People want you to be authentic. They want to know that what you say is true, that you will deliver as promised, and that your product or service will work as advertised.
If you hope to garner great publicity, your campaign must be authentic as well. It has to come from within and reflect what you truly believe and how you actually perform. Never promise what you can’t provide and make sure whatever you are putting out there is the truth.
Publicity never sleeps — it’s an ongoing, 24/7 battle — so you can’t sleep either. You have to fight for it night and day, and really, truly want it. Since you’re the product, you’re also your best marketing tool. So to be successful, you must honestly believe in what you are promoting. You can’t fake it.
In business, results are the bottom line. Glamorous, exciting individuals may initially get ink, but even the most high-profile people cannot succeed in business if they do not consistently get the job done. If the word gets out that you don’t deliver as promised, doors will slam in your face and it will become increasingly difficult, if not impossible, to sell yourself.
If you claim that you’re an expert, you’d better be one. Know what it takes to get the job done—and make sure people are aware that you get it done right.
Sing Your Own Praises
Your publicity campaign starts with you, so it’s your job to prove your expertise to people. The most obvious signs of expertise are that your customers or clients keep coming back and recommend you to others, and that your peers consult you for advice and assistance. Make this information known. You can capitalize on your achievements by singing your own praises.
Self-promotion is essential. You can’t be shy, embarrassed, or rely on others to champion your cause. Even when you hire marketing or promotion professionals, you’re still responsible for your own publicity. Look at the successful people you know. They quickly let everyone know who they are, what they do, and how important it is. Follow their lead. With practice, extolling your own virtues will become easier. And before you know it, it will be fun.
Jim McCann, a client of mine, has had extraordinary success as the TV spokesman for his company, 1-800-FLOWERS. Audiences sense that McCann believes, from his core, that 1-800-FLOWERS will deliver all he promises. They believe that he’s more than just a petal pusher; they see him as a true believer—and consumers are more likely to listen to true believers and to buy what they’re selling.
This sort of name recognition requires repetition. Repetition makes the unfamiliar familiar. When your name and message become familiar, you gain credibility and become a known commodity.
Capitalize on Every Opportunity
In order to run a successful publicity campaign, you must position yourself for opportunities by joining clubs, groups, and organizations where you can meet people. Attend their meetings, take part in their events, become a member of their social networking sites, and tell them who you are, what you do, and how it can help them. Go to bars, cafés, and online venues where people in your industry, the media, or those who might be interested in your product or service meet.
It is up to you to spot promotional opportunities and take advantage of them. Always be alert for openings that can work in your favor. At first, it may feel strained, uncomfortable, awkward, pushy, or overly aggressive, but before long, you’ll develop a knack for when to jump in and when to back off.
Always Be Prepared
Unexpected opportunities can occur any time and at any place—so be prepared to capitalize on them. You might be walking your dog, riding on the bus, or sitting in a restaurant when you run into a reporter, a writer, a producer, or another person of influence. You never know when opportunity might strike and it’s your job to be prepared to promote your product.
Jill Lublin tells clients, “V8 publicity (I should have done my publicity today) doesn’t work. You can’t be half hearted. A successful publicity campaign works on volume. It takes repeated efforts, over the long haul, to spread your message and tell the world who you are.”
If you deal in a product, carry it with you. Take it everywhere, not simply obvious places like trade shows, conferences, and business meetings. Bring it when you go to the store, to concerts, even to church. If it’s too big to lug around, carry pictures that you can easily show.
Even if it’s a pain, always carry your products, brochures, or samples with you. Make it a habit. Stuff them in your pockets, purses, or brief cases. Never miss a chance to show them, explain them, and respond to all questions and comments.
Publicity is a full-time, 24/7 job. It never stops! Continually tell the world that you’re an expert and how you can help them. Good self-promotion can inspire, excite, and energize your prospective customers and clients as long as you believe in it. Become a walking self-advertisement. Learn to spot opportunities to toot your own horn and always be prepared to seize upon them.
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