You don’t need a schmancy publicist to get the word out about your new business. In fact, if you’re just starting out and watching every penny (which you should be) then I’d advise not spending too much of your bootstrap budget on marketing. Instead, wait until you’ve proven your concept and built up demand to go all out on marketing. Good news: there are lots of websites out there to help you on your way. Here are three of my favorites:
- HARO (Help a Reporter Out): You’re likely an expert in your field, whatever that field might be (otherwise you wouldn’t be making a living off of it) so use HARO to connect with reporters experts. When a reporter needs a source for an article she’s working on, she puts a query out on HARO asking for people with certain knowledge or experience to respond. Browse the queries by your industry, then write a thoughtful response outlining your expertise in the desired area. If the reporter likes your response, you could land an interview for a story, which typically also includes a quote from you as the expert with a link back to whatever services of yours you want to promote.
- MuckRack: Set up a free MuckRack profile with any of your written work, as well as your areas of expertise, so that interested companies and publicists can easily find you when they need a comment from your industry. You’ll get a daily roundup of the hottest topics so you can align your brand with what’s in demand.
- Google Plus: Clients, employers, recruiters — even dating prospects! — are turning to Google more and more to do their homework on you. So set up a Google Plus profile to help control what they see, i.e. your brand. Google’s algorithm ranks your Google Plus profile higher than other mentions of you on the web, for obvious reasons, so this is one of the best ways to make sure you’re leading with the good stuff. Keep it up to date with contact information, current projects, and a few on-brand photos to control what people see when they search.
Just one caveat: No amount of PR will make a product great. And remember that you are your own product, no matter what you do. If you are not just good, but great at your job, you will get word-of-mouth buzz that no publicist can get you. So whether it’s in person or online, remain true to your brand and yourself — and watch the PR magic happen.