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Your PR Holy Grail Is Not The Wall Street Journal

When it comes to getting your story placed, you might be tempted to pursue high profile TV shows or news outlets like “The Wall Street Journal.” Nothing is wrong with those outlets, but they might not be the ones most beneficial to you and outcomes like awareness and sales. You’ll end up on a quest that only dead-ends rather than leads to your PR Holy Grail.

Myth 1. High Profile = Visibility

It’s true that major – and usually established – news publications attract more viewers than an independent blog that’s only been around for a few years. More viewers doesn’t equate to increased reach and awareness, though. It just means a certain percentage of people, perhaps a large percentage, will ignore your story. They’ll mute it so that they can have a conversation on the phone; use it as an excuse to get a glass of iced tea from the fridge; or skip it if they’ve recorded the program on their DVR.

Myth 2. High Profile = Credibility

It’s also easy to assume that getting placed in “Forbes” or another well-known outlet establishes credibility. The “Forbes” placement might mean something to your board members, but it means little to nothing to the numbers that matter. “Forbes” is great but only if the publication means something to the people who might actually buy from you and the person to whom you report your results.

Myth 3. High Profile = Popularity

Having your story accepted by a well-known media outlet can feel a bit like being accepted into the “cool” crowd. The issue is that you aren’t actually popular. You’re only as popular as the life of your article or video. Once your story no longer has a “buzz” factor, you’ll be kicked out of the popular crowd.

In addition, no one outside the popular circle may care that you’re in it. If it’s the people outside the circle who are your buyers, you’re in trouble. They won’t have seen your article because it was placed in an outlet they don’t follow. Popularity only matters if your buyers are the “popular kids.”

What is your real Holy Grail?

Newspapers - PR Holy GrailIf you think the visibility, credibility and popularity of established rags and shows aren’t your best bet, you’re right. You should pursue your real Holy Grail, a quest that is determined not by the stature of the outlet but by quantifiable, concrete things like business goals, target audiences and sales.

If, for instance, you sell software that helps teachers develop lesson plans, you would want to find outlets that teachers access. You might ask questions like the following:

  • Where do they go for information?
  • Do they congregate someplace to offer each other support and encouragement?
  • If they struggle with the software they currently use, who do they ask for help?
  • Can I segment my audience further?

Once you know who composes your target audience and where they spend time, you would position your stories for those places. Those places are your real Holy Grails. While they may not have the visibility or popularity of some place like “The Wall Street Journal,” they offer something much better and more rewarding: awareness of and conversation about your product by the people who will purchase it.

Want to generate publicity? Get your free “Eight Great Ways to Generate Publicity” now!

Image: Insomnia Cured Here, Jon S (Creative Commons)

About Erin Feldman

Erin Feldman is the director of editorial services at Tenacity5 Media. When she isn’t researching, writing, and editing blog posts and white papers, she writes poetry and essays, draws her favorite Write Right character, and plans what art form to study next. She’s based in Austin, Texas and can be found on Twitter @erinmfeldman.

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