Posted by: Don Linnen | 16 March 2009

Seize the Day with Free Publicity

Do you have enough of the public’s mindshare? If everyone already knows all about your organization and you’re way ahead on donations this year, go ahead and skip this blog.

Spend your time filling out your brackets for March Madness. (That’s the college basketball playoffs for those of you who don’t know why a lot of guys are taking longer lunch hours this Thursday and Friday.)

If you’re struggling to get the word out, stay with me. This blog is not for those of you who have stumbled into free publicity due to involvement with a ponzi scheme or a board member fighting extradition from Antigua. This blog is for the rest of us.

Emmy award winning reporter Jeff Crilley has written a helpful, easy-to-read book entitled Free Publicity. This guy knows what he’s talking about. And he’s willing to come talk to you about it! He has a heart for nonprofits.

Jeff spoke to a group of us at the Dallas Public Library last month. In a short, entertaining, and informative 90 minutes he listed five key points that every organization needs to keep in mind.

  1. Look for opportunities to speak in public about your cause. Every Rotary, Kiawanas, and Lions club has someone eagerly trying to fill those weekly speaking slots. In a big town, there are lots of choices.
  2. Keep on networking. Even in a big town, word gets around. Make sure its a good word.
  3. Develop terrific customer service. Keep your employees happy. They will keep your customers – aka clients, donors, volunteers, board members – happy. That word will get out.
  4. Work with the media. Get to know the journalists who have an eye or ear for a story about people and nonprofits. People like stories about people. Learn how to help reporters on slow news days. Stage a special event on a government holiday.
  5. The buzz. This is the most important point of the five. It’s all about the buzz. Creating it and keeping it alive is vital. If your organization lives – thrives – with honor and integrity and a level of customer service that Southwest Airlines will envy, the word everywhere will be about your organization.

This is not profound. These are not hidden secrets. It’s all common sense. But often we need reminders and encouragement about what we can do. Jeff Crilley is out there to help. Buy his book. Give him a call. Send him an email at RealNewsPR. Watch him on YouTube.

Help yourself. Good publicity is available to everyone. And the price is right.

On second thought, if you are fighting bad publicity, this blog is probably for you as well. Maybe especially for you.

Carpe diem!

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