One of the biggest challenges of getting a new business off the ground is gaining traction in your target market. Building awareness requires an effective public relations strategy that can create a steady stream of positive news about your company.
When you're on a small startup budget, you may not have the immediate resources necessary to hire a PR firm. Fortunately, there are some simple strategies you can employ to drum up publicity yourself.
Here are 10 ways to encourage positive press for your business, as recommended by the members of Young Entrepreneur Council.
Young Entrepreneur Council members discuss tips for gaining positive publicity for your new business.
1. Encourage Reviews
Few things are better for boosting publicity than word-of-mouth from real customers. The value of positive customer reviews cannot be overstated. For new businesses that may not yet have these to leverage, influencer marketing can also be a powerful tool when used correctly. Unlike hired celebrities and scripted spokespeople, influencers can be particularly effective at touting the benefits of your product and telling your brand story in an authentic, believable way. An influencer who can deliver your message in a way that resonates with their followers is essentially providing a targeted marketing campaign for you. But it's critical to utilize influencers with a highly engaged audience. The size of the audience matters very little if the followers aren't engaging with the content. - Samuel Saxton, ConsumerRating.org
2. Focus On Your Local Market
Without a doubt, the best way to ramp up publicity for a new business is to focus on the local market. While any company looking to scale will want to eventually engage in regional or national public relations and marketing strategies, at the beginning of the curve, local markets dominate. This strategy is impactful due to the fact that many local markets have local television, radio stations and even internet-based media companies based in the vicinity. Engaging with these outlets will allow for a strong impact locally to drive viral appeal, and will also open up the new business to potential syndication opportunities, which could impact large-scale awareness as well as provide a boost for the reach of the new business’s website. - Ryan Bradley, Koester & Bradley, LLP
3. Leverage User-Generated Content
There's no shortage of marketing strategies out there, but one that can be particularly effective for new businesses is leveraging user-generated content. This can come in the form of reviews, testimonials or even just social media posts about your company. The reason this is so effective is because it adds a level of authenticity and trustworthiness to your brand. When potential customers see that other people have had positive experiences with your business, they're much more likely to give you a try themselves. So if you're looking for a way to generate some buzz for your new business, consider harnessing the power of user-generated content. It could be just the boost you need to get things off the ground. - Pratik Chaskar, Spectra
4. Host A Free Event
One way to drum up positive publicity for a new business is to offer a free event. It could be some type of education about services you provide or something like a cooking class if food is part of your business. A way to get a lot of people to your business is to host a business after-hours event with the local chamber of commerce. These events are typically held monthly, and the chamber always wants sponsors. Make sure you hold it at your business rather than just paying to sponsor it elsewhere. However, a business after-hours event can be pricey to do because it can draw up to 200 or so people. You will need to provide food and a bar and some door prizes, although other businesses will donate door prizes too. - Baruch Labunski, Rank Secure
5. Connect With The Media
Connecting with media professionals and journalists over the long run and building relationships with them can help ramp up the positive publicity for a new business. This is because when you have a good relationship with media professionals, they are more likely to write or speak positively about your business when given the opportunity. Additionally, this can help you get media coverage for your business when you otherwise may not have been able to. Make yourself available to answer questions, provide additional information or just chat about your business. This way, you're top of mind when they need someone for a story and you're more likely to get positive press. - Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner
6. Work With Influencers
Influencer marketing is one of the most effective ways to ramp up positive publicity for a new business. One of the core challenges faced by new businesses is that people are not familiar with the brand. Mostly, people don't like to experiment with their purchases. Instead, they look for reviews and recommendations from others whom they trust. Moreover, people often look up to influencers as role models. So, it's highly likely for them to pay heed to the advice of influencers they follow. This makes influencer marketing an excellent strategy for new businesses as people are certainly going to consider a brand their favorite influencer supports. - Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms
7. Offer Free Samples
One effective way to generate positive publicity for a new business is to offer free or discounted samples of your product or service. This is an especially effective tactic if your product is unique or innovative, as it can help pique the interest of potential customers and get them talking about your brand. Additionally, offering discounts can entice people who may be on the fence about trying your business. Ultimately, by providing free or discounted samples, you can generate excitement and interest, which can help you attract more customers and grow your business. - Adam Preiser, WPCrafter
8. Write A Press Release
Press releases are great for bringing a bright light to a new business. They are easy to localize and are usually very well received by local communities that love to share interesting news with their members. If your goal is to have the news be seen nationally, they are great for that as well. A press release serves as a great way to get in front of readers and raise awareness of your new business. - Mary Harcourt, CosmoGlo
9. Get Involved In Your Community
There are many ways to help ramp up positive publicity for a new business, but one of the most effective is to get involved with the community. Stand for a social value. Do a charitable thing. Deliver the message that you are not here just to make profit. This can be done in a variety of ways, such as by sponsoring local events, donating to local charities or simply getting to know the people who live and work in the area. By becoming a part of the community, businesses can show that they care about more than just making a profit, and this can go a long way in generating goodwill and positive publicity that is engaging. This encourages customers to leave positive reviews that can create a favorable online reputation that can attract new customers and help grow the business. - Kelly Richardson, Infobrandz
10. Participate In Online Discussions
Active participation in communities, groups and social media can be a great way to get positive publicity as a new business. This is useful for startups because they usually do not have large teams or deep pockets. Participating in target user groups and communities usually costs nothing, and there is not a lot of time required either. You can start with places your target audience hangs out. It could be offline local events or places such as Facebook communities, LinkedIn groups, Twitter hashtags or Quora and Reddit threads. Just stay active in these places and participate in the discussions in a helpful manner. It will help you get leads, build loyal followers, earn customers and ramp up the positive publicity for your new business. - Sujay Pawar, CartFlows
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Membership is open to businesses and organizations interested in increasing visibility and brand awareness in Westchester County and surrounding areas.