public relationsOnce upon a time, when a business wanted publicity, they wrote up press releases and delivered them to a bunch of newspapers and possibly radio stations and television stations as well. Most of the time, those press releases got tossed in the garbage; I know this for a fact – I was one of the reporters doing the tossing.

The other options for businesses who wanted to announce their news, or even their existence, to the world, was to pay for advertising. This is expensive, and it’s very hard to tell how effective those advertising dollars really are.

But now it’s no longer necessary to seek publicity using just these venues – and in fact, smaller businesses with little money to spend on advertising, and who’ve had little success in getting media attention, can and often do bypass media and advertising altogether.

Why?

Because their audience isn’t reading newspapers and frequently isn’t even watching TV to find their information. They’re going online.

It kills me to say that, because I love newspapers. I used to eat, breathe, and sleep newspapers, I had newspaper ink for blood, and I hate that newspapers in their traditional form are dying, but we have to face facts:

When people want information these days, most of them go online.

51.1 BILLION searches were run on Google in December, according to Nielsen Online. Yahoo had 1.56 billion, Microsoft 796 million,  AOL 352 million, and Ask.Com 172 million.

So spending a fortune on traditional advertising, and begging some stressed out, overworked editor to run your press release in their paper, is no longer the best way to get your message in front of the people who need your product or searches.

They are online, typing in questions like “How do I tone my abs?” or “How do I housebreak my adult dog?” or “What clears up teenage acne?” or “What’s the best website hosting service?”

This is actually good news for small businesses. It means that it is very easy to be your own publicist. You can craft your own campaign, get your name or your product name all over the web, WHERE YOUR CUSTOMERS ARE, and get a lot more exposure than you would have by using yesterday’s PR methods.

Don’t get me wrong – traditional media is great too, but it takes time, it takes money to hire a publicist, it takes persistence, it takes a thick skin to deal with irritated uninterested gatekeepers…and all the while, you have the ability to bypass that ineffective, hit or miss process, by creating your own online publicity campaign.

1.) Writing and distributing your own press releases by using free press release distribution sites.

2.) Writing articles for sites like Ezinearticles and Buzzle and Associatied Content and American Chronicle, for further exposure and authority.

3.) Creating your own videos and distributing them via Youtube

4.) Creating social media accounts and educating consumers on social media sites about who you are and what you do

5.) Blogging about your services and your area of expertise, and making your site an authority site filled up with vital information and resources – which establishes you as the expert in your area and pre-sells people who are considering buying your products.

So if you don’t have tens of thousands of dollars available to market yourself, don’t despair – these days,  you can create your own online publicity campaign, you can reach more people than you would through traditional media,  and you can do it for free.