Before advertising HolDarVan Industries Inc.'s tableware imprinting service in an airline catering magazine, Brian Darby wanted to get an indication of buyer interest among the magazine's subscribers. So Darby, vice-president of the Newcastle, Del., company, sent a news release to run in the magazine's new-products department about HolDarVan's ability to imprint small quantities of tableware with a company's logo. Lack of response from readers convinced Darby that the magazine's audience was not a good market and he decided against paid advertising.

Placing product announcements in a newproducts section of trade journals, industry newsletters, association magazines, or consumer publications usually involves writing a cover letter to the editor of that department and requesting that an accompanying press release or product announcement be considered for an upcoming issue. A paragraph -- clearly written and tailored to the magazine's style -- is sufficient. "Used alone, or together with paid advertising, this free publicity can strengthen a company's advertising program," says Darby.