Whether you’re an employee preparing for the job of CEO or an entrepreneur looking to get some press coverage for your business, there’s no better person to promote who you are and what you do—than you. But getting people to talk about your brand takes more than luck—it takes strategy. Thankfully, there are several free and low-cost ways to be your own publicist.
Know who you are and become the face of your brand – Simon Sinek said it best: “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.” So, who are you and what do you stand for? What lives have been changed or made better by your involvement? Having an understanding of who you are and why you do what you do can attract the right target audience to your brand, including supporters, potential business partners, and media outlets.
As the founder of the Bee Agency, a public relations firm based in Detroit, Brittni Brown, says, “In the current social media-crazed market, it’s so important to welcome your dream consumers or clients into your world. You have to gain their trust as well as make them comfortable with the idea that you’re their “social media bestie.” It’s not the time to “be behind your brand” it’s time to dive in face first and let them know why you’re so dope! People won’t trust you if they don’t know you.”
Research your target audience – To build trust with your audience, research and go beyond basic demographics: Where does your audience go for information? What makes them happy? What keeps them up at night?
Create your own content – Nowadays, when it comes to finding news stories for TV, print, and even radio, the tables have turned. Media outlets and mega brands are spending their time searching for the next best thing online—Instagram, YouTube, Periscope, and Snapchat—to name a few. So, stay fresh and relevant by producing content (e.g., How-to’s, your point of view on politics, product reviews, and e-books) that showcases who you are, and speaks to your target audience. Publishing blog posts on your website or public platforms such as LinkedIn and Medium are also great ways to create buzz around your brand.
Leverage social media to promote yourself– Make sure your social media profiles are public so people can find you. Optimize your social profiles such as Twitter and LinkedIn with keywords, and use relevant hashtags for your business in your captions so your name will show up in search results. Take followers behind the scenes using Instagram and live-streaming tools such as Periscope and Snapchat and don’t forget to show your personality. With social media, consistency and engagement are key—like, comment, and share.
Pitch yourself for news coverage and speaking engagements –Before you pitch your story to a media outlet or influential blogger, make sure you’re familiar with the journalist, publication, and their target audience. Ask yourself, ‘Why should a journalist care?’ It’s also a good idea to read a journalist’s work before reaching out.
Take advantage of trending industry news by setting up Google Alerts or using Twitter’s trending feature, so that you can pitch a journalist and provide your point of view about a timely news topic.
Additionally, for $65/month, you can subscribe to justreachout.io, an online service that helps startups gain press coverage. The service provides the names and contact information of relevant journalist who may be interested in your story as well as e-mail pitch templates.