Monday, March 26, 2007

Using PR To Generate Business

Public Relations as a marketing strategy can take the form of writing articles or columns for local newspapers, magazines, websites, offering an advice column, being a content expert for the media; television, radio or newspaper interviews, writing a press release, or having stories published about your clients and how you helped them.

Public Relations can be great for building credibility and prospect awareness, but generally does not result in an immediate surge of sales. The major benefit of PR is that it positions you a recognized expert and creates awareness of you and your services.

Getting press coverage for your business just for the sake of seeing your name in print is a complete waste of time. Public relations should be an integrated part of your overall marketing strategy.

As a fitness professional, the easiest way to get media coverage is to start locally with your neighborhood or regional newspaper. It’s easier to get your message heard by them then the national press also they are always looking for good stories about local business owners. Getting local coverage can lead to larger coverage. Also, don’t forget local newsletters and similar publications. They are generally much easier to get into and can help set you apart as a recognized expert.

When you pitch a story have an angle. Ask yourself, why is my story newsworthy? What's different about my service or my business that goes against the norm? Don’t try to use the reporter as your sales person. They hate a slick sales pitch. If you simply want to sell your services - buy an ad.

A great way to go about this is to piggyback current events or to make your pitch about one of your clients and how you have helped them. Make your client the subject of the story. This approach has the added benefit of giving you a client for life. Like I said - whenever possible, try to tie it into a national event or trend.

When you get press coverage be sure to leverage it.

Here are 6 ways you can leverage the press you get for maximum effect:

1. Send out a press release when your article or interview comes out.
2. Create a press kit that includes your bio, company overview, services offered, and all the interviews or articles you have done.
3. Put your press kit on your website by making it electronic.
4. Get reprints of your article and send it to your prospects as part of their direct mail package.
5. Send your press coverage to your local chamber of commerce if you belong. They are always looking for good stories about their members to print up in their newsletters.
6. Use your coverage to land speaking engagements. Send a reprint of your article to pertinent meeting planners and associations you want to speak at then follow up with a phone call to pitch your presentation.

If you want even more advice on how to grow your business through publicity, check out Jim Lbadie's Ultimate Publicity Kit at as I've just scratched the surface here.