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

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Your business has done something good. So, what? - Telling others about the good you do, the right way

Your business has done something good.

So, what?

That may sound harsh, but if you don’t tell anyone about what you’ve done - and tell them effectively - your actions have not effectively built the reputation of your business.

To do that, you must effectively tell those who NEED to know about it, and they must be told in just the right way, using the right medium.

Sounds complicated, huh?

Well, luckily, there’s a tool to accomplish this task, and there are people who know just how to do it.

It’s called the news release, and it’s a tool public relations professionals use to accurately get the word out about what you’ve been doing - be it a good deed or a new way of serving your customers.

But like any tool, if it’s used poorly, or used improperly, it can actually backfire and cause harm.

For example, someone may wish to dabble in road construction, but if a person jumps onto one of those trucks and starts laying pavement incorrectly, they may injure themselves or others, not to mention waste some expensive road-building materials.

That’s why it’s best to trust a Public Relations professional to craft a news release.

But why not simply dabble in writing a news release yourself? After all, how hard can it be?

Turns out, it’s pretty hard, and like most things in life, it requires skill and experience to do it correctly.

A PR pro can get it to the right audiences using the right channels - be it online, via email blast, to specific news media outlets or in a corporate newsletter. Some channels are better than others for certain messages.

A PR pro will use the right wording to attract news media, or whomever the target audience happens to be. This is a technical skill that PR pros have honed over many years.

A PR pro will know what is acceptable to include in a release and what isn’t, and won’t fill it with “red flags” that will prevent it from reaching its audience (a release is not a pure advertising tool, something that most people don’t fully understand.)

By crafting and using news releases the CORRECT WAY, PR professionals can help you gain goodwill from your clients and customers, as well as your future clients and customers (and if you don’t know who THOSE are, you also need to talk to a PR professional.)

Please consider hiring Abbott Public Relations to deliver your professional public relations services.

I offer years of news release writing and public relations experience to all varieties of clients - to small firms, start-ups and individuals.

I stand ready to build and/or enhance your reputation.

Stephen Abbott