Coming from a PR family - my father was PR director of a state government agency, my mother was in PR for the banking industry, and my sister has her own PR/advertising agency - I was very much aware of the publicity and promotion challenges to be tackled, especially as a small business attempting to establish a reputation. Time and money were not major issues at all. I knew it was necessary to set aside the time to invest in PR efforts - even when I was at my busiest. Money was not going to be issue as I was not going to budgeting a lot for publicity. My mother had taught me years ago that when it comes to PR one of the primary tactics is "why pay for something that you can get for free."
I had been in the design industry for nearly 20 years when I finally adopted the name Jeff Fisher LogoMotives
in 1997. Although I had had used the press release with moderate results for nearly 10 years, it was now time to get serious about the challenge of publication editors taking me seriously in reintroducing myself as a newly named small business. My college studies in journalism, advertising and public relations came in very handy as I could prepare my own marketing materials and press releases. Had this not been the case, being surrounded by PR professionals, I certainly would have given serious consideration to calling in someone who knew what they were doing.
Armed with my new identity, the press release heading "Toot! Toot!" and the press release tagline "If I don`t "toot!" my own horn, no one else will," I began sending out newsworthy press releases via snail mail on a regular basis. Those three elements set my business apart from the masses and editors began calling and publishing my news - often commenting about the fact that my "Toot! Toot!" initially got their attention. Within six months one of the two local business newspapers did a small feature on my business
. That following fall the major newspaper in the state published a feature about me
. The challenge of establishing relationships with editors had been met. A steady stream of media mentions
has followed over the years (yes, like everyone else I have difficulty keeping my site updated), resulting in many clients coming my way, a book contract, inclusion in many books as a resource, speaking engagements, requests to write articles, being named to the editorial board of a major design publication, and more. A client of mine, who owns a marketing and public relations firm, always cusses me under his breath because I am often able to get more press for myself than he can get for his own clients.
When the statewide newspaper, The Oregonian
, interviewed me on a Thursday in 1998, I was asked if I had a web site as a reference for readers of the article. Not wanting to miss an opportunity, I did what any media savvy business person would do - I lied! (Luckily I had a potential URL registered) My partner, a friend and one of the friend`s employees then spent three days/nights getting my web site up and running. When the article came out in the Monday paper I had a complete web presence - and the editor had cut the contact info out of the newspaper article. Still, if readers searched for me on the Internet they could find me.
With being online, I began to use email to distribute my press releases. One of the things I quickly learned is that many of my established media contacts preferred getting a hard copy press release in traditional snail mail. Again, it set my promotion efforts apart from the increasing number of email releases being received by a given editor. The additional use of online press release distribution sites, such a PRWeb
, has given an international presence to my promotion efforts. These days, my blog - bLog-oMotives
- has become an incredible tool in positioning my business for publicity. The blog gives me complete control over a PR vehicle, with a global presence, that I am able to refer others to as an immediate resource for quotes, information and story ideas.
About half of my "day off" each Friday is spent maintaining those publicity contacts and seeking new sources. I`ve dealt with some editors/writers for over a decade now - through career moves to new publications for many. It`s not unusual for me to call an editor to just say "hi," send off an occasional personal email, or ask an editor out for coffee. When I attend industry conferences I always make time to meet with industry publication editors in person. I`ve learned that it is important to drop everything when a member of the media contacts me for input or an interview. Having media kits prepared to immediately send out by mail or overnight delivery is a valuable and time-saving tactic. Taking that time to meet the request of a media contact may be much more valuable than any other form of marketing and promotion. Doing so has created a situation where my business, and my expertise, is given the same media weight as the "big boys" in my industry. Such recent requests have involved an interview request with Fortune Magazine
, an interview with a Wall Street Journal
reporter (which has yet to result in an article - but a relationship has been established), article requests from magazines in Turkey and Russia, and a request this morning for examples of my work to appear in a Chinese book.
One of the most important elements of establishing and maintaining relationships with editors and writers is always sending out a handwritten thank you note
after an interview and/or inclusion in an article or book.
When it comes to promotion and marketing efforts I always challenge myself to see how little money I can spend in getting publicity - rather than being concerned about how much specific efforts may cost.
By using my own tried-and-true methods I have overcome the challenge of publicity providers taking a one-person, home-based business seriously.
Jeff Fisher | Jeff Fisher LogoMotives
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