By Andrew Neitlich

Are you taking advantage of publicity?

By Andrew Neitlich

Publicity is an excellent way to get visible in your target market. Plus, you can get publicity for free.

All you have to do is craft a short press release whenever you have something newsworthy to report, and send it to media that your target market reads.

If you are a local business, or have an industry-specific target market, publicity can be a great vehicle for attracting prospects. When you show up in a publication that your target market respects, you get instant credibility from a third-part (e.g. social proof). You also reach as many people as you could with a free advertisement. Local businesses like buying services from local businesses, so your local newspapers can be very powerful for you.

The one problem with publicity, in my view, is that it takes time to get your name out there. You have to keep at it. I recommend issuing at least one press release a month, although many of my clients are issuing one press release a week as news happens.

Your press releases can’t be advertisements. They need to be something that the editor of a publication will deem interesting to readers. Examples include: new hires, breakthrough products, charity/volunteer work, tips and updates about new technology or web development, new offices opening, and major new alliances or partnerships. Or, if you are working with a community organization as a volunteer, make sure they include you in any press releases about your contribution.

Also, be careful of how you deal with the press. Don’t hound them to print your release. Never get angry with them. Don’t tell them they “owe” you news time because you are an advertiser. Just keep issuing newsworthy releases, and eventually you will see your company’s name in print.

A search on Google can give you plenty of templates to use in issuing a press release, or go to http://www.publicityhound.com for some great free articles on the subject. You can see examples of real releases on www.businesswire.com and www.prnewswire.com, not to mention Yahoo.

A good press release has a compelling headline, and then short paragraphs that explain: the news event or information you are providing, a quote from the players, and who the players are. Then conclude with your contact information. 400 words per release is about right.

I pay money to issue releases now, especially for clients who are looking to raise awareness of their publicly traded company. www.businesswire.com offers membership for $120 and can get your release out to thousands of online and offline media for a few hundred dollars per release.

I’d be grateful if you would share your own experiences and lessons learned with publicity….Thanks!

  • poornam

    One way we have found which increases publicity and sends several customers our way is through forums such as webhostingtalk.com.

    When we started out on webhostingtalk with our site bobcares.com, we had 3-4 webhost customers. Now we manage servers for at least 60 webhosts and we have found these leads on webhostingtalk.

  • PRWeb.com will do press releases for “free” with donations increasing the reach/ranking, etc. While they don’t necessarily have the reach of BusinessWire, they also provide a lower barrier of entry into the world of press releases.

  • JMorrow

    Personally, I’m not a fan of press releases. I’ve seen much better returns from developing relationships with local reporters and positioning myself as an expert. This is called source filing. Reporters call you whenever someone else does something newsworthy, incorporating your opinion into the article. It’s a good way to get mentioned several times per week.

    Other than source filing, I’ve also seen great results from annual or semi-annual media blitzes, centered around an initial publicity stunt. Usually, it’s something zany that makes a great visual. Then you call the guys in the news vans to come out with their cameras. If it’s attractive, they might be there within 30 minutes.

    Next, get them to send you the edited clip that appears on the news. If you’re relationships are strong enough, you can get the tape before it even appears on the news. Then you can send it next day air to the big television stations, along with a letter that describes the results of your event and invites them to do a follow-up.

    The effect is amazing. I ran a radio station three years ago using this method. With two events per year, I stacked up the press to appear on television at least once per week all year long. People still come up to me in public and ask how the station is doing. It’s powerful.

  • SidraG

    We’ve been using press releases combined with content to newspapers and magazines for years now to great success. We run content driven sites (PR6/PR7)and find that a press release with a cut-down version of the article that’s online works great. Newspapers will either use the material in the release or the full online article. And, of course, linking and/or mentioning where the information came from. Has led to quite a few interviews as well.

  • janzmusic@pjslab.us

    I’m really happy to read this article. As a former P.R./marketing person, and one who is currently ‘marketing’ web sites, I’ve always felt that there is still much value in non-website outreach.
    I wrote a book called “Blueprints for Greenbacks”, and it says ‘get the word out about your business or organization – THEN sell it’.

    Thanks again

  • Dano

    As a PR specialist (PR=Public Relations, not Page Rank) i agree with you about tactics and strategies.

    And I want to share this:
    What is a new?

    Once, a reporter told me “there are a lot of companies sending information about launching products, that’s not a new, that’s an advertisement. If they want to advertise, they have to pay”

    So, how could we make an effective approach?
    Just try to concentrate on the following:


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