Monday, July 26, 2010

Rooftop Publicity vs. "Street Level" PR

Go to the top floor of a 10-story building in a city, open a window, then shout the name of your company or product at the top of your lungs, shut the window, and walk away. Congratulations, you’ve just engaged in PR - all by yourself!

This scenario is about as effective as most companies are when they engage in public relations, if they engage in PR at all, that is. In fact, they’ve actually only engaged in a rooftop publicity stunt.

By contrast, what does hiring a professional Public Relations consultant do for you and your business?

PR pros will offer an objective outlook. You cannot possibly see all of the communications problems your company faces on a daily basis. PR pros will do the interviews and research to get to the bottom of why your messages are falling flat. People will open up about problems they likely won’t tell “the boss.” This strategy, along with analysis of trends and other data, is the Assessment Phase of a PR campaign.

PR pros will be honest with you. Once communications problems are identified, the PR pro can tell you frankly and honestly what your unmet communications needs are, and how to address them. A brief, clear and concise report will outline what’s wrong.

PR pros will target messages effectively. Not all messages are a “fit:” for all audiences. Shouting from a rooftop may be an effective way to create noise, but little else. But people get enough noise already, and they are very good at blocking it out. PR identifies specific publics towards which messages should be directed, rather than a vague “general public” who will tune out your attempts at noisemaking. This plan forward will tell you exactly what PR will do for your firm, so it can be measured later, and adjusted, if necessary.

A professional PR firm like Abbott Public Relations will not shout a message from the rooftop, unless perhaps all the target market happens to be all standing below (which is highly unlikely.) To do so would be a waste of your time and resources.

Using publicity stunts or scattershot advertising is simply not the way you should be spending money when money is scarce.

If you hire APR, we’ll go down to street level, pick out the few people who will deeply care about your product, and will deliver your message concisely and intelligently to the right people, at the right time. That will make all the difference.

Stephen Abbott is a public relations consultant with Abbott Public Relations. APR can be found online at

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