Thursday, February 12, 2015

Getting Private With Public Relations - Sponsor Local Charity Events - Part 12 of 12

Sponsoring local charity events is another great strategy to build up goodwill towards your business while getting your message across to your target market. Sponsoring local charity events is not a new strategy, but it hasn't really been embraced on a larger scale by many small to medium businesses. However, now that you know about this highly effective strategy, you can reap the rewards of implementing it into your business.

The key to profiting from sponsorship of local charity events is to hone in on your target market and discover what charity events they will be most interested in attending. This requires you to gather information from your target market, which you cannot do unless you ask your customers for their input on your website or in your business.

Once you gather information from your past and current customers, then you can begin to look for sponsorship opportunities that match your target market. There are thousands of sponsorship opportunities right in your local area. The fastest way to find a sponsorship opportunity is to contact non-profit organizations which match your target markets’ interests.

It is important for you to know that sponsorship opportunities will require an investment from your business ranging from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. Most sponsorship opportunities will have various levels, so don't worry about being locked into a huge expensive contract.

When deciding on a specific non-profit organization or cause to champion, make sure that your business and businesses receive maximum coverage on the specific organizations website and marketing material.

Remember that the goal of your sponsorship opportunities is to bring exposure to your businesses. However, you can choose a charity event that has significance to you, but just make sure that it serves dual purposes, otherwise it will make you feel really good, but won't generate the desired amount of free publicity for your business.

Try It

The wonderful thing about free publicity is that you have nothing to lose. A few phone calls, a few personal letters, maybe some investment in quick printing new releases. And, you can reap many times that investment in additional sales and orders.

Whether you have an international personality to publicize or a community barbecue, you can get that information to the public at little expense.

What is unique about your service or product? Is it the best? The most used? The longest lasting? Do customers return after one year? Consider all the angles, then consider again.

Be sure to make solid contacts and be thorough with your follow-ups. Being polite and efficient will always create effective business relations. Then exploit your own publicity. Use it again and again. Post it in the store or rewrite it for more national distribution. Go as far as you can with your ideas.

And it doesn't cost you. That is the true joy - with a little effort and persistence, you can reap great profits from free publicity.

What’s the best way to get free publicity?

  • Savvy social networking. LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter have become household names. But they aren't just for finding old high school flames. Social networking sites can be a helpful tool for marketing if you use them to develop relationships. The No. 1 rule in social networking is be social. If you decide to promote your business in the realm of social media, it takes time and energy. You can't show up occasionally and expect results. On the other hand, shameless selfpromotion 24/7 won't be tolerated, either.
  • Respond to breaking news. Google provides a free service that functions like a media clipping service. It scrutinizes the web and Google News database, then sends you an e-mail as soon as something you're interested in appears in the search results. The e-mail will include the website address so you can go see where and how your topic is mentioned.  Here's how this could help you. Let's say you help schools and day-care centers create safety plans to prevent noncustodial parental abduction. Create Google alerts for "kidnapping," "abduction," etc., key terms related to your topic. When events associated with that topic occur, contact newspapers, radio and television stations in that city immediately and let them know you can comment on what's happening. This works for any industry, whether you help businesses outsource retirement planning or you create costumes for ferrets.
  • Make your website media-friendly. Create a pressroom or media area with links to past publicity and an 'About You' section highlighting your mission and key employees. Make it easy for the press to contact you. You'd be surprised how many sites do.
  • Go where the reporters are. At ProfNet and Help a Reporter Out, members of the media post queries seeking sources for articles. Use both sites to open your business to a world of publicity opportunities.
  • Know your target. Before pitching a media outlet, be familiar with the website or publication. Know what topics the reporter covers (his or her beat) and what angles he or she is likely to be interested in. This helps you tailor your pitch to the person's needs.
  • Become a resource. When you see information that might help a reporter, such as industry statistics or a local trend, pass it on. If you're helpful on a regular basis, you'll be top-of-mind when the reporter needs a source.
  • Sell your pitch. Most press releases today are sent by email, and reporters get hundreds of emails a day. Break through the clutter with a subject line clearly conveying the benefit to the reporter and why your news should interest him or her.
  • Offer an exclusive. If you have a ground-breaking product or service, or really want your company mentioned in a particular media outlet, offer an exclusive. Giving an influential reporter the first chance to publicize your news can create more incentive to write about you.
  • Network. It's easy to find out reporters' beats and what they're interested in. Get active on social networking sites such as LinkedIn and Twitter to connect with members of the media and see what they're working on.
  •  Don't forget bloggers. PR once meant targeting print publications or TV shows, but bloggers have become equally important. Many bloggers post multiple times a day, so they're hungry for news. Read their blogs, post comments and cultivate them as carefully as you would any other member of the media.



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