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You’ve started a business you love – and you want others to find you and do business with you. To achieve that most fundamental objective, you can go with a paid customer acquisition campaign, such as paid social media advertising, for example. But there is a secret weapon that small businesses have at their disposal, which if done right can lead to free customer acquisition. Put the power of PR to work for you! Here’s how…
Let’s get to work!
- Content resulting from a PR campaign is ultimately presented as editorial content and that is far more impactful than paid advertising.
- It is essentially free if you do it yourself.
- It is rooted in storytelling, and storytelling powerfully creates and strengthens the bond between you and your customers.
- Promote your brand’s values.
- Create new awareness that leads to sales.
- Strengthen relationships.
- Enhance your online presence via social media.
- Manage reputation.
Now while you can conduct PR campaigns on your own, we highly recommend going with a professional. Even though doing so will come at a cost, it is typically not significant, and it is worth every penny. However, if you simply don’t have the budget to go with a PR firm, here are keys to achieving success with a DIY PR campaign:
- Write an attention-getting press release. Distribute that press release through a wire service or email it to a journalist interested in your business or a subject matter expert in your industry. Some direct distribution services include Cision, Prowly and Newswire.
- Tell your story! Storytelling is a powerful tool to build relationships and boost conversions. Use it in your social media, newsletters, advertising and other promotions.
- Explain what makes your business different from the competition and how you can ease pain points. Your press release has gotta differentiate you from the competition, but it also has to have a wow! factor. Think like a journalist to entice your PR target with a cool scoop. Why should a journalist be compelled to spread the word about your business?
- Build relationships on your social media channels and through influencers. Use social media to contact people on your followers list to help spread the news of your press release to a wider audience. Reach out directly through a newsletter containing the press release. Encourage sharing.
- Craft revenue-driving stories for earned media coverage, which is coverage that you don’t own. For example, if you promote your product or service on your website, newsletter or podcast, that is owned coverage. You want to broaden your reach with earned media coverage. To do this, you must strategically target the right groups the right way. You must work to EARN that coverage and that is done through well-written storytelling.
- Distribute the press release by sending it directly to those in your trade who you believe will have an interest in learning about your business and likely will publish a story. You can also distribute the release on what are known as newswires and there are several good resources for doing that.
- You must focus on crafting a compelling, interesting story about you and/or your business that will grab the attention of the reporter to whom you submit the release as well as the audience that ultimately reads your story. What makes you stand out? Focus on your wow! factor.
- Present your story in a professional yet confident way. Carefully edit your press release (and have others do so, too). Nothing turns off a journalist or professional more than typos or spelling and grammatical errors. Sloppiness will send your efforts straight to your target’s trash bin.
- Be sure you know your target audience and aren’t wasting time sending a press release to people who just won’t care.