Introduction to PR
I thought what we would kind of do is maybe start just kicking around um obviously you guys are here because things sort of aren't working in a certain in a certain way that all the rhetoric and the common wisdom about marketing isn't working and so I thought we'd sort of kick around what some of those myths are and then we can get info from the audience and well sort of decide where we want to direct this um it's been a while since I've been in a classroom but this is clearly much better than the classrooms that I remember it's more like a dorm room but uh the I think the big myth on dh clearly all you guys fit in this is this is thrown around on the internet all the time and tries me insane and that myth is like, oh, don't worry about marketing like just make really awesome stuff uh, which is like it's like, you know, every forgetful comedian says, but every new years they're like you want to know how to avoid a hangover here's our hangover cure it's like just don't drink so much the...
y're like, well, that doesn't help me at all, so I think the the idea that you just make good stuff isn't going to work how like you have a great product, you have a great product, you have a great product you're not swimming in media right? It's not it's you're not turning down reporters and like I think it's unfair because what what you hear is you hear from the people who did they just they uploaded their evil kind of amazon and then it's sold a million copies and just do what I did um and that doesn't help us so I think the big thing that we want to talk about is how do you do great stuff and make sure that everyone knows about it because it's not just gonna happen and you all have too much invested in your products to just sit back and hope that it happens um and that's I think that's the first thing that we want to talk about the myth that good things don't need to be marketed is something that I want I want oh fully kill in the course of this class and I've just seen it with my with my authors that and my clients they come out with awesome stuff that I love and then they post it and nothing happens but as soon as we start to put some muscle behind it and we put these strategies through then things that start to happen and I think you guys have seen that too um and then you know that the second myth of course is what people on my side of the equation try to push on you which is you have to hire a professional to do your marketing and so if any of you guys hired a professional before you never hired an outside firm so I know our company used to have hired a pr agency and we've since let them go so we're not taking it all internal okay and so what was your experience with an outside firm? Were you happy with it? I mean you have to say they are e nice my sense is that they probably didn't deliver to the extent that you know you just want are away so I'm happy to pay for a great pr agency if the r a y is there but at a certain point I think that the decision was made that they weren't delivering as much as had been promised right and what happens is the model and I've had to explore this month with my own company the model is ok how can we get the client on board for a certain monthly fee that we work for at first and then we kind of hope they forget about it and then that just goes into affect every month so it's like how can we do one months of month one month's worth of work and then charge you for six and not deliver results but you know we can promise that we're working on some feature we've got a lead on something but it never comes to pass yeah, no, I've been working, I was working with a pr company that was great and doing a good job, but it also takes three months to develop those stories and the connections and then by the time you've done three months, you've already sunk in, you know, a lot of money a lot of time, so I think it's really important to understand how do you, you know, get the marketing immediately, even while working with pr person, right? And and they worked really great at first they hustle and then, you know, it's, maybe the first month you get one feature, the second month, you get two features and then three features and then none because they've got you and they know you're not going to fire them unless they do something horrible. And so there's, I think everyone is pressured into hiring an outside firm and or, you know, you do a book deal with the publisher, you think, oh, I don't need to hire professional because I'm doing it with this they haven't in house they haven't in house from, so you think you're getting a professional, but at the end of the day and none of them are going to care about your product the same way that you do and they're not going to be is good about pitching it as you do, because they don't live and breathe your product, and I think the way to be successful marketer is to live and breathe air product no, the different angles, no what's going what's going to appeal to people and that's not gonna happen for an outside firm. And I think what you find is you hire this outside firm, right? So let's say you pay them ten thousand dollars a month for three months, thirty thousand dollars to fire them it's not like you kept their contacts and those relationships and everything that's just money that as soon as you stop spending the roo stops and I like to think about marketing, how could we do things that are sustainable? That helps us in the long term? And I think that best way to do that is to develop that stuff in house. So you're a director of marketing. You guys are all functioning as your own director of marketing zor chief marketing officers in some fashion, and I think that's the way to think about because you care more and every dollar or second of your time that you invest in building those relationships, you keep them, the last thing you would want would be toe out I think communicating to the public and to your customers is too important to outs outsource to a third party who just doesn't care, so yeah no and another thing right is that those media connections they want to connect with people who are passionate about it right going through a third party pr person who they developed the relationship screwed in all but in actuality they want to meet me they want you they want you they want to have a relationship with us which well then deliver results right and you're always going to pitch your product if you do it right you're going to pitch it more authentically more passionately more genuinely than they ever will at a lunch where they're picking up the tab there like oh and by the way you should check out my client's company I don't I find that the best stories come out of those real relationships rather than something that you knew retained some other expert to do for you um and frankly I think marketing is cheaper and easier than most people think and so what I think we're going to talk about in this class is how how to do what those firms are doing and do it better than them get better get better results and not have to pay those those kind of fees on dh the ultimate irony on top of all that is most of the pr pros like if you're gonna hire bw are adamant those peoples they learned about marketing ten years ago fifteen years ago and the game has changed and they think about marketing from they're madison avenue office is not from the worlds in which you guys all existed and so you're paying all this money and you're getting someone who's who's actually got more bad habits than good habits, so we'll talk about that I think that will be important um thea other myth that I find people chase is they all want these sort of ego placements like I had a client the other day was like could you get me in vanity fair? And I guess we could but why what's the point? So for you, laura, you get a feature article in the new york times that's great, but how many actual customers or you're going to get from that there's probably some tiny blawg that artists and your actual customers read that has a fraction of the audience of the new york times but actually far easier to get placement on it might not be a cz glamorous but it's actually going to get you where you want to go. And so people put so much time and energy into chasing these huge placements that you're competing against everyone else in the world to get and then the results aren't there yeah, I mean my niche is tiny, tiny, tiny it's a niche inside a niche I mean woodworking is a lot of people but it's I'm actually looking for a niche inside of that niche and so yeah, I mean it's it's how do you reach those ten people that you know probably nobody who's watching this right now cares about my product but there are people out there for whom it's a cool product you know, and reaching those people is the challenge, but I might actually disagree I might say I would I would guess or speculate that there is more likely an artist or a small business or a craftsman or something who's watching this who might be more connected to your product than it is if you were on a prime time cnn segment and you're more accessible, your contact info is right there so it's like you could you could be on anderson cooper and he's going to say who you are or you could be on some tiny podcast and they're going to lean to your stuff and they're going to drive immediate customers right to your website and they're going to convert better than these other place. This is not to say that those don't matter and you know you turned them down but you don't spend time chasing things until you've got the low hanging fruit out of the way that that's the way that I look at it um and and so you know why would you want to be on something that's got a million viewers if only one hundred of the matter why not just find out what it might actually be more feasible just to track down those hundred people and just email them directly. And I want to say that that's marketing to write people think that pr and marketing is just getting media and it's not it's anyway, that you reach customers tell them about your product, and then they decide to buy it, so we're going to expand the definition of marketing a little bit. We're not going to chase these illusions or these sort of ego placements, we're going to try to get the things that actually work. Um, and then the other one that that I like to talk to people about is the idea everyone thinks that getting media attention is, like, really, really hard and that's, why they think they have to hire a professional or that's, why they think they can do it. What I I think everything that I read about in my book that I have written about that I advise my clients, it all comes down to this one, a new way of looking at the media and that's on we'll talk about this more later, but so take the new york times write they published one newspaper every day, so let's, say there's one hundred articles in every paper, so you work for them to write about you, you're competing for one hundred spots. Against everyone who wants to be in the new york times, and if they don't write about you, they'll write about someone else, and if they do write about you, that means you beat out all these other people, so you're competing for a finite amount of space, and that makes it a very competitive, difficult one. Now you take something like business insider or cocker or the huffington post thes sites can publish an infinite amount of material, right? Um, and every extra article that they published that gets more page views makes them more money, right? Newyorktimes squeezes in an extra article about you. The boss isn't like congratulating the writer who squeezed that in it's like actually to pay more money to print an extra page of the newspaper, but on the block that's more advertising inventory and makes them more money to get more traffic that's how it works. So what that means is that the media that the online media space has has changed from from a buyer's market, the new york times is picking what they want to write about two a seller's market bloggers have to publish a certain number of things every day, and if they don't, they get in trouble so they want to write about you if your story falls in their lap and it's exciting and it gets attention they're like, thank you please come to me with more stories so if you can do things that are interesting and provocative and newsworthy, they like you you're doing with the new york times writes about you, you're doing them, they're doing you a favor when business insider or a fashion blawg or attack blogged or woodworking long when they write about you because you've come to them, you're doing them a favor, you've made that money just a question on that is what, how you we balance people who are truly influencers, so there are people critics at the new york times or folks who write for techcrunch that are truly influencers in a specific segment, whether it's food or, you know, e commerce, and so I hear what you're saying, but how do we balance that with, you know, trying to make sure that we're truly getting people who have this massive reach and that are looked at as icons for taste, or so that scarcity makes them or about makes those old placements more valuable, right? Obviously being the new york times means you're only competing with one hundred other articles for people's attention is not to say that they're not valuable it's just a different way of looking at it like I love this quote there's this quote from george clooney, where he's talking about he's he's becoming he's trying to become an actor is going all these auditions it's never working and then he realized, like the producers, they're trying to fill a role like they want to hire someone, and he realized he basically one day he was like, look, I'm solving their problem. And he said, as soon as I realized that going into these auditions, instead of trying to impress them, tio, that I was actually solving their problem just that different way of looking at the world totally change everything for him. Andi, I think that's what you're talking about two, slightly different, you're already an established company, but for most people, they think, like, why would anyone ever write about me media so hard? How do I break through? You don't have to break through, they want you to come over and they want to talk about you. Um, but you want to have a balance and we'll talk about that, too, and then I think the last one is the idea, and this this fits in with my book and with my kinds of clients, which is that controversy is like a bad thing. All you want is positive press all you want is, uh, profiles you want hey, so and so did this blah, blah, blah, but when in actuality what you always have to remember is that it's a it's a vicious fight for attention out there right there's all this stuff going on and you have to break through that noise with what you're doing and putting out a press release about, um some minor little thing is gonna break through and that you controversy and excitement and you don't don't be afraid t stirrup waters to catch a fish as as the expression goes on, don't be afraid to push people's buttons because that's how you're going to break through so don't find out who your critics are find out who what you're challenging, what what old assumptions you're challenging and embrace those things and part of part of being newsworthy is upsetting the old order of things and I think people are often afraid to do that um because they think that uh they think they have to play by all these certain rules and what I love to do for my clients is to is to make our critics angry so they talk about us or to challenge things or or or mess around a little bit because, uh it works and so we'll talk about that too um and so so those are the five ms right? So we have way have just make great stuff not true, you have to make good stuff and you have to be a good marketer the second mrs hire professional you can't do this with yourself of course you can you should do it yourself don't waste your money, build your own marketing knowledge and marketing based inside your company because no one's going to do it as well as you. Um the third myth is like focus on the big features on ly the big media works, you know, I was on I was on twenty twenty and let's say, three weeks ago three, four weeks ago for my book, you know how many extra copies this hold on amazon zero the amazon rank went down and it's not because I did a horrible job it's just like they don't move the needle like you think they do on dh you know, I've been featured on blog's that have that have shot it up, you know, from one thousand to two hundred on amazon, right? And so you want to focus on the things that work, not the things that are necessarily status symbols, that's not to say what you were, what you brought up, which is that influencers matter, you want to find the people who move the needle in your space and focus on them, not the things that have been valuable for one hundred years, and we just assume that you want to test everything that only focus on what works um what else we have here, the other one is that they're getting press is difficult. Of course, I think we'll show that it's, not that's, why the concept of this is sort of smart, free pr they want to write about you. They wanted to interest in things people wanted linked to your products they think about. We all have our we all have our facebook feeds, and we've all gotta fill it that boxes, they're begging us to talk about stuff. Twitter is begging us to post things, uh, there's, this enormous space that we've gotta fill on dure product can be that thing if you do it right and then the last one is like, don't be afraid to piss people off challenge things, do interesting things, uh, know who your when you know who your audience is, you know how to cater to them, and then you can say these other people don't matter, so I'm going to use them to my advantage.