As a journalist, you get used to stories landing in your inbox. Everyone wants their 15 minutes of fame…and want you to give it to them.
After all, a story in the media is the ultimate in third party credibility. You’ve got serious street cred when your story appears in a well-known newspaper or magazine, or you are interviewed on a radio program.
And as much as people bag the media … when you are in business, and looking for free publicity, a journalist is your new BFF.
I have been a print journalist most of my life … and never really had to go looking for a story especially once this new-fangled dooba hickey called the internet came to life. Stories are there for the taking.
But when I crossed to the dark side – working in public relations – no one told me that my clients would also expect me to be a miracle worker… a modern day magician who could wield control over the media and make them do what I want.
I’ve had people come to me, and expect me to make them famous overnight. I’ve had clients who expect the media to fall at their feet after ONE media release. I’ve had clients run magazine competitions and after a couple of weeks give up because they did not get the wins they expected. I’ve had clients sign on for a three-month contract who pull the plug after a month because they expected the phone to run hot based on one story.
People … I’m telling you, it ain’t going to happen overnight. It will happen … but not overnight.
Like ANYTHING in life and business … true success, real sticky results TAKES TIME! (yes, I am yelling, I need this to get through). You have to have a plan (a good marketing plan as your foundations is a great start), patience, a mindset that understands delayed gratification and the value that comes from building relationships and a robust content plan.
Think about when you met your partner. Like most couples, there was an immediate attraction. You liked each other. Thought the other person had something to offer that would bring benefit to your life. So you dated. Got to know each other. Spent time with each other. Then you took it further.
Getting free publicity, building a brand, becoming famous is so not different to starting a romantic relationship or friendship. It takes time to build something of value.
A house does not go up overnight – it starts with foundations and then each layer is added until a number of weeks/months down the track, you have a solid structure. Even then, it is still not done; fittings are added, carpet, lights, air con … and then the furniture comes in. Have I said it takes time?
You may get a win or two in the media to start with but expecting astronomical results straight off the bat is unrealistic.
If you truly want your marketing and PR to work – STICK WITH IT. If you engage a marketing or PR professional to help you, understand they are not a miracle worker, they do not own the media, they cannot guarantee the media will take your story (stop asking, there are no guarantees in life) and they will work to a strategy that will bring results over time.
I’ve had well-meaning people say to me ‘well maybe you are not setting up realistic expectations.” Here is what I have found in life … you can say something to a person over and over but if it is not what they want to hear, then they will not listen.
Create a plan and stick to it. When the going gets tough, go back to your plan, reassess and revise but keep moving forward. Test and measure your results; what doesn’t work, drop, what does, keep doing it. But one month, two months, even three months is not enough time to judge results.
There is such thing as an overnight success or luck. Go read Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping Point and Outliers, he has some great insights into this. It takes time to become ‘well known’. Ask anyone who is an overnight success how long it took them to achieve their goals – it took hard work, patience and persistence.
There is no magic stick. PR is not going to save your business, it is not going to suddenly have millions knocking your door down for your product and service. Marketing and PR is all about relationships – building them with your prospective customers (be helpful) and with journalists (be helpful and available – you may not always get a story run but keep in touch)
Foundations are vital. All good things start with solid foundations – systems and processes in place, marketing plan locked in, etc – and then you are ready to start building up and out.
Success is an inside job. You can have all the above in place but if your mindset is off, all the success in the world means nothing. If you do not understand or accept the trials and tribulations of being in business, you’ll be easily discouraged, give up too soon and blame others. Invest in personal development, read books, get a mentor, go to workshops and seminars, and build resilience. Be in it for the long haul because if you do, then you will see great results.