Can you get people talking about your business and your products without actually paying a fortune for publicity? Yes, you can. Here are some tried and tested ways to get the publicity you want – for free.
Word-of-mouth is an exciting possibility. This is an unpaid form of publicity in which satisfied customers tell other people about how much they like your product or service. People will spread the word about your product or service if it promises a new experience. It makes them look good for having communicated the news and it also makes them look well informed. A human interest story around your product experience can spread like wild fire.
The customer experience needs to be truly astounding, not just a matter of “satisfaction”. Word-of-mouth has a ripple effect: each happy customer can steer dozens of others to the company. It is also one of the most credible forms of advertising. The person making the recommendation has nothing to gain monetarily. And personal reputation is also at stake if the product does not live up to all it is touted to be.
This can get you loads of free publicity. You can set up a FaceBook page or a Twitter account at no cost. It’s an excellent way to build relationships and generate word-of-mouth publicity. However, be focussed on what you want to communicate and to whom.
If your promotional material goes viral, it can give your public profile a big boost. It could be an unusual photograph, a video clip or a quote. What works and what doesn’t? There’s no magic formula, but if it’s different, unexpected, quirky and catches the imagination, upload it and the chances are it will catch on. It takes imagination to present your product this way, so think out of the box.
Write a great press release
A press release is an official document you send out answering key questions about your product or service—more importantly, giving some new information that would be of interest to readers. Beware of the ‘crying wolf’ syndrome. Don’t just keep sending out press releases for the sake of sending them because when you do have something newsworthy to communicate you may not be believed. Give the media something substantial to work with. It’s advisable to get a PR professional on board to write your press releases and send them out to the right people. You’ll find it pays dividends.
One way to get free publicity is to get your name and picture in the media. If you are involved in philanthropy, local media might pick up the story. But make sure you truly believe in the charity you are supporting and are not doing it purely for PR value. You can also participate in industry events. Here you can get a lot of coverage from trade media. Contributing to trade publications, writing about topics of interest to the industry, add to your credentials as an industry professional.
You can sponsor ad promotions that link your brand with the industry as a whole. This can be in the form of ‘advertorials’ that are informative but are not overtly linked with your brand. Customers may tend to skip this form of paid editorial content, however. Think about whether the potential results are worth the cost.
There are many ways in which you can bring your product top-of-mind in everyday situations. You can link the brand name with a popular play that’s being talked about or a hit tune. You can make it catchy by actually making it part of everyday conversations. Make a list of triggers you can use to remind people of your product –even subliminally—and also give the list to your friends. Top-of-mind is tip-of-the-tongue so find interesting ways to get your product name into people’s lives and you’ll be surprised at the results.
Promoting your product doesn’t require a lot of money. It just requires people to talk about it.