Are you getting credible publicity?
Ignoring a major milestone in your business could mean wasting a valuable opportunity for credible publicity? It takes some effort and a little cash, but you can turn your company’s hiring blitz or next anniversary of business into a major public relations push.
Someone once said, “there’s no such thing as bad publicity,” but nothing could be further from the truth. Publicity comes in many shapes and sizes, good and bad. The worst publicity, however, is probably when the opportunity for credible attention is missed altogether.
What is “credible” publicity? Modern media is full of publicity hounds, from the Kardashians to Donald Trump, the whole point to their press is self-aggrandizing attention. But that kind of shameless self-promotion can backfire on a legitimate attempt at credible publicity.
“Credible publicity,” is when the purpose for the media attention is meant to demonstrate a publicly relevant level of expertise, reliability, trustworthiness, or authority on a particular subject.
For example, let’s say your company just hit 30 years in business, or maybe you received a new patent on a product. Either of those would provide you with a great shot at some credible publicity. The anniversary implies structural and community stability, while the patent demonstrates your innovation and expertise in a particular field or market. The possibilities here are endless.
Capitalizing on such publicity, however, is not as straight forward. Many people believe that publicity is just free advertising – wrong. Advertising is meant to ‘sell’ while properly orchestrated and executed, publicity generates awareness and credibility, the latter of which no ad will ever provide.
But remember, an effective marketing plan will include a balance of advertising and PR. Establishing a firm message calendar will help you to strategically roll out PR events and information, followed up by a related and consistent advertising campaign to maintain the momentum.
Here are some tips to help you gain credible publicity.
- Don’t flood the media with press releases about junk
Many businesses send out too many press releases, all with the hopes that one will get published somewhere. Be strategic and send only information that is publically relevant. No one cares about the internal award you won from your real estate company, but if you got some national recognition and it will benefit the public in some way, that’s newsworthy.
- Release complete information
In other words, learn how to write a press release. It should never be the bare facts of the matter, but should instead include quotes from the principal parties and artwork (a photo). Every press release should answer the questions: who, what, why, where, when and how.
- Clearly define the purpose of the publicity
Take a moment to determine why you are seeking publicity and create a strategy around a specific message that addresses that goal. For example, if you want to let people know where your new office is located and you send out media information on the topic, don’t vary from the discussion of why you moved and be sure to list the benefits of your new location for your clients. (This will also help keep from violating tip number 1)
Credible publicity is achievable for low cost, but not “no” cost. As they say, it takes money to make money. Don’t expect to do it for free or dirt-cheap. Any publicist worth your money and time will charge a respectable fee and provide you with a full understanding and guidance during the process.
Additionally, it may be hard to write about yourself or your company. It might seem a little self-serving given the circumstances, but I always recommend hiring a writer with PR experience to help get your material nailed down and keep your message on target. Whatever is used in the PR material can then be easily worked into a follow-up advertising campaign.
Take the time, spend the money, and do it right. You’ll gain precious credibility and build a level of awareness that will convert to sales in the not-to-distant future.