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A positive article about your brand or company in a publication that matters to your audience is a bit like the Holy Grail of PR. It is exactly what everyone is looking for and many are willing to go on a quest to get it. But not unlike the famous chalice, publicity is surrounded in myth. Some PR professionals and agencies cling to these ideas that are either outdated or simply wishful thinking. Here are five that we hear frequently.The brand or agency has control over the content, or can get it retracted if they don’t like it.
Wrong. Journalists are not marketers. They don’t work for you, and they have an ethical obligation to report the facts as they find them. You can have an interview that seems to go swimmingly, only to find that the mention of your product is lukewarm or that your competitors are mentioned positively. There is always a risk when pitching or talking to reporters. One way to mitigate the risk is to have conversations with multiple publications so that positive mentions might counteract the ones you’d rather not have read.
Journalists like to read and hear product pitches.
Nope. Journalists are under tremendous pressure to create enough content to meet their editor’s objectives, but that doesn’t mean that they will become your advertising arm. They need stories that will be of interest to their audience and connect with the larger picture of what is happening in the space that they cover. Your new feature isn’t that interesting unless it solves a pain that the publication’s audience experiences. Of course you care about the products you represent, but you have to find a reason for the journalist to do so as well.
A press release is the best way to get publicity.
Not so much. We believe press releases are still useful and relevant, but on their own they are extremely unlikely to get any attention. When pitching the media, the press release should be part of a package that includes customer stories, relevant images, video, infographics, and other assets that can bring the story to life.
You can calculate the value of your publicity with the Advertising Value Equivalency (AVE).
If you’ve never heard of Advertising Value Equivalency, please skip this paragraph. You’re better off without it in your head at all. If you are familiar with AVE, here is a post on why it is not a useful way of measuring the value of earned media at all.
Once you get the big story, you can sit back and relax.
I guess you can if you want to, but doing nothing after the story is published is a terrible waste. Instead, that is the time to promote the content through your social channels and share it with influencers in your space. Don’t assume that just because an article ran, that everyone you want to reach saw it. You also don’t want to miss the opportunity to repurpose the content. Perhaps there are quotes that would be perfect on your website or used in other materials. (With proper attribution of course.)
Keep these things in mind as you seek the prize that every brand and agency wants to claim. You can beat the competition by having a smart strategy to earn and leverage the publicity you are searching for.