As a start-up business, paying for Public Relations services can be cost prohibitive. In general, a good PR agency can start at $2k a month. Many people think of PR as “free advertising” but it really requires time and effort to position your business as a thought leader. When you hire a PR agency you are paying for the relationships that this firm has fostered over many years. PR agencies can give you access to business journal writers, quotes in articles related to your industry, publicity for new client accounts, etc. Once you start generating enough revenue, we strongly encourage all of our small business clients to hire a PR agency that will give you access to traditional media channels. In the meantime, there are FREE or inexpensive online PR channels for the entrepreneur. In this blog entry, two online PR channels will be discussed- online article distribution and LinkedIn group discussions.
Online Article Distribution
There are various FREE article directories on the web.
Article directories include Google Knol, Ezine, eHow, HubPages, Squidoo, etc. An excellent list of the top article directories can be found here- http://www.vretoolbar.com/articles/directories.php. You can re-purpose many of your blog postings as articles and submit to article directories. The objective of any article is to discuss a topic that is of interest to your target market and to position yourself as a thought leader. Do not write an article that is company propaganda, no one will read it. You truly have to give 25% of your knowledge away for free.
When you submit an article, make sure to include a link back to your website. In that link, include anchor text that consists of keywords you want to target. For example in the author’s bio section, include a link to your website with keywords like “San Diego Web Design” or whatever keywords your a typical prospect will be typing into a search engine. Search engines like external links because that gives your website credibility.
LinkedIn Group Discussions
Another effective way to gain exposure with your target market and position your company as a thought leader is through LinkedIn group discussions. LinkedIn has groups for almost any industry group and these groups discuss a variety of topics. Begin by finding groups that ideal customers or strategic partners may be be involved with. From there, start answering questions on these groups. Once you become comfortable, start a discussion topic on your own. Once you’re really confident, begin your own group where your target audience will congregate.
These two online PR channels are practical and inexpensive methods to generate buzz online and position yourself as a thought leader. Good luck!