A major concern for many businesses today is how to stand apart from their competition, without having to spend an enormous sum on advertising. Times are just as tough for businesses these days as they are for consumers, with rising prices and less-than-steady sales prompting many owners to seek out less-expensive ways to reach the masses and promote their products or services. One way to accomplish this is through “earned media,” which is based on recommendations and word of mouth, as opposed to traditional advertising that has to be purchased.
Here are a few tips on earning media attention:
1.) Become a Leading Expert (provide useful and insightful data)
The best way to begin making a name for yourself is by starting a business blog, where you can share expertise with customers and other people in your field. It’s the perfect platform upon which you can publish your opinion whenever necessary and connect with potential customers, at the same time. Over time you’ll be noticed and regarded by some as a leading expert and authority, which in turn can open up other doors for you, such as enabling you to speak at industry conferences and events. Remember that building a name for yourself means putting yourself out there, but you’ll be earning valuable referrals and recommendations, along the way.
2.) Create a Unique Way to Price Your Products/Services
Sometimes you just need to do things a little differently, to draw attention to your business. One way to do this is to price your products a bit more creatively. Creative pricing might be as simple as allowing customers to pay what they want on a specific day or even charging according to demand. There’s no limit to how creative you can be, except for your own imagination. Rather than aiming to make an immediate profit, the goal here is to get others to spread the word.
3.) Connect with Reporters and Journalists
While social media can certainly connect you to people you might not otherwise have the chance to meet, there’s still nothing like meeting someone face-to-face. You have a great chance to build relationships with well-known reporters and journalists if you take advantage of opportunities to meet them in person, at conferences and other public events. If you interact enough with them online, the next step would be to introduce yourself properly. Think about what you can do for them as well, maybe providing resources, tips or expertise that they could use in a story. This will help ensure you’re not coming across as a purely selfish opportunist.
4.) Consider “Newsjacking”
Newsjacking is another way you can make use of your connections with reporters and journalists, simply by creating a real time response to a story they’re already covering. Let’s say that an apartment building in a rather disadvantaged part of town goes up in flames and several of the tenants lost everything but the clothes on their backs. If your business steps up to the plate to provide them with new clothes or some type of donation to help get them back on their feet, you’re almost certain to be mentioned on the nightly news. Viewers will think of that gesture, next time they need something that you have to offer.
Although it is incredibly rewarding on a personal level to know that you are giving back somehow to the community, it’s also a great opportunity to get your name out there and bring some free media attention to your business. Whether you decide to donate your services to a good cause, make a charitable donation or simply take part in some volunteer work, you’re also investing in the future of your own business.
In an age where money is tight and sales are slow, sometimes the best approach is to think outside of the box and find the most cost-effective ways to attract attention to your business. Traditional methods involving paid advertising certainly have their place and should not be entirely abandoned, but there’s nothing quite like taking advantage of every opportunity to get your company’s name out there, without straining the budget. If you’re offering quality products or services, giving back to the community and becoming a respected expert in your field, your customers and others that you network with will be more than happy to get the word out for you.
Jennifer Watts is a marketing professor in Boston. She also enjoys sharing her knowledge by posting on various websites. To see the latest web hosting reviews, just go to webhostingreviews.ca.