With the advent of social media, web tools, and the ability to connect to your clients like never before, the possibilities of running a low cost PR campaign are more possible than ever before. The web is full of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tools, free press release sites, bloggers that are interested in you and your company, social media outlets, and the strange animal that is Twitter.
What does this mean for you and how does this work? Well the applications are endless, but specific product types might have more difficulty entering into social media space, where as other companies might have a hard time breaking the boundaries of “newsworthiness”. Generally, it is easy for creating “buzz” around a product, but hard sell when the product is a non physical one. These are few tips about how you can make a low cost –or no cost press release for any product or service.
First of all there are an amazing number of free pr sites out there, although you won’t get the distribution or services that you would with a paid service, you will build up some of the news credibility that you can cash in later. This list, it must be noted is up to date at the time of publishing, but they tend to appear and disappear like every free service on the net.
Craft news stories
That’s right; us journalists are often a lazy bunch, with tight deadlines and a specific word count. The less we have to write, the more likely we are to quote from you, and your organization and give you credit. If they provide link backs to an original article that is hosted on your site, the better your visibility will be in a general Google search. For ideas on how to craft news stories, and to see what reporters are interested in, visit HARO (Help a Reporter Out). Here you can find direct connections to reporters, bloggers, and what they are interested in. The first page even has instructions on how to get free PR, and connects your company with interest parties.
Providing useful topical information is one way of being found on Google and being re-fed through Google news. There are great web tools to find trending topics, specifically, this one from Word Tracker Labs, which allows you to type in questions and keywords and see what people are asking search engines, ranked by the number of times that question or keyword has been keyed in.
Google itself can be useful in crafting your press releases and campaigns, using trending information you can find out from Google’s insight trending site. Here find what the world is looking for broken down by geography, even season and categories.
Personal contact is important. If customers feel connected to you, and that you are reachable, you become more visible, more personal. Think of it as a brand building exercise. The more followers you have, especially current and potential customers, the more you can connect with them announcing deals, releases, and news stories. Placing small URLs on your twitter account also allows you to create link backs to your sites, and if your followers “retweet” your news, they are spreading your messaging virally to their followers- for free.
Remember, simply searching Google might provide you with the current trends, ideas and even give you a peak into what other people are doing. It is a lot of work, but in the long run can save you money. Searching industry contacts and adding them to mailing lists were you can directly contact them if you have news to report might also be a good first step, so make sure that if a reporter comes knocking on your door – you are there to answer it.