Using Publicity to Your Advantage

Even local efforts can get a boost from national PR.

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Q: I'm working with a PR contact, and they have the opportunity for me to be quoted in a national publication. However, my market is typically a local market. How can this national publicity help my business?

A: First of all, it is a well-known fact that any PR is good PR, unless it is associated with a crime or an obituary. Any national PR you receive can always be put to good use in a local market.

If you only do business in a local market, and national exposure will not necessarily lead to direct sales or awareness unless someone in your local market happens upon the national story, there are still benefits to be gained. For instance:

  1. A copy of the publication containing your national PR can be passed around, mailed or generally distributed to clients and prospects. This is another way to "touch" customers and prospects; they typically like to be informed about special accomplishments and kept up-to-date on both you and your company.
  2. If the national publication is noteworthy, you can cite "as seen in" on all printed advertising, e-mail signatures and point-of-purchase marketing. "As seen in Time magazine" or even The Wall Street Journal can give you tremendous credibility and set you apart from your competition in a big way.
  3. One of the objectives of PR is to become known as an expert. What better way to be deemed an expert than to be published or mentioned in a prominent national publication? Which do you think your prospects would rather choose? One of the 10 people in your business with average awareness, credibility and exposure or someone who's been quoted, published or who has appeared in a national publication as an expert?
  4. With national PR comes the chance that your story will be picked up by a syndicated service, increasing exponentially the potential places for publication.
  5. National PR can lead to national interviews on TV, radio and so on. This can be followed up by even more PR about the nationally publicized interviews; it starts feeding on itself. If it doesn't automatically come as a result of the original publication, you can generate press releases talking about your press releases. For example: "XYZ Co., a local provider, was recently featured in the national business publication Fortune magazine. Mr. Smith is available for interviews, on-air appearances and visits."
  6. National PR can give an air of celebrity status for a local business. Once again, this truly separates you from your competition. Rarely are there two celebrities in the same market from the same business. There is only room for one, and it might as well be you.
  7. National interviews can be taped and distributed to clients and prospects. These can be offered for sale or as a free incentive to get people to contact you or to send in for more information. These leads can then be followed up with sales calls and closed for eventual sales.

These are just a few ways national publicity can aid a local business in a local market. In some cases, it may even give a local business the impetus to consider taking the business to a more national level or at least investigate the feasibility of a regional business.

Remember, too, this is just one component of your marketing plan. You should be using many, many strategies that work well together, offer results and raise awareness.

Alfred J. Lautenslager is an award-winning marketing and PR consultant, direct-mail promotion specialist, principle of marketing consulting firm Marketing Now, and president and owner of The Ink Well, a commercial printing and mailing company in Wheaton, Illinois. Visit his Web sites at and, or e-mail him at

The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author, not of 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.

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