Q: My company was mentioned in the paper, yet I haven't received any phone calls. Why not?

A: You're not the only entrepreneur to mistakenly believe that simply getting your company's name printed in the paper will lead to numerous phone calls from interested prospects. However, PR is not a marketing panacea. How often do you call someone or call a company because you saw them mentioned in a newspaper or magazine article? Chances are, you've done it very few times-if ever. That's because mentions in the press, appearances on radio and TV, and other PR are just more "touches" in the world of marketing.

Marketing is made up of many things that all work together. It's an integrated approach that combines a variety of strategies, tactics and weapons. PR represents just one of these.

Now, put that newspaper mention or TV/radio appearance together with an advertisement, a direct sales call, an encounter at a networking event, a postcard in the mail, a public presentation or a drive by your business location, and something will happen. Your phone will ring. Prospects will come to you. Your business will increase.

It is generally said that it takes six to eight times to get your name, service, brand or product to the point of achieving top-of-mind awareness with your prospects and customers. One PR touch combined with all the other touches mentioned above generally achieves this top-of-mind awareness. Your company, product or service will be at the top of a prospect's mind when it comes time for her to purchase your product or service.

Even though I stated that marketing is made up of many things, these things are really just "touches." The six to eight touches, therefore, can be six to eight of the same thing. They can be six to eight mentions in the newspapers, six to eight appearances on TV or six to eight times people see you at a networking event. Usually, concentrated efforts like these take time, which is why the assortment approach works best. With the assortment approach, that one mention can then turn into a phone call, a visit or an order.

The assortment approach is needed to supplement your PR because PR:

  • Can't tell the whole story.
  • Doesn't sell.
  • Doesn't always provide the necessary contact information for readers and viewers.

PR is generally news-related. News isn't a sales pitch; news is information for interested prospects. This information then needs to be processed, filtered and fertilized by other touches and other marketing to grow into fruit-bearing sales or calls.

PR is not an event as many business owners believe. It is just one component of the whole marketing process. Constantly managing the process will keep your marketing from being events. You will be the marketing manager that you need to be as an entrepreneur.

Because not every press release issued by you will generate placement or broadcasts, just getting that one mention or viewing is still a challenge. Consistent, frequent and persistent communication with the media increases the probability of appearances on an ongoing basis, which increases sales and profits. So don't stop going after that mention, regardless of how many times it takes.

Al Lautenslager is the president and owner of The Ink Well, a commercial printing and mailing company in Wheaton, Illinois, and the principal of Market For Profits, a Naperville, Illinois-based marketing consulting and coaching firm. He can be reached at or through his Web site, Market for Profits".


The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author, not of Entrepreneur.com. All answers are intended to be general in nature, without regard to specific geographical areas or circumstances, and should only be relied upon after consulting an appropriate expert, such as an attorney or accountant.