A strong public relations strategy is essential for any startup that wants to gain recognition in their industry. Targeting the right media publications and social media audience are great ways to start getting your name out there.
Of course, PR can be a long and expensive endeavor -- any agency worth their salt will tell you that it takes time to establish yourself as a recognized brand. However, that doesn't mean you can't help things along with some quick and simple strategies.
Here are some unexpected but highly effective PR hacks recommended by successful entrepreneurs.
Become a HARO source.
If you're not familiar with HARO (Help a Reporter Out), it's one of the most recommended resources for quickly, easily and affordably increasing your PR efforts. This service connects experts with journalists who are looking for sources to interview.
"Journalists are eager for quotes and background information from qualified professionals, and HARO makes it easy for them to find good-quality sources," says Vik Patel, CEO of Future Hosting. "Entrepreneurs and business owners benefit by establishing relationships with journalists and demonstrating their expertise in the media."
Take advantage of timely news events.
Sometimes known as "newsjacking," many businesses have found PR success by tying their work to a local or national news story. For example, Rachel Beider, CEO of PRESS Modern Massage, decided to offer her company's services free of charge to furloughed employees during the recent government shutdown.
"We gave away over ten thousand dollars of free massages in a week," Beider says. "Our act of generosity garnered us features in several publications and mentions in national news stories."
Create and publish great content.
While it's great to get mentioned in big-name, top-tier publications, those aren't the only media outlets that can draw positive attention to your business. Joel Mathew, CEO and founder of Fortress Consulting, advises creating great content and publishing it in different places on the web, such as your company blog or small business community websites.
"You'll find that this will improve search results and also how people view you," says Mathew. "Whether you get a feature in a national publication or a viewer sees something relevant from your blog, you will have made an impression on that person."
Focus on your LinkedIn marketing strategy.
Piyush Jain, CEO of SIMpalm, recommends strategically using LinkedIn to market your business and reach a broader audience.
"We create posts with images and content to tell about our products and services, which attracts potential buyers," Jain explains. "We also write articles to educate our customers on making IT decisions. LinkedIn content ranks higher on Google searches as well."
Create behind-the-scenes videos.
Rather than issuing press releases, John Hall, co-founder and president of Calendar.com, says a more effective method is creating and sharing videos of your startup team hard at work.
"Show what's going on behind the scenes," he says. "These videos can be posted on various social platforms and are a much more engaging and transparent way of introducing yourself to your audience."
Build your personal brand.
Aside from building your company's brand, it's a good idea to build your own personal brand as an entrepreneur and business leader. Not only does personal branding give a face to your startup, but it also helps people connect better to your overall business brand, says Rahul Varshneya, co-founder of Benchpoint.
"It gives an insight into the efforts, ups and downs of your entrepreneurial journey, which humanizes your company," he adds. "Guest posting, blogging and social media for personal branding is a great PR strategy because it automatically generates exposure and organic engagement for your venture."
Take care of your community.
As you're building your brand, you may want to look beyond your company and toward your community. Donating to local charities is a great way to get your brand and service offerings out there, says Jared Weitz, founder and CEO of United Capital Source Inc.
"We've donated to charities that feed the poor and provide gifts during the holidays to local families," he shares. "By contributing to the wellbeing of your community, you'll show that your brand is synonymous with the things that matter to the people closest to your business."