How to go global with your promotions


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Many major companies (and some smaller companies) now find they earn more than 20% of their income outside of the United States. The potential sales from international efforts cannot be overlooked. Fortunately, you can publicize your products outside of the U.S. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

1. Find a local partner

Because of the differences in time zones, language and customs, your best bet is to supervise a public relations agency in the country you target. Make sure they have established contacts with the local business and trade editors.

2. Maximize your distributor

In many cases, the companies that distribute your products may also be set up to conduct an effective public relations campaign.

3. Keep control

If you use a local agency or a distributor, you still need to maintain control of the product. You must set packaging specifications for the product name, fonts, sizes and corporate look. For example, several U.S. software companies have been burned by distributors who positioned and sized their own names larger than that of the publisher, leading local customers to believe that the distributor produced the software. This kind of presentation can destroy your advertising campaign.

4. Use email to contact reporters

Many international reporters use email, so you should consider getting an account with networks such as AOL, MSN, Hotmail, Yahoo, etc.

5. Contact international reporters at trade shows

Many international reporters attend trade shows in the U.S. and are here to find news. (Use the strategies in Section II: Conventional Wisdom.) You’ll be able to spot the European reporters easily since they actually wear their press badges. (Many U.S. reporters work hard at retaining their anonymity by not wearing press badges and withholding information about themselves until they are sure they’re interested in your product or service.)

6. Use local press releases

Although most foreign reporters read English quite well, you may pick up points with local reporters if you translate your releases into the local language.

7. Hire a translator

If you are conducting an overseas press tour, hire a translator in France, where reporters are reluctant to speak anything but French. Reporters in other European countries don’t have a cultural bias against English, but their command of English may not be good. Ask your local operative for direction. Using a translator has an additional benefit: they will understand the quiet conversations the reporters have in their own language – you’ll be able to find out what they’re really thinking through your translator.

8. Attend international trade shows

Many reporters attend trade shows in their own or neighboring countries. If you intend to have a presence there, so should you. Arrange appointments as you would in the U.S.