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With all of today's available technology, promoting your business simply starts with your time and creativity. — Urupong

For many businesses, especially those that are small and new, hiring a PR agency is unaffordable. With monthly retainers costing thousands of dollars, promoting a business of any size can be an expensive endeavor.

Fortunately, there are many effective PR tactics you can implement yourself, many of which will only cost you time and energy.

Start a blog

Content is still king and maintaining an active content marketing strategy is the best way to appear on Google search results. Today, Google’s search algorithm seems to reward niche websites that cover one specific topic. This works to your advantage, as you only need to produce content that relates to your business or industry.

The best thing about starting a blog is that you can scale it as your business grows. Initially, you can spend a few hours per week updating your blog on your own. As your business grows, you can hire a freelancer or full-time writer to maintain your content marketing presence.

Here are a few tips for maintaining your blog:

  • Publish new content regularly
  • Update old or outdated content
  • Write for your target audience
  • Stick with one niche
  • Share new content on social media

Take advantage of social media

Social media is a great place to begin an affordable PR campaign. Posting headlines and links to your blog posts is a start, but it isn’t always enough to reach and engage with a wide audience.

Extra steps you can take on social media to build up a loyal following are:

  • Participate in Twitter chats. Present yourself as an industry expert and offer helpful advice in a Twitter chat that is specific to your niche.
  • Create Facebook stories and Instagram stories. Creating regular Facebook and Instagram Stories is a great way to get your message out, make genuine connections with customers and build a following.
  • Engage with influencers. Connect with influencers who have substantial social presence in your industry by asking them to become a brand ambassador for you, mention your brand in a post, or write about your products or services in a blog.
  • Publish content on LinkedIn Pulse. Demonstrate your expertise and draw traffic to your website by writing niche pieces of content.

Social media is a great place to begin an affordable PR campaign.

Sign up as a source on HARO

HARO, or Help a Reporter Out, is a free service that allows journalists to find sources and industry experts. Signing up as a source on HARO gives you more access to journalists and bloggers than just about any other method, making it one of the best ways to share your brand and your expertise.

Once you’ve signed up as a source, you’ll receive HARO queries emailed to you in daily digests. If you find a query that matches your industry, you can send your insights directly to the reporter for consideration. When sending your query response, make sure you also include the following information:

  • Your name, job title and email address
  • Your company’s name and a link to your website
  • A link to your LinkedIn profile

Submitting thorough, helpful responses improves your chances of being interviewed for or featured in the story, providing your brand with publicity at zero cost.

Use Google Alerts

Google Alerts is a great tool to use to measure your PR efforts. It allows you to create custom search queries -- such as the name of your business -- that alert you anytime those keywords appear on the web.

Once Google Alerts notifies you that your brand is being mentioned online, you can reach out to the publications that write about you, thank them for mentioning your brand, and offer your availability as needed for new stories.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

Applications are open for the CO—100! Now is your chance to join an exclusive group of outstanding small businesses. Share your story with us — apply today.

CO—is committed to helping you start, run and grow your small business. Learn more about the benefits of small business membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, here.

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