Competing with the big names, giant retailers, and pop up chains can be a tall measure for any small- to medium-sized business (SMB), especially when resources, namely time and money, are at the heart of it.
At Pubcon, which is taking place in New Orleans this week, presenters are providing a treasure trove of information about online marketing for local, small businesses.
What are three key things you should consider adding to your marketing plan, according to the experts? Producing videos, establishing relationships with media/journalists, and evaluating when you'll get the most exposure from your press releases.
Video, Just Do It!
Video can be one of the easiest and most influential ways small businesses can market to local, repeat customers, business owners just have to get over the fear of being on camera. “Everyone has a story to tell,” explained Sage Lewis of SageRock Consulting. “I’ve yet to find a boring story from a business in a video yet and I challenge businesses to make me find one!”
You Tube is the second largest site where searches are conducted and just crossed the threshold of having over 1 billion users and offers a world of opportunity for marketing a small business.
With little more than a smartphone and some video editing software, a small business can produce a video with a limited budget that can be uploaded to YouTube for free. From there they can share the videos on their websites, social media profiles (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) and in Google+.
A video can be much more engaging to tell your story with and drive the foot traffic in to sell your wares rather than just a text story on a webpage.
Make Friends With the Media
“Journalists are people too,” explained Jay Berkowitz from 10 Golden Rules. “But it takes time to build those relationships. Like their stories, interact with them, become friends!”
That advice can take you a lot further when you have news you need to get out about your business to the local media and local media can be a lot more effective to what you are trying to accomplish than national media. Not only that, local journalists will be more inclined to connect with you because you are local – a connection that you wouldn’t have with reaching out to national outlets. The main thing you have to remember though is that it’s not about your audience, it’s about how you can provide value and entertain their audience.
Know Where They Look for Stories
When surveyed about where they are connected the most, more than 92 percent of business journalists said LinkedIn, according to a 2011 Arketi report. Facebook and Twitter were in the high end of 80 percent but what this should indicate is that small business owners wanting to connect with journalists should really look to building relationships with their local journalists on LinkedIn first.
In fact, according to Sean Jackson of Copyblogger, trying to connect with journalists on Facebook is actually frowned upon. Ninety-two percent of the people they look to for story sources are industry experts, so establishing yourself on LinkedIn as an expert in your business area on LinkedIn if you are trying to connect with the local media could be a well spent use of your resources.
You need to create the trust factor though. It’s definitely not about “hey join my network” and you start pummeling them with your business information. There has to be a careful balance of reading their work, complementing their work, sharing their work and then relating their work to your business. Figuring out how to become legitimately part of a story can go a long way once you’ve established a relationship with the journalist.
They Still Need Stories on the Weekend
While most PR specialists don’t want to work the weekend, Greg Jarboe from SEO-PR gave a great argument why small businesses should take a closer look at releasing their press releases on the weekends.
“There’s not a lot of competition, and guess what, the journalists still look for stories then too!” He detailed information about how it wasn’t really about the links in the press release, it was about the distribution and the readership of the press release.
Jarboe went on to site a case study his company did with New Orleans local deals site Get City Dealz (Disclosure: I am the CTO there) and BusinessWire, in which they did three press releases all sent out on Saturdays.
Each release was tagged in Google Analytics tracking, and each release had a different spin. One had video, one had images, and one was just text.
For a Saturday alone the results (release views, headline impressions, video and image views, and links clicked) were impressive. But when multimedia was added to the press releases it made for a great point – multimedia, in particularly video – gets results – 30 percent more views than either photos or text-only.