Is It Social Networking, Or Is It Publicity?

Look up the word publicity and you’ll find:

Information that concerns a person, group, event, or product and that is disseminated through various media to attract public notice.

As a small business owner, you may not think of your business as newsworthy – could you really get an article front page of the New York Times? Yet there is so much more you can do to attract attention.

Publicity is about expanding your marketability beyond what you can do for yourself. It’s about getting others to talk about you, or to showcase what you are doing to a new audience. It doesn’t have to be millions of people, as would be the case with the New York Times. It could be a few thousand people with an influential blog in your community.

When people think “publicity”, they tend to think of traditional media sources: newspapers, television and radio. But with today’s wide array of tools, it can be so much more:

  • Magazines
  • Blogs
  • Trade journals
  • Community newsletters
  • Satellite radio
  • Online talk radio
  • Social media accounts
  • Online article marketing sources

And the list goes on. The more credible the source, the more exposure you’ll gain. People have more faith in what they read than what is advertised. So if an article is displayed showing your work, you’ll have more readers interested in what you do than if you were to place an ad along side of the article.

Depending on the resource you are looking at, you can approach it in a variety of ways. The traditional press release still works well for more traditional media sources. If you have a direct contact, a simple email can do the trick. Or try submitting articles or article ideas directly to a source. Don’t give up if you don’t get an immediate response. Approach it from a different angle and try again.

Here are some other ways to start up a publicity campaign.

1. Start with your community.
Every community has a newsletter or newspaper. They aren’t looking for national news; they want to keep it local. Read through a paper or two, and offer a story that fits with the way they write and report.

2. Trade journals offer specific advice, and look towards their audience to provide some of the content
. Start small. Maybe you can be included in a publication put out by your local photography club. Keep track of where you are published along the way, and use that as your pull to get into the next publication.

3. Write articles for online sources. Once you are published online, you can provide links from your site to show your expertise. Again, it’s about building credibility. [TIP: We’re looking for quality articles here at Virtual. Submit your articles, and if we publish them, you’ll have one more link to showcase your expertise.]

4. Create the news. Work with another business or two, and create something that’s newsworthy. How about a charity event? Or a silent auction to support a cause? Working as a team gives you more pull in your community, and more reason to report about it in the news, radio or paper.

5. Start up your own social accounts. Twitter is a great place to find reporters, follow them and find out what they are talking about, and possibly even connect up with some. Head over to one of my favorite directories – Twellow – and check out the News category. You can find a variety of media sources, including reporters.

1 thought on “Is It Social Networking, Or Is It Publicity?”

  1. Great post – so many people are either skipping social media or doing it the wrong way. This is a great approach to take. Love the website!


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