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Power Lines

Wire services help you get the word out.

When Robert Ehrlich, the 42-year-old owner of Robert's American Gourmet Robert's American Gourmet, needed to find a way to get the word out abouthis metaphysically oriented snack foods, he discovered the answer not in a crystal ball but in a wire service.

Services such as the one Ehrlich chose, PRNewswire, distribute news releases and photos to the media, financial community and even consumers.

In PRNewswire's case, "wire" refers to the primary means of distribution, leased from the Associated Press, that delivers information directly into newsrooms and equities terminals via satellite. The service also delivers directly to more than 1,400 Web sites and databases via its Web site,e-mail and fax, and to thousands more through third-party sources (syndication, redistribution, etc.).

"You need to cut through the clutter," says Ehrlich. "And my stuff is so quirky," adds the Sea Cliff, New York, snack guru. "I have Personality Puffs, which change your personality when you eat them, and Past Life Puffs, which [put you] in touch with your past-life experiences."

Membership in PRNewswire costs $100 per year, and members pay per release. Local distribution begins at $80, while comprehensive national distribution begins at $550.

Is it worth it? Ehrlich definitely thinks so: "I've gotten national coverage. I'm doing radio interviews and reaching 25,000 newspapers."


Gwen Moran is president of Moran Marketing Associates and founder of BoostYourBiz.com, a marketing information resource for small businesses. E-mail her at gwen@boostyourbiz.com.

Gwen Moran is a freelance writer and co-author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Business Plans (Alpha, 2010).

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This article was originally published in the January 2001 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Power Lines.

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