Getting great PR for your startup in the media, on social media websites and blogs is crucial to driving enough business to keep you afloat.
There are a range of skills and techniques you must learn in order to use your marketing and PR resources with maximum efficiency.
Small business owners and entrepreneurs tend to have limited budgets to spend on marketing campaigns, so it's important to identify those areas that are most likely to bear fruit early on.
In particular, efforts that create lasting and cumulative benefits such as blogging (for on-site SEO, organic search traffic, authority and PageRank) and building up social contacts (off-site SEO, marketing, business contacts) are important.
It's also important to understand that there is a distinction between content marketing (blogging, articles, etc), which is targeted directly at potential customers, and building relationships or making connections that provide opportunities to market elsewhere.
For example, your blog may initially drive no traffic at all, but a journalist who you have befriended on LinkedIn may write an article on your business that drives enough traffic to keep you afloat for a year.
In this case, the hour or two spent befriending the journalist is going to be far more valuable than the equivalent amount of time spent blogging. So while blogging is important, making contacts and building an online business network is also crucial.
The success of your PR campaign will probably come down to how well you are able to cultivate contacts in the media (this includes bloggers, journalists, news (online and traditional), business leaders, social marketers, and more) and combine that with building up authority and trust through quality content.
For this you need to know how to:
1. Make contacts in the media
Learning how to find and speak to the right people in the media is vital. You generally have only a few seconds of their time to make enough of an impression that they want to know more about what you do.
2. Utilize social networks
Almost everything you do can be shared on one or more social network to build up your base of fans, followers and customers.
Social networks are like free marketing once you have a decent following. Sure, it takes a bit of time and effort but it puts you in direct contact with an almost unlimited number of potential customers:
3. Create engaging blog content
When you're not out meeting people (both online and face to face), you should be building up a body of relevant, focused and interesting content in order to drive up your authority, build trust in your brand and business.
4. Intelligence gathering and research
Of course, everything you do should be informed by what you want to achieve and how much you know about getting it.
There are plenty of resources online that can help you discover tools, techniques, people, websites, directories, and anything else you need in order to maximize your ROI (Return on Investment).
5. Analytics and refinement
Once you have started driving traffic and business through to your website or blog, it's time to start looking at how well you are converting traffic into revenue.
For this you need to gather intelligence (usually in the form of analytics) on the traffic that flows through your site. Based on this intelligence you can make improvements to increase your conversion rate and further maximize your ROI.
If you have any more techniques or tips that have worked to drive traffic and business to your startup, please share them in the comments.