Orbell Communications

Communicating Your Message

Promoting your business for free

Posted by jorbell on September 4, 2009

If you or your organisation has something to say getting your message across is very important but in financially difficult times many are taking the decision that the cost of distributing that message is too great. This is understandable if you stick only to traditional methods of promotion such as PR agencies but more and more ways of promoting a business are available now than ever before for little or no cost.

The excellent Problogger site recently added a post that suggests 9 Things to Do To Make Sure Your Next Blog Post is Read by More than Your Mom which, while aimed at blogs specifically, can be adapted and used with a range of PR activity. The methods of promotion suggested in the post are:

  1. Tweet it
  2. Facebook Status Updates (and other social media)
  3. Pitch it to another Blogger
  4. Pitch it to another Twitter User
  5. Share a Link in a ‘Signature’
  6. Bookmark it (Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit, Delicious etc.)
  7. Guest Posts
  8. Give readers an easy way to share it
  9. Newsletters

If you look at that list not one of them need cost you any money unless you employ people to do the job for you. Now, that is not always a bad thing as we all have different strengths and for many businesses writing sales copy, designing newsletters or general PR and marketing don’t figure among them. If you are not confident than I would urge you to consider getting professional assistance but if you are, these are some of the many avenues you can explore. Here are some more…

Business Blog

There is a misconception that blogs don’t work as a sales tool. Some businesses have simply decided it won’t work without even trying while others are simply blogging half-heartedly for the sake of it because they feel they should. In the latter case the message is likely going to seem lifeless and uninspiring which will ultimately have the same effect on their readers (if they have any).

Blogs are an excellent business tool if used well. They facilitate direct contact with customers and prospects and can drive traffic to your main website and additional services. It raises awareness and helps build brand recognition too. It does, however, take commitment and your blog posts need to be useful, educational and entertaining. You also want to encourage readers to come back again and again and for them to talk about you in their blogs and online activity.

Writing a Press Release

This is a topic I’ve covered in-depth elsewhere in my How to write an effective article blog. The main points to remember are to include the following:

  • Who is involved
  • What has happened / is happening
  • When
  • Where
  • How

Any release or article should also be backed up with statistics and always try to give your release credibility with a quote from an independent source if possible. A quote from your CEO may look good but they are hardly impartial!

Free Press Release Distribution

Blogs can be used to promote more formal press releases but that is not what they are really for. If you have a press release you can gain additional exposure for it by using some of the number of free press release distribution services that are springing up. Two that I use are prlog.org and your-story.org.

These sites allow you to simply add copy, contact details, images etc to help promote a story but be careful to read the terms and conditions of the relevant sites. This is because some of the services are looking for real news stories rather outright product promotion. You can get round this by using a writing the style that extolls the benefits of the services you provide without making direct reference to a specific product. Your aim is to grab their attention in the first instance.

If your copy is written well enough your story could be picked up by print and online trade journals who will pass it on to their readership. If it is it may be re-written or edited but this is standard practice and done for all sorts of reasons. They may have a certain house style or there are space constraints. The important thing is that you gain that additional exposure and build your business and sales from there.

Blog also published on www.alphainventions.com

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8 Responses to “Promoting your business for free”

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