Looking for a little free publicity? Who isn’t, right? Savvy business owners are always looking for affordable ways to advertise their business.
Being mentioned in the local news, in an industry newsletter or on social media sites can be a big win for businesses. For instance, a study from Nielsen found that articles from credible journalists lifted brand familiarity 88 percent more than paid advertising content.
So, how can businesses get this kind of publicity? Here’s a list of six DIY marketing tools that can help.
HARO, or Help A Reporter Out, connects business owners and journalists. When a reporter needs a source, he or she can post a “query” or an ad. Business owners can respond to the ad, express their interest and expertise, and hope to be selected by the reporter. If selected, owners are typically quoted in the story and a hyperlink to their business is included in the article as well.
Similar to HARO, businesses can sign up to receive interview leads by email and get free publicity as an expert interview. Guests are sought for radio talk shows, podcasts, online radio shows, satellite radio and TV programs.
Looking for someone to review your product or promote it on social media? Klout scores members based on their social influence, which business owners can use to create a short list of popular social influencers to reach out to.
Klout just provides a score, it doesn’t facilitate a relationship between businesses and social media users, but it’s a good starting point for business.
While some social influencers only accept monetary payment, many will give an honest review in exchange for a free product, a discount to their readers, access to a VIP event or an exclusive “first look.”
Price: Free to get scores
Want to reach a new audience? Consider creating a blog post that’s hosted on another company’s blog or website. The content exposes your brand to a new audience, and can direct traffic back to your site. It’s called guest blogging, and Guest Post Tracker offers a list of 1,000+ blogs that accept guest posts.
Your membership includes blogger outreach software to help you keep track of all the guest posts you have submitted, when they were submitted and the links you added.
Price: $9 a month
5. PR Web
Write a newsworthy release about your business and PR Web distributes it to major news sites and search engines, as well as bloggers and opt-in news subscribers. Your release is also hosted on PRWeb.com, which boasts more than 3 million monthly visitors.
The site’s claim to fame is its distribution channels. It can get your press release in the hands of more news outlets and bloggers than you could on your own. Of course, given its reach, the cost to use this tool is higher than many listed.
Cost: $99 per release to $369 for a premium release package
6. Online business directories
Customers no longer reach for the Yellow Pages when they want to look up a business, now they run a search online. To make sure your business comes up in these searches, it’s important to join several online business directories. Think of them like the digital version of the Yellow Pages.
The directories give customers vital information about your business like your address, phone number and store hours. Some even allow owners to upload pictures and videos, and some allow customers to leave reviews of your business too.
There are dozens of directories to chose from, but here’s a list of the most popular ones that you should look into.
- Google My Business
- Bing Places
- Yahoo! Business Listing
- Angie’s List – for service-based businesses
- Open Table – for restaurants
Cost: Free for basic listings
While the tools listed above offer great opportunities for business owners, it’s a good idea to try one or two tools at a time and see what works best for your business. You don’t want to get overwhelmed with too many marketing chores.
Do you use any of these tools? Or, do you have a go-to publicity tool that others could benefit from? If so, share your thoughts in the comment section below.