What could you do if you had an unlimited advertising budget? Maybe you’re salivating, thinking of all the advertising you could buy.
Sadly, even with an unlimited advertising budget, your results may not be as amazing as you hope.
Here’s why. When you buy advertising, you’re limited to the advertising venues you choose. In 2013, audiences are fragmented. If you choose to advertise on radio and TV, you won’t reach all the people in your target audience. Your audience may miss your ads completely. That’s money down the drain. The same applies to any advertising venue – you’ll reach just a small part of your potential audience.
Every business needs to advertise. However, for true effectiveness, you need something else: publicity. Publicity amplifies the effect of your advertising, and it’s long-lasting. I’ve often told the story of I first got into copywriting… how a press release I wrote changed the fortunes of my employer.
You need publicity as well as advertising
Few businesses strive for publicity. Public relations tends to be a mystery. Businesses may not even be aware that most news stories in print and digital media originate from a press release.
Here’s a secret: journalists mine their press releases looking for the faintest glimmer of gold amongst the trash. Finding a story is GOLD to them. Providing that gold isn’t easy. However, it’s possible. What could your company achieve if a journalist or three wrote about you? If you appeared in Google News?
You need just two things to create a powerful publicity campaign: time and imagination.
Firstly you create the content for your campaign, and then you launch it.
What do you need to include in a publicity campaign?
A few days ago one of my writing students contacted me about a new ebook she’s launching. She asked me what she would need to include in her first publicity campaign.
Good question. The short answer is, anything you like. It’s your campaign, so whatever you think goes. Ask yourself some questions. How much time do you have available? What results do you want?
Let’s say that you want to create a customized publicity campaign this week to promote something. That “something” could be your business, a new product you’re launching, or a service you provide. As in the case of my student, it could be an ebook. Maybe it’s something for your community – your child’s school needs new sporting equipment, and you’re running a donations drive.
Your first step in any publicity campaign is always to set clearly defined goal.
The next step is to decide what your message will be, and commit to staying on message. “Staying on message” throughout your campaign is perhaps the hardest thing to do, as any politician will tell you. It’s a challenge, but you won’t get the results you want unless you manage to do that.
Let’s get started…
Step 1: set a clearly defined goal
Write down your goal for this publicity campaign. Please don’t omit doing this. You must write down your goal, because you won’t remember what it is tomorrow. Trust me on this one.
Step 2: what’s your campaign’s message? Write it down
Write down the message in a sentence, preferably on a sticky note (stick it onto your phone), as well as in your diary. Make sure the message is in front of you DAILY.
Step 3: create a media kit
According to Wikipedia, common components of a media kit include:
Backgrounder with historical information on the company or individual.
Fact sheet listing specific features, statistics, or benefits.
Biographies of key executives, individuals, artists, etc.
Past press coverage
Photos or other images (high resolution) of key executives, logos, products, etc.
A press release detailing the current news the media kit is sent in reference to
Media contact information (usually of a public relations department or spokesperson)
Collateral advertising material, such as: postcard, flier, newspaper ad, etc.
You can put anything you like in your media kit.
At a minimum, include a company backgrounder, some photographs, and anything else you think would be helpful to a journalist or blogger who wants to write about whatever it is that you’re promoting.
Many companies add their company’s media kit to the “media” section of their website. You can do this too.
However, for the sake of this publicity campaign, create a customized media kit which focuses solely on your goals for this campaign, rather than on your company as a whole.
Let’s get started with your customized publicity campaign
Set a date on which you’ll begin your campaign. Please don’t put it too far in the future. Give yourself a week for preparation. If you give yourself too much time, it won’t get done.
Next, decide what you’ll include in your campaign.
You could include: a series of press releases, Facebook and Google+ pages, a webinar, guest posts on blogs, a blog tour, content marketing with articles… anything you like.
Ask yourself: What am I comfortable creating? Or hiring someone to create for me?
LIMIT yourself. Don’t aim to include too much. A press release, a blog post, a YouTube video, and a couple of articles, might be all that you can comfortably create in a week.
Every company has different resources. Use them. If you have a mailing list, make good use of that list. These are people who want to hear from you, who have done business with you, and who know you. They can help you to get the word out. So include mailings to your list in your list of activities for your publicity campaign.
Create your creative material
Create your material. If you’re a copywriter, you can do it yourself. Alternatively you can hire someone.
The time element: avoid becoming overwhelmed
We’ll have more to say on the various elements of a publicity campaign later – I’ll create some additional how-to material for you on this blog.
For now, consider the time you have available.
If you’re doing everything yourself, creating all the creative material might take you a week or more. Aim to have everything ready before you launch the publicity campaign. Once you launch, you’ll be so busy talking to people and running your business, that you won’t have time to create additional material.
However, don’t set the launch date so far in the future that you procrastinate. As stated, I recommend that you take a maximum of ONE week to create to your campaign material, and then a week to execute. Any longer than that, and your campaign will stall.
Just get it done. :-)
There you have it. You’re good to go. Set a goal for your campaign, decide on a message, and start creating your material today.