Free Publicity Takes Planning – 3 Tips To Make it Work for You

I opened my Portland Business Journal one January day back in 1989 and I saw a headline about a National Clear Off Your Desk Day Contest. First I got upset that I didn’t know about the holiday and I missed that opportunity.  Then I got into action.  I found out the holdiay was posted in Chase’s Holiday Listing (available from your local reference libararian).  I initiated a project with my local NAPO Chapter and we identified 15 hollidays professional organizers could use to promote our businesses.  I also found you can create a holiday and I joined the national board of NAPO to create and promote National Get Organized Week  in October which has since evolved to National Get Organized Month which is every January.  I learned sending press releases and free publicity was a route for marketing my business.  Here are 3 tips for getting and using free publicity.

Be neutral. Media outlets sell advertising to create opportunities for businesses to market themselves.  Their editorial content is focused on informing their readers. If you are submitting a press release to appear in a listing of local events or “who’s in the news,” your press release should be me-focused—“Look at me. Here’s what I have to offer.” If, however, you wish to be included in a feature article, your press release should be they-focused—“What do they need or want to hear about?”

 Be timely. Orient press releases toward the present or the future, otherwise you are just yesterday’s news. Letters to the editor offering an organizer’s perspective on current news or breaking trends are an often-overlooked opportunity. Upcoming holidays often offer a chance for you to provide organizing tips in advance of the event.  Check Chase’s Calendar of Events (a day-by-day directory of special days, weeks, and months that is available at your local library’s reference desk) for ideas.  Being timely will increase your chances of having your press release used and establishes you as an expert that is keeping up with today’s rapid paced world.

 Be reachable. Most media people are on tight deadlines, so be sure to include all the ways you can be reached—phone, cell, fax, e-mail, text, twitter—on your press releases. Check them frequently.

Sending press releases, communicating with the media, and generating free publicity are useful marketing tools—use them wisely.

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