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Budget Leftovers? Why Not Spend Them on a Helping of PR?

Leftovers are part of the holidays…after those big dinners, there are bound to be some goodies left to gobble up. But what about your budget leftovers? December is the time to spend any of your remaining budget, but what’s the best way to allocate those dollars? If you’re thinking about how to get the most bang for your buck, consider PR. Here are some PR-related ideas to help you:

  • Write and issue a press release: For many businesses, press releases are an afterthought. They may fail to see the value—or maybe they’ve never tried a press release at all. I recently listened in on a webinar where content marketing experts discussed the value of press releases, even beyond the typical product or executive announcement. You can use press releases to talk about research you’ve done, a trend your company is leveraging, or maybe a white paper you’ve written. Use the press release to point back to the piece of original content on your site. Issue the release using a paid wire service, like PR Newswire or PRWeb, to increase the SEO value. The cost can range between $99 up to $1,000+, depending on your goals, plus the time to write the release (which you can do in-house). Wire service costs vary depending on the length of the release, whether you opt to use a photo and so on. It can be a very cost-effective way to get the word out. They are even free services, if you’re on a tight budget.
  • Hire some writing help: Want to try writing a contributed article or a customer success story but don’t have the time or expertise? Try hiring some writing help. You can find a writer who’ll work by the hour, word or project. Depending on the length and complexity of the piece, the price could range between a couple of hundred and up. Once you have the piece, you can use it on your site/blog, post it on social media, publish it via LinkedIn, try placing it in an industry publication and so on.
  • Hire a designer to update your logo, site or look, or to create an infographic: Maybe you realize your look needs some freshening up, but you’ve neglected to do anything about it. Now can be a great time to get that project started. Another worthwhile project, if you have research to tout, can be an infographic. These are increasingly popular and are great content to post to social media.
  • Pay for some research: Looking for a way to build credibility? Hire a researcher or research firm to conduct a study for you. You can publish the results in a press release, blog post, contributed article and so on. This can be used via social media, of course.
  • Find a photographer: Pay a photographer to take some high-quality shots of your product, your offices and/or your staff to include on your site. Again, you can use them on social media (are you seeing a theme here?!) and if reporters ask for high-resolution photos, you’ll be ready.

All of these will support any PR efforts you may decide to pursue, now or in the new year. How are you planning to spend your budget leftovers?

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Five Midyear Money-Saving Tips to Cut Your PR Costs

July marks the midpoint of the year, when many businesses assess budgets and begin forecasting expenditures for the remaining months as they start to plan for 2015. In the spirit of budgeting, today’s blog post focuses on tips to help you save money on your PR efforts.

You may not realize that there are free resources out there to take advantage of. Of course, there are some lower cost paid options, as well, if you have some budget but don’t want to break the bank.

Here are five categories of  helpful PR resources, many of them free, to assist you with your efforts:

1) For reporter queries: Here are three resources you can sign up for free that send out email daily with reporter queries (reporters looking for people to interview). Anyone may respond, as long as the guidelines are followed:

  • HARO: Everyone’s an expert at something. Sharing your expertise may land you that big media opportunity you’ve been looking for. http://www.helpareporter.com/
  • Pitchrate: Simply register as an expert, and then when you see a request that’s appropriate for your expertise, “make a pitch.” That will send your pitch to the journalist making the request. http://www.pitchrate.com/
  • SourceBottle: Exclusively focused on topics around women’s interests, including beauty, business, home and lifestyle, health, parenting and relationships. http://www.thesourcebottle.com/us-can/

2) For awards and speaking opportunities: IT Memos: This service provides a complimentary subset of award and speaking opportunities geared toward the IT industry (the paid service provides even more opportunities): http://itdatabase.com

3) For research: Take advantage of Google. Use it to research to see which reporters and publications are writing about your competitors and your industry. Also use it to research publications that might be a fit and then check editorial calendars for opportunities.

4) Press release services: Issue press releases free via these wire services. There are many, but these are the two I use most often:

  • PR.com, http://www.pr.com/. This one gets the news on the search engines; note there’s a 24-36 hour lag time on the release actually being posted, so plan ahead.
  • PRLog.com, http://www.prlog.org/. This one allows you to add a photo and/or video at no charge. You can choose to issue the release instantly or set a date/time.

And, if you have the budget, here are three services that charge to issue press releases:

5) For editorial calendar opportunities: To find editorial calendar opportunities, here’s a free resource:

You may also visit each publication’s site. Many list their editorial calendar online (sometimes it can be found under “Advertising” or “Media Kit”), so it’s possible to build your own calendar of opportunities that may be a fit for free. Paid services are also available such as MyEdCals, http://www.mymediainfo.com/myedcals.html.

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Four Reasons to Include PR in Your 2014 Marketing Budget

If you’re thinking about your marketing budget for 2014, don’t forget to include PR. Why, you may ask, should I include PR? Here are four good reasons:

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1)      PR can be leveraged in a number of ways across the marketing spectrum. It can be used to feed social media, to approach prospective customers, to position you as the expert in your field, to raise the visibility of the company, and more.

2)      PR is one of the most cost-effective marketing tools around. Look at what you’re spending on company T-shirts and coffee mugs and maybe reallocate some of those dollars to a press release or some media outreach. Start small and see what the results are.

3)      PR paves the way for your sales force. It validates why your product or service matters. Imagine your salesperson walking in to meet with a prospective customer who’s already read about your company in a trade magazine or the local newspaper. Publicity lends credibility to whatever you’re selling.

4)      PR increases awareness – and awareness increases the bottom line. Even if you have the greatest product or service since sliced bread was invented, if no one knows about it, it can fall flat. PR helps you get the word out to the masses, including your prospective customers.

“If I were down to my last dollar, I’d spend it on public relations,” Bill Gates once said. So consider adding PR to your arsenal of marketing tools, if you haven’t already done so. This time next year, you might be wondering why you didn’t do it sooner.