By Todd Brabender
The call came into my office and the voice on the other end was very
energetic, almost giddy:
"I have finalized my marketing budget and need your help launching an
advertising campaign for my new product," he breathed.
replied, "but before we implement an ad campaign, I want to make sure you
have explored potential PUBLICITY opportunities that could generate some
cost-efficient media exposure first."
Then, silence. "I never thought about
that," he sighed. "Frankly, I don't know much about it."
He is not alone. It's a common conversation. Although many entrepreneurs or
business people know a bit about publicity or media exposure, the majority
of them simply don't understand the full benefits of "publicity placements"
or how to go about generating them successfully. Publicity placements have
always been a cost-efficient way to market a product/business and generate
clients or customers, but because of lack of knowledge or a misunderstanding
of what publicity is and does, many entrepreneurs don't take full advantage
of publicity opportunities -- and that can lead to missed marketing chances.
I recently surveyed a few dozen business owners and entrepreneurs in some
newsgroups and business chat rooms about their knowledge of "publicity
placements" in the media. I found out that only 37% knew that a simple
"product profile" in a magazine was generated as a result of publicity
efforts. Most thought the company had paid the media outlet to run the
feature, much like an ad. And of that 37%, less than half of them knew HOW
to generate a similar placement.
Another interesting fact, because of the recent slowdown in the economy,
expensive advertising budgets have been slashed. As a result, many
businesses, like your competitors, are turning to publicity/PR campaigns as
a more affordable means of marketing to compete with other companies. Here
are some ways to use publicity placements to help your business:
Editorial Placements/Media Notification
What some entrepreneurs might not realize is that we see editorial
placements from publicity efforts everyday in the media: product profiles,
feature articles and contributed by-lined articles in magazines, newspapers,
trade industry newsletters or on TV/radio/cable newscasts & shows. This is
not advertising, this is "EDITORIAL Placement" or "Media Notification" of a
product, business or industry expert. Notify the appropriate media that your
newsworthy product is on the market or your business is offering a unique
new service and let them run a feature placement that will spread that
message to your consumer market. These placements can detail your product or
business very effectively, giving consumers some objective, pertinent
information that may well entice them to become future customers.
These editorial placements are looked upon much more credibly than ad
placements. That is not a slam on advertising. Paying for advertising
placements is indeed an effective way to market your product. But the fact
is, a positive editorial placement such as a product profile in a magazine
or a newspaper can be much more persuasive than a glossy, over-hyped
advertisement - and a fraction of the cost. My point is that editorial
placements are an often time overlooked marketing vehicle for a business,
and that entrepreneurs should understand the full benefits of these
placements to make the most of their marketing efforts.
Editorial placements are a wonderfully reciprocal way for you and the media
to work together for the betterment of your business. The media needs to
fill its pages and airtime with interesting information -- and you need to
get the word out to your market. Research the media market to find those
media outlets and editorial contacts with which you can forge that mutually
beneficial relationship. But you have to do your part and do it right - or
the media will forge that relationship with your competitor. Make sure your
media message is solid, contains newsworthy angles and isn't disguised as
overly commercialized ad copy. Have high-quality photos and media samples
available and do all you can to make the media's job of featuring your
product as simple as possible. It also helps to have some sort of clipping
service in place to track your placements and get you copies so you can use
them in your secondary marketing programs.
This type of publicity placement generating takes advantage of the expert
knowledge within a particular business. It is an effective tool for
entrepreneurs whose businesses are more service related, like consultants or
specialists. Expert branding basically treats the expert like a product.
Alert the media as to your expertise on a specific topic and avail yourself
to serve as an expert interview resource for future articles or news feature
segments. Additionally, the expert should write a few brief articles on a
specialized topic and make them available to editors for review and possible
publication. The challenge of this type of publicity placement is the
tedious task of finding out which outlets accept "expert editorial
contributions" or contributed by-lined articles in their publications.
Again, it comes down to meticulously researching your media market to find
those media outlets that may be in need of the editorial content that you
can provide them.
With some creativity, expert branding can be effective for product-based
businesses as well. One client of mine runs a fresh wild salmon distribution
business in the Pacific Northwest and was looking to increase consumer
awareness of his products. Based on his more than 20 years of experience in
the wild salmon harvesting business, we are expert branding him as a viable
interview resource to health/food editors for features detailing the
differences and benefits of wild salmon over farm-raised fish, as well as
other related topics. In this case, my client (the expert) is identified and
quoted in features and the name of the business and even a link to a website
are often included for consumers to check out. This is great credibility
building exposure at little or no cost.
Overall, when using the media to help market your product or business, take
advantage of as many FREE media opportunities as you can. If you lack the
expertise or time, a PR agency or publicist can generate the editorial
placements for you. But the fee you pay them is a FRACTION of what it would
cost you to buy similar sized ad placements. And those publicity placements
typically lead to a much better consumer response right out of the gate -
which is just what you need to boost your business to the next level.
Successful Small Businesses Use PR
Are you ready to follow the winners and get public relations working for your small business?
The payoff can be significant – key audience behaviors that directly support your business objectives and make the difference between failure and success.
Where is the Best PR Value?
People act on their own perception of the facts before them, which leads to predictable behaviors about which something can be done. When we create, change or reinforce that opinion by reaching, persuading and moving-to- desired-action those people whose behaviors affect the organization, the public relations mission is accomplished.
Four Secrets to Energizing Your News Story
Every news story must have a FACE. If your forget to put a FACE on your story proposal, your chances of
interesting a reporter are nil.