Small business owners have to juggle a lot of balls to keep things running smoothly. Tracking and ordering inventory, managing employee schedules and hours, and responding to customer questions and complaints are just some of the many hats an entrepreneur must wear in order to meet the daily demands of their business. As a result of an already overtaxed schedule, many small businesses fail at developing a media marketing plan designed to raise their profile. Working with a small marketing budget generally means hiring a PR firm to do the hard work isn’t always possible.
However, just because your small business doesn’t have the same level of resources as a large corporation doesn’t mean you can’t generate positive press. When our team at Local Fresh helps clients develop a media marketing plan, we look at how to organically generate the kind of press that will get people in the community talking about their brands. Here are a few strategies any business can easily integrate into its marketing strategy that will get people talking without costing a lot of money or resources.
Look for Your Moment to Step into the Spotlight
Always stay alert to any emerging trends or breaking news that’s relevant to your business. You never know when an opportunity might arise that will allow you to easily step into the spotlight. For example, say you run a you-cut Christmas tree farm and a local news station wants to do a report right after Thanksgiving on the best environmentally friendly practices for selecting a tree. Or, right before prom season, the local paper is looking for a small boutique to give readers some tips on how to look great on a budget.
With no cost at all, you can lend your considerable expertise while getting the free press your business craves.
To keep from missing these opportunities when they present themselves, sign up for Google Alerts and add all relevant keywords related to your business. When you receive an alert for a relevant article or news report, contact the reporter or station manager and offer to provide your expertise. News cycles vary, so even if they don’t require your expertise now, make sure that the person you contact knows that you’re available in the future.
Add Yourself to PR Newswire
PR Newswire provides journalists a list of available resources and experts for when researching a story. Reporters that need the input of an expert like yourself can submit a media request or search the site’s expert database.
Make sure you don’t waste your time by only responding to media request that either interest you or relate to your business. If a reporter selects you as a source, you could be rewarded with free press in the form of a direction mention, quote, and (occasionally) even a feature article.
Make Connections with Industry Influencers
Influencer marketing is one of the hardest, but most rewarding, forms of word-of-mouth marketing a business can break into. However, influencer marketing only works when the influencer truly loves and appreciates your brand. Don’t underestimate your target audience’s ability to sniff out the difference between a paid promotion and one that’s genuine, especially among younger generations. Trying to make a paid promotion come across as genuine praise is the quickest way of losing the trust of audiences like Generation Z and Millennials.
Social media platforms offer a great way to connect with industry influencers. By running a quick search for hashtags that are relevant to your business, you can quickly find users devoted to your brand. Also, don’t forget to look over your current followers for individuals that love your brand and are willing to talk about it.
Influencer marketing does come with a cost. From providing influencers with free products, services, and the occasional promotional fee, this type of marketing can quickly become expensive for businesses that operate on a small marketing budget. However, establishing a promotional relationship with an influencer that has a massive following on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. can generate the kind of word-of-mouth marketing that can instantly yield massive results.
Blog About Your Brand
Generate brand exposure by starting a company blog. Blogging offers a great way to not only showcase your expertise, products, and brand, it’s an easy and effective way of driving additional traffic to your website. You never know when someone in the press will read your article and want to feature you as a result.
Blogging is about repetition, and you need to make an effort to blog at least twice a week. If you don’t have time to consistently generate new content, consider allowing guest bloggers to write content for your website.
While it’s tempting to provide your “take” on the latest news, this type of content becomes dated and stale fairly quickly. If you only have a limited amount of time to blog, consider focusing on evergreen content that will always stay relevant to the user.
Use Social Media
Once you’ve created content, you need to generate interest on social media. Share it across all the different platforms your business uses, be it Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or wherever you’ll find your target audience. Once your audience starts to read your content, take the next step and start engaging them in conversation. Address any questions or comments they may have about your content, and encourage them to create content of their own related to your brand.
Don’t be shy about sharing and reposting the posts of others as well. Not only will this help you build a rapport with others within your industry, it will also help you establish the reputation as a thought-leader within your industry.
Generating positive press on a small business marketing budget is possible. Our team at Local Fresh has plenty of experience help small businesses develop a media marketing plan that increases their brand profile without breaking their marketing budget. Click here to find out more about what Local Fresh can do for you.