The Increasing Power of Publicity and how it can benefit your business.
by Todd Brabender - Spread The News PR, Inc.
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.
"Congratulations," I 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
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
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.
Todd Brabender is the President of Spread The News Public Relations,
Inc. His business specializes in generating media exposure and publicity
for innovative products, businesses, experts and inventions.
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