Saturday, February 03, 2007

Become Known as an Expert with FREE Publicity

Become Known as an Expert with FREE Publicity
by Kathleen Gage
The Street Smarts Speaker and Author

Countless numbers of people have the dream of running a successful business and yet most will not succeed due to lack of market visibility. Successful entrepreneurs understand how essential it is to gain visibility within their market; visibility that equates to more customers and clients, which equates to more revenue.

The most common belief uninformed entrepreneurs have of how to gain market visibility is through paid advertising. The fact is, most small businesses and entrepreneurs don’t have huge budgets to put into paid advertising campaigns. Yet, many waste untold amounts of money on ad campaigns that don’t get them a result that justifies the expense.

Unfortunately, because they don’t realize there is a better way, they often continue to throw money into useless advertising that takes them further into the red with every dollar spent. Because of this many will close their doors, never realizing what they could have accomplished.

As a publicity expert who specializes in no-cost and low cost strategies to gain market visibility, it pains me to think of how many people could have succeeded had they been armed with insider information on how to get lots of publicity for their business. My goal for you is that you are not counted among the fatalities, but rather one of the successes.

What is Publicity?
Let’s start by defining what publicity is. When I work with my clients, the definition I use is that publicity is the deliberate and focused attempt to manage the public’s perception of a person, product, service or business. I also include promotional methods to achieve an outcome. The primary avenues I use are working with traditional media and through online resources.
There are two ways to get publicity; one is to pay for it and the other is to access free publicity. It’s actually easy than most people realize to gain free publicity – and lots of it.

In many cases all it takes to gain thousands, tens of thousands and even hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of FREE publicity is a commitment and a very focused plan.
Keep in mind though; to gain optimum results it does take a systematic approach.

Promote Just About Anything
You can promote just about anything with publicity; a retail store, a book, a live workshop or seminar, a teleseminar, the release of a new Internet marketing program are a small sampling of what you could gain free publicity on.

What Are Your Results?
Before I share some of the most effective and most underutilized methods for gaining publicity, I want you to ask yourself how much money you have wasted on paid advertising. Now ask yourself what the results have been. Chances are your results were minimal.

How great would it be if you could gain massive visibility and spend little, if nothing at all, to get it?

Traditional and Electronic
Publicity and promotional methods can be divided into two primary areas; traditional media and electronic avenues. There are others but the most obvious and those with the highest return on investment of time and money are traditional and electronic.

Traditional media
Print newspapers
Trade journals
Print newsletters such as company and association newsletters

Electronic Avenues
Press directories
Online magazines
Internet radio
Online newspapers
Trade journals
Bulletin boards
Social networks
Email discussion groups

With the popularity of the Internet many people are overlooking the power of traditional methods of publicity. It is important to realize that not everyone is wired so you want to avoid eliminating a huge part of your potential opportunity for free publicity as well as a huge potential for additional market reach.

A combination of both electronic and traditional methods is likely to produce the best results. However, it is feasible to utilize only online methods of information distribution and not only gain incredible amounts of publicity but also gain access to traditional media.

Many journalists, publishers, editors, radio and television show hosts have grown quite accustomed to finding great stories and show guests via the Internet. So even if your primary choice for targeting your initial message is through electronic means, you may get some offline opportunities.

Two Power-Packed Methods for Gaining Visibility
Two effective methods for gaining publicity, and lots of it, are through press releases and articles. Not only are they effective, often they are free – or extremely low cost.

Press/Media Releases
A simple way to gain free publicity with both traditional and electronic resources is to write and distribute a well-written, well-formatted press release. A good press release is one of the most effective, and yet, most underutilized, free publicity tools. A press release can also be called a media release.

Simply put, a press release is an announcement you send to magazines, trade journals, newspapers, newsletters, radio and television. There are numerous online resources that provide services for mass distribution of a press release. Some are free; others will charge a fee.

How Press Releases are Chosen
To give you the greatest advantage in getting good, and even great coverage, it is important to know how the traditional press chooses one release over another.

It’s not enough to just write a press release, it has to be a well-written release.

Most large pressrooms get hundreds of news releases a day. When yours comes in it is one among many. Typically there are one or two people responsible for reviewing incoming releases and either assigning them to editors and producers or throwing them out.

Normally, they will review the releases you send them over a wastebasket or with their finger on the delete key.

To increase your chances of having your releases read and published make sure you include elements of a well-developed release. These include the who, what, when, where and why of your message.

Additionally, you want to write for the viewers, readers or listeners. Far too often, a release is written more like a sales pitch than an information, newsworthy piece. If it is a blatant sales pitch it is likely not to get published.

Articles for Publicity with the Media
Another extremely effective method for gaining lots of publicity is through article writing and online distribution. It is not at all unusual for a trade publication, a newspaper journalist or a feature writer to find material for a story or someone to interview because of an online article they read.

Article writing and distribution should be an ongoing aspect of your overall marketing and strategy for gaining publicity and getting noticed by the media.

There are a number of places you can submit your information. Although you may get paid for your articles, if you are writing for the purpose of publicity, you may want to also consider writing without getting paid. There are going to be more opportunities this way.

Yet, if an editor wants to pay you, you accept. Remember though, for the purpose of FREE Publicity the greatest benefit in writing articles is increased visibility, credibility and reach. You can also use your published material for a press kit, marketing kit and as a service to your client base. It’s all about return on investment.

It is very customary to include a short bio at the end of a free article. This is referred to as a resource box. Usually you will include a bit about yourself and a link back to a website or a special offer.

Become known as an expert
Writing articles is a great way to make a name for yourself as an expert in your field or specific industry. By providing practical information, you can reach specific audiences. This can create exciting opportunities for you and your business.

Although there are many different types of articles you can write, one of the easiest to write is a how-to article.

An added publicity vehicle
I have had numerous experiences where I would write an article and my clients liked it so much they would duplicate it and send it to their client base. The beauty there is that my contact information was at the end of the article. What a fantastic way to get some free marketing and publicity through the efforts of someone else. The fact that it is sent out by my client to their clients lends itself to even more credibility.

It’s An Ongoing Process
To be effective and gain the greatest results; gaining publicity needs to be an ongoing goal for you and your business. It is not a one-time deal yet; many people treat it as such. It’s as if they think that one time in the press should launch massive visibility that goes on and on. Or that one press release or article will land them on Oprah.

Those of us who are masters at gaining lots of publicity within our chosen industries know that there is no such thing as an overnight success. However, with enough focus, effort and commitment, you can gain so much visibility that to an outsider it may appear as if you are truly an overnight success.

To achieve optimum results you need to constantly fuel the media fire. You have to find “hot” areas of interest that the media wants to cover. With the right plan, systems and vision you can begin to immediately gain publicity and continually tap into the power of publicity for years to come.

Kathleen Gage, CEO and founder of Turning Point, Inc. and Maxwell Publishing is a bestselling author; an internationally recognized Internet marketing and publicity expert; and an award-winning keynote speaker. Visit for lots of free resources to learn how to gain free publicity.

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