How to Get More Customers Using Publicity

How to Get More Customers Using Publicity

This article is about using publicity from traditional media outlets such as newspapers, magazines and online news sources to get more customers.  I can tell you as a small business consultant that being mentioned in an article or being featured can greatly increase your visibility and credibility with your potential customers.  Getting attention from the New York Times is pretty difficult until you already are getting some buzz from smaller outlets.  The idea is to get the attention of these smaller outlets with mentions and build up from there.

The first thing to understand is that any media outlet that publishes an article about you is doing you a big favor.  However, there is a finite amount of space to carry this kind of content.  Blogs on the other hand are different.  They make their money from page views. The more page views, the more money they make.  So if you have a fascinating story, they want to hear about it because it has the potential to make them more money.  The bigger outlets also spend time searching in smaller outlets looking for some great story that deserves a bigger audience.

So how do you get started?  Well, a good place to start is with smaller blogs.  You want to find some that are mined by larger blogs for content ideas (look for references to the larger blogs in the smaller target blogs).  Be sure that these blogs have content of relevance to your target customers and join the conversation.  The next step is to make a pitch for some kind of story in a smaller blog or a local newspaper.  The smaller blogs get ideas, the bigger blogs fight to get to be the first large outlet to break the news and the large traditional outlets are confirming and/or elaborating on the idea.

How do you get their attention? Report something new and significant – breaking a sales or usage barrier, announcing a new product, signing a partnership/affiliate agreement or commenting on some industry or news report that you are an expert on.  Keep your pitch short, to the point and supply some information with a link to more information or to a product demo.  I can tell you as a small business marketing consultant that the most important thing is to come up with some angle that will make your story compelling.  You want to get an emotional reaction from the reader so if it does not do this, it’s not good enough.  If your angle covers something controversial that will satisfy some readers but leave others mystified, that is good because you have provoked a conversation.  So consider using publicity as part of your marketing strategy and your marketing plan.

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