3 Reasons Why You Are Not Getting Publicity
There are 3 reasons why you are not getting publicity for you, your product or service. Before I list them I’ll give you a bit of background so you know where this opinion is coming from. I have a 20 year career in Marketing and PR. I’ve worked with various PR firms in and around New York City. Some were boutique firms, others mid-sized and others were global. Through my career I’ve represented experts, authors and major brands such as Ambien, Colgate Palmolive, Darden Foods, Sprint, Polaroid, Kellogg’s, Procter and Gamble, Duracell, to name a few. My specialty was Media Relations. That meant when clients wanted to see their product in top magazines and on top national shows like Oprah, Ellen, Good Morning America and The Today Show, I was who they called. It was my job to make suggestions to clients on how to craft a pitch that media would be interested in. My counsel was based on what I knew the media wanted based on these simple questions.
1. Does what you have to offer speak to a trend?
2. Is it the first ever product to solve a common problem?
3. Can I easily explain what it is?
4. Will people care? Why?
What happens when you have the above items yet, the media is still is unresponsive? I’ve gone through this in my career. You presume a what you’re promoting is a PR dream. It could be a well-spoken, dynamic, charismatic expert offering practical tips tied to a current trend or a new, fantastic product everyone would use. You’re thinking this will be easy. Then, you pitch media and they pass, over and over again.
Now given my experience, I know what and who makes a great news story. So when a great expert or product repeatedly gets passed on my BS flag goes off and I get into detective mode. I urge any PR person or marketer to do their research and avoid a set up to fail situation. Know who you are representing and identify the things that will ultimately turn media off. If you discover this quickly you have two options. Quit and take your skills elsewhere or, draw upon your other skills and show value in the other areas. Are you a great writer? Fantastic with social media? Are you strong with branding? If the publicity wheelhouse isn’t spinning figure out where else you can be of value and fast.
In my 20 year experience, I have found there are several reasons why the media passes on a product or person here are the big 3.
They’re Just Not Into You
Let’s look at experts, CEO’s and authors. These days everyone is a celebrity armed with a video camera pushing their “brand essence” all over social media. Mainstream media can size an expert up with one Google search and instantly get the tone and feel for who they are. The more out there an expert is the more information is available to the media. They can sniff out a fame whore versus a true giver with true expertise. If the person comes across like an arrogant, ignorant, sexist, racist, bully with control issues, in their YouTube content, odds are Good Morning America (run by Disney) or any mainstream news organization isn’t going to be calling you anytime soon. A lot of “experts” flip flop between wanting mainstream media attention while simultaneously giving it the finger, literally. They fail to think strategically and fail to heed the advice of PR people. Then they wonder why none of the mainstream media wants them. Quite frankly, the media doesn’t need the hassle. There are loads of other better credentialed experts they can tap right in New York City. Look at the experts they most frequently use. Understand what the media looks for and then either emulate that or move along.
You’re Too Small and Not Ready
Let’s say you have a great product that solves a problem, a line of bath scrubs and shampoos for ultra sensitive skin. You then think sending these products to producers at the main morning shows will be the way to get their attention. It isn’t. It’s a waste of your money. What you need is the story. Who created it? What’s their story? Was it created by a former lawyer who got sick of arguing for a living and invested all their money in a dream? Great! How big is that company? How many Twitter followers does it have? Instagram? Facebook? What does the website look like? Is it scrappy and outdated. Is it modern and well written? Media will judge all of these things. Is it an actual profitable business or a hobby? In other words if the Today Show puts your product on the air, will they get 10,000 furious viewers saying the website was down? You get one shot at the big time and you must be ready. Make sure your website is on point and you can handle massive orders. If you can’t, stick to local press until you build your business infrastructure. If you’re an expert, understand that until you are a household name, YOU NEED THE MEDIA not the other way around. Drop the wannabe celebrity attitude and be grateful the media even is considering you. Strive to become a media darling, that go-to resource always ready to roll, no complaints no demands, just professional.
You’re Connected to Something Controversial
Again, the media does their research. True it may seem that they are more focused on reporting quickly as opposed to accurately but that’s when it comes to breaking news. When it comes to experts or product features, they dig in and do their research. If they find that you are connected to anything controversial they will question your agenda. They aren’t going to give anyone a platform to reach millions with a message that serves another agenda. So think about what could potentially be the controversial thing media may discover about you by a simple Google search. If you are connected to something controversial I suggest taking advantage of proactive media output. Use social media. Contribute to websites and popular on-line outlets. Luckily people who are connected to controversy can use social media to reach millions of people and control exactly what they want to communicate.
There are many ways to take something boring or simple and spin it into the next big “buzzworthy” thing. Understand that in this era social media drives mainstream media in many areas. Make a name for yourself on social media, ease up on the ego, don’t approach media like you’re doing them a favor making demands, be of help and of service. All it takes is the right level of buzz to take hold and you’re exploding. Grumpy Cat’s owner can make 98 million dollars, there’s a lot to say for social media buzz. Don’t put all eggs in the national media basket.
Lisa Concepcion is a marketing consultant, blogger and content creator for websites. Follow her on Twitter @lisatakesmiami.