- Natalie Maniscalco
As a small business owner or entrepreneur, finding the budget to launch a savvy public relations and marketing campaign can be a challenge; however, I cannot deny how instrumental it is in creating a successful and long-lasting business. If you do not have the budget to hire a publicist (like moi), which can often be quite costly, I’ve put together a few effective ways you can do on your own. But before you embark on your launch, first develop a strategy and a schedule to help manage your time. Execution and management of a PR and marketing campaign takes time (a lot of time for that matter) and in order to do it right, you must create a plan of action. First, think about your audience and your objectives or goals. Write them down and specifically answer, “Who do you want to reach and what do you want to achieve?” Once you have these in place you’ll be able to smoothly dive into these four ways to promote your business on a non-existent budget.
1. Create a news hook. Reporters are looking for good stories with a good angle. If you're just looking to publicize your product or business, then take out an ad, but if you're looking to provide an experience or a human element to your business, develop a story idea that your audience will want to read. The way I explain it to clients is, you have a square, but in PR, you need to create a circle, and a triangle and all other different shapes from what appears to be in front of you. Really think about what makes you unique. It could even be a personal triumph on how you started your business. For example, maybe it’s a rags to riches kind of story; a pivotal moment or struggle in your life that brought you to where you are today or you can even hook it to a specific holiday. Think outside the box. Once you have a news hook, you can then pitch your story to reporters and producers.
2. Develop a nose for news. Read the news every day and know what's going on in your industry. Best way to find the right reporter to connect with is to google key words about your industry or business, hit "news" and search through the variety of articles that pop up and are relevant to your business. Once you identify a reporter that covers your industry, check to see if you can find their email address. Sometimes it's located under their names or at the bottom of the article. If not, google them or search for them on Twitter where most journalists post their stories. You can even connect with them on LinkedIn, an excellent networking tool that will give you complete background information on the reporter. Once you have defined your news hook, email the reporter and make sure to reference the article they've written and include why they would be interested in you as a feature story or even why you might be an excellent source for their next article.
3. Be organized and respond quickly. Once you've initiated a relationship with a reporter or producer of a TV show, do everything in your power to make THEIR lives easier. Provide them with expert quotes or information that are clear and concise; check spelling and grammar. The easier you make their job, the more often they will want to continue to work with you and with time will start contacting you directly for help, whether it's for a TV spot or to act as an expert source on a relevant news story. These are both excellent ways to build your brand and image.
4. Connect with celebrity publicists. If you manufacture a particular product the fastest way to garner awareness is to get a celebrity endorsement. More often then not, many celebrities want to be paid for their endorsements but every so often you may get lucky! You can research publicists who represent celebrities through websites called whorepresents.com and contactanycelebrity.com. Both website provide contact information for publicists. You can reach out about your product and see if they are willing to accept a free sample. Politely ask if they are willing to post a photo up on social media and if there's room for some budget, you might want to invest in a legitimate celebrity endorsement.