Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Getting publicity for yourself, or your company, is just as important as advertising your brand — but it’s often overlooked. Entrepreneurs from Richard Branson to Jeff Bezos have a well-crafted PR plan in place that has helped them, and their companies, grow to where they are now. But what if you’re not a billionaire and don’t have a well-oiled PR machine behind you? Don’t fear: Here are my go-to PR tips for any entrepreneur who wants to get media coverage quickly and ultimately help boost their sales and leads.
1. Have a great story
People buy from people, not from companies. What is your angle or your story? Some of the world’s best companies have a dedicated following because consumers love the story behind the company. For example, let’s look at Apple, Tesla and Virgin — with all of these brands’ founders, people resonate with their grit and resilience or trying to make a difference in the world. Everyone has a great story within themselves — you just need to learn to share and communicate it effectively.
Things to focus on include: identifying who your target audience is, who you want to speak to and your end goal. Is it to inspire, grab attention, gain new followers or sustain your point of difference?
Whether you are trying to market a product or increase your brand awareness, you need to have a good approach. Without a great story, you can try to promote yourself as much as you want, but you still won’t get any publicity. It is all about sharing your story and what you can give to your audience from your life lessons.
Related: 10 Ways to Get Global PR Exposure
2. Throw a PR stunt
Do you remember when Elon Musk sent his car to space? Or when McDonald’s flipped their iconic ‘M’ shaped golden arches to a ‘W’ for International Women’s Day? Or when IHOP wanted to change its name to IHOB, the International House of Burgers?
These are some great examples of major PR stunts put on by big companies, but yours doesn’t have to be as extravagant. You don’t need a big budget in order to execute these extravagant stunts — you just need a good idea.
For example, aligning your cause with a charity will not only help you with your giving back initiatives and make a difference in the world, but it will also build a great story that your local press might love.
Newsjacking is when you use the publicity of current events or trends to boost the exposure for your brand, which can help solidify yourself as an expert in your field.
Start noticing what’s trending in the news cycle and voice your opinion on it. Television, radio and print media are always looking for experts to talk about what’s trending. Work smarter (not harder) and write a press release with your current views on what people are talking about and start approaching the media.
Another great idea is to always have a plan in place for new events that you know will be trending. You don’t have to be a psychic: Just think about relevant events or holidays, how your company may relate and what you could have to offer.
Some of the same events, such as tax season or holiday shopping season, happen year in and year out — so start putting together a plan now on how you can capitalize on them with your PR efforts.
4. Put your product or service in the hands of an influencer
Getting a celebrity or influencer to endorse or promote your product is a great form of indirect marketing and a great way to gain publicity. Celebrities and influencers can be the perfect tool for companies to connect with their audiences since audiences trust them.
No, you don’t have to get the Kardashians to endorse your product — you can use any celebrity, blogger or influencer that is relevant to your niche and they don’t even need to have a substantial following.
In recent times, micro-influencers have become a more utilized tool in marketing and PR campaigns. A micro-influencer is typically considered to be someone who has 10,000 to 50,000 followers. They are popular because they are not only more accessible, but their connections are typically stronger with their followers and they have a higher engagement.
5. Write a book
As an entrepreneur, you are more knowledgeable than most on the topics in your field. Use that to your advantage. Writing a book may seem like a daunting idea, but it really can help you put you on the international stage and it’s a great way to bolster your PR efforts.
Nowadays, it’s a lot easier than you think to get your book out there with so many self-publishing options. You can write about your own experiences, opinions, knowledge or research.
When I started writing my book, I mapped out an outline of each of my chapters and then started working on a few paragraphs at a time, just sharing my 10-step plan on how anyone can change their life around.
Over the years, I have generated international coverage for my clients, boosting their profile dramatically, all because they’ve written a book. This could be the missing piece in your PR puzzle.
If you’re smart and strategic about what you do, you don’t have to be a billionaire to get publicity for you and your company. All you need are these tips above to get started in getting you and your brand the publicity it deserves.
Business Strategies, Entrepreneurial Advice & Inspiring Stories are all in one place. Explore the new Entrepreneur Bookstore.