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Maybe we don’t need PR any more?

A response to idea that PR isn't necessary any more

People are talking about how Vincent Bugliiosi has sold lots and lots of books by word of mouth, blogs, and without reviews and commentary by major media.

One comment on one of the discussion lists I follow stated:

“So I would advise writers who can’t afford a real PR firm to find a niche magazine for your work with ideally national circulation and get an article on your stuff in there.”

My opinion is that this is good advice for some and not for others.

What you see as being a vehicle for your success with PR is not what others may see when using PR. Media PR and marketing success is based on what each target audience reads, watches or listens to particularly when they are in the receptive mood or mode for whatever is being offered.

In one case it makes perfect sense that certain magazines are a good place, one type of products and services while radio and other places won’t be fruitful at all.

This is because media publish or cover based on the answers to just two key questions:

1. how many people in the audience will be interested?

2. what’s in it for the audience?

The answer to both questions has to be:

A = A lot.

This varies by the type of product or service or information offered and to what people are accustomed to reading, hearing or watching in the target media. My experience is that everyone needs to figure out what works for themselves. There is no single process or technique that works for everyone.

The chord you strike, the media response you get, and the actions you see once published depends on the perceptions and expectations you create with your news release.

This week, we saw blogs produce significant and near instant success for a book about remarkable artwork created by people with autism. We saw TV and radio and print respond well to a timely problem solving tips article and interview pitch based on a book about career re-invention for people over the age of 40. We saw FOX TV and national and local business magazines and newspapers respond well to an article based on a book for CEO’s. We saw magazines and newspapers and radio and tv respond well to a new high fashion cosmetic product. We saw radio and TV respond well to a country music video titled ‘pain at the pump’.

Each message was different and went to different media. What’s interesting is the number and quality of media who responded favorably, and what happened after the publications came out. In some cases the article were published within 24 to 48 hours and results were observed immediately. In other cases, requests were made, interviews were booked and results won’t be ascertained for a while to come. But we saw the right media audience respond predictably to each.

The experience shows that the media response depends what you have to offer and what the message is. Each product and message has to be tailored and targeted intelligently. The message has to be galvanizing to produce the desired action. If it’s not, then the publicity fails to produce the desired sales.

The media response will tend to parallel the market response very well. This is critical business intelligence for people with startup products. This intelligence can be used to grow a business. It’s valuable information if properly used.

The goal of publicity is to create national or targeted name recognition in the right pool of people. Targeting and mastering the messages that produce the action you desire (e.g., sales) takes research and intelligent design and repeat practice so that the message produces results reliably and consistently.

But this often takes time to develop.

Just think how much time and effort and repetition goes into mastering your particular product mix or skill set. You go to school for years, get degrees, then work gaining experience, all so that you get versatile and know what to do in a range of siutations. You wouldn’t use specific tactics in all situations. You’d only use specific tactics in certain situations.

The same type of decision making processes apply with PR to produce sales. You have to develop the experience and knowledge regarding where and when and how to use which tactics and messages.

And once you figure out what works, then you can use technology as a force multiplier and repeat the message in front of the right pool of people.

Of course, this is a process of testing and improving. Many first time publishers can only afford to do it once and the economics then don’t allow them to continue on. If they survive the startup process and do actually create a business, then doing PR regularly helps them grow their business. It’s the same with marketing.

One thing is for certain. If you stop marketing, your business dies.

PR is not a substitute for direct marketing. It’s a tool to help your marketing. It has to be wisely and properly used. Often times, it’s not only the instant effect on sales that the publication has when it is first released that is most valuable. Often times the follow on effect of the author/owner when using the PR success for marketing afterward is what produces most sales. The article has the effect regardless when it is seen or heard.

I wrote an article that’s worth looking at if you want to see a systematic view of how to evaluate and track the effectiveness of pr efforts. Here’s the link.

Article: Tracking Publicity Success and Public Relations Effectiveness

Posted on Wednesday, July 9th, 2008 at 4:24 pm In
book publicity, ideas, media coverage, performance improvement, planning, tracking