Every year Mary and I go to the New York State Fair. This year was no different.

One of our favorite exhibits at the Fair is the arts and crafts competition. Now this isn’t just a bunch of construction paper cutouts and other simple crafts. The things people make for this competition are truly beautiful and require lots of skill.

As soon as we walked into the arts and crafts building we saw a magnificent wooden ship a man had built. Must have taken him months of hard, detailed work.

Next to the ship was an equally spectacular side table and lamp, all hand made from wood.

The top prize in this competition is called The Director’s Choice. Incredibly, neither the ship or table won The Director’s Choice award. The ship won first prize (which is actually second prize) and the table won second prize (which is actually third prize).

Didn’t seem right to me, so I went into the office of the director of the competition and told her I wanted to sponsor two prizes and award them to the ship and the table.

She thought about it for a few seconds and said: “Sure, why not.”

She asked the name of the prizes. I thought quickly and called it “The Milo Cody Woodworking Excellence Award”.

She asked how much of a cash prize I was offering. I asked how much the top prize usually was. She said “$20.” I couldn’t believe it. The top prize in a statewide competition was twenty bucks.

I said my prize was going to the $50 each.

Her eyes bugged out. Seems like fifty bucks created a major impact.

She contacted the sign shop in the Fair, had two signs made announcing that each person won the prize, put one on each of the winners and then she notified the two winners of the prize.

Several days went by (the Fair is 12 days long and we go to every one of those 12 days). I went back to the arts and crafts competition and saw that the 82 year old gentleman who made the table was demonstrating his skill. I introduced myself and congratulated him on winning the award. You would have thought it was the Nobel prize. He was ecstatic.

It turns out that a whole group of members of his woodworking club were there too. When they found out who I was and what I had done for a member of their club, they contacted their photographer to come and take our photo.

Photos were taken and I was told that the photo and story of the award would be in the next issue of their newsletter.

Instant publicity.

I’ve made a promise to Mary that when we go on vacation I won’t work. Keeping that in mind, I let the story end there. But if I had been working I could have quickly and very easily spun that into tremendous publicity. Right at the Fair there were several radio stations, TV stations, newspapers, etc. They were there to cover interesting stories at the Fair.

In about 10 minutes I could have walked up to each media booth and told them about the awarding of the prize. I have no doubt that every one of them would have come over and covered the story.

What’s the publicity lesson here?

For just two prizes of $50 each, I opened up very significant publicity opportunities. Now this wasn’t about me. It was about the two men who won the awards. But you can take this very same idea and make the story about you and have the media very happy to promote it and you.

All you have to do is sponsor something. You can sponsor an award like I did. You can sponsor a contest. You can sponsor people entering a competition. You can sponsor a local sports team. You can sponsor a reading program. You can sponsor a health screening.

This list can go on for a long, long time.

On my last coaching call I went into detail on exactly how to put together the sponsorship, how to contact the media, how to get benefit for yourself without seeming to take advantage of the sponsorship.

You can do the same thing. I don’t care what kind of business you’re in, what kind of product or service you offer, whether you do business locally, nationally or internationally. You can follow my model and do the exact same thing.

I’ll be talking about this more on upcoming coaching calls. If you have questions about how to repeat this strategy, let me know.

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  1. john Says:

    Paul can we get the replay line of the call you did thanks John!

  2. Gina Parris Says:

    Actually Paul, your bigger Publicity Lesson lies in your phrase, “Didn’t seem right to me…” and your heartfelt desire to bless somebody else.
    -Just one more thing I like about you, the Publicity Expert who is more than just a hound.
    And as always, a great lesson.

    -Gina

  3. Karl Says:

    Great audio. My website should be ready in two days and I’d like to use the mp3 on my first page with a link to your site. Any affiliate program?

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