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Should Entrepreneurs Forget Advertising and Focus on Publicity Instead?

How to successfully market your small businesses with publicity.

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Whether you’re in technology, architecture, dry cleaning, plumbing, fashion or legal services it is essential that every small business owner understands the importance of marketing their brand.

After all, marketing is a central mechanism for business growth.

Too often entrepreneurs get lost in the decision of which marketing channels to choose. Direct mail may be effective for local businesses, while paid national television advertising may suit large corporations. Over recent years, online marketing has taken center stage.

If executed well, any marketing channel can be effective. Unfortunately, you may compromise efficiency — as high costs are usually associated with robust campaigns. Therefore, small businesses with limited budgets should choose the marketing mix that best suits their unique market needs.

The most powerful and cost effective marketing tool is publicity — an aspect of public relations (PR). Publicity is the art of attracting media attention to increases a brand’s target market visibility, which indirectly can boosts sales.

The Power of Publicity vs. Paid Advertising

While advertising is paid for, publicity is prayed for.

Local news coverage, feature articles, talk show interviews, and blog posts are all great examples of publicity tactics. And if you’re still on the fence, let’s take a deeper look.

As an entrepreneur, would you rather pay $100,000 for a Forbes back cover advertisement or land editorial coverage and a front cover feature — at no charge (outside of fees paid to your publicist or PR agency, if you have one)?

Would you rather purchase a $40,000 TV spot during the Daily Show or be invited as a guest on the show?

Unlike the paid science of advertising, publicity is an art of skillfully presenting and persuading journalists to cover stories. Ad space is sold, while editorial space is earned. Garnering features in the media depends solely on relevance, timeliness and newsworthiness — not direct payment.

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