PR. Between filing for protection, performing market research, and creating a sales sheet (to name a few), you’ve probably left off “publicity” from your list of to-dos. Or maybe you think you simply don’t have the funds to pay for any. Think again. Ann Noder of Orca Communications, a full service consumer public relations agency specializing in campaigns for inventors and entrepreneurs, will convince you otherwise. Noder works to land client’s products and services in the news, both locally and nationally.
First, what’s the difference between advertising and PR? The terms are often confused or mistaken as the same. Anne explains.
“An ad is a paid placement, be it in print in magazines or air time on the radio or television. Consumers have a pretty savvy understanding of what constitutes an ad. PR shifts the focus to getting your product in the news editorially. Instead of you proclaiming what a great product you have, the media is. The news has an implied third party endorsement. That endorsement has credibility, and with that credibility, comes power. PR puts your product in the hands of objective journalists, whom the public trusts.”
Does that leave open the possibility that your product could get negative publicity or feedback? Yes. But the media is much more likely to focus on positive endorsements of products they deem worthwhile, rather than negative ones. Noder offered that often times, good things come from bad press – if one journalist doesn’t like your product, it might inspire another who does to come to your product’s defense.
I know firsthand how difficult PR can be. But Noder, who spent the first half of her career in the media as a producer, broadcast journalist and anchor, makes it look so easy.
Is it really?
“Well,” Ann admits, “It’s a full time job, and for many people who try to do their own PR, it’s intimidating. The benefit of Orca is that we have an established network of contacts. Unlike your average inventor or entrepreneur, we already have relationships with the media. It’s a step up. Also, all members of our staff possess a news and media background. As former writers, producers, and reporters, we have a sense of what the media desires. What stories they will want to cover, and ones they won’t. This lack of understanding is why most other people struggle.”
It’s necessary that your story has an angle, and that you pursue fitting channels for publicity. Looking for local exposure? Highlight your background and your business’ role in your community. Want national exposure? Expand your story – make it broader.
“The issue of timing is very important in news – it’s called “news” for a reason! You need to make a reporter or writer want to cover your story NOW. Relate your product to current trends, to a specific season, or call attention to the fact that it is innovative or a “first”,” Anne offers.
Listen to the entire audio interview with Ann Noder here.