Who doesn’t love seeing their name, or better yet the name of their business, in the paper. Over the years I have been in the paper, both online and in print, more than I can count. If you do what I do, then you, too, can garner free press that will likely bring you customers.
1. Submit a Press Release (especially for a free event)
Often local newspapers that focus on town events will publish press releases for free. First, contact the newspaper to find out what types of press releases they do and do not publish. Some papers may only publish your free events while others may publish anything you submit if you are a non-profit. After you find out their rules, set your calendar to submit fresh releases on a schedule so you are constantly in print.
2. Donate a Prize
Look for local non-profits who are holding fundraisers and see if you can donate a prize. The prize can be anything from a free service (ie, if you teach yoga offer a free one-on-one class) to a free yoga mat. The organization running the fundraiser will likely advertise your donation in order to draw people to their event. And on the day of the event, the attendees will hear about your prize.
3. Offer Press Passes
If you are selling tickets to an event you have coming up, you can offer free press passes to any local newspapers (online and in print). Reporters LOVE this and will often attend and then write a post-event story about your organization and event.
4. Sign Up for Help a Reporter Out,http://www.helpareporter.com/
As defined by Wikipedia, "Help a Reporter Out (HARO) is an online service set up for journalists to quickly gather feedback from the public. It is designed to enable journalists to connect with people who have expertise or experience in particular issues, so that journalists can obtain valuable advice and quotes for stories they are covering.”
In a nutshell, sign up as a “source.” Then, Help a Reporter Out will email you queries and you will respond to the ones that fit you. Hopefully a reporter will then quote you in his/her story and TA-DA, you’ll receive free press.
Please note that Help a Reporter Out is going to email you 3x a day. If you find this overwhelming, read my blog "How to Hack Help a Reporter Out".
5. Ask to Be a Guest Blogger (online press)
If the area your company covers has some local bloggers, it is a great idea to ask if you can guest blog. You can blog about something you are an expert on such as, “How to Clean Windows the Right Way,” or “How to Give Your Spouse the Perfect Massage.”
Free Press will not only drive traffic to your website but it can also improve your SEO rankings. Set a goal to try to get free press once a month. Remember that even articles that are in print are often also online so a little work you do now can still bring in new members months from now.
I'm Laura Occhipinti, your go-to social media manager and business strategist.