In last month’s column, I introduced readers to five steps in attracting publicity: 1. Research your customer and your media options. 2. Determine your unique offering. 3. Ensure you can support the statements you make. 4. Write the press release and 5. Distribute the release. It’s also important to understand the differences between various publicity tools.
Media Release: a brief outline of your captivating, unique, or entertaining situation/event that is newsworthy. Media Advisory: essentially, an invitation to the media to attend your event to take pictures and/or conduct interviews. Photo Release: a post-event re-cap of the situation with a compelling photo of the key people or activity involved. Each has its own purpose, so know your publicity objectives and choose accordingly.
Of course this is a simplified version of something that actually takes a fair amount of skill, experience and savvy; consider outsourcing to a professional if communications isn’t your forte. Since publicity is free, and free tends to be popular, be prepared for it being difficult to have your business message heard amidst competing messages. Here are 10 tips that will make your efforts rise above the rest.
Tips for Attracting Publicity:
· Be knowledgeable and genuinely excited about your offering
· Be creative – it takes ingenuity to come up with new angles on the same products or events
· Note that you may have to craft your message slightly differently for different media
· Keep your contacts list up-to-date; media contacts change often
· Start small by targeting community publications and stations with smaller reach; as your skills and confidence grow, you can add media with bigger reach
· Keep branding in mind at all times and be consistent when delivering your business name, contact information and tag line
· From one opportunity to the next, be consistent without being repetitive
· Be memorable – in a pleasing way.
· Be welcoming and engaging with media; thank them for their interest and prepare well for all interviews. Look for tie-ins with current news stories, seasonal occasions and community issues
· Track results; poll customers to determine if any heard about you because of publicity
· Media and Photo Releases control your messaging; media interviews take more communication skill and experience to ensure they are shaped the way you intend, but can also add dynamic effect and lengthier coverage.
· Be charming, humble and gracious when interviewed.