We hurried the other day to give Sam, an anxious prospective client, a crash course in PR before he falls back on a risky, doomed-to-fail DIY approach.


Sam was ready to sign a contract with our PR firm TransMedia Group until something happened to his feet.  They suddenly got cold.


So Sam calls me over the weekend and tells me he wants to come in Monday morning.  He said he was flabbergasted to learn that a US1 news release on PRNewswire costs over $800.  So now he’s concerned if he puts out a lot of releases on the wires and has to pay our fee besides, he’s going to run out of cash.


So it’s time to give Sam a crash course in PR, which you’re welcome to take yourself.  Here are some of the fundamentals.


Every time Sam signs a new customer or has an announcement to make, it’s not necessary to blast it out nationally on the wires.  The media most likely to run the story are in the region where the story is breaking.


Actually, a release on the state wire costs roughly a third yet still reaches out nationally via Yahoo, AP, MarketWatch, etc.  So a national release is often overkill and a waste of money as media in Michigan aren’t going to care that much about a story in Miami.


Also, a news release on the wires is essentially telling journalists who love exclusives that everyone has this story, so sorry, it’s not exclusive.


Other avenues


PR firms subscribe to potent PR services that allow us to spread Sam’s news in the form of “a pitch” to a targeted list of journalists and media most likely to be interested in a particular development.  Let’s say we want to target sports and fitness reporters and their respective publications who’ll appreciate a story about a new training modality for athletes.  So I advise our staff as follows:


So here’s the game plan for Sam’s crash course.  Kickoff 10 AM!  We educate Sam how we do PR.


First, we tell him we use a service called Cision that allows us to target journalists, which will give Sam much more bang for his buck.  Also we tell him about “ProfNet” that tells us when a reporter is looking to interview an expert on a subject the reporter’s doing a story on.


Then we show Sam how events, contracts and news he makes can be marketed and exploited on social media, which you’re so good at and so enterprising.


We explain how we can market a story about Sam’s business if he signs a customer or announces a project in Texas where we have an office and many media contacts, including at Associated Press, which can take the story nationwide from there.


We show Sam some of our successful PR campaigns, which followed the same method I’m prescribing for Sam.


So the objective of our crash course is to take this nervous prospect calmly through the process so he’s not fixated on news releases that are only going to eat up his budget and not be that productive.  What’s more, he’ll only wear out his welcome on the wires.


Because we like Sam’s company and the story behinds his innovative products and services, I might just make this more affordable for him by offering to absorb the cost of a couple statewide news releases a month or one national release a month besides our Agency Roster, which goes out nationally announcing a new client.


And now for the piece de resistance, we inform Sam that we also plan to book him on broadcast shows and for print interviews regionally and nationally to talk about the uniqueness of his brand, his superlative products and services.


Let’s start by booking him on our weekly radio show Thursday that we do inhouse reaching over 200,000 listeners!


In conclusion, we summarize for Sam that . . . effective PR is multi-dimensional and only seasoned professionals know how to put it together and pull it off productively.


Class dismissed.



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