Local small businesses call on us because they can't necessarily invest in a full blown branding campaign to enhance their image. Most of them are careful before spending capital to run radio, television or newspaper ads. It has always been a known fact that large corporate entities can spend money for branding to enhance their image. Small businesses typically do not have the kind of capital to sustain the kind of campaign that would really affect the minds of buyers in their local area. Therefore, we help them with their press releases, web pages, newspaper articles and publicity pieces.
Local business owners are typically good at enhancing their image, in ways that are less capital intensive:
- News Releases
- Community Interest Workshops, Seminars, Talks
- Community Involvement and Local Sponsorship
Typically, they will enlist our help with some or all of these ventures to create content so that their involvement is properly framed and their image enhanced. It creates a favorable impression in the minds of local customers and community leaders. The biggest benefit to small businesses is that these methods are no-to-low cost and do not require a lot of overhead.
But if these tactics work for small businesses in their local area, can they work for freelance writers looking for new clients? Of course, the answer is yes. The reason that they are not used is perhaps that we don't think they are available to us; when in fact, they are. If a number of people in our local community don't know what we do, how can they come to us for writing services?
Writers should always be on the lookout for newsworthy material in their business. Did a client provide you with a glowing testimonial? Did you complete a new section on your blog that will be of benefit to local consumers or businesses? Have we added new services that aren't available from writers in our area? We can be creative in what we tell the public about us. The most important factor is that we need to be consistent with this kind of promotion as we will not necessarily always know what will catch on and resonate in our local area.
Writers have a skill that everyone wishes they had and can always demonstrate to others how to do it better. Additionally, people are interested in learning how they can gain more leverage online and if you can help them, you will continue to enhance your image.
Small businesses really struggle with how to create the content necessary to promote their business and you can help them in a workshop. Free workshops enhance your standing and let people know that you are committed to their success. More often than not, you can enhance your image best by making the workshop free. Additionally, don't discount the use of webinars to save time and resources.
Community Involvement and Sponsorship
The most important thing to do is to find an organization or charity that needs your work, expertise and/or money. It is important to be part of the community if you want that same community to reward you with its respect. However, just make sure that you don't take the view that you are advertising, because you are not. You are providing the community with a high level of service that you cannot possibly be repaid for.
The visibility will help you but there is no need to seek to be rewarded for it. The rewards will definitely come, many times in the form of referrals. You will be asked countless times what it is that you do, and community work presents some of the best time to share it, especially since you aren't trying to sell anything.
How To Get Involved
If you have more money than time, you can sponsor an event (think youth events, etc.) or organization with your donation. If you have more time than money, you should volunteer your expertise. All of this will give you the same kind of image boost that companies get when they are able to spend money on branding.