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Publicity secrets revealed

07 March 2011

Ever sat in the Doctor's waiting room, flicked through a magazine, spotted a competitor quoted in a feature and thought, \"I should have been interviewed for that, our business has a far superior product/customer service/etc.\"?

If you feel like the best-kept secret in your industry, and you want to stop communicating one-to-some and start sending your message to thousands, it's time you had a look at generating your own publicity.

Let me share a few best-kept secrets that only PR pros know:

1) Publicity isn't rocket science, it just seems like it is

Put simply, publicity is the art of getting journalists to write or talk about your products, services and company - without paying them to do it. And the best way to achieve that is to, well, ask them. How you ask them can be an art in itself (more later) but really, that's all you're doing. Hardly rocket science.

2) The reporter often prefers to hears from you, the business owner, not a PR rep

Usually, whenever reporters have direct contact with the business owner - sans PR agency - they relish the opportunity to get the story directly from the horse's mouth so to speak. Which is not to say a PR agency can't be of great benefit to you guiding your message and maximising your opportunity to get in front of the journalist. But, if PR agency fees are beyond your reach, don't let it stop you. Do it yourself.

3) When you're pitching, tailor it to the outlet's audience - not what you want to talk about

If you want to get your own publicity, you have to stop thinking like a business owner and start thinking like a reporter. Research the media outlet before you even make contact. Make sure you know the readership, understand what you have that's of story value, research the right contact, then pick up the phone or shoot them a succinct email.

Remember it's not an advert. Here are a few examples of popular 'media hooks':-

New Product / Service / Book - The media is always interested in something new. If you're launching a new (unique) product or service, you already have a ready-made angle.

Tie-in With Current Trend - Keep abreast of trends by following stories in the media and see how you can tie-in. After September's economic upheaval last year, the media ran plenty of stories on saving money and budgeting.

Holiday - for example, an up market restaurant donating Christmas dinner to needy families.

Useful Advice - the public is always on the look out for information to make their lives easier or better. e.g.: health tips, financial planning.

Philippa Lowe is a publicity mentor, award-winning journalist, PR agency CIO and author of the DIY PR and Publicity Kit. Visit for her free report Publicity Secrets That Only The Pros Know and sign up to Publicity Train, a weekly publicity and PR advice eZine for SMEs.