Creating Online Buzz Without A PR Company

by Richard Banfield

We’ve always been slightly suspicious of formal public relations efforts. It works for lots of companies but in a social networking world public relations has a harder job remaining credible and authentic. We’ve been working on our own ideas and learning from our friends at Grasshopper to build a simple sales-orientated buzz process.

Although still in a state of refinement here is the process and some specific tasks associated with each step. Keep in mind this specific checklist is in context of creating buzz for Fresh Tilled Soil so the relevant audience targets would be exchanged for each appropriate client should we go that route:

Buzz Process Checklist:

  1. Read through the list of design blogs that are looking for contributions and add each one to a spreadsheet (use Google docs if you can so we can all have access to it and make edits if necessary)
  2. Determine which writers and contributors are associated with each blog and add them to the spreadsheet. We’re not looking for editors here, just the people who contribute regularly to the blogs.
  3. Find out what each writers personal blog is and start to follow them on twitter (add a column for their twitter handle and personal blog/s to the spreadsheet). We’ll need their twitter names so we can all start to follow them individually.
  4. Systematically research each writer and make a few notes about each (e.g. likes to write about web design, loves the outdoors and has three dogs). Getting to know them as human beings will help break the ice when you connect with them for the first time. For example, I was able to connect to a big deal CIO by starting with, “Hi Steve, I see you are as crazy about scuba diving as I am. Maybe we can trade stories of the best places to dive. I’m relatively new to the local diving scene so I’m always looking for some expert advice”.
  5. Contribute to their blogs via comments, retweets and start to email them with ideas for new blog postings or offers to help them with their current writing
  6. Establish relationships with the writers and establish a “what can we do to make them more successful?” and a “who should they meet?” list for each.
  7. Watch as magic happens!!

The key theme to this strategy is you should be contributing to others blogs so you create a rising tide of success. Their success will eventually flow to us if you are genuinely able to help them and remain patient. This is how we were able to build a constant flow of sales leads without any marketing at all. Building good content on our blog is great but it’s more important for us to make deep connections to the people that already in the limelight.

About Richard Banfield

Richard wears the strategic hat around the office and never met a whiteboard he didn’t like. He's worked his way up the web marketing food...