I listened to this week's podcast and honestly, I could not see a fundamental difference between "Public Relations" and "Marketing" When I think of PR, I think of the image the business wants to give to the public, but marketing has the same goal in mind. Dunno. Maybe that's why I'm a scientist in the Midwest and not in Manhattan.

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Triad Components Group has tried hiring PR firms as well as a bit of advertising in the past...but truthfully neither worked for us (if the measure of success is to bring in more business rather than satisfy my ego of seeing myself in print). Today we are much smarter about defining goals and measurement of results.

All of our PR is performed at grassroots level with the goal of winning awards (i.e. Inc 5000, Best Places to Work, Small Giants, etc.). With this Int'l, national, and local recognition, we've been able to attract A-level talent of individuals who want to be a part of a "winning team". As we continue win these awards, we have carefully crafted our "story" of how we became and stay successful which attracts the attention of writers / podcasters who are looking for interesting subject matter to report on. With so many writers, bloggers, podcasters searching for media content, our compelling story, told in an interesting fashion, makes us an easy story.

In terms of advertising, I think that too many companies are fixated on the message delivery methods (Google adwords, print, social media) rather than fixating on creating a better product or service that the market needs/wants. This leads to better differentiation and targeted messaging. Our mutual friend, Shawn Busse wrote a great book (Marketing from the Inside Out) that really exemplifies the disconnect most people have with regards to "marketing" versus "advertising".

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One of my first jobs out of school was working for a PR firm. I collated a lot of press kits and was on the phone pitching stories for hours. I placed a few interviews, but more often there were dead ends and tensions with clients. I think that PR has value for certain fields (movies, personalities, etc) but, in my opinion, most companies should just focus their time, energy, and money on a good marketing and brand strategy. What can I say, I prefer to control my narrative.

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May 1, 2021Liked by Loren Feldman

Ouch. This one was tough to listen to on a lot of levels. I've been a publicist for almost all of my adult life (and have even pitched Loren a number of times and had coffee with him when he was at the NYT). Sure, there are a lot of not super PR people out there - but there are a lot of not super people in every industry; this is not mutually exclusive to the PR industry. Good PR pros exist at small and large organizations, in and out of agencies... you just have to know what to look for in your PR partner/employee.

PR can be quite effective for organizations of all sizes. Before you invest in PR, define your goals for how you want PR to help your business. Also, be realistic with your goals and your budget: for $3K it's unlikely that you'll be on Oprah's Favorite's list and above the fold in the WSJ). The PR pro should be able to outline a strategy including (but not limited to) positioning your organization's C-suite as thought leaders to getting your product included in a round-up. Thanks to the advent of the internet, PR pros can work with you to look at how media mentions impacted traffic to your website, through Google My Business - visits to your bricks and mortar, etc. If you choose to invest in PR the first three months of the relationship are not super satisfying as the PR pro sets the course and works to seed stories. Months four to six should "feel" like there's traction... and after month six, if you're working with the right partner - you should never want to let them go because they will be helping you secure meaningful earned media for your business - and should be able to pace their work appropriately.

Sure, you can do PR yourself. You can also do your own accounting and taxes. But hiring someone who can help you set a strategy and has existing contacts - and knows how to forge new media relationships - including pitching up and coming influencers, YouTubers, podcasts, etc. - will save you time and perhaps get you a better outcome.

Also - I really appreciate Jay's point of view and wanted to a good ol' pandemic elbow bump at one point when he championed the use of PR.

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May 1, 2021Liked by Loren Feldman

I think that the key is to define your market and goal. Either way, PR can be valuable but the smaller the market, the more well defined the goal, the easier or more efficient it is to do it yourself rather than than hire a PR form, which is very expensive. Ask me how I know!

What’s the Lifetime Customer Value?

What’s your current cost of customer acquisition?

These are factors to consider when planning any marketing strategy and budget.

Over the pandemic, we were able to get clients a lot of great, FREE PR by promoting timely services. Several of our clients ran CPAP reclaimation drives so these units could be converted into respirators. The local news channels were made aware and the stories got great traction. FREE (except for my consulting services, which they were already paying for).

Conversely, years ago, when my group hired an expensive PR firm, we were mentioned in several national magazines and the result; NADA.

PR is great but the ROI needs to make CENTS.

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May 1, 2021Liked by Loren Feldman

Very good topic. One friend I forwarded this to said that these challenges are not just in PR but any professional service one outsources - legal, accounting, etc. But PR is perceived by many as nebulous and for the vain. But in today's digital environment a solid strategy around PR is key to staying relevant especially in the B2C. I like what Mr.. Kalb stated - their strategy is inclusive of recruiting top talent. Any program must consider a comprehensive audience - current employees, prospective employees, customers and future customers. Overall, I think of good PR as a clear, clean digital footprint. Is your footprint defined and telling the right story? If I evaluate your company to possibly work for, stay employed with, become a customer of or remain a customer of - I and most everyone else will do due diligence online. Your web site will be considered but studies show that more emphasis is placed on other sources. So much to consider here. Enjoyed the topic very much.

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May 3, 2021Liked by Loren Feldman

I've both DIY'd and paid for professional publicists. A few things I've learned:

-If hiring a publicist, tell them exactly where you want to be placed. If you don't know, look at where your competitors are being written about.

-Follow up. I didn't do that for many years, thinking they'd have replied if they were interested.

They may be interested, but more than that, they're busy. They actually appreciate the follow-up, if it's courteous.

-Read the most recent articles by the writer you're pitching. Show that you know their beat AND their readers. I often use a sentence like "I think your readers might be interested in..."

After all, their readers are their customers.

-Beware of a PR firm passing off your work to someone with no experience.

I'm going to write a 21 Hats blog post about PR, the above are quick thoughts!

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