You’re working your butt off on your site and in your business. You’re blogging, you’re building a community by establishing expertise and you’re maintaining a dynamic Web site that users want to engage with. But to complement what you’re doing on-site and in your own community, it’ time to take it off-site and start using the power of other people’s communities to help grow your own.
Below are some ways that any small business owner can attract attention, links and press by taking advantage of off-site promotional opportunities. Which ones are you already doing?
1. Sit for Interviews
As a small business owner, interviews are a great way to establish authority and introduce people to your product or service. By setting up a simple Google Alert (Remember, I love Google Alerts) it can help you stay abreast of important industry topics and conversations. Once you’re in on the conversation, you can make yourself available to local media outlets, respected industry bloggers or online publications as a source/expert for the story. Doing this not only helps you earn links and attention from that specific story, but you begin to build awareness of your company, while also establishing important industry contacts. If you haven’t created a Blogger List of people you want to connect with, you should. This can be a really valuable document to help you organize your outreach efforts.
2. Traditional Press Releases
Or, instead of commenting on the news, why not create it? Press releases are a great way to promote your brand and earn word of mouth, especially if you choose to use a service like PR Web. When is it appropriate to issue a press release about your company?
- When you’ve launched or redesigned your Web site.
- When you’ve been accepted to speak at local conference or chamber event.
- When you’re company is celebrating a milestone like 10 years in business, doubling your year-over-year revenue, signing a noteworthy client, opening up a new store, etc.
- When you release a new product.
- When you announce a new partnership.
- When you participate in a charity event.
And tons, tons more! Issuing press releases about what you’re up to not only helps you build links to your site, but it can get you additional media coverage from reporters who are apt to be watching local press releases looking for something to cover.
3. Write Authoritative Articles
Similar to participating in interviews, finding authoritative sites to guest blog and write authoritative articles for is another great way to promote your brand off-site. By blogging for others it helps you to steal readers and traffic and convert them over to your site. You’re able to show off your knowledge, mingle with a different audience, and take advantage of someone else’s reach. This is also where that Blogger List mentioned above comes into play. You want to have a working list of blogs that you can pitch for guestblogging opportunities. Don’t just pick any old blog though – do your homework, get to know their audience, and make sure you’re writing something that not only helps show off your unique skills, but that truly helps that community you’re writing for.
4. Hold a Contest
Who doesn’t love a contest and the chance to win something? If the fervor over the Small Business Influencer Awards are any indication – the answer is everyone loves a contest! Contests are a great way to build awareness about your brand because they get people excited, tap into user’s competitive spirit, and gives people a chance to associate your brand with something fun. Both Facebook (Contest Rules) and Twitter (Contest Rules) have different rules for holding promotions on their services so you’ll want to familiarize yourself with each before getting started. As a small business owner, you may want to use contests to keep your brand on the top of everyone’s mind and to give away trial offers of services, branded swag, business books that have helped you along the way, etc.
5. Sponsor Events
Or if you don’t have time to hold an event of your own, why not sponsor someone else’s? By sponsoring an event, you may get a link back to your Web site but, even more important, you’ll be able to help potential customers associate your company with a specific cause or topic. For example, if you’re an organic bakery, maybe you want to become a sponsor for an organization that is all about being vegan or living gluten free. Or if you’re a local mechanic, consider sponsoring a high school club that teaches kids automotive skills. Or maybe sponsor something that your company is passionate about, even if it has absolutely nothing to do with your day-to-day job. Seeking out these opportunities is a good way to help build brand karma for your company, while exposing yourself to people who may be interested in finding out more about you.
Those are five great places to start building up off-site promotional opportunities to get your brand in front of a wider audience. What off-site tactics did I miss? What else are you doing?