A great article (well, I would say that, wouldn’t I!) by Steve McKee in Business Week – Why PR is the Prescription.
In it, he argues that, despite the convergence of different marketing disciplines, PR is a great strategy in this new world we find ourselves in, and especially at the moment when budgets are being cut:
“While it is possible for any publicity campaign to fall flat, the right story told at the right time in the right way can bring powerful and valuable attention to your business far in excess of what you spend to develop it. Especially in light of the second trend forever changing the news business: complexity. ”
He goes on to suggest that with more and more space to fill and ever diminishing newsroom staff, there is a great opportunity out there for businesses have their 30 minutes in the spotlight. And, in theory, he’s correct. However, the reality is in many ways a bit different.
The ‘traditional’ media (e.g. profession journlists), which is what McKee is refering to, is under more pressure than ever to deliver results: hits, traffic, advertising pounds. This means that, especially online where all this can be tracked more easily, content counts. And not just any content; valuable, insightful and unique content.
In actual fact, this makes his final point all the more valid:
“The key word, of course, is “good.” Put yourself in the shoes of a journalist for a moment. Imagine what it would be like to spend precious time sifting and sorting through inane news releases, annoying e-mails, and calls from pesky publicists while laboring under continually looming deadlines to deliver original, compelling stories.
“The best PR pros will tell you the truth about your stories—more than once I’ve been told that some idea I’ve come up with would appeal to my mother and few others. That’s no fun to hear, but if tough love protects my company’s credibility with the press, it’s worth it.”
And in many ways, the latter comment is exactly why PR, in some cases, has a bad name. As with all marketing, getting the right message to the right audience at the right time is crucial. Of course, we all think that our story, our business, our new product is the best, greatest thing since sliced bread, but its not alway true, or at least, not for everyone.
Its “tough love”, but it has to be done!