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Don’t Throw Away Another Dollar on Advertising till You Read This

I can’t believe how long I’ve been involved in advertising, marketing, copywriting, etc without anyone having recommended INFLUENCE: The Psychology of Persuasion by Dr. Robert Cialdini to me before.

I purchased the audio book version (Wow, someone is still creating a CD version) and started listening while driving to work. The reading is a little dry, but the content of the book is really eye-opening. The person who recommended it to me was talking in terms of advertising, but frankly I thought it shed light on a huge variety of topics — anything from cult mentality to the origins of the Watergate break-in.

Some of the stories and evidence are kind of scary, but the concepts are all based on facts with plenty of entertaining examples to bring those facts to life. Before you spend one more dollar on advertising, you HAVE to read this book and understand Continue reading

Advertising that Sticks

My last post was about effective promotions at trade shows. But attracting people to your booth and handing them a corporate freebie does no good unless that exchange actually results in the booth visitor becoming a customer, right? So, what are you going to put on your corporate freebie, trade booth banner, or handout? Obviously, you have to have a way for the customer to find you again: a website, phone number, street address. But that’s not enough. You want something that appeals to that potential customer, makes them want to BE a customer, and sticks in their brain.

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Using Humor to Get Publicity

A PR agent, a rabbi and a minister go into a bar…

That could be the start of a joke, but it is the start of this article on when and how to use humor in your publicity.

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Publicity Versus Standard Advertising Ideas

The question of publicity versus standard advertising is a good one. Answering it raises further questions about which is more effective, and which kinds of audiences are best suited to each. Is the generic and randomly targeted nature of publicity enough to bring in potential customers, or does the targeted nature of advertising provide substantial advantage in a saturated market with little attention span? Solving the question of publicity versus advertising isn’t an easy task, but looking at an example might get one a little closer to the correct answer.

The recent IBM publicity stunt that involved the Watson computer in the famous game-show Jeopardy is a perfect example.

Instead of spending millions of dollars on a widespread advertising campaign to targeted markets, IBM used an asset they already had, the Watson computer, and put it in a national spotlight. Continue reading

Craigslist: A Powerful Publicity Tool

This guest post was written by Joan Stewart of The Publicity Hound.

So you thought Craigslist was only for finding an apartment, a job, a car or a date.

Did you know that the wildly popular web portal can be one of the most valuable tools in your PR campaign, particularly if you’re looking for grassroots publicity targeted at certain cities or countries?

Craigslist is a giant community bulleting board, an almost entirely free classified ad service where you can buy, sell or give away just about anything. Started in the late 1990s by Craig Newmark, it began as a list only for San Francisco. But it became so popular that it’s turned into 190 separate lists for people in all 50 states in the United States and 35 other countries. The more than 80 discussion forums are devoted to a wide variety of topics.

More than 10 million people use Craigslist each month, so you never know who might be reading. No one edits your posts, but you’ll be kicked off the list if your message is obscene. You can’t post identical messages to more than one city or category, but you can post a photo if you wish.

Most posts are live for only 30 days. Posts in the events and classes categories are live for only 14 days. Once a message expires, you can repost it again and again. That means that if you’re advertising an event in December, you can start posting it as early as September, then keep reposting it whenever it expires.

Here’s just a small sample of the types of things Publicity Hounds can post on Craigslist:

Meetings, fund-raisers and information about volunteers for every kind of community group imaginable. These can include poker clubs and knitting circles, self-help groups, fraternal groups and service clubs.

Classes, activities and demonstrations at schools, colleges, universities or government agencies

Anything dealing with artwork, whether you’re looking for models or giving away art you no longer want

Political meetings, rallies, volunteer opportunities, fund-raisers and ranting

Musicians who are cutting new CDs, searching for band members or looking for gigs

Free tips from hospitals, health care agencies and doctors on everything from cholesterol to bird flu

Employee awards, open houses, new products and services, promotions and other news at local companies

Speaking engagements, book signings and other events hosted by authors, speakers and experts

Questions and comments about where to find the best bar, supermarket or barber shop in a certain community

What you’re doing in your small business, such as products and service you’re offering, or free classes you’re giving

Anything dealing with child care, from where to find a babysitter to the best nannies

Every post is free except if you’re posting job listings at the New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles lists.

I’ve been posting my business events to Craigslist for a few months, and I found the site difficult to navigate at first.

The categories can also be confusing. So before you decide Continue reading

Do you have the idea that advertising is a low-life profession

I grew up long before caller-id existed and my mother was rarely madder than when “some SALESMAN called up and interrupted” her at home.

Sales people were irritating to my mother whether they called on the phone, knocked on the door or even hovered too closely in the store.

It’s hard growing up with this mindset, oh and of course haven’t we all heard plenty of jokes about the “used car salesman type of personality” which means someone with low moral standards — so it’s hard to grow up with this and then aspire to sell and sell a lot.

But we all have to sell, whether we are selling the idea that we’re the best candidate for the job or selling life insurance policies. If we have a negative association with sales and advertising, then we better consider how to get over it.

I recommend Continue reading

Getting Print Publicity teleseminar

I promised I’d let you know what I thought about the free teleseminar on getting print publicity. There was a fair amount of pushing for everyone to go to the upcoming $5000+ media publicity summit. It may very well be a great program, but I still felt it was given a ridiculous amount of the air time.

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Expert Advice Column

Advertising in Sound Bites

Fame isn’t just for American Idol singers, Lady Gaga, and CEO's. Publicity coverage is available to anyone who has the right idea at the right time for the right audience— and can deliver it in the right way.

The last part is key. And it’s where most people fail.

Media coach, marketing strategist and author of Sell Yourself Without Selling Your Soul, Susan Harrow has been working with both famous and unknowns for over 20 years. She claims to have the secret sauce that can turn anyone into a media darling virtually overnight.

It’s called sound bites.

Click here for information on Susan's Sound Bites Course and tips on getting publicity
for your business (a.k.a Free Advertising).

Radio Publicity Guru

If you are looking for information about how to get on radio talk shows, then you should start at Alex Carroll's web site, get his free list of top radio talk shows, and discover if radio could be the right way for you to get your message out.