Business Advice

Publicity - A Hidden Goldmine For Your Business And The “Secret” Pathway To Success

Product publicity is the "secret pathway" to business success everyone wants. In simple terms, product publicity is a kind of advertising that costs you nothing, yet brings in the orders for you.

Regardless of what kind of business you are operating, you should want, and strive for, as much publicity for your business and your products or services, as possible.

After all, it’s "free advertising" that is essential to the growth of your business.

However, your publicity efforts should be well thought out, and pre-planned for maximum results. The first and basic form of obtaining publicity is through what is known as … the press or news release.

This is generally a one page story about your business, your product/service or an event/happening related to your business that is about to, or has recently occurred.

These publicity stories are generally "shot-gunned" to all the various media: local newspapers, radio and TV, and trade publications.

Problem number one is getting the people to whom you've sent these publicity stories, to use them, that is, to publish or broadcast them. And this leads us back to the "right way” of writing them and sending them in.

In every case, send a short cover letter addressed to the person you want your material to be considered by. This means that you send your story to the city editor of the newspapers; the news directors of the radio and TV stations; and the managing editors of the various trade publications.

It will do you no good what-so-ever, to send your material to the advertising, circulation or business managers - describing how you're a long-time advertiser, subscriber or listener.

The most important thing is that you make contact with the person who has the final say as to what is to be published

or broadcast, and at the bottom line - this person's use of your material will somehow make him a "hero" to his or her readers, viewers or listeners.

The cover letter should be a short note. Let’s take the Better Business Report - my regular publication for serious business owners to bring in new customers - as an example.

You might send the following note to the editors and news directors of the media in their areas:

"Here's something  that’s new, and for a change, truly helpful, to business people trying to grow their customer base and those wanting to know how to write advertising that sells.

Should be of real value - interest - to your readers. Please take a look - any questions, or if you need more info, give me a call at: 043 883 0937."

Then, of course, you skip about four spaces, type your name, your business name, and your address - sign your name above where you’ve typed it, and staple this note in the upper right hand corner of your news release.

So, now you've got a cover letter, and you know who to send it to. Then take it to a near-by quick-print shop and have them print 50 to100 copies.

Now you need the actual publicity release, which also must be "properly" written if you expect it to be used by the media. Above all else, there's a proper form or style to use, plus the fact that it must be typed, double-spaced, and short - about a half page in total length.

You can do it a number of ways, but here's one that’s worked for me:

  • About an inch from the top of the paper, with an inch and a half margin on each side of the paper; from the left hand margin, type in all capital letters: “PRESS RELEASE:”

Then, underline these words. Immediately following the colon, but not in all capital letters, put in the date. Always set the date forward by at least one day after the day you intend to mail the release.

  • On the same line, but on the right hand side of the page, and in all capital letters, write the words, FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:
  • Underline this, and immediately below, but not in all capital letters, type your name - your phone number - and your address.

Skip a couple of spaces, then in all capital letters - centred between the margins - type a story headline, and underline it.

  • Skip a couple of spaces, and from the left hand margin, all in capital letters, type the words, FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

From there on, it's the news or publicity story itself.

You can write the headline before the story, and then a story to fit the headline - or the story before the headline, and then a headline to fit the story - either way, it's basically the same as writing a space ad or a sales letter...

... You attract attention and interest with the headline and fill in the details with your story.

Here's an example of the headlines I use on publicity blurbs for the “Inside Secrets Of Advertising” home study course:

HELP IN GETTING MORE CUSTOMERS... FAST NEW CUSTOMER-GENERATING PUBLICATION FOR SMALL BUSINESS

Notice how I continue to sell or involve the editor - His readers are always looking for better ways to make ends meet, and he’s specifically interested as to what our promise involves. He wants his readers to "think well" of him for enlightening them with this source of help, so he reads into the story to find out who, what and how.

Suffice it to say that your headline, and the story you present to the editor, must sell him on the benefits of your product or service to his readers.

Unless it specifically does this, he will not use it. You must sell the first person receiving your materials. Keep this fact uppermost in your mind as you write it.

The person you send your press or publicity release to, must quickly see and understand how your product or service will benefit his readers - thereby making him a hero to them - and he must be assured it will do what you promise in your headline.

Come right to the point and say your product is lower in price ... or more convenient to use ... or whichever way your product or service is useful to the people in general.

It's also a good idea to include a complimentary sample of your product or an opportunity for him to sample your services.

Remember, the editors receiving your information are fully aware of your purposes - Free Advertising! They are not the least bit interested in you or your credentials.

If you've sold them on the benefits of your business to their readers, and they want background details, they'll call you. That's why you list your telephone number and address.

These people are busy people. They have not got the time or the interest in reading about your trials and tribulations or plans for the future. They want only "a flag" that alerts them to something new and of probable real interest to their readers.

Sell the editor first. Convince him that you've found the better mousetrap. Show him that your product or service - your business -fills a need and/or will interest a large segment of his readers, his viewers or listeners.

When an editor uses your publicity release, always follow-up with a short 'thank you' note.

On the other hand however, never, ever send a publicity release to an editor and then call or write demanding to know why he didn’t use it, use it as you wrote it, or only gave you a quick mention.

Do this once, and that particular media will "round-file" any further material received from you, unopened!

If your first effort is not used, then you should review the story itself; perhaps write it from a different angle; make sure you` re sending it to the proper person - and try again!

As I said, these people are busy, with hundreds of publicity releases passing across their desks every day.

They only have so much space or time. Therefore, your material has to stand out and in some way, fit with the information they - the editors - want to pass along to their readers, viewers or listeners. 

Regardless of your business, product, or service, you must build your press release - write it - around that particular angle or feature that makes it beneficial or interest to the readers, viewer or listeners of the media you want to run your press release.

Without this special ingredient, you're lost before you begin!

The timing of your press release is always important. Try to associate your press release with current events in the news. A story on how hard it is for small businesses to survive, carried in the newspapers, on TV and radio, would prompt me to get publicity release out to all the media on the help and opportunity offered by the Hot Tips Advertising Letter!

There's another kind of timing also to keep in mind ...Publication deadlines.

For best results, always try to time it so your material reaches the editor in time for the Sunday paper. This is because that's when the papers have their greatest circulation; the most space is available; and the people, the most time to read the paper.

For articles you'd like to appear in the Sunday paper, you'll generally have to get your release in at least nine days prior to the date of publication. If you're in doubt, call and ask about the deadline date.

For further information on how your business can benefit from these and other exciting business and marketing tactics call Bob Lyon direct on 043 883 0937 or get your FREE report entitled “How To Sell Your Business At Your Price … And Cause A Stampede Of Prospective Buyers Literally Begging For Your Time” by simply going to www.betterbusinessreport.com/ab4s1.htm

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