The Medias Muscle: Make it Work for You
The least expensive, most effective way for you to promote your product is through media coverage. Reporters are excellent communicators. They can often tell your story better than you can. They also have the attention of the public.
No promotional tool is more underused than product news coverage. I know because my company, Media Relations, Inc. has been arranging product news stories for 18 years. We are forced to be an aggressive sales organization because of the limited demand for what we sell.
But, the more we educate people about the power of publicity, the more companies see the light and understand its value. Product news coverage is sales-rich content that meets people where they live. It's inexpensive compared to other promotions, and your competition is most likely missing it. Imagine the impact on sales if reporters were telling the masses about your product in their stories.
Most PR firms follow the textbook business model. They are all over the board, offering any service that falls between a business and its "public". These include everything from investor relations and crisis management to community affairs and press conferences. My company's philosophy is different in two very distinct ways. First, we specialize in product news coverage, and second we sell coverage by the story, not by the hour. That means you always get media coverage for your money.
I call this "Pay-Per-Interview Publicity" and it is our biggest selling feature. Many clients have gotten burned by big retainers and little coverage. They love our accountability. Although there isn't much of a market demand for our service, once a company tries us, they often become a customer for life.
Reaching people at home in such a natural way can't remain below the radar forever. With people aggressively blocking sales messages with things like National Do Not Call lists and TiVo, marketers are going to have to abandon traditional promotional methods and find more meaningful ways to connect with people. Funny thing is, newspapers, TVs, and radios are literally right under their noses. They've been buying the ads but missing the real power: the stories.
Our clients don't send a few press releases and hope reporters call them. They harness and control media content by hiring us. We help them mobilize reporters to reach and teach people about their products and we're the best in the business.
I'm always surprised to find that even after we explain to people what we do, some of them think we sell ads or infomercials. I want to make it clear that I'm talking about putting you in touch with reporters and producers who need content for their publication or program. There is no money that changes hands between the media and us. Over the years, we have developed connections with reporters and producers who are on the look out for story ideas. We simply try to persuade them to do a story about your product and charge you a fee if they do.
We've gotten pretty good at this. Our staff of 40 makes as many as 30,000 calls to the media each month, and they have booked tens of thousands of product news stories for our customers. We would love to have the opportunity to promote your product.
Lonny Kocina is founder and president of Media Relations, Inc. He has led the company to become the top performance-based public relations firm in the country by creating a unique pay-per-interview publicity structure.
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