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Step Six: Utilize Electronic Channels Too
Now that you've created and used a press release, get
more mileage from it by adapting for the online services. If
you've made a list of tips, like my sample, or written up an
announcement that reads like news, you can modify it for
posting to the commercial online services, like CompuServe,
America Online and Delphi.
First, avoid running afoul of "no solicitation" rules by
deleting any reference to prices. Second, remove the top two
lines and the dateline, and add a byline to make your piece
look like an article rather than a press release. Here's
exactly how I modified the sample press release in Chapter 2
for posting to CompuServe. Notice also that I added more
biographical information and my CompuServe ID #.
CREATIVE PUBLICITY IDEAS PAY OFF
by Marcia Yudkin, Ph.D.
Entrepreneurs, professionals and any company that offers a
service or product can spend a ton of money on advertising
-- or they can spend time thinking up an approach that will
entice the media to spread the word for them for free.
Radio, TV, magazines and newspapers hunger for items that
will provide useful or entertaining information for their
listeners, viewers or readers. According to Boston-based
writing consultant Marcia Yudkin, Ph.D., you can get your
fifteen minutes of fame -- along with new customers or
clients -- by describing to the media something you've done
that's innovative, funny or evokes human interest.
Here are eight ways to win free media publicity, from Marcia
Yudkin, author of SIX STEPS TO FREE PUBLICITY (Plume
The complete report, "66 Ways to Make You or Your Business
Newsworthy," from which the above is excerpted, is
available for a nominal fee from Marcia Yudkin, Ph.D., P.O.
Box 1310, Boston, MA 02117, CIS 75200,1163 (She is a
regular in the WORK, SMALLBIZ and PRSIG forums); phone
- Concoct an interesting characterization of yourself
(Rick Davis of Temple, NH, created "The Institute of
Totally Useless Skills")
- Present your ordinary program or service to an
unexpected clientele (prisoners, kids)
- Piggyback on the news or current entertainment (In the
summer of 1993, anything about dinosaurs appeared timely)
- Agree or disagree with newspaper columnists by writing
them (Many use or mention their mail in their column)
- Conduct business in an unusual setting (Hold your awards
dinner at the zoo; conduct board meetings in the mail
- Break a record (The Guinness Book of World Records sells
1 million copies a year)
- Do something anachronistic (make house calls; answer
your own phone; bring back glass bottles)
- Take the lead in complying with new legislation (e.g.,
the Americans with Disabilities Act)
Marcia Yudkin is the author of SIX STEPS TO FREE
PUBLICITY (Plume Books 1994); FREELANCE WRITING:
BREAKING IN WITHOUT SELLING OUT (HarperCollins 1988); and
publisher of the newsletter, THE CREATIVE GLOW: HOW TO BE
MORE ORIGINAL, INSPIRED & PRODUCTIVE IN YOUR WORK.
One of the files I posted on Compuserve was downloaded
more than 700 times in the first month, and produced a phone
call and order from The Netherlands. Even better, unlike
paper press releases, which sooner or later end up in the
trash can, electronically posted releases go on spreading
your message to potential customers for years to come.
If you don't already subscribe to the commercial online
services, go to the bookstore and flip through magazines for
PC users or books about the Internet. You should find offers
for a free trial month on at least one or two of the
services. If you don't own a modem, find a high school or
college kid to help you in exchange for credit ("Computer
Consulting") on a resume.
Copyright © 1994 Marcia Yudkin. All rights reserved.