Whether you are an independent consultant, a hobbyist, an advocate, a small business, or a nonprofit organization, you have many free effective communications tools available to you. I can help you discover the utility of grassroots communications, so that you will understand how to manipulate the tools and be excited to get going.
It’s important to consider a hybrid of traditional public relations mechanisms and social media options when designing your communications strategy. Traditional media which are free to you involve mainly press releases and op-eds. New media which are most widely used are blogs, facebook pages and twitter. You can also consider apps and other online mechanisms to enhance your use of these channels.
Traditional Public Relations
When you put together a press release, you get to write your own story to send out to the publications you choose. Create a boiler plate based on a press release template that can be easily re-purposed when you have new information to launch. Developing your press list, including the best email and follow-up phone numbers, might be the most tedious aspect of establishing your press release system. Focus on the best publications you aim to reach, and then make calls and establish relationships with the assignment editors and other contacts.
Op-eds are so powerful that there is an entire Op-Ed Project whose mission is to get more women submitting and publishing op-eds. Once you get your op-eds published by respected mainstream media outlets, you might find that you become a known expert in your field, or you will have your book published, you will have a job offer. The op-ed is a gateway to professional growth as well as a fine path to influencing public opinion.
In a nutshell,
- Your website is your storefront.
- Blogs are where you self-publish your opinions and other news.
- Facebook is your micro-blog, where you share your own or other posts with sharp introductions by which you narrate your story and analysis. While facebook comments can host deep conversations,
- Twitter is your headlines and generally allows for maximum horizontal impact thru retweets.
- Email blasts if you use them are post-modern newsletters, and can hook your clientele back into your online channels for continued engagement.
New media sites are interactive, and require ongoing lead participation for optimal use. You can coordinate between channels to minimize the work of creating posts, but such systems do not substitute for interacting with comments, fans or other organizations in your networks that are utilizing these platforms. At the same time, mainstream media look to your social sites for timely content, and quote facebook and twitter posts and interactions as though they are press releases.
Get It Together
Luckily, both the traditional and new grassroots communications methods are free and easy to learn. While certain templates exist to help guide your development of these channels, they are constantly being reinvented so you will customize your versions based on the needs of your project or business.
With the internet at our fingertips, we have an opportunity to learn from each other. I look forward to learning from and supporting you at individual consultations and co-working sessions. Do you have experience building traditional and new media systems to promote your work? Please share your stories!