Can Small Businesses Benefit From PR?
Size really doesn’t matter…
Size really doesn’t matter when it comes to PR. Any size company can benefit from publicity, but the practice is commonly misunderstood in the business arena. Most entrepreneurs think of it as something that only large corporations have a budget for and don’t realize the power of publicity and what it can do for a business to blow it through the roof.
When you’re invited to appear as a guest on a radio or TV show, or a story is written about your company in a newspaper or magazine, it lends credibility to you, your company or its products and services beyond anything you could attain with advertising.
Marsha Friedman, CEO of EMSI, Inc., a leading publicity firm who represents a diverse group of experts and corporations in many different fields, says that utilizing PR positions one as an expert in his particular field.
For instance, in today’s real estate market you could get ahead of the other competition by offering sound advice in the form of “real estate advice articles”. Give away information that people normally would pay you for and submit it to daily and weekly newspapers as well as other newsletters in your area like the Chamber of Commerce and Real Estate magazines that have listings advertised, and even national publications that complement the real estate industry.
You may think that giving away valuable advice will hurt you by tipping off your competition, but it is quite the contrary. It will establish you as someone who is an authority on the subject and you will find that people will start to seek you out for business. People will be more likely to hire you if they first read about you in the media being referred to as an authority.
Friedman claims there is a number of ways a person can position him/herself as an expert, but an easy way to start is with print. Obtaining coverage in newspapers and magazines is a key factor in creating your image as an expert in your industry. “Anything written is perceived to be true,” she advises, “therefore articles you’ve written that get published or articles with quotes from you, give you immediate positioning as an the “go-to guy” in your field.”
According to Friedman, print is where one will find a huge segment of one’s buying audience. With over 137 million Americans regularly reading a daily newspaper and more than 31,000 publications ranging from antiques to zoology, print media holds mass appeal as a key source of entertainment and information.
Some tips Friedman gives on different ways to approach the print medium are:
1) Write a “tips” or “how to” article – this is one of the best ways to get free publicity in newspapers and magazines. Offer lots of valuable advice and make sure it’s written well enough for a publication to run it without having to make any edits. Be sure to include your credentials and other boastful information to support your position as an expert – but be careful not to make the article a promotional piece. Editors are looking for content that will be informative to their readers, not a brag piece about you or your company.
2) Write an “opinion letter” – take a stand on a controversial issue or comment on an issue in the news and sent it to the Editor of your local paper – or to the Opinion Editor at other newspapers around the country. Don’t forget to put your credentials at the bottom of the letter so you get the recognition of being a published expert.
3) Create photo opportunities – local newspapers are always looking for interesting photos and images. Create a local event – a fundraiser, an art show, a local or national contest, etc. Then make sure to invite the local press to attend. But even if they don’t show up, get them a photo and press release right away while it’s still news!
4) Recycle your print coverage – turn one media hit into multiple hits by sending a reprint of a weekly newspaper story about you or your company to an editor at a daily newspaper, along with a pitch letter offering an angle different from the angle the weekly pursued. Send reprints from dailies to national publications. Send articles in trade publications to editors anywhere. Post articles on your website.
Marsha has been teaching entrepreneurs for years the power of publicity. She enjoys doing so and has joined with her dear friend, Joy Gendusa, CEO of the fast-growth direct mail postcard marketing company called PostcardMania, to create jam-packed marketing boot camps for entrepreneurs nationwide, called Power MarketingMania Boot Camp.
“Don’t discount coverage in small publications,” advises Marsha. “Every newspaper story, sidebar, small mention or magazine article is like gold when trying to get the attention of editors at the national major magazines.”
About Marsha Friedman:
Marsha Friedman is the CEO of Event Management Services, Inc., (EMSI) a leading publicity firm that has represented many well known clients such as, Motown’s Temptations, Teamsters Union President Jim Hoffa, Jr., National Security Advisor Robert McFarlane’s, Bristol Myers Squibb, Financial TV personality, Jim Rogers and Dr. Barry Sears.