Will You Hit a PR Home Run? Don't bet on it--but there are other ways to win the publicity game.

By Al Lautenslager

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Q:I'm looking for that PR/marketing home run. Any tips?

A:Many people see marketing as a panacea to all their business woes.Some people implement marketing and expect immediate short-termresults. Those that expect this are misinformed. Marketing is along-term, persistent and consistent activity that should neverend.

In view of this, many companies, organizations and people lookalso for the marketing or PR home run--that one story, event orcustomer touch that will bring a windfall of business.

Home runs aren't what usually wins baseball games. Usually,it's a collection of singles and doubles that make up the runtotal of the victor. The same applies in business, marketing andPR. It's the little things that add up and contribute to thesuccess of a business. Sure, there can be a home run now and then,but you can't go into the game expecting to win just with thehome run.

During the rise of the not-so-recent economy and the relateddotcom boom, good times could be had by all. Many people found homeruns, while singles and doubles were forgotten. Now that theeconomy has turned downward and the dotcom boom has reversed, thosestill looking for home runs are coming up empty-handed. It'sstill a game of singles, even in the world of PR and marketing. Apress release here, a news conference and a feature articlethere--these all add up to effective communication of acompany's message or brand. Notice it's not one event orone communication.

I've said before that marketing is made up of many, many,many things. They all support one another. They all work towardgetting the job done, just like in a baseball game. Sure,there's a chance every now and then to hit that home run, butlooking for it all the time is futile.

Communicating with the media often takes baby steps. You have toget the word out about your company, product or service. Thisstarts the process of awareness among editors and producers of themedia they control.

Jay Conrad Levinson of "guerilla marketing" famespeaks often about how many times a customer or prospect must betouched before he or she takes action. All these touches representbaby steps (or singles in the baseball vernacular). Not only ismarketing made up of many, many things, but so is public relations.Think of all the topics you can write a press release about. Getone or two published, and you'll hear prospects and customerssaying things like, "I see you in all the papers," or"Every time I turn around, I see your name published." Inactuality, this is only one or two publications that are workingthe minds of the reader in synergisticfashion--"synergistic" being the key word. After all,synergy refers to the concept of adding the few to make the wholestrong--hitting singles to win the game and taking baby steps tomake great strides. PR and marketing work the same way.

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 http://www.market-for-profits.comand http://www.1-800-inkwell.com, ore-mail him at al@market-for-profits.com.

The opinions expressed in this column are thoseof the author, not of Entrepreneur.com. 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.

Wavy Line
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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