If I sat in my own workshops, I think I would be overwhelmed.
I have spoken to people who have been to workshops on how to get free publicity. They tell me ‘us experts’ make it sound so easy – find a story, write a media release, send it out, PRESTO you are in the paper…on TV…you’ve got your 15 minutes of fame. You’ve made it and you are now rolling in the cash and have oodles of clients. Right?
When it comes to the crunch and you have to go do it yourself; it’s a whole other ballgame. I imagine it would be a bit like the first time I went bungy jumping. Standing there 60 metres above a swimming pool, knees knocking, stomach churning and wanting to run the other way. It was scary. Doing anything the first time can be scary especially if it is outside your comfort zone.
I bet you’ve spent bucket loads on workshops and courses trying to figure out how to be a media star and get the thousands of dollars of free publicity we (us experts) tell you can get!
The process for doing your own PR IS straightforward. It really is a simple formula BUT the real key to success is making sure you stand out from all the others who are also sending compelling and newsworthy stories. You have to do more than just send out a good story. PR is so much more than just media relations.
You need to elevate your story above all others. You are in a sea of amazing stories – we all have one – what you need to do to become delectable to the media. Don’t just engage with your story, help the journalist connect with you as a person. So you are not just a name on media release but someone who has triumphed, overcome adversity, achieved, fought the good fight, helped others…etc. You get the picture?
Here are a few ways you can raise your profile so the media is interested in YOU.
You may be deathly afraid of standing up in front of others (don’t worry, I have never heard of anyone dying from public speaking). When no one knows you, this is a great way to get noticed. Volunteer to speak at trade expos, business networking events, seminars, and business breakfasts. You get to share your knowledge and help and inspire others, build your confidence and (here’s where the PR comes in) your names and business details are included in all the promo materials, shared with the event’s audience (that you have not had to pay for). Overcoming a fear of public speaking will also boost your self-confidence, raise your profile and get invited to speak at bigger events.
Speaking at events where your customers/clients are likely to attend helps position you as a leader or innovator in your field. As a business owner or leader, building your reputation as an expert also builds the reputation of your business – and draws new people to you. Events are valuable promotional opportunities even if you don’t have top billing as a speaker.
This is your platform to write about your business, your observations of your industry or your area of expertise. You can use your blog to review products, share your news and comment on current issues. Be real and write like you. Competition is tight… and blogging is a good platform for you to stand out using your voice and to offer your content to other bloggers. There are journalist who subscribe to blogs to find news stories and interesting topics – so make sure you team your with an RSS feed so it shows up in the news feeds (also tap into your keywords for SEO purposes).
Sponsorships or partnerships
Partnerships and sponsorships are good for business. Supporting a not-for-profit cause can help build feelings of goodwill towards your business. Community partnerships may involve an exchange of funds or in-kind benefits to grow a local community organisation in return for benefits that promote your business reputation. Or how about becoming a prize partner for a local competition or a business award – there is always press around these events and your name can be linked with them (for no cost to you).