What's It Worth?

Not long ago I received a phone call from a consultant doing some work for another company wanting to know if I provided my services on a pay per performance basis. She went on to tell me that she wanted to get publicity for her client and while she was happy with any type of publicity she really wanted to get them a spot on one of the morning shows.

She essentially wanted me to create a media release, submit it to the press and do enough follow up to get a spot on TV. If they didn’t get any publicity, especially on TV, I wouldn’t get paid. I was really surprised by this request.

Most people know that generally consultants get paid quite well for their services and any consultant worth their title should know that the work I was asked to do was time consuming. I believe everyone’s time is valuable and that no one should be expected to work for nothing. I was further taken aback by her surprise when I told her that no one would probably take her up on her offer to be paid solely on performance. I don’t know if it was arrogance on her part or she truly felt her request wasn’t unreasonable.

In all professions, there is so much work that goes on behind the scenes that may not seem significant to outsiders but is important and time consuming. I just hope there aren’t professionals, especially those just starting out that feel they have to comply with such a request just to get work. No one should be asked to work for nothing. I’m sure that consultant would not have considered being paid per performance for the work she was doing!

Publicity Is Free, Isn't It?

I often have clients ask me to develop press releases with the sole objective of getting free publicity for their product or service. While generally that is the purpose of a press release, it’s not always the result. Often my clients are left disappointed because they haven’t been mentioned in the latest industry magazine or website. After all, there are countless posts on social media proclaiming that journalists want your story and its up to you to provide the media with news. There is a little truth to this but the bigger truth is: nothing is free and you’re not the only one with a news story out there.

Up until a few years ago I was employed by a high end consumer electronics brand. Every time I sent out a press release, whether it was to announce the release of a new product or to announce changes within our organisation I always got some form of media exposure. This sounds contradictory to what I mentioned earlier but it’s not. What I didn’t mention previously is that my team and I had formed strong relationships with editors, journalists and reviewers in our field for years. We supported their publications and websites with advertising so there was no question that we would get some form of support from them when we needed it. There were publications that we didn’t advertise with but still managed to get publicity out of. Again, it comes back to relationships and that we had a product they wanted to talk about. 

Publications have now dramatically downsized since the evolution of digital content. The information usually sought out in magazines can now be found in a publication's online version. This being the case, magazines are smaller. To make a magazine smaller they have to cut back on editorial content. What editorial space there is available is reserved for clients that support the publication with advertising. You can’t argue with the logic.

Now I’m not saying that press releases are a waste of time. They’re not. They play an important role in a business’ media strategy. They serve the purpose of informing relevant media that you’re out there and that you have a great product or service. If your product or service is innovative, fills a gap in the market or is just a great product you will get exposure.

If you truly believe that your product or service deserves to be exposed to the public there are some ways you can assist in the process.

  • Call publications and have a chat to the relevant journalist or reviewer to talk about your product. You may not get anything on the first call but keep in contact with them, build the relationship.
  • If you are approaching local newspapers, they want the product or service to be relevant to their readers. Make mention of how your product or service is available to the people of a particular suburb.
  • Consider doing some small scale advertising in a publication you want to be featured in. While advertising can be expensive, most publications will have an online presence, you may be able to advertise online for a fraction of the print price. You can then negotiate some added value such as guaranteed editorial.

These are just a few things you can do to assist in gaining media exposure, there is so much you can do for your business, product or service to get the publicity and exposure you need.

If you would like help in putting together a press release or a media strategy you can email me on arizzo77@tpg.com.au