By Jennie Wong The Charlotte Observer.
This week's "Ask the Mompreneur" features an interview with Jenni Walker, president and co-owner of Walker PR Group.
Q: As a startup founder, I don't have any budget for professional public relations services. What tips do you have for entrepreneurs to rustle up their own publicity, until they can afford someone like you?
A: You don't need big budgets to generate publicity. All you need is a little time, planning and creativity. If your creative juices aren't flowing or you're feeling stuck, bring together your team, family, friends or other colleagues to brainstorm ideas. Also, keep a file of ideas or an ongoing list on your phone or other device to refer to throughout the year. There are many ways to generate publicity for your small business, but here are three to get you started:
SUPPORT A WORTHY CAUSE Giving back to the community and getting involved in a cause that is important to you and your business is a win-win for both the charity and your business. To get started, identify a cause that you want to support and then contact the organization to determine their specific needs. Once you decide how you will support a particular charity, share it across your various communication channels, company website, social media, emails, company newsletter, a display in your lobby area, etc. Be sure to take photos to include with a press release and other written communications at the end of the project.
SHARE YOUR EXPERTISE As a business owner, you are an expert in your field. Share some of your expertise to help others, generate business and to spread the word about what you do. Host a seminar, training, webinar or other similar educational event. This can be done solo or with other experts who you want to be part of a program. Once you have determined the type of program you want to hold, write a press release and other communication pieces, an event invitation, information for your website, e-blasts to your connections, social media posts, etc., to get the word out. Just be sure you're giving plenty of lead time for pre-promotion.
GO OUTSIDE THE BOX Don't limit "your story" to just your business and your expertise. Go outside the box to share something more about yourself. Perhaps it's a particular volunteer endeavor, a hobby or passion. By reading publications (print and digital) and blogs, listening to the radio, watching the news and staying connected on social media, you may see that a particular reporter or blogger covers a topic or area that would be a good fit for you. If so, then reach out to that person, introduce yourself, and briefly explain why you would be a good fit for what they cover.
Whatever you decide to do, be sure to allow enough time to coordinate and execute your ideas. If you are hosting an event for example, let your invitees – and especially any media – know about it well in advance. And make sure your plan is attainable and fits in with your other goals and commitments. ___ ABOUT THE WRITER Jennie Wong is an executive coach, author of the e-book "Ask the Mompreneur" and the creator of the product quiz website www.ABorC.com