Running a PR campaign can take a lot of time, money and resources. A lot of businesses choose to outsource this part of their business to dedicated third party service providers. While this is cost effective, it can still be a drain on the resources for small businesses since a lot of these service providers are hired on retainer basis.

But a lot of PR based marketing can be done in-house. Here are a few ideas and case studies of how other businesses have managed to secure PR buzz.

Organizing Events

This is one of the most effective methods to create PR buzz. There are two benefits to this strategy. Firstly, events around your industry can help you reach out to a highly targeted audience at minimal costs. Secondly, depending on your execution, you may either recoup your investments or even make money through such events.

There are number of different ways to organize events. You may create an educational event about a popular topic in your industry. An insurance agent can, for instance, launch a workshop to discuss a topic like “Do businesses need insurance”. Not only do you target a niche crowd with such events, but can also gather a lot of leads that can help you recover your investments.

Businesses like High Lifter take it a step further and create sporting events to create buzz. The ATV Mud Nationals is a highly popular event that brings ATV and UTV owners on to the mud tracks for racing competitions. The investment is recovered through sponsorships that are abundant during these events. You may also charge an entry fee or charge for exclusive broadcasting rights depending on how popular your event is.

Conduct Surveys

Have you ever come across truly surprising surveys that state how a very small percentage of people own an insurance policy or how large the US debt is? Media outlets love surveys, especially if they challenge conventional knowledge. This can come in handy as a PR strategy.

For an effective survey strategy, pick a topic that will interest your target audience. For instance, a real estate agent from Long Island may choose to study the average rental paid by residents there. It is a good idea to partner with a third party agency to conduct and interpret the survey results.

Once this is done, pick a result from the study that defies conventional logic or will be a great news-bait. Publish the survey with this result as the header. You may follow this up by emailing all journalists covering Long Island. The survey based PR strategy is extremely effective in generating buzz and building a brand for your business.

Ranking Lists

Another popular strategy to build PR buzz is through publishing ranking lists. One of the earliest success stories here is of beer maker Guinness. The annual edition of the Guinness Book of World Records is today one of the best-selling books across the world and has given the company terrific brand equity.

If you have been watching the popular VC reality show, Shark Tank, you will be well aware of the success story of one of the sharks, Barbara Corcoran. As a small time real estate agent, Barbara struggled to find new clients for her business. She started publishing the Corcoran Report that provides a snapshot of the real estate market. It became a terrific hit in the industry and Barbara is today one of the richest women entrepreneurs in the country.

One common thread that connects each of these stories is the creativity exhibited by the businesses to find ‘buzz’ in places where none existed. PR is all about finding such buzz-worthy events and publicizing them. As these examples have shown, you definitely do not need a PR agent to make them happen.

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Anand Srinivasan is a marketing consultant and the founder of Hubbion, a free to use task management tool for startups, small and medium businesses.

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