Is Any Publicity Good Publicity?

In public relations and content marketing, who you hitch your wagon to matters. Here's how you can generate interest in your company without degrading it.

learn more about Mikal E. Belicove

By Mikal E. Belicove • Nov 2, 2011

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Is Any Publicity Good Publicity?Some publicists and public relations pros still have a sign on their desks that read: "There's no such thing as bad publicity."

They take the shotgun approach to public relations -- firing off a press release aiming at anything with a heartbeat. Some business owners are the same way. They share valuable content in exchange for a tiny credit on an obscure website in the often unrealistic hope that this effort will somehow extend their reach and strengthen their brand presence.

In some cases, it does. If you're promoting the grand opening of Grandma's Italian Restaurant, you want to spread the word in the local community far and wide, so you send a press release to every nearby media outlet. Or, if you've just written a book about general business management practices, you offer business Web portals the opportunity to excerpt from your book. In most situations, however, a targeted approach is more effective.

Blanketing the masses with your press releases, pitches and content has too many potential drawbacks. Here are four:

  1. Promoting your news to those who aren't likely to ever become your clients or customers is a waste of time and financial resources.
  2. Poor PR and content placement runs the risk of driving traffic away from your own website.
  3. If the outlet where your news or content appears has a less than stellar reputation or is packed with cheap pay-per-click ads and unedited or unfocused content, being associated with it can harm your reputation and brand.
  4. Giving away valuable content may benefit the recipient more than it benefits your business or brand. By contrast, posting content on your own site may be a better way to use and disseminate it.

The most effective use of your public relations and content marketing dollar is to target your appeals to editors, reporters, bloggers and other influencers who have previously shown an interest in covering news or ideas you write. You might also focus on outlets whose audiences care about companies like yours or who may like your products and services.

When it comes to public relations and content marketing, who you hitch your wagon to matters. So, don't think for a nanosecond that no one is going to pay attention to the quality of the site on which your content appears or its relevancy to you and your content.

Not only is there bad publicity but there are a lot of nebulous media outlets that will print and promote anything. In those instances, your message is wasted on an audience that doesn't care about you or your news. Worse yet is when those who are interested conduct a search for information about your business or related news, they're pointed to a media outlet that has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with you. This deflects readers away from your site and devalues your news and brand.

Is contributing to other media outlets part of your marketing strategy? Tell us what you've found that works best in the comments section.

Mikal E. Belicove

Mikal E. Belicove is a market positioning, social media, and management consultant specializing in website usability and business blogging. His latest book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Facebook, is now available at bookstores. 

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