1. That you don't need big budgets to make a big impact in public relations;
2. That there are several social media tools you can use to create buzz about your business.
I was thinking about small businesses and how they are especially hit hard in a down economy. I wanted to post some tips that you can do for free that will help continue your business building efforts even in a recession.
1) Get local with search.
Make sure your company is listed in Google and Yahoo local directories. They are free and you can even link to your web site.
2) Get local in business/service directories.
With directories like Angie's List and CitySearch popping up, be sure your company is listed in the relevant local directories. Be sure to ask customers to write a recommendation for your company as well.
3) Build a local media list at smaller newspapers and start a relationship.
Offer advice, take a reporter to lunch. Local media is easier to reach and if you are doing neat things with the community, be sure they know about it. Having an event for charity? Send a media advisory.
4) Remember your employees. PR isn't all about outside relations.
Make sure your employees are motivated and happy. You can reward them with small things like praise (employee of the month/quarter), pizza in the office for a job well done, etc.
5) Discover social media.
Start a blog on WordPress and talk about your industry, not just the company. Give tips, advice, general observations. Sign up for Twitter, a microblogging site, and follow people that interest you and join the conversation. Create an account in LinkedIn and Facebook (and free business pages) and reconnect with old friends and colleagues. You can even ask business questions in LinkedIn and answer others' questions and be seen as an expert in your field.
6) Okay, I said five but here's a bonus tip.
Sign up for Help A Reporter.com's newsletter and get PR queries from journalists looking for sources. But be sure if you answer, that your pitch is on target, short and sweet and do not send attachments. Include contact info in your email and links if needed.