Is All Publicity Good Publicity?

Somewhere down the road of growing your business, I’m sure you have heard the phrase “all publicity is good publicity.” It sounds good and makes sense on a surface level, especially since most of us don’t get the publicity we feel our business deserves. Surely, that interview with the local news, Google Hangout, or blog write up will help your business build the brand recognition you need, right? Well, ideally yes but unfortunately I find that’s not often the case. Here’s why:

Control Everything

Working with a wide variety businesses especially tech startups, I see this scenario play out all the time. They work night and day developing awesomeness and finally get a call that someone wants to do a write up on their product! Boom! They get super excited and readily agree. Once the interview is in place and the questions start rolling, they quickly realize how ill-prepared they really are. How do you keep this from happening to you? Find out what their goal is for the interview or write up! What kinds of questions will they be asking? Is there a need, or specific answer to a question that they(the interviewer) is wanting to achieve? Have a list of specific questions that you would like to answer. If it’s a hangout or video that will be published online, is there specific branding imagery that needs to be included, or excluded? I find this last question especially applies to those businesses that are trying to shake up the status quo. If your business or product is at all in the edgy category, you better have ALL your ducks in a row.


Don’t be afraid to say NO

As a marketer, I am a studier and enthusiast in the field of Operant Conditioning and more specifically, I’m a big fan of Kevin Keller’s Brand Equity Model. In this model it is theorized that any interaction that the consumer has with a brand results in either a positive or negative change in perception. This change in perception is what directly affects their long term purchasing likelihood. This is why it is critical that any PR opportunities you take part in must only touch on the positive brand points that you identify for your business and no others. Be unapologetic with your core values for public relations. I find this is many times where good PR goes wrong. This is also why having a clear identification of your target market is key. Any PR function should be an extension of your companies marketing goals. If your publicity opportunity doesn’t meet your exact needs, goals, and guidelines; just say no. After all, there’s always more fish in the sea, right?


What have been your experiences with public relations? Have you ever had a potentially great PR experience turn into a nightmare? I would love to hear it in the comments section. 

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  1. Good point Rich, be sure and have your ducks in a row. I try to look at it in two ways. If the take away is negative, what can I learn from the experience, what could have been done better. If it a positive one, I try to learn what made it a positive experience. What can I do to replicate in the future.

    NIce job Rich…

  2. Jeff Howell says:

    I haven't had any PR nightmares, but I'll reinforce the need to maintain brand integrity. It's not just what the public sees, but what they hear and read. It is ALL part of the marketing and brand.
    Protect it. Love it. Don't abuse it.

  3. Rich Cottle says:

    Amen Jeff. It's all about maintaining brand integrity.

  4. James Oliver, Jr. says:

    Great post. And timely, as I just published a press release last week.

  5. Rich Cottle says:

    Thanks James

  6. Bill Culhane says:

    Excellent points Jeff. I have been on both sides of the microphone. Both parties should have a clear understanding of the goal(s) of the interview/interaction. It shouldn't be scripted, but a roadmap helps with the dialogue and prevents hurt feelings later on.

  7. jacobkcurtis says:

    Rich, I think you just saved a lot of nightmares from manifesting with this post. Though I can't speak from personal experience yet, I can definitely see how a business can get so caught up in actually being approached by an interviewer where they forget to have their own ducks in a row. Total Deer in the headlights moment and I will keep this in mind.

    Information is power, and the more you know about the interviewers intentions the better you can help lead the conversation to be a win-win. After all you wouldn't want to get caught off guard by a question you haven't had time to prepare for/wasn't expecting. Especially if the interview is broadcasted live!

    Take control! Enough said!

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