If you do not have a PR manager in your company due to your structural needs, you must be very careful in outsourcing it.
PR is a fundamental milestone for any company in today’s over-communicated society.
However, not all PR campaigns are successful, even when they are humorous and enjoyable.
Funny and creative PR is what many marketing departments are looking for because they think that spontaneous creativity will drive a positive image and convert into sales.
Yes, PR campaigns can be creative.
They MUST be creative.
But only when creativity meets methodology.
If you are a well established business, you will need to come up with a few creative ideas in order to attract the attention of the media and get the coverage you wish.
Media wants what is newsworthy.
They avoid old-fashioned, boring stories.
PR campaigns are a powerful tool essential for establishing your company's credibility and conveying its particular and differentiated positioning.
However, you must be very careful on how to use them.
First of all, how is positioning defined?
According to Al Ries, in the book Positioning:
"Positioning starts with a product. A piece of merchandise, a service, a company, an institution, or even a person. Perhaps yourself. But positioning is not what you do to a product. Positioning is what you do the mind of the prospect. That is, you position the product in the mind of the prospect.”
After all, returning to Al Ries in The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding:
“Marketing is building a brand in the mind of the prospect. If you can build a powerful brand, you will have a powerful marketing program. If you can’t, then all the advertising, fancy packaging, sales promotion, and public relations in the world won't help you achieve your objective. Marketing is branding.”
Specifically, as stated by the same Al Ries in The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing:
“Marketing is not a battle of products; it’s a battle of perceptions.”
Thus, when a new company is set up with a new service or product ready to serve the market, the first step is making it more credible in the eyes of the company's target audience.
To Be Noted: I am using the word target rather than consumer because a product conceived for everybody is a product for nobody.
Two main questions need to be answered as soon as a company is registered:
Once you have clearly defined who your target is . . .
This is a laser focus approach that an entrepreneur aiming to appeal to and conquer a specific niche should ask himself while structuring a medium term marketing campaign.
Once you have answered all the above questions, it is easier to decide where to focus your PR effort in order to make it more effective in terms of persuasiveness.
Persuasiveness is the aim of a brand.
A brand doesn’t sell.
A brand influences and lets you purchase.
That’s why Coca-Cola and Apple do not need money hungry sales people.
The purpose of becoming a brand is making the sales process totally, internally automated.
If your company, once it’s a more or less established brand, still needs sales people, it will be to upsell a few back end products to exponentially grow the entire purchasing process of the buyer.
But there is a problem…
You might not be trained to write the ultimate press release, and you have no clue to whom you should send it, due to the fact that you might not know a single journalist or how to approach one.
Thus, you conclude that outsourcing your PR campaign to an agency might be the best solution to meet your goals.
You are absolutely right in doing so, when you have no idea how to overcome the gap represented by your network in terms of influential and available journalists who could write about you, or by your lack of skills in informing the media about your vision.
PR isn’t made to talk directly about your product due to specific legal requirements that the journalists themselves are bound to meet in order to keep their record clean.
PR is a way to use the problem you solve, the vision you lead, or your in-depth expertise related to a specific topic to give visibility to your product, which is strategically in the background but still visible enough to build its credibility through the well selected spokesperson called to represent its value, the values of the company, and, as a consequence, the value of the product or service that the company sells.
This leads to a further problem…
Any single PR agency will try to appeal to you with the number of readers or listeners or viewers that you could reach by getting coverage on a specific radio or TV channel or by being featured in an online or printed newspaper.
Everyone wants to have his 15 minutes of celebrity.
However, what’s the purpose of getting two million listeners on the radio, or four million viewers on national TV, if your target isn’t among them?
I call it M.S.F.T.G: “Money spent for the glory.”
However, glory ends quickly when you don’t turn your target into customers.
Here are 4 simple steps you should follow when applying a PR strategy:
Now you want me to reveal how you can get as much free publicity as you can.
The media love:
The mere function of any media isn’t to inform but to entertain.
The only way they can achieve their mission is by excluding boring, redundant content and by introducing both exciting, new content and controversial matters to be discussed that draw the attention and time of their audience.
If you can’t figure out how to launch a PR campaign on your own, because you are not first in a new category or controversial, then outsource your PR with the specific advice I have just given you above.
This is the only way you can avoid what I call Scam PR and turn your PR strategy into a gold mine of profit.
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Founder and Managing Director at POWER BRAND. PR that Sells for Startups and SMEs,
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Why you should write a book from a PR perspective
How to use PR to disqualify your competition
How to get media coverage by giving the media what they want
Brand Positioning. Broadcast PR. Brand domination.