Whether you are a blogger looking to drive PR for your personal brand or a publicist looking to spread the word about your small business, generating PR without a budget can be challenging. That is why when I heard that Meryl Cooper and Jessica Kleiman were pitching a panel at SXSW about driving PR without a budget I jumped at the chance to talk to them.
Jessica and Meryl are the co-authors of career book, Be Your Own Best Publicist and movers and shakers in the PR world. Meryl is the co-founder of Allen/Cooper Enterprises and Jessica is the VP-public relations for Hearst Magazines.
I reached out to them to see if they would be willing to share some of their best tips for generating PR without a budget, here is what they had to say:
1. Create and cultivate a digital presence.
It doesn’t cost a dime to start a Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn or Facebook account and they’re all great online platforms for promoting yourself and your brand. Tout your accomplishments (but don’t do that and nothing else or people won’t want to follow you), connect with people who can help you (and vice versa), follow folks in your industry so you can stay up on the latest trends and engage in a two-way conversation.
2. Be social.
Promoting yourself isn’t just about connecting online but also in person. Face-to-face interaction is still the most effective way to develop relationships. When someone meets you and knows what you look like, they’ll be more likely to remember you. Join professional organizations, attend networking events and ask people who can help spread the word to meet with you, even just for a quick coffee on your dime. Most people are willing to if you make it convenient for them.
3. Read and respond.
A good PR person stays up on the latest news and trends so they know what kind of stories to pitch and to whom. Make it a habit to read the outlets and reporters who cover your industry and, as many of them now provide their Twitter handle or email address, if you like a story they’ve written or have a comment to share, go ahead and contact them. You can also pitch your own story but be sure to be succinct and engaging. Press has limited time and patience so get to point!
4. Hone your elevator pitch.
You should be able to describe your brand in a couple of sentences so that if you meet someone who can help you get attention, you won’t lose the opportunity by fumbling for words. Think about what makes you or your brand unique and newsworthy and incorporate that into your pitch.
5. Leverage your contacts.
Do you have an old college buddy who works for CNN or a friend who works in PR? Think about your circle of connections and who might be able to help you get some publicity, land a speaking engagement or sampling opportunity, or even write a press release for you as a favor.
If you would like to hear more tips from Meryl and Jessica on generating PR without a budget make sure you check out this recent presentation they gave on the topic and vote for their panel while you are there. You can also head over to Ask a PR Girl where I have compiled a list of 50 Free PR Tools you can use to promote your brand.
What is your best tip for generating PR without a budget?
Cassie Boorn is a writer, social media specialist, entreprenuer and PR girl who has built digital programs for Fortune 500 companies, entrepreneurs, small businesses and bloggers. You can find her shelling out PR and career advice weekly at AskaPRGirl.com