Marketing a new business can feel like a challenge to even the most experienced PR professionals. There is a delicate balance between rigorously promoting a service or a product, and not taking shortcuts to speed up the process. The best marketing is honest, thoughtful and creative. It requires hard work and transparency. Consistency is key – as is establishing yourself as an expert. So, with this in mind, how can you market your business when funds are tight?

Try Giving Your Secrets Away for Free

Chances are, if you own a business, it’s because you’re skilled at something. It doesn’t matter what that thing is. The point is that you have a product or a service or a craft that you can leverage to earn profits. Now, regardless of whether or not you have competitors in your industry, it’s in your best interest to reveal the barebones process of how you do what you do. Don’t worry about others stealing your ideas or attempting to monetize on your process. If they’re interested enough, they will eventually seek you out for additional information or even hire you down the line for your services.

For small business owners, writing out step-by-step procedures can be a useful internal resource, as well as a guide for others in your industry. By sharing secrets and sharing helpful tips, you can establish yourself as an industry thought leader simply by distributing everything you know about one specific topic. We’ve done this with great success for our digital agency; we give away a ton of very useful information.  We’ve found it shows we are smart, and those looking for an agency are going to hire us over the competition who keeps everything so close to the vest.  One of our recent SEO clients who teaches people how to day trade selected us because of the amount of quality content we published that they said established that we were experts in our industry.

Regardless of any budgetary restrictions, anyone can market their business this way by keeping the following three things in mind.

The What

Create a guide so that others could potentially replicate your idea. While this might feel risky, most of the time, no one is actually going to put in the effort to implement. That’s your job. By creating the guide you essentially prove that you have beat others in this field. You can only create an overarching step-by-step rule book if you really know what you’re talking about. You’re the thought leader. You’re the industry expert. The content of your material should establish you as someone who knows what they’re talking about within a specific niche. The public is given the opportunity to see your approach, and while anyone could potentially capitalize on your work, more often than not, they will turn to you for advice and support down the line. One example we’ve done, which you can see outlines everything we do for a specific type of problem, is detailed here.

The Why

Once you’ve settled on the content, you might ask why this is the best approach. When you have no money to spend publicizing formal press releases, or hiring a marketing team to boost online presence, sharing secrets free of charge is the best way to attract attention and create a buzz around your brand. Once you’ve figured out how to consolidate your thoughts into one clear, comprehensive guide, you can begin sharing your knowledge. By expressing exactly how you do what you do, others will see the creativity and dedication behind your strategy. Transparency is still all too rare, so by going against the grain, you can simultaneously bring in business and boost your company’s image.

The How

So how do you gain the exposure you desire? Pitch your tips to all relevant industry blogs. Keep in mind that you don’t want just any audience, you want to build an audience that is valuable to your business. Write good quality guest posts that others can learn from and slowly gain exposure. Go beyond a 300-word blog post and instead, make sure you’ve written the most in-depth, comprehensive piece in your field. If you know what you’re talking about, creating high quality, well-written content shouldn’t cost you a penny – just time. While time might feel precious, marketing on a shoestring budget means you have to be willing to invest time and effort to promote your business by any means necessary.