Advertising and Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

When it comes to marketing and advertising your business, it is essential to develop a good marketing plan. Even the most solid plan, however can still fail if it is not implemented correctly. Avoiding these common advertising and marketing mistakes can help.

One mistake that many businesses make is to not market to a defined group or demographic. While it is important to appeal to a wide target audience possible, failing to identify your key demographic will keep your business from reaching the customers who are most interest in the product or service you have to offer. Focus your advertisements to appeal to your target audience, and you will naturally attract more business.

Effective marketing is based on a cohesive advertising strategy, so once you develop a logo and theme for your ads and promotions, make sure that you stick with it. A marketing strategy that is inconsistent will make your company look unfocused and unprofessional. This does not mean that you should focus your advertising and marketing efforts on one medium, however. Many businesses make this mistake because they are unfamiliar with certain mediums.

Don’t allow unfamiliarity with technology to hinder your marketing campaign. Make sure that you utilize all available media sources whenever possible, including television, print ads, radio, and online advertising. Many businesses fail to utilize online advertising tactics because they are unfamiliar with the technology. If this is the case, be sure to take the time to learn, and search for sites that make it easy for you to upload your video advertisements, even if you have little or no experience with this type of medium.

In the process of trying to attract new business, don’t make the common mistake of neglecting your repeat customers. Repeat customers make up an estimated 80 percent of most revenue, so be sure to target your marketing campaigns toward them as well. If your marketing message is unclear, however both new and repeat customers will be confused. Consistency is the key to achieving brand reputation.

The most effective marketing and advertising campaigns take into account the measure of their marketing results, so be sure to keep close track of what works and what doesn’t. Don’t be afraid to try new things and to discard ideas that don’t work for your business. Remember, the best marketing strategies are the ones that evolve and grow over time to meet the changing needs of a business, its target audience, and emerging technology.

To learn more about advertising online and other online marketing tips visit our site.

How to Get Free Advertising in the Yellow Pages

I actually stumbled across this technique completely by accident when searching for a home cleaner in the Yellow Pages. There was a large full page display Ad and when I called it, the phone number had been disconnected.

At first I thought I had called the wrong number. Then, when I called it again (double-checking of course to make sure I had the right number), all I got was the “beep-beep-beep” sound that confirmed that the number had been disconnected.

I was amazed to say the least. Here, a company had spent $30k to place a full page Ad, only to have the number misprinted? Surely it was an error. So – I did a little digging out of curiosity only to find the cleaning company had gone out of business.

Bingo.

I couldn’t believe my luck. That particular edition of the Yellow Pages still had six months to run, and surely there were going to be plenty of people calling that number. So – I immediately contacted the phone company and bought the number.

Two weeks later, I created a joint venture with another cleaning company and took 20% of the resulting sales. All we did was set up a separate phone line to handle these new inquiries so we could track the results. Not only did we get new business, we also had repeat customers of the bankrupt business calling and we managed to get over 50% of these people to do business with us.

Talk about easy money!

Now, of course not many businesses who place full page Ads (or even half page Ads) will go bust throughout the year. However, if you look long enough you will find 1 or 2. A more systematic approach is to subscribe to an insolvency site that publishes new bankruptcies. When you are notified of a company gone bust, you can then check if they have an Ad in the Yellow Pages first, then buy the number once it’s disconnected. In my experience the phone number is almost never sold when a small or medium sized business is put in liquidation.

Also, there are lots of unpaid listings in the Yellow Pages that get disconnected or no longer apply to that business. The reasons vary, but usually the smaller businesses are operated out of home and when the owner moves or sells his or her business the number sometimes doesn’t get changed over.

Of course, there’s nowhere near the same amount of value in unpaid listings but they do still work. Otherwise they wouldn’t be there. My advice – don’t pay more than $50 for phone numbers that are in unpaid listings. –Marcus Maclean

Free Marketing and Free Advertising For Your Business

We all know that marketing and advertising is essential if one wishes to build a successful business. No matter how great your product is or how fantastic your company is, if no one knows what you are or what service you can provide then you are effectively invisible. So once you have your business you need to tell the world about it and this is where your marketing and advertising comes in.

Now before you rush out to spend a fortune on marketing firms let us look at some very simple and free ways to promote your business. This will of course assume that you have a company website. If you do not then you should design one or have one designed for you. These methods may sound simple and they may sound incredibly obvious yet they are tools that can increase traffic to your company website and can draw much needed attention to a particular product that you are trying to promote.

1) Articles

Sounds simple enough yet article writing is an often overlooked form of advertising. It is great for highlighting a particular product or service. Obviously the main body of the article would feature the service being offered and would list all the reasons why this service is essential and why this service can be best provided by your business. The article would also contain links to the particular page on your site that features this service or product. The beauty of the article is that you will on most occasions be allowed to provide links to your business within the author’s biography box at the end of the article. Once your article has been written you can then submit it to online article sites and to article directories. Traffic to your company website can be generated by this form of advertising and your monthly visitors will increase as you add more articles.

2) Forums

Forums are great at generating traffic. However, this must be approached correctly or you will loose much needed credibility as soon as readers think you are a “spammer”. There is nothing worse than seeing an endless stream of one line postings promoting a business idea. No matter how good the offer may be or how genuine, people will switch off. A site such as Yahoo Answers can be invaluable. You will look for a relevant question and give a good answer. Only then will you throw in a link to your website. Again just posting something like “click here for a good business solution” will provide no immediate help and will turn visitors away. However, if you present a good answer that provides real time solutions you can then add your link from a “to find out more…” perspective. Your credibility will thus increase as readers see that you are offering genuine help. Again any biographical information will provide links to the company website.

3) Incoming Links

Now this is specifically geared toward generating website traffic but at the same time it can increase your company profile and credibility. Maintaining a page of business links just for the sake of it does not do much for your page rank. This is especially true if the links are irrelevant to your business. Even relevant links are not that helpful if they are there just as a reciprocal token. If possible try to gain inbound links from respectable websites such as university or other educational websites. Anything coming from a government website would be beneficial too. Again you would present yourself to the relevant organisation and give them a good reason for them to link to your company website. What would they benefit from the link and what would their visitors benefit from seeing a link to you? Try to avoid link farms for they just provide a list of irrelevant reciprocal linking that do nothing for your page ranking or your credibility. In fact they will do more harm than good.

4) Company Blog

The use of a blog is great for keeping your current customers up to date. Here you can provide latest information including new product releases or new projects that the company is starting. One must never forget the customers that you have and a company blog is a great way of keeping them in the picture and remaining loyal customers.

Here we have looked at only four possible marketing and advertising methods, yet they are four methods that can be very successful in the long run. They will also cost you nothing except perhaps the odd paid listing in a good directory.

All of this will take time to establish, however when these methods have been used for some time you will reap the benefits. Always maintain your credibility though and of course your enthusiasm and your patience.

John Hewitt is a full time freelance writer. He has worked in many fields including music, the restaurant industry, film work and as an RSPCA animal welfare officer. If you would like to see more of his articles and poetry then please visit http://www.john-hewitt.com and feel free to sign up to the RSS feed.

Exhibition Display Stands

Exhibition display stands play a very important role for a successful exhibition. They are available in various types, designs and styles. They are inexpensive and easy to install.

If you are taking part in an exhibition and want to promote your company’s product in best way, it is essential to choose the best marketing and advertising strategies. You need to work a lot to make your exhibition display attractive and different from the crowd of other exhibitions. Exhibition stands are the best way of creating a different atmosphere for your exhibition.

Different kinds of exhibition display stands

There are various display stands, which can be used in your exhibition to give it a different and stylish look:

  • Brochure stands are the best way of presenting your product, its services and sales message to the interested buyers. Brochures, fliers and catalogues with eye-catching colors, designs and messages are in great demand now days. Brochure stands are very reasonable and easy to use. Brochure stands are durable as they are made up of metal that withstand the rigors of exhibition.
  • Banner stands are another exhibition stands that are used in various trade shows, exhibitions and displays. Banner stands are compact and light weighted which makes them easy to install. These banner stands are available in various styles and sizes. Graphical banners are also a good way to display the products and services of your company.
  • Hanging displays is another way of attracting the customers even if they are far away from your booth. They are available in various styles and sizes. Some of the very common styles are triangular frame hanging display, circular frame hanging display and quad frame hanging display. Use of hanging displays makes a good impression on the potential customers and attracts them to visit your booth.
  • Conferences, exhibitions and presentations often prefer Pop up Stands as they come in large variety and styles. Pop up stands are dynamic solution for promoting the products of your company. They are light weighted and are available at reasonable cost.
  • Trade show truss systems provide you everything you need in a portable Truss Display, are extremely versatile, innovative, are a great value for your Trade show dollar and extremely quick and simple to set up.

Factors influencing display stands

While choosing an exhibition display stands, various factors are considered such as the size of the exhibition, re-usage of the stands and the budget. Depending on your requirements, you can choose the display stands.

What you need to have a successful exhibition

Higher efforts you make to your exhibition, higher profits you will earn. The way you present your exhibition display stand shows how creative and successful you are as a company owner. Though standing in an exhibition is not at all an easy task, but with your creative imagination, you can make your exhibition successful. You should plan about your exhibition in advance, so that you can make use of quality display stands thereby working on your advertising, marketing, and cataloging the products. This helps makes it easy for the customers to choose the best products in a hassle free way.

Thus, you must have come to know the importance of exhibition display stands and why they need to look attractive. They are the best source of increasing traffic on your booth resulting increased sales. — Fred Jafarzadeh

Graphic Display Systems

With a quality graphic display system, one can easily manage the display of goods. Get the best graphic display system and enhance your product marketing.

Need to have a sophisticated yet appealing display system

When there is a time to create an appealing and promoting graphic display system for your exhibition or trade show booths, it is imperative to have a professional, attractive and conveniently assembled and disassembled display system. Each person may be concerned with making the trade show backdrop a versatile one along with adding extraordinary and catchy graphics.

Trade shows are a great chance to exhibit different products and services offered by a business and that too in the most effective manner. The main aim of such exhibits and graphic systems is to draw the attention of various prospective customers. Displaying one’s products at an exhibition or trade show in an effective manner will definitely help to generate various new leads. Therefore, it is highly imperative to ensure that the display systems added are of high quality graphics and other appealing messages.

Displaying one’s products through graphic display system can also contribute in reconnecting with the old customers along with getting a new customer line at the very same instance. The color scheme and type of the products highlighted on the display systems along with the nature of business play a vital role in the overall designing of the exhibits at a trade show. There are various modular graphic systems also available that helps in acting as a stand-alone banner for displaying various products and services of a company thereby establishing the uniqueness.

Excellent graphics to be added in display systems

Well-designed graphic displays can be efficiently used in order to display the brand name and logo of the products. This will definitely contribute in more sales and better branding. Standard graphic displays are very famous and are generally found behind the podiums at most of the trade shows or conventions. The folding frames of such standard displays are normally made of aluminum or fiberglass tubes. The entire frame is brilliantly covered with various display and graphic panels in order to provide the visitors the best of display systems and grab all their attention. These graphical displays can be showcased in various color combinations and then laminated for complete protection.

There are printed graphic display systems as well that does not involve any extra graphical panels to be attached on the frame. These display systems are widely admired and demanded as they have the brilliant facility of creating a highly professional and sophisticated backdrop. The fabric used in such printed systems is both flexible as well as durable so that they can be conveniently folded and unfolded.

Promoting one’s business through graphic display systems

The fabric banner graphic display systems are the best low cost solutions in order to create a graphical wall, serving as the back of any trade show or exhibition space. Various messages, images and other promotional items may be added in these display systems in order to hold the interest and attention of the customers along with promoting and describing the company’s goals, motto or services. It is important to have rugged, innovative and patent designed graphic displays that are completely backed with a lifetime frame guarantee feature in order to ensure a trouble-free exhibition time.

For more information contact Capital Exhibits for all your Graphic Display Systems http://www.capitalexhibits.com or call 866-730-3746

Advertising and Effective Promotions

In any economy, the most important aspect of a business is their marketing mix. For small businesses and large corporations alike, it is important to get your name out and build brand equity and awareness. Although everyone is feeling the pressure of limiting expenditures, it is important to remember the old saying, “You have to spend money to make money.” You must spend, but spend wisely. It is important to continue to attend tradeshows, advertise and keep your product or service fresh on consumers’ minds. It is also essential when performing everyday business endeavors, such as sales calls, to keep watch on your brand message and alignment. To strengthen the message of your brand you must employ the basic marketing mix. Advertising and more specifically promotional items are key component to a business’ marketing mix.

Promoting new or existing products will strengthen your brand in addition to boosting sales. Promotions can also be the most cost effective way to maintain and build brand awareness. The key to promoting is to integrate the promotion with the brand identity. For this to be effective, you must work with companies that will offer unique items relevant to your product. Many companies like to leave customers or prospects with something they can keep on their desk or reuse. In this case, personalization is a key factor when choosing these leave-behind items. If it is personalized, they will continue to see your companies name and become more subconsciously familiar and aware of your brand. This familiarity will cause the consumer to become more comfortable with your product, which works in your favor for both a high impact and low impact purchase. An example of the perfect promotion comes from a local Pittsburgh bank. During the opening of 10 new branches they gave new account holders customized paint can coin banks filled with chocolate chip cookies. This was brilliant for a number of reasons. Not only was it a nice gesture for the patrons, but also after the treats are gone it will be reused. This gives the promotion holding power. The idea of a coin bank is also inline with the brand position of the savings bank.

Small inexpensive gestures that set you apart from the competition are going to leave a lasting impression on consumers. Smart marketing and advertising are important to a company’s growth. Low cost advertising tools that integrate your brand identity are the most effective way to continue to compete in any economy.

http://www.applecookies.com
To learn more about these and other economical promotions, visit the above website.

The Current Advertising Market is in Meltdown

With audiences disappearing, TV rates plummeting and clients cutting already slender budgets, perhaps we should be rejoicing that the days of hype and excess are finally over.

The advertising boom of yesteryear will forever be associated with the credit boom. Just as the values of that economic system are now discredited, so to will be the values of the marketing and advertising boom that went with it.

In the future we will no longer have high regard of advertising/marketing that is mass-produced. We will be amazed that Clients, like Guinness, will have paid 15 million pounds for the production of a TV commercial.
Marketing is everything a company does to acquire customers and maintain a relationship with them. Even the small tasks like writing thank-you letters, playing golf with a prospective client, returning calls promptly and meeting with a past client for coffee can be thought of as marketing.

The all-embracing concept of marketing has been lost on a lot of companies, resulting in a poisoning of the well, a deeply ingrained lack of trust that, now has become an enormous obstacle to overcome:

Marketers have spammed, lied, deceived, cluttered and ripped us off for so long, we’re sick of it.

Which means that even if you have a really good reason, no, you can’t call me on the phone. Which means that even if it’s really important, no, I’m not going to read the instructions. Which means that god forbid you try to email me something I didn’t ask for… you’re trashed. It’s so fashionable to be skeptical now that no one believes you if you attempt to do something for the right reasons.

Like all those packaged-up bundles of bad debt, contemporary advertising had no fundamental value. It was misplaced faith in future economic growth that drove up the values of 30-second TV commercials!

The Clients spent so much money on advertising because they believed that they were living in the best of times and that it was all just a one way street – upwards! We all now know all this wasn’t true.

In the years to come this advertising will be seen as the ultimate symbol of the economic fairyland we have been living through in the past five years, an era in which the world lost touch with its sense of value.

These were not masterpieces of advertising, they were the icons of idiocy.My recently published book “Television killed advertising” is now available @ Amazon Books UK. In the book I detail just how much more effective interactive communication is when compared to conventional advertising and details the results of a research investment in excess of £5 m. It also discusses where we went wrong in the past and where we are going to go wrong in the future unless we learn the real meaning of the word “communication.”

Having invested over $10 million in independent research, Paul Ashby is ideally suited to present the case for the widespread use of interactive marketing communication. The research investment has proved conclusively that one exposure to an interactive “event” is far more effective in all key measurements, than traditional advertising. Paul made this investment because has established that Interactive Communication, properly executed, can be totally accountable, unlike all forms of advertising! You can contact Paul at: paul.ashby@yahoo.com

Discover more on http://interactivetelevisionorinteractivetv.blogspot.com

How to Incorporate the Right Marketing Message During a Recession

Fight or flight instincts. Survival of the fittest. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. During rough economic times, there is no doubt that survival instincts kick in. You either have the will to dig your heels in and battle from the trenches or not. Everyone’s fear threshold is different. But those who keep a strong, level-headed focus on the task at hand and don’t panic, usually weather the storm the best.

Just look at the statistics. A McGraw-Hill Research study assessed 600 companies for five years in the 1980s and those companies that either stayed the course or increased their level of advertising spending during the 1981 and 1982 recession had significantly higher sales after the recession ended. Companies that aggressively advertised during the recession had sales more than 250% higher than those who chose not to advertise. Instinct warns us to cut back, slash marketing and advertising budgets and save dollars. However, it’s been proven that continued or increased spending during tough economic times can actually help pull you through and out to the other side positively.

So how do you do it? How do you get over the desire to cut back and actually cut checks instead?

– Acknowledge the situation. Naturally, during a recession, your customers are assessing their budgets as well and are choosing carefully where to spend their money. It’s important to address this fact head on. Acknowledge to your customers that you are aware they have some tough decisions ahead. Then explain to them the benefits of continuing to invest in your services and products.

– Avoid price slashing and doomsday messaging. Negatives like price reductions send off fear signals. There’s a fine line between understanding your customers’ situations and instilling more fear about the times at hand.

– Empower your customers. Create ads, direct mail pieces, blogs, and e-newsletters that empower your customers to take control of their situation and ultimately their destiny. By offering solutions that help them do this, you are creating a positive environment that resonates in a very negative situation.

– Distinguish your value proposition. Communicating to your customers what they will get for their money is just as important, and sometimes more important, than low price points. Even when cash is tight, customers want to know they are getting the best value for their money and many will still be willing to pay a bit more knowing that there is increase value in the products and services you provide.

– Keep your lines of communication open. This means don’t stop marketing and advertising! It is critical to keep your brand top-of-mind with your customers right now so they don’t forget you. If you start to trim corners and cut back, your customers will quickly forget who you are and look elsewhere for what they need. When the recession is finally over, you’ll be left way behind.

– Re-evaluate your marketing mix. If you wrote your marketing plan last summer (or any time before October 2008), you should definitely go back and re-assess where you have allocated your energies. Could you increase your social networking exposure while saving a few dollars in print advertising? Perhaps you could eliminate one direct mail piece and swap it out for an additional three or four e-newsletters? Without drastically cutting your budget, you may be able to shift a few things that will create some savings without reduced exposure to your customers.

Whatever you do, over the next few months as you take stock in your current business situation, don’t take a red pen and slash through each line item in your marketing budget. It’s OK to trim your advertising and marketing budget, but do it with a scalpel, not meat cleaver. Instead, look at creative ways to stay the course and sail through this recession successfully. If you do, chances are, there will be better times ahead.

A dedicated marketing professional, Michelle Kabele has been helping technology companies develop award-winning channel partner programs and marketing strategies for over 10 years. Michelle has worked extensively with small businesses throughout North America.

Michelle has an MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management (Evanston, Ill.)

Marketing in a Recession

What many experts have known for months, if not the past year, is that our country is officially in a recession. In fact, the National Bureau of Economic Research announced in December that we have actually been in a recession since December 2007. Many business owners probably knew this long before the Bureau’s announcement, feeling the effects of customers’ budget cuts, a higher level of anxiety within the industry, and simply an overall gloom and doom mood, no thanks to the media’s contribution as well. But what exactly is a recession and how will it affect your overall business strategy, and more specifically, your marketing plans for the next six to 12 months?

The Bureau defines an economic recession as “a significant decline in the economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in real GDP [gross domestic product] growth, real personal income, employment (non-farm payrolls), industrial production, and wholesale retail sales.” With the Big Three automakers looking for government intervention and Wall Street receiving its own government bailout, most of us don’t need a textbook definition. We’re living in a recession on a daily basis.

When Wall Street began to spiral out of control in the summer of 2008, the natural instinct of most people was to pull out of their investments- simply out of sheer panic or the scariness of the unknown. It’s a knee-jerk reaction however the response simply compounds the problem – which is exactly what you will do to your own business if you panic and pull back on your marketing efforts during these tough economic times. Let’s look at some things to consider as you re-adjust your marketing plans for the short term.

1. Avoid being reactive, which will cost you money. It’s a natural response to want to pull back on anything and everything that you don’t deem a necessity during a recession, but doing so will literally take you and your business off of the map, and possibly close to extinction. It is critical for you to portray an image to your customers that you are remaining calm and keeping a clear head during these times. Remember, your customers will look to you for support and advice in order to keep their business afloat. You want to be a resource for them, as you’ve always been, not someone who’s jumping ship and reducing all of your marketing and promotion to save a few bucks. Cutting back and reacting to every bit of news that comes your way regarding the recession will only reinforce the panic that may exist with your customers. Stay the course and think before making any decisions.

2. Communicate with your customers to let them know you’re a stable VAR that will outlast the crunch. This tactic is really a follow-up to number one. Through constant, clear communication, you need to show and tell your customers what you are doing in order to avoid conjecture as to your stability. Demonstrate why you are the VAR that will outlast the competition. What makes you unique? If you start slashing your marketing budget, you will have no point of difference to share with your customers as to why you do things differently and why they should trust you during these uncertain times. Creative communication can also position you as a resourceful VAR. For example, one of the areas most typically cut during tough financial times is the travel budget. Let your customers know you have solutions that will offset their need to travel less. Create webinars and teleclasses that allow you to communicate valuable information to your customers, positioning yourself as a leader in the industry. This small marketing expense for you will win accolades with your customers. It’s simple to do and gives you an outlet to keep the lines of communication open.

3. Whatever you do, don’t slash prices! Again, this is one of those knee-jerk reactions that becomes an epidemic and a very bad cycle to get in to. It’s natural to want to cut your prices to encourage your customers to buy from you and not your lower-priced competitors, but doing so simply exposes your desperation and also permanently lowers your street prices, ultimately devaluing your brand. Instead, look for value-added extras, so that you don’t have to cut your prices but your customers believe they’re getting more for the price. Leverage your affiliates and partners. See how you can work together to create promotions and deals that give show your customers that they’re getting more for the same price they’ve always paid.

Marketing during a recession actually calls for you to dig deep into your business and commit to the fact that you are not going to cut back on programs and promotions – and will not cut pricing. Now is the time to focus on your brand and what that brand says to your customers. What are your core products and points of difference that make you shine? Communicate these aspects to your customers and let them know that even during a time of constant flux, you are stable with your products and ideas. Steer clear of price cuts, and don’t cut quality just to save a few dollars. If your reputation was built on good, quality products and services, compromise will only devalue your brand, creating a costly rebuilding effort later. There is an end to this recession and you want to come out shining on the other side.

A dedicated marketing professional, Michelle Kabele has been helping technology companies develop award-winning channel partner programs and marketing strategies for over 10 years. Michelle has worked extensively with small businesses throughout North America.

Michelle has an MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management (Evanston, Ill.)

Are You Missing Out on Free Publicity?

So often, when CEOs and company presidents sit down with their marketing team, they quickly delve into the familiar marketing elements like advertising, sales promotions, and how to best maximize the company’s website. Of course. But what about publicity and public relations? These are the poor relations of the marketing family that get tossed off with an “Oh yeah, we’ll talk about that at the end if there’s time.”

No, no, and no! Studies consistently show that public relations is the most effective way to establish brand credibility, to surround a brand in a particular editorial context. Done correctly, it provides the best return for the marketing dollar spent. It is the best way to garner third-party endorsements and carries much more weight with your customer than a paid ad, snappy sales promotion, or some creation of new media. Plus, it’s virtually free!

So what is public relations (PR) or publicity anyway? And how does it work? You read an article about a competitor’s product in your regional newspaper and you wonder why the reporter didn’t write a story on your product. Well, either the reporter knew someone who knew someone who used the product, OR your competitor is more PR-savvy, sending out press releases about new, innovative products and programs or calling or emailing reporters and pitching great story ideas. If it was the latter, your competitor is using free publicity to get the word out and establish credibility for his brand – more credibility than any newspaper or TV ad could ever buy!

The Press Kit
The foundation of your publicity campaign should always be your press kit, which gives the basics about who you are, what you do and why you are unique. In the old days of PR, this press kit would be sent in mass quantity to hundreds of media outlets. Press releases would be copied and stuffed into a fancy folder with the company logo on it, for the reporter or editor to read at their leisure. Well, as you probably can imagine, no reporter in today’s media-frenzied world is going to have time to sit with a cup of coffee and read your press kit. If they do have that time, they’re surely reading something more in lines of a New York Times bestseller. That said, you should still have a press kit, just house it on your website. Journalists can easily seek out the facts and supporting material they might need for their story – at their convenience. Many times your press kit may just be a reworked version of your web copy, eliminating the marketing jargon and giving the information a more factual spin.

Press Releases
Once you’ve built your foundation, you’ll begin to develop a series of press releases – various articles that you can send to the media on a regular basis that are newsworthy and spark interest for the reporter. If sent out on a regular basis, these releases will keep your company or your product top of mind with the media. Soon they will begin to think, “Hmmm, could there be a story idea here?” Regular distribution also helps to build relationships with the media. The more you get to know the core group of reporters and editors who cover your territory or your industry, the more you’ll be in tune with their needs, and be able to filter newsworthy information to them, versus guessing what they might like to receive. The best publicity campaign is one built on facts, but also on who you know and anticipating their needs.

Publicity Stunts, Promotions and Other Free Opportunities
While the backbone of PR lies in the initial press release, there are many ways to create news from scratch. I’ve seen big racing yachts used to promote free glaucoma screenings to create awareness about new drugs and a pharmaceutical company. One company created a “Love Stinks” promotion for Valentine’s Day, where readers had to write why they actually hated Valentine’s Day, and the winner took home a grand prize – for one. Both received widespread “ink” in regional and national publications.

Also, make sure you’re listed in all the places you can be for free. It sounds simple but it’s one of the most common publicity tactics that is overlooked. And get all you can out of the places you are paying for. If you’re running a half-page ad in next month’s industry newsletter, ask which reporter can work with you to write a news story to go with it. And finally, know who the gatekeepers are within each media outlet or organization and what they can (and can’t) do for you.

Bottom line – ask yourself, “Do I have something interesting to say? What makes my business unusual?” If you have a good idea or newsworthy item, talk about it! Remember, if a picture says a thousand words, then an above-the-fold story in the New York Times says cha-ching!

A dedicated marketing professional, Michelle Kabele has been helping technology companies develop award-winning channel partner programs and marketing strategies for over 10 years. Michelle has worked extensively with small businesses throughout North America.

Michelle has an MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management (Evanston, Ill.)