What is free publicity?

What is free publicity going to do for your business? When it comes to marketing your small business, promotion can be key for building brand awareness and showcasing your products or services. However, most of your budget probably goes towards cash flow to actually run your business. Fortunately, there’s another promotional tool that doesn’t cost a dime – free publicity.

What is free publicity?

What free publicity means is a new avenue for your marketing. Just like advertising, publicity is a part of the promotional marketing mix but with one critical difference. Advertising costs. Publicity is free.

Free publicity definition: “Using the news or business press to carry positive stories about your company or your products; cultivating a good relationship with local press representatives” – Entrepreneur.com

That’s right. Free publicity can help you promote and expand your business, attract new clients, and build business credibility and reputation at no cost.

In fact, free publicity meaning and value vary from company to company. You can’t take a one-size-fits-all approach. You need to create goals and define an approach to publicity for your own business.

What is free publicity likely to offer your small business?

Free publicity can help your business:

  • Stand out in the crowd
  • Start building relationships with prospective clients
  • Reassure existing clients that they made the right choice
  • Leverage the credibility of having someone else – the media – endorse your messages
  • Help you communicate your company’s personal story to the public
  • Build a connection and presence within your local community
  • Give you the flexibility to capitalize on current events as a promotional tool

Take some time to think and define free publicity for your small business. What is free publicity value for one company may not be valuable for another. For example, one company may seek a story from a blog or website because they want to get the attention of that publication’s audience or build links and search engine credibility. But another firm might have nothing to little from a mention from a small site – or may even find the association with a small publication detracts from their overall credibility. You need to plan out your overall marketing and define goals for your publicity and other campaigns.

In defining free publicity for your business, you can start to build out your marketing plan. You’ll want to take the time and determine what it will mean for your firm. After all, free publicity can come with risks.

Defining the risks of publicity

With advertising, a business has creative control of the content they directly put in front of the end-user. A business designs and crafts the messages they want to communicate. You don’t get that with free publicity.

With free publicity, you pitch a story or idea in hopes of getting media for free. The value and meaning of free publicity includes influencing:

  • Clients
  • Customers
  • Partners
  • Board members
  • Executives
  • Employees
  • Stakeholders

By building a favourable image with those stakeholders, you can reduce hesitation to buy, speed up transactions and even justify higher fees and prices.

What can free publicity do for your stakeholders?

Publicity means more than just product promotion. It can also help you with:

  • building community connections
  • fulfilling corporate social responsibility (CSR) agendas
  • launching charitable giving campaigns
  • carrying out reputation management
  • lobbying
  • managing crisis communications
  • and more

Free publicity meaning in examples

Free publicity can come from various tools. These include:

  • holding a press conference
  • writing a press release and sending it out to mass media – directly or by newswire
  • pitching media contacts by email or phone
  • launching a ground level event
  • using social media to draw attention

But according to Ragan’s PR Daily, free publicity comes with no guarantees. You need to be ready for different possible outcomes. The media may not pick up your story. You will also have less control over the content, because it will be covered by a journalist, blogger or reporter.

Still, what free publicity you gain is a powerful persuasion tool. It’s something you can leverage at no cost to promote your business, manage reputation and even attract new clients. It can be effective in building brand awareness, even before you ever get into advertising.

Interested in what free publicity can mean for your business? Check out our consulting course with more marketing tips and tricks.

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