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How to Get Over $100,000 Worth of Free Publicity and Advertising Using PR...
No matter the size of your business, before you spend an exorbitant amount of money on publicity and advertising, you should explore the free promotional tools available to you. In fact, many experts recommend that you pursue free public relation and advertising strategies BEFORE you actually spend any money on media advertising. The end result of greater sales and the expansion of your business can be achieved by using these free tools efficiently and effectively. You’ll get more bang for your buck and you’ll experience a great deal of satisfaction at how you generated this success by investing your time and talents to promote your business dream. Before you invest money to make money, try the alternative and non-traditional form of promoting your business. Before you spend any money on media advertising, consider the points below. These tips can help you better plan your strategy and take advantage of benefits that many entrepreneurs are missing.
A story that you submit to any media outlet will be much more influential than a paid advertisement. Many consumers believe advertisements to be false and misleading; they also perceive a biased approach in an advertisement. A story will lend credibility to you, your product and your business. You will obtain instant credibility from a news story and trustworthiness will be apparent to the shopper. If a journalist has taken the time to review your offer, his audience will see you through his recommendation and your reputation as an expert will flourish. News stories and features can help you to reach and get newer and larger clients. People who read about you and your business in the news will want to work with you and promote your business by their patronage. This can be a win-win situation for all parties involved. News stories will also be seen by banking and lender representatives who will be more willing to work with you to obtain financing. In a recent survey, companies who engaged in PR campaigns were 30% more successful in getting financing and funding than companies who did not have a public relations campaign. If your business is to be the success of which you dream, additional funding must be available to you as your plans grow and expand and new costs arise. The lifeblood of your success depends on the number of potential customers who are driven to your business or website to shop. You must attract these visitors with a dynamic, creative, and proven method that will allow your business to stand out above all of the rest. Competition in the marketplace is fierce and your strategies must be on the cutting edge to capture the attention you want for your business.
Using free PR as a catalyst for your publicity and advertising campaigns is easy if you use a few tried and true methods and organize your plan and purpose. It’s a powerful tool that you have at your disposal and the good news is that you won’t have a lot of competition! Research shows that not many companies are trying free PR instead of the costly traditional venues of advertising. They prefer to hire PR agencies who will write costly and boring press releases that will not motivate enough energy for your business to reap the reward dollars from this investment. If you think that free PR is a struggle and only for a certain niche of business, you are incorrect in your assumptions. The best attitude to have is the one that supports that with PR there is always a way and you must discover that method for your individual business.
One of the guiding principles or the golden rule of PR is to understand that with your PR plan, you must meet the need of the journalist or producer that you are contacting. He is searching, sometimes frantically, for stories and news clips to fill those valuable slots in his publication or on his program. Journalists are not inundated with stories, as many businessmen believe, but instead, are seeking interesting topics for discussion for their viewers or readers.
One of the biggest mistakes that you as a businessman pursuing your own PR can make is to focus on you and your business exclusively in your contact with a journalist. You need to show in your story a real interest in the journalist’s audience. It’s not about you when you are approaching a professional media representative with your business story or press release. It’s about helping their job to be easier and more interesting to their readers or viewers. Businesses are NOT using this rule of marketing to their advantages so you can be assured that if you are sincerely interested in what makes that journalist appear more appealing, your story will be readily featured.
As you prepare your press releases or stories, stress the expertise and knowledge you have on a particular topic. If you establish yourself as an expert with valuable information, you will find it much easier to obtain this free PR with media outlets. Remember to cut through the mediocrity and place your press release or story above the competition. Maybe you know how to manage people, stress, or uncooperative people. Perhaps, you know all about how to or steps to a specific procedure. Use this as a tool to lead attention to your business.
Begin by contacting your local media outlets to obtain free PR. This is one of the most valuable forms of advertising and it’s within your reach immediately. They are looking for authenticity and someone who can speak articulately about a product or business. Many advertising experts say that the trading area for most businesses is within a 10 minute drive of the business location therefore featuring your business on a local radio talk show, television show, or in the local print media will reach this segment of your target market. It will not be difficult to make your business newsworthy for those people living within a short distance of your business.
Write a feature story about some activity going on at your workplace, a community interest project, or a promotional event that the consumer won’t want to miss. Whether the article is about a grand opening, an expansion, a plan to hire new employees, or a human interest topic, develop a story that will frame your business in a positive, appealing light. Attract customers to your door to see what all the excitement is about. The best rule of thumb to follow is to get off the business page of the publication. You want to create a buzz about your business that causes people to think about your business as a story. It’s like window shopping versus high pressure sales. If you are being pressured to make a purchase, most likely you will not reciprocate with a purchase. On the other hand, if you are window shopping, you can casually view the available product, gather information, and then make an educated purchase. If your business is featured in a human interest story, the reader views what you are about, how you are standing for what you believe, and how you can help improve their lives. There is no high pressure, just solid and valuable information.
Another method of appealing to your local media is with an excellent photo of the event or activity in which your employees and you participated. A picture is worth a thousand words and a lot of advertising dollars for you. Make sure your image is high quality and speaks volumes about the story. You must have a direct connection between the image and the story to make it credible and interesting. As any professional photographer will instruct you, keep the background to a minimum and instead focus on the activity itself or the people in the photo. Submit a carefully taken picture who will represent your business in a professional and positive way. Screen the photo for any unacceptable gestures or background graffiti that would be offensive to the reader or viewer. Leave no stone unturned in editing your photo; you can even ask a friend or co-worker to look it over before it is submitted. If there is not a photo opportunity available at the event, create one that you can use. Don’t let any moment pass you by as you continually seek photos that will portray the message of your company. A good image can help you turn a straightforward news story into a media event that will promote your business in a unique way.
The workhorse of a free PR campaign is the press release. Many companies pay expensive prices for companies to write press releases which many times are boring and uninviting. If it is carefully written and the proper procedures are followed, the press release will save the journalist time and effort and be well-received. Remember, media outlets are searching for interesting and solid topics to fill time slots that create opportunity and profits.
There are some basic rules you should follow when creating your press release.
1. Keep it simple. You should have no more than a one page article whose purpose is to entice a journalist to call you about this press release. This is the hook that will peak their interest and cause them to want to know more about you.
2. Create a great headline. You have only three seconds to capture the interest of the journalist so your headline has to be catchy and unique. The purpose of the press release, remember, is to get immediate interest so you should strive to make it creative and imaginative. Think outside the box in your approach. Avoid boring, mundane wording that will send your press release to the garbage can.
3. Feature ideas not news stories. Write a few paragraphs of simple wording that will tell in a succinct way what you are about, what you are offering, and how this can help the audience. All of this is woven in and around your feature story.
4. Present a strong and clear call to action. In big bold letters supply the information for the viewer or reader to obtain more information about your business. Be concise, to the point, and confident in your presentation.
Once your press release is ready, you will contact the press with your document. You can perform internet researches to locate the contact information for media outlets. Keep records of the numbers you use so that future contacts can be made more easily. You can also use Media Guides or PR Planners that will provide you with contact information. You will then do the two steps below to distribute your press release and check to see if you successfully made contact.
1. Mail or email your press release to the media outlets you selected from the list you compiled while doing your research.
2. Make a follow-up telephone call to the outlet. You will check to learn if they have seen your press release and how they have processed the information that they received.
If your press release is to target a radio or television program, be very deliberate in your communication skills as you speak with the journalist or producer. They will be checking to see if you can speak clearly and concisely about your business and product. They will get to hear your voice and since radio is an auditory medium, the want to hear what you sound like before they book you on their program. A couple of questions will probably be asked of you to ascertain the knowledge you have about your product but more importantly will be the passion you show about your subject. They will want to examine your communication skills, your “thinking-on-your-feet” capability, and how you can relate to their audience. You should be quick with your answers and credible as you present your information to the journalist. You are selling the idea of using your feature story in their programming; you must present the facts accurately, with confidence, and as the expert you are. Speak as if you have done this many times before and that you are thinking of them and how their audience will perceive your presentation. Your job is to make them look good; promoting your business will take a back seat but the profits you will gain from this free publicity will put you in the driver’s seat when it comes to your marketing plan.
If you have an established working relationship with a journalist, the job of press releases and getting the attention that you want will be much easier. Currently send them stories about your business featuring a unique glimpse into the life of your business. Don’t just send out press releases to them; create stories for them which reduces their work loads and provides them with ideas for ways to fill those never-ending time slots that haunt even the most strategic producer. Once you have this working relationship with the journalist, they will be more receptive to your ideas and will work to help you impart your knowledge to their audience.
Radio is another one of the most powerful media outlets available to you at no cost. It is easy to use and the format is structured to reach the captive audience listening in their vehicles during the long commune. Millions of people commute to work on a daily basis. This on-the-go crowd is always in search of faster, more efficient and reliable ways to improve their lives. You can provide them with information to make their lives easier and more time efficient. Radio stations need more than 10,000 guests a day to fill the available time slots in their programming. They want interesting and enlightening information that will keep their audience tuned in to their station. This method is one of the easiest you can use. You can call in from anywhere at any time to participate in an informative interview that will fill the need any particular audience might be experiencing. This puts a targeted audience right on the telephone in your hand! Frequently, you can have an hour long program of free airtime to answer call-in questions and give the expert information that you have. Knowledge is power and this is a power that can work extremely easily and efficiently for you. You will be recognized as an expert in your field which will foster additional interviews for you. You can develop a daily or weekly following of listeners who want and demand your advice. These fans can begin to help you build an email list or create a membership site for which you can charge a fee for information. This method of free PR can quickly expand your business into a very lucrative venture.If you have information that they need you can tap into the free flowing fountain of free radio publicity. It’s a win-win situation that provides great programming for the radio station and a great promotional tool for you. People pay more attention to a radio talk show guest than they do to advertisements that cost a lot of money. The time you spend in an interview is worth far more than an advertisement and costs nothing! The audience is also more likely to believe a guest than they are a commercial. Just use yourself as an example. Do you listen more closely to commercials or a guest on a talk radio show? Studies show that 96% of people listen to the radio at least once a week and more than 75% listen on a daily basis. Look at the scope of the radio audience available at no cost to your advertising campaign. More than 10,000 people per
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