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Why Is Media Marketing More Effective Than PR? :

Why Is Media Marketing More Effective Than PR?

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Few institutions are more ingrained in our daily lives than the media. We awake to the radio and read the morning paper. By day we scan magazines, newspapers and newsletters and by night we tune in the evening news and read books. There’s no doubt that much of our time is devoted to absorbing and reacting to what we read, see and hear.

But for many of us, it’s not enough to just receive information. We want more from the media and by “more” we mean access. We want to appear in print and on the air. We want to promote our ideas, publicize our products and enhance our names. We want access for reasons of commerce and ego; because appearing in the media creates a certain cachet, importance, currency and credibility machines can’t build and dollars can’t buy.

Yet as much as we want media access, most efforts to reach print and broadcast outlets fail. An informal survey of one Washington news bureau showed that it received nearly 2,000 news releases, announcements and letters plus more than 100 telephone contacts — in a single week! Today a lot of the mail and phone calls would be replaced with email, but you can bet that the results would be largely the same: Of all these pleas, pitches and petitions, not more than one or two percent of all PR pitches ever found their way into the media.

The story in newsrooms around the country is basically the same. Substantial amounts of time and money are spent developing campaigns that often produce few tangible results. Visit any news operation, whether it’s print or broadcast, and you’re certain to find piles of discarded news releases, unused photos and unread documents. Judging from the large number of promotional efforts that fail, it’s clear few people understand how journalists work or why they choose one story and not another.

But while promotional failures are common, there are some professionals, some businesses and some individuals who are successful and who receive positive coverage on a continuing basis.

How do successful PR practitioners do it?

All promoters are different and the precise strategy that works for one may not work for another. Yet despite differences, successful promoters do have something in common: They behave within definable guidelines that can be observed, measured and copied by others.

This is a guide to the media; how information is obtained, packaged and distributed; how you can obtain ongoing news coverage; and the sales, profits, and prestige which flow from such attention.

Based on training, experience and observation over a period of more than 40 years, it argues that media access is not reserved for corporate giants or presidential candidates. You’re important and reporters would like to hear from you, but only if you know how the system works and how to package your ideas. In turn, if more people are familiar with the news business, journalists will spend less time sorting through unusable email and unworkable story proposals.

Competing in the Information Age

Understanding how the media works is not merely a matter of idle curiosity. Whether you work for a corporation, company, association or cause, whether you are self-employed, having access to the media on a continuing, positive and productive basis is a decided advantage, one that can often be measured in terms of enhanced prestige, greater recognition and larger revenues.

Not only is an understanding of the media important today, but the probability is such that information will become increasingly important in the coming years. The reason: Our growing development as an information-based society.

If it’s true that information has value, it is also true that information per se is not particularly valuable in isolation. A cure for cancer would be wonderful, but if the discovery is made by a hermit who refuses to share his secret, few if any people will benefit.

To have maximum value, information must be widely disbursed, freely received, evaluated, and then redistributed so the entire cycle can begin again. For this process to be successful, to avoid the problem of ideas in isolation, there must lines of communication and those lines are what we call the “media.” Websites, blogs, social media, search engines, specialized magazines, business weeklies, cable TV, books, company newsletters, morning newspapers, computer networks, letters to clients, radio broadcasts and advertising mail are all examples of the media.

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