For many companies today, trying to capture the right audience who will be receptive to their message can be as intricate as a spider catching food in its web – sure, the web’s sticky but what if it’s not built in the right place at the right time?

And what about this word, “buzz” that’s suddenly so popular that even Google has named its new social network, “Google Buzz?” Does one envision bumble bees flying around? This mental image is actually close to the truth.

PR Buzz As a Form of Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Word-of-mouth marketing (WOMM)-buzz, blog, viral, grassroots, influences and social media marketing-adds a layer of credibility to a company’s message because it can be an intimate form of communication between individuals.

To promote and manage word-of-mouth marketing, companies often utilize PR buzz as part of their publicity techniques to influence those with established authority within their targeted markets or industries. By creating products, services and customer experiences that naturally “buzz” through society, marketers practice a form of communication that is as old as time. They go viral.

What Makes a Message Viral?

What makes something viral? In a post about creating a buzz through viral marketing for sitepoint.com, Alyssa Gregory defines the essentials of viral marketing with these four elements:

  1. Being able to generate interest and excitement about your product and service
  2. Getting the support of a major influencer
  3. Focusing on consistent, well-spread marketing
  4. Being in the right place at the right time

Gregory, the owner of avertua, LLC, a full-service virtual assistant firm, knows what she’s talking about. She has designed websites since 1995, and has a passion for supporting small businesses, something she shares on her Small Business Idea Generator blog.

Ideas to Generate Business Buzz

Laura Tiffany, in a February Entrepreneur piece, “Generate Buzz About Your Business,” interviewed Rob Martin-founding partner of BlueCurrent, a boutique PR firm that specializes in unique campaigns that get people talking-who revealed how to get people buzzing about businesses. Among his advice:

  1. Use the Internet to find influencers who can build buzz about the product or carry the message to others (like the worker bee to the Queen Bee!)
  2. Offer free items that get people talking about a particular company or service
  3. Establish an online presence – start a blog, comment on stories or create a Facebook page
  4. Become a thought leader – write a bylined article, speak at industry events, etc.

In a column for evancarmichael.com, Stephen Manallack, a communication consultant, professional speaker and published author, offers some great advice to businesses looking to create buzz. Manallack finds that as he delivers trainings, speeches and presentations, he continuously meet the minds behind some great companies who have massive talent but who don’t know how to rise above the noise.

Manallack notes that public relations is becoming more popular as companies – especially small to medium size – are recognizing that it doesn’t cost much and it works. Here are three of his top tips for using PR to generate buzz:

  1. Use alliances: Start talking to potential allies. Offer to promote them if they promote you. Or combine your strengths for a marketing push or seminar program.
  2. Write a personal letter: Pen a note to your targets once a quarter to keep your message front of mind.
  3. Volunteer your skills: Join a board or committee, or seek out local groups who need help.

Start Buzzing

So whether its positive or negative buzz, there’s really no such thing as bad buzz – so long as it raises a company’s profile, maintains a level of conversation and ultimately leads to greater reach and word-of-mouth marketing. Don’t forget to network – opportunities lurk behind every opportunity and behind every new contact you meet, even in the most neutral of settings. Take a cue from the spiders and bees of the world and get spinning for some sweet results!

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