How to create free publicity as a small business

Advertising for small business can be a complex and is often one of the biggest costs you have to cover. However, Richard Askew from Askew Brooks explains how you can go about getting some free publicity for your small business:

In our relatively short life of running Askew Brook, we have got our fair share of free publicity. However, it has been the right kind of publicity, too! It is the easiest thing in the world for you to tell everyone how good you are, but it means much more if you get endorsed by other people.

Over the last three years, we have written for industry publications (we are web developers), been featured in the Guardian Small Business Network, been published in a book, spoken at events, won two awards at the local business awards (Small Business of the Year 2015 and Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2016), and we have been featured in the Small Business 100 which culminated in us being invited to 10 Downing Street.

None of these things directly promoted our services, but they have increased our reputation both locally and in the industry. You would hope that this would turn in to future work either directly or indirectly in the future – and it has. Advertising for a small business is more than paying for social media ads or getting a mention in the local paper, you want people to talk about your business and let your work speak for itself.

People have continually asked us “how did you get featured in this?” and “how did you do that?” and the answer is simple – we asked. It can be daunting as it requires you to talk about yourself very publicly and many people find that difficult, but it is well worth getting over this if you can.

When it comes to articles, you have to remember that editors need content and you make it much easier for them if you approach them with ideas. One bit of advice I would give though is show that you have thought about what you want to say; give a brief outline of what you want to cover and they can say whether or not it is likely to be suitable – it is all about reducing that email ping pong.

When it comes to putting yourself forward for awards, you have to be prepared to walk away with nothing, but I guarantee you will get hung up on this much more than anyone else who is there on the night. Getting nominated and shortlisted can be acknowledgement enough – it will certainly lead to column inches about your business.

Take a few risks, put yourself forwards for things and just enjoy the ride. You never know where it will take you!