PR is one of those things that most small businesses know they “should” do but it usually gets ignored or they end up hiring a firm they simply can’t afford. Neither is a good way to go when you are building a business and every single cent matters. 

The days of needing a PR firm to get you in the door are long gone. With some smart strategies in place, organizations can easily do their own PR. Contact information for trade shows, publications and blogs are readily accessible, so now you can totally go DIY with your PR. Thank you, Internet.

These three strategies will help you reach new customers and give you credibility on a budget:

Strategy #1: Speaking Engagements. Getting out there in front of an audience helps you reach new audiences and build connections.  Seek out local business or networking organizations and see if they are looking for speakers. Also, keep an eye out for “Calls for Papers” for shows within your industry where they will ask for speaking proposals.

Once you identify possible places to speak, you will want to develop a series of topics you can address, a summary of about 100 words for each and a short speaker’s bio.

Strategy #2: Authorship Programs. Authorship programs enable you to place articles in trade magazines or on blog and to share your expertise.  Research targets online that accept article or guest posts and be on the lookout for writer’s guidelines on their site.  From there, review the publication and then identify stories that would be a fit for their audience.  Finally, send the blogger or community manager an email to pitch your idea. Once your pitch is accepted, you’ll need to write the article and submit it.

Strategy #3: Local Media. Local media outlets including newspapers, magazines, TV and radio offer you a great way to build your profile with little to no cost. Acting as an expert that can comment on issues, provide timely news and offer story ideas are a great way to secure coverage.   Get to know the key players in your local media market and build relationships so they can use you as a go-to source for information on specific topics. If you are tech expert, you can comment on the latest iPhone or a lawyer can comment on a high profile legal matter. The key is to position yourself as an expert and then be highly responsive to their requests.

A little bit of research and story development can go a long way to helping you build your business with PR without breaking the bank.  What PR strategies have worked for your business? Comment below.

Maggie Patterson is a PR strategist who works with entrepreneurs and small businesses to help them learn the building blocks of PR.  She’s a passionate advocate for smart PR that gets business results and businesses doing DIY with their PR.  Learn more about DIY PR and how to get started using guest blog posts here.