30 ways freelancers can get free publicity
Free publicity, either at a local or national level, is the perfect way to promote your freelance consultancy and drive traffic to your website, writes Paula Wynne, author of the new e-book Pimp My Site.
The media look for news stories not marketing messages from a business, so it is vitally important for you to create a constant flow of news stories. As that task can look daunting, particularly for a one-person brand with limited resources, here’s 30 ways to help keep your freelance business in the consciousness of both the public and the press, for free!
1. Art exhibitions. Support a new student artist or align your product or service with an up and coming artist. Don’t just sponsor an art event; come up with a valid reason why someone (especially the media) will care.
2. Report/Analyse. The media love stats, so come up with some of your own. As a portal for home-based businesses and professionals, we are constantly asked for the latest figures on flexible working.
3. Happy Birthday! Be proud of your established business, but don’t go down the boring lane of age-old anniversary announcements. Find ways to tell the media that you are so good in what you do and thus show your established time in business. Also find other inventive ways to use anniversaries.
4. Their fame, your fortune. If you know a celebrity who is happy to support you, your business or your product line, use their story to help your publicity campaign or stage a specific publicity stunt.
5. Contracts. If you win a significant contract it could affect local and regional news, or may at least have an interest to them.
6. Charity. Commonly used, but it can be effective with an innovative approach. Rather than giving money, which may not be newsworthy, why not support a charity with a startling device, a human interest idea, or your own business or service?
7. Column. Approach the media to write a regular column of advice on your specialist topic. Make sure your passion and energy shines through rather than any commercial ‘selling’ messages.
8. Competitions. An old classic, but still extremely effective if you discover novel routes to market a competition.
9. News alert. Keep a watch on the news to source stories you can piggyback or frame in reference to your own developments. For example, councils in the UK announced that they were going to implement car parking charges to companies. We used this to release stats about Remote Employment, our home-working website, and thus enforced the further benefits of working from home.
11. Sponsor an event. This is often done with a cause in mind, such as charity or supporting children or a specific business avenue.
12. Freebie. People love free giveaways, but they can be seen as a direct marketing or advertising route so explore a fresh approach to giving out goodies free of charge.
13. Industry Expert. Years of experience and even new found knowledge can show you off as an expert in your field. Use this to your advantage with valuable content, new news and attention-grabbing headlines or updates online.
14 . Make a prediction. As you become that industry expert, consider making and disclosing calculated forecasts or predictions. These don’t have to be that bold. At Remote Employment, for example, we predicted that the ‘traditional office’ will decrease at the hands of the home working revolution.
15. Mistakes made? We’re all human, so use mistakes to benefit your site or operation. You can’t hide away from them and, while you can later use them to convey your improvements, ensure you are open and honest about your mistakes.
16. Launch with the press. When you have a new product or service, take care to spell out ‘why it’s new and how it benefits the media’s target audience.’ Get this in a nutshell and tell your preferred outlets in a press release.
17. Win or present an award. It’s nice to win one, but don’t forget the value in handing one over. Highly successful awards campaigns can do wonders for your brand and reputation, whether you do the giving or the receiving.
18. Publicity trade off. There is no harm in telling one media outlet that you have been in another. My business is proud to have been featured on ITV, regional media outlets, local titles and sector/trade websites, and we let each of them know!
19. You in the news. Look for or respond to media requests from journalists who want you, your business or someone of your age group or residency, to give them information and case studies to strengthen their stories.
20. Price War. Tread carefully here. Although they can attract attention and boost interest in you in the short-term, price wars with rival candidates or consultancies can be damaging. Only engage if you know it will be to your advantage.
21. Problem-solve. Can your product or service solve a specific problem for someone that will be newsworthy? Or is that someone newsworthy, and could your services help them tackle a problem they are known for being keen to solve?
22. Record break. Often used in charity events, however try to find original ways to make or break a record.
23. Re-launch. Whether it’s your product, service or website that you want to makeover, shout about all the new benefits. Don’t tell only your existing clients.
24. Make a reporter your VIP. If you speak or talk on a subject close to your heart, and not just business-related subjects, invite a journalist to come along as your special guest.
25. Survey or poll. Some companies run national surveys and will write up the results and send it out for you. Or you can do this yourself – see No 2 in this list. Know the outcome you want to achieve first though, and then write the poll or survey questions with a key target message in mind.
26. Testimonials. With basis, say good things about other professionals and businesses. If they return the favour with positive feedback about you, exploit the reasons behind the testimonial rather than the puffery!
27. Trend spot. Report new trends and turns and give the background and benefits to why it is important at this time and for that audience.
28. Volunteer. Show your human-side and get orientated with the third sector. casinosmitneteller.de That means charities of course, but volunteers can be useful to businesses too, particularly social enterprises.
29. Be first. If you’re the first to lead a new wave, style or approach then say so, loudly and to the right people/ media outlet. Being proud about championing something your competitors aren’t can be equally effective.
30. Review your DMS. Check whether these 29 pointers may, for better or worse, impact your Digital Marketing Strategy. Consider whether your DMS should now be changed to make your new PR goals attainable.
Further Reading: Getting in the News - for free
7th December 2011