\"\"

Get Paid to Write for Websites and Magazines

Sign up to my newsletter and get my FREE list of 110 Websites that Pay Writers (including a site that pays up to $1,000 per article)

Small Businesses Don’t Need Big P.R. Contracts

pr servicesThis is a guest post by the CEO of Pricefalls. If you want to get yourself in front of thousands of WritersinCharge readers you can write for us.

The most interesting mistake that I have made as a young entrepreneur was my early decision to contract a P.R. agency for my company’s public relations and marketing needs. Although the utilization of P.R. firms may work well for large corporations, it was not the best approach for a young start-up. Not only was the consulting extremely costly, the return on investment was minimal.

It became very clear, very quickly, that contracting out our marketing and public relations was not the most efficient avenue of stimulating brand awareness and sales and it was critical for us to find a new method.

We decided to cut the P.R. firm we were working with and have since transitioned to an in-house marketing approach. Not only have we managed to save a ton of money, we have seen more overage than what was produced by the agency we were previously working with and sales have increased considerably.

With the growth of the Internet and social media, it has become increasingly easier to contact both new and existing users, as well as media personnel, on a one-on-one basis.

Rather than paying a company to do our outreach for us, we decided to utilize the numerous free resources on the web in order to communicate directly with the people we want to reach out to. Other experts have also elaborated on effective ways for small businesses to generate a buzz about there business. For instance, in his book “The New Rules of Marketing and P.R.”, David Meerman Scott touches on the need for small businesses to “reach buyers directly”. This book is a great resource for small businesses looking to take their P.R. and marketing in house and viral.

There are various cost effective techniques that allow all types of businesses to capitalize on this trend and benefit from utilizing the Internet. Below I discuss a number of these web-based methods that physical and online retailers, as well as service providers can utilize in order to maximize productivity and the return on investment from using the internet for their public relations, pales, and business branding purposes.

To begin,  here are a few affordable ways people can utilize the Internet for P.R. and marketing related objectives. Whether you want to drive attention to your online storefront or your physical business, these techniques can effectively and affordably provide businesses with the ability to get their voice heard.

It is crucial for a small business to have their voice heard. Here are two techniques that small companies can do in-house in order to generate more brand awareness and to market the business.

Technique 1 – Tell your story yourself
Rather then having a large P.R. firm generate and distribute your press releases for you, just write the press releases up yourself and distribute them on the various Internet based press release distribution networks. Here are a couple links to distribution channels that are pretty effective and at low cost:

(For a full breakdown of these services and some recommendations, see http://blog.journalistics.com/2009/what-press-release-distribution-service-should-you-use/)

These networks distribute your release across the web, and in many cases into the eyes of reporters who are will to cover the story. Furthermore, this method of distribution allows you to get your story in front of potential customers with a minimal (sometimes zero) cash investment.

Technique 2 – Let the Press Come To You
Let’s face it, a reporters job is to investigate. It is crucial for the media to have stories to report on and they are always looking for something new to cover. However, rather then distributing the information you think the media wants to hear, it is much easier to attain coverage if you know what they’re looking for so you can craft your release around it. This is a great way to stimulate stories and it’s 100% free.

There are a number of resources that small businesses can utilize in order to gain insights into what types of stories the writers are looking to cover. One such resource is HARO (Help A Reporter Out). HARO is an email-based application that sends out inquiries from various reporters requesting information from individuals that they can use in their stories. Here’s a link to the site:

•    http://www.helpareporter.com

There are also a number of approaches that a business can take that can  stimulate sales though offering products and services to Internet shoppers. However, regardless of the approach, it is very important to take appropriate steps to maximizing efficiency so that the endeavor is a success.

Here are a few ways businesses can get their products online and in the eyes on web-based shoppers.

Develop a Company Website
Small businesses can set up a private website in order to sell their products online. While this is certainly an effective technique, it takes time and technical knowledge to drive traffic to a small website. Furthermore, the customer development of an e-commerce site can be costly, especially if you online intend use it as a small segment of your business. However, there are a number of affordable software providers that can help businesses set up a company website for a relatively low cost. Here are some examples:

Get your products on Internet marketplaces and Comparison Shopping Networks

There are a number of Internet marketplaces and comparison shopping sites that allow businesses to promote products and set up stores. These sites are an effective way of getting  products in the eyes on lot’s of consumers.

There are many sites out there, and some are better than others. It is important to choose a site that will assist you in making sure your listings are up to the marketplace properly and that everything is running efficiently. Sites like eBay and Amazon are marketplaces that allow businesses to list and sell products, and drive a considerable amount of traffic. However, it is really up to the small business to manage their virtual storefront, keep the inventory current, and to run the overall operation efficiently. There are some other online marketplaces and comparison shopping networks that provide a more enticing value proposition and either take a more one on one approach and help businesses throughout the entire process, or provide a more affordable alternative to the larger marketplaces. Here are a few:

Internet Marketplaces

(Sites that allow consumers to buy your products on the platform):

Comparison Shopping Sites
(Sites that drive consumers to your website to buy products):

Furthermore, there are a number of additional creative online techniques that can help generate brand awareness and to stimulate a buzz about for small and medium sized businesses. For instance, if run properly, an online sweepstakes can be a great way to generate lot’s of publicity at low cost.

I have had success running Youtube campaigns on the new Xbox 360 slim and my company utilized a well known technology reviewer (John4Lakers) in order to promote the giveaway, as well as Pricefalls.

Here is a link to the video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZguZ6D0J2I

As you will see, the video has received 82,000+ views. So, in exchange for an Xbox (~$250), we were able to get our company name in front of tens of thousands of people – many of which proceeded to register to the site.

If you are a start-up or don’t already have a large following, it can be helpful to promote your giveaway on various sites such as YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. In addition, here are some web-based distribution sites that allow businesses to post promotions and in turn let consumers know about the active sweepstakes and giveaways:

I would like all businesses owners to look at the various ways that they can incorporate the Internet to benefit there business. As explained above, the internet is a tremendous resource that is becoming increasingly necessary to tap in to.

Conclusion
Those are just a couple of methods that can help small businesses and young business owners get off the ground while trying to take their P.R. and marketing in-house. As mentioned earlier my company has been rather successful at using in house techniques to generate great press coverage. Below, I have provided links to recent press stories that our in house staff has been able to attain. We are always looking to connect with people in the industry and I am always open to talk further with other small business owners.

This guest post is by the CEO of Pricefalls.

Category: blogging

31 Comments on "Small Businesses Don’t Need Big P.R. Contracts"

  1. Samuel says:

    Awesome post! Great tips bro. With all this free resources, you can use it to get your business reach out to the world. And when you are getting paying client, try to fight for the word of mouth. Thanks so much for sharing. Have fun 🙂

  2. Shailender says:

    Really important tips for the beginners, You are such a helpful guy. Keep up the good work. 😀

  3. Stuart says:

    Wow, brilliant! There’s a lot of information which a lot of people will find useful.

    You’ve done a great job here 🙂

  4. silpada says:

    If think it a decent mistake, it will pay you a lot. Do not repent on your immature decision as these pillars of success.

  5. Olusegun says:

    Cool tips. Every blogger should start out with a businesssman’s mindset and then use the internet as a platform to grow their enterprise.

  6. Andreas says:

    From the PR site list above I have received the best results with the PRWeb service. PRweb seems to have the best standing with google and articles usually show up pretty high in search engines.

  7. Hey Elliot,
    I really liked what you did with finding a YouTube reviewer to get the name of your company out there. How did you go about finding the person? And how were you able to get them to partner? I can’t decide who got the better deal out of it- Pricefalls or him with people subscribing to his channel.

    • Hey Jack (and all the other readers),

      When looking for a YouTube reviewer to work with it is imperative to make sure that the person you are working with has already established a substantial following.

      One great way to start locating a YouTube reviewer that has a nice viewer-base is to utilize the following link which contains highly viewed channels on YouTube:

      http://www.youtube.com/channels?s=ms&t=m&g=0

      With regards to getting a reviewer to work with us, I had one of our staff members contact various YouTube reviewers directly in attempt to establish a working relationship. We noticed that he offered sponsored giveaways in the past and we presented him the opportunity to give away a product sponsored by Pricefalls. He was open to the idea and put a video together which was offered on his channel.

      As far as who got the better deal – to be blunt, I think it is irrelevant. It’s clear that these types of “joint” campaigns can be tremendously beneficial for both parties, otherwise they wouldn’t take place. At the end of the day it is completely a collaborative effort and we only had to give away a ~$300 product to get our company name into the ears of 80,000+ people – making it a great campaign for us both!

      Thanks everyone for the great comments, I hope to offer more useful information to you all in the future.

  8. Thanks for the mention of HARO! 🙂

    • Thanks Peter,

      It’s a tremendous resource that we utilize daily!

  9. Jim Bowman says:

    Well said, Elliot. It is easier to do your own promoting now, thanks to online PR tools readily available. Unfortunately, not all PR pros know how to use them, and some ignore them entirely.

    I say that with more than 30 years of corporate and agency public relations experience. I now help small businesses learn to do online PR, either so they can do it themselves or know enough about it to outsource wisely.

    I feel so strongly about this I have developed an interactive course that will be available online very soon to help business owners learn the key concepts.

    Jim Bowman
    ThePRDoc®

    • Onibalusi says:

      That is great to hear Jim!

      I don’t mind if you also have a piece giving your own opinion on the subject ;), it will really be appreciated!

      • Jim Bowman says:

        I’ll be glad to write a piece, Onibalusi. How would February be? I’m pretty tied up with client work and the launch right now.

        • Onibalusi says:

          That will be good Jim,

          February is okay by me so feel free to send it over when you’re free.

          Thanks so much 🙂

  10. anik says:

    nice tips, you are the real business. thnaks a lot.

  11. William Tha Great says:

    Hey,

    Thanks for the awesome post!

    You are absolutely right that you don’t need another person to do anything for you. You can simply find ways to get out there and do things for yourself! The internet is a great way to get your name out there to the public and build your fan base or reputation.

    Things are easier than they have ever been if you want them, and the truth is you really don’t even need hay much money just a goal & determination.

    Thanks again!

    God bless,
    William Veasley

  12. Great post, I am thankful to you for sharing this informative post. I hope you will share more great posts in future.

  13. Dave Grimes II says:

    Really great advice! These are pitfalls I’ve been lucky enough to avoid (since our company is headed by a web-developer and a copywriter – me.) I was just luck though. If we had not had those talents to begin with, we would have probably hired out for these services and wasted a TON of money we didn’t really even have! Great advice for folks just getting started! Thanks for Sharing!

  14. awesome post!

    If you have no prior experience marketing on running a business on the internet (most people will fall into this category) the learning curve can be quite steep. I love all the resources and they will be beneficial to newbies as well as experienced business owners. I know I definitely learned new resources I was not aware of before!

    Thanks for sharing!

  15. With all this free resources, you can use it to get your business reach out to the world.

  16. TsarShu says:

    Thanks for lots of useful resources! You have provided a detailed plan for a small business! i guess many people will say ‘Thanks’ to you! I’m one of them!

  17. My Friends Forum says:

    This is something really interesting. thanks For Sharing

  18. Very nice and helpful techniques for a small and good business. I like this.

  19. You have chosen a great topic and your techniques are really great and helpful for small business. Thanks for sharing to us.

  20. Dictionar Roman Englez says:

    Technique One is awesome, but the second one is a bit more complicated. It’s just my opinion…

  21. Desene animate says:

    Good business advice.Thanks dude!

  22. Rate md says:

    I think do because pr are the most important part in generating good stream business.

  23. Great post under great topic dude. Thanks for sharing your nice techniques here with us.

  24. I’m still a small start up and was thinking of getting a PR firm, but glad to read your article, I can try your techniques first and hope it will work for me seeing it worked for you.

  25. Dealista says:

    There are a lot of methods out there without the need to hire PR companies and you did share a lot of great tips here. Thanks for that.

  26. @OP

    Clearly Small Businesses don’t need to compete with large firms in terms of keeping a marketing and advertising budget and outsourcing the service to ‘experts’. One needs to be careful indeed

Onibalusi

Welcome! I'm Bamidele Onibalusi, a young writer and blogger. I believe writers are unique and highly talented individuals that should be given the respect they deserve. This blog offers practical advice to help you become truly in charge of your writing career.

Find out more »