Make Your Good Publicity Work Marketing Magic

You’re excited! There on the front page of the Lifestyle Section of The Daily Gazette is a picture of your teenager holding one of your new crias. Your farm is featured in the copy, the photos do justice to the quality of your alpacas, and the reporter quoted you accurately in all but a couple of instances. You immediately show the article to your family and ranch manager. You call the paper and order a few more copies of this edition. Your excitement continues into the next day when a neighbor and even one of your customers mention they saw the article.

Sound familiar? A published article seems to have a magical way of giving you a brief splash of good exposure and the thrill of recognition. But beyond that, positive publicity can be an effective, cost-efficient method of marketing for you and your ranch. However, good publicity will only do something for you if you do something with it.

An article or photograph viewed only one time by your prospects, customers, or other key referral sources will give those readers only a fleeting awareness of you, not the kind of recognition and retention that leads to the generation of prospect inquiries and referrals. You can, however, take a number of steps to ensure that the good publicity you receive continues to work for you to communicate your image and message to the people in your target markets for alpacas and fiber goods.

The Power of Third Party Endorsement

Publicity is different from advertising. Although advertising and publicity can complement one another, they are not the same disciplines. Advertising is defined as the action of calling something to the attention of the public through paid announcements. As an advertiser, you may pay a newspaper, magazine, Internet company, radio, television, or other media source to print or broadcast a message you create. Your ad usually carries a persuasive message designed not only to inform your target audience, but to motivate them to act – that is to inquire about your alpacas and related products and services. You control the graphics and the content of the advertising message, as well as when and where it appears. Your rate of response to advertising will be determined by a number of factors including the type of media you select, the number of times the ad runs within a given time period, the audience it reaches, its message, its call-to-action , the time of year, and the design and copy of the ad itself.

In contrast, public relations is the business of inducing the public to have an understanding for and good feelings toward a person, company, or institution. Though the purpose of public relations is not to sell, it can build awareness, create preferences, and encourage transactions to occur. Publicity is one form of public relations. Publicity is information with news value issued through the media as a means of gaining public attention, understanding, and support from a select audience.

Publicity is different from advertising in that you have less control over when and where your message appears in the media. Since publicity does not involve buying media space, editors and producers have the right to decide placement and edit your message as space and time allow.

Because publicity is usually delivered through the words of a newspaper or magazine reporter, radio or television assignment editor or talk show host, it carries what is called “third party endorsement.” Your message, delivered via publicity, may be more believable in the minds of readers or viewers (your prospects, customers, and referral sources), because it was written or produced by someone other than you. For instance, the reader thinks, “If ABC Alpacas says in a newspaper ad that they have premium quality alpacas with gentle dispositions, that is what they want me to believe. If The Daily Gazette reporter prints that the alpacas at ABC Alpacas have fiber to die for and terrific temperaments, too, it’s almost like a referral, so it must be true.” Thus, good publicity gives you the benefit of third party endorsement.

Publicity defined:
If you are hosting an alpaca event, and you paint a sign and put it up in town, that’s advertising.
If you put a sign on an alpaca and walk him through town, that’s promotion.
If you walk the alpaca through the mayor’s flower bed, that’s publicity.
If you get the mayor to laugh about it, that’s public relations.
If you planned the alpaca’s walk, that’s marketing.
                                                             Adapted from an excerpt in Reader’s Digest

Julie Wassom
“The Speaker Whose Message Means Business”
Marketing and Sales Speaker/Consultant/Author
Call me: 303-693-2306
Fax me: 303-617-6422
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