Recycling your publicity pays

Here's another tip on revitalising and keeping your public image in tip-top shape.

Q: In the past, I've gotten great publicity for my product, Cozy Rosie, a baby blanket that won't fall out of the stroller and get caught in the wheels. It was selected as a "Best Bet" by New York Magazine. An article about it was also printed in The New York Times. A few years ago, American Baby and Twins magazines printed new product information on it. But now I'm having trouble thinking of a new angle to get more publicity. How can I get back into American Baby now that my product is no longer new?

A: What a terrific start you had. Keep the momentum going. First, check out these seven ways to recycle your publicity:

  1. Post the articles on your Web site under "Media Coverage."

  2. Near the top of your home page, create a tagline that says, "As seen in The New York Times, American Baby and Twins magazines. Selected as a "Best Bet" by New York Magazine."

  3. Add that same tagline and your URL to the signature file in your e-mail. This is the automatic signature that goes on every e-mail message you send. For directions on how to create a signature, look under "help" in your e-mail software program.

  4. Make reprints of the articles and use them in targeted-mail campaigns.

  5. Include the reprints along with "pitch letters" you send to editors of other publications.

  6. Send a reprint to every past customer. Include a special offer—$10 off if they send you a referral by a certain date or if they buy another blanket as a gift for a friend.

  7. Create strategic business alliances with other companies that sell to your target market. Would a stroller company give you a free banner ad on its Web site in exchange for its ad on your site?

Now start creating new angles and adding new media outlets:

  1. Write a "tip sheet" called "9 Tips for Keeping Your Baby Safe in a Stroller." Send it to parenting magazines and newsletters. One of the tips will be to buy a safety blanket. At the end of the tip sheet, include contact information.

  2. I see from your Web site that you work at home with your husband. Send the tip sheets, reprints and news releases to regional parenting publications and to publications in cold-weather states. Also send them to magazines and newsletters that cover small business, safety and couples who work together.

  3. Join Internet discussion groups for parents of new babies. Subtly let people know what you do. If they're curious, they'll want to know more.

  4. When doing interviews, ask reporters, "Who else do you know who might be interested in this story?"

  5. Send news releases to syndicated newspaper columnists who cover parenting issues. Check the Bacon's Newspaper Directory at a major library for content information.

  6. Tie your news release to national days, weeks and months such as Safe Kids Week, which is the first week in May, or Safe Toys and Gifts Month in December.

When you've gotten new publicity as a result of these tips, start recycling again. Then your watch sales soar.

Joan Stewart, a media relations consultant and professional speaker and trainer, works with companies that want to use the media to establish their expertise, enhance their credibility and position themselves as the employer of choice. She also publishes The Publicity Hound, a bimonthly print newsletter featuring "tips, tricks and tools for free (or really cheap) publicity," as well as tips booklets on how to find and keep valuable employees.