It is tempting to think that when we need publicity or a few new customers, all we need to do is open the PR tap and out they come.
But or course good marketing and PR doesn’t come with an on/off switch – it’s a lot more complicated than that. For a start you can’t bank on the media playing your game.
I was reminded of this the other day because someone I know was involved in a big publicity launch and while they got some very high quality coverage the overwhelming vibe was pretty hostile. The Times was given the exclusive and was consequently pretty favourable, but the BBC and the papers that followed it up decided to take a fairly critical line.
Journalists will rarely run a story straight off the bat unless they are getting first crack at it – they will be looking for the angle and will want to test the arguments with well-informed critics. This is not because they are a stroppy bunch but because they don’t want to be seen giving out free passes. If you want your product/service publicised you have to be prepared to see it put under public scrutiny.
TIP :- If you want to insult a journalist accuse them of running stories which amount to little more than publicity puffs. Journalists really can’t stand the idea that PRs might want something for free.
The upshot was that the story got out there and under the mantra that all publicity is good publicity they succeeded – but novices to the game might be surprised by the roughness of the ride.