Be Your Own Business Promoter 

If you haven't developed your own PR strategy yet, you should consider it. But, keep in mind that PR is different than advertising. As Robert Wynne from Forbes explains it, "Advertising is what you pay for. Publicity is what you pray for."1

Typically, you pay big bucks for an advertisement so you can say a product is great and people should buy it. However, publicity is a FREE third-party endorsement of your company and the heating and cooling products you sell in a news story or blog. 

"As a small business you may not think you're in the business of (or in need of) public relations, but you are. Public relations is crucial to the success of every business, big or small. The difference is that a small, budget-conscious business doesn't have the luxury of hiring a high-priced PR firm, so you have to take a DIY approach to mastering your public relations," according to Allie Wolff in her article "7 Free and Easy Small Business PR Tactics."2

How can you be your own business promoter and hopefully land some valuable and free PR? Here are a few tips for DIY PR: 

1. Be A Good Storyteller: Publicity always begins with a good story. What makes you and your company unique or different from the rest is what gets the attention of a reporter, editor or blogger. You might focus on: 

2. Become an Industry Expert: News sources are always looking for helpful consumer-oriented tips written by an industry expert. Offer helpful HVAC energy-saving tips to consumers as they head into winter so you can become that heating and cooling expert. Here are a few ways you can position yourself as an online industry expert: 

HARO Links Journalists with Sources Like You

3. Build Relationships with the Media: "Public relations isn't just about media coverage, ultimately it's about building relationships," said Allie Wolff in her article, "7 Free and Easy Small Business PR Tactics." Research local, regional and industry bloggers, editors and reporters who cover your geographic area and the heating and cooling market so you can reach out to them if you have a story to pitch. Here are some ways to build your media list: 

4. See if Your PR Efforts are Paying Off: Google® Alerts is an easy way to see if your PR efforts are working and how they compare to the competition. Create a search for your business name (and your competitors) as well as some industry key words, and Google Alerts will track your online presence to see what people are saying about you. You can even determine the type of alerts and frequency that they will be sent to your inbox. Then, adjust your PR strategy as necessary to achieve the results you desire. 

As a business owner, you are your best promoter. And you can develop your own PR strategy using these four key steps: 1) Telling a compelling story, 2) Positioning yourself as an industry resource or expert, 3) Building relationships with the media, and 4) Frequently checking the effectiveness of your campaign. Now, you'll be on your way to obtaining free publicity in no time!
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