Publicity Channels and Systems
Publicity channels are the vehicles through which your publicity stories reach your market. They're similar to your promotional channels, except that once your message enters a publicity channel it's no longer under your control.
Following are some publicity channels for you to consider.
Press Releases — When your business is involved in something newsworthy send out a press release.
- Begin with a strong, interest-generating headline.
- The first paragraph should have the feel of an interesting feature story. This is where you'll summarize your story using the most pertinent and recent information.
- Include as much information as you want to. The editor will shorten it as necessary.
- Go from the general to the specific, and from the recent to the historic, giving your details in order of importance. When editors need to cut a story, they'll usually begin at the end.
- Keep your paragraphs short. This makes it easier for editors to cut your story without destroying its integrity.
- Choosing timely or controversial topics increase your chances for publication.
- Cover letters are not expected and are not necessary.
Articles — Magazines and trade publications are always on the lookout for good material. This type of self-promotion has the bonus effect of positioning you as an expert to the members of your Target Market.
- Choose subjects that will be of great interest to your Target Market. People will be most interested if you are offering solutions to their needs.
- The headline should suggest a useful, interesting, easy-to-read article. “Six easy steps to financial independence,” for example, would be better than “Solid investment strategies.”
- Break the article up into smaller sections rather than write it “essay style.” This will make it easier to read and consequently increase your readership.
- If you plan on advertising in this publication, do so in the same issue as your article. This will increase your exposure.
- While it's inappropriate to turn your article into an advertisement for your company, it's important that those who are interested have a way of contacting you. Find out if the editor will run a resource box with your company information at the end of the article. At the very least, you should include your company name and the city in which you are located. That way, interested prospects will be able to find you if they need to.
Interviews — It is a favourite practice of the media to interview experts who can offer insightful perspectives on newsworthy events. You can benefit from this practice by letting the media know that you, or key people in your company, are available for comments whenever they require an expert in your field.
- When you consent to an interview, remember to think before you speak. The press is always looking for a story, so if you say something offensive or suspect you may unwittingly find yourself on the defensive.
- If possible, try to get the questions you will be asked in advanced. Alternatively, you can make available a list of questions you are fully prepared to answer. There's no guarantee that you'll be asked the questions on your sheet, but it will give the interviewer a better understanding of your area of expertise. You can also prepare "speaking points," outlining the key messages you'd like to get across.
- Read back issues of the publication and the interviewer’s past work in order to better anticipate what you might expect from your own interview. For television or radio interviews, the station may have recordings you can borrow or purchase.
Where print media is concerned, try to get a cover story by offering high-quality photographs or images that reflect your company. This will dramatically increase your readership. Even if you don’t get a cover story, if the photographs are used, they'll still positively impact your readership.
Make a list of the specific media channels you will target for publicity. Name the specific newspapers, magazines, radio stations, etc. It should look like the following.
|Company Name||Media Type||Contact Info|
|The Daily Sun||Newspaper||Business Editor: Bob Smith |
The key to a successful publicity system is consistency. Not everything you send to the media will be utilized, but if you gain a reputation for offering interesting and timely content, the media will eventually start looking for it when they need it. In fact, once they know they can count on you, they may even come to you with requests for content. A good publicity system will make sure the right information is made available to the right media people at the right time and in the right format.
Following are two final questions to help you organize your Publicity System.
- Who will write the articles, do the interviews and so forth? This should become part of the work listings for these positions.
- How often will press releases, etc. go out? This could be whenever something newsworthy happens, but regularly recurring special events should be scheduled in your Business Calendar.
Create your Publicity System.