PR for Your Business: How to Get It For Free

Back then, it was easier for eCommerce businesses to establish their brand and earn recognition since the competition was not as fierce as it is now. These days, aside from the abundance of eCommerce businesses, product categories have also become more competitive. Conventional methods no longer work as well as before. 

There is also a lot of noise online, so it’s easy for customers to get distracted. It’s challenging for eCommerce business owners to make a mark in the industry that you’re in if you lack the technical know-how. However, with some growth hacks, it’s possible to take your business to new heights without learning all the technicalities. After all, not everyone has the time for that. 

You don’t need plenty of time to ace your promotional efforts. Just reading articles such as this one, and you’ll be able to sort out what your business needs are. Don’t jump on the bandwagon. Just because everyone’s doing it doesn’t mean your business will benefit from it. Moreover, there’s also no reason to try every growth tactic that comes your way. You, of all people, know what’s best for your business, so stop employing fad techniques hoping you’ll get the traction you’re aiming for.

I’m not against research and formulating your own marketing strategies. I recognize their importance and ability to fuel growth. However, it draws away from the attention from effective conventional methods that propelled a handful of industry giants to where they are now. If you don’t want your business to miss out, it’s time you try the traditional, therefore, less trendy, approach in acquiring attention and spreading brand awareness.

I aim to shed light on what most people view as irrelevant these days – public relations. Contrary to popular belief, it’s still not a thing of the past. This approach is still thriving — reaping benefits for those willing to invest in it. However, some new changes modernize the way businesses conduct their public relations strategies.

If you want to grow your business, I encourage you to look beyond the dazzling development tactics you see and hear about, and learn how to get more press for your eCommerce shop and the products it features.

Check out these eight incredible tips that can help you craft a successful PR strategy for your eCommerce business:

1.Distinguish yourself from the crowd.

It would help if you had a clear understanding of what your brand is all about because it allows you to pinpoint the qualities that will help you thrive. By knowing what makes you indispensable, you can utilize certain PR strategies that will highlight these factors that make your business stand out. 

It doesn’t matter who you’re communicating with, you should always mention the following things about your business:

The story behind your brand. You can discuss different stories, such as your personal background, what led you to start a business, your own experiences. Also, disclose how your brand has breathed life into the products you offer.

The people who will benefit from your brand. These people are your target audience. It’s your job to understand their behavior — their thoughts, interest, and even browsing schedule.

The products. You should get into detail about the products and which pain points they address.

The business goals. Another thing you should be more transparent about is your business goals. How far do you want to go with your company?

The journey. Don’t be scared to tell everyone about the challenges or lessons you’ve gone through along the way.

The motive. Why does it matter? Disclose the things that drive you to help your target audience. 

The edge. In any industry, the competition is always stiff. Enumerate the reasons that make your product or service top-of-mind amongst consumers, instead of other products or services in your niche. 

When you figure out the answer to these questions, you’ll be more than prepared during conversations with people who can aid in putting your eCommerce business on the map. The main idea is to pinpoint your strengths to help your business triumph over your competitors and why your target audience should pay attention to them. The challenge here is that you need to create a compelling story, one that highlights your products’ uniqueness and business goals. If you can’t whip up a convincing narrative about your brand, chances are influencers and press reporters won’t show interest.

2. Prepare an Outreach List

After you have crafted a powerful description for your business, you need to get the ball rolling on your outreach list. What’s an outreach list? It refers to the compilation of people in your industry that can help you tap into a new population and gain more traction. There are four people you should include in your outreach list.

Social Media Influencers: These are people in your industry with a strong following on various social media channels. Some of the best platforms to check out are YouTube, Instagram, and the king of social media, Facebook. These new-age celebrities don’t only have a powerful social media presence, they’re everywhere and their fanbase always listens to what they have to say.

Industry Bloggers: These folks know a thing or two about the industry you’re in. That’s why people flock to their website to check out their reviews. Their opinions are highly-valued, so you should make sure you and your business are always in their good graces.

Conventional Reporters: These people have been the go-to individuals during the days of traditional public relations strategy. They work at publications, or these days, news websites. 

Fellow Business Owners: If you find other business owners that match your goals, values, and product types, it might be a good idea to do a tie-up.

To start your list, find people that fall under these categories. Next, you should gather their contact information. Once you have the list, sort the names according to priority. Add how you want to connect to them, when you plan to do so, and how effective you will be at enticing them with a collaboration opportunity.

How To Organize Your List

All you need is a spreadsheet with columns and rows. You can organize it whichever way you like, but make sure you capture this information: 

  • Name
  • Group Type
  • Website 
  • Following
  • Contact Number
  • Email Adress
  • Mail
  • Social Media Profiles
  • Level of Importance
  • Responsiveness
  • Attempts

Now, onto filling up the empty cells. You can find people by doing a manual search or use platforms such as BuzzSumo for more accuracy.

3. Craft a Perfect Pitch.

The pitch is your plan of attack. You need to set yourself apart from other similar businesses when making your first contact with a person from your contact list. This is the tricky part because there’s no formula in crafting the perfect email that guarantees results. Here are some things you can try, instead:

Be direct to the point. Not everyone has the time to read long emails.

Add a clear call-to-action. This will give the readers an idea of what you want.

Be clear why you want them and what they can gain from you. Always be friendly and have something of value in return.

Personalize the emails. Take time to craft each email. If it seems like a copy-pasted email, the recipients will know.

Add a link featuring your introduction. Don’t add anything more. Short videos capture more attention, so you might want to shoot a video of you explaining what your business is about.

4. Stay connected.

Instead of simply shooting press reporters and influencers with an email out of the blue, you might want to establish rapport beforehand. Moreover, maintaining contact after the initial contact means you are really interested in them. Here are some things you can do to engage with them:

Get to know your contact all the time by figuring out what their interests are. You can take a look at their social media accounts, blog posts, and so on.

Engage with them every chance you get. Reply to their tweets or comment on their posts, but make sure you don’t go overboard. Otherwise, it can be irritating.

Once you’ve done your part, it’s time to send an outreach email to the influencers and reporters. You can even use another article or post to reference in your email. Be mindful of this. Otherwise, you’ll appear like you were only using the information to win them over, and they’ll see right through you. 

5. Leverage your expertise.

One of the quickest ways to gain attention for your business is to sell your capacity as a thought leader. What does this entail? It would help if you grabbed opportunities to showcase your knowledge every chance you get. And if they don’t come by, you need to open doors to do so. Here are some ways you can make an impact as an industry thought leader:

Try Help a Reporter Out (HARO).

This service enables you to form connections with blog writers and press reporters who need reliable sources for content ideas. Every day, you’ll need a list of questions related to your niche. All for reporters who need help with a particular subject. You can go through the list and find something that you can answer with full confidence. If they like your answer, the reporters will capture the info and most of them will include your name, your company name, and a link to your website.

Check Out Forums.

You can frequent Reddit, Quora, and Facebook Groups, and look for queries and concerns about your industry. Here you’ll get a feel of your customer’s top pain points. By giving them some tips, you’ll be able to help ease up the discomfort while establishing your expertise. In forums, however, you need to be transparent about who you are and what your business is all about. Don’t hide any information about your business, but don’t sell your business in your answers.

Hang Around on Social Media.

You need to engage with individuals on social media. Reference and TweetDeck will surely come in handy. These platforms will direct you to where the action is happening on social media regarding your industry. There have to be plenty of chances to strike up a conversation and share your knowledge with people online. However, don’t go the salesy route, or you’ll wind up scaring people away!

Make time for this step. It might seem like something you can overlook, but you’ll be surprised at the positive results it can bring to your business. Your primary mission here is to provide as many accurate responses as possible and create conversations in as many places as you can on the internet. Spreading awareness in this manner can reap positive results for your eCommerce business.

6. Share raw posts (stories, updates, etc.)

Before working with you, press reporters and influencers will conduct their research about you and your business. It’s only fair because they want to know what they’re getting into. Therefore, you should be prepared.

It’s then entirely up to you to make sure that what they unearth will blow them away. Aside from being enjoyable, it would help if you also reassured them that you’re real. Here are some ways you can give them a lasting first impression when they search for you online

Share your story.

Reporters and influencers like to know and understand why you deserve the spotlight. Why should they listen to what you have to say? You need to give them a reason without having to explain yourself to them. All you need to do is tell your story online. It doesn’t matter which platforms. You can create social media posts, blog posts, videos, or images. It’s even better if you use as many platforms as you can to get the word out.

Craft engaging content.

If you want to position yourself as an industry expert, you need to impress your target press reporters and influencers with your website or social media accounts’ content quality. Therefore, you need to show them you can produce valuable tips and share your knowledge with your followers. After all, most write-ups about you and your business will be based on your content pieces.

Be transparent with your business achievements and progress.

Allow reporters and influencers to understand how your business works and learn about your business development. When they notice that your company is growing, they’ll be more eager to jump at the chance to connect with you. Basically, you are handing them content ideas they can use. Be transparent, but also leave an air of mystery. It’s the best way to bait them to reach out to you.

7. Prepare your request.

When an influencer or reporter gives in to your request, you need to have a specific list of requests ready. Therefore, you need to pinpoint your ask beforehand. Determine what kind of press is best for your business. Some of the most common ones are promotional aid, product reviews, blog contribution, article series, guidance, or a mention in a listicle or a round-up article. Keep your ask short and direct.

8. Try the conventional approach.

To be candid, traditional press releases didn’t work as expected even before, but it doesn’t hurt to try it out. Aside from doing the tips above, you should give traditional press releases a shot. Compose one and send it out online.  You’ll find plenty of publications that are willing to cover and distribute it.

The tips in this article are handy in establishing relationships with reporters, blog writers, and influencers. Added coverage is also a good idea, but don’t expect too much from it. 

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