7 Publicity Myths That Can Hurt Your Business

Every business needs a cost-effective way to keep their name, their products or their services in front of their prospects and customers. For many business owners, publicity is the key to such recognition and awareness. When done correctly, publicity develops your name recognition, gives your business instant credibility, and ultimately leads to increased sales. And best of all, publicity is free.

Publicity can come from anywhere and in many different forms. It can be as simple as having your customer service reviewed by a blogger or as dynamic as having your store’s name splashed across the headlines of a magazine or newspaper. Unfortunately, many myths shroud the concept of publicity, so many business owners fail to seek it out.

Before you can get your business the publicity it deserves, you need to separate public relations facts from fiction. Below are the most common publicity myths and the truths behind them.

  1. I need to own a big business to get the media’s attention. While it’s true that big business names are common in magazine and trade journal articles, the fact is big business makes up only a small percentage of the American economy. Most readers know the big business names, but they often can’t identify with them or their challenges. That’s why many magazines and trade journals like JCK are eager to hear the opinions and perspectives from owners of small and medium-size jewelry stores. So whether yours is a small mom-and-pop shop, a large high-end store, or a regional chain, find out what the reporters want and then enthusiastically give your slant on the topic.

  2. My business will be a household name from one big hit. Getting mentioned in or interviewed by a major national publication with a circulation of over 1 million readers is certainly impressive. But will such a stroke of luck make your business a household name? Not likely. To become a household name, you need to develop “top of mind awareness.” That’s when people think of you first to fulfill their product or service needs. It’s when publications of all sizes—including penny shoppers, local newspapers, regional magazines, and national trade publications—quote you and publish your articles. It’s when customers and prospects say, “I’ve seen your company everywhere.” Most important, it’s when people purchase your products or services because they know your company’s name and they perceive you as the marketplace leader. The only way to get top of mind awareness (to become a household name) is through constant exposure in a variety of publications, not just one big placement.

  3. I need to use big words to impress the interviewer. In most cases, the person interviewing you, as well as the publication’s readers, are not as intimate with the jewelry industry as you are. Therefore, they need the information you give them to be understandable and at a layperson’s comprehension level. The best approach is to avoid speaking with industry jargon or using techno-terms. Instead, speak as if you were explaining something for the first time. The simpler you can make your information, the better your chances of being quoted as the expert source.

  4. I need a unique theory or insight. While you don’t want to rehash old news, there’s no need to rack your brain for a totally new theory or perspective. The best approach is to present your findings, opinions, or topic of expertise in a new light—one that may be close to someone else’s but that catches the reporter or editor’s interest. Perhaps you have information that can refute a recent claim about conflict diamonds or shows how you met a business challenge that’s affecting the publication’s target readership. When you can put a new spin on a current theory or insight that interests the publication’s readers, reporters will want to present your findings.

  5. I can’t get my business into that publication. It’s common for owners of small and medium-size businesses to feel intimidated by big-name publications. They envision high-powered magazine editors schmoozing with big company CEOs and lining up interviews with well-known figureheads for the next six months. In reality, editors scramble daily to find people to interview who have knowledge on the latest trends and topics. Editors must find new and exciting people to interview either weekly or monthly, so the more knowledgeable people they can add to their databases, the better. Make yourself stand out as a reliable information source and you’ll get the media’s attention.

  6. Small publications don’t matter. Small publications are just as important as the big ones because you never know who reads them. You may think that a magazine with a circulation of 10,000–15,000 could never get your business the kind of publicity you want, but what if half of those readers were your target customers? Even better, what if your interview or article in a small publication prompted an editor from a large publication to call you? So target small publications as well as large ones. As long as your information is interesting and accurate, you will gain more attention and get the publicity you need.

  7. I don’t need print publicity now that I have profiles on social media sites. Don’t assume that you can abandon traditional PR tools just because you start having some success with social media marketing. You also need the credibility provided by traditional tools such as print publicity in newspapers and magazines. In addition, some online reputation sites will give you a lower ranking if you don’t have anything in the “real world.” You still need media exposure and a physical presence, in addition to your online presence.
    Getting publicity is the best way to promote your business. And when you know the facts of the PR business, you can attain the publicity you need easily and then use it to your best advantage.