Top 7 Business Tips to Garnering Publicity Online & Offline
By Jeff Zbar
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Public relations can be a powerful and inexpensive marketing tool for small business. In fact, PR executives often say that the same space used for a paid advertisement would be worth three times as much if dedicated to an article or write-up on a product because of the perceived objectivity and newsworthiness when written by a reporter. Combine that with the interactivity of the Internet and electronic mail, and public relations can become an immediate tool as well if used correctly. Here are seven dos and don'ts when using the Internet and email as part of your marketing program.
- Do call off deadline. When contacting a reporter by telephone, call earlier in the day. First, ask if he or she is on dead-line. If he or she is, ask a good time to call back (don't just rush your pitch). He or she will respect and appreciate your courtesy.
- Do ask reporters if they prefer pitches via email (don't just assume they do). If so, email away. Some reporters would rather keep their email inboxes uncluttered and receive faxes or snail mail instead.
- Do ask whether they prefer messages and PR releases as attachments or "in the message box." Some would rather have shorter announcements and then follow up seeking more information if the story is deemed newsworthy.
- Don't just email images, photos, ads, charts, graphs, etc., to reporters. Again, ask if they prefer such graphics. Many freelancers working from home use slower dial-up connections, and even 56k modems crawl through a large-file download.
- Do create an ezine (electronic magazine) of valuable content and insights. In the Information Age, providing content to a list of opt-in subscribers can become a valuable way to brand yourself as an expert resource, for both reporters and potential clients. Just make certain your insights are newsworthy and valid.
- Do make interactive marketing part of a larger marketing communications program. No marketing medium operates in a vacuum; online and offline marketing are equally important in the New Economy. Include your URL and subscribe instructions for your ezine in your offline marketing messages, and vice versa. Business cards, Web sites, letterhead, email signature files, bookmarks, doorhangers and press releases should include simple, well-crafted marketing messages (starting with your company name and leading to all your contact information).
- Don't abate. Marketing is made of "campaigns." Your efforts have to be relentless and powerful in order to make your messages memorable.
Jeff Zbar (firstname.lastname@example.org), The Chief Home Officer, is a veteran home-based journalist, marketing columnist and business/marketing coach specializing in work-at-home, alternative officing, and small business issues. He is the author of Home Office Know-How (Upstart Publishing, 1998), and Your Profitable Home Business Made E-Z (Made E-Z Products, Inc.). He also publishes the free ezine, Home Office Success Stories (www.goinsoho.com/stories.htm [http://www.goinsoho.com/stories.htm]).
Article Submitted On: November 15, 1999