Public Relations’ Bad PR

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When placing stories in the media, you want to highlight you product or service, but you also have an equally important second objective. You want to educate. I don’t think that I can emphasize this point strongly enough. Public Relations has bad PR. It is known for its fluff and hype, for the sleight-of-hand work, and, whereas, all of that exists, the glitter and flash isn’t what makes for an effective campaign. What makes media placement effective is that it tells a story, it educates, it gives the public information on a particular topic or field that they otherwise wouldn’t have access to. Let’s look at a couple of examples.

We represented a physician who was working on a new cancer drug and was in the midst of clinical tests. The first series had been quite promising. He was looking for patients with a certain type of cancer who were interested in participating in the study. He received hundreds of calls after a local TV interview ran, from people wanting to find out more information. These people would have never been aware of the study, and their opportunity to participate in it, if it had not been for the interview they saw. How about a couple of examples that are not quite so serious?

A skin care expert who has created her own make-up line, appeared on a TV segment teaching consumers how to buy cosmetics for less. The piece explained how to read and understand labels and how to shop for quality, yet inexpensive products. She was presented as an expert, her products were highlighted, and the public learned new information.

The President and CEO of an Internet company who specialized in B to B solutions, was interviewed in a national publication on the changing face of the Internet. He was able to discuss his company and the solutions it offered, establish himself as an expert in his field, and educate the public.

All of these pieces highlighted and focused on the client’s company, but they also educated. By watching the programs or reading the articles, the public learned new information. The pieces were informative and (hopefully) added to the quality of the viewers’ or readers’ lives. Done correctly, it educates, instructs, entertains, and whets the public’s appetite to know more. On the marketing end, it also stimulates your target audience to make an appointment, purchase a product, or to visit a store. But the bottom line comes down to presenting yourself as an expert, an educator, as someone whom both the media and the public turn to for information and advice, you are communicating with and educating the public.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2009

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