The next best thing to referrals is media coverage - it's not as long lasting and consistent, but the right media mention can get you an instant spike in traffic or sales. Getting media coverage isn't easy - but it isn't impossible either, as journalists' and bloggers' jobs are creating news constantly (In fact, as the "news of the world" debacle has shown, some of the media will do pretty much anything to get a story!)
I just read a great post from Ben Angel covering 33 ways to appeal to the media which is not only worth a read, but it worth printing out and sticking up on the wall in front of you the next time you're thinking of doing your own PR.
To add to Ben's list, a few additional zero budget marketing tips are:
- Don't forget local media - it can be easier to get featured IF you have a local angle (and often more than once)
- Good blogs are increasingly viewed as media - so don't forget bloggers, or partner/friend companies who might write about you / your offering. (A recent article in the Australian on food bloggers might have been derisive about them BUT noted that PRs targeting them had more consistently POSITIVE coverage from them than their print counterparts).
- Do have someone else proof read! It's so easy to make a spelling/grammar error - but that's no excuse. Don't rely on spell check, as a person to proof read before you send out.