Guest blog post from Tom Harnish and Kate Lister of WiseBread.
With a little knowhow, and a little creativity, PR is a great way to get people to write about you, tweet about you, talk about you, and best of all, to buy from you.
During tough economic times PR is the most cost-effective way to bring in business. A half-page ad in a major newspaper can easily cost $10,000 a day. A half-page story about you not only is free, but also carries the credibility and implied endorsement of the publication.
So how do you get noticed? That's the topic of our free webinar presented by the Verizon Small Business Center on Wednesday, June 9th from 2:00 to 3:00 pm EDT. Below you’ll find a preview of some tips we'll be covering.
You can get free publicity with crazy stunts. But not everyone is willing to be outrageous or is in a position or business that would allow them to attempt a goofy stunt. Fine, then go the other route—become a star performer instead of a clown, become a respected, oft-quoted expert. (We'll cover how to use crazy stunts in the free webinar as well, but for this post we're focusing on how to become a respected expert.)
Anyone can become an oft-quoted expert by following these 6 steps:
1. Find out who the experts are. Read what they’ve written, go the conferences where they speak, listen carefully to what people who disagree with them have to say. Devour anything you can find on the topic. Join related associations.
2. Synthesize what you’ve learned. Simply regurgitating what other people have said doesn’t make you an expert. But if you’ve paid attention you’ll begin to see the seams in the coal where the diamonds lie. Approach the topic with a unique perspective; better yet, discover a new facet of the subject that’s been overlooked. That makes you outrageous, but in a thoughtful way.
3. Ask for feedback. If you’re honest, you always have to keep in mind that you could be wrong. The best way to keep from being embarrassed is to ask the experts to review your conclusions. You don’t want to go public with something that’s wrong or so bad that it’s not even wrong. Keep in mind, by the way, that only kooks refuse to listen to other opinions.
4. Find out who’s interested. Where do journalists find story ideas? Ninety-two percent say they use news releases, eighty-five percent use industry sources. Get the idea? Become an industry source and send out press releases! But don’t just shoot an arrow in the air and hope it hits something. Save time and your reputation by communicating with publications, editors and writers that are interested. Keep a list of contacts, and keep it up to date.
5. Make yourself available. Build a website, make sure your contact information is easy to find, include an online press kit, make your site searchable. Write blog posts, comment on other people’s blogs, write articles and whitepapers. Learn how to respond to reporter’s questions with sounds bites. Speak about what you know, but use your time carefully. If you’re too busy, start charging. Still too busy? Raise your prices.
6. Make a reporter’s job easy. They’re busy people with more work than time, so don’t make them figure out what you have to say, how to find you’re material, or worse, how to reach you. Treat them with respect. Many, we’ve found, aren’t very good socially or verbally. But, boy, can they write.
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