Are you getting the word out?
Photo by looking4poetry
Good public relations for a small business can be a huge lift in terms of visibility and having prospects find you. Getting your business (or yourself) profiled in an article, on the radio or on TV is usually going to do nothing but good things for your bottom line.
Unfortunately, although there are a lot of upsides to PR versus marketing, the ultimate downside is that the final outcome – do you make it in the article, interview, show, etc. is out of your hands, and even if you do make it in, you may not have the spin or the exact message you’d like to have.
And hiring a PR firm is generally out of the reach of a lot of smaller businesses (although you shouldn’t take it off the list if you have a genuine marketing budget that’s in the thousands – it may be a better way to spend some of your money than just straight marketing).
If you think you might be interested in PR – I would highly recommend a conversation with Bill Patterson of Nation Ranch Marketing fame. Bill’s a busy guy these days, but if you can manage to catch some of his time, he’s absolutely brilliant when it comes to PR.
Other routes to get your name out there
I’ve got a couple of clients that have been spotlighted recently – one through a lucky happenstance and the other one through persistence and constant efforts to get in front of people.
Being in the right place at the right time
Drew Hull is the owner of the Online Auction Company in Lenexa. They specialize in selling collectibles online, making the process easy, professional, fast and a focus on getting the best possible price for your stuff.
The local NBC affiliate decided to do a story on how people are dealing with the rough economy and decided to focus on the idea of selling things online as a way to help make ends meet. Luckily for Drew, one of the first people the reporter talked to recommended that she should look up the Online Auction Company as one of the best companies around for what she was looking for – Drew had to do nothing but show up and concentrate on getting his point across. (which by the way can be a lot harder than it sounds). He did a great job – take a look at his Article and Interview on the KSHB website (click on the video on the right hand side to see it).
It’s a tough model to duplicate, but it never hurts to be a little bit lucky.
Consistently pushing to get in front of people
Chad Bourquin is the owner of Big Ear Ads, a direct marketing company that uses really cool looking door hangers to advertise your business across neighborhoods.
Chad is also the lead singer and guitarist of LipRiddle, an alternative rock band that does some really cool things and is starting to make some real headway in getting noticed on a bigger stage.
In the music business, if you want to be discovered, you have to get in front of people, and Chad has done a lot of hard work to make sure they are playing in venues where people can see them and they can pick up new fans and re-engage existing fans. They play several gigs a month and I can only imagine the amount of time they put into preparing for the shows they do.
Lipriddle is going to be on TV (I believe tomorrow July 3rd) during the day on Fox4 locally in Kansas City, but if you don’t catch them there, you can go check out their new Video – it’s really well done – you can check it out here: http://www.ourstage.com/epk/lipriddle.
Also you can go see them live – their homepage has a list of upcoming dates.
What can you do to get PR?
It’s always worthwhile to keep your eyes and ears open to see if there’s a story or an angle that you could contribute on, especially if you know someone in the news or publicity worlds.
If you want to be more proactive – one cool resource that I’ve found is Peter Shankman’s site – Help A Reporter Out. You can sign up for an email that comes out 3 times a day with requests from various news sources looking for people to interview on different stories. If you happen to be a good fit, there’s a decent chance you could get to the right reporter and get featured in some way. This is a national service, so it’s more effective if you would benefit from that kind of exposure, but generally any publicity like this is going to be helpful.
Alternatively you can write a Press Release (ideally for something that’s newsworthy about your business). What’s particularly cool is that you can issue those Press Releases online (often for little or no cost) and even if they don’t get picked up for a newspaper, they can still get picked up by search engines, increasing your chances of being found through organic searches on Google or Yahoo.
This site has some great resources and information to get you started if you want to go down that path. It’s a bit intimidating at first, but once you’ve got the idea down, it’s really not a big deal.
So what are you doing to get the word out? Share your stories, successes or questions here.
Shawn Kinkade www.aspirekc.com