by Wendy Marx
As a small business or start-up, you know how quickly expenses can pile up. Your PR strategy doesn’t have to be one of them. Thanks to a number of online tools and resources, small business PR does not have to break the bank.
When you boil it down, the size of your company doesn’t matter — nor does your budget. Just because you don’t have the deep pockets of bigger B2B companies does not mean you can’t develop a PR strategy that puts your startup in the media spotlight and generates new leads.
We have assembled a simple, but effective, list of budget friendly PR strategies (some of them even free!) that you can utilize right now.
Small Business PR, Meet Budget Friendly Strategies
1. Ally your Start-up with Influencers On Social Media
An influencer has a lot more clout than your average customer — and is a relatively inexpensive way to generate excitement for your start-up PR. Begin to engage with influencers by following them on social media and commenting on what they say. Once you have developed an online relationship — and only then — reach out. See if you can offer a demo or free use of your product or service. In return, ask if they will mention your product or service.
An endorsement from an influencer can mean the difference between a “Yeah that sounds somewhat familiar” response, and a “Where can I get that?” response.
Influencers can facilitate greater reach of your content, improve quality, and inspire more buyer engagement –Lee Odden
Studies show that nearly half of all B2B researchers and those who make purchase decisions are millennials. Would you like to tap into the millennial market of business decision makers? Influencers can help make that happen. Millennials often make purchases based on influencer recommendations.
2. Sign Up For HARO
Have you heard of this nifty resource? If not, now’s the time to learn. HARO stands for Help A Reporter Out, and is a free service that connects you with journalists who are working on articles.
Once you sign up, you will receive daily emails with source requests from various reporters. When you see an opportunity that fits your small business PR needs, you can craft and send a pitch that fits that opportunity. The ball is then in their court, and they can reach out if interested.
3. Leverage Facebook Live Video
Video is rapidly becoming a powerful force in B2B marketing. Are you leveraging this influential tool in your start-up PR? If not, there’s no better way to begin than with Facebook Live. It’s free, and easy to implement.
Facebook has given B2B marketers the opportunity to provide their audience with a live look at what’s happening at events –Emily Ahlbum
Gain a larger audience by scheduling and announcing the topic, date, and time in advance. Then your audience can log on to see it at that time, or know to look it up later.
4. Actively Promote Your Facebook Posts
Facebook offers a number of resources to marketers, including nifty audience demographics tools that helps you zone in on your ideal audience. And the real kicker? It’s not costly. You’ll only need to spend anywhere from $10 to $300, depending on what services you choose!
5. Join Conversations on Twitter
Twitter is a valuable, budget-friendly resource. Create a branded Twitter page, and from there you can generate buzz about your business, boost your brand awareness, and establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry.
Twitter also allows you to follow and join in on various discussions. Keep track of industry-specific hashtags and keywords that will allow you to hone in on hot-button conversations. Share your expertise when appropriate, and get your small business’s name into people’s minds.
Small businesses can connect with their local communities on Twitter in order to get in front of a local audience. –Lauren Dugan
You can also host (or co-host if you don’t yet have an established audience) a Twitter chat, possibly in an “Ask the Expert”-type setting. Promote this chat ahead of time with multiple tweets about the date and time, as well as the topics you’ll discuss. Encourage people to participate. In this way, you position yourself as a respected and trusted authority in your industry.
6. Tap into Pinterest and Instagram
These two social networks sometimes fall through the cracks of B2B marketing, but are still a great way to enhance your start-up PR strategy with stunning visuals. Create a helpful and vibrant infographic that will reach a wider audience. Design visually appealing and thought-provoking graphics that speak to your audience. Include relevant and popular hashtags — or create your own, company-specific hashtag to track views and shares.
7. Use Services Like MuckRack to Find Journalists
Would you like to reach out to bloggers and journalists to get some media coverage, but don’t know where to begin? Services like MuckRack take the guesswork out of contacting the media. This service allows you to search keywords, company names, beats, and media types to find the right fit for your next pitch.
8. Speak at Industry Events
Don’t just go to industry events or read about these after the fact — get off the sidelines and get in the game! Become a speaker. Don’t be afraid to start out in a smaller role in the beginning. If possible, bring a client or customer with you to co-present — this adds a compelling human element, and bolsters your story.
9. Answer Questions On Quora
What questions are people asking in your industry? You can find and answer these on Quora. This puts your content and your expertise in the spotlight. Create a profile that includes your business name and Twitter handle. When appropriate, you can also include a link to your business’s website in your post. As your credibility grows, people will be more likely to visit your site directly when they have questions or problems.
10. Generate Buzz About Your Press Release with Services Like PRWeb
Not sure how to distribute your press release? PRWeb will do it for you. Your job is to craft a newsworthy press release about your small business — a product launch, a promotional event, fundraising — and this service will distribute it to news sites and search engines.
11. Reach Out to Niche Publications and Blogs
What niche publications does your audience read? Find out and target these smaller publications and blogs in your industry. Because they’re smaller and more niche-specific, they get pitched to less often. They’ll most likely be more open to using you for guest posts, or as a source for future articles.
12. “Newsjack” a Story
Get in where there is already a buzz. Find a way to participate in a major story that is happening in the news. One of our clients was able to get top placement by commenting on the presidential primary candidates from a sales perspective.
13. Publish on Free Content Sites
Your content is a pivotal key to growing your credibility as an industry thought leader. And the fact that many sites will allow you to do this for free just sweetens the deal. These sites include LinkedIn Pulse and Medium, as well as others. Make sure it doesn’t end there — include a link to your website where you can nurture that interest.
Once your content is on these sites, ensure a maximum amount of traffic by promoting them on your social media networks.
14. Use BuzzSumo
Buzzsumo and similar tools give you a window into your audience and answers the age-old question: what resonates? Find out what kinds of content people are clicking on, and how to improve your content to better reach your audience.
15. Feature Your Customers On Social Media
Offer special awards for your key customers, and then feature these customers on your social media channels. Tag them in these posts, and their followers will also get a glimpse, and have a better chance of remembering your business.
Get your foot in the door while you grow your small business PR. These strategies, while not requiring any hefty dollar signs, do require time and effort on your part. But if you achieve success in your startup PR endeavors, it’s worth every minute