As a marketing consultant I look for ways to get free publicity for my clients as often as possible. PR is all about creating news worthy events within your business. Here are some of the ways I have used and have seen others use:
1) Expand your business – Either hire someone on or literally buy a new building (or build a new building). Business expansion is exciting and the community loves to know a business is thriving. That is great news for everyone.
2) Do something positive in the community – Whether it is a volunteer day for your whole staff at Big Brothers and Big Sisters or it is planting a community garden. Do something of value for the community that doesn’t involve monetary gain for your company. Everyone loves to see businesses helping the community to thrive.
3) Hold an event – Whether it is a client appreciation event, a nonprofit sponsorship event, or just an open house. Holding an event to invite the community in is a great way to get positive exposure on your brand.
4) Create a partnership – This is an expansion idea as well, but we always see news about mergers and acquisitions in the paper and on the news. This is where that comes from. Creating a partnership with a nonprofit, or with a complementary industry is a great way to get some free exposure to your business.
5) Win an award – Winning an award in your industry is a great thing to be recognized for. It is up there with getting a new license. This type of personal development the community loves to see and congratulate. So if you haven’t been in the paper in a while, learn something new and get a license to do it. You then have something news worthy to share.
Writing the Press Release & Conducting the Event
Once you decide what you are going to do, write up a press release about it before it happens. In the release you should include important information about dates and times so reporters know when to show up with a camera crew should they choose to.
You should also share the why are you doing whatever you are doing. Perhaps it is a passion of your team or it aligns with the mission of your business. What ever your reasoning is, include that in the press release.
Then while at the event you should be your own reporter. Talk with people who are there and get quotes from them. Take photos of the event. And capture important moments you want to highlight.
Following the event (or what ever you decided to do) create a post press release. This should again include the where, when, and why of the event but should also include the what your efforts made people feel. Include quotes and photos from the experience.
So you are writing 2 press releases per what ever you are doing. Submit one at minimum 2 weeks prior to the thing and the post one no latter than one week following the thing. Submitting press releases is as easy as identifying the media outlets in your area. Once you know what they are get email addresses and phone numbers for the publishers or editors.
Call them before sending your breaking news so they know to expect it.
Make sure that you do not include sales language in your press release — it will not be published in most cases if it feels like a giant ad.