Everyone knows the value of free publicity. And given the opportunity, most businesses would jump at the chance to have a news article written about them, or to be covered by TV and radio stations.
But the chances of those stories coming to you on their own are very slim. That's why smart businesses go out of their way to create news, and bring free publicity to them. And it takes a lot more than just your run-of-the-mill press release.
In fact, blanketing every available news organization with generic releases will do you more harm than good. Do it too often, and your releases will start hitting the round file before they are even read.
Just like every other aspect of your marketing, publicity campaigns need to be targeted to be effective. Because even if you do manage to score a write up in your local paper, it won't help you much if your target customer isn't a subscriber. Find out what papers and magazines your prospect does read, what newscasts he listens to or watches, and target those.
Once you have your targets chosen, make sure you have something that will be of interest to them. Remember, you're not writing an ad for your business. You're trying to convince a reporter that you have a story she will want to cover. To do that, you need to know the outlet you're sending your release to, and what kinds of stories they consider news.
It's a rare media outlet that will care about your new product, or sale, or internal promotion ? unless you give them a good reason to. You need some kind of emotional hook that will make your story interesting to the readers/listeners/viewers.
Can you tie your product or sale to a news event? Or better yet, can you create an event of your own? Staging an unusual event or charity benefit can get you lots of positive coverage.
Don't just stop at news releases. Write articles on some new development in your industry and submit them to the publications your prospects read. Distribute ezine articles far and wide over the internet. This establishes you as an expert and gives you exposure.
When you do have an article published or a story done on you, milk it for all it is worth. Make copies and use them in your marketing. Frame them and put them up in your store if you have one. At the very least, tell people you were featured in such-and-such publication.
Publicity can be a great marketing tool. But bottom line is, you have to make it happen. And use it to your advantage when it does!
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