A Commonsense Approach to Getting Free Publicity

Of the many channels of marketing, public relations is one that no business should ignore. And because PR is nearly free, that makes it an ideal channel for small and start-up businesses.

So how do you get your company and/or product mentioned on television and in the newspapers? You start by understanding what they are looking for. Generally speaking, they are looking for two things:

  • News about subjects their readers are already interested in (i.e., Britney Spears – not you).
  • Captivating and/or curious tidbits to fill in the gaps.

It is only into this second category of “news” coverage that you can hope to find a welcome place for your public relations campaigns.

It’s unlikely that the media will be interested in any sort of news about your business. Yes you may be able to get news about your company published in an industry trade journal, but what good is that? Your customers aren’t reading trade journals. They are watching TV and reading USA Today.

So begin with this: What you won’t do. You won’t waste your time and resources sending out press releases to the national media about company news. And if you do announce corporate news in industry periodicals, it will not be with any hope that it will boost your sales.

What you will do is figure out, first and foremost, which news media you want to be in, and then figure out how to create curious and captivating stories that relate to your business.

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Mary Ellen Tribby

MaryEllen Tribby is a business consultant and coach to entrepreneurs in the information publishing and digital marketing arena. She led Early to Rise from May 2006 to January 2010 as Publisher & CEO. She has also served as President of Weiss Research, managing divisions of Forbes, Globe Communications, Times Mirror Magazines and Crain’s New York Business. She currently heads up The CEO's Edge and WorkingMomsOnly.com.