A Sick Feeling

Have you ever had a humiliating moment that has stuck with you for life? Eight years ago, I botched a speech I gave to a business group of 100 down in Fort Myers, Florida and it still bothers me. My topic was How to market your way out of a down economy, which was timely in southwest Florida because every business back then was struggling. The gathering was a lunch meeting. As the guest speaker, I was to begin at 12:30 and end promptly at 1:00. Not much time for such an important subject.

As the lunch progressed, I could tell things were running late and I wasn’t going to get as much time as promised. When I was finally invited to the podium I figured I had 10 minutes tops. As I burned up precious time with my opening remarks, an unwelcome realization swept over me: There was no way I could deliver my speech in such a short time.

It’s a sick feeling looking out over a hundred smart business people, knowing you are about to make a fool of yourself. In hindsight I should have said, “Look, I’m sorry but I just can’t explain how you can market your way out of this slump in just a few short minutes. So, I’ll just tell a couple jokes while you nice people enjoy your dessert.” Instead I gutted my speech to a handful of disjointed comments that didn’t help anyone and then suffered their hollow applause.

The irony of the moment is that my speech was centered around using wide promotional mix channels, such as media coverage, that give businesses the time and space to tell a compelling story. Normally when giving this type of talk, people are eager to speak with me when I’m done. The reason the audience typically connects with me is the same reason that getting media coverage works: Using promotional channels such as publicity, the internet, events and speeches (if they are long enough) provides the opportunity to give the topic the explanation it deserves. It’s this full explanation that builds consumers’ interest to a level of desire that causes them to want your product more than their money—a difficult task in any business climate.

My experience has been the bigger the audience and the more time, the better. And one place big audiences are found is in the media. Not only are the audiences huge, they are relatively inexpensive to reach. Just try hosting a gathering for 100,000 and see how much that sets you back.  

Most companies have only three of the four promotional mix channels covered; they have a sales staff, they are running ads and they have a website. But publicity? It’s almost nonexistent. You should change that. The media is a storytelling machine with an insatiable appetite. Reporters and producers need new stories every single day and done right, it’s an amazing promotional tool. Ten to one you’re not getting near the coverage that’s available to you.

If you currently have a PR firm working for you, a good way to measure their success is to simply take the money you have spent with them and divide it by the number of stories they’ve arranged for you.

Another test is to find out how many times a day your PR firm calls the media. You’ve got trouble if they look insulted and say something like, “Times have changed. Reporters want emails now and they get mad when you call them.” We charge by the story and I could board up this place if we had to stop using the phone. Face it: You’ll never be the  top news story of the day. Someone needs to personally persuade them to do a story about you. A publicist who is afraid of a little rejection on the phone is not your friend.

If you press your PR firm on getting more stories, they may also argue you’ll be sacrificing quality for quantity—as if you have to be careful which massive audiences you reach.

If your firm is not getting you the coverage you feel you deserve or you don’t have a PR firm working for you, hire us. We’ll increase the amount of media coverage you receive.

On average we charge about $2,000 per story. We think charging per story we arrange  makes more sense than hourly billing because you always get publicity for your money. Hundreds of customers who have paid us to arrange coverage for their companies and products also agree.

Not much will outsell good publicity. Even small shows and publications have large audiences. And you can get a ton of additional mileage out of each story by linking, tweeting, posting, blogging, reprinting, etc.

If you could just push a button, how many stories would you like to see running about your company or products in 2017? Ten a quarter? Five a month? Three hundred a year? The button to push is our phone number, 952 697-5269.

If you aren’t effectively using media coverage as a marketing tactic, we can remedy that quickly. Put some money on account and we’ll begin to hunt down the opportunities.

Heather Champine is our VP of media production. She started with us over 20 years ago and quickly became one of our most productive publicists. Today she manages all of our publicists and can quickly assess how mediagenic your company or product is. Call Becky Quesnel at 952-697-5269 or fill out this form and she will set up a time for you to talk with Heather.

Written by Lonny Kocina

Lonny pioneered the concept of our nationally trademarked Pay Per Interview Publicity® business model which allows clients to purchase publicity by the story rather than pay hourly with no guarantee of coverage. His business foresight is evident in many ways including quickly reserving portal web addresses such as publicity, media relations, and checkerboard, and advising clients to do the same. In his spare time and as a way of giving back, Lonny teaches marketing as an adjunct faculty member at Dakota Technical College.