How to Get Free Advertising

Hello I Am An Expert Name Tag Sticker Illustration

If you like having money, as opposed to handing it to someone else, this post is for you.

But we have to acknowledge that there are times when being generous feels pretty good, right?

Speaking of things that feel good: doesn’t it also feel pretty sweet to see people talking about your business and passing along your name to their friends?

Great news!

You can hang on to some of your advertising dollars

And be generous

And enjoy free advertising that will get people talking.

Publications and stations want your content

We can learn a lot about getting free advertising from watching morning TV.

I had the pleasure of sitting in a waiting room for two hours this morning, and the biggest takeaway for me was that news and talk shows are desperate for interesting content.

I kid you not — they tried to fill a whole segment by talking to a woman about camping toilet paper.

Why did they even have that segment? Because no awesome local businesses put in the effort to generate content that was more interesting than toilet paper.

You are more interesting than toilet paper

Imagine if a business had written up a snazzy press release and sent it in to this station.

I would so rather have spent that 5-7 minutes learning about a Las Cruces dog obedience school that was teaching dogs sign language, or an El Paso martial arts studio that had started selling guns!

That’s interesting stuff!

And it’s amazing free advertising for those businesses.

BTW, the martial arts studio is one of our lovely clients, Total Defense El Paso! You can see their story on KDBC’s website here.

What does your business do that is more interesting than toilet paper?

That’s your angle! Start there.

Did I mention that this kind of non-paid advertising can potentially drive more customers to your doors than taking out an ad in the same venue?

If you press release it, they will come

The backbone of free advertising is knowing how to craft an eye-catching press release.

This is a handy guide to get you started if you want to do it yourself.

Basically, you make your business or event look more interesting than toilet paper, and send it to news stations and publications.

If you can tie it to a current community need or big news that people are already talking about, even better (e.g. “El Paso business is hosting pancake breakfast to support family who lost everything in fire”).

But what do I write about?

There are so many options. And you can take them all, if you want! There’s no rule that says you have to stop at one press release about one event.

You can become an authority or a fixture in your community by creating consistent, quality events or content for local media to cover.

And the great thing about creating a good relationship with local media is that they’ll be more likely to pick up your future stories because they like working with you.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

Have newsworthy events or offerings — Did your martial arts studio start selling guns? Could you host a free workshop that would generate leads? Do you do something in a new or novel way that would make for an interesting story? Maybe you are an interesting story — I once heard of a former drill sergeant who opened up a yoga and meditation space. That would make a great story!

Create a college scholarship — Creating a corporate social responsibility program is a wonderful way to build community ties, and scholarships (especially if you live in a college town like El Paso or Las Cruces) are a great way to give back and get free advertising. You can learn more about how and why here.

Host a charitable event — You need your community, and they need you. Consider hosting a benefit walk/run, concert, charitable dinner, wine tasting, backpack drive, children’s activity … the options are endless. Here are some tips for hosting a benefit concert that can also translate into many other events.

Generate content as an industry expert — I love this one because it can become a perennial source of free advertising. Say you’re an IT business, and you have a lot of knowledge about IT, or maybe you’re a restaurateur who embraces new flavors. Publications like El Paso Inc. would probably love to host your expertise for a piece or a regular column. Though you’re giving away a service for free (advice, recipe, etc.), you’re also becoming a local authority in your field and a household name, for free.

Your reputation is the best advertisement

Free advertising through press releases and community presence will create a reputation that is worth more than money can buy for your business.

We’d love to help you identify areas to strengthen your business’s reputation and create opportunities for you to shine.

Contact us today to set up a free 2-hour business consultation, if you’re not already working with 8 Signal.

If you’re already part of the 8 Signal family, drop us a line and let us help you draft a great press release or envision a community event that will help you generate free leads.