Some people say traditional public relations (PR) is dead. Whether that’s true or not is up for debate between PR professionals, but there are certainly many new, easy ways to get publicity (ahem, free traffic) on your own. You may be neglecting PR because of its waning control and power — don’t write it off just yet!
What is a publicity plan? Well public relations for yourself may involve your interests, skills, passions and overall builds your personal brand. It probably blends both your professional and personal interests, but the context here involves personal branding so you can gain more exposure and essentially, more public awareness.
As entrepreneurs and small business owners, this is where you can sink or swim in the world to becoming known. Most likely you don’t have a PR department or maybe hiring a full-time public relations agency is outside your budget. It’s understandable, but don’t let those be the reasons you aren’t getting appropriate publicity for your contributions to your industry and community.
Lately, I’ve been working with our executive team to develop individual publicity plans. It’s been very thought-provoking, so I wanted to share some of the ideas that they’ve come up with and help you create a new publicity plan that will drive you more free traffic.
Here are the questions that will guide you into establishing your publicity plan:
- Define your platform
For what topics are you an expert?
What do you want to be known for?
What’s your personal brand all about?
What qualifies you as an expert?
- What’s your local strategy?
What local events could you speak at as an expert?
What local organizations can you align yourself with?
What local press organizations/reporters should you be talking to?
- What’s your social media strategy?
How often will you blog or produce interesting content?
Which social media outlets put you in front of your target market best (Twitter, Facebook,YouTube, etc)?
How much of your social media activity is listening & responding versus talking & promoting?
How much of your time will you spend on social media?
- Who can you partner with to expand your reach?
Do you have any peers who can put in a good word for you?
Can you form complimentary business relationships with industry leaders?
How do you plan to forge rewarding partnerships with customers?
- What’s your national/international strategy (if applicable)?
Can your business scale outside your city, state, region or country?
Are you researching the needs and competition in new areas and markets?
What’s stopping you from going global with your business?
- How much of your time will be invested on your publicity plan?
Do you have the willingness to be helping people and receptive to their feedback?
Can you dedicate 30 minutes a day to publicity plan execution?
How long until you begin speaking at conferences you’re attending sharing your expertise?
How do you plan to measure or define success?
- What will you do to increase your knowledge/expert status?
Are you registered and connected with the right trade/industry groups?
How will you escape the echo-chamber and bring something new to the industry?
Do you have remarkable results, stories or experiences that others can learn from?
Who is your industry hero/rockstar? Why?
Answer these questions and others you’ll come up with, put the answers on paper and have someone hold you accountable to the plan.
Remember, when focused on the right things, a good publicity plan can help drive a qualified interest (and free traffic) to you and, in the end, lower the amount of cash you have to shell out to bring in customers. Yes, it’s time consuming. But the time is well spent if you’re able to increase awareness about your company, product, and/or service.
One of the most outspoken and prominent entrepreneurs who knows personal branding from experience, Gary Vaynerchuk, has released his much-awaited book this week, Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion. It’s a must-read for any entrepreneur who wants to go big with their brand. Here’s a powerful excerpt on the importance of personal publicity [branding] in the first chapter:
“Mark my words, if you want to stay relevant and competitive in the coming years—I don’t care if you’re in sales, tech, finance, publishing, journalism, event planning, business development, retail, service, you name it—you will still need to develop and grow your personal brand. Everyone — EVERYONE — needs to start thinking of themselves as a brand. It is no longer an option; it is a necessity.“
— Gary Vaynerchuk, Crush It!
What publicity activities have paid off for you? Any advice for small businesses looking get the attention they deserve? Share it in the comments and be noticed!
[Photo by Affiliate Summit of Gary Vaynerchuk on Flickr]