Editor’s note: Daryl Toor, who has worked in marketing and public relations for more than 20 years, is founder of Atlanta-based “Attention.” He writes a regular column on Mondays about trends in marketing and communication.Getting publicity is wonderful. But it’s no magic elixir.
Unless your story affects, amuses, helps or hurts millions, it’ll be old news before you can say, “has been.” In fact, it’s only a flash in the pan unless you know how to recycle it.

Your company is featured on the evening news in a non-controversial story. Millions will see the piece. Many millions more don’t. A newspaper article is written about you. It has great immediate impact. The next day it is wrapping fish. Same for a magazine feature, radio interview or talk show appearance.

Here are ways to recycle your 15 minutes of fame to expand its impact:

First, make copies

In print: Request permission to reprint printed articles. In some instances the publication will do the reprints for you, in others you can have them printed yourself. Don’t skimp. Don’t make sloppy copies on your office Xerox machine. Spring for professional printing.

Reproduce the article in color, including the cover of the magazine, the logo of the paper or newsletter. Exclude the date, which will limit the usefulness of the reprint.

Broadcast: Get a copy of the tape. Don’t tape it yourself and risk a poor quality copy. If you are interviewed on the news or appear on a talk show, ask the producer how you can get a copy of the tape. You may sometimes have to pay.

Video Monitoring Service of America, 212.736.2010 can make you a professional copy of a radio or TV broadcast for a reasonable fee.
Put the interview on a CD small enough to fit in a # 10 envelope and hand it out to customers, at trade shows, or to journalists who express an interest in receiving it.

Sending out copies of videotapes is expensive and not productive. Use the video in sales presentations, at trade shows, on your web site and when your friends drop over.

Internet: If you’re featured in an online newsletter, e-zine or Web site, print several copies on a color printer immediately. The site may not archive the article and you may not find it in the future.

E-mail a link to the story to your personal mailing list. Do not send it as an attachment. Do not send it to an open list. Use the BCC function of your e-mail. Sending to an open list is just rude.

Streaming: Consider streaming an excerpt or a copy of broadcast interviews on your web site in your pressroom. If it’s a big enough deal, put the link right on your home page, and send the link to customers and suppliers in an e-mail.

To whom should you send copies?

Never include a sales pitch when you want to show an article to others. Adding a sales pitch turns the opportunity to joyfully share your good fortune into SPAM – which will not do you any good at all.

Snail mail printed copies or e-mail a link to the feature to anyone you want to favorably impress with your success, including:

  • Current and prospective clients

  • Your salespeople and reps so they can show it to prospects

  • Friends and family

  • Bankers, lawyers, accountants, suppliers. (When we were making Stew Leonard’s food stores famous, they found that sending out copies of a steady stream of major publicity helped them get suppliers who previously considered them too small to deal with to want to do business with them. The same may happen for you.)

  • Journalists
  • While it might be logical to think that journalists want to be the first to write about anything new or interesting, this often is not the case. Being able to include clippings about your company in a pitch to other journalists will help, not hurt you. There is a certain pack mentality in journalism – as amply illustrated by the dot.com reverence of 1999 and the dot.com bombing of 2001.)

    Broadcast journalists almost always want to see a story in print before they cover it. All journalists seem to read certain publications when searching for stories. Get an article on the Associated Press newswire, in The New York Times, Wall St. Journal, Forbes, Fortune, BusinessWeek, People Magazine or USA Today and you are virtually guaranteed widespread radio, TV and other print exposure.

    What should you say?

    Keep it simple. To everyone except journalists:

    “We are really proud of this article and wanted to share it with you.” is enough.

    To journalists: It’s almost never a great idea to send the story by itself. Include a print copy or a CD in your next pitch.
    If the story is really favorable, consider sending CDs or print to key journalists with a note saying something like “In case you missed this, we’re really proud of it and I thought you might like to see it.”

    Recycled publicity will often do more for you than the original story. Just remember: A dog’s gotta wag it’s own tail.

    Attention: www.attentiongroup.com