Like most people, I am a fan of free.

I like free samples, free refills, and free apps. Evidently Team Bob’s Heating, Cooling, and Plumbing in Traverse City, Mich., likes free also because they received some free publicity on their local television station.

I hope everyone knows about the upcoming regional standards that go into effect on May 1. In the northern region, starting May 1 a furnace will need to be at least 90-percent AFUE to be installed. Now I know that, and you know that, but what are the odds that your neighbors are aware of that information? If they have an older furnace that is on its last leg, perhaps they would be interested in reading that story in the local newspaper. And if your company is being quoted as the expert, there is a good chance they will call you.

In the community newspaper world, this was called “localizing the story.” And as a former editor of a small weekly newspaper, we were always looking for good story ideas to fill pages — especially after the first of the year.

And, if you get lucky and the television station is interested, you might be able to get your mug on TV.  It seemed to work for Team Bob’s: