The Great Irony of Publicity

Among the greatest challenges I’ve faced over the past 35 years in working with smaller manufacturers and distributors are the misconceptions about what product publicity can achieve for them.  This is because publicity has always been viewed as a fringe function in the marketing mix.


Largely because it is “free.”  Unfortunately, many of these companies have had publicity prepared for them in the past by people who didn’t really understand how to properly prepare publicity materials for the media and how it works and got lousy results.


How ironic!  The exact reason why publicity is the best element of your marketing mix is the very fact that it is free.  In other words, when your products receive exposure in the non-paid segments of a media outlet, the message is sanctified by the publisher, whether in-print or online, is more believable.  This is especially true for organic search engine positioning.


Great companies and marketers understand this.  Apple just received massive amounts of “free exposure” for their newest iPad.  The key to their product promotion was their “news conference.”   Steve Jobs (rest in peace) introduced us to this with the entertaining introduction of the Macintosh at Macworld 1984.  His presentation itself was as creative and newsworthy as the new computer he was introducing.  I recall, he removed the Mac from a bag, placed it on a table, plugged it in, put in a floppy disk and then the Macintosh introduced him with a very entertaining narrative in a monotone computer voice.  That was brilliant!  It captured the attention of the audience and the media and led to multiple interviews that provided the “news coverage” which launched the Macintosh; without spending a dime for advertising.


Not only does publicity generate revenues, it also drives up the value of your business.  Although easier to see with public companies, publicity can dramatically increase the value of small, private companies too.  If you’re reading this and are considering the sale of your small company, then give me a call.  I’ll share the specifics with you.


Publicity is “free” which gives it credibility and also gives the uninformed reason to think it has no value.  That is the great irony of publicity.


© 2012 Steven M. Stroum

Steve Stroum

Steve Stroum

Steven M. Stroum, founder and president of Venmark International is a seasoned publicist, marketer, and entrepreneur who has been featured in INC Magazine, Sales & Marketing Management Magazine, Industrial Marketing, OMNI Magazine, USA Today, The Christian Science Monitor, Boston Globe, Boston Herald, The Middlesex News, San Francisco Chronicle, and other media outlets. He has also appeared on numerous radio and television programs, addressed many business and civic groups, and been a guest lecturer at Boston College, Babson College, MIT, and his alma mater Northeastern University.

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