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Lead Generation through Public Relations and Publicity

Building awareness, image, and credibility

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Lead Generation through Public Relations and Publicity


Building awareness, image, and credibility
Overview
When most people think of lead generation, the process of attracting new customers to a business, they often think of advertising. Advertising is a well known and well accepted standard operating procedure of the vast majority of businesses. But its not the only way to generate new leads. This process booklet introduces you to the ins and outs of two other important avenues of lead generation: public relations and publicity. They increase the publics awareness of what you do and what you stand for and help you build a public image that pulls people toward you. They are also seen as more credible than advertising. Public relations activities provide educational, social, financial, technical, or informational benefits to the community. Adding public relations to your lead generation strategy creates a win-win situation that many business owners find irresistible. You contribute to people, organizations, or causes that are important to you and build your business at the same time.

SNAPSHOT

The reputation of a thousand years may be determined by the conduct of one hour.

Mastery Impact! Supplemental Module: Advertising & Public Relations Business Development Process: 2SUP-LG04

Japanese proverb Definitions & Key Points


Public relations activities are all the things you do that are intended to create and maintain positive impressions and goodwill with the public. There are three main types of public relations activities: industry/professional; educational/instructional; and community/social. Publicity is newsworthy information about your company that is not paid for and appears in the media. There are five main types of publicity pieces: press release; press kit; straight news article; feature news article; and public service announcement. The press release is your main communication link with the media. Its format conforms to established industry standards. Media relations is what you do to establish positive dealings with those people in a position to give you publicity. Media relations is a two-way street: you need the media and they need you.

Integrating Public Relations into Your Lead Generation Mix


Define Your Public Relations Strategy

Develop a Public Relations Plan Develop a Communications Plan

Develop a Media Relations System Execute Your Ongoing Public Relations Strategy

A Business Development Publication of

E-Myth Worldwide
We Know Small Business
Santa Rosa, California, USA

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Copyright 1999, 2005 by E-Myth Worldwide. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from E-Myth Worldwide.

Lead Generation through Public Relations and Publicity


Mastery Impact! Supplemental Module: Advertising & Public Relations Business Development Process: 2SUP-LG04

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Building awareness, image, and credibility

The reputation of a thousand years may be determined by the conduct of one hour.

Japanese proverb

Neil is a man contemplating a purchase decision. Its early spring, the weathers nice, and he wants to buy some sports equipment for himself and his familybats, balls, and mitts for softball, and a couple of tennis rackets. He could go to several places in town. But where should he go first? Hes going to spend quite a bit of money, so he wants to have a good shopping experience with helpful salespeople, and he wants good quality without paying an arm and a leg.

Neil starts by asking friends for recommendations, but finds that they havent bought sports equipment recently or they dont have a particular preference. So he starts browsing through local newspapers, magazines, and mail ads, and paying attention to radio and television commercials. The first advertisements that catch Neils eye are the TV and radio spots for Big Eddys Sporting Goodsa chain retailer with an outlet in Neils town. The ads are appealing. The store is conveniently located, has a good selection, and a good reputation. Big Eddys might be the place to go.

Neil also looks at some newspaper ads and direct mail postcards from another store: The Locker Room, a small, locally owned sporting goods retailer. He has heard of The Locker Room and has passed by it before, but hes never gone inside. The ads seem to show that, like Big Eddys, The Locker Room has what Neil wants. But The Locker Rooms print ads are not as enticing as Big Eddys TV and radio spots. Neil is now leaning toward Big Eddys. Then Neil remembers that The Locker Room sponsors a team in his daughters softball league. He recalls seeing The Locker Rooms Sports Are Fun float in the town parade last summer, and remembers reading an article in the paper about The Locker Room sponsoring sports training for handicapped and disadvantaged children.

How do you think this story ends? Neil goes to The Locker Room. Even though Big Eddys had the more effective advertising, it wasnt enough. How did The Locker Room gain the advantage? It used public relations and publicity to augment its low-budget
Copyright 1999, 2005 by E-Myth Worldwide. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from E-Myth Worldwide.

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ads. Sponsoring events in the community and having feature articles appear in the newspaper are examples of the types of public relations and publicity that can dramatically improve your lead generation results.

Whats Wrong with Advertising and What You Can Do about It

The great thing about advertising is that its extraordinarily controllable and, once youve done your initial work, its relatively low maintenance. You can reach a lot of people, pick and choose exactly whom to reach, determine exactly how much you want to spend, and use the same ad over and over.

The downside of advertising is that the very people youre trying to attract and persuade are on to you. They dont believe half of what your ador any adsays, and thats assuming they even see it. Most consumers today are savvy about advertising messages. They distrust more than they trust. People have become so cynical about advertising that they dont even believe truthful information. Fortunately for advertisers, including you, consumers continue to choose from among the many messages, so effective advertising will win out over the ineffective. But it can be a struggle. What can you do about it?

Dont get so locked in to the standard advertising vehicles television, radio, newspapers, magazines, display ads, mailers, and the Internetthat you forget there are other lead generation channels available to you. Public relations and publicity are two other avenues that can propel your lead generation while building the credibility and confidence that regular advertising cant.

The Lead Generation Side of Public Relations

Take a closer look at public relations. Its exactly what the name implies: its what you do thats intended to create and maintain positive impressions and goodwill with the public. A public is any group that has, or could potentially have, an interest in your company or, conversely, a group in which you may have an interest. The public is your existing customers, your potential customers, and everyone who influences their buying behaviorfriends, neighbors, relatives, business associates, community leaders.

Copyright 1999, 2005 by E-Myth Worldwide. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from E-Myth Worldwide.

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Apart from your product, what is it about your company that your customers are interested in? Are they interested in how your company treats the environment? Are they interested in your policies concerning flexible schedules, employee salaries, or diversity in the workplace? Do they care about your support of community or non-profit organizations? Are the people who influence your target customers interested in these things? If they are, youd better pay attention to making sure theyre on your side. Whether it targets customer or influencer, public relations is a great way to make sure public opinion and support are with you.

Public relations are the activities you sponsor, conduct, or participate in that have some public purpose or benefit other than (or in addition to) selling your products. Even if selling is one of the primary purposes of your public relations event, if the added purpose is perceived as beneficial and not self-serving, the activity will help position you in peoples minds and preferentially differentiate you from your competitors.

So every public relations activity serves two purposes. One is providing a benefit to the public, such as education, information, financial support for worthy causes, and community involvement. The other is the contribution to the growth and success of your business. Public relations improve your image and reputation, and build public recognition and support of your brand. Your public relations activities may create an immediate increase in your generation and lead conversion rates. They may also have a gradual, long-term effect, building a solid base of loyal customers. Public relations is an important lead generation vehicle because the public thats concerned with your corporate dealings and the market that youre trying to attract as customers are made up of the same people. If you alienate one, youll alienate the other. By the same token, establishing yourself with the public will put you in greater stead with your market. Both Big Eddys and The Locker Room have the same primary target market. Both companies created their lead generation advertising with the psychographic profile of their customers in mind, and Big Eddys did a better job.

However, The Locker Room remembered that its target customers Neil and all the other Neils out thereare more than just potential tennis racket buyers. It remembered that Neil is also concerned about the quality of life in his community and

Copyright 1999, 2005 by E-Myth Worldwide. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from E-Myth Worldwide.

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wants educational and sports opportunities for his children. It was able to reach this part of Neil through its public relations activities.

Understanding the buying behavior of your target customer is important, but it probably wont be enough in a competitive advertising arena. Your potential clients are more than just consumerstheyre people. And the more of the entire person you can reach and touch, the more attraction youll create.

Public relations provides you with a lead generation channel that can reach people in ways and places that advertising doesnt. Effective public relations can give you the type of exposure and create the kinds of impressions that advertising dollars cant buy.

PublicityYour #1 Public Relations Tool

Its been said that public relations is doing the right thing and publicity is telling people about it.

Publicity is newsworthy information about your company that appears in the media. The most common forms are news stories, feature articles, and public service announcements in newspapers, magazines, television, radio, and verbal announcements made at public events. Unlike advertising, you dont pay for publicity. But because you dont pay for it, you also dont control what appears, where it appears, or what is said about you. The particular publicity channel, whether it is newspaper, TV, radio, or Internet, is under no obligation (other than the standard legal obligations) to say what you want them to say.

When channels elect to publicize you, theyre not doing it to help you sell your products or to promote your business, theyre doing it to sell their producttheir newspaper, their television stationby providing what they think their customer wants to see and hear and what they hope will attract new customers for them. For you to get publicity, youve got to anticipate the needs of the channels youre interested in. What will attract, interest, inform, or entertain their readers, listeners, or viewers?

With publicity, you cant control what is shown or said. You cant even know for sure whether any message will be presented at all. So why should you even consider publicity in your lead generation strategy? There are two main reasons. First, you dont pay. Although you need to devote some internal time, resources, and expense, publicity is inexpensive compared to

Copyright 1999, 2005 by E-Myth Worldwide. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from E-Myth Worldwide.

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advertising. Second, people believe third-party communication far more readily than first-party communication coming directly from you. Publicity is a form of third-party communication. People believe it. Advertising is first-party communication. People are suspicious of it. They may dismiss your advertising message completely, or selectively choose certain parts of it to believe. There are two ways you can get publicity: 1. The media finds out about you and produces a piece, or 2. You inform the media about something newsworthy in your company, and they decide whether or not to report it.

Credibility and cost are two main reasons to include publicity in your lead generation mix.

Which of these approaches is most likely to result in getting your story to the public? Unless your business is very well known or is engaged in extraordinary activities, the media are probably not beating a path to your door asking for interviews. Youll have to take the initiative. Its standard practice for all sorts of businesseslarge or small, new or well establishedto submit information to the media for publicity purposes. If youre going to add public relations to your lead generation mix, you need to have a communication system in place to get the word out. Your companys accomplishments can be intrinsically satisfying, even if you and your staff are the only ones who know about it. But those same accomplishments can be even more rewardingand good for businesswhen the world knows.

If your company contributes to local charities or supports community events, for example, its doing a good deed something that helps other people and helps societyregardless of whether its publicized. But why shouldnt the public know about it, too? If a news article were to appear describing the charitable or community work your company does, the value of your contribution wouldnt be diminished, and the public would be getting something valuable, too: information. Consumers want to make informed choices. Advertising rarely provides complete information. The more information people have about your companynot only the price and description of your product, but also information about your companys history, its values, its integrity, the character of its employees and officers,

Copyright 1999, 2005 by E-Myth Worldwide. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from E-Myth Worldwide.

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its plans for the future, and so forththe better theyre able to make informed choices about the purchases they make and the businesses they deal with. You may think this kind of information is irrelevant to buyers. Maybe it should be. Maybe the quality of the product and the needs of the customer should be the entire focus of peoples buying decisions.

But, like it or not, the customer decides whats relevant to him. And most people do care about more than just the product itself, particularly since they can choose from so many similar products. What really distinguishes one plumber from another, one dress shop from another, or one accountant from another? Is it the quality of the product or service? Does one really unclog a drain better, have a better selection of clothes, or prepare financial statements better?

If the differences arent significant, what will help potential clients choose your business over your competitors? Better advertising? Possibly. Of course, you can use advertising, rather than publicity, to let people know about your public relations activities. Get the word out both beforeto attract them to the eventand after, to spread the word about the benefits your company provided. But advertising is usually much more costly than publicity and, from your potential customers point of view, publicity is much more believable. In general, publicity is a more appropriate way to deliver a public relations message than is advertising. (Likewise, advertising is generally a more appropriate way to deliver a sales message than is publicity.)

Use public relations activities to establish goodwill and favorable impressions, and use publicity to make sure people know about them. This will give your lead generation an added advantage. Because when people buy, they buy with more than just their wallets and an immediate need. They buy with their sense of duty, their reputation, their pride, and their heart.

The Public Relations Advantage

Here are five important reasons to include public relations and publicity in your lead generation process: 1. AWARENESS Because of the glut of advertising messages, people simply tune out most of them. The messages and impressions you

Copyright 1999, 2005 by E-Myth Worldwide. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from E-Myth Worldwide.

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bring to people through public relations and publicity arent as likely to be ignored. Because people are more receptive to them, your message can reachand really be heard by more people. Public relations activities reach people in different ways than advertising channels do. They can help you 1. reach different groups of potential customers or 2. reach the same prospects more intensely.

Even publicity channels, which are generally the same as advertising channels (newspapers, television, and such), help you reach more people because of the unique placement of publicity. An article in the Business section of the newspaper will be seen by different people than your eighth-of-a-page ad in some other part of the paper. Publicity and public relations also generate much more wordof-mouth than all but the most outstanding ads, again, increasing the level of exposure your company gets. Public relations and publicity allow the public to see the other sides of your company: the social side, the civic side, the political side, the professional side, the fun sideyou might even say the human side.

2. IMAGE

Your image gets a boost when people take in messages about you that are both positive (in their view) and relevant to what they think is important. People feel a much stronger sense of connection to a company they perceive as good. They will buy from that company rather than a competitor (assuming factors such as quality, price, and convenience are comparable or at least meet the customers minimum acceptable standards).

3. BRAND IDENTIFICATION

In fact, people will often buy an inferior or higher-priced product if something else compels them to. And that something else might be the positive image of your company. Public relations activities and publicity are the main tools at your disposal for creating a strong and positive corporate image. In addition to improving the overall image of your company, public relations also changes peoples perceptions in a more specific way. It creates in peoples minds a much clearer and more powerful picture of your companys brand. Not only will the public start attaching positive associations to your company in general, your product or service will become more vivid, more recognized, and more identifiable in the minds eye of customers.

Copyright 1999, 2005 by E-Myth Worldwide. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from E-Myth Worldwide.

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When people come to know you through public relations activities and publicity, your product becomes differentiated in their minds. They easily distinguish between your product and all the others. They know what makes yours different. They feel more attracted to your company and your product. This is exactly the attitude you want people to have when theyre making their buying decisions.

4. ADVERTISING SYNERGY

Brand preference is a crucial step in the Purchase Decision Chain. Public relations activities give you great opportunities to build preference for your brand. Plant the seeds of brand identification as often as you can, and youll see the results in the number and quality of leads you produce. Public relations and advertising work hand in hand. They support and reinforce one another because they each address and reach a different part of the mindset of your target customers.

Advertising is usually highly product-oriented. It gives people information and impressions about what your product does, why they need it, and why its better than the competitors product. Public relations may also deal with your product to some degree, but it usually addresses aspects beyond that scope. Public relations showcases your company in a broader senseits professional strengths, community interests, and corporate values. If you do them well, both advertising and public relations speak to peoples unconscious, emotional mind and to their conscious, rational mind. But public relations touches people more on a human levelI really feel good about this company and what it stands forand advertising touches them more on the practical levelthis is the information I need to make a good purchase decision. If a prospect has doubts after seeing your ad, your public relations eases them, and vice versa. When used together, advertising and public relations are the one-two punch of your lead generation strategy. Thats synergy. Public relations and publicity increase your companys credibility. All the well-placed and well-meaning messages and gestures wont have much impact if the public doesnt believe you.

5. CREDIBILITY

Copyright 1999, 2005 by E-Myth Worldwide. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from E-Myth Worldwide.

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Public relations events often have an element of face-to-face closeness, of personal connection, that creates a sense of intimacy in which people believe they can see or feel the truth. Its one thing for an actor in a TV commercial to say, the most helpful sales staff who will cater to your every need! Do you believe it? Its quite another thing for potential clients to meet your employees at a fair, conference, or community event and actually experience them as warm, caring, friendly, and helpful. Do you believe it now?

As stated earlier, publicity generates credibility because it is third-party communication. When you say something positive about your own company, for example in an advertisement, its going to sound glowing. But when a third party says something positive, that message is much more believable. That familiar adage, if its written in the newspaper or if its reported on TV, it must be true, still goes a long way. Most people trust that journalists and media editorial staff verify information they present. Publicity is seen as far more objective, revealing, and balanced, and therefore more believable than advertising. When messages reach people in a non-selling context, such as a public relations event, peoples defenses are lowered and theyre more likely to believe the information they receive.

Its great to raise the publics awareness of your business, fostering a corporate image that works for you, drawing people closer to you, and holding a position in their minds so they believe what you say. The ultimate goal of all this positive opinion and goodwill is to gain more and better leads. Public relations and publicity stimulate people to seek out your business, your products and services. They help you meet the purchase decision needs of potential customers, and make the awareness phase more powerful by adding favorable impressions to the mix. They also increase peoples preference for your brand, giving your products a distinct advantage over the competition.

THE PUBLIC RELATIONS ADVANTAGE


More Awareness Improved Image Stronger Brand Identification Synergy with Advertising Heightened Credibility More Leads, Better Leads

Copyright 1999, 2005 by E-Myth Worldwide. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from E-Myth Worldwide.

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Integrating Public Relations into Your Lead Generation Mix

Integrating Public Relations into Your Lead Generation Mix


Define Your Public Relations Strategy

The pool of people in your customer base needs to be continually replenished and refreshed. For most businesses, advertising provides the main flow of new leads and eventual customers. Public relations activities act like a rich support network of tributaries supplying additional new leads, and also feeding the health of your main stream of leads through their positive effects on your image, reputation, and credibility. Adding the dimension of public relations to your lead generation mix keeps your customer base vibrant and robust. Here are the benchmarks that will help you integrate public relations into your lead generation mix without straining your existing lead generation efforts: Define your public relations strategy. Think about how public relations could benefit your business. A good place to start is by reviewing your companys Strategic Objective. Think about the kind of impact you want to have on the public. From there, it will be easier to see what you need to do to create that kind of impact. Consider what types of activities could give your company the increased impact, visibility, and credibility it needs. Use the worksheet in the back of this booklet to help you organize your thinking and plan your strategy.

Develop a Public Relations Plan Develop a Communications Plan

Develop a Media Relations System

Execute Your Ongoing Public Relations Strategy

Finally, define your overall public relations strategy by writing a statement that clearly expresses the broad goals of public relations in your business and what activities youll focus on. Also include who is accountable for public relations in your organization and budget guidelines. Your statement might look something like this: At The Locker Room, we not only offer people the highestquality sporting goods at competitive prices, we help people of all ages discover the joy of athletics in their daily lives, making sports and physical activity a lifelong passion. We want our public to see us as friendly, helpful, caring about the community, as people who truly love what we do.

Our public relations activities will focus on community events that reach people of all ages and in which our employees can be actively involved. Our plan will consist of an ongoing series of events that keeps us in close contact with the community. Every activity will be supported with publicity to ensure our business is associated with these events in the publics mind.
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Our Vice President, Marketing is accountable for developing an annual public relations and publicity plan, which will be implemented by the Manager, Lead Generation. The plan will include an annual operating budget, targeted at twenty percent of the overall lead generation budget. Develop a public relations activity plan and schedule. With your overall strategy defined, you can create a specific activity plan. But be sure to get agreement on the best way to document what youll do from the staff who will be creating and implementing your public relations plan. You can use a controlling calendar, project management software, or any other tool you prefer.

Start with your public relations strategy statement. List general types of events that fall in that strategy, and then identify specific events and when theyll occur. If youre going to create the events yourself, then their scope, cost, and timing are completely within your control. But you bear the brunt of the work. If youre going to participate in activities that are initiated by other people, businesses, or groups, youll have less work to do, but youll have to fit into their time frames and other requirements. As you fill in the specifics of your plan, leave roomand budgetfor unanticipated opportunities for good publicity. Theres a sample Public Relations Plan Worksheet in the back of this booklet to give you a start. Develop a communications plan and schedule. For each public relations activity, youll need to determine how to publicize it. Its best to do this at the same time you do your public relations plan, so that your thinking and planning efforts are coordinated and integrated. With each public relations activity in your plan, include a brief entry indicating how youll communicate about it, whether through publicity or advertising, and which channels (newspaper, radio, etc.) will be most effective. That way, your public relations plan is comprehensive. Youll see that the worksheet mentioned in benchmark 2 contains a place for this.

When completed, your staff can use the general plan to create a detailed plan and schedule for communications, including the specific vehicles youll use (The Evening Post, station WKRP, etc.), the specific nature of the communication (press release, public service announcement, half-page ad), specific dollar amounts to be budgeted, and a detailed schedule for the development, production, distribution, and placement of each communication.

Copyright 1999, 2005 by E-Myth Worldwide. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from E-Myth Worldwide.

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Develop your media relations system. Based on your communications plan, you know exactly which types of channels and which specific vehicles youll be relying on. Now you can focus your media relations efforts where theyll do the most good. Will you use mostly newspapers? Which ones? What are their editorial, advertising, and publicity policies? Who are the people to contact? What are their names (exact spelling), telephone numbers, and addresses? When is the best time to reach them by phone? How much advance notice do they need to write or place an article? What are their publishing deadlines? Are they receptive to working with businesses? If you know this information, youll be more likely to get your publicity placed where, when and how you want. Having a sound media relations system in place isnt difficult, it just takes a little time and research. But not having one will put your publicity effort at a distinct disadvantage. Use the Media Information File in the worksheets section to collect the information you need. Then initiate contact with the appropriate media people and keep in touch periodically. Phone, write, or email them regularly; its also a good idea to meet with your contacts in person every once in a while. Execute your ongoing public relations strategy. The last step is to use the plan youve built. Execute each activity, publicize each one methodically, and monitor the results, both for individual events and over time. Sticking with your plan, while also thoughtfully taking advantage of unexpected opportunities that arise, is the best way to avoid impulsive efforts that, though attractive at first, are ultimately a waste of time, effort, and money.

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Your business will probably be solicited frequently to participate in various community, educational, and industry events. Rather than blindly saying yes or no (depending on your mood that day or if you have some extra cash lying around) use your public relations strategy and your plan to guide you. You dont have to adhere to every last letter of it; instead, add or delete activities as you see fit. But, if youve developed your plan with thought and logic, youll get better results by using it rather than ignoring it and flying by the seat of your pants. Remember that public relations, just like lead generation itself, builds effectiveness and results over time. Each activity needs to be evaluated, not just on its own merits, but on the cumulative results attained as one activity builds on the next. Thats why sticking to a public relations strategy is the best way to get a longterm, ongoing stream of great new leads.

Copyright 1999, 2005 by E-Myth Worldwide. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from E-Myth Worldwide.

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The Press Release: Your Sure-Fire Publicity Piece

A press release, also called a news release, is the mainstay of publicity. Its a specially prepared statement or notice given to the media for publicity purposes. You create and distribute it, and the media decide if, when, and how to use it. They may use it exactly as youve prepared it, edit it, contact you for more information, or they may not use it at all. Its up to them. But because the media are always looking for news stories to tell, press releases have a good chance of being considered for publication. Press releases are easy to prepare and distribute. They conform to a well-established, accepted procedure for information gathering and dissemination by the media. The vast majority of businesses, large and small, use press releases to reach people and build their reputation and credibility. Although newspapers are the most common target for press releases, they can be used for most media, including television and radio.

The next section gives you an overview of how to write a press release. Unless youre sure your business will not be using publicity as part of its lead generation strategy, you should start honing your skills now by preparing and distributing a press release. Start your companys venture into publicity, practice it, then note the results. That way, when you really need some publicity for your company, youll already have gotten the bugs worked out of your system.

Find something about your business thats newsworthy or would be interesting to your community. Write a press release, send it out, and see what happens. (You may have to send it several times, and follow up with phone calls.) Not only are you building vital skills for your business, youre building your image and generating new business at the same time.

How To Write a Press Release

The press release in publicity is similar to the resume in employment. As with resumes, there are well-established and accepted conventions for what press releases should contain and how they should look. Press releases are highly structured, so be creative at your own risk. To increase the likelihood your press release will be read and used, emphasize the language and format the press will accept.

Many books have been published on public relations, media relations, and publicity, complete with guidelines, examples, and
Copyright 1999, 2005 by E-Myth Worldwide. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from E-Myth Worldwide.

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other helpful information. As you build your public relations program, you and your staff should take advantage of these resources. In the meantime, heres an introduction to the fundamental rules for writing press releases:

CONTENT GUIDELINES I Start the main body of your press release with a headline. Make it punchy, as if it were to appear in the published story. It probably wont, but you want it to reflect the actual story content and catch the editors attention.
I

Present the most important and newsworthy information at the beginning of the press release. Make sure youve answered the journalists basic questions, who, what, when, where, why, and how. Then you can fill out the picture with additional information. Media space and time are precious, and editors will cut your story from the bottom up if they cant use it all. Write in an objective, journalistic style. Use short, declarative sentences. Dont try to be artistic, poetic, flowery, cute, or opinionated. Subjective information or opinions can be presented as quotations, attributed to the appropriate (and preferably noteworthy) person. In fact, including a testimonial in your press release can increase its credibility and impact.

Check, double-check, and triple-check your press release for accuracy. This is not an exaggeration. Errors in print can be embarrassing at the least, and damaging to your image and reputation at the worst.

Be sure your facts are accurate and complete. Check your spelling, particularly proper names. Be specific, especially with dates. Dont say yesterday or next Wednesday; give the exact date. Dont say 125 Main Street when you really mean 125 North Main Street. Keep your press release to one page if possible, but no more than two pages, on letter-size or legal-size paper. If you want to include more information, attach it on separate pages, with SEE ATTACHED on your press release. Additional information might include charts, schedules, letters, background information, or notes to the writer or editor. You could also e-mail your press release to the media source after youve verified that they accept electronic submissions.

Copyright 1999, 2005 by E-Myth Worldwide. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from E-Myth Worldwide.

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FORMAT GUIDELINES I Prepare press releases on your business letterhead stationery, imprinted with your company name, address, and telephone number (or type this information at the top of a blank page).
I

Indicate at the top of every press release when it should be published. There are three standard entries to choose from: 1. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (date you prepare and send the release) 2. FOR RELEASE: (future date of specific event)

3. FOR RELEASE ON OR AFTER: (future date) Indicate the name and phone number (and other available contact information) of at least one person in your company who can be reached for additional information about your story. Near the top of the press release, before the headline, write: FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: (followed by: first and last name, telephone number, fax number, email address, hours when can be reached) Make sure your headline stands out. Use capital letters, boldface type, underlining, and/or widely-spaced letters. Include a dateline at the beginning of your first paragraph. The dateline states the place of origincity and stateof your story, not the date. CONTACT: or

Double-space the body of the press release. Leave wide margins, so editors and writers have room to make notes. Indent the first line of each paragraph. The overall look of a press release should be neat, clean, clear, and well organized. If the text of your press release is more than one page, type (MORE) at the bottom of the first page. Start the second page with an abbreviated headline, in capital letters, and page two of two in the upper corner. Include a brief (2-3 sentences) boiler plate statement at the end of your release that gives basic company information. Indicate the end of your press release with # # # centered below the last line of text.

See an example of a press release in the Worksheets section.


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An Introduction to Media Relations

The media are not in business to help you. They have no interest in serving your agenda, only in serving their own. They are interested in delivering interesting, helpful, and newsworthy information to their audience. Ideally, you want to find and take advantage of those times when the media can serve their own needs by serving yours. Whether your lead generation strategy already includes an aggressive public relations and publicity campaign, or youre thinking of a more modest one in the future, pay attention to media relations. Of course, youve got to know how to do it.

The good news? The media needs you, too. They have a vast amount of print and broadcast space to fill. Think of all the newspapers, magazines, television, and radio stations in your area; how many editions are published every week; and how many hours of air time are available. Most media are constantly looking for stories to bring to their audiences, and they often dont have enough staff to cover their areas completely. They need people like you to bring stories to them. 1. Increases your recognition factor; your press releases, phone calls, and other communication will get more attention. 2. Increases the likelihood that your stories will be published. 3. Increases the likelihood that writers will contact you for more information so your company will get more complete, accurate, and favorable coverage. 4. Reduces the likelihood of unwarranted, negative coverage. GUIDELINES FOR MEDIA RELATIONS If the subjects of media relations and publicity are new to you or your staff, be sure to take advantage of outside resources (books, classes, seminars, consultants, etc.) to expand your knowledge and increase your comfort level. At its core, however, what you need to know about media relations is basic common sense. Keep two essential guidelines in mind: Say what you mean and mean what you say. First, know what youre talking about. Do your homework. Make sure you know the facts. Communicate clearly. Be specific, not general or vague. If youre asked something that
Copyright 1999, 2005 by E-Myth Worldwide. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from E-Myth Worldwide.

Consider several key benefits of establishing positive relationships with the media:

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When it comes to the mediaand the publicyour integrity means everything. Be honest; dont exaggerate. An innocent mistake might be forgiven if you get the chance to explain. But insincerity, evasiveness, or blatant lying to paint a more positive picture of your company will be quickly detected. Its an invitation to adverse publicity from which your business may never recover. Make the medias job as easy for them as possible. The media business is a fast-paced, deadline-driven business. Theres a lot of information to process, and not a lot of time to do it. Producers, editors, writers, and reporters make decisions by the minute regarding what gets aired or printed and what doesnt. So, if you want to get your story to the public, youve got to do as much of the medias legwork as you can. The better your press release is written, the earlier you submit it, the more complete your press kit, and the more available your staff to answer questionsthe greater the chances that editors and producers will choose your piece.

you dont know, say so. Dont lie; dont pretend to know more than you do. Be straightforward with the media; dont be evasive. Choose your words carefully. Its easy to be misconstrued, so use plain language thats precise and leaves no room for misinterpretation.

Keep the media informed and be available, helpful, and reliable. Youll be establishing your business as one thats media friendlyand thats good news for you. YOUR MEDIA INFORMATION FILE The backbone of effective media relations is knowing who your media contacts are and having the most current and correct information on each of them. Most of the information can be found in telephone directories, library reference materials, published media lists, and on the Internet. For information not found there, call the media, tell them youre putting together a media list for your company, and ask them whatever you need to know, including the exact names (spelled correctly) and phone numbers of people like the Business Editor, Public Service Director, and any specific reporters. Theyll readily supply you with this information.

Heres a summary of the types of information youll need. Use the Media Information File worksheet to help you compile it.

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For print media: name; street address; mailing address; telephone and fax numbers; circulation figures; geographic area covered; audience demographic profile; date and frequency of publication; copy deadlines; names of specific editors, reporters, columnists (e.g. business, feature, city); and the contact information (phone, email, etc.) for those specific individuals. For broadcast media: name of network; call letters; dial location/channel numbers; street address; mailing address; main telephone number; geographic area covered; audience demographic profile; names and contact information of specific department directors and editors (e.g. news, public service, business, feature); names of specific programs (public affairs, business, interview programs, talk shows); and the names and contact information of the producers and hosts of these programs. For national and international wire services and press bureaus: name; address; telephone number; names and contact information of bureau chief, editors, correspondents; copy deadlines.

You dont have to compile your entire media file all at once. Start with the one or two primary vehicles (one newspaper and one television station, for example) that youll use most often. One of the easiest ways to begin media contact is to send them a press release and follow up with a telephone call to introduce yourself. Over time, you can continue to add different vehicles to your media file and establish your relationship with them one by one. With the media as your ally, you have a powerful way to promote the best face of your business. The bottom line on media relations is that its a two-way street. Treat the media well, and theyll likely treat you well in return. Just give them what they need and dont waste their time.

The Best of Both Worlds

Lead generation is a numbers game, right? The goal is to attract as many potential customers as possible so you can engage your well-orchestrated lead conversion process and create lots of sales. The more you attract, the more youll convert, and the more your business will grow. Well not exactly. It is a numbers game, but youve got to focus on the right

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numbers. The formula for growing your business is a dynamic interplay of many factors. You dont just want to generate a lot of leads, you want to generate the right leads. Leads that are qualified, leads that are pre-sold, leads that will buy now and buy again and again and again. A lead generation strategy that includes both advertising and public relations gives you a balanced mix of ways to communicate with the public. Each has its advantages and its drawbacks. Advertising gives you complete control. You create the entire message and determine when and where it appears. Public relations gives your business credibility and a human face. It lets you show the public your strengths, the qualities important to you, and how other respected people and organizations see you. Use advertising and public relations together within your lead generation process to deliver exactly the impact you want.

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Key Types of Publicity Pieces


TYPE OF PUBLICITY

DESCRIPTION
The press release is the cornerstone of publicity, the standard vehicle through which businesses communicate with the media. Its a short, objective announcement, a prepared statement you send to the media to inform them about something newsworthy that will interest their audience. It allows you to build impressions of your company in the minds of the general public. There are many types of stories you can communicate in a press release. Some examples are: noteworthy successes; professional or educational accomplishments of staff members; awards or recognition won by your company or individual staff; introduction of a new product or service; merger or acquisition of another business or a business alliance; events you sponsor or participate in; charitable or humanitarian activities or contributions; discoveries or innovations you initiate or contribute to; human-interest stories. When you distribute a press release, the media are under no obligation to use it. They may use it exactly as written, they may edit it, they may rewrite it, or they may ignore it. They may or may not contact you for additional information. A press kit (also known as media kit or media information kit) is a specially prepared package of information you give to media representatives when they attend an event or that you send out with a press release. The press kit not only helps them write a more complete news story, it also ensures they have the positive information you want them to have in a documented form they can refer to later. The kit can contain information about a specific event and/or comprehensive information about your company, its history, organization, products, and services. Press kits save writers time by providing information they would otherwise have to research, which improves the chances that your story will get told the way you want it told. Theres not a standardized format for press kits as there is for press releases; your press kit can be simple or elaborate. The most common formats are pocket folders, 3-ring binders, and large envelopes. Your business name, logo, address, phone and fax numbers, and the name of a contact person in your company should be prominently displayed on the cover or inside. Other contents might include: a stand-alone press release; a fact sheet; a calendar of events; background information; company history; brochures; annual reports; previously published articles (press clippings); biographies of key employees; a quote sheet listing positive comments that others have made about you with the names and affiliations of the people who said or wrote them (testimonials); photographs with captions. A straight news article reports to the public the facts of an event or situation. It informs people about a subject that is important and interesting, or relevant to their lives. Its objective and appeals to the publics need to know. It focuses on facts, not opinions. Theres usually a degree of time urgency about this news; if you wait too long, the information is old news and no longer meaningful. News articles about your company help build respect and professional credibility for your business and draw people to events you sponsor and participate in. Feature news articles, as contrasted with straight news, are less about immediately important and factual information, and more about people, opinions, and emotions. These articles are often referred to as human-interest stories. They appeal to the heart as well as the mind. Feature articles are usually much less time-sensitive than straight news; theyll be as relevant and interesting in a month or two as they are today. Because of these characteristics, they are useful for smallbusiness publicity campaigns and keeping your company in the public eye. When your company is lacking a hard-news story, you can almost always find a feature story to tell. A public service announcement is a notice giving information about an upcoming or currently ongoing event, activity, meeting, service, or program that serves the interests and wellbeing of the community. A PSA is broadcast at no charge. Public service announcements are usually associated with television and radio and are usually announced in a listing of several announcements from different sponsors. The purpose is to inform the public and attract interested people to attend the event being announced. If your company is mentioned in a PSA, it conveys the idea that youre civic-minded, charitable, concerned about the welfare of the community.

Press Release

Press Kit

News Article
(Straight News or Hard News)

Feature Article
(Soft News)

Public Service
Announcement (PSA)

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Public Relations Activities for Lead Generation


TYPE
OF

ACTIVITY

EXAMPLES

DESCRIPTION
These are activities that present you as a leader, an expert, or, at least, as an active participant in your field. Such events may or may not be open to the general public but, even if theyre not, publicity about them can get the message out. When the public is made aware of the content of your participation, or even just the fact of your participation, it not only increases the publics awareness of you and your company, it also fosters perceptions of you as involved, knowledgeable, and respected. Trust and credibility, particularly with regard to the quality of your products and services, are enhanced.

Industry/ Professional

Conferences Press conferences Interviews Radio/TV talk shows Networking events Professional alliances

Educational/ Instructional

Panel discussions Classes Demonstrations Seminars Open houses Informational materials (articles, books, brochures, programs)

These are activities where a key focus, although not necessarily the only focus, is providing people with information they can use or are interested in knowing. It is often information related to your businesss industry, but doesnt have to be. For example, if you sell lumber, you might hold classes for the general public on how to build decks and fences or give a demonstration of home-security systems. Or, you might sponsor seminars or distribute literature on gardening, yoga, child psychology, or some other topic of interest to your community. Providing education, instruction, and information that helps people grow personally or improve their quality of life improves your image in peoples minds and may even create a sense of obligation that builds your businessyour company helped me, so its only right that I do business with you. These are activities you can initiate or participate in that contribute to the common good or are social in nature. Your level of participation may be high, such as sponsoring a youth sports team where you provide uniforms, coaching, and organizational help, or as remote as simply donating money. Associating your business with activities like these provides ways for people to get to know your company more personally. People feel more connected with businesses that touch their daily lives, and this increases the likelihood that theyll do business with you and/or speak highly of you to others.

Community/ Social

Donations Charity work Fund-raisers Fairs Holiday events Sports events Community events Political events Letters to the editor Social awareness School events Environmental activities

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Worksheets

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PART 1: PUBLIC RELATIONS ASSESSMENT GRID: Fill in the cells of this grid. When completed, highlight the cells that contain common characteristics. This will guide you in identifying which types of public relations activities will have the most reach and the greatest impact.
Aspects of the Image You Want To Project Interests of Your Customers & Prospects Interests of Influencers Your Companys Strengths

Public Relations Strategy

Identify:

In the area of:

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Industry/ Professional

Educational/ Instructional

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Community/ Social

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PART 2: PUBLIC RELATIONS STRATEGY STATEMENT: Write a statement that describes your companys overall public relations strategy. Include the general goals you want to achieve, both in terms of image and impact on the public, as well as increasing your lead generation, types of activities, accountabilities, and budget.

Public Relations Strategy (contd)

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FOR THE MONTH OF: _______________


Description of Event (including sponsor, target audience, participation requirements) Event Budget (list, then total, main budget items) Item $ $ $ Communication Plan for Purpose of Event Event (e.g. goals, results, impacts (including channels and time you want to achieve, both frames for publicity and financial and non-financial) advertising)

Public Relations Plan

Date of Event

Name of Event & Employee with Overall Accountability

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Amount

TOTAL: Item

$ Amount $ $ $

TOTAL: Item

$ Amount $ $ $

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TOTAL:

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Complete this form for each media vehicle you want to establish relations with. Verify and update your file as often as necessary to be sure you always have the most current and accurate information.
Media Type (newspaper, magazine, television, radio, etc.): Name/Call Letters/Dial Location : General Description (including circulation, geographic reach, audience demographic profile):

Media Information File

Main Telephone Number: Street Address : Mailing Address : Contact #1 Telephone :

Main Fax Number :

Name and Title : Fax: Email:

Program/Column/Department Description :

Deadlines : Contact #2 Telephone :

Name and Title : Fax: Email:

Program/Column/Department Description :

Deadlines : Contact #3 Telephone :

Name and Title : Fax: Email:

Program/Column/Department Description :

Deadlines :

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This hypothetical example shows how a press release can be used to build a businesss image and shows the appropriate format for a press release. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 1, 2005

Press Release Example

Contact: Telephone: Fax: Email: Best time to reach:

PRE-SCHOOLERS AND SENIOR CITIZENS FOCUS OF NEW PHYSICAL-AWARENESS PROGRAMS


Lexington, KYThe Locker Room, a locally-owned sporting goods store operating in Lexington for over 15 years, announced today that it is launching a training outreach program to improve the health and well-being of people in our community. The Locker Rooms physical-education staff will provide activity guides and classes to train daycare and pre-school providers and program directors of nursing homes and senior communities. For senior citizens, the goal is to improve their physical and emotional health, give them a renewed lease on life, reduce their need for medication, and reverse or slow the effects of aging on brain function. For pre-schoolers, the goal is to increase alertness, provide sensory and kinesthetic stimulation, and improve childrens readiness for elementary school. Recent medical and psychological studies prove there is a direct link between physical activity and brain development. People who are physically active have better memories, both long-term and short-term, a greater capacity to learn, and are better able to concentrate and apply their learning in their daily lives. Physical activity has also been shown to result in improving peoples ability to manage emotional dilemmas more positively and productively. This program will be launched on July 1, 2005. The County Board of Education and Department of Social Services are providing funding to support this effort.
The Locker Room is a sporting goods retailer operating in Lexington since 1984. The company sells sports equipment and clothing, and sponsors community activities to promote fun, fitness, and the general well-being of people of all ages.

Brook Washington 771-555-4200 771-555-4300 Bwashington@lockerroom.com 9:30 - 11:30 a.m. and 2 - 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday

The Locker Room 125 North Main Street Lexington, Kentucky 88888

###
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Press Release Worksheet


Draft a press release for your company.

Copyright 1999, 2005 by E-Myth Worldwide. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from E-Myth Worldwide.