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How to Generate Publicity on a Shoe-String Budget

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How to Generate Publicity on a Shoe-String Budget
Image credit: jdm-digital.com

Q: What marketing or PR techniques do you believe will create the most website traffic for a startup with a lean budget?
-Janine Darling

A: It’s important to debunk the myth there is some sure-fire way to unlock hundreds of thousands of visitors to your website and pay peanuts for them. There has never been such thing as a free lunch, and it isn't starting now.

That said, it doesn’t mean you can't generate any traffic on a lean budget. There are things you can do that don’t require deep pockets. But it is also about being smart with your approach.

Here are a few tips on generating publicity on a dime.

Reach out to the right journalists. The least expensive way to snag publicity is by simply contacting the media but be selective.

Don't attempt the machine-gun approach. Spreading your news out to anyone and everyone and hoping something might stick never works. Journalists and bloggers are constantly inundated with hundreds of barely relevant emails, and pitching them stories that have nothing to do with a publication will not get score you any points.

Instead, you should focus on proven fundamentals of PR -- getting your story to the correct journalist in the right order, shape, context and format will catch their attention.

Think about the most influential voices for your industry and how you will get noticed by them. The best way is to create compelling, new content and stories around your product, service or company that also works with the publication's style. Think about how you fit into a hot issue they cover regularly and how you can offer a refreshing, new point of view.

If you get a handful of key, influential voices on board – particularly with a new launch – it is easier to get others to follow.

Ask your contacts to include a link to your website in the post. But keep in mind, policies vary widely from one outlet to another and this may not always be allowed.

Don’t make the mistake of leaving PR at just the coverage. Whenever you get coverage, milk it for all it's worth. It should be shared with your social media communities, clients, potential investors, analysts and new business prospects. By doing so, the coverage will go much further.

Integrate SEO. When you receive coverage or have a big PR moment, make sure you are consistently using the same keywords when linking from your owned media. Ask your friends and fans to do the same. Those articles will have a profound impact on your SEO.

PR has never been an instantaneous fix, rather it’s a momentum business. A company isn't going to get a ton of customers based off one post. Instead, it must build a story and relationships over time to see the best return.

If you hire a PR agency, make sure they are on the same page as you and are able to tell you what you will get for your budget. Also, have a plan if the outcome you hope for doesn't work out.

What other tips do you have for using PR to genearte traffic? Let us know in the comments.

Ivan Ristic is President and co-founder of Diffusion, a communications agency with offices in New York and London. 

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