This is the first in a 3 part series on the “3 Steps To Achieve Publicity Success In Any Venture” from Guest Blogger, RuthAnn Bowen, PR extraordinaire and Founder of PR firm The Bowen Agency Public Relations. Come back tomorrow for part two!
Throughout my career as a publicist I’ve learned a few things. Here are two:
- 1. Publicity is often misunderstood
- 2. Publicity success is often misunderstood
If you want to see a publicist get on their soapbox just use the words “publicity” and “advertising” interchangeably. Publicity is not advertising.
Advertising is time and space you purchase. Publicity is time and space you don’t purchase. I know that’s a pretty simple explanation, but it really is that straightforward.
Publicity success, however, is entirely different. Publicity success is not necessarily being on Oprah. Publicity success is not something that happens overnight. The definition of publicity success for one business is not the same for another.
I have found there are three characteristics that can help shape and define publicity success no matter what your venture. There are others but I believe these three are the most important. (And please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any you’d like to add to the list!) In this blog post we’ll explore the first one.
1. Embrace Being Different
When it comes to publicity, conformity doesn’t work. The media continually scan the horizon for captivating stories which means run-of-the-mill isn’t going to cut it. So what makes your story unique?
- Have a distinctive product or service?
- Have an unusual story?
Let’s start with a distinctive product or service. This automatically gives your story a natural separation from all the others in your industry. That’s good. Utilize it. Capitalize on it. Make sure everyone you know and talk to understands what the difference is and that you’re communicating the difference effectively.
You can own the next best wheel invention with state-of-the-art, improved technology and performance. But if you’re not communicating these differences in a way that people or the media can understand them, you might as well have the original wheel.
If you don’t have a unique product or service, don’t despair. You can still gain quite a bit of media coverage. And I’d say 95% of publicity comes from this aspect. Simply look for a unique angle or pitch that might gain media’s attention.
Here are some ideas to consider:
Is there a certain time of year that demand for your product or service increases that the media might not be aware of?
For example, we all know that accounting and the April 15 tax season go together, but perhaps you have a unique product or idea helping businesses remember to pay their quarterly taxes. Pitch this idea to a reporter at the end of any quarter during the year. (And if you actually offered to pay the tax? Well, let’s just say that would be a very unique twist!)
Can your product or service be tied into a certain off-peak holiday during the year? Think Memorial Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, International Day of Peace (September 21 for those of you who weren’t sure), Grandparents Day? You get the picture.
3. Personal story
Did your business or product idea grow from an unusual situation? Did you take over the family company and change its direction with success, increase revenue, upgrade all the equipment? Did you start your career on one path and end up on another that became more successful? Did your hobby turn into a business?
Where is your business located?
- Are you a start-up but struck the real-estate lottery and are located in a posh section of town?
- Did you choose your location for green reasons?
- Or did you find the best place ever but had to renovate it all by yourself because of budget constraints?
Granted, this type of coverage may not get your product covered necessarily, but it will get your business name some ink.
5. Unique consumer trend
Nobody knows your consumers the way you do and it’s up to you (or your publicist) to notify the media.
If you notice all of a sudden there’s an uptick in grandmothers buying your high-end fashion purses originally designed for teenagers, alert the media. If there’s any unique demographic you weren’t anticipating interested in your product/service, alert the media. Who knows, yours could be the start of a worldwide phenomenon in that particular demographic.
Any publicist worth their salt will tell you that if you don’t have a unique angle or twist to what you do, your story falls flat. So go ahead and celebrate your differences! It’s your first step towards publicity success.
Next post, “Tell Your Story”. Because it does no good to have a compelling story and then keep it to yourself.
This is the first installment of “3 Steps To Achieve Publicity Success In Any Venture” by RuthAnn Bowen of The Bowen Agency Public Relations. Ms. Bowen is a thirteen-year veteran of publicity having worked in the entertainment industry in Nashville, TN and owning her PR firm The Bowen Agency Public Relations. Contact her with your PR question at email@example.com
or follow her on Twitter @thebowenagency