A common misconception among online business owners is that they must spend lots of money on advertising to grow their businesses. But if you’re willing to put a little time into promoting your business, you can generate publicity that will be far more effective than paid advertising.
Here are 30 ways you can create publicity at little or no cost.
- Build a social media presence. Building a presence for your business on popular social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ creates ongoing opportunities for publicity. Make frequent, relevant and interesting posts, and bloggers and members of the media will take notice.
- Start a Facebook group. An active Facebook group that is relevant to your niche can generate lots of publicity.
- Make use of LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a wonderful site for online business networking and making contact with members of the press.
- Maintain a blog. A good business blog is great for publicity. Keep it updated with relevant and engaging posts, and be sure to offer an RSS feed so that readers can subscribe and site owners can add your updates to their own sites.
- Post link-worthy content on your blog. “Top 5” or “Top 10” lists tend to attract links nicely, as do product reviews and tutorials.
- Comment on other blogs. Keep your comments on-topic and useful, and only include a link to your site in the URL field. As long as you’re adding to the conversation and not blatantly promoting your business, this is a quick and easy way to gain links and exposure.
- Write guest posts for other blogs. Many bloggers welcome guest authors as long as they have something worthwhile to say. Instead of shamelessly plugging your business, write a post that their readers will be interested in and save the promotion for your byline.
- Invite other bloggers to write guest posts for your blog. They will pass the link on to their readers, giving your blog greater exposure.
- Post interviews with fellow online business owners on your blog or website.
Again, they will let their customers know where to find the interview, giving you traffic and publicity.
- Submit articles to article directories. When bloggers and site owners post your articles on their sites, you’ll gain exposure and links to your own site.
- Give them something free. Freebies are great for generating publicity. You can create reports and other information products and give them away without losing money.
- Give something away in a drawing. Whether you host a giveaway on your site or donate something for someone else to give away, it’s sure to attract attention.
- Have a contest. Whether you have an essay contest, a design contest or a name for our new product contest, you’ll get people actively involved and generate lots of interest.
- Have a sale. The bigger the savings, the more publicity you can expect.
- Exchange promos with other online businesses. Ask other online business owners if they would be interested in offering their customers an exclusive discount from your business if you do the same for them. This will result in good publicity for both parties.
- Do a webcast. You could do a product demonstration, a question and answer session, or even an interactive workshop. These types of events are sure to generate buzz.
- Put press releases on your website. A carefully crafted press release is one of the most basic yet powerful publicity tools. Simply adding press releases to your website will attract traffic, and they could be picked up by media outlets.
- Submit press releases directly to media outlets. This is what business owners did before the internet existed, and it’s still effective. Simply find online publications that might be interested in your release, search for the appropriate contact, and email it to him or her.
- Submit press releases to press release distribution sites. Sites such as PR Web will distribute your release to major news sites and search engines, greatly increasing the chances that it will be picked up.
- Donate money to a worthy cause. Charitable organizations are usually happy to share the news when a business makes a donation. A donation is also a good topic for a press release of your own.
- Donate goods or services. A good alternative to a monetary donation is a donation of supplies or services.
- If you’re not in a position to donate money or goods, donate your time instead.
- Create a scholarship. Scholarships are excellent for generating publicity and goodwill. They don’t have to be expensive – every little bit helps when it comes to paying for college.
- Make a video. YouTube is more than just a site for watching funny cat videos. It’s also a powerful promotional tool. A fun or informative video about your business could easily go viral.
- Start a podcast. You don’t have to have a lot to talk about to do a podcast. Some of the best ones are short and sweet. As long as you have something interesting to say, podcasting is a great way to reach internet users who prefer their content in audio form.
- Participate in online forums. Find forums that are relevant to your niche and start posting. You don’t have to actively promote your site, just be interesting and helpful and add a link to your signature.
- Start a forum of your own. Maintaining a forum can help you establish yourself as an expert in your field and attract traffic to your site.
- Answer questions. Sites such as Yahoo Answers provide opportunities for you to share your expertise. Include a link to your site in your user profile, and link to pages on your site in your answers when appropriate.
- HARO. Sign up at HelpAReporter.com to receive notice of queries from members of the media who are seeking sources. Respond to relevant queries, and you and your business could be featured in the story.
- Pitch a story. You don’t have to wait for reporters to come knocking or make a relevant query. You can think up a great story idea that ties into your business and goes to them with it instead. If your first media contact is not interested, keep looking until you find one who is.
You don’t need a huge advertising budget to get the word out about your business. By taking a little time each day to work on generating publicity, you can keep customers coming in without spending a dime.