I’m not going to sugarcoat it: hiring a public relations agency is expensive. It’s a big investment of both time and money. Even if you don’t have the budget to hire a PR agency, or even an in-house PR specialist, you can still create buzz around your company with a little creativity, persistence, and discipline.
All you need to start are a few pieces of media coverage. These could come about through a reporter relationship or more organically; it’s just a starting place. Then, follow these three steps to create some valuable free publicity.
#1. SHARE, SHARE, SHARE
Once you’ve secured those aforementioned pieces of media coverage, be sure to share them frequently over the next 3-6 months. Landing a solid piece of media coverage, but only promoting it on the day it goes live, is like wearing an expensive pair of shoes once before throwing them in the trash. Many companies take a one-and-done approach, but fail to realize the value in extending the lifecycle of the coverage they secure.
Share each article to your social media channels, tagging the reporter and leveraging any relevant hashtags. Since it is unlikely that your entire following will see an article the first time you share it, make plans to weave the media coverage into future social media content, too.
Add the articles to your website, and if it is a tier-one publication that published it, consider making a note of it on your homepage as well (“As Seen in Fast Company,” for example).
Include the media coverage in blog posts, adding a backlink to the article to help with SEO. Then share that blog post to your social media channels.
Include a link to the media coverage in your email signature like, “Read about our latest Series D funding in Fast Company here.”
Finally, ensure your employees are sharing, too. Draft social content for them so all they have to do is copy and paste. Include it in internal company newsletters or on your internal communications platform (Microsoft Teams, Yammer, Slack, etc.).
#2. MAXIMIZE THE PRESS PAGE ON YOUR WEBSITE
First, if you don’t yet have a press page on your website, you must create one. My team and I notice that a lot of busy start-ups often don’t have one, but having a press page matters more than you might think. The purpose of the press page is threefold: educate stakeholders on your latest company news, highlight media coverage in reputable news sites to show third-party credibility, and provide a simple way for reporters to contact you for inbound media inquiries.
Your press page should include three parts: press releases, links to media coverage, and a press contact. Ensure that your press contact is front and center with a name and an actual email address, not a form to fill out. It should be made as easy as possible for reporters to contact you if they are seeking an interview. If it takes them too long to figure it out, they may go to your competitor.
And finally, keep your press page updated at all times. If the last press release on your website is from 2017, it makes your company look dated and inefficient—especially to reporters and investors who want to see a steady stream of news.
#3. LEAN INTO LINKEDIN
There are so many opportunities on LinkedIn to share content outside of a single post, but many busy companies aren’t taking advantage of them.
For example, did you know you can embed media articles directly into your profile? When editing your profile, simply go to the “Media” section where you can add links to external documents, photos, or presentations, and choose Upload.” You can also write a long-form article on LinkedIn and embed the media article within, expanding on the topic.
Finally, don’t forget about LinkedIn ads. You can pay to boost a post, and that includes your media coverage! It’s different from an advertisement because of the weight that a media article holds, giving your company third-party credibility.
THE FINAL WORD
PR is hard to do well, which is why good PR agencies and top in-house talent are expensive. If you don’t have the budget for either one, that doesn’t mean your hands are tied. You just have to get creative.
Shannon Tucker is the Vice President at Next PR, a national tech PR agency. She lives in Denver.