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Reader Q&A: How Do I Get Free Publicity? 29 January 2008

Question:

“Do you have any tips on how to get some free public relations and media coverage for a friend’s business. Is there any way one can advertising their business within spending much cash?” 

–– Deville W, of Hampshire

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Answer:

There are a myriad of ways to generate publicity (which is a kind of ‘free’ advertising) without spending much cash. But advertising or promoting your buinsess through a combination of paid and non-paid-for means is key to surviving in the business jungle. 

Also, what works for one company might not work for another. For example, a standard tailor is not of much interest to the press, so a press release probably wouldn’t benefit that type of business as much as it would for, say, a new type of gourmet store. 

You might want to start with publicity – providing the media with news and other information on your friend’s business to get her media coverage. The thing is, when you do not pay for the coverage (‘free’ publicity), you basically have no real control over the timing or content of your publicity. And there’s no guarantee you will get that publicity. 

That said, there is one ‘free’ publicity tool that does the business – the humble press release. 

A properly formatted, professionally written press release will stand a much greater chance of grabbing that media attention for your friend and get her business/name in the newspapers and magazines, as well as on radio and television. As a copywriter, editor and ex-journalist, I write or polish press releases on a regular basis, so I know what works and doesn’t. I’m currently writing a report on this and will let you know when it will be ready. 

A low-cost, highly effective option is postcard marketing. It’s a really great way of getting and keeping your name in front of your prospect list or target audience. I covered this in the first issue of Communiqué for Success! 

Another method is for your friend to form alliances with other entrepreneurs in his or her area. It doesn’t have to be a big network, a group of three can easily work. The point is for each person to agree to refer newspaper reporters to each other whenever they get approached about a topic on which you all could comment. 

Finally, online networking sites such as Ecademy and LinkedIn can be great promotion platforms. And they’re a fantastic way of searching for contacts. 

It all boils down to acting upon opportunities, effective communication, and building relationships and trust. 

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Avoiding the ‘Delete’ Key 23 January 2008

Aside from the barrage of spam emails singing the virtues of the likes of cunning cialis, very viagra, plenty penis, wonky watches, email marketing still works. 

The key is targeting. (Of course, I’m assuming that you already have an opt-in list. Shame on you if you do not!) 

Gloss over correctly identifying your target market, and your email campaign will sink faster than The Titanic. 

Once you know who will buy your products or services, then you need to know what kind of offer they will lap up. That decided, you still need to do some leg work…

What kind of language is your target audience familiar with? What ‘trigger’ words will catch their attention? How can you appeal to their emotions while offering something useful? Can you engage them into a ‘conversation’ with your copy? Is what you are offering –– both in terms of content and the actual offer –– relevant

The point is that you don’t want to waste your prospects’ time (or test their patience) with self-serving general nonsense.  


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Moving Beyond ‘Blue Monday’ 21 January 2008

Filed under: Creativity,Small Business — worddocdooley @ 11:00am
Tags: , , ,

When I switched on the morning news this morning, I wasn’t entirely surprised that we are facing what has been dubbed “the most depressing day of the year” – aka Blue Monday.

Why wasn’t I surprised?

Well, I’ve been feeling a bit down in the dumps lately (it HAS been raining pretty much constantly all year). And this morning I was woken up at 5.30am by my next-door-neighbour’s little girl (“Mummy, mummy, I want a wee… Mummy! Daddy! MUMMYYYYYYYY!”).

Having failed to go back to sleep, I was a bit drowsy when getting up, and so gashed my leg on the stupidly designed bedstead (it has ridiculously sharp edges that stick out a mile). I avoided – marginally – falling over the dog (who seemed a little moody, not like him). But I ended up spilling coffee all over the sofa (cream, as it happens) as I my hands suddenly became unaware that they have to co-operate with my cognitive functioning.

All in all, not a good start to the day.

So when I sat down to write this blog post, I felt a) frustrated, b) lacking in motivation and c) a bit sorry for myself. I just didn’t have the energy. I just wasn’t ‘bovurd’. The constant yawning and blinking eyes (trying to wake myself up!) didn’t help.

So what do you do for motivation when you can’t quite ‘ready’ yourself up for the work day ahead?

Here is what works for me…

1. I’ll throw myself into some other activity such as yoga or even filing! Anything to make you take a break from that which is getting me down. Actually, the thought of filing is usually enough to get me started on whatever task it is I’m procrastinating on!

2. Breaking a seemingly overwhelmingly huge task into smaller chunkshelps makes things more manageable.

3. Starting with the bit I like best. For the blog writing, it’s usually reviewing reader input. That makes it all seem worthwhile, and can trigger an idea for a great post.

4. Focusing on what reward I can give myself when I’ve completed the task in hand is, for me, a HUGE motivator.

5. Remembering the reasons why I started this business in the first place also keeps me slogging forward. Seems to do the trick.

6. Sometimes, it’s simply a question of trying to get those irksome ‘roundabout’ thoughts out of my head and onto paper. Seeing challenges in black and white somehow offers clarity and calms the mind. Well, it does for me, anyway!

7. And if things get really tough, I’ll phone a friend for a good brainstorm to get those creative juices flowing.

Something that I haven’t tried yet, but I plan on doing so soon (there’s that evil procrastinator tendency again) is creating a ‘dream board’.

You get yourself a big piece of cardboard (about A3 size, so you can’t really not see it!) and pin onto it pictures of what you want to achieve or have in your life. For example, there might be a picture of a really nice self-build in a picturesque setting, with fields and sea surrounding it. There could be a horse. A few donkeys. A happy family. A scene of some far-flung place you want to visit… That kind of thing.

Then you place it somewhere you can see it throughout the day. Above your computer is a good location.

Apparently, by looking at it every day and imagining you already have those things on the board, you set yourself in motion to do whatever it takes to get there.

Finally, one more motivator that is bound to work: Looking at your bank balance. Cruel, but effective. 😉

What about you? Do share your motivators with me and readers of this blog. Oh, go on…

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Advertising vs Direct Mail 18 January 2008

I received the following question recently, which sums up a lot of the emails I get from clients and prospects:

“I sell stress relieving and health giving ‘brainwave’ products, but seem to hit a brick wall with advertising. It’s really not paying off for me. Can you recommend any ways I can do better?”

––Kath Browning, via email

For small businesses, I don’t think advertising is necessarily the best form of marketing/promoting your products. Sure, you might well receive some response if your message is compelling enough and the desired target audience is reading the publication in which you advertise. Also, your product base is a niche one; one that is potentially difficult to explain and get across the benefits in the space of a typical advert.

In any event, I’d suggest using direct mail (sales letters, postcards, etc). It has a number of distinct advantages over advertising:

  1. You can target recipients much more precisely.  
  2. Costs are a lot more modest than advertising. The great thing with direct mail is that it allows for you to create a campaign to fit either large or small budgets.  
  3. You can see a response from direct mail very quickly. With a modest campaign to a known and targeted audience, you can acquire a mailing list, develop a compelling mailing (including a sales letter, flyer, reply card device, etc), launch that mailing and start to receive results in just a few weeks, if not months. This is faster than a typical advertising campaign (whereby you normally have to repeat adverts to get any result) – and a lot faster than waiting for the phone to ring.  
  4. You can test different appeals (called ‘offers’ in the trade) to determine which is the better message to run with for other campaigns. By making a different offer to randomly different portions of your mailing list, you can see which offer pulls best. As you try these different offers and different letters, you should find that one will do better than another. Use the better one, and then try to beat that in your next mailing. Eventually, you should get better and better response rates.   
  5. You can mail to the same list again with a slightly different mailing slant and still garner worthwhile results. Most direct-mail experts say that companies don’t get enough mileage out of their materials. Use them until they no longer produce any worthwhile results.  
  6. You can never run out of prospects. Use your imagination to find new niche direct-mail markets for your products, whether retail or business-to-business. Your list broker or direct-mail consultant should be able to suggest possible target markets that are worth trying.  
  7. When you place an advert, you have to be sure that your target audience will actually open up the publication and turn to the page where your ad appears. No one can predict or guarantee this. Because direct mail is (or should be) much more tightly targeted, then the likelihood is that your audience will want to read what you have to say. You have already identified these people as having a need for your products, so all you have to do is make sure your offer and outer-envelope message has a relevant appeal.

This is not a sell for my services! I just want to let you know that there are other, often easier ways of garnering the results you’re looking for.

If you do want to carry on with ads, the best way to achieve a better result is to:

  • Repeat your ad. You really do need to be consistent in your advertising (at least three consequent issues), whatever form of media you use.   
  • If you did your own design and layout, asking sales reps to help with that can really boost impact – it should be a free service when you purchase ad space.

I hope this helps, and I wish you success whichever direction you take.

Do let me know how it all goes.

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Your Best Year Yet + Win a Critique 16 January 2008

The all-new January 2008 edition of ‘Communiqué for Success’ is now online (subscribers get advanced notification). It answers such questions as:

 • How can you make 2008 your best year yet? • What’s the difference between PR and marketing? 
• How can you make a difference to this newsletter? 
• What do you need to do to WIN a website critique? 
• How long do you have to claim your gift from me? 
• How can you get a FREE virtual organiser? 
• What is the key to better online marketing?
 

All the answers (and more) are in this month’s newsletter.

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Word count for this issue: 2,550
Approximate time to read: About 12 minutes
Suggested props: White Hot Chocolate & a Blueberry Muffin – organic, of course
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You can see the current and most of the past newsletters by going towww.mediaminister.co.uk and clicking on the “F*REE stuff” link on the top menu.

You’ll also find direct links to my blog and other sites.

And it’s all freeeeeeeeeeeee.

Enjoy!

Tracey

 PS – The direct link to the January newsletter is —http://www.mediaminister.co.uk/cfs/8January2008.htm

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Reader Q&A: How to Find Time 14 January 2008

Reader Ian Denny of Multi Solutions wants to know how to find time for marketing his business…

Answer: You don’t ‘find’ time, you make time!

Whether you’re a service provider with too much work or not enough, or a retailer experiencing a boom in orders, your primary concern should ALWAYS be to make sure you never stop marketing.

It doesn’t matter how good (or bad) business is, you absolutely MUST make time to promote and market your products and services.

The worst position to be in is when you don’t have any clients, or projects, or sales because you didn’t think marketing was necessary. It IS. And no one is too busy to not market.

Look, regardless of where we are in our lives or business, we always make time to schedule doctor appointments and the like. Perhaps you have a system on your computer that helps you keep track of these and other details. All I’m saying is that in order to run a successful business you need to add marketing activities. 

Don’t know where to start?

Start right now – TODAY!

Block out a few hours, minutes even (at least 20, though) in your daily schedule to complete one or more marketing tasks. And while you’re at it, why not put together a marketing plan – a mini one will do? Come spring time, you’ll be far ahead of where you thought you’d be.

Remember, success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out. A daily marketing system is your roadmap to success. So make time for it!

***Need to be accountable to someone, or need help with your marketing goals? My mentoring programme can help you start off – and keep – on the right track. 

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Your Input Needed, Please 8 January 2008

Filed under: blogging,Blogroll — worddocdooley @ 10:38am

Can you believe that I’ve been blogging for one full year now? Wow, how time flies! Well, one of my goals for this year is to continue to make this blog something that YOU will want to continue to read. So please take just a few minutes of your time to answer these short questions:

  • What would you like me to write about MORE in 2008?
  • What would you like me to write about LESS in 2008?
  • What specifically can I do to help you be more successful in 2008?
  • Anything else you would like to add?
Please answer using the comment link below this post. Your input will be greatly appreciated, and will allow me to spend more time creating useful content for you.
 
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