SageVoice: Three Ways To Get Great PR Without A PR Budget

May 19 2014, 7:42am CDT | by

By Ritika Puri

When launching a business, building your brand is a critical first step. But hiring a top public relations firm can cost as much as $50,000 a month, according to Harvey Farr, president of Farr Marketing Group. Fortunately, you don’t need pockets that deep to achieve public relations success.

Instead of spending tens of thousands of dollars on an external PR agency, start by leveraging the talents and assets your team already has. The process may be scrappy, but it’s highly authentic and potentially very high-yield. There are a variety of effective PR strategies that can work on a shoestring budget. Follow this step-by-step guide to get started:

Step 1: Focus on your story

How does your brand add value to the world? The answer to this question is what journalists care about.

“As a startup that is entrenched in an ecosystem with wealthy storage companies, we can’t afford to out-spend them,” explains Rion Harman, head of marketing for MakeSpace, an on-demand storage and delivery service. “But what we do have is a great story.”

Harman explained that PR has been MakeSpace’s biggest driver.

“I’ve been at MakeSpace for just over two months, and I’ve been lucky enough to land a piece about us nearly every week: Apartment Therapy, Brooklyn Based, NY Magazine (Best of 2014), Lucky Magazine, Daily Candy, Of A Kind, PIX11 News, TimeOut NY, Quartz, Fast Company, VentureBeat, Brokelyn, Televisia and more.”

MakeSpace’s PR strategy is straightforward: be authentic to your company’s goal, purpose and vision.

Harman’s pitch is short, to the point, and focused on explaining his company’s value proposition and service. He explained that a PR strategy should be centered on the unique narrative and benefit that a business provides.

“Our company naturally has a timely and interesting story, so I made sure the reporters I thought would be interested knew that we existed,” he said. “They could make the call from there about whether or not we were right for their publication.”

Harmon noted that this strategy has had a snowball effect. These media outlets read and watch each other,” he said. “Each successful opportunity would make it that much easier to get the next.”

Step 2: Get technical

Harman explained that cold-pitching is hard work.

“It takes a lot of time to really understand each publication and what they are looking for, and even more time to craft a relevant pitch to their writers,” he said. “Cold pitching is not easy. You have to know who you’re talking to. And you have to send a lot of emails.”

Keep in mind that the time you invest in PR is an opportunity cost. When you’re spending time pitching journalists, you risk neglecting other business needs./>/>

One way to streamline your PR strategy is through the use of technology. Take a lesson from BrewCrate, a New York based startup that sells home-brewing kits to beer enthusiasts.

“We’ve been pitching and finding new publications since about two months before launch,” said BrewCrate founder Samuel Gimbel. “It first started as a way to build an email list and continued as a strong source of subscription growth through the new year.”

To automate the information-gathering process, Gimbel built a tool that collects information from websites relevant to BrewCrate’s business. The team used this technology to extrapolate trends, identify locate journalists and determine potential PR channels.

“We pulled articles to distill a list of authors,” Gimbel said. “We created email lists based on this information to write more targeted and effective pitches.”

However, Gimbel emphasized that this process should be used in moderation.

“Authors are busy, and contacting them more than once is the easiest way to get sent to spam, and rightfully so,” he said. “If you’re cognizant of this and keep your communications short and to the point, this is absolutely the cheapest way to get press, especially in publications you wouldn’t seek out through traditional means.”

Step 3: Focus on adding value

Another effective way to publicize your brand is to team up with companies that are trying to reach a similar customer base.

“Most recently, we’ve been doing a lot of content marketing and partnership events with brew shops and NYC tech businesses to build more grassroots awareness of the brand,” Gimbel said.

He added that it’s important to give before you expect to get.

“I spent most of my time finding ways to keep writers interested and sending free kits to people to try,” said Gimbel. “This led to some launch day press and a lot of leads in the next couple months.”

Gimbel encourages business owners to stick to their PR strategies, and to focus on presenting an engaging and authentic brand image.

According to Gimbel, “You don’t have to know a lot of people when you start a business.” But as you build your brand, add contacts and keep in touch with them regularly. That’s a large part of what expensive PR firms do, but you can do it, too—without breaking your young business’s budget.

Ritika Puri specializes in business, marketing, entrepreneurship and tech. She writes for American Express OPEN Forum, Forbes, Investopedia, Business Insider, CMO, the SAP Innovation Blog, and others.


Don't miss ...


<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.


blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

New crew aboard Russian spaceship reach ISS
Washington, Nov 24 (IANS) Three new crew members from the US, Russia and Italy arrived Monday at the International Space Station (ISS) on board a Russian spaceship.
First Italian female astronaut ready for spaceflight
Rome, Nov 24 (IANS) History will be made Monday with the first ever Italian female astronaut set to go into space for a mission on board the International Space Station (ISS).
Mummy wearing jewellery unearthed in Egypt
London, Nov 23 (IANS) Spanish archaeologists have discovered about 4,000 years old female mummy wearing rare jewellery in Egypt.
Exercise and fasting could boost brain's functions
Washington, Nov 23 (IANS) Exercise along with occasional fasting is good for boosting the brain's neurons, shows a new research.

Latest from the Network

270 Syrian refugees saved off coast of Cyprus
Nicosia, Nov 24 (IANS) A boat carrying 270 Syrian refugees trying to reach Europe was towed to the Turkish controlled northern coast of Cyprus after drifting for several hours. The rescue operation took place...
Read more on Politics Balla
It?s direction over acting for Jolie
Los Angeles, Nov 24 (IANS) Actress Angelina Jolie says she is now looking to focus on her directing career. "I've never been comfortable as an actor -- I've never loved being in front of the camera. I didn't ever...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
Al Qaeda-linked fighters target two Shia towns in Syria
Damascus, Nov 24 (IANS) The Al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front and like-minded groups attacked two pro-government and predominantly Shia towns, in Syria's Aleppo province. The attack on the towns of Nubul and Zahra Sunday...
Read more on Politics Balla
Pattinson gets naughty with FKA Twigs in public
Los Angeles, Nov 24 (IANS) Actor Robert Pattinson seemed to be in a playful mood when he grabbed his girlfriend FKA Twigs's derriere while strolling here recently. The duo had stepped out together Friday afternoon for...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
Focus shifts to 'political agreement' over Iranian nuclear issue
Tehran, Nov 24 (IANS) Iran and six world powers would now look to negotiate a "political agreement" as a comprehensive deal by the Nov 24 deadline would be "impossible", Iranian officials said. "We haven't been...
Read more on Politics Balla
Political leader shot dead in Pakistan
Karachi, Nov 24 (IANS) A leader of the Awami National Party (ANP), Ziauddin was gunned down Sunday by unknown assailants in Orangi Town in the Pakistani city of Karachi, media reported. According to police, the leader...
Read more on Politics Balla
Israeli cabinet pushes to make country 'Jewish state' by law
Jerusalem, Nov 24 (IANS) The Israeli cabinet approved a bill Sunday, which enshrines in law that Israel is the national homeland of the Jewish people and that this right is unique to them. Fifteen ministers voted in...
Read more on Politics Balla
When Lily Allen's sex life 'lacked magic'
Los Angeles, Nov 24 (IANS) Singer Lily Allen, who says she didn't enjoy a great sex life until she was in her mid-20s, believes sex needs to be reprented as an "emotive experience" in popular media. She says the media...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
Bangladesh beats Zimbabwe in second ODI
Dhaka, Nov 24 (IANS) Bangladesh beat Zimbabwe by 68 runs in the second one day international (ODI) at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury stadium in Chittagong Sunday, to go 2-0 up in the five-match cricket series. Batting...
Read more on Sport Balla
Stand up for your rights, Imran Khan tells Pakistanis
Islamabad, Nov 24 (IANS) Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan said Sunday that the people of Pakistan must stand up for their rights, when the party holds a rally Nov 30 in Islamabad. Addressing a public...
Read more on Politics Balla