Seven Publicity Rules Every Entrepreneur Needs to Know

Jan 7 2014, 5:22am CST | by

Seven Publicity Rules Every Entrepreneur Needs to Know
Photo Credit: Forbes Business

What if you invented a revolutionary product that replaced narcotics to alleviate pain, but you fumbled the public relations (PR) effort and your news got lost in the media echo chamber?  

Startups and entrepreneurs in almost every industry must confront questions like this when deciding to launch or continue a PR campaign.  However, a number of small businesses often don’t fully recognize that the world of PR has been turned on its ear.  Many of the old rules simply don’t apply anymore.  Journalists are leaving the venerable media brands for new social networking platforms and to build their personal brands.  Unfortunately, using PR to grab headlines or market share is no longer just a matter of “getting out a press release.”  It requires deft handling from a knowledgeable team.

For guidance in navigating this new terrain, I turned to Shelly Gordon, Principal of G2 Communications Inc., a healthcare PR firm in Silicon Valley.  These are her top seven publicity rules that every entrepreneur should know:

1. Story is king – facts are servants:  Too many companies think telling the facts about their products will be riveting to the media.  They expect front-page coverage after sending out a product news release, or touting their wares as being “…more effective and efficient” than a competitor’s offering.  Instead, a good PR strategy crafts your company’s story to appeal to journalists and their audiences.  And people tell the story.  As the documentary filmmaker Ken Burns says, “… the facts are in service of the story.”

2. Keep the buzz going:  Companies with cool apps may make a big splash initially, but after early adoption takes root, the buzz dies off.  Then what do you do?  You need different story angles to keep your company fresh in the minds of journalists, and that takes a different strategy than the one used for an initial product launch.  It takes an approach that carries a company into the future with a series of PR programs combined with social media and blogs.  Mine your company for ongoing stories that can be re-packaged and retold in different formats.

3. Old news is no news:  Not long ago, reporters filed one or two stories a day.  Today, journalists may file one story every hour, plus frequent blog posts and tweets.  News has always been a perishable commodity and companies can’t expect their stories to have a long shelf life.  One biotech company learned that lesson the hard way.  While the company had a successful clinical trial and even saw the results published in a medical journal, it started its PR efforts two months later, which was far too late for journalists to be interested.

4. Social media is not PR:  A social media strategy can run in tandem with a PR campaign, but don’t confuse the two.  PR crafts a cohesive message that dovetails with media conversations.  PR creates fresh, high value content and should be syndicated through your social networks, and that, in turn, may gain more fans and followers.  In an ideal world, PR and social media enjoy a synergistic relationship, with each feeding the other.  Pursue both PR and social media outreach. You may want to augment your PR team with a social network manager who is steeped in the nuances of building meaningful followers.

5. Fill the news pipeline:  Have you ever visited the “newsroom” at a company’s website and found that the most recent article was dated two years ago?  Keeping content fresh on the website includes the newsroom.  If it is out of date, people will wonder about the health of the company, and you’ll risk a negative perception.  While no small company is going to have constant breaking news, it is important to keep the media section fresh and up-to-date with announcements, press releases, case studies, and other articles. This gives visitors a chronology of the company. Don’t wait for the next major release of your product.  There are many ways to update your target audiences with new hires, industry awards, market survey results, new partnerships, new customers, etc.

6. More does not equal better:  Just because a media database lists 200 journalists who cover your industry, that doesn’t mean you should send company news to all of them.  One of the main things journalists rant about when it comes to PR is getting inundated with irrelevant press releases.  Vet each journalist to make sure your news is a match – otherwise, you risk being called out on social media, or permanently removed from his or her pool of quotable sources.

This last rule is probably the most difficult for entrepreneurs to comprehend:

7. Journalists are just not that into you:  Few small business owners realize what life is like for journalists today.  They get hundreds of emails every day from PR representatives that have nothing to do with what they write about.  Additionally, tighter deadlines and greater competition mean they have less time – and patience – for listening to your story.  Just because you are passionate about your product or company, that doesn’t mean you can expect reporters to share that passion.  But consider the effectiveness of making the journalist’s job easier.  Research the topics they have an interest in, feed them fresh stories, and give their readers what they want. Then your company stands a good chance of breaking through the media noise and getting your message heard.

Robert J. Szczerba is the CEO of X Tech Ventures and author of the Forbes column “Rocket Science Meets Brain Surgery.”  Follow him via TwitterFacebook, or LinkedIn.

Source: Forbes Business

 
 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Interesting LNG Put And Call Options For June 6th
Investors in Cheniere Energy Inc. (AMEX: LNG) saw new options begin trading today, for the June 6th expiration. At Stock Options Channel, our YieldBoost formula has looked up and down the LNG options chain for the new...
 
 
Interesting GMCR Put And Call Options For June 6th
Investors in Keurig Green Mountain Inc (NASD: GMCR) saw new options become available today, for the June 6th expiration. At Stock Options Channel, our YieldBoost formula has looked up and down the GMCR options chain for...
 
 
Relevant Or Relic? Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work Day Faces New Challenges
Those who grew up in the 1990s may always think of today as a day when many girls missed school to go to work with mom or dad, but this morning, girls and boys across the country headed off to work with parents,...
 
 
Ingram Micro Becomes Oversold (IM)
Legendary investor Warren Buffett advises to be fearful when others are greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful. One way we can try to measure the level of fear in a given stock is through a technical analysis...
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Apple Posts Record Q1 On Strong iPhone Sales, Margin Gains
Apple announced a strong set of Q2 FY2014 results on Wednesday, beating guidance on both revenues and gross margins. The company saw its revenues grow 5% year-over-year to$45.6 billion in the second quarter, which...
Read more on Apple Balla
 
Seeds Of Apple's New Growth In Mobile Payments, 800 Million iTune Accounts
During Apple’s (AAPL) earnings conference call on Wednesday, it was revealed that Apple now has about 800 million iTunes accounts.  CEO Tim Cook described it as “staggering.”   This is an impressive achievement...
Read more on Apple Balla
 
Interesting LNG Put And Call Options For June 6th
Investors in Cheniere Energy Inc. (AMEX: LNG) saw new options begin trading today, for the June 6th expiration. At Stock Options Channel, our YieldBoost formula has looked up and down the LNG options chain for the new...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Interesting GMCR Put And Call Options For June 6th
Investors in Keurig Green Mountain Inc (NASD: GMCR) saw new options become available today, for the June 6th expiration. At Stock Options Channel, our YieldBoost formula has looked up and down the GMCR options chain for...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Relevant Or Relic? Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work Day Faces New Challenges
Those who grew up in the 1990s may always think of today as a day when many girls missed school to go to work with mom or dad, but this morning, girls and boys across the country headed off to work with parents,...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Ingram Micro Becomes Oversold (IM)
Legendary investor Warren Buffett advises to be fearful when others are greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful. One way we can try to measure the level of fear in a given stock is through a technical analysis...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Xilinx is Oversold
The DividendRank formula at Dividend Channel ranks a coverage universe of thousands of dividend stocks, according to a proprietary formula designed to identify those stocks that combine two important characteristics —...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Innophos Holdings is Oversold
The DividendRank formula at Dividend Channel ranks a coverage universe of thousands of dividend stocks, according to a proprietary formula designed to identify those stocks that combine two important characteristics —...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Why The Average Investor's Investment Return Is So Low
According to the latest 2014 release of Dalbar’s Quantitative Analysis of Investor Behavior (QAIB), the average investor in a blend of equities and fixed-income mutual funds has garnered only a 2.6% net annualized rate...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Ducky Deal For Ackman
By Olga Oksman If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, legally, it may not be a duck. That seems to be the message from the unusual but very carefully structured partnership struck between serial acquirer...
Read more on Business Balla
 
 
Auto Balla Sexy Balla Sport Balla TV Balla Politics Balla Movie Balla Apple Balla Business Balla Ad Balla Celebrity Balla