When you’re just getting started on a new venture or planning an event you aren’t sure yet will be a success, your marketing budget might be so low as to almost be nonexistent. However, there are some ways you can get free PR and get the word out, even if you can’t afford to hire a professional to manage your marketing for you.

Ways to Get Free PR

Idea # 1: Press Releases

The press release certainly isn’t dead and is a great way to get the word out about an upcoming event. Send the release to local media, but also post it online and send it out via email.

A press release is a great first contact. You should then follow up by making a phone call to try to generate interest in a story. If you can get a local newspaper, radio broadcast, or magazine to cover even part of your event, you are getting a ton of free promotion. All it costs is a little of your time.

Idea # 2: Networking

Take the time to go to local networking meeting. Once you connect with a few key influencers in your area, you may find that they will mention your event to their own customer base or team up for promotions.

In addition, many media people attend networking events in search of story ideas. Networking is always a smart idea, because you just never know who you might meet and how you can help one another.

Idea # 3: Generate Online Interest

For a small fee, you can submit your ideas to sites like MuckRack.com. This can get your press release and ideas in front of journalists around the world.

You should also connect with bloggers and offer a guest post on a related topic. So, if your event is a cooking class, then you can offer a recipe to various recipe blogs online. If your event is a business conference, choose a topic about running a business and submit that idea to a blog for business owners.

You can sign up for HARO (Help a Reporter Out) and get a list of writers looking for experts in a given area or two. Offer your two cents when you have something of interest to contribute.

Idea # 4: Direct Email Pitches

Make it a habit to send out a minimum of five email pitches each week. This means you’ll seek out the influencers in your niche, read their articles, and send them an email. In the email, include:

  • The person’s full name
  • The title of the article you read and where you read it
  • What you are proposing (guest post, letting them interview you for future articles, etc.)
  • Include your contact information and thank them for their time

You don’t want to hound the person you’re targeting, but it is okay to wait a week or so and follow up with a second email. If you don’t receive a response, move on for now.

Idea # 5: Enter Contests

If you are a chef and have created your own wine, enter it in local and regional contests. Even if you only get an honorable mention, it can result in a lot of free press. Many contests are extremely inexpensive or even free to enter.

Can’t find a contest? Create your own contest and organize judges to make a decision on other people’s entries. Send press releases about the contest and the winners to local media.

Idea # 6: Team Up with Charity

Combine your event with a charity. For example, if you are hosting a writing convention, then offer a book literacy signing and give a portion of profits to a local literacy group. This will not only be likely to get your event some free press coverage, but the literacy group is likely to announce the event as well, doubling down on your promotional efforts.

Understand Trending News

One way to get free PR is to stay  up on current news cycles and be ready to roll with an idea or solution to problems. Look ahead and things upcoming your area. Is there a large festival each year in your home town? Would it make sense to have a booth that ties into your events in some way? Perhaps you can work more for the charities you team up with by opening a booth and giving profits to that charity or increasing awareness of the charity.