Have you ever received an invitation to one of those “FREE Publicity” workshops? One lobbed in my inbox today: “Never pay an expensive PR agency again!” was the headline.
I’m sure the promoter means well – to teach small business and solo operators how to generate their own publicity is a noble task. But why the need to decry the work of professional PR people? This kind of blanket statement just irks me. There is NO WAY to “do your own PR” without working on it – there are no shortcuts, despite the promises. More often than not, it will work out cheaper in the long run if you let a professional run the show. Would you ask your gardener to fix your plumbing? It pays to employ the right person for the right job.
Implying that the PR agency is duping you by charging for their services is flawed and a reflection of last-century thinking. You see, anyone can get a story in the paper once or even twice, but PR people do it over and over and over again across all media distribution channels. They succeed because they are trained to give journalists and news consumers what they need, and many are gifted writers and speakers.
This promotion also claimed you don’t need a “media hook”. Huh? journalists use hooks in every story they publish to capture readers, listeners and viewers. What you need, if you plan to entice a journalist to talk about your wonderfulness, is a story. Or as Glen Frost from In the Public Interest says in Top 20 Trends for PR Practitioners 2011, you need to ‘drive the narrative’.
If you are a small business owner who has the skills, time, energy and patience to do this, I admire and support you, as any PR professional would!