Trylon Communications  - Volume I Issue 4
       

Businesses seeking publicity

The Associated Press (AP) recently ran a story focusing on how companies are turning to PR instead of advertising to get their name in front of the public.  The point of the article was that during difficult economic times, ad budgets are slashed and companies look for alternative ways to send their messages.

Trylon Communications' president, Lloyd Trufelman, was quoted in the article and made several points regarding the importance of distinguishing between good PR and blatant self-promotion.  His key points included:

It is hard to be objective about your own business and what you do.  In many cases a business executive may think that they have a great story, when in reality nobody outside of their company really cares.  Before approaching the media with a story idea, get some objective opinions from people outside your firm.

One of the advantages of having a professional PR company on board is that you get that objective opinion.  We donít want to spend our time (and your money) trying to get editors and writers interested in a story that has little merit.  It is hard enough to get coverage of legitimate stories.

There are many companies competing for clients in the PR industry, and in many cases promises can be made about getting media attention that canít be met.  Watch out for firms that guarantee media coverage Ö not even the best-connected firm can guarantee that.  If they do offer or even imply a guarantee, run - donít walk - away from them.

Does your company need a PR firm?  It depends on how much time you want to devote to building a media database and contacting journalists.  This can quickly turn into a full-time job.  If it is that important and you want to keep these duties in-house, make sure you hire an experienced person with a strong database of journalists in your industry.  The major advantage to having a person inside your company doing your PR work is that they know your company inside and out and are on the job every day of the week.

When considering an outside PR firm, look for a smaller firm that can offer you the attention and efforts you deserve.  Try to find one that specializes in your industry, as they will have the best contacts in your trade media and will better understand the story you have to tell.

Once you have identified a firm that you would like to work with, come to a clear understanding of what they will do for you.  Many times there can be added bells and whistles included in a service agreement that carry a hefty price tag.  Keep the outside firm focused on their strengths, which should be pitching your company to their media contacts.  Your company can handle many of the ďextrasĒ that can become costly additions to a core service.

Gaining publicity can be a tremendous addition to your marketing arsenal, but it is like any other business process.  Doing it right is of paramount importance.  In many cases you are better off not doing anything than making missteps in PR campaigns.