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Coming up with a business idea, building a product or service line and designing a website are all vitally important steps to getting a business off the ground — but they’re only the first steps. In order to truly have success with any business, you’ll need to drum up some positive publicity to help get your business noticed and get new customers through the door.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways you can go about earning positive publicity, and if one way isn’t providing the results you desire, you can simply move on to the next. Below, the members of Rolling Stone Culture Council offer their top creative ways to drum up positive publicity to help get you started.
Offer Free Education
One of the best things businesses can do to drum up positive publicity is offer free education and insight. As a film director and author, I am always passing on the things I have learned throughout my career, and I do it for free. I use my platform to offer tips of the trade and perspective on the industry. It helps me stay relevant. It also offers goodwill and helps grow a strong community. – Kelly Schwarze, Indie Film Factory
Philanthropic activities that touch the lives of other people in your community attract publicity to your company. Sponsor company volunteering opportunities to a homeless or animal shelter and notify local press and post on social media. As a global remote company, we raised money and are delivering care packages to a children’s hospital. A press release will enable wider geographic publicity. – Jason Hennessey, Hennessey Digital
Advocate for a Cause
New companies should look at advocacy as a tool to show potential customers they care about improving their industry. At Oaksterdam University, we write op-eds and speak about issues affecting cannabis. Many techniques used in sales and marketing apply in advocacy — researching the landscape, identifying your target market (in this case, policymakers and influencers) and tailoring your message. – Dale Sky Jones, Oaksterdam University
Become a Leader in a Targeted Media Channel
Identify which media channels your target customers are on and become an informed leader of your niche in that social community. For example, I’ve found success in using podcasting as a way to amplify conversations with entrepreneurs who place equity and advocacy at the center of their work. This form of media acts as an excellent way for potential customers, partners and investors to find me. – Jeffrey Zucker, Green Lion Partners
Reconnect With Past Contacts
Never burn bridges! A new company can grow rapidly and gain great publicity by reconnecting with former colleagues, vendors and customers. These connections can be the building blocks for both a new or expanded audience. – Abby Moffitt, Bright Ideas Only
Partner With Another Company
Getting seen as a new company is super important, but it doesn’t always have to be in the form of publicity. Identify companies that sell something related to your product or service and propose to do a cross-pollination marketing program. They can include your catalogs or other collateral in their orders in exchange for you doing the same. It’s a great way to find targeted customers fast. – Vanessa Nornberg, Metal Mafia
Get Involved in the Community
I always recommend my cannabis clients get involved in their communities. Becoming chamber of commerce members, sponsoring local sports teams and providing mentoring programs generate a different but important kind of publicity to help change perceptions and stereotypes. – Stu Zakim, Bridge Strategic Communications LLC
Share Positive Feedback
It is fantastic when a company receives an email that says wonderful things about them. When we receive one, we thank that person and ask if we can share it. We send that message out as a #Quote on all of our socials, using a picture or poster of them if we can (it would be in their signature). We find that those posts not only get great engagement, but also feel good for everyone. – Susan Johnston, New Media Film Festival®
Build Better Interpersonal Relationships
Interpersonal relationships are still key. To attract new customers, visit the dispensaries where your product is being sold and meet with the budtenders. Take the time to share the benefits and appeal of your product so they know how to best sell it. If you’re on the B2B side, communicate regularly with your partners. Show that you’re as invested in their businesses as they are. – Arshad Lasi, The Nirvana Group
Lower Your Prices
We lowered our pricing. As soon as we told existing customers our pricing decreased, they started telling their friends. We got CC’d on introductions without even asking. Then, we eventually got a call from a publication on our new fixed-rate pricing model. – Adam Rumanek, Aux Mode Inc.
Contact Media Outlets From Your Hometown
An amazing way for an entrepreneur to gain publicity is to contact the news and media outlets from their hometown. It’s in the outlet’s best interest to showcase homegrown talent because it will resonate more powerfully with their core audience of local viewers. – King Holder, PROCUSSION
Host a Contest
Get great publicity by hosting a contest and making it about helping others. Your company will be seen in a positive light, and you’ll likely see an increase in sales. We did a college “Music Video Contest” and donated a cash prize to the winning school to use as they wished. We garnered plenty of great publicity that we were able to use in future promotions of our video production products. – Thomas Bresadola, Simplified Entertainment
Focus on Producing Great Work
My philosophy has always been — and continues to be — produce great work, give credit to your team and look after your clients and the rest will follow. Of course, PR, social media and networking also help to get your work seen by new customers. – Robert Lane, Fast Lane