What if doing a good business turn, expecting nothing in return, and doing it because it’s the right thing, brings in new business?
preaches about being grateful during the holidays. While all of that is good
and well, the truth is that it can stretch us to the limit to give “yet
more and more and more time and with heart” to whatever cause(s) are
planted firmly in front of us.
what if giving is good business? What if doing a good business turn, expecting
nothing in return, and doing it because it’s the right thing, brings in new
now shows that doing “free business,” when it feels right, can generate future profits for you and your
agency. Here are three true examples of doing work for others, when there
doesn’t initially seem to be much point (except that it’s taking time and
resources from my own business) – paid off.
does not matter that these three examples are purely public relations and
marketing “gifts.” The concept plays out across all industries.
You’ll know how to translate these examples into your own agencies.
1. Free Public Relations Because Your Product is Exceptional
local, very small brewery makes some of the best tasting beer in a state that
is renowned for world-wide, award-winning craft beers. There are too many
breweries (if there can be too many breweries) in Colorado – yet here they are –
two brothers, one a musician, the other a forced-to-retire geophysicist – now
both brew beer for a living.
stumbled into making “gluten removed” beer while they were crafting
excellent tasting beer. Anyone who has celiac disease, IBS (irritable bowel
syndrome) or any other gluten sensitivity has had to kiss beer good-bye or
drink awful tasting beer. Except these brothers craft over a dozen exceptional-tasting
arranged a radio interview for them, guided them on how to “social media
it to death,” and then introduced them to a celebrity chef-owned Colorado
expect nothing in return, not because I’m Mother Teresa or exceptionally
generous. I just felt like doing it and their hard work and excellent product
warrant the leg-up.
did it or will it pay off? It just feels right. That’s the pay off.
2. Sometimes You Just Want to Be Part of a Very Good Thing
sit on the board of The Chanda Plan Foundation because I cannot resist the
extraordinary CEO who happens to be a quadriplegic.
Chanda Plan affords all spinal cord injured people free health and wellness
services that have proven to dramatically improve their lives. The services
include nutrition, massage, chiropractic and primary care physicians.
clients pay nothing. Some of them go on to become fully mobile. All touched by
The Chanda Plan live better lives; the results, after a dozen years, prove it.
dedicates free public relations and services to The Chanda Plan because it is
the right thing to do. It cannot be explained in a spread sheet, but it somehow
feeds Capital City Public Relations.
3. Scratching Each Other’s Backs Breeds Wonderful Friendships
does free public relations and marketing for a neighborhood hairdresser; our
coifs look all the better for it. Another writer needs contributions to her
literary anthology and she’s getting one from me.
one of the best editors in the business and my copy reads better because of it.
CCPR gave another paying public relations client extra services over the past
few months because the boost will likely catapult that business into another
the business sense in all of this? Where does the spreadsheet demonstrate how
the return on investment works?
isn’t one. Like the successful CEO that last week let me pick his brain over
coffee, when he is already working a 60-hour work week to keep his two
businesses running in the black, it just is because it feels right.
your business can go the extra mile, do a good turn, contribute to the
community in a new way. Perhaps you’ll never realize a dime in the action and
perhaps it will even cost you.
the truth is that these business relationships are truly friendships. And the
other truth is that it always pays off. Maybe it isn’t measured on the
calculator or within any traditional return-on-investment calculation.
does not matter if it cannot be laid out exactly, in numbers, how giving pays
off. It’s simply enough to know, in one’s soul, that it does.
When you or your clients see information about a product or service, do you know if the information is provided as advertising, or is it considered public relations? Knowing the differences can help you decide what might work best in your marketing efforts.
described as a paid, non-personal, one-way public communication that draws
public communication towards a product, service, company, or any other thing
through various communication channels, to inform, influence and instigate the
target audience to respond in the manner desired by the advertiser.
Advertising can be
done through print ads, radio or television ads, billboards, flyers,
commercials, internet banner ads, direct mail, etc. Social media platforms are now
a major source of advertising. The advertiser
has exclusive control over what, how and when the ad will be aired or
published. Moreover, the ad will run as long as the advertiser’s
budget allows or determines it is effective.
As advertising is a
prominent marketing tool, it is always present, no matter if people are aware
of it or not.
Public Relations is a
strategic communication tool that uses different channels, to cultivate favorable
relations for the company. It is a practice of building a positive image
or reputation of the company in the eyes of the public by telling or displaying
the company’s products or services, in the form of featured stories or articles
through print or broadcast media. It aims at building a trust-based
relationship between the brand and its customer, mainly through media exposure
Public Relations can
be called as non-paid publicity earned by the company through its goodwill,
word of mouth, etc. (It is often referred to as “earned media”). The tactics used in public relations are
publicity, social media, press releases, press conferences, interviews, crisis
management, featured stories, speeches, news releases.
Key Differences Between Advertising and Public Relations
Adverting draws public
attention to products or services through paid announcements. Public Relations
uses strategic communication to build a mutually beneficial relationship
between the public and the company or organization.
Advertising is a
purchased media, whereas, public relations is considered earned media.
While advertising is a
monologue activity, public relations is a two-way communication process. The
company listens and responds to the public.
Advertising is used to
promote products or services with the objective to induce the targeted audience
to buy. Public Relations aims to maintain a positive image of the company in
the media, with an indirect result of those effected becoming customers.
In advertising, the
advertiser has full control over the ad, such as when, how and what will be
displayed. In public relations, the company pitches the story, but has no
control how the media uses or does not use it.
In advertising, the ad
placement is guaranteed, but there is no such guarantee of placement with
In advertising, as
long as you are willing to pay for it, the ad will be published or aired.
Usually in public relations, the story is only published once, but it might be
published in many media.
Credibility is higher
in public relations than advertising. This is because customers know it’s an ad
and may not believe it easily and be skeptical. For Public Relations, third
party validation improves credibility.
uses paid announcements (ads) to draw public attention to products or services.
Public Relations is the use of strategic communication that aims at building a
mutually beneficial relationship between the company and the public.
Advertising and Public Relations both use communication channels to inform and influence the general public. While advertising is a highly expensive marketing tool, it can reach a large number of people at the same time. Public Relations is “free of cost” implied endorsement along with validation of the third party.
Building solid relationships with the press is the golden
ticket to getting that story published. Here are few tips to help you become a
trusted member of the media:
Be Mindful of Language Blunders
Spelling counts, as does grammar and professionalism. You’re not sending a text to your best friend, your kid or your mom. One of the biggest pet peeves of journalists is misspellings, text abbreviations (“LMK” in lieu of “Let me know,” for example) and incorrect grammar.
These blunders spell laziness in the mind of a journalist.
Take the time to run a spell check; use Grammarly, on online tool that
essentially proofreads your copy and alerts you to errors; and read your
e-mail, press release or document out loud to ensure that it’s properly
structured and flows with ease.
Don’t Pitch the Wrong journalist
You’ve crafted a thoughtfully researched, compelling, error-free pitch and you’re anxious to see the fruits of your labor in print or on a website or blog with a robust, high-traffic readership.
And then you send it off to a journalist who doesn’t
write—and will never write—about the topic at hand. It’s imperative to do your
research, and that means reading a journalist’s work before you press the “send” button or pick up the phone.
There’s nothing that journalists hate more than receiving
useless information. If you’re going to pitch a writer, make sure it’s someone
who covers the relevant subject matter.
More important: Make sure your pitch is newsworthy. Another
tip: read mastheads of magazines, newspapers and digital sites to determine the
beat of their writers.
Avoid Pitching Stories on Weekends
Unless you know for a fact that the reporter is a weekend writer or editor, avoid sending communication on Saturday and Sunday.
Journalists, like the rest of us, have lives, and it’s
important to respect their time off the clock. Weekend pitching has other
pitfalls: If you send an-mail on a Saturday, and it’s read, the journalist may
well have forgotten it by Monday morning. By then, it’s often buried beneath a
deluge of other pitches.
Every reporter and publication has different
deadlines, but according to a Business
Wire Media Blueprint survey of more than 600 members of the media,
Tuesday morning is typically the best time to pitch a story.
Successful public relations is all about relationships.
While securing a story in a prime publication is terrific, building solid relationships with the press is the golden ticket to getting that story published.
Think about it: Journalists receive dozens, if not hundreds,
of story pitches every day, most of them mass-produced pitches that end up in a
laptop’s trash bin, often unread.
To set yourself apart from every Mary, Marty and Michael
that pitches a story, you’ve got to earn and cultivate a trusting relationship
with the journalists that cover your beat and your business. To achieve that
goal, you’ve got to do your research and ensure that you aren’t making mistakes
along the way.
Suffice it to say that every detail matters. Here
are some ideas to consider as you aim to become a trusted member of the media
You’ve prepared and done your homework. You’re a natural in
front of the camera and a designated spokesperson, and you know your subject
inside and out.
All of which begs the question: Why should you worry and
sweat when a member of the media shoves a microphone under your chin and starts
pelting you with questions?
The interview is moving along smoothly. You’re feeling
confident and you’re articulate. You’re using all of the right buzzwords and
your colleagues are watching your interview on TV and congratulating your
shining moment from afar.
Then wham-bam-boom. The interviewer suddenly poses a
question that you want to really, really want to avoid answering. Anything but that question, your brain mutters.
In reality, this scenario happens quite a bit, and it’s all
too easy to falter when an interviewer lobs a question your way that you want
to evade. What to do?
It’s called bridging—and it works.
Rather than answering the question that you’re desperate to
avoid, you strategically pivot the interview to drive home your message.
In essence, you need a “bridge” to pull the conversation
back to the main points that you want to convey. It’s imperative that you stay
on track, remain poised and continue to deliver your key points to your captive
audience—despite the question.
By staying on topic, it allows you to control the
conversation and stick to your agenda.
The key to bridging successfully is always having a pipeline
of phrases and words stored away in your head that ensures that you can pivot
away from the ick-question and steer the interview back to the points that you
want to amplify.
If you need time to
think, give yourself a few seconds by initially responding with “That’s a great
question—one that I think about often,” and then provide a “bridge” statement
that can start with “What’s important to remember…” or “Let’s not forget…”
both of which are transitions that allow you to tailor your answer with
compelling information that effectively articulates your main points and speaks
to your audience. Just remember that everything is on the record and it’s crucial
to tell the truth.