10 Creative Ways to Get PR

Think outside the box with these easy ways to promote your business.

On the road to success, every business needs great publicrelations vehicles. Innovative public relations strategies willtake you where you want to go.

Here are some creative ideas to get the quality of PR that canenhance your reputation and grow your business.

1. Create a holiday. In 1991, while teaching businessetiquette courses, Jacqueline Whitmore, founder-director of theProtocolSchool of Palm Beach in Florida, was often asked aboutcell-phone etiquette. "I realized the issue neededexposure," she says, "so I decided to create a specialholiday to recognize it." She submitted an application toChase's Calendar of Events, the calendar used by businesses andthe media for both traditional and newly created holidays. In July,2002, National Cell Phone Courtesy Month became official, andJacqueline has received ongoing local and national publicity aswell as many new corporate clients. You can apply for a holidaysubmission online at www.chases.com.

2. Write a book. Prospective customers are impressed withauthors, even if your book is self-published. The fact thatyou've written a book says you're knowledgeable andcredible. Plus, you can sell your book or use it as a give-away,which constantly promotes your name and ideas. Best of all, anauthor is the media's preferred source for interviews.

3. Win a business award. If you think it's too muchwork and not enough payoff to submit yourself for a business award,think again. Many business awards are sponsored by publicationsthat'll announce winners' names and print their stories--aterrific PR opportunity. And you, in turn, can announce the awardto your current and prospective customers on your website and inyour sales materials--positioning you as a leader in yourfield.

4. Get on a reality show. Recently I read a great book,Starting from Scratch, by financial advisor WesMoss, a former contestant on The Apprentice. I couldn'thelp thinking that Wes might not have gotten published without theexposure he received on the show. Now, with a published book underhis belt, his name and reputation are considerably enhanced.

5. Put on a free educational workshop. JacquelineBonfiglio-Naja, a licensed aesthetician and owner of Jacqueline'sAdvanced Skin Therapy in North Dartmouth, Massachusetts, hasput on many free skin care workshops over the years. "Everyone of them has gotten me publicity, new customers and recognitionin the community," she says.

6. Produce an electronic newsletter. Sales expertJeffreyGitomer of Charlotte, North Carolina, has over 100,000 peopleon his weekly e-mail newsletter list. It's a hugely successfulPR tool, keeping his name in front of current and potentialclients. In addition, promoting his services in his newsletter hasled directly to over a half-million dollars in revenue.

7. Co-locate with another business. Sharing retail spacewith another business is a winning proposition. Each businessbenefits by being exposed to the other business's customersbecause customers of the business you co-locate with can learnabout you just by seeing you there. Example: Specialty cakeboutique We Take the Cake, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida,created a small area within a local Field ofFlowers store where they offer cakes to Field of Flowersclients. Having the visible presence of your products rather than asimple brochure near the cash register dramatically increases thechances that a customer will buy your product or services.

8. Head up a local trade organization. A few years ago,Milwaukee, Wisconsin, professional organizer Barb Friedman, ownerof OrganizeIT, served as president of the Wisconsin Chapter of theNational Association of Professional Organizers. At that time,The Dr. Phil Show was putting together a story about the"worst spouse in America"--a woman who was verydisorganized and also happened to live in Wisconsin. Because Barbwas president of the Organizers Chapter, she was the personcontacted to appear on the show--reaping PR dividends and businessever since.

9. Create a contest with a twist. For the fourth year,Land ofOdds, a bead company in Nashville, Tennessee, is holding itsannual "Ugly Necklace Contest," which gives the companybeautiful publicity every year. Holding a contest with a"twist" makes your business stand out from the hordes ofother business contests out there and drives more attention to yourproduct or service.

10. Do pro-bono work. Think of pro-bono work as aninvestment that'll showcase your talents to prospective payingclients. When Bloomington, Minnesota-based ad agency Colle+McVoy didpro-bono work for the Environmental Trust Fund in St. Paul,Minnesota, the positive response to their ad led to paying workwith the Minnesota Office of Environmental Assistance. Who saysgood guys finish last?

These 10 creative ways to get PR will work for just about anytype of business. Implementing any one (or more) of these ideaswill get you great PR, and it'll take you to the level ofsuccess you and your business deserve.

Margie Fisher, president of Zable Fisher Public Relations, isthe author of the Do-It-Yourself Public Relations Kit. Formore information on her kit and to sign up for her freePRactical PR newsletter, visit www.zfpr.com.

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