The power of positive publicity is undeniable. It is one of the most cost-effective ways you can market your center. Publicity generates understanding and good will, so can effectively emphasize the message you are trying to deliver through other methods of marketing. When used well, good publicity can make it easier for you to generate more inquiries and referrals.

Publicity is information with news value, issued through the media as a means of gaining attention, understanding, and support from a selects audience of readers, listeners, or viewers. In a publicity article or broadcast, your message is delivered through the words of a newspaper, magazine, or internet news service reporter, radio or television assignment editor, or talk show host. That gives you third party endorsement.  When the publicity is positive, it can help motivate those prospects to inquire, and that’s exactly what you want!

If you are a director or owner who wants a good return on the minimal time and budget you have to spend on marketing, publicity is a good marketing tool for you. With very little time and effort, you can generate a significant amount of good press for your center.

Media Relations
Develop list of local publications and stations your prospects turn to for news and information. Start to pay attention to the reporters who might be interested in a story about early care and education. It may be a features editor, a reporter in the business section, a children’s section editor, etc. Call each media outlet to verify correct names, titles, addresses, telephone, fax and email. Ask the preferred method of contact. Ask about deadlines and any guidelines for submittal of newsworthy information.

Create Newsworthy Stories
Your chances of getting publicity are significantly increased if you provide the media with news or information that meets these three criteria:
* unique
* timely
* of interest to a broad segment of their readers, viewers, or listeners.

Ideas for newsworthy stories include philanthropic events (such as a clothing drive), accreditation, special events at your center, tips on what to look for in finding quality child care, announcement of a new director, staff member or program, parenting topics such as summer safety tips for kids.

Brainstorm with your staff on what might be newsworthy in your program, then categorize each topic by the editors and publications for which that information is most appropriate.

In the next post we will discuss Press Releases and Media Kits, so stay tuned!

Julie Wassom
The Child Care Marketing Coach
Marketing and Sales Speaker/Consultant/Author