Around 2 billion of the world’s population are on social media. When you consider the declining circulation of traditional print newspapers some clients think I’m crazy when I suggest that introducing good, old-fashioned PR can make the difference between remaining small-fry or swimming with the big boys.
There is, however, logic to my suggestion. How many times have you bought something or gone to a restaurant because a friend recommended it? And how many times have you been to a restaurant simply because it had the words ‘Best Restaurant in Town’ emblazoned on their window? Which recommendation would you trust more?Wherever you buy your Singapore noodles, the owners will benefit from your order. However, your friend, the one who recommended the restaurant, isn’t set to benefit at all. It is that impartiality that breeds trust.
This is where press releases come into a world of their own. In this country the press are expected to report independently, which means that as a nation we have a greater trust in the media than we do in adverts. This is why independent recommendation builds kudos and brand awareness that paid-for promotion cannot offer.
Of course, this independence has its down sides too. After all your hard work spent creating your press release there is no guarantee that your story will be featured at all. This can be disappointing. Particularly after the time and effort you have already invested in creating and circulating a press release.
Unfortunately, this is the nature of the PR beast. If you want to be certain that your article will be featured in exactly the format that you submitted it, paid-for advertising such as an advert or advertorial may be your best bet.
Adverts and advertorials can be substantially more expensive for the column inches that you get but it does give you certainty that your story will be featured. The down side of this is that adverts and advertorials, even in the press, lack the independence that really brings benefits.
Another drawback of PR is that a journalist will often ‘write up’ the story, adding facts or quotes and adapting it to read in the newspaper’s point of view and tone, which in turn means that you don’t know exactly how your feature will turn out. You can minimise the chances of the article being excessively adapted by providing the journalist all the information that they could want, not just what they need.
By pre-empting the journalist’s questions and needs you will be able to keep more control over the article and enhance your chances of getting published. Whilst paid advertising is a sure fire way to make it into the publication it is the promotional independence that makes PR such a successful marketing tool.
Enlisting the support of someone who has contacts and knows what journalists look for in a story can be a great help when it comes to generating effective press releases that get the attention of the journalists and editors who make the placement decisions.