How to generate free publicity for your business

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Do you have a story to tell about your business but don’t know if it’s newsworthy enough to get media exposure?

Generating free publicity for your business by getting a story published in a newspaper or magazine isn’t as difficult as you think, as long as you’re providing interesting pieces of information that their audience will find useful.

Many small business owners don’t realise that they may have a publicity opportunity right under their nose.

It’s about having the confidence to recognise the story is interesting and newsworthy and is something an editor may use.  You don’t have to be a multinational business; even small business owners can get exposure for their business at a local level. Because local newspapers routinely report on local news, events and activities either daily, weekly or monthly, there’s more opportunity for your story to be published.

A few months ago, one of my clients submitted an entry for a manufacturing award and got nominated in their category.News. Media concept. Laptop, tablet pc, phone and newspaper.

They didn’t win but they were approached by the magazine sponsoring the awards to write a 1600 word article to be published in their construction feature. This is great exposure for my client which is only costing them my time to write the article – to advertise in this publication would set them back thousands of dollars! If opportunities like this come your way, don’t pass them up. And if you’re not confident enough to write the article yourself, ask a freelance writer to do it for you.

Below you will find a list of the types of stories editors look out for. There are plenty of ideas here so have a good think about whether any of them could apply to you and generate some free publicity for your business.

1.  Announce something new

Have you launched a new product or service recently?  How will it change people’s lives? What’s so unique about it? Customers and prospective clients will definitely want to hear about it if it’s new and exciting and will benefit them or change their life in some way.

2.  Piggy back off the news

A reliable way to generate publicity is to piggyback off current news stories. If a big story breaks about your industry or area of expertise, think of ways you can tie your business in to generate coverage. Could you be the local angle on the story for your local media? Can you provide industry insights or less known background information?

Let’s say you run your own financial services business. If interest rate rises are a hot topic, maybe your business can provide tips on how to better manage your budget, where to shop for the best bargains, how to save on water bills, etc.

3. Awards and industry recognition

Have you received or been nominated for an award recently? Or maybe been recognised for your contribution to the industry you are involved in? These are both stories that could interest a journalist

4.  Celebrate the opening of a new store or business

What better reason to get some free publicity than to announce the opening of a new store or business! There are so many story angles for this that you are bound to get some publicity for it. And if what you sell is particularly unique or different from your competition that will definitely be of interest to an editor.

5.  Pitch yourself as part of a trend

Are you keeping your finger on the pulse of what’s hot in your field right now? Have you noticed an upcoming need, demand or problem that your product or service can address?  If you’re up with the latest *trend*, journalists would love to hear from you

6.  Voice your opinion if there’s a story in the news that  impacts your business or customers

Don’t be put off if your opinion is controversial! If your competition has been getting alot of attention that you disagree with and want to comment on, don’t shy away from voicing it. Maybe you have a different way of doing things. Or maybe you want to correct views that you feel have been expressed incorrectly. Use the media as an opportunity to set the record straight.

7.  Do something for charity

If you support a local charity and have raised funds to help make a difference to the community, or maybe you’ve been involved in local events, use these opportunities to publicise your business. Local newspapers love this type of feel good story because it demonstrates the human side of a business and a commitment to helping others.

8.  Piggyback your story idea onto an annual event or holiday

Is there a time of the year when people are thinking about needing your product or service? Maybe you’re a florist and want to publicise your 10th anniversary of being in business to coincide with Valentine’s Day. Use an annual event or significant day in the calendar as an opportunity to publicise your business.

I hope the above topics give you an idea of how you can generate free publicity for your business. But remember that this list is by no means exhaustive – there are lots of other publicity opportunities out there.

If you would like help generating free publicity for your business, please contact me. I’d love to hear from you.

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