Aug 29

Haters Gonna Hate: Why PR Will Live Long and Prosper

“While [PR firms] may have great contacts and they can get articles placed, they are not capable of doing a Vulcan mind meld.” -Mark Cuban, Business Insider

Sigh.

At some point in the past few years, our journalist friends at most of our favorite business media outlets have slammed PR as a poor investment. Just last week at a New York panel discussion, I asked a successful venture capitalist how communication considerations affect his investment strategy. “Getting press inflates your ego, not your bank account,” he replied, in front of a roomful of attentive entrepreneurs. Ouch.

What’s with the hate? OK, fine, Mark Cuban – we aren’t telepathic space travelers. But after ten-plus years of working on both the client and agency sides, I have seen how PR done right directly affects your bottom line.

Nobody should question the power of the press. A well-written article in a prominent publication will raise company stature, attract new clients, inform investors, and boost morale. But in order to secure homerun coverage, you have to understand the media.

Journalists are busy, and these days, there aren’t many of them left. Newsrooms are often understaffed, underfunded, and overwhelmed by the quantity of information available to print. The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor estimates that 300 million entrepreneurs will launch 50 million new businesses globally this year — 137,000 per day. With so many options, how can an equally overstretched startup CEO earn the coveted, limited attention of a reporter?

Hint: Hire a PR pro. We study the media, follow industry trends, and develop close personal and professional relationships with reporters. A good PR pitch isn’t “spam” – it’s an individually targeted, carefully crafted, meticulously organized collection of useful information about potential experts and subjects relevant to a reporter’s beat. The right PR pro will get you coverage by helping journalists do their jobs well.

Many of us (myself included) were once journalists ourselves, you know. We understand what they want and need – a “Vulcan mind meld,” after all.

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