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Frank Remarks: Public Relations: The Forgotten Stepchild of E-Business

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Unwanted press releases have inundated reporters and editors for years, and never more than since the proliferation of email. If you don't want your press release to join the blizzard in the journalist's trash, follow Frank Fiore's advice in this article.
This article is adapted from TechTV's Starting an Online Business.
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Jungle or Squirrel?

They say that a jungle is just a rain forest with poor public relations and a squirrel is just a rat with good public relations. Ask yourself this: Is your e-business a jungle or a squirrel?

Like it or not, perception is reality in the online world. Where else can guy in a garage build a web site that has the look and feel of a multimillion-dollar corporation? And if done right, you can get a million dollars worth of free publicity without spending a dime on advertising. I've seen it done by the pros. And I'm not talking about hiring a million-dollar-a-year PR agency to do it. You can augment your ad dollars and gain the benefits of PR right from your own web site.

I'll tell you how in a minute. But first, let's go for a definition. Just what is the difference between advertising, promotion, publicity, media relations, and public relations?

The following story should help to clarify.

Once upon a time, the circus came to town. To drum up business, the circus promoters put up posters around the city, which read: "The Circus Is Coming to Town." Okay, so they weren't great on copywriting. At any rate, we call that advertising. On the day the circus opened, posters announcing the circus were put on an elephant and paraded through town. Animals are great at capturing attention. That's promotion. At one point, the elephant ran amuck and thundered through the mayor's flower garden. That created publicity. The circus promoters got the press to publish the story on page one—that's media relations.

And if they got the mayor to smile about the incident, that's public relations!

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