Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Oprah, Schmoprah

I was asked today to advise a small business owner who wanted to be a guest on Oprah. My task was to explain how she could do that.

Does she market a consumer product targeting the women who are watching Oprah? No. She's in a business-to-business field; her customers and prospects are small business owners. You know they're not watching Oprah and I know they're not watching Oprah, but I got the impression that this business owner didn't give a moment's thought to her target audience and Oprah's existing audience.

The Call of Oprah is just too irresistible. Well Oprah, schmoprah. A lot of business owners, experts, authors -- you name it -- want to be on Oprah. But what's the point of spending countless hours and thousands of dollars working to make it to the couch next to the revered talk show host if your target audience isn't watching her?

Here's one of the secrets to generating the kind of publicity that will boost your business: You have to get in front of your target audience to reach them. It's really that simple. What do they read, watch, or listen to? Are they online? Do they watch the morning network news programs? Are they newspaper or magazine readers? Do they shun traditional media? Find out where they're getting their information, then figure out how to become part of that information flow. But don't just set your sights on Oprah because she's so powerful. She has no power with people who tune her out.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Uncanny Publicity Idea

Need publicity ideas? Read the newspaper. I saw a great idea in my daily this morning for a publicity generator that "can" be implemented in just about any community.

The article is about a "Canstruction" event -- a competition to create architectural structures with cans of food that will be donated to the local food bank. (Read the "Can-do competition" article.)

While the food bank enjoys increased visibility and the more than 20,000 cans of food used in the event, it's not the only one benefiting from this activity. The site of the competition, an eclectic art gallery, is mentioned in the article as are the businesses that created entries. (It's a safe bet that the TV stations covered this, too.)

The Society for Design Administration can help you host one of these events in your community, but don't forget to use good media relations strategies to call attention to the event once you get rolling. Here are a few ideas for getting help for this or other events benefiting a nonprofit when you're not sure how to do this yourself:

  • When partnering with the charity to assemble a planning committee, include a representative from a local PR firm willing to publicize the event as a volunteer. Make sure the volunteer is a publicist, not someone who works in advertising. They require different mind and skill sets.
  • Recruit local media personalities as competition judges. They will help you promote it.
  • Ask participating businesses to get their marketing people involved in promoting the event. Pooling resources will expand your reach and impact.

But back to that original thorught about where to find ideas . . . make it a point to read your newspaper -- and those in other cities when you travel -- for publicity ideas you can tweak or duplicate. They don't all have to have the charity connection this one has -- but that nonprofit tie-in sure helps.