Getting The Word Out - It Doesn't Have To Be Costly
by Alfred Lautenslager

PR and getting the word out about your business or event does not have to be costly. In fact a lot of PR can be done for no cost at all. Its been mentioned that realizing PR needs to be done is half the battle.

Once you decide there is a newsworthy event or announcement about your business, you need to get the word out. Doing it in the most cost effective manner possible is key. Cost management of all marketing is one of the foundations of successful businesses. PR, in fact, can and should help bring revenue in that can be re-invested in other marketing as the business grows.

One of the first things that start the whole publicity ball rolling for an event, an announcement or any newsworthy situation is a press release. Press releases are a way to communicate with the media, customers, prospects and any others that are affected by your business and media. For the price of a few faxes, emails or postage stamps, you have a high probability of getting news about your company published for all to see.

Many times, being a member of a local Chamber of Commerce or other civic, community organization, entitles you to Business After Hours, Grand Openings and/or Ribbon Cuttings. These are usually benefits of your membership dues and/or offered to members at low cost. All businesses large and small should take advantage of this and the many other marketing opportunities offered by community groups. Many times the mayor or other local official will show up to welcome a new business to town (especially when invited). When the mayor gets involved in an event there are usually photographers and reporters around representing newspapers, television and radio programs. This increases the probability of published PR immensely.

A grand opening event or other occasion where you are inviting others to your business needs to be carefully planned out. Part of the planning can involve offering a guided tour of your facility, no matter how large or small. Be proud and start the relationship building process by showing others where you hang your hat.

Also as part of the planned event, samples can be offered, demonstrations can be scheduled and your business in operation can be showcased. You will be surprised at how the media will turn this into news and feature you somehow, someway in the publication they represent.

Planning for the media is just as important as planning the event. This primarily entails having available, a press kit for the invited and attending media. A press kit can include fact sheets about your business and products, Frequently Asked Questions, any feature articles you may have authored and the like. A copy of the just released press release should also be part of the kit. Contact information and a business card will allow for any follow up by the media.
Although not necessary for media exposure it always help to share with them any promotional items or favors that you will be sharing with customers. You never know whom the media person will pass it on to.

Building relationships with all involved will be what continues your PR. Whether it is current friends and associates talking to their friends and associates, or relationships that you build during the course of doing business, all will be important to spreading positive "word of mouth" comments about your business. This will require showing up at anything and everything and following up on all those you directly come into contact with.

PR is more than the event, the tour or your press kit. Everything you say and do is part of your identity and thus part of your relations with the public. The objective is for you and your company to be visible in the public eye on a regular basis. PR that you undertake yourself can be a primary way to grow your business and become known.

Working the PR side of your business takes time and a lot of effort. If you have the energy, passion, desire and drive, you can many times carry out a very effective campaign that others will talk about over and over.

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