Though the press release is the most common Public Relations tool, it is just one of the many means to gain free publicity. Here are some other avenues to explore:
By-line articles can be written about your area of interest and can be published either online or in niche publications that serve your industry. Besides getting your name in print, writing articles instantly establishes you as an expert in your field. This has a dual benefit. One, customers start trusting you and want to buy from you rather than your competition. Two, reporters look to you for comments when writing their own stories on your industry giving you even more free publicity.
Write an interactive expert-advice column and answer common queries from customers and other interested audiences. This gives you a platform to interact directly with your customers and gain their trust. It establishes you as a preferred expert who reporters turn to for comments and predictions.
Seek opportunities to speak at public events that focus on your industry. Local chambers of commerce are a good place to start. Public speaking is like making a captive cold call. You get to address many consumers at the same time. And of course, you get recognized as an expert.
Letters to the editor are a very neglected source of free publicity. Since fewer people are competing for this space, your chances of getting published are higher. Very often, your letter may get published with editorial comments or you may have other readers commenting on your opinions. This allows you to continue the discussion, keeping your name and views in print for a longer time. This is also a way to build an ongoing relationship with the editor, helping you pitch future stories to the publication.
Teachers are always experts, right? Volunteer to teach a few classes in your area of expertise. This earns you top of the mind recall and goodwill, especially with future recruits.
Whenever you use one of these PR tools, be sure to prominently include your contact information and website URL so that your audience and the press can reach you.
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