Making Yourself The Talk Of The Town Part 2

public relations 

The Talk Of The Town PR

Marcia Yudkin, who knows a thing or six about publicity, gives us six steps to free publicity, based upon her book by the same name. I alert you to them here:

  1. Find a news angle for your headline
  2. Present the basic facts for the angle of your headline in the first paragraph of your press release.
  3. Gather or create a lively, fascinating quote that elaborates on the basic facts for the second paragraph of your release.
  4. Elaborate still further on the basic facts in your third paragraph.
  5. End your release with the nitty-gritty details about prices, addresses, dates, phone numbers, registration data if any. Keep this to one paragraph.
  6. Email it, send it out, or hand it to your buddies who work for the media. It helps immensely if you have a specific editor or producer who you can refer to by name.  

How do you generate something newsy for the news media? Announce something new about your business or group. Write about what’s unique and unusual about your business. Tell of an upcoming event. Write of the connection between your offering and what’s in the news right now. Announce the results of a survey or research poll you conducted or even one you read about. Tell the community who won your essay contest. Tie in with a holiday or anniversary, especially a city event. Write of the connection between your business and a current trend. Make a controversial claim or at least, a very surprising claim. Make a humorous announcement. Put it into a eye-catching headline and you’re off to the races for free publicity, appearances on talk shows, profits for a minimal investment.

Let me clarify here that if you want to, you can pay for public relations. You can hire a PR person, pay him or her a monthly or project fee—anywhere from $500 to $25,000 per month— and let that person do what is necessary to secure free publicity. PR people are experts at it. They have the contacts, the experience, the insights. They have made all the errors, they have learned from them, and they are usually well worth their fees. But because you are a guerrilla, I want to let you know you can do what PR people do. That way, you'll be able to get the publicity and you won't have to pay anyone a cent.

Moment of truth time: The best way to succeed at public relations is to have publicity contactspeople at the media who you know on a first-name basis. It's one thing to mail a proper press kit to the proper managing editor at a publication. It's another thing to call Nancy at the paper and say, "Nancy, let's have lunch tomorrow. I have some information that will definitely interest your readers and I want you to have it first. I'll pop for the lunch."

Nancy, because she enjoys free lunches, but primarily because she knows and trusts you, has lunch with you. Never forget how hungry the news media are for news. If you have real news, they'll listen. So Nancy listens and the next day, there's a story about your product or service or company in her newspaper. When you pay a PR pro a steep fee, you're paying for a gob of Nancys, and those publicity contacts are usually well worth the price.

One of the most important public relations tools is the annual report. As a rule, entrepreneurs don't publish one. But why not? It need not conform to the usual annual report sent to shareholders. It need not talk money. It can be a report that contains information valuable to your customers. When you do publish such an annual report, send some copies to the media. Let them enjoy your creativity. Nudge them to give that creativity some "ink." And by all means, send your annual report to your prospects.

Members of the press are frequently invited to "press parties." At these parties, cocktails or beverages and a meal or hors d'oeuvres are served, and frequently a presentation is made. It's a short one, but affective and hard-selling. The purpose is to woo the press with wining and dining, then win their hearts with a dramatic presentation of the facts. Naturally, the facts are about a new business or a new direction for an old business. It's no surprise that the press coverage following these parties is tremendous. Guerrillas hold their press parties at unique places such as ferryboats, railroad cars traveling to interesting destinations, penthouses, haunted houses, parks, and art galleries.

A major-league PR pro once told me that nearly 80 percent of the news is "planted"—sent to the media by publicity firms and lobbying groups. Sometimes planted news deals with political topics; sometimes it deals with industrial topics; and sometimes it deals with products or people. That PR pro repeated what insiders know—newspapers are hungry for real news. If you can furnish it, they'll gladly publish it. But telling a newspaper that you are having a sale is not news. Informing a radio station that you have started a business is not news. News needs a slant to it, a hook that will

Guerrillas love the free press coverage they get from the big newspapers, but they rarely overlook the small ones. There are many of them and nearly all of them count. They never send more than one release at a time, and they are quick to learn of the myriad of PR opportunities online. 

The best marketing plans usually call for a combination of advertising and public relations. The two go hand in hand. One is highly credible but gives you no control. The other has less credibility but gives you complete control. Together, they supply most of the pieces of the marketing puzzle.

When the circus comes to town and you put up a sign, that’s advertising. If you put that sign on the back of the elephant and you market the elephant through town, that’s sales promotion. If the elephant, with the sign still on his back, tramples through the mayor’s flower garden and the paper reports it, that’s publicity.   If you can get the mayor to laugh about it and forgive the elephant and then ride in the circus with no hard feelings, then you truly understand guerrilla publicity.

Advertising is the most expensive method of getting out the word. Direct marketing is the next most expensive method. Being online comes in next when it comes to expense. And PR is the least expensive, but is the most time-consuming.

If you know PR, you should know what the media does not like. It’s a pretty obvious list: hemming and hawing, wasted time, frivolous questions, incomplete sentences, bad writing, people who cannot take no for an answer, people who don’t really believe in what they’re calling or writing about, ugly persistence, demanding natures, bad listeners, people who constantly interrupt, lack of common sense, and blatant attempts to advertise under the guide of real news.

Why does well-intention PR go awry? Same reason businesses fail. Same reason marketing fails. Same reason advertising fails. It’s failure to follow-up. If you’re too busy to make an average of four phone calls for every media outlet you’ve contacted, you should turn your PR over to a pro who has the time and expertise you may lack.

If you have a yogurt shop and send out a release that says, “Best yogurt in town,” you’re like to be greeted by a big ho-hum. But if you sponsor a charity drive, put up a display and sign in front of your store, hand out samples of your yogurt to passers-by who read your sign, link up with a local celebrity, and the invite the media to check you out for a story, they now have a newsy and valid reason to do a story about your yogurt shop. Did I say it was easy? Never did. Did I say it helps your business? I certainly say that now.

I haven’t even mentioned the plethora of public relations and sponsorship opportunities now available on the Internet. Chances abound for you to spread the good word about yourself in cyberspace, as you’ll soon discover during your weekly surf.   Sponsorship of many sites visited by your prospects is not costly. Just as with offline PR, most online PR is free and requires tireless research on your part. But it will be worth your effort.

There are many online sources for building your own media list. Don't rely totally on free resources for your publicity efforts. They typically are not updated frequently enough to be totally accurate or complete. A good way to collect media names which are current and actually writing for your target market is to be alert when reading trade magazines for the writers' names and contact information. Experiment with using personalized news services to receive articles about your industry, then comb those articles for the writers' names.

Just remember what the smartest of the PR pros know all too well:

Without publicity, a terrible thing happens: NOTHING!

 

 Action Steps:

  1. Make an outline for a "first-time customer" brochure. This is where you'll have the most control over your word-of-mouth marketing.
  2. Make a list of other types of businesses that your customers patronize, such as styling salons for a restaurant.
  3. Make a list of the media in which you'd most benefit from free publicity.   The list should include both online and offline media.
  4. This is tough, but tough times call for tough tactics. The tactic I recommend most highly for this lesson is for you to list three people at the media you've selected as most ideal -- then get in touch with these people personally. Do it by email, telephone, but best of all -- in person. The more media contacts you get, the more you'll become the talk of the town…and at no cost.
  5. Come up with a list of three things about your business that are newsy. Perhaps they'll be in the area of product. Possibly they'll connect with your service. Maybe they'll be about new items or services that you offer. The three things you can dream up will be three tickets to free publicity.

 

If you'd like to speak to Bruce Doyle 'Global Guerrilla Marketing Master Trainer' and the Team about 'Your' Marketing Apply for a Complimentary Strategy Call where we'll conduct a Marketing Audit for You.

 

About the Author

Bruce Doyle

Guerrilla Marketing Master Trainer (personally mentor by Jay Conrad Levinson)

Global Business Coach of the Year Hawaii 2003, Author of 4 Business Books, Entrepreneur and Founder of UnlimitedBusiness.com

Bruce has worked with 1000's of Business Owners over the past 20 years plus he's owned and operated over 30 Businesses across a range of industries. His focus is teaching business owners how to dramatically GROW PROFITS and GET MORE FREEDOM IN THEIR LIVES. 

bruce doyle business coach