The thousands of run-of-the-mill small business owners who can’t figure out how to generate publicity for their businesses can learn a lesson or two from Michael Bohdan.
He’s an exterminator who runs The Pest Shop in North Texas. And whenever there’s a problem with fire ants or roof rats, he alerts the local media, and they feature him as an expert.
My friend, TV reporter Jeff Crilley, has a great newsletter about generating publicity, and in this week’s issue, here’s what he writes about Bohdan:
“His biggest claim to fame is his Cockroach Hall of Fame Museum. Two decades ago, he held a national contest asking people to dress up dead cockroaches as their favorite celebrity and send them in to his extermination store in Plano, Texas. This little PR stunt cost him nothing and it has earned him hundreds of media hits including The Tonight Show, Regis, CNN and Fox News.”
In fact, Jeff says, even though it’s been 20 years since Bohdan held the contest, he’s still featured in stories about his museum and the visitors who come from coast to coast to The Pest Shop to see exhibits like Liberoache, David Letteroach, and Madonnaroach.
“There are lots of exterminators in this country. Michael Bohdan is one of the few who has figured out a way to become a public relations praying mantis without ever being a pest.”
So what can small businesses learn from Michael Bohdan?
—Use humor. In Bohdan’s book “What’s Bugging You?,” he even includes reviews of bug movies.
—Consider starting a Hall of Fame for your business, and promote it like crazy with online press releases, and pitches to media outlets and bloggers.
—Make it interactive. Ask your customers to nominate Hall of Fame entries.
—Position yourself as an expert in your topic, and piggyback off local, regional and national news.
If you’re promoting a small business, a nonprofit, or any product, service, cause or issue, you’ll find lots more clever publicity tips in my two free ebooks, “The Best of The Publicity Hound’s Tips of the Week of 2005” and “The Best of The Publicity Hound’s Tips of the Week of 2006.”