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How to Get Your Company on the Radio Without Paying for Advertising

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While many claim that radio may as well be a dinosaur in the realm of modern media, the marketing numbers don’t completely match this sentiment. In fact, as a region, North America spends more on radio advertising than anywhere else in the world. 

Clearly, brands are still benefiting from radio ads, but many small businesses don’t have the money to spend on traditional marketing campaigns. If you want to get your company’s name on the airwaves without dipping into your ad spend, you’re not alone. 

Luckily, there are plenty of ways to get free radio advertising that don’t involve buying airtime. Strategies like crafting intriguing press releases, sending out brand-name giveaway memorabilia, and sponsoring local events are all ways that brands can score valuable radio mentions for free.

Earn Free Radio Advertising by Crafting Community-based Press Releases for Local Radio Stations

A press release is essentially a brief announcement about your company — be it a new product or service launch, a new partnership or merger, or any other exciting news you have to share. If you create a press release that compels audiences from your target market, there is a strong chance it can receive air time on local, state, or even national radio stations. 

As you write your press release, make sure to include contact information and relevant online brand links in the message. If you’re submitting a time-sensitive story idea or expert interview, include details about when the station should run the information on air.

If your brand represents a local company, it stands to reason that your press release will be most effective with local radio stations. Create a list of stations in your listening area, then narrow it down by sending your pitch to stations that play music or cover topics on talk shows your target audience regularly tunes in to hear.  

To achieve this, send your press release to the radio station’s director of marketing or programming — this is the person who decides what goes on the air, making them your best bet for getting your company’s name out there or talking about a cause you care about. You can find their contact information on the station’s website, or you can even call in and ask for it personally.

Your contact may take a while to respond, so it’s perfectly fine to follow up with a phone call or email after two weeks if you haven’t heard back yet. The delicate balance you need to strike here is being persistent enough without coming across as too pushy or aggressive.

Free Radio Advertising for Businesses Often Comes from On-air Giveaways 

If you have a product or service, consider offering it to your local radio station as an on-air giveaway. When the station awards your product as a prize, your organization gets a valuable mention as well as free excitement generated by the listeners competing to gain what you have to offer. 

Products and services can make thrilling giveaways without being incredibly pricey, and some of them may even cost your company nothing at all. For example, if you’re a restaurant owner, you can offer free appetizers or meals. If you own a gym, offer a free one-month trial membership. If you own a local spa, offer a free massage. If your business provides landscaping services, you can offer a consultation for a spring yard makeover.

To arrange these collaborations, contact local radio stations and offer free samples of your product. In any case, be sure the station knows your company name as well as the details they need to mention while they’re giving your product or service away on air.

Sponsoring Community Events Can Score Free Radio Advertising for Businesses

There are many ways to get a shout-out over the radio waves, but sponsoring a community event is one of the best. Sponsorship doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive — your brand simply needs to provide part of the needed goods, services, or financial donations that help get an event off the ground.

Radio personalities like to interview vendors and sponsors of upcoming events in the community. By sponsoring these events, you will build goodwill with the community and promote your company at the same time.

Obtain Free Radio Advertising by Building Relationships with Radio Personalities

The best way to obtain free radio advertising is by building a relationship with the radio personalities. In doing so, they will be more likely to help you out by mentioning your company on their show or posting about it on social media.

As is the case when establishing any meaningful relationship, the first step is to remain friendly and engaging. Contact the host via email or social media, and let them know why you’d be a good interviewee for an upcoming show.

Additionally, ensure that your relationship is mutually beneficial. Send a heartfelt thank you along with a fun complimentary item when radio personalities announce one of your upcoming sales or events on air.

You don’t have to pay for radio advertising if you are willing to work for it. There are plenty of ways to get your company on the air without breaking your marketing budget, but the best part of these strategies is that they don’t require special skills or resources. All they need to succeed is a little bit of time and effort on your part.

About the author


David Purdy

Dave Purdy is a publicist at Otter PR. He was born in Massachusetts and grew up in the Tampa Bay area. Purdy is a proud veteran of the U.S. Navy and a graduate of the University of South Florida. He spent many years in radio broadcasting as a DJ, traffic reporter, news anchor, show host, and producer, and sold radio and digital advertising for a couple of years. Purdy made the transition to public relations in 2018 and specializes in getting great radio and podcast interviews for his clients. His clients have been featured on ABC Radio, Westwood One, Bloomberg Radio, and many more. Purdy calls Tampa Bay home and in his free time, he enjoys bike riding, kayaking, camping, stand-up comedy, and enjoying the great outdoors.