PR 101: Begin With Your Marketing & Web Site

A new small business called, wanting to “get the word out” about a new product and web site. The caller wanted me to write articles that could run in The New York Times and other top newspapers as part of a plan to land media attention.

Landing media attention doesn’t work that way, and I am amazed that some people believe it does. You can’t “put” stories in The New York Times and you can’t just write a self-serving article and have it run in a major publication. And garnering media attention isn’t the first place you launch your marketing efforts.

Curious to learn whether the company was ready for media attention, I took a quick look at their web site.  It was missing several major things: The About page didn’t list the people behind the company or their specific experience. They didn’t have a press room where reporters could read executive bios, a company backgrounder or other pertinent information about why a journalist should care about their company. They also didn’t have a press release announcing their product or telling the world just how different and nifty it is.

The Public Relations and Marketing Lessons?

  1. Writing articles is a good way to attract attention – but not as your first marketing step. Establishing your expertise and pitching your story – not writing an article – comes after you’ve done some very basic marketing work.
  2. Before you invite reporters to cover your small business or your event, know that they will visit your web site expecting to find lots of information about you and your business. You need to put this information in place before inviting media coverage.

I ended up connecting this company to a trusted advisor, one who could help him create a great marketing plan.  I look forward to helping the company in the future – when they are ready to beef up their web site copy, write contributed articles, and launch a public relations campaign.