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Martin Wales

[January 7, 2003]

Customer Catcher

By Martin Wales

Profiting With PR Power, Part VI:
Give A Little Bit And You’ll Get A Lot

What would it mean to your business if you earned the reputation as the source for the latest insights in your industry? How significant would it be to your sales if your company got more calls from prospects ready to buy and seeking information from "leading experts," as recommended by the industry press? These questions have been almost thematic in our Profiting With PR series. In this, our last installment, you might find an answer.

Many of my clients have sought this type of positioning. I strongly recommend the strategic use of public relations (PR) to attain it, mainly through continual exposure via media release campaigns. Yet, they've been surprised when they get little or no response to their self-serving and 'news-less' media releases. This leads them to ask, "How can we generate interest from the media so we get regular coverage? The answer is to give people (a.k.a. readers) information of value.

It's been said that, "The way to get what you want is to help others get what they want." Haven't you found this to be true? In the tech world, some companies offer 'white papers' on various technical advances, i.e. wireless standards, or business theories, like customer relationship management (CRM).

Now, rather than spend thousands of dollars or more on white papers or a doctoral-level thesis, you might try 'Tips, Trends or Surveys.' These wonderful tools offer well-received snippets of information that are relatively cheaper and easier to produce.

To find out how to utilize this powerful PR tactic, I got the inside track from Raleigh Pinskey, CEO of The Raleigh Group. She is a positioning consultant, personal and business coach, and internationally known speaker and author. Raleigh offered tips from a chapter on this subject in her book, "101 Ways to Promote Yourself." (Get it? She walks her talk.) You can contact her and get the book at www.promoteyourself.com.

A Little T, T & S
The media like Tips, Trends and Surveys. Why? Raleigh offers that, "Editors or segment producers don't have time to rummage through pages and pages just to find what you want to tell them." She adds that, "The information is useful, geared to teach, to impart skills and attitudes rather fluff and hype. It's also presented in a brief, very to-the-point style, allowing for easy absorption and quick decisions."

Tips are "practical information presented in as concise a way as possible. They're helpful, informative, and useful, especially if they're short, sweet and to the point. For example, 'Three Simple Steps to Eliminating Junk Mail in Your Inbox' or 'Five Things You Need to Know When Buying a Unified Messaging System."

Trends are your opinion on "where the future is going to be, where the past has been and what is happening now," whether it's in business or a specific technology. Trends map the attitude of your market, clients and prospects, and you can offer data to turn those on the fence into buyers. Raleigh states that the best way to cash in on trends is, "by spotting an emerging trend or fitting into an existing one. The media love anything that is coming, especially if they can get their hands on it before anyone else does." Make your technology part of what's hot -- not, what's not.

Surveys are presentations of data collected from your database or other lists. You present statistics around questions you ask about things specific to your products or services or even non-related almost whimsical topics. Prospects like to know what the competition is doing or thinking. Coincidentally, this is a great way to pick up on trends and become a "trend spotter," which increases your credibility.

Raleigh's Recipe for Success
To increase your chances of media attention, the key is to have the proper intent. You need to be "selfless, not selfish." Present information that is not self-serving or self-emulating but rather educates, contributes or elevates an attitude or skill. This type of information makes prospects feel they should take some action for themselves to improve their situation or address a problem rather than just agreeing or disagreeing with your opinion.

Raleigh's guidelines for success from your tips, trends or surveys are simple and brief. Measure yours against these points:

  • The information presented should be interesting, newsworthy, timely, relevant, useful, informative and educational;
  • It should catch the eye, the ear, the brain and the funny bone;
  • It should make you want to say, ""Wow, I didn't know that"; and
  • It should be information people care about, need to know, want to know or should know.

By making your 'bytes' informative yet catchy, light and non-invasive, you'll find the media and their audience far more receptive than they are to your advertising and direct marketing. This primes them for gradual presentation of sales-oriented information, once they have recognized a pain or need among your 'to-do' lists or coming trends.

In Closing
Use tips, trends and surveys as part of your PR strategy and you'll find yourself and your business getting more attention and placement in various media. You'll gain additional leverage with the same information by placing it as content on your Web site and using it as the focus for a direct mailing program. Remember, this is another piece to add to your overall Strategic PR Plan. Combine all of the strategies, tactics and approaches that have been presented in this six-part series and you'll be PROFITING from PR!

Martin Wales, The Customer Catcher™, helps technology companies generate easy, profitable sales by "Skipping the Selling and Getting to the Sales™." Learn more from the audiotape series, Profit from PR Power: How to Successfully Sell Any Technology Using Affordable, Effective & Powerful Media Promotion. Hear PR pros reveal their step-by-step systems for building brand awareness, using affordable strategies and tactics. E-mail us today at info@customercatcher.com with "PR Power" in the subject line for your special TMC-subscriber, limited-time offer.

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