PR Tips For Green Entrepreneurs

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There have been several articles on Public Relations blogs recently about the difficulty of promoting green businesses. In our current climate, thousands of organizations, big and small are trying to go, or appear to go green. Hundreds of websites are devoted to the eco movement; the mainstream media loves a green product story…and they have many from which to choose.

P.R. professionals bemoan this situation.

The point is actually how difficult it has been doing PR, specifically media relations, within the green space. As I told PR Week I’ve never dealt with an industry this tough and this cut throat. Everyone is trying to talk green and it makes it very challenging.

Every entrepreneur knows however, that PR is a fabulous marketing tool. The premier magazine for start-ups, Entrepreneur Magazine, has this to say about P.R.

PR’s importance is changing, according to The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR (HarperBusiness). American marketing strategists Al and Laura Ries argue that public relations has become the most effective way to build a brand. Well-known brands like The Body Shop, PlayStation and Harry Potter spend little on brand-name advertising. The same is true for many entrepreneurial companies.

And so, many eco- entrepreneurs start their advertising spending in the P.R. arena. Typical P.R. which focuses sending press releases to and eliciting media coverage from mainstream media, established newspapers, magazines and broadcast stations (radio and TV) is not necessarily a good choice for eco entrepreneurs. With major companies submitting their own green stories with their big P.R. agencies, your smaller story can get lost in the shuffle.

Instead, eco entrepreneurs might consider focusing on new media.

The interesting stuff for green PR … is happening in the social media and community realm where companies can engage in conversation directly with consumers concerning their green business plans.

To get started:

1. Join your local green business groups and national ones like LOHAS or one that is appropriate for your business.

2. Send your e-mail blasts and press releases to green websites like, of course, Green Options Media but, also Treehugger, and The Green Guide.

3. Start a blog on your site. Engage with your customers on your site. Write compelling posts that answer their questions about your product.

4. Submit your blog posts to popular social bookmarking sites with a green slant: Mind Body Green, Hugg and Care2. Some of the larger social media sites too have begun to focus on green innovations too. Which to join depends on your field and product.

5. Get involved on these sites. Read and submit posts from other blogs. When you find one that seems to fit your customer base, check their reach. If they have significant numbers consider asking to send a sample of your product for review.

6. Read the top Green Blogs . Comment on them, refer to posts you’ve made on your company blog.

7. Write for a green publication. Many green blogs welcome guest contributors. Many are looking for writers with specific green expertise.

8. Become an active member of the green community online. Don’t use it only to promote your product…you’ll experience backlash pretty quickly if the community feels it is being used. Instead write not only about your companies products but also about those things in which you have expertise.

The green movement is growing and major corporations, focused on traditional P.R. tactics are often not present in the social media/community building sphere. That’s where eco-entrepreneurs have an edge. Grassroots tactics, at which entrepreneurs excel work best in this space. Get involved and see exposure for your business grow.

About the Author

Hear Maryanne speak on Social Media for Socially Conscious Brands at Expo East on September 27th! Maryanne Conlin is CPG brand marketer and digital marketing expert, CEO of RedRopes Digital and Partner Digital Strategy, 4GreenPs. A Shorty Award winner for best Green Content on Twitter, she was a member of the IAA team that won the Green Award in 2010 and most recently was a finalist for the PRSA - Los Angeles PRISM awards for social media. She and her team focus on providing strategic marketing direction, custom content for web, mobile and social platforms, social media community management and online promotions and digital advertising solutions for companies in the green, food and Hispanic space. Follow her on Twitter @maryanneconlin