Publicity can be a very powerful marketing tool. Endorsement from a reviewer, presenter, editor or journalist carries a lot of weight. Getting publicity for a product or service isn’t easy. Often clients expect that they will get masses of media coverage, including TV, for their great product or service. In order to get attention from the media there needs to be a new ‘hook’ or story angle and it needs to be ‘sold’ to the relevant journalist. Here is our list of PR myths:
Myth #1 – PR is guaranteed coverage
Unfortunately, it isn’t. PR relies on a crafted story, tailored for the media outlet it is pitched to. It needs to be relevant and compelling for the media to take notice. Simply sending a general release to all and sundry doesn’t always work. Publicity is generally at the discretion of the editor of the publication or producer of the show. If some more important or interesting news comes along after you have pitched your story, your story can be ‘bumped’.
If you want guaranteed coverage, you need to buy advertising.
Myth #2 – PR is instant
Again, this is not the case. If a story has a deadline or a use by date it may help to achieve publicity quickly. However, there are so many stories vying for attention, it might not. In many cases, a story won’t appear for months and a PR campaign needs to run for a minimum of three months to get traction and allow for the media to find an occasion when they can use the information provided.
The closest PR gets to ‘instant’ is with radio and TV. If the electronic media like a story, they will probably feature it a few days after the story is pitched to them. Monthly magazines tend to work 3-4 months ahead, so even if they love the story it probably won’t appear for a few months. Daily newspapers can also turn a story around quickly, although often they need to set up the photo shoot, find spokespeople and perhaps do research, which takes time.
We sometimes find that a publication will run a story six months after we pitch it so it helps to be patient when using PR.
Myth #3 – Once I have paid a PR agency, I don’t have to do anything else
If you are a spokesperson for your product or service, it is likely you will be required for interviews, which can often come along with very little notice. You will need to set aside time to approve media releases, answer questions and hopefully be interviewed by the media. You will also need to supply background information, such as biographies, business history, images, product shots and other relevant materials. If you are selling a product, you should also budget for samples for competitions and giveaways. These are valid requests from the media and will help you get exposure.
Myth #4 – I will get to approve what is written about my business before it goes to print
The media like to be independent and usually won’t supply a proof for editorial material for anyone. You will be treated the same as the Prime Minister in this regard. In general, they aren’t antagonistic and if you are an above board business you won’t have anything to worry about.
Occasionally, the media can make a mistake. For example, they may forget to put in your contact details or use the ‘wrong’ image or name. There is nothing you can do about this. Expect the occasional miss.
Myth #5 – It’s easy to get on television
Television is the holy grail of PR and it is the hardest coverage to get. With extremely limited opportunities for exposure and intense competition, it takes a great story combined with great talent, a real need from a television show and a pinch of luck. Even without getting on television, PR can deliver fantastic exposure for your business. It is more important to be seen by the right audience than simply to get on television.
Jules Brooke is the founding Director of Handle Communications, a PR agency that focuses on parenting products and services, DVDs, new inventions and lifestyle products. She can be contacted on 03 9529 7499