Associated Press (AP) recently ran a story focusing on
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.