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!