Because it takes time. To make connections with reporters. To get noticed by bloggers. To fit into editorial calendars. To find the right spot in content calendars. Because all the places you want to be placed have editorial calendars and content calendars and the places that don’t are not the places you want to be placed.
So why do it? Because you have to. Because when it’s done well, nothing beats it. Because the right program is the digital equivalent of word of mouth for that great new restaurant in town. But it’s difficult to do well. And did I mention it takes time?
Even if you have connections. Even if you know the reporters. Even if you drink with the editors. Even if you spend weekend ski getaways with the editor’s sister – or brother – or brother-in-law – or wife.
The publications, even if they are small, each have a mission and the calendar – editorial or content – is the roadmap they follow to their own audience success.
No matter how much you may want it to be, your mission and theirs are not the same. You may be cooperative or co-dependent or even incestuous, but what you are not is the identical. Your calendar and theirs are not the same. Unless your product is sure to revolutionize the industry – or the country – or the world – and even then, it has to be sexy enough for anyone and everyone to pay attention.
Benjamin Franklin once said either write something worth reading or do something worth writing about. If your company – if your product – if your deed – is inherently newsworthy, even in just your vertical, you have a shot at someone paying some attention to your press release. But even then, you need to communicate your story in the right way.
The answer to the obvious question is often the same in companies big to small.
Q – What is your budget?
A – Ha! Budget? Nothing.
Unfortunately, this is a secondary question. The only Q that matters is – Do you have the stomach for a PR program?
If your company, product, story or deed – is not inherently newsworthy, you have a challenge on your hands. You need to find a way to make it newsworthy – or interesting to your audience in some unique way. And interesting to your audience, or who you may think is your audience, may not be the same audience shared by your writer or editor or blogger friend.
Launching an effective PR or publicity strategy – or just a small, targeted campaign – takes time. And focus. And skill. And sometimes, most times, even a little bit of good fortune. It can take months to start gaining ground. It can – and usually does – take months to reach critical mass. And each month involves usually not an insignificant budget amount.
But once you reach critical mass. Once you start gaining traction. It gets easier. Every placement earns you street cred. Every photo. Every column. Every blog post. Every bit of shared content on social media buys you credibility with not just the readers but the writers and editors whose opinions are so valuable. Whose whims control the calendars. Who know the stories that hit the wires with the hottest temperatures are the stories worth following.
Launching an effective PR campaign is hard. And sometimes nerve wracking. And from scratch, often expensive. But once you reach critical mass, you’ll start to see a return on that investment that will continue to pay dividends as long as you have a quality company, product, story or deed.
The question you need to ask yourself before you begin is – Do you have the stomach for it? If you do, it’s absolutely worth the effort and expense. But if you’re not sure, you should probably be asking another question. And start looking at an email strategy instead.