5 Free Things You Can Do to Jump Start Your PR Today
You\’re a woman in business which, by definition, means you\’re one
clever time and resource manager. You can balance the books, walk 3
miles a day, and volunteer at the blood bank in a single bound. And all
while running a business.
But who knew that running your business would be the easy part? Your
service is top-notch. Your product almost sells itself. Making sure
people know all that, however, is the hard part.
Growing your business is what keeps you hopping. Women don\’t just wait
for business to come our way; we go out and claim it. We network. We
volunteer. We educate. We understand that it\’s our responsibility to
make sure prospects get the message, loud and clear.
Putting the word out is the first step in a solid PR effort. But which
words (and in what order) will yield more business? Start with “hello.”
Because the practice of public relations is all about building
relationships — with media, prospects and clients — women in business
are in a more powerful initial PR position than men. We are natural
relationship-builders…which renders us natural PR practitioners.
If, like most entrepreneurs, you didn\’t start out with an extra few
thousand dollars each month to pay a PR firm, it\’s time to empower
yourself to create and sustain your own respectable PR effort.
Here are five free things you can do to get started today, and rake in profits tomorrow:
1. PR staff meeting: party of one. Make and keep a standing appointment
with yourself to launch and sustain a solid PR effort. Maybe you book
two hours every Sunday with yourself, grab a glass of iced tea, and go
and sit on your deck to strategize. Or, perhaps it\’s 7–7:30 am each
morning at your desk. Creating this commitment on your planner will
force you to carve out space to develop PR opportunities.
During this block of time, start educating yourself about
entrepreneurial PR. Read articles like this one. Listen to
teleseminars. Pick up books at the library. Sign up for free ezines
that deliver opportunities right to your desktop.
Once you\’ve got a handle on what entrepreneurial PR is all about, use
this time slot to create a PR action plan. Then, use the time to
execute. Ultimately, you can use the time to read about yourself in
your favorite magazine, or rewind that Oprah segment for which you were
2. Make your signature count. How do you most often reach out to
prospects, clients, volunteer associations, and your Aunt Sue? Via
email. Email is the most often used, yet most often misused PR tool in
most businesses…because many people don\’t realize it can, in fact, play
a powerful PR role. By creating an automatic email signature (which
should include your name, title, company, and contact information to
accompany each outgoing email), you achieve a couple of key PR
objectives with every email you send.
First, your reader knows who you are, what your role/area of expertise
is, and how to get in touch with you. Second, your company information,
along with a link to your web site (where readers can find out how to
hire you or buy from you) is repeatedly in front of them.
And don\’t stop with the basics. Add a catchy tag line, which will
remind them what need your business serves. Or, get really creative and
put a 1-2 line announcement at the bottom of the signature about a new
book, product, seminar or service offering you\’ve just announced.
The best part is that an email signature makes for easy forwarding to a
prospect you might not have seen coming. A friend of Aunt Sue\’s perhaps?
3. Start spreadin\’ the news. Start your PR effort in your own backyard,
before attempting any large-scale, national PR. It will give you good
experience in how to effectively disseminate your message. It will also
enable you to start a dialogue with reporters on a smaller scale, so
that when you work up to national news desks and show producers, your
media skills will be sharper.
Start achieving coverage today by sending out a press release to local
media about something happening within your company. Announce a new
hire, expansion, web site launch or award for inclusion in local
business news briefs. Avoid sales copy, and keep it newsworthy.
Advertisements don\’t get printed for free, but news releases do.
4. Put your web site to work. Many web sites, while well-intentioned
initially, end up being expansive advertisements that simply provide
product, service and contact information…but there\’s no content to be
found to help the prospect decide why to buy from you instead of the
Step it up from “how to buy” to “why to buy.” Take a comprehensive look
at your site and ask yourself if it\’s all about you. Promoting your
strengths is of course necessary, but have you also remembered to
answer your prospect\’s inherent question: “What\’s in it for me?”
For example, don\’t just say you\’re a certified coach. Say you\’re a
certified coach whose valuable training and education enabled you to
create solutions to common challenges among your target demographic.
Instead of just listing the benefits of your experience, product or
service, expand and capitalize on them by showing your target market
your understanding of and investment in meeting their needs.
Remember that your web site is a powerful PR tool, so use it to inform
as well as sell. Create a free ezine. Post a few white papers or
articles to demonstrate your expertise. Provide some case studies to
illustrate how your product or service made a difference.
5. Get out of the office. People do business with people they like, and
meeting someone face to face is the first step in creating new
relationships that will lead to new business.
As much as you may loathe networking, visibility is critical to
differentiating yourself in the marketplace. And women have come up
with some really creative and even enjoyable ways to network. Get out
into the local business community and the national trade community. Be
seen. Get heard.
Write an article. Speak at a networking meeting. Host a teleseminar.
Volunteer your talents for the next women\’s business event in your area
to connect with like-minded women. Create visibility around who you are
and what you do, and you will simultaneously create new possibilities
for your business.
Creating PR buzz is all about reaching out to prospects and media in a
non-sales capacity. By relating to the public with helpful information
and good will, you have a unique opportunity to distinguish yourself
and your business.
Educate your prospects about why your product or service matters.
Explain what is newsworthy about it. Differentiate yourself within the
marketplace and even your own industry by spending time developing the
“hook” that will grab your prospects and hold them fast.
The end game is, of course, sales…but PR is the play. Now go hit the field.