Among the several mistakes that many entrepreneurs commit when they need to get featured in the press is considering strategic that which is tactical.
If there is a way I can simplify the core distinction between strategy and tactic, it is by defining strategy as a project and tactic as a single step among the many to accomplish that project.
If you are a football fan, you can consider it strategic that your favourite team trains properly during the week to perform at its peak until the end of the season, while it is tactical to win the match on Sunday to qualify for a European cup.
Strategy is a continuous process, while tactics are movements aligned with the process itself.
Strategy includes tactics, not vice-versa.
Strategy is where I want to be, what result I want to have achieved by a certain amount of time.
Tactics are what I need to do on a consistent basis to accomplish the established goal.
That said, there are a few major errors that entrepreneurs who aren’t educated about broadcast PR commit on a consistent basis:
Let’s analyse those three points in detail.
1. THEY DO PR ONCE IN A WHILE
Doing PR once in a while is one of the main reasons why so many entrepreneurs think that PR is dead. While approaching PR, entrepreneurs must face the following realities:
PROBLEM 1: They believe they do not need a broadcast PR agency because self-made PR is sufficient.
PROBLEM 2: They know they need a broadcast PR agency, but a broadcast PR agency doesn’t work for free.
PROBLEM 3: If you have a budgetary problem, you can’t turn PR into a distribution channel.
PROBLEM 4: If you don’t have a budgetary problem but your positioning is wrong, your competitors will appreciate making money with your money.
When you do PR once in a while, you are doing what I call a PR Blitz (clink on the link to deepen the concept), which is totally different from a PR strategy. A PR Blitz isn’t necessarily wrong, but you must agree that it is extremely limited.
2. THEY RELY ON A FEW PRESS RELEASES SENT OUT BY THE MARKETING MANAGER OR MARKETING EXECUTIVE THAT OPERATES AS A PRESS OFFICE.
The role of a press office might be tactical but is rarely strategic, like random broadcast PR makes little sense. Broadcast PR is a process, not an act. It’s a path, not a step.
I have recently seen articles rearranged by journalists around the content included in press releases that didn’t even mention what the company does, what its specialisation and core business are.
Broadcast PR must be a win-win game: the journalist has what he wants (news), and you get what you need (visibility).
But it’s clear that visibility without positioning makes no sense at all: people must discover who you are by being aware of what you do and how you do it.
The way you convey your brand positioning and turn your broadcast PR strategy into an additional distribution channel that amplifies all the others you rely upon is usually extremely subtle and is based on the most sophisticated knowledge related to effective communication.
Especially because, due to specific regulations, you and the journalists cannot keep endlessly mentioning your company during the media feature.
As we have already said in a previous article, people do not think brands, they think categories; and they think brands only when those brands represent a specific category.
Due to the time required for the average human brain to create and automate a mental association, the only effect of random broadcast PR will be disappointment and frustration: “PR doesn’t work!”
As in Behave by Robert Sapolsky:
"The frontal cortex is awash in Calvinist self-discipline, a superego with its nose to the grindstone. But as an important qualifier, soon after we're potty trained, doing the harder thing with our bladder muscles becomes automatic. Likewise with other initially demanding frontal tasks. For example, you're learning a piece of music on the piano, there's a difficult trill, and each time as you approach it, you think, Here it comes. Remember, tuck my elbow in, lead with my thumb. A classic working-memory task. And then one day you realise that you're five measures past the trill, it went fine, and you didn't have to think about it. And that's when doing the trill is transferred from the frontal cortex to more reflexive brain regions (e.g., the cerebellum). This transition to automaticity also happens when you get good at a sport, when metaphorically your body knows what to do without your thinking about it".
3. THEY COMMUNICATE THE WRONG MESSAGE TO THE WRONG PEOPLE.
As I wrote in my book Brand To Sell: Ignite Your Influence and Build Your Brand with Broadcast PR, broadcast PR is about getting consistently featured where you need to be when you need to be there.
It doesn’t really matter how much media featuring you get if you communicate to the wrong people with the wrong message.
As said above, journalists must play your game while you play theirs.
Journalists belong to a particular media that has a specific editorial line. That editorial line must cohere with what you do and be used as a channel to reach on a given scale the niche of people who might have a genuine interest in your product.
When it comes to media featuring, you must consider that people buy hierarchies, and they call those hierarchies level of prestige.
Your authoritative profile will grow proportionally to the degree of prestige associated with the media outlet--although being featured in the New York Times will not give you any particular advantage from a sales perspective if your target doesn’t regularly read the New York Times and considers it irrelevant for gathering information to influence and make a purchase.
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Founder and Managing Director at POWER BRAND. PR that Sells for Startups and SMEs,
How to turn your content into a PR advocate
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.