You don’t need a fabulous publicist to promote yourself. It might seem impossible to run a business and get press attention at the same time, but all it takes is a savvy hands-on approach and the confidence to take a chance.
Here are five ways to build buzz for your small business:
1. Write Your Story Up
Create an electronic press release. Ask yourself "What is special about my business?" Try to put out a press release every month. Share current events involving your brand: Did you just sponsor an event? Or open a showroom? Write it up! Check out these free press release distribution outlets: prlog.com, prleap.com and pressabout.com.
2. Be Your Own Walking Billboard
Many of the most well respected brands and companies started by self promotion. According to Axel Madsen’s book Chanel: A Woman of Her Own, Coco Chanel was once a hustling seamstress who wore her own hat designs to the Longchamp horse races. By doing so she gained a client base of women who adored her hats.
3. Give Back
Jacquelyn LaCroix, a fashion designer in New York, gives her handbags to charity events at least twice a year. Her donations make her more intriguing to editors at magazines. This year she was involved with Kelly Ripa’s Electrolux Ovarian Cancer Campaign and her bags were picked by Kelly’s team as a prize winner.
4. Use Social Media
Having just a blog or website is not enough. Eric Rogell, the founder of TheBachelorGuy.com, a consumer guide for men, gets publicity by social networking. “When I first started the site, I opened a Twitter account," he says. "I posted some links to articles on Twitter and at the end of the month, I noticed a huge spike in traffic. One of the readers began posting my articles to news aggregation sites like Digg. This drove traffic. That traffic got me noticed by PR firms and large companies like General Motors (GM).”
5. Pay Attention
Being perceptive and taking notice of those in the media who might like your product can lead to big marketing advantages for your small business. It worked for Elizabeth Dutra, the founder of Sweet Petites Apparel, a sportswear line for woman who are 5’4” and shorter. Ms. Dutra's attentive eye helped get her line on the Today Show: “I happened to see Jenn Falik, a style specialist, on The Today Show. I was sure she was under 5’4”, so I found her website and emailed her. After Jenn received the first shipment of active wear she showcased it on The Today Show. She was a fan from the beginning because she had such a problem finding the right style and fit. We were virtually an unknown brand one day and it was much different the next. It was just an awesome opportunity from taking a chance.”