Would you like to expand the volume of your business? You can let thousands of people know about your service, your store, or your new products without paying a penny. Whether you want to make more sales, or get an offer on television, you can broaden the scope of your clients by free publicity.
You don’t have to climb a flagpole or hire a dancing bear to attract attention and sales. In fact, with just a telephone and follow up letters and flyers, you can be making much more money than you are.
What product or business are you involved with that needs more clients or customers? You might have a neighborhood store, or you might be seeking exposure for a celebrity or politician. Maybe you have a new invention that you can’t get marketed or a recently released line of designer furniture that you
want to increase sales on.
How are you presently getting to customers? You may be advertising in newspapers and magazines or trade journals. Or you may be relying on a distribution agreement to retail the products your plant
Perhaps you’re an author depending on a publishing house to promote your book, but it seems to be waning. Or you could be a young comic, trying to get some more acts to further your career.
Regardless of your business or enterprise, free publicity is available to you. And you don’t need any particular background or training to do it. What you do need is the belief in yourself and your product and the diligence and perseverance to continue when one idea doesn’t pan out.
Take a look at the variety of types of publicity. Whether you want a local increase in sales, or national fame, free publicity is available to you.
WHAT IS PUBLICITY?
Publicity is making something known to the public, spreading information to the general-local or national-market. It is information with a news value used to attract public attention or support. Everybody use publicity. Politicians, manufacturers, celebrities-even the car makers use publicity to further their causes and gain attention and publicity isn’t limited to large organizations. Small committees and enterprises use the local newspapers to publicize events and endeavors. Publicity differs from advertising because it is free. Although some groups or individuals do trade tickets or services for free mention in publications, generally publicity is newsworthy copy that a publication produces.
Publicity is a form of promotion, although promoting a product or service may require other efforts that cost the company money. Good publicity is one of the best ways to let people know you have a worthwhile business.
KNOW YOUR PRODUCT OR SERVICE
In order to gain publicity, you have to be totally familiar with the product, service or business that you are promoting. If it is your own product, you are the best one to describe the benefits and features. If you want to publicize something else, talk to everyone involved to get the facts and details.
Consider the radius of your market. If you have a local business such as a retail store or service shop, most of your customers are from the surrounding five miles. If you are located in a large city, you may have a larger radius, but at the same time, there may be stiffer competition.
Your enterprise might be regional or statewide and your clients may come from hundreds of miles-either in person or by telephone-to use your services. And, if you are a large manufacturer, your clients and customers may come from the entire country or you may have a worldwide audience.
Profile your customers. Who are they and what do they do? If you have a service, how often is this service used? If you have a product, is it something that is bought again and again, or is it a lifetime purchase? How much do your customers pay for your products and are you competitive with the other
manufacturers of the same products? If you have an unusual product, are you reaching the widest audience you can?
SURVEY THE MARKET
What do the customers want? Sometimes, the least expensive price is not the most important element. With today’s packaging, many customers expect and will pay for things elaborately packaged. Where do these people go to buy your products? Are they sold at retail outlets or through trade publications or magazines? Or, are they special items available from mail order or from certain regions of the nation or the world? Finally, why do your customers buy this particular service or product, or use the particular business you have? An architectural design studio produces blueprints for architects to construct buildings for homeowners and industry. But your product may be aimed at a less precise group of people, somewhat hard to define. You can discover what consumers want from surveys. You can get copies of surveys from special
companies that conduct surveys, or you can do your own. The best place to conduct a survey is at a trade show for your product.
You might run a drawing and ask people to fill in information. You can
have cards printed with boxes to check easily so people will spend the time to answer your questions. Manufacturers use surveys with warranties. Appliance makers often include a few questions along with the warranty that the consumer sends back. Most major manufacturers have their own teams of product testing.
Toymakers bring in children and watch their reactions. Book publishers have people look at covers and decide which they’d buy. Even the car manufacturers run surveys and opinion testing on style and pricing. Before you seek publicity or even advertise, KNOW YOUR PRODUCT. Be familiar with the people
who buy your product or service, and have a full understanding of the general competition and the full scope of marketability.
WHERE TO PUBLICIZE
Depending on your product, you have a full gamut of possibilities for advertising without paying – free publicity. Deciding on the type of media is as important as knowing your product and the people who buy. As a manufacturer, you want to let retailers know of your product. The trade magazines would be a good place for new products and comparisons of product reliability.
If you want to publicize directly to the general public national publications, metropolitan newspapers and Saturday newspapers are ways to tap into the market. For a local enterprise – either a profitable business, a charity or community service – the local newspapers are the best places for free publicity.
Once your product or news is of national importance, the television and radio can be good sources of publicity. Even the local public stations produce interesting shows about local people and products. For international significance, the newspaper syndicates and wire services provide the publicity you’ll need. Don’t go for the biggest first; move up to the larger markets. Start with the local news, then expand as your product interest grows.
MAKE IT NEWSWORTHY
In order to qualify for publicity, your information must be newsworthy. Anything published in the newspapers, magazines or trade journals must be important to readers – either as information for an event, or interesting insights in the industry.
You may have a new product or product line that can be publicized in magazines. If not, you need to come up with unique angles to get the publicity you seek. An unusual background for the inventor of the product or owner of the manufacturing plant may make good news for the new product. Or you may need to come up with fresh ideas for your service. For example, a short item about famous people using the service is noteworthy, or an unusual combination in the owner’s biography may make a good story.