can you do? Get out of your business at least once a week and put on your community service hat. What important cause or event in your community can you get involved in? How can you make a difference and go out of your way to promote someone else?
One of the big things you can do is to become a resource for the people you would most like to have promote you. Local reporters are always looking for good stories. When you get involved in a community event, offer to help them promote it and then go to your local radio, tv and newspaper editors and tell them about the event. Go prepared with some background information and maybe some photos (in digital format) to give them a leg up. When you do these meaningful things for the folks who do the promoting in your community, they will pay attention when you put out a press release about your business and you are more likely to get a great article, interview or blatant free promotion of your business.
This goes for columnists as well. If you know of a newspaper or magazine columnist who writes on your topic, develop a relationship with them by making positive and interesting letters to the editor. Oftentimes not only are these published, but it also creates a positive relationship with the columnist who may now be open to writing a column post featuring you.
How about becoming a columnist yourself? If you are an expert on a topic, you might want to offer to write a column for your local paper on that topic. I know several of my clients who have done this and used it to become a celebrity in their niche.
If you aren’t a local business, especially if most of your business comes from online, you can still develop relationships with reporters. One of the coolest ways to do this is HARO (Help A Reporter Out), a brilliant resource site run by the brilliant Peter Shankman. The purpose of the site is to allow reporters access to expert volunteers who act as resources for articles on specific subjects. You can register as a resource for free. Once you register under your topic, you will begin to receive notifications in your email of specific needs of specific reporters. When you answer their queries, you help them with resources, stories from your own or others experience and anything you have to say on the topic.
They may or may not use it, but over time you will develop a relationship with certain reporters, bloggers and broadcasters for having accurate and engaging information about their topic. More often than not you may find them attributing you in their articles and even asking to write a story specifically about your business or you (which is pretty much the same thing) or mentioning you or your business in the course of their article.
The result could find you as a guest in a television, vlog or radio/podcast or featured in magazine and newspaper articles or blog articles. Trust me…this is a good thing for you and for your business and could easily take you to the next level, creating you as a celebrity in your niche.
Our theme for this week has been tools. Each new tool we have featured has been something that will be a basic and necessary part of your arsenal as you shoot for laser targeted visitors for your website and create a fan base of loyal and enthusiastic followers for your brand, your product, your service and most importantly, YOU.
Today we will talk about the benefits of press releases. In the beginning of the press, thousands of years ago, it was the town crier or a public official who would read announcements in the village square or the bard who would sing or relate stories, legends and news at public events. The marketers of the time knew that the best place to set up their market stall was as close to the bard as possible because the bard drew an audience.
Then along came the printing press. The first printed news was called a broadsheet. On it was news and (TA DA) advertisements of local businesses. Benjamin Franklin was well known as a publisher of a small newspaper called The Pennsylvania Gazette and within it were many of the famous inspirational quotes and maxims he is known for still today. Of public interest were new businesses in the community and reviews of plays, community events and (indeed) local gossip.
Fast forward to our current day. How many different ways do we get our news? Radio, television, newspapers, magazines, blogs, news sites, video sharing sites such as YouTube, mobile phone alerts, etc. Getting your content listed by or on a news site can be very beneficial, just as when our ancestors tried to position their booth close to where public announcements and the storytellers were.
Press releases are a way to get your content seen by the people who create the items of interest on these different types of media at no cost. It is important to recognize that there is a format for a press release. Here is a great tutorial about how to create an effective press release.
The benefits of press releases:
- You may be contacted by a newspaper, radio, television or web reporter to interview you and put your business in front of thousands or even millions of people who have a direct interest in what you are doing.
- Press release distributors send your link out to hundreds or even thousands of internet news outlets, most of whom will post a link to your website on their page. These websites are the 500 lbs gorillas most of us would never stand a chance at ever getting in front of.
- The search engines love news. It is considered very high quality and valuable content, so the links to your website are given high priority in the search engines.
- The search engine algorithms give high points for high quality backlinks to your website and thus boost your ranking in the search engine, giving your website a better chance at that first page ranking every website hopes for.
There are two press release distribution websites I recommend.
Both of these outlets provide a quality service. PR.com has a no cost option. PR Web does not. However, if you are going to pay to promote your site, buying a press release is probably one of the best investments you can make. I recommend you do a press release at least quarterly. If you can afford it, once a month is even better.
So what should you write about in your press release? Stay tuned for Part 2 of “Stop The Presses”.