Last week I brought you a guest post from an author on how to best market your writing using social media. This week, I am staying with the theme and bringing you an easy public relations strategy that any newly minted PR professional can follow.
I am currently working with a start-up and helping to launch the grand-opening of their brand. It’s a small one person decorating company, so there is no store or office at this time. The budget is minimal, so advertising on television, newspaper, radio is out of the question. Yet, even with some of these obstacles, it is still possible to have a successful launch and aid the company in garnering new business.
1. You have to sit down and speak with your client. Find out about the business he or she is launching. What do they want to accomplish by hiring you as their public relations team? What is the company and what product or services will they be offering? In short, you want to find out as much information possible about the company and its owner(s). Don’t be afraid to ask questions. The more information you acquire, will make your job easier. Find out what is compelling about this company. What makes them unique? You are a story-teller, so tell their story.
2. Many start-ups will not have a huge budget or any budget at all to hire or work with a PR team. If you are just starting out, work for free. It’s the best way to build your resume and gain experience. Worry about billing later. Working with no budget should not be much of a problem. There’s much you can do for free: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Open accounts for the new company on all of these platforms. You can use HootSuite to synchronize your posts and even set-up times for certain posts. This will be one of your most valuable tools.
3. Webpage and Blogs – Second to the social media platforms, these are going to help sell your product. All of your social media platforms should drive your audience to your blog and webpage. WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, Weebly, Wix, GoDaddy, all offer free web hosting and blogging platforms, and they are all very user-friendly for the first time web developer. When blogging and developing content for your client, make sure you have a specific goal in mind. Who is the client aiming to attract? Develop your content around that one question.
4. Craigslist! I know, sometimes Craigslist can send shivers down anyone’s spine, but it is a great way to advertise, and it’s free. Don’t forget the company email address, and social media addresses and a contact phone number.
5. Using LinkedIn, connect with other PR and Media professionals. Get to know them. Try to establish some kind of friendly, professional rapport with them. This comes in handy for the final step. Pitching an article to a local newspaper or news outlet. Use your resources to pitch a feature article about this new business. Maybe there is a human interest aspect, find something about this new business which would appeal to a local media source, then call in favors. Don’t just send out a blind a press release. They will get lost in the shuffle. I would start out with a weekly newspaper. They love to run stories about new small businesses and are aimed at younger audiences who are more tech savvy. This involves research and personal contact, but it can be done and it will pay dividends. Remember to keep your press clippings.
These are just a few ideas and helpful hints to help launch a new brand and/or start-up company. In my next post, I’ll be talking about crisis communication; what you should and shouldn’t do in a crisis. I welcome your feedback. Please feel free to comment or email me directly.