Is All Publicity Good Publicity – Well, Maybe If You're Lady Gaga
There is perhaps no bigger myth than the one that states all publicity is good publicity. PT Barnum is said to have made that statement along those lines. But who knows. If it wasn’t PT, whoever said it certainly made an impression, since it has now become a part of our lexicon. If he did say it, I’m not sure you want to take branding and image advice from a guy who owned a circus and made a living out of promoting what he referred to as freaks. If you own a circus, maybe your PR standards are a bit different, but even then, all PR is certainly not good PR.
For example, being caught with a hooker, that’s probably not going to do a heck of a lot for you or your career; getting caught sending lewd photos on Facebook or Twitter isn’t one of your better brand building approaches; and having a YouTube video in which you’re shown ingesting huge quantities of drugs would maybe be somewhat of an image mistake. There are politicians with sex and money scandals, sports figures with sex and drug scandals, actors and singers with a Chinese menu of scandals. The list is a long one.
You can come up with a litany of media train wrecks and image disasters that convincingly illustrate that all PR is certainly not good PR. Entrepreneurs and PR consultants that look to generate interest through shock and scandal are walking a tightrope. Pushing the envelope can pay off for some. Lady Gaga would not be where she is without controversy. But how many Lady Gaga’s are there? And even she wouldn’t welcome any media coverage. Plus, how many business owners and professionals want to foster that particular image? If you do, great, take off the gloves and go for it. But if you’re looking to build a different type of image and create a strong lasting brand, I’d suggest perhaps considering a different approach.
PR can grow your business, bring in clients and customers, build your brand and establish you as an expert in your field. It is the most important marketing tool available because it offers you the credibility and validation of being featured as a news story. With that in mind you want to create a list of objectives and develop a game plan and launch a targeted well thought out campaign. You also want to control what you can. In this age of blogging and social media, never forget that what you post on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube or any other social media site is most likely going to be there for a long time to come.
When it comes to traditional media, think long and hard about your stories and how you want you and your company to be perceived. Remember a good story is what effective media relations is all about. Transformational stories are the best when it comes to garnering media placement. How have you made someone’s life easier, more fulfilling, healthier, etc? You want to establish yourself as an expert and your product or service as one that positively affects people’s lives. Focus on your strengths and expertise. Present yourself as a problem solver.
Those are the areas you want to focus on when it comes to your PR and press coverage. Media train wrecks are good news for the tabloid magazines and sensational TV programs. They sell magazines and build ratings, but that’s about all they’re good for. Unless, of course, you’re Lady Gaga.