09 Oct Getting Your Name Out There: Free Publicity Ideas for Your Small Business
One of an entrepreneur’s biggest challenges is getting their product message to the public. Even the most inventive of business ideas can fall flat if nobody knows about them. There are many ways to get good publicity for your business without having to pay for advertising—and in some cases good free publicity can be even more effective than a paid advertising campaign. Here are a few ways to generate publicity, recommended by the Young Entrepreneur Council:
- Sponsor local events. Sponsoring an event is a great way to get your business name in front of a large audience. Donating cash, or even better, a sample of your product, to a festival or race is a great way to get some good publicity and generate future customers.
- Start a blog on Medium, where you can make connections with readers and publishers even before you’ve built your own audience.
- Look for opportunities on HARO—Help a Reporter Out. Often a reporter will offer free publicity in exchange for a comment from an expert in the field they’re writing about. It’s a great way to get readers to hear about your business as well as establish credibility.
- Highlight your best users or customers. Positive reviews can be great publicity. Run a survey on your website or collect experiences and stories from your customers to share on your site.
- Be creative. Blog, post videos on YouTube, or even do a press release. Write a mission statement and publish content you think will resonate with your audience. If they’re interested in the material you publish, chances are they’ll be interested in your product, too.
- Get others to promote for you. Speaking at a college lunch or other event where audience members will post pictures or tweet about you is a great way to expand your publicity network. Hosting events, sponsoring competitions, and speaking to relevant audiences can go a long way in building publicity. For example, one company attended an event at which representatives from a number of local startups were presenting. Between sessions, this company hosted a rock, paper, scissors game in the audience for prizes—except instead of having participants chant “Rock, paper, scissors” as they played, they chanted the name of the company. The result was a huge amount of publicity and a major increase in sales, since everyone attending the event had their company name stuck in their head for the rest of the conference.
- Perfect your pitch: Make sure you have a one-sentence pitch that lets people you talk with know about your product and your mission. Make sure you effectively describe what you do differently as compared with your competitors, and be selective about who you pitch to (don’t waste words with people who you already know aren’t interested).
Do something worth writing about: People are always looking for something interesting to write about—whether that’s in a newspaper, blog, or Facebook post. Do something worth posting about, and then tell them about it. Think about their needs and then fill them, and chances are you’ll get mentioned in whatever they’re writing.