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March 29, 2020
By: Michele Smith, M Communications
Public relations have been a mystery from day one and to be perfectly honest, there isn’t an exact science. When it comes to advertising you pay money, place an ad and there you go … immediate placement. However, you are selling to people as it is an ad and at the end of the day, most people do not like being sold to unless it is a service they need or want. With any public relations campaign (more authentic and consumers are seeing an article vs. an ad), it can go from one direction or another when you deliver an individual coverage and more accurately – pitch induvial outlets and, we are talking about M Communications clients appearing in Playboy, NPR, ABC World news you name it. The point is that there isn’t guaranteed coverage ever when it comes to being a publicist, pitching individually despite personal contacts and most people think that if they can hire a publicist, they can be on Today tomorrow. It doesn’t work that way and if any publicist had a crystal ball and could guarantee coverage, and this is with people we personally know in the media - high ranking producers, etc. All publicists would be RETIRED. Dead serious.
As a marketing business owner from 2008, the following is what we recommend to my clients. First, look at public relations campaigns in the respect to what have you done so far if anything and then capitalize on that. For startups, we recommend local media first and then hit up national media – depending on the topic really. I can’t and still cannot explain the “I want to be famous syndrome” after 11 years in business, but the fact of the matter is that you will not be in the media overnight unless you do use a wire service. This is a fact without question.
Let’s get to the “why” about wire services. There are services out there that you can pay thousands for a report that has zero links except to your company saying this is from firstname.lastname@example.org. Personally, if I was a new business owner launching my company after having all the marketing ducks in a row (and if you don’t have a professional logo, website, etc. – please keep in mind media will not care about linking to your Facebook page only), I would think anyone would be irritated by that expenditure.
Why should you hire someone to drop a press release on a wire? At the very least, you should for street credit alone.
1. You are on Google,
2. You get guaranteed coverage that a publicist can maximize on and
3. Having a coverage in 40-60 outlets just gives you credibility if it even is just a website mention.
The bottom line is that a wire service and certainly a reasonable one will make you look good, and that delivers automatically to the media (and even better for the “I want to be famous” syndrome clients).
Questions to ask a wire service before you embark:
1. Cost. Yes, we are all keeping an eye on this in very strange times, but 3K for a fluffy PDF file stating a company’s release was distributed to AP press along. Um. Skip. A business owner should want to invest in what makes sense, but want to shoot for something more reasonable, for example – certain services offer drops up to $500.
2. Coverage Report. What is this and what does this entail? Does the report list every outlet with links, or do you receive a general report saying that the release was sent out? Please do your homework here.
3. What is included in a drop I paid for? Can business owner’s highlight a quote, list social media links, You Tube and highlight a video? This is information anyone wants to know upfront and not pay for extra add-ons. And, seriously people, if a company is going to charge you $500 to add your Facebook link, run away screaming.
Questions? Feel free to reach out, but you have the pointers above. Our point is to monitor accordingly, especially if you are budget conscience in strange times.
M Communications Inc.
Michele Smith, Michele@mcommunicationsinc.com