Have you ever read an interview with an entrepreneur in a popular magazine or national newspaper? Have you ever watched the news and seen a business being featured for the work they are doing? Ever wondered how they managed to get the free exposure?
When it comes to building your brand and ensuring it’s at the forefront of people’s minds, PR can be extremely beneficial. Luckily, generating this coverage doesn’t have to break the bank. In fact, it doesn’t have to cost anything at all.
Here are 6 ways to get free PR for your business:
1. Host an “AMA” on Reddit.
What is a Reddit AMA I hear you ask? A Reddit AMA is an ‘Ask Me Anything’ post where businesses or individuals answer questions about specific topics. This can be a great way of interacting with a large audience, and you may even find yourself talking to key influencers, celebrities, journalists, or even politicians.
A great example of a business using an AMA post for free PR is Aussie Broadband Managing Director, Phillip Britt. This led to news sites such as TechAU, Lifehacker, IT Wire and many more covering the Ask me Anything post and resulted in Lifehacker approaching Phillip to write an op-ed piece for the weblog.
2. Utilise reporter urgency and timely trends
News spreads faster than ever before thanks to social media, and if your business can ride on the coattails of a breaking news story or trending topic, it can be very powerful for brand exposure.
A great example of this is with The Bureau of Meteorology. RSPCA Pet Insurance released a statement that there was a severe heatwave coming, and pitched an information resource that gave people advice on how to help their pets cope with the searing temperatures. The “Complete Guide to Heatstroke in Cats & Dogs” was picked up by The Daily Telegraph, The Chronicle, and a host of other news publications that triggered a new trending topic in the media of, “sure it’s hot, have you considered your pets in the heat?”.
3. Give a stupendous presentation at a major conference
Have a search around for upcoming conferences and send a few emails to see if they’re looking for any speakers. This can be a great way of generating free PR and exposure. To get maximum value you should then film the presentation and take snippets from the main video to post on social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram TV, YouTube and even Snapchat.
PageCloud did just that and generated a large number of sign-ups, and then launched a pre-sale deal to their database.
4. Grow a Facebook or Linkedin group
This can be a great way to generate free PR whilst starting a community of followers, customers, and brand ambassadors. Whether it’s a group that’s created around an event, a product launch, or as an open forum, creating a Facebook group can be a great way of facilitating brand interaction. A great example of this is a group created by Gen George and Jane Lu called Like Minded Bitches Drinking Wine which without any advertising, they’ve amassed 110,000 members in 25 cities worldwide. This group and the PR that it generated has helped Jane Lu build her online clothing business Showpo to have a yearly turnover of over $30 Million.
5. Do something ridiculous
A solid example of this is when IHOP (the American pancake chain) changed their name to IHOb. The idea was to create something of a stir and spark a conversation. The change from International Home of Pancakes to International Home of Burgers was too much for millions of people and social media blew up with people saying how ridiculous the new brand was.
IHOP had the last laugh when it was revealed that the whole thing was just a PR stunt, it worked. The switch came with three weeks left in the second quarter and earnings rose 0.7 percent.
6. Know when something’s newsworthy
Journalists are bombarded with eager entrepreneurs and business owners emailing them with hopes that they pick up their story and tell the masses. Unfortunately, just because you think your story is newsworthy, doesn’t mean everyone else will.
A newsworthy story generally falls under the categories of timing (news has new in its name after all), significance (have many people been affected by the story?), proximity (is it local?), prominence (are people in the limelight involved?), and human interest (appeals to emotion).
Knowing what’s newsworthy can really improve your chances of getting your brand covered by a journalist.