We are living in an exciting time, a time when even the smallest business or start-up consultant has access to an entire world of marketing potential. With online social networking such as Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, and others-we all can promote businesses, products and services without having an enormous advertising budget. Unfortunately, all of this tweeting and status updating takes time and it is quite easy to get sucked into a vortex of promotion which means no other work gets done.
As a writer who also specializes in marketing and communications for nonprofit and small businesses, I have found over the past couple years that most of my marketing time is taken up with online earned media. “Earned” is a term that has long been used by marketing and advertising professionals to refer to media coverage that hasn’t been paid for. Feature articles, mentions on other people’s blogs or Twitter, or links can all be attributed to earned media. I hesitate to call it “free” because there often is a cost associated in terms of time, reciprocation, and management.
For a small business owner or a one-person business, it is important to make a plan and manage earned media without having to spend hours and hours each day working on maintaining an online presence. With a little planning, you can still keep up your tweeting and posting, but have time for other tasks too.
Consider creating a media calendar where you schedule in when you will post on various sites. With applications such as Hootsuite, you can schedule your posts in advance on several different platforms. This makes it possible to take an hour or two and schedule an entire week worth of tweets and posts. Of course, this requires that you have a plan for what you will be promoting; any special offers you want to market, and other details.
Another approach is to get others to do some of the marketing for you. Send information to pivotal and influential bloggers and ask if they will review products or services or do a “swap” with you in terms of advertising and promotion: you can put their items on your site and they will do the same with yours. This allows you to reach out to other potential customers or clients without having to do all the work yourself.
The traditional press release is not dead, but consider how you can work it into your overall marketing strategy by sending a press release to online contacts. This provides them with information about your products and services in an easy-to-use format.
More from this contributor:
Quelling the Anxiety that Comes with Owning a Small Business
Managing a Small Nonprofit is Like Managing a Small Business
Why the Press Release is NOT Dead