PR: More Than Just a Press Release

You need the complete ingredients of public relations before you start your campaign.

learn more about Al Lautenslager

By Al Lautenslager

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Q:I've heard that PR is very cost-effective marketing, but doesthat mean just sending out press releases?

A:Yes, PR is extremely cost-effective. Often the cost is zero, but PRis not limited to just sending out press releases.

Your visibility will increase with powerful publicity.Publicizing your business, you or your services will help increasethe value of each to you and your whole target audience. The ideais that publicity will bring the news of your company to the world,online or off. The basic weapons you can use to do this are a presskit, a company background piece, press releases, story ideas, andarticles or columns about your firm. As you can see, there are manyvehicles to distribute through the media, even though the mostimportant of all is the press release.

A press kit can include the background piece, press releases,photos, story ideas, reprints of previous articles about yourbusiness, a list of customer references and anything else the newsmedia might find newsy. If you provide the media with news thatwill appeal to their readers, you will gain instant credibility andhave a valuable promotional relationship. This can be very powerfulfrom a marketing point of view.

A publicity campaign should begin with a master plan. The morenewsworthy you make your company, the more coverage you'll get.And publicity will earn credibility that advertising just can'tbuy. Your goals should be uniqueness, timeliness andtop-of-the-mind awareness. With publicity and visibility, yourcompany profile rises, as do your client and prospect level. Onesuccessful story about your company can result in free publicityworth hundreds and thousands of dollars.

Part of managing the total marketing campaign and especially thepublic relations portion is supplying the media with a unique storythat will grasp their reader and viewer audiences. Press releasesalso have a dramatic impact on customers and your targetedprospects.

PR is one of the most cost-effective parts of marketing that anorganization can undertake. The cost is in the development of anorganized campaign and the writing and distribution of pressreleases-there is usually no cost associated with printed pieces orplacement into publications.

There is definitely a knack to writing a newsworthy pressrelease, even though sometimes the goal is awareness and promotion.Editors do not like promotion, so crafting a press release toappeal to an editor is key. There is no guarantee that your storywill ever be published, but with a consistent professional,newsworthy approach with editors of reputable publications, theprobability is good that you'll gain some publicity. Pressreleases are also great vehicles for communicating with clients andprospects. Putting them on your Web site is a very effective meansof promotion to your captive markets. It also further substantiatesyour credibility in your field.

Alfred J. Lautenslager is an award-winning marketing and PRconsultant, direct-mail promotion specialist, principle ofmarketing consulting firm Marketing Now, and president and owner ofThe Ink Well, a commercial printing and mailing company in Wheaton,Illinois. Visit his Web sites at, ore-mail him at

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.

Al Lautenslager

Author, Speaker, and Consultant

Al Lautenslager is an award-winning marketing expert, bestselling author, highly sought-after speaker, consultant, and entrepreneur. He is the principal of Market For Profits, a Midwestern-based marketing consulting firm; former president and owner of The Ink Well, a direct marketing, printing, and a Certified Guerrilla Marketing Coach.

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