In the traditional sense, marketing takes money. Print ads, billboards, radio and TV spots aren’t cheap. But most of my clients don’t have that kind of money, and most aren’t very influential (yet) in their field. From a traditional publicity standpoint, that’s a death knell. But not in the digital age. Today, no matter what your budget, I recommend working the grassroots – from the bottom up. Here’s some examples of what I mean:
1) Make your ads or spots easy to find:
— Particularly when it comes to video advertising, start with the easy routes and upload them to Youtube, Google Video, etc… immediately. Even getting amateur videos on the product or project online is a start.
— Then do your best to get them on the specific sites archives that are important to your industry.
2) Use your own networks:
All your company leaders should use their own personal networks, and email a personal note to relationships in the industry telling them about the event/project/program and send them a link. (Make sure the link goes to a branded page from your company with the print ad, .pdf, spot, or other promotional information).
3) Fire up the blogosphere:
Contact all the influential bloggers in your industry, and ask them to comment or review your project on their blogs. When people in your industry see the buzz on the blogs, influencers will start to notice.
4) Work the blogs from the back-end:
Have your staff or interns scour online blogs for appropriate discussions, and then participate, using your project/event/advertising as an example. For instance, they could respond to a post with: “I completely agree that technology will never overpower storytelling, and here’s a great example: (insert link).” Don’t have them do it as your employees, just regular web surfers. We can get an amazing number of conversations going in the business or non-profit community on a variety of issues, using your work as examples.
5) Who are the influencers in the industry?:
Publishers send advance copies of books to the influencers in the appropriate industry to promote upcoming books, and you should do the same with your work. It would be most appropriate for the head of the company or organization to send a personal note or email to some of the major influencers with a DVD or link with your stuff. Whether they act on it or not, it helps keep you on the radar with the people that matter.
6) Finally, brief your traditional sales team or reps about the campaign:
I’m sure they would have special clients or potential clients they could show the material to…
The key is that in the digital media world, we can’t control publicity solely from a top-down direction anymore. People want a conversation about products and ideas, so we have to learn how they want to communicate. Using blogs is a good way to start that conversation – especially if we can define exactly what you’re promoting can mean for the industry. I would encourage you to create a “brand story” around the project. What does it mean for the future of the industry? Are they examples of a new type of business model or strategy? Compelling storytelling? Emerging technology? Whatever it might be (and make the niche as tight as possible), it will give you a platform and a reason to talk about them – and more important – for other people to talk about them.
Finally – one last note that might be a longer term suggestion. Does anyone at your organization have any connections for getting your leaders or staff invited to speak at industry conferences? To have members of your team speak on current industry issues is absolutely critical in terms of your perception. You can’t measure the influence that could have in your public perception as an industry leader.