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The Seven Day PR Plan

Good PR shouldn't have to take forever. Use this plan to start the publicity ball rolling for you and your biz.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Hesitant to start public relations program? Think it'll taketoo much time, too much effort and too much money? Think again.Here's how to generate publicity for you and your business byspending just a little of each of the next seven days on PR:

Day 1: Determine your target. Make a list of all thepublications in your target market area. These will most likely benewspapers, such as weekly newspapers, daily newspapers, regionalbusiness journals, free about-town advertising fliers and chamberof commerce newsletters. I would shy away from nationalpublications unless you have a dynamite national story or you havea connection at a national publication. Next, determine the radioand television stations in your target market area. This includesAM, FM, public radio, college radio stations and the like.

Day 2: Develop a database of contacts from day one. Fromeach of the publications, determine where your news or announcementwould best fit. Once you have done this, find out who the primaryeditor or reporter is for this part of the publication. Sometimesthis is a feature editor, a feature reporter, a pool reporter orthe managing editor. Do not send your press release to anybody andeverybody at a particular publication. Do the same thing for radioand TV producers: Find out who assigns the news to reporters. Findout who edits the on-air news.

Day 3: Determine what PR story you will communicate.Brainstorm PR topics. Are you making an announcement, communicatinga change, stating an opinion or revealing a finding? Do you have alocal angle to a national story? Is your information newsworthy andnot promotionally slanted? All you need is 12 topics to average onepress release per month for one year. However, don't let thisschedule stop you from reporting news when it happens or making anannouncement.

Day 4: Write the actual press release. Editors lovepeople who speak their language. A one-page press release thatopens with who, what, where, when and why will make them happy andincrease your probability of getting into their publication.Include some background information, a quote from you or anotherhigh-ranking person in the organization and the contactinformation. That's all there is to a press release. Itdoesn't have to be a long thesis. It doesn't have to haveevery single detail in it. If the reporter wants to do more of astory, he or she will call to develop further.

Day 5: Send your press release to those in the database youestablished on day two. Some editors prefer faxed pressreleases, yet there is a growing trend toward receiving them bye-mail. Very rarely are press releases snail-mailed; however, somestill are when photos are part of the release. Finding out youreditor's, reporter's or producer's preference willincrease your chance of publicity.

Day 6: Use your press release for other things. Becauseof the sheer number of press releases generated, they cannot all bepublished. Don't let this stop you from issuing the release andtrying to generate publicity. There are other things you can dowith press releases. You can post them on your Web site in themedia room area. You can use them as direct-mail pieces tocustomers and prospects. You can use them as handouts on salescalls or put them on the other side of your fliers. Use yourimagination here, and you will be surprised at the unique ways youhave to generate publicity and ultimately buzz about you and yourbusiness.

Day 7: Continue your efforts to establish relationships witheditors, reporters and producers. The more relationships youhave with your targeted publications, the increased likelihood youhave of getting publicity. The time to do this is not when you havea breaking news story. Take your time in this area and spread outyour efforts. Then when you do have that breaking news orblockbuster story, you'll know who to contact directly andquickly for the biggest PR impact.

Spending just a little bit of time each day on these seven stepswill make you an expert in the PR arena. The most appealing part ofall about this kind of PR strategy is the cost. In the spirit ofguerrilla marketing, this is not high-dollar marketing, but rathermarketing that relies on your time, energy and imagination.

Al Lautenslager is the president and owner of The Ink Well, acommercial printing and mailing company in Wheaton, Illinois, andthe principal of Market For Profits, a Naperville, Illinois-basedmarketing consulting and coaching firm. He can be reached orthrough his website, Market for Profits.

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

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