15 Effective Strategies For Garnering Free PR

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Forbe’s new article analyses some of the PR strategies than can help companies with free publicity. 

There’s an adage that states, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.” While some may argue with the statement, the fact remains that if you raise the notability of your brand through free publicity, it’s a win-win situation. From press mentions to product segments on local news channels, they each have a role in increasing the public’s attention to your brand.

How does a company go about getting free public relations that will skyrocket it to new levels of public awareness? Fifteen members of Forbes Communications Council look at some of the strategies companies can leverage to get free publicity that can help the brand’s future marketing attempts.

1. Predict The Future

Businesses can win big on publicity by tuning into futurism and the crystal ball effect of predicting what is going to happen next in their industry. Journalists are always seeking to speak with savvy industry experts who can see the trends in their sector before anyone else. The press gets the scoop and the company gains visibility and traction — a true win-win situation. – Marie O’Riordan, Prepaid Financial Services

2. Build Deep Relationships

Building strong relationships can go a long way in getting free PR. However, at the same time, you need to provide valuable content that addresses an issue or contributes to your industry. – Haseeb Tariq, Formerly Disney/Fox

3. Engage In Active, Consistent Outreach

Securing free PR is about building relationships. Reaching out to members of the press with relevant, engaging topics on a regular basis will grab their attention, let them know you know what their audience is interested in, and help develop a bridge for them to reach out to you in the future. – Pat Scheckel, Singlewire Software

4. Create Your Own Study And Research

Two facts to leverage for free PR coverage: media outlets are starved for coverage and, to the best of their ability, seek to be purveyors of truth. Create a study using your customer data and package it with infographics, quotes and highlights. This not only provides them with a compelling story rooted in data-driven analysis, but also positions your brand as the thought leader in a given space. – Melissa Kandel, little word studio

5. Don’t Be Selfish, Deliver Value First

Although it’s nice to receive free PR, the most successful brands focus on delivering value to the publication’s audience. Ultimately, this is what will help the publication grow its audience and sell more advertisements, which are important to its editor. If brands focus on educating, entertaining or helping the audience, the reciprocity will inevitably come. Give more value than you take. – Vincent Phamvan, Vyten Career Coaching

6. Pitch A Captivating Story

Many news sources will cover a story if it’s pitched right. If you just toss a bunch of info into a writer’s face, they aren’t going to care at all. You need to add the “why” aspect to your pitch. Tell the writer why it’s important and why they should care about your brand and its news. Also, targeting the right writer is vital to getting mentions. – Christian Anderson, Lost Boy Entertainment Company & Bentley Records

7. Be Relevant, Provocative, Newsworthy

You have to have a good topic that is relevant to your organization locally. You have to be newsworthy — i.e. clearly show how you/your organization adds value to the discussion or a solution in new, or not-known-until-now, ways. Being provocative always helps, as it fuels the discussion where you/your organization have something new to share. – Svetlana Stavreva, IBM

8. Leverage Partnerships

Although you may not be ready to allocate significant money to PR, you can leverage your customer relationships to promote your brand. Whether your company supported a new product release, or a customer found success in a new area of business, use this as an opportunity to create a cross-promotional partnership. Promote their success and link your efforts. #everyonewins – Scott Lysz, A&D Technology

9. Consider “Newsjacking”

The best way to gain free PR for your company is to be on the lookout for “newsjacking” opportunities, which occur when a brand uses current news stories and events to draw attention to their own material or positioning. Adding input to topical conversations costs nothing and establishes your company as a thought leader that is tuned in to current events and relevant industry trends. – Lynn Kier, Diebold Nixdorf

10. Focus On Building Momentum

It’s easy to focus on press when you have big news, but getting continuous press is more about consistency. Treat getting press like a marathon rather than a sprint. Plan out your year, set yourself goals and constantly pitch. Don’t spray and pray; target individual reports in a personalized manner. It’s more work, but you’re more likely to get steady results. – Rick Ramos, HealthJoy

11. Sponsor A Local Charity

Giving can take your brand a long way. Pick a day and devote that day’s profits to a charity of your choice in exchange for some free logo exposure. Or, have your employees volunteer wearing your brand name on their clothing. Have the recipient charity create social buzz around the event and share that content on your website and your social channels. – Elina Manevich, Success Story Marketing

12. Donate Time Or Product

Something that has always worked for us is donating our time, service or product. Events are happening all the time in the local community that needs volunteers or supplies. Donating our time or product has always given us “free” publicity. There are some costs associated, but everything is going to a good cause, so it is worth it in the end.  – Sarah Lero, Peerless Products Inc

13. Advocate For Others

We’ve found that leveraging partnerships with local and national charities to advocate and raise awareness is a successful way to gain earned media. This strategy aligns well with our target audience (families in transition stages of life). The storylines are inspirational, which tends to be a win in pitching the story to the media. – Sarah Little, StorageMart

14. Separate From The Noise

Share content that’s devoid of meaningless platitudes. For instance, in a business-to-business context, when discussing technology adoption, it’s easy to point to “skill gaps” or “lack of leadership” as barriers to success. Everyone says that. Provide points of view that create pause in your readers’ minds, and create a desire in them to hear more (ideally from you). – Tom Pohlmann, AHEAD

15. Stand Out At An Event

Are you a small company at a big event? Create a plan for being the best live tweeter there is! Use the right event hashtag, share interesting quotes and photos, create online conversations with fellow attendees, and add value throughout the event. You will almost definitely end up being quoted or called out for the help and great insights you provided to those who couldn’t attend in person. – Holly Chessman, Holly Chessman Marketing

Article available on Forbes website: 15 Effective Strategies For Garnering Free PR

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