I give a lot of presentations on how businesses owners can get free publicity through media coverage. One of the challenges I often hear in these presentations is that business owners don't know how to create buzz or excitement in the media, or anywhere else.
Creating buzz for your business is not hard. It takes a bit of creativity, willingness to fail and look stupid, and some strategic planning. Here's how:
1. Create a contest
Contests are a great way to build buzz in your local or professional community. Everyone wants to be rewarded or recognized for an accomplishment—why not create your own award?
Maybe you are a general contractor like OPEN Forum member Coffman Construction. Why not create an award for kids with the cleanest and coolest looking rooms? Do this monthly and have a big event showcasing the annual big winner at the end of the year. This creates buzz in the media and goodwill in the community.
The great things is, you can have a contest about anything. You can even create an online award such as the Small Business Influencer Awards. These types of contests are low cost and people can submit their entries online—saving you both time and money.
2. Produce an event
Events are a great way to bring people together. You can celebrate, inform, teach, sell, network or just have fun. Maybe you have an annual event bringing together your best customers. You could feature a famous local speaker, great food and encourage your employees to foster networking. The options are endless.
The first time you do an event, you’ll be learning. But as you do more of them, you’ll get better at it. And there are many tools to use to help you manager your event if needed—my favorite is Eventbrite.
3. Volunteer time
It’s better to give, than to receive.
While it’s great to get sales for your products and have people buy from you, it’s also great to give your (and your employees) time and money to worthy causes in the community. Why not adopt a local school, help a local community center or host a weekly “feed the hungry” day. Doing this will make you feel good, give your business a shiny new “do gooder badge” and build buzz in the local community.
4. Train your customers
This past spring I taught a course at the Adult School of Montclair. My class had about 20 students in it, and there were dozens of other classes that the local community could take as well.
What about paying for your customers to take one of several courses at a local college or training center? They’ll appreciate the extra knowledge and word will spread that your customers get free training. Of course, like all of these “buzz” suggestions, consider the ROI. Tools like Grovo are easy ways to train customers in tools that can improve their lives.
5. Conduct a research study
The media, business professionals, students and every day consumers love studies that are related to their lives. Why not consider what statistics and research is most important to your business and local community (or national audience). Hire a research firm, college students or do your own study about something and release a regular report. You could call it: [Your business name] Child Safety Report Of Local Parks. By giving useful information to your community, you’re creating buzz and giving the media yet another excuse to write something great about your business!
Creating buzz isn't always easy, but with the right planning and forethought, it can be a great boost to your business.