Want product publicity? Check your ego at the door.

3 ways to make sure the media will never invite you back.

While some publicists make people famous, I make companies and their products famous and it’s serious business. I’ve been a product publicist with Media Relations Agency for 21 years. I’ve arranged for countless client stories to run on national TV, in national magazines and on local, regional and digital news channels in the U.S. and Canada. When I first started, it was pretty easy to book stories. Today, it’s much tougher. It usually takes hundreds of points of contact before I get a story to run or air. It’s hard to put a value on appearing in the media as an expert but it’s a big deal. Celebrities understand the connection between the media and fame but I sometimes wonder if businesspeople do. Most people are unaccustomed to the media fame game. Consequently, well-meaning individuals make some avoidable mistakes. I’d like to point some of them out for you. 

One reason for pointing out these mistakes is that we are a performance-based company. With our Pay Per Interview® publicity model, we only get paid for the media coverage we arrange. So you bet I’m motivated and you can bet I want all my stories to go off without a hitch! Here are three ways that you can spoil your chances of getting a consistent flow of great media coverage for your business. 

1. Insist on turning each interview into an infomercial. I’ve worked for decades to develop strong relationships with TV producers. They trust me to set up interviews with people who are a good fit for their stations and audiences. That nearly always means addressing a common problem with a subtle mention of the client’s business. It’s a very effective way to deliver key messages. We do a lot of media training to teach our clients how to do this. 

Media coverage has very specific but unspoken rules. When clients apply the selling tactics they use in other promotional mix channels like ads and their website by turning these opportunities into a two- or three-minute monologue about the virtues of their companies, reporters and producers don’t like that and it burns bridges for them. And for me. Trust me: If you don’t understand and play by the rules, that producer won’t allow you back on the air again. And producers have long memories, even if they begin working at a different station. 

2. Skip media opportunities after they’re arranged. Like I said, it takes a lot of work behind the scenes, and often years of nurturing the right connections, to arrange earned media opportunities. I often work for hours and hours to arrange a single interview. If you show up late or not at all, it hurts your reputation. It hurts mine. And it hurts the producer who pitched the segment to their boss. 

As a professional publicist, I try to cover for my clients the best I can. Mistakes happen but just like calling in sick for work, they usually know the truth. And when their audience is waiting for the story they have been hyping and the guest is late or doesn’t show up, you can imagine the panic behind the scenes. It’s not pretty. But if you show up prepared and ready to give a solid interview, both the media and their audience will love you. I will too.

3. Choose a boutique PR agency that has one publicist pitching the media. Publicists are people. We have our distinct personalities as well as different likes and dislikes. When we are passionate about a topic, we tend to get a lot more media placements. I can think of a particular client years ago. The client had a product related to eyesight and the topic was popular with many of our publicists. They loved arranging media stories for this company and did a fantastic job. But me? Not so much. I just wasn’t feeling it so I worked on other client stories I could relate to more. It pays to work with an agency, such as ours, that has multiple publicists so there is always one or more who will personally get behind your product and pitch the heck out of it!     

Media stories can give you an edge over your competition. They can make products a household name. Our agency has helped products start at the introductory stage, move through the growth stage and now thrive in the mature stage of the product life cycle. I love playing an important role in this process. It’s rewarding to collaborate with clients who want to take advantage of all the media opportunities we can find for them.   

I love visiting with clients before their interview so I can teach them the ropes. Our staff does excellent training to help you avoid common mistakes and make the most out of your publicity. We want to make you and your products famous. If after reading this, you’re ready to commit to letting us guide you in a strong, well-coordinated PR and marketing campaign, call us at 952-697-5269 or use the Contact Us form.

Written by Gail Brandt

Senior Publicist Gail Brandt sinks her teeth into a project and makes things happen. She impresses everyone with her out-of-the-box thinking and her ability to devise new ways to excite the media about a story.  She has repeatedly earned company honors for the quantity and caliber of her media placements, and has booked clients in such prestigious media outlets as Woman’s World, Shape, Good Morning America and on TV stations across America.

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