How a Small Business
Can Generate BIG Publicity

by Alan Caruba

Given the power, influence and diversity of the media, it's essential for entrepreneurs to develop the skills that will generate recognition for one's products or services. Here's my checklist of public relations activities anyone can undertake to secure publicity:

Make Regular Contact. All public relations should be undertaken on a long-term basis. A single news release can get lost in the enormous numbers received daily by news organizations. Be prepared to contact the media on a monthly basis with newsworthy information.

Remember, Briefer is Better. A letter-size news release can be quite effective, but a legal-size length is okay, too. A strong, dramatic headline, followed by a brief, lively "lead" paragraph is essential. Always include the name and location of your business by the second or third paragraph. End the release with a spokesperson and phone number to contact. Always respond to or return media inquiries immediately.

Create a Fact Sheet. When contacted by an editor or reporter, always be prepared to offer an up-to-date, accurate, one-page "Fact Sheet" on your business, its history, primary spokespersons, and other credentials. Request their fax number and send it as soon as the inquiry or interview is ended. (Releases sent by fax should be limited to news-worthy stories that are tied to some event happening within the next 48 hours, or to sending follow-up information after a telephone interview.)

Contact TV Producers. Don't overlook the power of an appearance on a television talk or news program. Consider what information you can share or demonstrate that would prove timely and useful, then contact producers who welcome such ideas.

The secret to successful marketing is communicate, communicate, communicate! Consider keeping both existing and potential customers informed with a quarterly or monthly newsletter. It's a great way to remind people of the products or services you provide. That way, you'll keep them coming back to you, not your competition.

© 2003 by Alan Caruba

Alan Caruba, a veteran public relations counselor, is also the author of Warning Signs, published by Merrill Press. It is a collection of his best columns from 2000 to 2002, addressing issues that range from environmentalism to energy, animal rights to education, immigration to Islam, and much more.

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