S.I. Hiakowa, the semanticist and former United States Senator said, “A cow is not a cow, is not a cow.” In other words, not all cows are the same, even though they are all cows. The same applies to writers. Not all writers are the same, even though they are all writers.
The genesis of this essay was a meeting I had with a high-tech marketing manager. This person’s background was in engineering, as is typical of many small company marketing folks with that title. She wanted one writer for her advertising, collateral materials, SEO, website, technical writing, and press releases. The desire to find one writer who can do it all is the desire for convenience that demonstrates a lack of knowledge about varying creative disciplines. It is a common, albeit one of the biggest marketing mistakes a small B2B company can make.
Writing advertising copy is different from writing press release copy. With advertising copy, you buy space or time to “tell your story” and steal a reader or viewer’s attention away from the news or other content they’re interested in. With press release copy you are writing to provide editors with information which they can select to present to their readers or viewers as news and information. Obviously, being published as news and having the editor “tell your story” along with their implied third-party endorsement is much better.
The latter requires a very specific approach involving much more creativity. Motivating editors to publish news about your products and company requires a great deal more in terms of presentation, knowing what media outlets are seeking, knowing their preferred formats, how they prefer to be contacted, understanding their editorial challenges and goals, and more.
The publicist’s skill involves crafting a press release and a supporting image or video which conveys product information in a way that serves the interests of the media.
The ability to influence the media to select product news based upon a superior presentation and relevance to their readership is critical. As Al Ries co-author of The Fall of Advertising & the Rise of PR noted, a product publicist stimulates the interest of editors. The fact is, with publicity, if an editor doesn’t select the news, the reader or viewer will never see it!
With deference to S.I. Hiakowa, “A writer, is not a writer, is not a writer.” Not all writers are the same, even though they are all writers. A small B2B company should hire writers who focus on specific marketing disciplines.
Venmark International’s sole focus as a publicity firm since 1976 has been writing for editors and contributing to the media in order to get widespread news coverage for our clients. This, of course, generates sales leads, website traffic, improves SEO, amplifies advertising, reduces the cost of customer acquisition, and much more.
© 2014 Steven M. Stroum