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Thursday, February 05, 2009

Earning great publicity

One of the most effective ways to obtain great publicity for your business is to post within relevant Internet forums -- and then, when the time is right, let the media know about your activity. You don't need to spend a cent to magnify positive word of mouth.

Most contractors don't understand or appreciate the value of great media publicity about their business, or how to obtain it. I expect this is because of a combination of fear and lack of knowledge. It is hard enough for you to run your own business without understanding the somewhat arcane art of public and media relations.

This lack of knowledge is apparent in some of the postings on this thread about me, where the original poster originally complained about my "lifting" material from people's threads, identifying them, and reporting on their ideas. (The person starting the thread later clarified that he meant me no harm, as I certainly didn't mean harm to him.)

Paradoxically, this discussion shows a key way to achieve positive media publicity for your business. Look for relevant forums on topics which combine your interests and passions (and represent your market) and post extensively in this environment.

Eventually, especially if your discussions are relevant and topical, mainstream journalists will notice you and get in touch. You can prime the pump by initiating contact with them, perhaps through email references to your postings (or even better, to other people's postings about you.) When they call, and you are ready, you will find you can become known as the expert locally within your field, and then you may receive repeat calls and even more publicity.

You don't pay a cent for this marketing, outside of your time.

It is far more effective and credible than advertising, because others see it as positive word of mouth -- magnified by the distribution (in print copies and and electronic impressions) of the media outlet. You can use small excerpts from the media publicity in your marketing materials, or hyperlink back to their sites. (If you want to reprint the entire article, or use the entire video for your publicity, you should check first and obtain copyright permission. It may be worthwhile to pay the media outlet's reproduction/reprint fees.)

You can hire specialist public relations professionals to help you out on this work. The expense is rational if you are running a larger business, with a significant marketing budget. (Just take some money from your paid advertising and reallocate to public relations.) If you are smaller, or just starting out, you can do much of the work yourself, perhaps with help from a local college student or intern.

If you've achieved positive media publicity, or know of some examples where things went wrong, please feel free to share your observations with me by email to

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