Is Any Publicity Really Good Publicity?

By Mikal E. Belicove|For|November 2, 2011

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…

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