Two questions I'm frequently asked: how do I get more publicity, and once I do how do I convert the publicity to sales?
To answer the first question: be nimble.
The answer to the second: be nimble.
There's a tendency with publicity to become so busy creating newsworthy items, we are woefully unprepared for the opportunities that fall into our laps. The result being we are stuck in a conference room debating metrics or in back-to-back sales calls ... while a golden opportunity languishes, then disappears. We may make one sale, but we've let scores more slip away.
So how do we seize the day when it comes to a plum marketing opportunity? Like when a celebrity is photographed using your product, or a client demonstrates your product on a national news program, or you're quoted as an expert in the local paper? Here are 5 tricks to being ready to convert publicity into sales:
1. Look for opportunities. Read the paper, read blogs, watch the news and be a trend observer. You'll be surprised at how many possibilities to link your product with a leading news organization or personality lurk out there if you're just paying attention.
2. Have a template news release and email at the ready. If you're trying to write general company information for a news release or you're uploading client email addresses at the last minute, you're wasting precious time connecting with the story. Set up these essential building blocks now so when the time comes you simply drop in the relevant information and hit send.
3. Drop everything and PUSH. I know. You have a packed day. Meetings. Sales pitches. 175 emails to comb through. Figure out which of those things will be there tomorrow and reschedule. Go in early. Stay late. Do whatever it takes to capitalize on a real publicity opportunity. Trust me, this is your priority for the next 24 hours.
4. Hire help. If you don't know how to craft an eye-catching headline and news release, hire someone who does. Seriously. Anybody. Hire someone in direct competition with me for all I care but please, please don't squander an opportunity to build your loyal customer base because you didn't take the time to do it well.
5. Reuse and recycle. Post the information to your website, blog, your newsletter, all your social media, print it on pretty little postcards, make bumper stickers ... whatever floats your boat, but don't send a news release to the media and call it a day. Take the time to package your publicity success, then maximize your exposure through whatever channels possible.
If you consistently use these five steps of seizing publicity opportunities, the sales will follow. Why? Because positive media coverage is one of the best third-party endorsements you can get, even if they haven't specifically endorsed your product. Endorsements build credibility, credibility builds trust, trust builds loyalty, and having a loyal customer base singing your praises will increase your sales.
Amy M. Dawson is a PR & brand strategist, business writer, newspaper columnist and humor writer. She’s helped hundreds of professionals — from Fortune 500 CEOs to politicians and entrepreneurs— craft their brands. For more information, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.