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Are You Ready for Free Publicity?

© 1999 Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D.

Don’t use the shotgun approach and simply send out 5,000 press releases to a large media mailing list. That approach annoys editors when they receive releases inappropriate for their publication.

Start by building relationships with editors, establishing yourself as an expert in your field. You want to lay the groundwork for articles chronicling your services or product. If you start slowly and keep working at it, you’ll see your coverage snowball.

Does this really work? It sure does. I followed these steps to develop publicity for my software company. Over time, we were featured in three cover articles and one full feature article from the publication which was most important to my potential clients.

Six Steps to Follow

1. Read the newspapers and magazines you hope to reach with your publicity. While you are reading, develop an outline of the type of story they publish.

2. Make two lists:

  1. one list of the writers and editors who write about your topics,
  2. one list of those who write for the people you want to reach.

3. The writers and editors on those lists can benefit from your expert information, so volunteer your services as an industry resource to each of the appropriate editors. After editors see your expertise, they will be open to future articles. In fact, they will come to you often.

4. Offer to send your newsletter to your chosen editors so that you can remind them of your expertise periodically.

5. Don’t talk about your specific success story, but describe your success in terms of your clients’ success. Tell about the teachers who used your book to convince junior high students that reading and history can be fun. Tell about hopeful writers who used your book to write compelling book proposals.

6. Give your hometown paper a real story about your product or services. This cannot be a simple announcement of a new service or a new edition. Rather, the story must convey some important news. A plumber in the Valley recently ran a publicity campaign based on the news that all of his trucks carried pictures of missing children. His company basked in TV coverage and feature articles (with pictures) in the Daily News and the Los Angeles Times.

Go to It

Take the time to build the relationships. After you become known to writers and editors, you will reap the free publicity over time.

~ Virginia Lawrence is an Information Architect who publishes both in print and online.

She can be reached at virginia@cognitext.com or at her Web site, http://www.cognitext.com.

 

 

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