I’m a small business, how do I get publicity?

publicity, effUmarketing

Getting stuff for free or close to free is always tough. Working in / with the media industry for as long as I have, I can tell you right away, you’ll need to offer some VALUE in order to get publicity.

#1 thing to keep in mind – you’ll have to offer a media company something whether it’s your product, or a small chunk of change in order to be seen / heard.

Who to call or reach out to

You may be inclined to speak with a sales person or management when it comes to getting publicity. DON’T! Try to go to the bottom of the totem poll first as these people are usually underpaid, and under appreciated. If you fluff them with some of your product they’ll probably be willing to go the extra mile for you. Management, and some of the more senior personalities are more prone to turn you down, because throughout their career they’ve caught on to how the game works.

Here are some ways to get the word out about your product / service for next to nothing:

  • Connect with a radio, TV or journalist by calling them, emailing them or reaching out to them through social media. Say you listen to them, watch them or read them on a regular basis (you probably should know a little bit about them before you reach out).
  • Once you’ve connected, offer to drop off your product or meet in person to discuss your service. DO THIS IN PERSON. I can’t tell you how many meaningless press releases media companies get on a daily basis. Very rarely do companies show up in person to showcase their product / service. DON’T BE LAZY.
  • If there is some resistance from the on-air personality, try contacting the promotions or marketing department. They may be able to help you out. You’ll probably have to throw something their way like a free dinner, or a night out to the movies (have something on hand of VALUE).
  • Try asking about contesting whether it’s over the air (very unlikely), on the website (getting warmer) or through the media companies social media platforms (Bingo!). I can guarantee you the media company has a way stronger following on their social media platforms, their app, and / or website than you do. Try to leverage this by giving the promotions or marketing department the opportunity to giveaway your product or service online.
  • PROVIDE SOMETHING OF VALUE. 10% off is not value. A free dinner when you bring a friend, and spend more than $40 is not value. If you’re going to give something away. MAKE IT BIG! Stop thinking about how you need to make money off of your offer right away. Make your giveaway meaningful, like haircuts for a year or a dinner for two up to $100 (or however much it costs to get an appetizer, two entree’s, dessert, and a couple drinks).

Yes, this will cost you some product / service. Yes, it may cost you a small media buy, but it’s worth it. Think about the amount of people you’ll reach by getting the publicity.

My favourite way of getting publicity

Go after a known brand (stick your stake in the sand – more on that here). If you’re a new restaurant, why not take on a chain, and say you’re against them. If you source your product locally, go after the ‘big guys’ and get the conversation started with your consumers, “Where do you think they get their food from?” A good example of this is Chipotle in the US. They started out attacking the ‘big guys’ in a non-direct way about food, and where it comes from (now, Chipotle is one of the ‘big guys’). You will probably piss some people off by doing this, but that’s okay. You need to stand for something.

Another alternative

You can’t forget digital, and social media. Although most of you lack Facebook fans, have limited followers, etc… You can still make an impact.

First – FIND SOMEONE who is an influencer or has already been in the media discussing your product or something similar. For example – if you’re starting up a business that accepts Bitcoin, then ‘Google’ Bitcoin, and see all the names that come up. I would reach out to each one of those individuals that come up (Winklevoss twins) or tag them in your post on social media. This way, they could do the work for you because they want to see Bitcoin succeed, and the more businesses accepting Bitcoin the better off they are.

Stay relevent

One of the easiest ways to stay in the public eye – is to stay relevant. Can you do something special around the holidays (Xmas, New Years, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Easter, etc…)? If you can, then do it, and make sure you tell people. I’m not talking about a sale, I’m talking about a $3 burrito if you come into your store dressed in a costume on Halloween or partner up with a local Easter Egg Hunt. Think fun, and your fans will follow.

Getting publicity is tough, and it requires a bit of work on your end, but it’s totally worth it. Try out a couple of the items above, and let me know how it goes.

Love you,

Jordan ‘The Guy with the Bow Tie’ Rycroft

PS. Like what you see? Get more freebies here

Social Media & Traditional Media

cat with a bow tie

Scotch with a bow tie

Social media and traditional media. Notice how I didn’t say social media vs. traditional media. I’ll touch on that in a moment.

Social media is exactly that. It’s social and it’s media. However, as our society usually does, it pretty much has already destroyed the social aspect of the media. There are more PUSH marketing messages than actual social conversations. Again, marketers are trying to stuff things down consumers throats.

It started out as people being able to have conversations on Twitter, Facebook, etc… all over the world. Now, it’s more of what we’re used to. One directed messages from a company or person not really concerned with carrying on a conversation.

This past week, I searched Twitter for #personalbranding. And guess what, I found numerous people using the hashtag, so I started a conversation with one of those people (in this case it was a brand). I recently wrote an article on my ‘Guy with the Bow Tie’ person brand (check it out here). I reached out to this company and shared my post. They liked it and guess what? We started a conversation. Ha! Go figure. It wasn’t a one way message. It was a back-and-forth on a subject that BOTH parties are interested in. Funny how that works.

Anyway, you can call my bullshit on the following, but the more the media world changes the more it stays the same:

Google Search = Yellow Pages
YouTube = TV
Twitter = Radio / Print
Facebook = Radio / Print

I could be way off, but let’s start the discussion. It’s not as if one is better than the other. They all are media and they all work if your message and strategy stays consistent (that’s a whole other bag of beans). The one striking issue with social media is message credibility. @JoeBlow could put something out there and we have no idea if it’s remotely true. Remember when a shark appeared after Superstorm Sandy hit the eastern seaboard? Ya, it never happened, but it made its way around the globe because someone was half-decent at Photoshop and tweeted it. Then again, it’s become increasingly difficult to take traditional media as credible.

The point I’m trying to hit on is the media landscape hasn’t changed much. There happens to be more people at the table fighting over the same scraps, but even the social media types have realized they need to start charging for ads and pulling back the freebies. As a result, the more the media landscape supposedly changes…the more it stays the same.

For example, I hear plenty of small businesses talking about Google Adwords. Well, it’s no different than the Yellow Pages. Google is a directory (like the Yellow Pages) and everyone’s fighting for the top of the page or the biggest ad. Funny enough, it doesn’t matter who’s first on Google. What matters is familiarity. People buy what they know regardless of whether or not you dropped a serious chunk of change on words like Calgary, Car, Pizza, etc… (more on what makes people buy here).

Social media and traditional media. The more we change, the more we stay the same.

Love you,

Jordan