Publicity 101

Who not to hire/why to hire. I have to say this again … if you are hiring someone with zero PR experience whatsoever and your decision is based on the fact that they are the least expensive, you are most likely not going to get any media exposure. This falls into the category of you hiring your dentist, webmaster or next door neighbor’s daughter because they are cheap. Also, if you are paying 10K for a placement on the Today Show chances are you are not going to see any ROI on that unless you are selling high-end vehicles. Why should you hire a publicist? You will have ongoing exposure vs. a onetime ad placement. Ads do work if they are targeted and if you do an ongoing campaign, but you will gain more credibility through a PR piece (article) – people do not like to be sold to, and if you are “paying” for an ad, you are selling. Public Relations coverage lends to more credibility because usually the article is written and it is not a paid advertisement, hence more credibility. Also, wouldn’t you want to have phone calls leads received every day for having one article in Success Magazine?  We experienced that one firsthand.

Be realistic about results. There isn’t a day that doesn’t go by where I hear … “I want to be on Today.” First of all, please take a look at what your product or service is and think about if the Today Show is an actually fit for you. For example, if you own a glue factory or are specializing in origami art I would have to say probably not. The following is an example of realistic expectations. If you own a business book, you are a great fit for Success, Forbes or CNN.  If you want to be in Cosmo you should have written a book on fashion and it better be a good one if you want to get “coverage”. If your product, whether a book service or otherwise lacks quality, you are not going to get media coverage whatsoever. If your product is not newsworthy or “new”, you are not going to get coverage. Last, if you do not have the personality and professional image to go with a quality product/service, you are not going to get television coverage. Period.

Not all PR is good PR.  This is an oldie, but a goodie from a PR event I went to a couple of years ago. The speaker announced to the room that number one she was “America’s PR Expert”. (P.S. if you are an America’s expert on anything … you don’t need to announce it, you just are and people already know.) Second, she proceeded to tell the whole room that any publicity is good publicity. I disagree. First, there is bad publicity where your publicist needs to do major damage control. For example, a protest is never good … if someone is protesting on your jobsite and it is on the evening news that is bad. Second, if you are selling widgets and you are in People magazine for getting a little to rowdy at an event … I don’t think that is very targeted and is certainly not going to bring in new business for you. My advice here is simple: stay focused on your target audience, otherwise it is a waste. Last, if your publicist suggests Redbook when your product is Forbes … fire them.

If you can’t afford a publicist visit

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