How to get free publicity for your small business

Where are all the customers at?

You’ve built the website, you know your stuff, you’ve posted on Facebook and Instagram and there you are with your shiny new desk organiser and all you need now are those pesky customers.

Your thoughts turn to advertising and then you give the piggy bank a shake and the solitary coin rattles sadly around the empty space.

Which is when you Google how to get free publicity or free advertising and the advice is very simple, all you have to do is write a compelling press release and publishers will be falling over themselves to include you.

Not true I’m afraid. But not impossible.

Consider the Customer Here – (It’s Me btw)

As with any marketing you need to consider your would-be customer; in this case it is the editor of the desired publication. Let’s use Bee Local Magazine as an example so your customer here is me – the editor/owner.

Here I am sitting with my magazine plan and perhaps the rare empty news column or page. I get the call or email.

“I’ve just started a business, I’ve overcome [insert problem here] and I thought you would like to include my story. ”

The most common reason given for inclusion are:-

  • it’s good for the town
  • overcoming life-problem
  • it’s eco friendly
  • it’s a family business across generations

Let’s back track a bit – why do you want me to include your press release? It is because I print and deliver 1000’s of copies in your area. You hope that with the publicity you get customers will come flooding in and you won’t have to worry about advertising any more – correct? And it will probably be true.

What’s in it for me?

What’s in that for me? I am single person business, I make my entire living from selling advertising in my magazine and you want me to provide you my service for free so that you can make your own living…huh?

Okay I know this all sounds harsh and probably a bit hopeless from your point of view and I do want your business to succeed honest but don’t despair there is a way…

Give me value!

Why is Bee Local Magazine so popular?

It includes great content that’s why! I read many press releases and invariably somewhere in it is the phrase “at [insert business name] we pride ourselves on a personal and friendly service, our family run business blah blah and it is usually accompanied by a picture of two blokes and a business van (for example). It is SO BORING, so blatantly an advert for customers and I won’t be including it.

You’re the Expert

You are the expert in your field so write something that is compelling, shows your knowledge and answers a question Bee Local readers would like to know. Here is an example – a play tots group merged and sent out a press release the owner is one lovely and very savvy lady and we had a very nice chat.

Instead of the standard press release she wrote an article on tackling childhood obesity with the focus on play. It was 400 words with a pictures and at the bottom of the page was her name and business contact details. Her business is in the magazine for free and she has demonstrated her expertise in the field she knows. Wouldn’t you be confident sending your child to a place that has this much knowledge about child development? I would.

I am happy to publish it because it has provided great content EVERYONE WINS.

Over the years I have published articles on Narcissism from a psychologist, skin care from a beauty therapist, verrucae advice from a laser salon, recipes from an online cooking business…you get my drift.

Don’t Give Up

It is possible to be published you simply need to remember who the customer is and like any customer you need to provide value to them. For a magazine editor value = great content for the magazine and happy readers.

! Don’t Forget !

It is still better to use a multi-level approach to marketing which includes paid for print advertising, social media, newsletters and blogs as well as many other promotional ideas.

Advertising Rates with Bee Local Magazine

Bee Local

Andrena Carden-White is the editor/owner of Bee Local Magazine. The magazine was founded in 2012. Use the contact page to get in touch.

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