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.
While most companies focus on their local and national press for publicity opportunities, the fact of the matter is that international PR is becoming more important than ever. Don’t overlook opportunities overseas!
It is always surprising when a company gets tunnel vision and does not take advantage of PR opportunities that fall into its lap. “But we have no customers in that region,” they may say, or “nobody pays attention to stories from that publication.”
Do you ever wonder if you are getting what you pay for? A recent article in the New York Times detailed the problems in the legal industry that track back to the concept of billable hours. The same case can be made for the PR industry as well.
When you hire a firm that specializes in one area, are you paying for their time or for their expertise? That should be your biggest question. One way to answer that question is by taking a look at how they are compensated.
One of the traps that marketing executives fall into is the search for “newsworthy” stories within their organization. They may be missing potential publicity opportunities by not looking outside their company.
One of the best ways to obtain favorable press results is to "piggyback" on a current trend or news story - i.e. find a way to fit what your company is doing into the overall trend/story. This is probably the most obvious opportunity, and one that savvy marketers look for.