Publicity is making something known to the public, spreading information to the general-local or national-market. It is information with a news value used to attract public attention or support. Everybody use publicity. Politicians, manufacturers, celebrities even the Detroit car makers use publicity to further their causes and gain attention.
And publicity isn’t limited to large organizations. Small committees and enterprises use the local newspapers to publicize events and endeavors.
Publicity differs from advertising because it is free. Although some groups or individuals do trade tickets or services for free mention in publications, generally publicity is newsworthy copy that a publication produces.
Publicity is a form of promotion, although promoting a product or service may require other efforts that cost the company money. Good publicity is one of the best ways to let people know you have a worthwhile business.
KNOW YOUR PRODUCT OR SERVICE
In order to gain publicity, you have to be totally familiar with the product, service or business that you are promoting. If it is your own product, you are the best one to describe the benefits and features. If you want to publicize something else, talk to everyone involved to get the facts and details. Consider the radius of your market. If you have a local business such as a retail store or service shop, most of your customers are from the surrounding five miles. If you are located in a large city, you may have a larger radius, but at the same time, there may be stiffer competition.
Your enterprise might be regional or statewide and your clients may come from hundreds of miles, either in person or by telephone, to use your services. And, if you are a large manufacturer, your clients and customers may come from the entire United States or you may have a worldwide audience.
Before you seek publicity or even advertise, KNOW YOUR PRODUCT. Be familiar with the people who buy your product or service, and have a full understanding of the general competition and the full scope of marketability. Profile your customers. Who are they and what do they do? If you have a service, how often is this service used? If you have a product, is it something that is bought again and again, or is it a lifetime purchase?
How much do your customers pay for your products and are you competitive with the other manufacturers of the same products? If you have an unusual product, are you reaching the widest audience you can?
SURVEY THE MARKET
What do the customers want? Sometimes, the least expensive price is not the most important element. With today’s packaging, many customers expect and will pay for things elaborately packaged. Where do these people go to buy your products? Are they sold at retail outlets or through trade publications or magazines? Or, are they special items available from mail order or from certain regions of the nation or the world?
Finally, why do your customers buy this particular service or product, or use the particular business you have? An architectural design studio produces blueprints for architects to construct buildings for homeowners and industry. But your product may be aimed at a less precise group of people, somewhat hard to define.
You can discover what consumers want from surveys. You can get copies of surveys from special companies that conduct surveys, or you can do your own. The best place to conduct a survey is at a trade show for your product. You might run a drawing and ask people to fill in information. You can have cards printed with boxes to check easily so people will spend the time to answer your questions.
Manufacturers use surveys with warranties. Appliance makers often include a few questions along with the warranty that the consumer sends back.
Most major manufacturers have their own teams of product testing. Toymakers bring in children and watch their reactions. Book publishers have people look at covers and decide which they’d buy. Even the car manufacturers run surveys and opinion testing on style and pricing.
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