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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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Publicity Appeal for Small Businesses

The appeal of publicity is clear for entrepreneurs, whose greatest asset is often business savvy and greatest barrier is usually cash.

Since advertising requires a significant monetary investment and publicity (if done on your own) requires only a time investment (and minor costs) — the latter is usually favored by startups.

Passionate entrepreneurs who lack significant cash flow can successfully market their small businesses with publicity. And those who do will reap additional benefits that an advertising campaign cannot deliver.

1. Credibility

A cover story in TIME magazine or interview an on CNN brings tremendous credibility to you and your brand. Being featured in the general news media or industry specific outlets establishes prestige and an implied sense of endorsement from the media outlet that covers your story.

2. No tune-outs

With the advent of online and social media, consumers have learned to tune out ads and focus on content. People are more likely to remember an article on your firm than an advertisement. Marketing campaigns that focus on content (as a publicity tactic) attract viewers, while those centered on ads experience high tune-out rates.

3. Longer shelf-life and reuse

Publicity can be utilized in many different ways — mainly you can tailor it to be used across all of your marketing activities. Once featured in the media, you can incorporate the coverage into your online marketing efforts – via social, content, email and more. Whether reprinting a magazine article to include in your sales presentation or embedding a television interview on your website, showcasing your media coverage can act as an effective marketing tool for impressing potential clients, investors and other stakeholders.

4. Cost savings

Landing a press hit is low-cost to no-cost at all (if you pitch media outlets on your own). While there may be minor costs associated with a successful publicity campaign, the largest input is time.

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Photo: Sand

Zach Cutler is a dynamic entrepreneur and marketing professional who formed Cutler Group, a communications firm, in 2009. He specializes in crafting innovative communication campaigns to help businesses and organizations thrive. Zach consults on foreign media to senior government officials and is a freelance contributor on entrepreneurship to the Washington Examiner. Zach received a BBA in Marketing from The George Washington University School of Business. He has interned at the White House, US Department of Commerce and Ogilvy PR. He currently resides in Washington DC.

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