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How to Generate Publicity

Boost your business to the next level by promoting yourself as an expert or author.

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Q: Irecently left my corporate job to launch a homebasedbusiness-consulting firm. My challenge is that I'm not verywell-known yet, and I have a very small marketing budget to makethis happen. Any suggestions?

A: Oneof the most cost-efficient means to get your message out is towrite articles for magazines, trade journals, Web sites andnewspapers that reach your target clients. Even if you have averagewriting skills, if you can propose compelling article topics thatsolve problems for readers, then you'll find editors who willpublish your ideas. And the best part about it is that you gainexposure to tens of thousands of people-for FREE! Your cost is theamount of time it takes you to actually write the articles.

Here are nine factors that make published articles a powerfulvehicle to boost your business to the next level. Publishedarticles will:

  1. Position you as a leading expert in your field.Academics understand this well, as they're often pressured bythe mantra "publish or perish." If you're anattorney, an accountant, a consultant or an entrepreneur who sellsexpertise, the same applies to you. The value of your knowledgehinges on how well you're recognized by the public as aqualified expert. A published article communicates that you areindeed an expert because your knowledge and ideas meritpublication.
  2. Convey a sense of third-party endorsement. If a trademagazine is willing to devote valuable space to print your article,then what you say must be important, right? At least that's theassumption readers subconsciously make.
  3. Boost the perceived value of your offering. For example,if you're a public speaker who's well-recognized, you cancommand a much higher fee than someone who has equal, or even more,expertise but is lesser known. That's why a Steven Covey, a KenBlanchard or a Tom Peters may land more than $50,000 per speech,while lesser-known speakers can talk on similar topics but makeonly a fraction of that.
  4. Strengthen your competitive advantage. In whateverbusiness you're in, your clients want to look smart forchoosing you. And it makes them look pretty good when they can showtheir colleagues, partners or supervisors your published articlesas a reason why they thought you were the best choice.
  5. Become marketing tools that sell long after the shelf lifeof the magazine. There are myriad ways to squeeze promotionalvalue out of each article--beyond its impact on the newsstands. Youcan leverage article reprints to enhance your direct-mailcampaigns, networking efforts, sales presentations, e-mailmarketing, press kits and Web site content.
  6. Educate prospects on your business--quickly! Getprospects up to speed on your services before you meet withthem--by sending them reprints of your articles. This will help youcut down the time it takes to educate potential clients--and thusshorten the time it takes to sign them on as clients.
  7. Facilitate qualified referrals. Published articles equipyour clients to be your best salespeople. Clients will saysomething like, "I know the perfect accountant for you.Here's an article he wrote on small-business taxissues."
  8. Serve as a powerful employee recruiting and retentiontool. Your articles not only increase your visibility toprospects, but also to potential employees. When you'repursuing top talent to grow your business, published articles canhelp tip the scales in your favor.
  9. Lead to additional PR opportunities. Reporters andeditors want to interview industry experts to support theirresearch. When you write and publish articles on a consistentbasis, you'll be able to attract more inquiries from the mediaand get your company written about more often.

Sean Lyden is the CEO of Prestige Positioning (a service ofThe Professional Writing Firm Inc.), an Atlanta-based firm that"positions" clients as leading experts in theirfield-through ghost-written articles and books for publication.Clients include Morgan Stanley, IFG Securities, SunTrust ServiceCorp. and several professional advisory and management consultingfirms nationwide.

The opinions expressed in this column are thoseof the author, not of All answers are intended tobe general in nature, without regard to specific geographical areasor circumstances, and should only be relied upon after consultingan appropriate expert, such as an attorney oraccountant.

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