Publicity is one of the most powerful forms of advertising. Reporters are constantly on the lookout for products, companies, and individuals to write about. If you’re not using publicity, then you’re missing out on sales and leaving a lot of money on the table. Advertising mixed with publicity or PR (public relations) can increase sales in a short period of time.
The two biggest reasons PR doesn’t help business owners:
- Business owners aren’t familiar with it. Before I got into PR, I owned a collection agency, and I had never heard about public relations. And I wasted lots of money on advertising that didn’t work. Let’s face it: reporters can’t write about you if they don’t know you exist.
- Their PR efforts aren’t consistent. Sending one press release every three or four months is not a campaign and doesn’t get results.
- Call the radio station when you hear “We have open lines” and talk about issues that your expertise solves.
- Give an award. (Find influential people in your community or industry and give them an award.)
- Get editorial calendars from publications you’d like to be in and find upcoming stories that fit your expertise.
- Arrange roundup articles with other experts in your industry.
- Host your own radio show.
- Write articles for newspapers and magazines.
- Write op-ed columns for newspapers.
- Write a letter to the editor.
- Write a tip sheet (“21 Ways to...”).
- Write guest columns for newspapers.
- Write a how-to article.
- Write and send press releases to the media.
- Start your own free local cable access TV show. (Contact your local cable company.)
- Speak for local civic groups and announce in their newsletters.
- Go where the cameras are. Read the calendar of events section in your newspaper or call the newsroom and ask what events they’re covering.
- Call photographers’ desks at local newspapers and volunteer your office or building as a backdrop or for special issue stories.
- Write a pitch letter.
- Set up referrals to other well-known experts. Refer reporters to each other.
- Send reprints of articles to other media outlets and offer additional information.
- Create your own special day. (Visit www.chases.com.)
- Call the media on slow news days (weekends and holidays) and suggest a story.
Robert Smith, aka The PR Doctor, is a leading PR consultant and speaker. His clients include Jay Abraham, Nightingale-Conant, Chet Holmes, Tom Hopkins, Bill Bartmann, and Les Brown. His website is www.myprbook.com.