How to distribute publicity materials

Publicity is a way to get your company in front of potential customers. Unlike marketing, which can come across as a sales pitch, publicity often carries the authority of an independent voice. Proper use of publicity can result in higher sales, as your company and products are exposed to a wider net of customers. While publicity cannot always be directly controlled, strategies to garner publicity often prove beneficial to corporate growth.

Publicity and marketing are often used interchangeably to describe a company’s promotional activity, but there are significant differences. Whereas companies generate their own marketing materials, publicity is granted by outside sources, such as the media. One of the biggest advantages of publicity is that it is usually free. A marketing staff and promotional activities can cost a company a significant amount of money. However, publicity — ranging from unsolicited newspaper reviews to social media word-of-mouth — typically costs nothing.


Consumers expect a certain level of bias or exaggeration in the commercials or advertisements a company produces about its products. However, third-party sources, such as magazine articles or online reviews, are often considered less biased. This is particularly true with reputable sources, such as longstanding publication houses or well-regarded professional reviewers. As opposed to company-generated claims, publicity from non-affiliated parties can often seem more credible in the eyes of your potential customers. While professional marketing can be effective, particularly if you offer high-quality products, positive third-party publicity can enhance your company’s reputation.


Many companies that are successful over the long haul rely on the strength of their brand to cultivate new sales. If you can offer your customers a series of quality products that meet or exceed expectations, they may be more likely to give any new products you develop a try, simply by hearing the name of your brand. Successful branding typically takes time. Consistent publicity can help you strengthen your brand by repeatedly putting your company’s name in front of potential customers. Over time, the public may grow to think of your company as a household name, which could set you apart from your competitors.

Generating Publicity

Although publicity comes from outside sources, it rarely comes about spontaneously. To get the ball rolling with possible sources of publicity, you’ll have to pitch your company directly to various media outlets — perhaps through a public relations professional, whose services can be contracted for a fee. Newspapers, magazines and social media sites can’t write about something they don’t know about, so you’ll have to provide them with information that gets them interested in learning more about your company and spreading the word to their readers or followers. To be effective, you must target your message to the appropriate audience. To get repeat or ongoing coverage, you will need to have something new. The good news is that publicity often feeds on itself. If good reviews or comments about your business start popping up, it often gets other sources interested.

  • Parker Public Relations: The Benefits of Positive Publicity
  • Jane Friedman: The Difference Between Marketing and Publicity
  • Forbes: Why Brand Building Is Important

After receiving a Bachelor of Arts in English from UCLA, John Csiszar earned a Certified Financial Planner designation and served 18 years as an investment adviser. Csiszar has served as a technical writer for various financial firms and has extensive experience writing for online publications.

If you are planning to distribute any of the following a Free Printed Material permit is required.

  • Flyers
  • Free Newspapers
  • Printed Advertisements (not including samples)

There are five areas in the Nottingham City Boundary that require you to be issued with a permit, the maps for these areas are listed below.

If you intend to leaflet outside of the above mentioned areas (streets are detailed on the map) please contact [email protected] to check if authorisation is required.

Please note that you cannot distribute leaflets in the Old Market Square unless you are doing so as part of a promotional booking. If you would like to enquire into hiring a city centre promotional space please email [email protected].

People caught distributing printed material in one of the five areas without permission will be issued with a fixed penalty fine of £75 or be prosecuted. The local authority reserves the right to take away the material being distributed.

This legislation does not apply and consent under this legislation is not required for the distribution of free printed matter:

  1. By or on behalf of a charity within the meaning of the Charities Act 1993, where the free printed matter relates to or is intended for the benefit of the charity. Please provide the relevant charity number where applicable.
  2. Where the distribution is for political purposes or for the purposes of a religion or belief.
  3. By a person who distributes the free printed matter by delivering it into a building or a letterbox.

If you wish to apply for a Free Printer Material Permit please see the application below, which includes a scale of charges and guidance documents.

Please allow 7 days for issuing the Free Printed Material Permit.


Once you have completed the above application please send to [email protected]


If samples/mobile advertising/stop or approach members of the public with the intention of asking for money consent will need to be applied for by submitting a Public Space Protection Order application form. Please see the link below for the PSPO application form:

Contact Us

Commercial & Operations Licensing Central Police Station Byron House Maid Marian Way Nottingham NG1 6HS

Publicity is media attention for your product, service, or business. It can include traditional news sources, like news shows and newspapers, and new media, like podcasts, blogs, and websites.

Learn more about how publicity works.

What Is Publicity?

Publicity creates public awareness of yourself, your business, or your brand, products, or services through media coverage and other forms of communication.

It's often part of a marketing campaign. Publicists help to manage publicity for individuals and businesses with a goal of increasing positive publicity and minimizing or responding to negative coverage.

How Publicity Works

Traditional advertising has its limitations. It's expensive, and it can be difficult to know whether you're reaching your target audience.

Publicity won't necessarily take the place of traditional advertising, but it can raise your profile. Even better, the best publicity strategies don't involve buying advertising time or space.

There are multiple ways to generate news stories about your business.

  1. Press release: Use press releases to alert the media to newsworthy events or changes regarding your business. Press releases use a specific format, tend to be short, and lead with the most important information. You can find templates online to follow or hire a writer or publicist to craft one for you. Once your release is written, you can distribute it to local media outlets, put it on your website, and distribute it using a service like PR Newswire.
  2. Network: Develop contacts within the media to increase coverage of your business. You can do this through networking, introducing yourself and your business, and getting in touch when you hear about newsworthy items, whether they involve your business or not.
  3. Volunteer: Get involved in charity drives, local events, or industry milestones so your business will be mentioned in press coverage of those events.
  4. Self-promotion: Pitch yourself as an expert source for news stories using resources like HARO. Journalists are often looking for people to contribute their knowledge for news articles. Keep in mind that you can’t directly promote your product or service when acting as a source. Instead, you’re promoting your expertise, which helps potential customers see you as an authority in your field.

Publicity vs. Marketing

Publicity Marketing
Often free Involves paying for advertising
Not promotional Direct promotion of a product or service
Has a broader audience Has a targeted audience

While publicity may be a component of your marketing strategy, it’s different from marketing because there is no message beyond letting an audience know that the product or service in question exists.

Marketing involves communicating specific benefits and emotions to potential customers to persuade them to make a purchase. Publicity is designed to make a person, product, or brand more visible.

Marketing is almost always directed at a business’s target audience. Publicity typically targets a broader audience.

Publicity campaigns often precede marketing campaigns, paving the way for more specific, targeted advertising efforts.

The Internet is teeming with marketing platforms that don't cost a dime—you just need to know where to look.

You may not have wads of cash to spend on marketing in the early stages of your startup, but that doesn't mean that there aren't effective ways to get your brand out there.

Before the Internet, small businesses only had a few ways to market their products cheaply, through methods like printing out fliers or sponsoring little local events. Now there are all kinds of opportunities out there on the Web—you just need to know where to look.

Here are seven ways to promote your business online that won't cost you a dime:

1. Use the three big local listing services

Registering your business with Google Places allows it to be found more easily on Google searches and it shows up on Google Maps. All you have to do is fill out the form and register, then get your business verified through their confirmation process, which can be done either with a phone call or snail mail. Yahoo! also has a big database of businesses called Yahoo! Local. It's free, and is certainly worth the few minutes it takes to set up. Microsoft's Bing has a similar service that's easy to sign up for.

2. Embrace social media

Social media isn't just a tool to gain exposure—it has now become a necessary time investment for every business to make. You can tie in ads and offers on your Facebook page and have a direct channel with your customers on Twitter. Networking on LinkedIn—both at the personal and company level—can be another way to help your startup.

3. Start a blog

A blog not only helps your company get its name out through followers, but is a way to connect with your consumers more directly. But remember that one of the major keys of blogging is to keep your stream updated as frequently as you can. A dormant, abandoned blog is worth nothing.

4. Put up multimedia on YouTube and Flickr

YouTube provides a free way to distribute creative promotional videos, but in order to succeed you must put up content that people want to view and are relevant to your business—a simple ad will not work. A Flickr profile can also help by giving you one place to compile all the photos for your business, and allows you to link back to your website.

5. SEO your company website

Search engine optimization cannot be underestimated in the world of constant Googling. Pick up a book or head over to an online how-to-guide on SEO and make sure your site is primed for performance on search engines.

6. Press releases

Every time your business does something newsworthy, don't hesitate to shoot off a press release—maybe folks will pick up on it. They're a powerful media tool to use to help generate publicity, and having free distribution of them is a bonus. There are dozens of websites out there that you can use for your press releases, such as PRLog and 24/7 Press Release.

7. Join a relevant online community and contribute

Every niche has communities online that you can get involved in. But just signing up for a forum and posting every once in a while about your business isn't beneficial for anyone, and will likely just annoy people. Actively contribute and build a rapport with the community, while keeping your business out of it. Passively promote your business by putting a link in your signature or mentioning it only when the context is appropriate.

Example Letter #1

I am pleased to grant you permission to photocopy and distribute the article “Rhetoric and Research” by John Doe to your writing students. I hope you and your students will enjoy the article.

Example Letter #2

I am pleased that you enjoyed my book. You have my permission to copy and include Chapter 2 in a readings packet for your health and fitness class. This permission is good for five years. Please include the title page and name of the publisher with the copied chapter so students will have the information for citing. We will need to consider a fee for using the material if you decide to use more of the book in the future.

Example Letter #3

I authorize you to reprint material excerpted from my technical manual, The Doe Handbook, as outlined in your request. I ask that you include a brief credit line for each quotation used, and my publisher requires that a note be included in the acknowledgments. There will be a one-time $100 charge, providing that only the requested material is used. This amount is payable to Doe Publishing. Please send me a final copy of the material as it will appear within the context of your publication, before printing, so that I may give final approval.

Example Letter #4

You have my permission to reprint my choral piece, “Doe Suite,” for use by your church choir. I ask that you limit yourself to twenty copies and that these copies remain the property of the church. In this case, I will waive my usual reprint fee.

Distribution channels in marketing are one of the classic “4 Ps” (product, promotion, price, placement a.k.a. “distribution”). They’re a key element in your entire marketing strategy — they help you expand your reach and grow revenue.

B2B and B2C companies can sell through a single distribution channel or through multiple channels that may include:

  • Wholesaler/Distributor
  • Direct/Internet
  • Direct/Catalog
  • Direct/Sales Team
  • Value-Added Reseller (VAR)
  • Consultant
  • Dealer
  • Retail
  • Sales Agent/Manufacturer’s Rep

How to distribute publicity materials

Here are three examples of distribution channels in marketing:

You have a second product line for small businesses. Instead of using your sales team, you sell this line directly to end-users through your website and marketing campaigns.

That company is called a Value Added Reseller (VAR) because it adds value to your product.

To create a good distribution program, focus on the needs of your end-users.

  • If users need personalized service, you can utilize a local dealer network or reseller program to provide that service.
  • If your users prefer to buy online, you can create an e-commerce website and fulfillment system and sell direct; you can also sell to another online retailer or distributor that can offer your product on their own sites.
  • You can build your own specialized sales team to prospect and close deals directly with customers.

Wholesalers, resellers, retailers, consultants and agents already have resources and relationships to quickly bring your product to market. If you sell through these groups instead of (or in addition to) selling direct, treat the entire channel as a group of customers – and they are, since they’re buying your product and reselling it. Understand their needs and deliver strong marketing programs; you’ll maximize everyone’s revenue in the process.

Your end-users get the information and service they need before and after the sale.

You may not have as many channel partners as you’d like, but your current system is working moderately well.

With your current system, you may not be effectively reaching your end-users; your prospects probably aren’t getting the information and service they need to buy your product.

Access detailed step-by-step plans in our new marketing website.
It’s free to use

How to distribute publicity materials

Distribution Channels Concepts & Steps

Before you begin

You can evaluate a new distribution channel or improve your channel marketing / management at any time. It’s especially important to think about distribution when you’re going after a new customer segment, releasing a new product, or looking for ways to aggressively grow your business.

Evaluate how your end-users need to buy

Your distribution strategy should deliver the information and service your prospects need. For each customer segment, consider:

  • How and where they prefer to buy
  • Whether they need personalized education and training
  • Whether they need additional products or services to be used along with yours
  • Whether your product needs to be customized or installed
  • Whether your product needs to be serviced

Match end-user needs to a distribution strategy

  • If your end-users need a great deal of information and service, your company can deliver it directly through a sales force. You can also build a channel of qualified resellers or consultants. The size of the market and your price will probably dictate which scenario is best.
  • If the buying process is fairly straightforward, you can sell direct via a website/catalog or perhaps through a wholesale/retail structure. You may also use an inbound telemarketing group or a field sales team.
  • If you need complete control over your product’s delivery and service, adding a channel probably isn’t right for you.

Identify natural partners

If you want to grow beyond the direct model, look for companies that have relationships with your end-users. If consultants, wholesalers or retailers already reach your customer base, they’re natural partners.

Build your distribution channel

If you’re setting up a distribution channel with one or more partners, treat it as a sales process:

  • Approach the potential channel partner and “sell” the value of the partnership.
  • Establish goals, service requirements and reporting requirements.
  • Deliver inventory (if necessary) and sales/support materials.
  • Train the partner.
  • Run promotions and programs to support the partner and help them increase sales.

Minimize pricing conflicts

If you use multiple channels, carefully map out the price for each step in your channel and include a fair profit for each type of partner. Then compare the price that the end-user will pay; if a customer can buy from one channel at a lower price than from another, your partners will rightfully have concerns. Pricing conflict is common, and it can jeopardize your entire strategy, so do your best to map out the price at each step and develop the best solution possible.

Drive revenue through the channel

Service your channel partners as you’d service your best customers and work with them to drive revenue. For example, provide them with marketing funds or materials to promote your products; run campaigns to generate leads and forward them to your partners.

After Designing Your Distribution Channels

As you’re creating a new channel you’ll need a pricing strategy and a sales process. When your channel is up and running, you can start launching marketing campaigns to channel partners and end-users.

It may seem like advertising and marketing are two concepts that share exactly the same objective. In fact, they do have the same objective: alerting consumers to products and services being sold. Marketing and advertising have many things in common, but there are some differences. Comprehension of these differences and similarities will help any business or organization with their strategy for customer and audience acquisition.

What Is Marketing?

Marketing is a process that involves design, creation, research and data mining about how to best align the idea of a product or service with the target audience. Marketing helps to define the product even more than the actual product does.

How Do You Market?

Marketing involves research and analysis. This involves studying audience response and creating language and design that will best influence that audience. Certain groups of consumers respond better to images and words than others. Slogans and mission statements that best communicate the “message” of the product are essential to marketing. Marketing strategy can be broken down into the 4 P’s: product, place, price and promotion.

The message of a marketing campaign transmits what kind of people can use the product, what kind of environment best suits the product and other related information. The message is communicated through marketing materials, which create tone and personality of the product as well. Another aspect of market research is pricing and ways to distribute the product.

What Is Advertising?

Advertising is the literal process of making a product and service known to an audience. It is the description used to present the product, idea or service to the world. This generally entails advertising campaigns in the media. An advertising campaign uses creative positioning in the media. Advertising must be timely and used in a specifically strategic way.

How Do You Advertise?

Advertising gets the word out about a product or service. This involves creating a campaign that aligns with the wants and needs of the prospective audience. A great advertising campaign uses a mixture of media to best generate excitement for a product.

For example, if the product is geared toward a younger audience, then social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter might be the best way to reach that audience. Other consumer groups may respond better to radio, television or print ads. Most advertising campaigns use a combination of media to reach the widest audience possible.

What Are the Similarities Between Marketing and Advertising?

First of all, it’s important to note that advertising is a component of marketing. Marketing refers to preparing a product for the marketplace. Advertising is making your product and service known to an audience or marketplace. Advertising is a specific step of marketing. Advertising uses the data and research collected by marketing strategies to best communicate the brand.

Marketing is a more controlled and wider-reaching process, while advertising is specific to brand communication. In a way, marketing is both research and practice, while advertising is straight practice. Marketing involves consumer behavior and marketing research, while advertising involves creative endeavors like design and multimedia production.

Promoting Rotary to the general public can be as simple as wearing your Rotary pin or as elaborate as organizing an integrated marketing campaign. By increasing the public’s understanding of Rotary, we’re strengthening our ability to make an impact in communities around the world.

Whether you’re new to PR or a professional, we can help. We encourage you to visit the Rotary Brand Center, where you will find a variety of media-ready materials that can be adapted to your needs.

How do I promote my club’s project?

Including a public relations component in your project plan will help ensure your club’s projects and events get the attention and support they deserve. The following ideas can help you create a successful campaign.

Know your local media

Before sending stories to a journalist, get to know your audience. Read your local newspaper, listen to the evening news, and follow Facebook and Twitter to identify where a Rotary story might fit. Consider inviting a local journalist to speak to your club about how to work with the media or invite them to join a service project so they can see firsthand how your club is improving your community. You could also:

  • Develop a media list and keep it current.
  • Get to know local journalists by inviting them to learn more about Rotary, your club, or a specific project.
  • Contact the media with newsworthy story ideas, being sure to:
    • Know your story and anticipate questions.
    • Send background materials immediately following contact.
    • Be persuasive, persistent, and friendly, but not aggressive.

    Write a press release that journalists want to read

    Once you’ve developed a relationship with your local reporter, help them remember you through regular contact. Share news about your club projects, fundraising events, or the arrival of Youth Exchange students with a press release. You should:

    • Develop your “news hook,” a persuasive reason for the news media to pursue a story
    • Include the five Ws in the opening paragraph of your press release: who, what, where, when, and why
    • Keep it concise; limit the press release to one page and paste into the body of your email rather than sending it as an attachment
    • Decide who will respond to media inquiries and include their contact information
    • Include visuals when you send to TV stations

    More ideas for promoting Rotary

    There are many ways to promote Rotary. You can hold a special event, start a Facebook page, or place a billboard ad.

    • Advertise on cable and public access TV
    • Create a public service announcement
    • Write op-eds and letters to the editor
    • Distribute club brochures, media kits, and fact sheets
    • Post on your club website and social media outlets, including blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and more

    What do I do next?

    It is exciting to see your club mentioned in the newspaper or see Rotary featured on a billboard. Keep track of your public relations efforts by watching for Rotary-related news clippings in the papers you have contacted. Remember to send a thank you note to those who helped you along the way.