So now everyone's a publicity and public relations expert.
No matter where you go on the web, you're never more than a click away from some guy ready to sell you "How To Make A Gazillion Dollars Through Publicity & Public Relations" or "Make Yourself Rich & Famous By Sending Out Press Releases". According to them, it's all as easyas getting a list of newspapers, clicking "Send" and waiting for the media to fall all over themselves desperately begging to give you publicity.
The Four Questions I Know You Really
Want To Ask Me....Answered!
Can I really get publicity on my own?
No, you cannot. You see, the secrets of getting publicity are handed down from ancient sages by select teachers (called "PR Masters") in hiddenmonasteries high in the Himalayas. In order for mere mortals to access these secrets they must pay large sums of money to enlightened beings (called "PR Agencies") to conduct this work.
Well, at least that's how people at PR agencies see it.
The reality, of course, is that anyone with a story to tell can get publicity. It's not hard, per se, but it takes some determination, some effort and awillingness to learn. In other words, it's just like everything else in the business world.
Why should I bother with publicity? Can't I just buy lots of advertising?
As important as advertising is to a marketing program, it cannot replace publicity. The reasons:
• Credibility: Advertising is clearly understood by the audience as coming directly from the sponsoring business and, as a result,is usually taken with a grain of salt. An article initiated (or "placed") by publicity efforts is viewed as the product of the reporter who wrote it - an objective, third party observer whose positive comments about your business will carry great weight.
• Cost: A big advantage - advertising space costs money, publicity space is free. Plus, publicity helps extend your advertising dollars byreinforcing ad messages.
• Crisis: In business, things don't always go as planned. Product recalls, tampering, theft, financial crises and other unhappy events do happen. An active free publicity operation allows you to respond quickly and efficiently.
• Chronic Ad Fatigue: If you're like me, you are sick, sick, sick of advertising. It's everywhere you turn, online andoff. For me, those cruel ad boys crossed the line when they stuck advertising on the wall behind home plate at Yankee Stadium (is nothing sacred anymore?). Consumers have responded in the only way they can -- they're tuning it out. Look at what a flop banner advertising has been on the net. Web surfers are ignoring banners in droves. Instead, they're moved only by one thing......
•Content: People don't want ads, they want information! And when you generate free publicity, you're telling your story as part of a newspaper article, a television news story, a magazine feature or a radio interview. In other words, you're in the place where people are actually looking, not ignoring.
Is my company/website/life really newsworthy?
Doesn't it amaze you that the media continues toreport on every move Elizabeth Taylor makes? The woman hasn't made a movie in what, 25 years? And yet, every time she exhales, I have to read about it in my newspaper.
So look at it this way -- if the media can find space on an almost daily basis for someone who hasn't done anything interesting since the Ford administration, they sure as heck can give you a plug or two.
It just takes a little "outof the box" thinking to uncover the trigger that will make an editor sit up and take notice.
Based on my experience, I developed a list of questions I always asked new clients. Invariably, we managed to extract a bunch of good story angles from the answers. So ask yourself these things -- and be honest. Don't just give the usual myopic corporate-speak answers businesses do.
Take the first...