The 5 Lies PR Agencies and Publicists are Telling You
Yes, the owners of PR agencies and publicists are telling you lies. In fact, it’s so bad that it’s part of the reason I started my own agency.
When I worked at an agency full-time, the owner would over promise deliverables to clients and put it on the employees to make the impossible, possible.
Sometimes, I lose business because I don’t tell these five lies, but I’d rather lose the business than end up with a terrible reputation, like many others in the publicity industry.
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1. Guarantee you coverage
This cannot be done. In fact, it can only be done if you own the outlet and control what is included. Other than that, you’ll need to buy an ad… which is not PR or earned media.
2. Guarantee you specific coverage, like on Today or the New York Times
See above for why this can’t be done, but to take it even further. Even if you contribute to an outlet, you still can’t guarantee because there are people above you who make the final edits and publishing decisions.
For more on this, listen to the scams episode, #36, because there is some shady stuff going on behind the scenes. I even share some stories of my Media Mentoring clients who paid to be in outlets they never appeared in before we started working together.
3. They will say, or print, exactly what you want
It is not the media outlets job to give you a free commercial. They are paid to tell a story for their audience that will educate and entertain them. It’s not about “their agenda”. It’s about their job, and again, it’s not to promote you.
4. They’ll make you go viral
No one really knows how to do this, hence why no-names go viral once, maybe twice. There is no formula and no-one can predict how people will react to anything in the media.
5. It will lead to sales
This is marketing, not sales. The job of PR is to build brand awareness and visibility.
I had a client who had a product that was hard to understand, the packaging got negative feedback so the tons of coverage we earned brought little sales for circumstances out of our control.
I also represented a restaurant with bad customer service. The same thing happened.
In publicity, it’s our job to lead a horse to water, not make the horse drink it. You need to build the know, like, and trust before people decide to do business with you. This is why it’s not an overnight thing. It takes time.
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