Timing Your Publicity, Tuning Your PR

How adept are you at your own public relations? In this article, Linda shows how you can tune and time your PR to get the maximum results for your efforts.

From Designers to Guerrillas

It's amazing what teens can remember – and absorb. I remember the time my father came into a room and showed me the cover of a Zig Ziglar book. He told me I should read it. Not wanting to ignore my father, I did read the book. I don't remember anything about the book (not even the title) except this:

Be sure to buy plenty of business cards, and spread them around like crazy.

As I became older and grew into the entrepreneur my father begged his children to be, I learned that business cards were my best (and least expensive) tools in getting my name and my skills in front of the public. This was before the Web, before blogs and before any social media. To be social, an entrepreneur was expected to become a member of the local Chamber of Commerce and attend weekly "meet and greet" meetings to throw around even more business cards.

Now, a designer or developer can network without leaving home. Still, the business card remains the best tool any business person can use. Buy them early, buy them often and – like Zig Ziglar suggested – throw them around like confetti during any major league ball game.

But, beyond the business card, how do you promote a product or service? According to the folks who wrote Guerrilla Publicity (Jay Conrad Levinson, Rick Frishman and Jill Lublin), the first thing you should do when you launch a campaign is to create a Web site. I'll be you've heard that before.

But, you may not realize that any good launch requires a time table. You may not realize that you must become a guerilla, not a designer, to conduct a successful PR campaign.

The Product/Service Launch Time Table

Many women know about time tables. Women plan weddings. Weddings take at least nine months to plan. Women bear children. Children take nine months to gestate, which gives women nine months to plan for that child. So, you might realize that women who have experienced the nine-month planning option would also have an advanced concept of the limited time involved in publicity campaigns, as most publicity campaigns take nine months to work.

And, that nine months can fly by...so it's best to plan early, be true to that plan and remain excited about your product or service launch. This planning also applies to relaunching any product or service.

I'll provide you with some of the details involved with the nine-month time table included in Gerrilla Publicity, but I suggest you buy the book, or at least visit the Web site. In this site, you can learn how to write a press release, learn "the truth about creativity," and take advantage of the resources only publicity guerillas can appreciate.

Nine Months Out

Nine months before you launch a new product or service, or relaunch your business, you should make sure all your tools are in shape. Conrad, Frishman and Lublin suggest:

  • That you have adequate blogging and podcast equipment in place;
  • That you write and distribute articles for fine industry newsletters, blogs and podcasts (other than your own blogs and podcasts);
  • That you write and distribute three articles for the same number of industry Web sites;
  • That you design point-of-purchase graphic displays for retail outlets;
  • That you continue to write new articles, create handouts and order business cards (where did you hear that one before?) to distribute at speaking engagements;
  • And, finally, that you solicit pre-orders on any products and services.

The point to the above exercises is that you get your name out there and to prepare for the later stages of your PR campaign. You have three months to write, design and solicit pre-orders.

You probably noticed the "speaking engagement" part of this early stage PR effort. If you've never spoken in public before, you're in for a treat. It's a rush, really. Just ask any public speaker who still gets the jitters before walking on stage.

To learn how to speak in public, you might do what a poet friend of mine did – she hired a voice coach(I found one online who teaches online!) to learn how to project her voice and to enunciate clearly. She's learning how to speak with a microphone. You can learn how to speak in public by joining public speaking groups, or groups that offer constructive criticism to the speakers who practice speaking publicly with those groups – like Toastmasters.

Or, you can wing it...and hope you don't pass out before you reach the podium.

Linda Goin

Linda GoinLinda Goin carries an A.A. in graphic design, a B.F.A. in visual communications with a minor in business and marketing and an M.A. in American History with a minor in the Reformation. While the latter degree doesn't seem to fit with the first two educational experiences, Linda used her 25-year design expertise on archaeological digs and in the study of material culture. Now she uses her education and experiences in social media experiments.

Accolades for her work include fifteen first-place Colorado Press Association awards, numerous fine art and graphic design awards, and interviews about content development with The Wall St. Journal, Chicago Tribune, Psychology Today, and L.A. Times.

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