Lisa Sims, whose radio show, Stretching A Dollar for Entrepreneurs, aims to help entrepreneurs grow their businesses without breaking the bank, has these tips to offer small business owners about how to go about getting low cost PR.
1. Shift your perspective.
To understand your business as a means of generating publicity, you have to take off your small business hat, says Sims. Instead, think about yourself as an expert who can offer advice that may be useful to the masses, or help fill the needs of a media editor looking for a story. For example, Sims says, a shoe store owner who has operated a business for a long time may have acquired a great expertise about how to purchase the proper running shoe.
2. Align your pitch with the rest of the world.
Once you hone in on your unique expertise, check out what’s going on in your area, to try and come up with an angle that fits in with events in the community. Your helpful advice about running shoes might be best timed to the week your town is holding a marathon, for example.
Sims also advises small business owners to check out the Chase Calendar of events to find out about special events, holidays and thematic months that may be helpful to you as you plan your story angle.
3. Make yourself available.
There are several PR-friendly websites where people can offer their availability to reporters who are looking to find particular subject matter experts. Sims recommends entrepreneurs check out Help a Reporter Out (HARO) or Pitchrate, where wanna-be sources can not only pitch themselves to reporters, but by visiting the site they can also become knowledgeable about current media trends.
While pitching herself on HARO, Sims found herself being interviewed by MSNBC for a news story about Black Friday Shopping deals which also highlighted her blog.
4. Partner with non-profits.
“The press love non-profits,” says Sims, “so if your small business can partner with a non-profit in a meaningful way, you may find it easier to get publicity.”
If you’re a tree cutting business, for example, and you offer your salvageable wood to a non-profit that makes products from reusable wood, you could leverage that relationship to get attention from the press.
5. Volunteer to speak.
Offer to share your entrepreneurial expertise with an audience, by volunteering to give a talk in an appropriate venue in your community. The local chamber of commerce may be a good fit for your expertise, says Sims, or perhaps you can seek out a niche speaking market, catered to your business. “That tree cutting company, for example, might offer to speak about pruning trees at Home Depot,” suggests Sims.
Another low cost way to reach others through speaking, is through hosting a radio show, where you can control the material and scope of the show, and even offer your content on itunes.com. In a short time, Sims has built her audience for each of her radio podcasts to an audience of 2,000 to 5,000 listeners.
To find out more ways to grow your small business, download the Secrets to Business Growth: Advice from 3 Successful Entrepreneurs eBook where three entrepreneurs share how they achieved dramatic results.