Business and Operations
Recession-proof your business with publicity
By Pam Lontos
By Pam Lontos
April 26, 2010 – If you’re thinking of cutting your business’ publicity
during tough economic times, think again. That’s you have to get your company’s
name out there more than ever.
Consider the ingenious marketing move made by the Wrigley
Company in the 1940s. During World War II, the company couldn’t get the
necessary ingredients to continue making their chewing gum. So they stopped
production of all their product lines. However, even though they had no product
to sell, they continued their advertising, with the “Remember this Wrapper”
campaign. After the war ended and ingredients were plentiful again, they
resumed production of their chewing gums and quickly regained and even exceeded
their pre-war popularity, while much of their competition went out of business.
To put it in perspective, the Wrigley Company maintained top
of mind awareness with their customers, even during a difficult time. That’s
exactly what your business must do to succeed in today’s economy.
Even if you’re working with a small budget these and
advertising isn’t possible, you can get great results with some carefully
planned publicity. Remember that during a recession, the competition between
businesses is greater than ever. Publicity helps you get that extra celebrity
and credibility so you can stand out.
Additionally, you want to keep up the momentum from your
current publicity efforts. If you stop marketing your business and try to
resume once the recession is over, you’ll be essentially starting from scratch.
That’s a tough place for any company to be. You’ll be forgotten. Here are a few
suggestions to keep your publicity efforts going strong, even during difficult
Inform the media that you have something to offer by sending
out press releases. Press releases are also a good method for getting your
product or service reviewed in publications. Watch the breaking news, and if
something ties to your business, send a press release to the newspapers, radio
and television shows, and magazines offering your take as an expert to
interview about the situation.
When you see something in the news that you have a strong
opinion about, write a short op-ed piece and send it to the newspapers. Op-ed
stands for “opposite editorial,” referring to the page facing the editorial
page – the page on which the newspaper publishes its own institutional
statement of opinion. Even if your view is controversial, don’t be afraid to
put it out there. Controversy often sells.
Write articles. Smart company presidents and business owners
know they must constantly stay in the public’s eye. Getting published in a
magazine, trade journal, or local newspaper is an excellent way to keep the
company’s name circulating throughout the general public and to enable the
company leader or business owner to become perceived as an expert. When
prospects and current customers see that your company leaders have an
impressive list of published pieces, they’ll consider you an industry leader
and will want to do business with you.
Become an expert source for newspaper and magazine writers
in your area. E-mail or call the editors to find out what stories they’re working
on. If you can provide information or insight on any of the topics, offer it
freely so you can get quoted. Whenever you have an article or show idea, call
the appropriate media personnel and present your topic. Ask questions such as,
“What are your readers (or viewers or listeners) looking for?” “What are you
looking for?” and “What angle do you want the story to take?”
Use social media marketing (SMM) to promote your business
online. These days, SMM is a vital and inexpensive part of any marketing campaign.
SMM helps you get your business’ name out to the masses quicker and easier than
ever before. Create profiles for your business on sites like Facebook, Twitter
and Plaxo and interact with potential clients.
The bottom line is your business needs to be out there all
the time to maintain top-of-mind awareness. Granted, you may need to trim your
advertising expenses, but publicity is an inexpensive way to keep yourself in
front of your clients. And since many of your competitors will cut back on marketing
now, by staying strong and true to your course, you will stand out, especially
as the competition thins out.
With more competition between businesses today, you need to
show why you are the best in your field. Credibility does that for you, and promoting
your business with public relations builds that credibility. You never want
people to think, “What ever happened to (your business)….” Maintaining your
publicity efforts prevents that from happening and helps you get business –
even in tough times!
Pam Lontos is
president of PR/PR, a public relations firm based in Orlando, Fla. She is
author of "I See Your Name Everywhere" and is a former vice president
of sales for Disney's Shamrock Broadcasting.
PR/PR has placed clients in publications such as USA Today,
Entrepreneur, Time, Reader's Digest and Cosmopolitan. PR/PR works with established businesses, as
well as entrepreneurs who are just launching their company. For a free publicity consultation, e-mail
Pam@prpr.net or call 407-299-6128. To receive free publicity tips, go to www.
PRPR.net and register for the monthly e-newsletter, PR/PR Pulse!