Monday, November 3, 2008

Getting the word out about your green business

Whether your company's move to the greener side has been inspired by a deep commitment to the earth or a keen awareness of the costs of business-as-usual, you'll want to get the message out to customers and business associates. Even the most altruistic managers and business owners will want to leverage the changes into positive publicity for the company.

Let's face it: green sells.

So how and where does a business share the information about their changes? And how much change is enough to make a campaign or press release seem meaningful? Let's start with the latter -- what's enough of a change to warrant publicity.

1) The change represents a significant alternation in the way your company and/or industry did business in the past. For example, allowing two or three people to telecommute is not news. Allowing 30% of your workforce to do so IS news. Especially if your industry or region is not heavily invested in the concept at this point.

2) The change involves a technology, process or business model that arose from your company.

3) The change results in a significant or potentially significant savings in energy or a significant reduction in waste or pollution. A process change that saves one tree a year is a nice gesture, but will appear self-serving and insignificant in a press release. A technology that saves 20 trees a month is newsworthy.

Once you've determined that your news is indeed,well, news, the question of where to shout the news remains. Here are a few suggestions:

1) Targeted press releases. A number of press release services allow you to select your audience, and environmental targeting is typically one of the choices. Make sure big names in the environmental news world like the Sierra Club and the World Wildlife Fund are among the release recipients, along with newspapers in environmentally savvy regions of the country. In the U.S., that would include the Intermountain West states like Colorado, Utah and Montana, Pacific Northwestern papers and most areas of California.

2) Print and online resource publications like the National Green Pages, Treehugger or

3) Green magazines and e-zines. Magazines like Mother Earth News or Good are excellent places to discuss your new business choices. Contact their editorial staff with your story idea or submit a query for an article you'd write yourself. New green publications are being added almost daily, so check your newsstand or do an Internet search for new venues to discuss your green company.

4) Word of mouth. One of most effective ways to promote your green business is through word of mouth. Talk with people online in blogs and other social networking sites. Get your employees excited and talking. If customers are enthusiastic about the new changes, ask them to spread the word. Conversation, person to person, is the best way to build a loyal base of staff and customers.