Raising the profile of your business enterprise through traditional PR can be a game changer, however in an era when every cent of digital spend is under the microscope, many will argue that the practice can no longer compete with social or paid ads for generating value for money. Although there may be some truth to this, PR remains one of the core pillars for building a brand online and telling a story with which audiences will find an emotional bond. When used to complement the efforts of the aforementioned digital marketing tactics, a simple PR stunt can be dynamite.
Sometimes the smartest PR activities are executed on a shoestring budget. If you are looking for ways to namecheck your digital brand to new and potential customers whilst gaining recognition from your industry, then these five low-budget PR tactics may serve as an ideal starting point.
- Create a video storytelling journey
The future of PR lies within the hands of social media, and the standout feature within social for user and brand to get to grips with is video storytelling. Master this art and your business image can go from ordinary to unmissable within the space of a few months. Ever since Snapchat introduced the disposable story feature and received a major uptake in user engagement social powerhouses like Facebook and Instagram have joined the cause for a piece of the pie.
Bear in mind each brand has its own agenda, whether it be to generate sales conversions, leads or pure awareness and the execution of videos publishers should reflect this. Examples of businesses have worked this technique like a dream can be seen in this useful list here courtesy of Hubspot. There are 600 active monthly million users on Instagram alone; If you start your digital PR strategy anytime soon, be here.
- Make friends with influencers
Remember the days of school ground politics when your PR stock could go up or down depending on the circles you moved in? The same rules apply in 2017 in digital marketing: it pays to know the popular people who can speak about you in good terms in front of the right audiences. Introductions cost nothing, only the time you are willing to invest in making valuable, long-term relationships.
So where to start? I always check out social monitoring tools like Buzzsumo to identify who the influencers in my sector might be, and which social platforms I can interact with them on. Say that you pinpoint 10 people to connect with – the best form of attack is to not go on the charm offensive; use your time wisely to respond to their status updates naturally, share useful tips and best practise and loop them in, and when the opportunity arises share some of your personal insights, and best case scenario they will talk about you to their followers.
- Launch a business photoshoot
Open your place of work to the masses and you’ll be surprised at how much attention your business may receive. People may be genuinely intrigued to hear from or see the team operating behind the logo if they are to consider buying into their brand long-term. One of the first thought leaders to adopt this strategy was the UK soft drinks brand Innocent, who invited the world to connect with the funky office space and read blog updates from staff, even placing its workforce in TV spots.
But let’s start small. Assuming you are limiting spend for this type of activity, you may want to organise a Google My Business photoshoot. Not only will this allow you to make your brand more transparent there are added local organic search benefits too. Digital agency Indago created a stunningly provocative virtual tour of its offices as seen through the eyes of a dog, which picked up major press coverage and social engagement. As simple digital PR hacks go, this was a winner.
- Contribute to high profile publications
If your aim is to make a name for yourself or become an ambassador then the first port of call is to find publications that your potential customers and community are engaging and interacting with, and request to contribute through content submissions. Consider that each of the experts or influencers who regularly contribute to the target websites started from nothing. Their reputation has been built on the digital content they have produced and how well it has resonated with the core audiences.
With landing authorship status on lifestyle or business website that have a certain degree of influence, there is every chance that the next website you apply to write for will place you the top of the pile because of previous success. As an added benefit of digital exposure, there are also huge SEO wins in that the topics you write about may rank highly in search results and lead the user to want to find out more about the business you are representing.
- Offer free industry advice
People starting out in their industry will naturally turn to influencers online to enhance their learning, regardless of their career path. And why not, bearing in mind that education of this kind is easy to come by. But most importantly, the wide selection of advice is mostly free. Whether it’s reading articles, watching how-to webinars, or monitoring forum threads for quick tips, the education process is an ongoing journey fuelled by the renewal of information by experts that you too can get involved in. And now prominent figures like Rand Fishkin are presenting weekly knowledge sharing sessions that are known the world over and draw in hundreds of thousands of views per piece.
Sharing your expertise within your skillset might sound like you’re giving away all your secrets in return for very little, however, people tend to trust in those who are open about how they work, think and act. Trust builds over time and this catapults those who are brave enough into the limelight, as the demand for more intelligence and insights continues to grow through the widening of audiences. Meanwhile, your brand will always be associated with the free expert advice you are delivering.Digital & Social Articles on Business 2 Community