Advertising or Publicity? Which is Better?
Using Advertising and Publicity are very effective methods to promote and create positive awareness for you and your business. But... there is a clear difference between Advertising and Publicity. Advertising is something you get by paying for it. Publicity, however, is something you hope you'll get. Why? Because publicity can be generally gained at no cost to you. And... it generally has many times the credibility of advertising. Here's what we mean:
There are some experts like Al Reis, author of the superb marketing text, "Positioning: The Battle For Your Mind," that believe a majority of companies shouldn't waste their money on advertising until they have established name recognition and credibility through Public Relations and publicity. Others will tell you that a combination of both advertising and PR are required. But one thing's for certain: Every expert agrees, "that you can't just put up your web site, open your store, offer your service or manufacture a product and then not do anything to attract customers!"
So... advertising is content you pay for (radio, tv, newspaper, banner advertising, etc). Publicity on the other hand, refers to free content about you and your company that appears in the media. It's what others say about you. Publicity can result when an article you write is published, or when information you give to an editor convinces him/her to feature a story about you or is based on a publicity release issued by a Public Relations firm you have retained. Over time, these stories help create a favorable impression of your product or services.
The average person has no real idea of how the media find their stories, but the prevailing view seems to be that reporters go out and find all of their news. This is simply not realistic thinking! There just aren't enough reporters on the planet to find every bit of news worth covering. So if you can present your information convincingly, there's a good a chance that you'll gain the interest of the media.
So how can I get publicity for my company? Well...let's discuss utilizing the Internet. The Internet or World Wide Web, has its own rules about commercialism, and it usually is disastrous to those who break them. If your press releases, postings or articles are blatant self-promotion or a sales pitch instead of truly useful information they will be ignored and won't be used. Worse, you risk the negative publicity of being flamed (you and your company being strongly put down online, or you'll receive quantities of unwanted and negative e-mails). So... here's a simple philosophy to follow: "Before you put out a public message, play "who cares?" and ask yourself "why would other people be interested in what I have to say?" or "how can people benefit from the information I am supplying?" If you can't come up with solid, positive answers to these questions, then keep working on your publicity release or article until you do.