7 Publicity Myths That Can Hurt Your Business
By Pam Lontos
Every business needs a cost-effective way to keep their name, their products
or their services in front of their prospects and customers. For many
business owners, publicity is the key to such recognition and awareness.
When done correctly, publicity develops your name recognition, gives your
business instant credibility, and ultimately leads to increased sales. And
best of all, publicity is absolutely free.
Publicity can come from anywhere and in many different forms. It can be as
simple as having your product reviewed by a blogger, or as dynamic as having
your company's name splashed across the headlines of a magazine or
newspaper. Unfortunately, because of the many myths that shroud the concept
of publicity, many business owners fail to seek it out.
Before you can get your business the publicity it deserves, you need to
separate the PR facts from the fiction. Below are the most common publicity
myths and the truths behind them.
Myth #1 - I need to own a "big" business to get the media's attention
While it's true that big business names are common in magazine and trade
journal articles, the fact is big business makes up only a small percentage
of the American economy. Most readers know the big business names, but they
often can't identify with them or their challenges. That's why many
magazines and trade journals are eager to hear the opinions and perspectives
from owners of small and medium-sized businesses. So whether you're a solo
entrepreneur, a franchise operator or a family business owner, find out what
the reporters want and then enthusiastically give your slant on the topic.
Myth #2 - My business will be a household name from one big hit
Getting mentioned in or interviewed by a major national publication with a
circulation of over one million readers is certainly impressive. But will
such a stroke of luck make your business a household name? Not likely. To
become a household name, you need to develop "top of mind awareness." What
is top of mind awareness? It's when people think of you first to fulfill
their product or service needs. It's when publications of all sizes quote
you and publish your articles. It's when customers and prospects say, "I've
seen your company everywhere." Most important, it's when people purchase
your products or services because they know your company's name and they
perceive you as the marketplace leader. The only way to get top of mind
awareness (to become a household name) is through constant exposure in a
variety of publications, not just one big placement.
Myth #3 - I need to use big words to impress the interviewer
In most cases, the person interviewing you, as well as the publication's
readers, are not as intimate with your industry as you are. Therefore, they
need the information you give them to be understandable and at a layperson's
comprehension level. The best approach is to avoid speaking with industry
jargon or using techno-terms. Instead, speak as if you were explaining
something for the first time. The simpler you can make your information, the
better your chances of being quoted as the expert source.
Myth #4 - I need a unique theory or insight
While you don't want to rehash old news, there's no need to rack your brain
for a totally new theory or perspective. The best approach is to present
your findings, opinions, or topic of expertise in a new light - one that may
be close to someone else's, but that catches the reporter or editor's
interest. Perhaps you have information that can refute a recent claim or
shows how a current business challenge is affecting the publication's target
readership. When you simply put a new spin on a current theory or insight
that interests the publication's readers, reporters will want to present
Myth #5 - I can't get my business into that publication
It's common for small and medium-sized business owners to feel intimidated
by the big name publications. They envision high-powered magazine editors
schmoozing with big company CEOs and lining up interviews with well-known
figureheads for the next six months. In reality, editors scramble daily to
find people to interview who have knowledge on the latest trends and topics.
Realize too that editors must find new and exciting people to interview
either weekly or monthly, so the more knowledgeable people they can add to
their database, the better. Make yourself stand out as a reliable
information source and you will get the media's attention.
Myth #6 - Small publications don't matter
Small publications are just as important as the big ones. Why? Because you
never know who reads them. You may think that a magazine with a
10,000-15,000 circulation could never get your business the kind of
publicity you want, but what if half of those readers were your target
customers? Even better, what if your interview or article in a small
publication prompted an editor from a large publication to call you? So
target small publications as well as the large ones. As long as your
information is interesting and accurate, you will gain more attention and
get the publicity you need.
Myth #7 - I don't need print publicity now that I have profiles on social
Don't assume that you can abandon traditional PR tools just because you
start having some success with social media marketing. It's a useful and
inexpensive element of publicity, but you also need the credibility and
marketing from other traditional tools, such as print publicity in
newspapers and magazines. In addition, some online reputation sites will
give you a lower ranking if you don't have anything in the "real world."
Just remember, you still need media exposure and a physical presence, in
addition to your online presence.
Getting publicity is the best way to promote your business. And when you
know the facts of the PR business, you can attain the publicity you need
easily and then use it to your best advantage. With a constant stream of
good publicity, your business is destined to grow.
Pam Lontos is president of PR/PR, a public relations firm based in Orlando,
Fla. She is author of "I See Your Name Everywhere: Leverage the Power of the
Media to Grow Your Fame, Wealth and Success" and is a former vice president
of sales for Disney's Shamrock Broadcasting. PR/PR has placed clients in
publications such as USA Today, Entrepreneur, Time, Reader's Digest and
Cosmopolitan. PR/PR works with established businesses, as well as
entrepreneurs who are just launching their company. For a free publicity
consultation, e-mail Pam@prpr.net or call 407-299-6128. To receive free
publicity tips, go to http://www.PRPR.net and register for the monthly
e-newsletter, PR/PR Pulse!