Advertising has always been important in selling a product or a service or in promoting a cause. In this age of countless digital platforms, getting the word out about a business or a cause is still very important. Entrepreneurs and organizations do not always have to pay for publicity. Here are five ways people and groups can get free publicity.
Send news releases to the media. People and organizations should do research and decide which local, regional and, possibly, national websites, newspapers, magazines, radio and TV stations and broadcast networks they would like to cover them, their work, their business or a cause they are passionate about. Then write a news release and sent it to media outlets. If the business or organization has a website, post the news release on its website.
In writing the news release, use the generally accepted style and format for a news release. Many books and websites discuss this style. Also, writers of news releases are for hire.
A news release must be timely. For example, is this the year the business or organization celebrates its 25th anniversary? Is the first female police officer hired by the local police department now retiring? Does an organization that serves free lunches to disadvantaged children in the summer about the provide its 10,000th meal?
Become a regular contributor for print or online outlets. Start a blog. Or, people should contact an editor of a print publication or website and ask if they can write a regular column or contribute articles regularly. Or, get a TV or radio station to feature them regularly as an expert in their field.
For anything other than a blog on a personal, company or organization website, people need to pitch themselves and their credentials. A resume or CV listing every school the candidate has ever attended and every job he or she has ever had is not necessary. List only the degrees, certifications and experience that relate to the field of expertise.
When speaking at an event, give out handouts. People who are invited to speak at a meeting or event because they’re an expert on some topic should consider giving out one or two pages of information that they’ve prepared with helpful information related to the topic they’re speaking about. They should include their name or the organization’s name, email address, website address and phone. They should be sure to ask the organizer of the event for permission to distribute the handout.
Use the community calendar. Nonprofit organizations can approach local radio and TV stations because they allow them to post announcements of upcoming events on their websites. To get free publicity online, usually all an organization has to do is go to the station’s website and enter information about the event. Sometimes a phone call or a letter to the station can get the event listed. But first, search the station’s website or contact the station to find out how it wants the event listing submitted.
Radio and TV stations will also air free announcements, which are called public service announcements or PSAs, for non-profits. An organization should find out the name of the person at the station who is in charge of PSAs. Sometimes this individual has the title director of public affairs. People should go to the station’s website or call the station to find out who’s in charge of PSAs.
Finding out from the TV or radio station whether it or the organization will produce and write the TV or radio spot is important. (Usually, the production is the responsibility of the non-profit.) If the nonprofit is responsible for the spot, and if it has no one on its staff with production skills, sometimes the organization can find qualified people in the community who will donate their services to produce the PSA.