For many small businesses owners, traditional advertising isn't an option — and neither is hiring an expensive online PR agency. If you fall into this category, you don't have to let a lack of funds get in the way of your company's web PR campaign. There are a ton of free resources online that you can utilize to get people buzzing (and tweeting!) about your business. Here are the top three:
- HARO. Out of all of the online PR services we've seen come and go, HARO is our favorite. By signing up for HARO alerts, you can be among the first to know whenever a journalist is looking for an expert source or unique story angle. By using HARO to your advantage, you can get major media outlets talking about you and your company — for free (similar resources come with a $2k/year membership fee). You can't buy the kind of publicity you can get from HARO, and around 210 new opportunities come up each day. Many of these make for great sweepstake promotions. Pro tip: spend time on your query e-mails to journalists. You only get one chance to make a first impression, so make it a good one.
- iWebTool. Any decent online PR agency will tell you that it's really important to keep track of your progress, and iWebTool does all that and more. You can use it to check out how many backlinks your site has, check your search engine position for specific keywords, double check your keyword density and more. Basically, iWebTool will do everything but drive you to work in the morning. By monitoring your web PR progress on a regular basis, you're able to quickly and easily see which tactics are working (and which are just wasting your time).
- Hootsuite. Joan Barrett, social media marketing savant and co-owner of The Content Factory, lives, breathes and sleeps Hootsuite. The free tool enables you to take your social media marketing techniques to the next level by providing a slew of features you'll wonder how you ever lived without. From detailed analytics (how many people clicked on your last tweet, and which other people are tweeting about the same thing?) to the ability to schedule tweets in advance, Hootsuite is a must-have for anyone interested in social media marketing for business. Plus, it allows you to update social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn from one web-based application.
These three free web PR tools are a good start for any small business owner. Although acting as your own online PR agency may sound intimidating, once you get some hands-on experience it becomes instinctual — this is particularly true of social media marketing. Still have questions? Post 'em in the comments section, and we'll answer them directly.