Small Thoughts

Lift Off #16 – Public Relations

Podcast Notes:

Public Relations is a different discipline than advertising but it’s not separate. Organizations distribute PR material to news editors in hopes of free publicity. When your business releases a new product, service, achieves some milestone, or significantly impacts the community, it can be delivered as a news story. If your material is picked up by an editor, your story and brand are put in front of the editor’s audience. It can be good marketing.

Bob Bly, a well known copywriter in marketing circles, writes about a simple PR tactic that drew attention from a major New Jersey newspaper. Bob writes in his book, “The Copywriter’s Handbook,” about his 7 year old son’s Gigapet falling into the toilet. The electronic pet quit working, and the 7 year old boy was devastated. To help his son through this mini-trauma, Bob and his family buried the Gigapet in the backyard and gave it a little funeral.

Bob turned this into a PR opportunity. He wrote up a quick press release about the Gigapet burial, offering similar burial service to the public for a small fee. He also offered a booklet about “Raising Your Gigapet” for $4. One sentence of the press release was devoted to describing Bob’s other books as background info.

He mailed this press release out to many editors and the story turned into a feature article for a New Jersey newspaper.

It’s a quaint storey, I know. But it got me thinking, how many people mailed in $4 for that booklet? As Bob was about to tell this story in “The Copywriter’s Handbook,” he noted, “Please don’t send for the booklet, which I lost track of long ago.”  This leads me to believe people have actually inquired about the $4 dollar booklet.

Press releases are easy to write up and even easier to email out. Getting the email address for a publication editor is not a hard thing to do. It wouldn’t take much to write a quick article or press release about “Using Social Media to Answer Commonly Asked Hair Style Questions,” and then send it out to as many style, cosmetics, and hair salon publications as you can find.

Or write an eBook about the proper way to clean and detail a car, with recommendations for products and safety tips. Price it at $0.99, write up a press release and send it to as many automobile publications as possible. If you’re an auto detailer, you just created a product that you make 100% profit on and potentially garnered a lot of attention. Plus every eBook you sell is more advertising in the hands of someone who cares about the well being of their car.

Maybe you’re a florist offering a special deal on Roses. You could write up a simple how-to article about growing, maintaining, and arranging Roses for beautiful garden displays. At the end you can briefly mention your special offer and the reader won’t feel jilted.


Lift Off will be taking a break for the Holidays. There won’t be an episode of Lift Off from December 22nd to December 28th 2014. When we come back on the 29th, there will only be two episodes per week.

My wife and I will be traveling for a couple months through the states. Open Sky Copywriting won’t be affected except for Lift Off. Being on the road, it will be easier to keep production down to two Lift Off episodes per week.

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