I feel like today I am constantly educating business owners on how public relations works, specifically when it comes to media relations and earning coverage in the media.
So in this video, I am going to walk you through the good, the bad, and the ugly. I’m going to tell you a lot of things that PR agencies and publicists are too afraid to tell you… because I have no filter and you should know.
7 Things to Know about Public Relations
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Hi, my name is Christina Nicholson. I am a former TV reporter and anchor who now puts people on TV instead of being on TV all the time.
And in this video, I am walking you through public relations and media relations and everything that business owners should know, but they don’t.
I’m going to tell you why not only is it cheaper than advertising, but it’s more effective and why you should run, and fast, if any public relations agency or publicist tries to guarantee you coverage.
Yes. I know it sounds nice, doesn’t it? But you should run if somebody tells you that because they’re lying. I’m going tell you why in this video, but let’s start with the good, shall we?
Let me tell you why PR or earning media is better than advertising.
Advertising is expensive
Advertising is very expensive and earning coverage in the media is completely free.
I mean, it doesn’t get much better than that, right? You can pay a lot of money for an ad or you can get the coverage that exact same place for free, and for that reason, we go to number two.
PR establishes you as an authority and somebody who is credible
Public relations establishes you as an authority and somebody who is credible in your industry.
Again, this is because anybody can spend money on an ad. All you need is money. It doesn’t matter if you’re good at what you do, and we’ve seen this, right? We’ve seen a lot of businesses and a lot of brands get a lot of exposure because they have a lot of money, not because they’re good at what they do.
But when you earn the coverage, that’s like a third-party endorsement. It’s like a referral from somebody so you are known, liked, and trusted automatically because that media outlet chose to put you in there.
You’re not paying for the coverage. So automatically you’re seen as a credible authority.
Being known, liked and trusted – we all know that is what leads to sales down the road.
Reaching more, new people in less time
When you are earning media exposure, you are reaching more people, you’re reaching new people and you’re doing it in less time.
When you just focus on your own outlets, you’re reaching people who already know you.
Maybe they already like you, maybe they already trust you. You’re not really expanding your reach unless those people already in your circle tell other people. It doesn’t happen as fast as earning exposure in the media.
So it’s very important to always be reaching new people, be reaching more people, and through the media. You can do it in no time.
If you understand, I’m saying if you get it, just give me an “I get it” in the comments. Just tell me you get it. “I get it.”
Do you understand now why it’s so much more valuable to earn the coverage than pay for it? Tell me, “I get it” and then we’re going to get into the bad.
I know you don’t want to hear it, but I’m being honest. I told you I have no filter so let’s do it.
Okay. The biggest part, this is the bad part and I know everybody wants to hear it.
There are no guarantees
I know you all want guarantees. Everyone wants a guarantee, but there are no guarantees, not only in life but also in public relations.
And this is the question that people ask me the most. They say, well, where are you going to get me and how are you going to get me there and when are you going to get me?
People want results like this and they want them guaranteed. It does not work that way. And let me tell you why it does not work that way.
Nobody can answer these questions for you. If you are earning media, nobody can tell you where you’re going to get them and when you’re gonna get them there, that’s because this is earned. It’s not paid. You have to show you are worthy of coverage.
You’re not paying for it. You have to work for it. And that’s also why it’s worth so much more because it’s harder to earn the coverage.
Remember, you do not control what the media does. I do not control what the media does. I can’t tell the local newspaper what stories to cover. I can give them ideas, I can help them, I can offer them sources, but I can not tell them what to cover and how to cover it and when to cover it. It is not the media’s job to give me or my clients or you have free commercial. That is why you can not guarantee coverage.
Even if you know people there. I know people at lots of outlets across the country. Remember I worked as a TV reporter for 10 years, so it is a very transient industry. Every two years we’re moving or working our way up, so eventually, after 10 years, you know a lot of people in a lot of places. That doesn’t mean that they are going to put whatever I want them to put on the air.
It’s just like a doctor or a lawyer. A doctor could not ever tell you, yes, I can cure your cancer. A lawyer could not ever tell you, yes I could win your case.
Because there are factors outside of their control and that is why you should run if anybody tries to guarantee you coverage. If anybody guarantees you anything, then they obviously don’t understand business. They don’t understand the media industry and you should run.
I know you want to hear it. I know it would be nice if we could all get coverage guaranteed, but it just doesn’t work like that.
So instead of guaranteeing coverage, what I do is I show them case studies, I share success stories. I say, Hey, I had a client in the same industry as yours and this is what we pitched and this is what we got them. I also outline a six-month plan and I say, this is what we’ll pitch and this is what we’ll pitch at this time to get coverage – because remember news is very timely.
If you’ve watched any other videos or if you’ve been through my Pitch Publicity Profit media class, you know you have to be timely with this stuff. So there is a way to show people that you are good at what you do, that you have a successful track record without guaranteeing them anything.
This is marketing, NOT sales
This is marketing. This is not sales.
And I know people, they always want to put sales and marketing together, but there is a difference when it comes to earning media exposure.
It’s my job to get you known, liked, and trusted to build that brand awareness. After that, people may want to buy something for you. That sales, I’m not on your sales team. I’m on your marketing team. So it’s my job to make you more visible. So when you ask people for the sale, they say, oh, I’m seeing you here, here, and here and here.
I like you. I know you. I trust you. Or when you ask for the sale, people are like, who are you again? I don’t know you. And it makes the sales process a whole lot harder.
So I tell people, it’s my job to lead the horse to water. It’s your job to make the horse drink it. Because many times people will ask me, well, how many sales am I going to get out of this? How many people are going to come to my website?
I can’t tell you that. I can not predict how a consumer is going to behave. And honestly, this is very similar to advertising. People will spend thousands, tens of thousands of dollars on ads not knowing how somebody’s going to react, but they know they’re going to get that ad. So they’re happy with it. Even though it’s less effective because it’s paid media, it’s not earned media.
So if you are looking at marketing like it’s going to guarantee you sales, then you’re looking at it all wrong and just think again about the way you consume content.
When you watch the SuperBowl… this is the only time, in my opinion, people actually pay attention to ads on TV – is during the SuperBowl because we know they cost millions. When you watch the SuperBowl, every commercial you see, do you go run and run and buy the product? No, you don’t. But you become more familiar with the product. So the next time you see them, they’re top of mind and then you see them again and then their top of mind.
Because remember, years ago you needed to see something maybe six, seven, or eight times before you decided to move on it. That was years ago. Today it’s probably 60, 70, or 80 times because we’re consumed with so much content.
And another part of this is that what if your product sucks? What if your customer service is bad? What if your website is not user-friendly? That’s not my fault.
I have worked with people and I’d gotten them lots and lots of coverage. I’m talking like Forbes and the Today Show. And if it doesn’t translate into sales, that’s not my fault.
It’s not my fault if your packaging is so bad that people don’t want to buy your product. It’s not my fault that your website was down that day and nobody could go to your website in order.
So remember there’s marketing and there is sales. Let’s keep them separate. One leads to the other, they are not the same thing.
So if I just got you in front of 10,000 of your ideal clients and you didn’t make one sale, then that’s on you. It’s time for you to look at your product or your service and ask why am I not converting this?
It’s tough to measure
It is tough to measure. I mean, this is just like advertising, right? Like you can get out there and you can just like cross your fingers and hope that people respond well.
Yes, you can measure some things. Like you can check out your social media analytics. Is your following growing? Is your engagement growing?
And you can look at website visits. Did people click on that link in Forbes and come back to my website? You can track some things once they’re on my website. What did they do? A lot of people don’t do this. They just look straight to sales. They don’t look at what happens between the marketing and the sales.
Like, we’re warming people up. We moved from a cold audience to warmer. Now they’re getting hotter or they’re about to turn into a customer or a client.
What I like to do in my agency is I like to track how many hits are we getting? How many people are we getting in front of? Because if you’re getting a lot of media hits and you’re getting in front of a lot of people, then that’s good.
Do PR on your PR
You have to do PR on your PR. Now, this is where a lot of people leave money on the table.
They think, oh, I earned media exposure. That’s great. We’re going to be so super busy. It’s going to be wonderful. It doesn’t work like that.
Again, think about when you log onto Facebook and Instagram you are just scrolling and that is it. You see something and two minutes later you have forgotten because you’ve seen 20 things since then because of your scroll.
So you actually need to do PR on your PR. Once you get something, you need to share it over and over and over again and tell everybody you know, “hey look, I was here” because if I just found you and last month you were featured somewhere, I don’t know if you were featured there. I forgot, if I saw it. Maybe I didn’t even see it, so you have to remind me again.
That’s just the way this works and don’t think you’re being annoying and saying the same thing over and over again. Remember, we are consumed with so much content all day, every day that even if you did tell me last month you were featured in some article I already forgot, so thanks for telling me again… and many times this is what leads to the ROI. It’s not the actual media hit. It’s sharing the media hit over and over and over again so people know that you’re earning coverage in the media.
This is how I get most of my clients honestly, and I am a current member of the media. I practice what I preach. I’m on a lot of podcasts, I’m on TV, I write a lot of articles in mainstream media outlets, but most people will come to me because I am sharing it and they’re finding it through Twitter or LinkedIn and I’m consistently sharing it. So when they do need me, I’m top of mind.
And I know it’s nice to just sit back and do nothing, but that’s just not the way the media industry works anymore. It’s 2019 at the time of this video recording so it works differently. Maybe 10, 15 years ago you could earn media exposure and sit back and everybody would come crawling in, right? Like build it and they will come. Well, we all know it doesn’t work like that anymore.
I saw a Facebook post from a woman the other day and she was quoted in Forbes and she literally thought that her speaking career was going to blow up because she got a quote in Forbes and I’m thinking, “Dear God, woman. Forbes probably publishes dozens and dozens if not hundreds of articles a day. You were quoted in one. Unless you leverage that and do PR on your PR, it is not going to do anything for your so-called speaking career. It just does not work like that.”
Pitch, Publicity, Profit
Don’t forget to let me know in the comments that you are getting this. Just type, “I get it” in the comments and if you have not already, make sure you check out yy three-day media class, Pitch, Publicity, Profit. You can access that at pitchpublicityprofit.com.
In that class, I am sharing an exact pitch that led to coverage for one of my Media Maven mentoring clients and she did a five minute live TV segment in San Diego, a top 30 market on TV. She had her website URL at the bottom of the screen. She started making brand deals right after.
It’s a great pitch and I’m going to share it with you at pitchpublicityprofit.com and if you have not already, make sure you subscribe to my channel.
Just hit that subscribe button, like this video, share it with your friends and come back on Thursday because that is when I post new videos just like this one.