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The Power of the Press

Norbert J. Hobrath

The commonly heard phrase, “The Power of the Press” still rings true. In this blog, and more in the months ahead, I will talk about effective public/media relations and how this type of content marketing can impact your brands

The Press is Still Powerful

Can you think of anything that can give you a better marketing lift than a wonderfully article written about your company or a key product, appearing in a key media publication or on TV? Your phone will ring, people will visit your website, they will Twitter, they will like you on Facebook, etc, and they will buy your products!

I read an article in the Wall Street Journal about a simple new electronic device that allows streaming music from a Computer, IPad, ITouch or IPhone, to a “Griffin Twenty” amplifier/receiver that can be hard-wired to speakers from an old stereo system. It then plays the new digital music on the older format analog speakers. It is under a $100. “How neat is this, I am thinking? Based on that article I checked the Griffin website and placed an order. When the Griffen Twenty arrived I retrieved some old Paradigm speakers and hooked it up. This photos shows the Griffin Twenty digital-to-analog music amplifier in my office. It sounds great. I’m listening now to some John Mayer music on those ‘old speakers’ as I write this article! (And no, Griffin Technology is not a client of mine, but if they were I would promote this device endlessly.)

Now imagine that simple exercise on a grand scale. A new car introduction, an upcoming book tour, etc. The press still can have a major influence on your success!

What Can a Great Story do for You?

1. Add Visibility. In fact, you may get massive exposure as I highlight in a story at the end of this article. Because word of mouth only goes so far. Your sales team can only call on so many customers at one time. Advertising, while effective, can be expensive. Social media can create buzz, but only if people are following you and want to ‘like’ you or ‘follow you’. Your website may be great, but only if viewers come to the site to see what is new. However, when you have an article appear about your company or product in a leading trade magazine, newspapers, or on television, you can reach many people at one time.

2. Provide Instant Acceptance. When an article appears in print or on TV, it is usually more believable than an advertisement. Many studies have proven this.

3. Obtain Free Exposure (relatively). It does not cost anything to have an article appear in the media, but it does take time, effort and expense to get this prepared and placed.

4. Act Strategically. There might be a specific reason you want to get your story out to meet a goal or to implement a strategy. Many times it is to kick-start or increase sales. Sometimes it is to educate the customer on your company or product. And it can be to deflect something negative that has happened and you need to repair your image.

5. Add to the Marketing Mix. Good PR can and should complement your other marketing initiatives. Rolling out a new ad campaign at the Super Bowl? Think about all the hype even before the commercial airs. Who has the hottest commercial? Who is the funniest? Who paid the most, etc, etc. Sometimes you will see the commercial five or six times on other media news outlets, all for free exposure.

6. Hype your Hype. The more exposure you get, usually the more you will continue to get. That’s how it works. And you can take advantage of it too, by reprinting popular articles and re-using these in your sales efforts, posting movies and news clips, telling your customers on Facebook and Twitter, and continuing with followup stories.

The New York Times and the ‘Wow’ Factor

Let me present a success story from one our clients, The Genie Company, the well-known brand of garage door openers (DGO). Genie’s traditional sales/distribution system was through garage door installation companies. If you wanted a garage door opener, you called your local installer and they took care of it. The problem is there was a hefty charge for the service call to install the opener.

So Genie decided to enter the Do-it-Yourself market, and designed a simple kit-based GDO that a homeowner could easily install in just a few hours. As simple as this seems today, it was a novel idea at the time! Genie needed to convince the public that this was viable, easy, and affordable.

My challenge was to get the story out via the PR channel, using as much media as possible. I covered the trade press well with all sorts of articles on how the new Genie would help the big box retailers increase their sales. Then I turned to reaching consumers directly. One of the highest impact and most read articles on home improvement appeared regularly in the New York Times. So I set my target to get an article published there for Genie. After two months of close work with the Home Improvement editor, providing background material and how-to advice, we landed a half-page article in the New York Times. I had also provided the editor with working installation photos that the Times converted to illustrations. It was a huge success. That placement alone was worth thousands of dollars at the time in comparative advertising space. And it turned out that the NY Times then syndicated that same article to hundreds of smaller newspapers around the country. Soon we saw articles appearing from dailies and weeklies across America and this continued for several months. All totaled, it was worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in media exposure for Genie, and helped put the new D-I-Y garage door opener on the map, with exceptional new sales in Genie’s pocket. So that shows the “Power of the Press” in influencing the public option.

If you would like to learn more on how PR can help your company in promoting its brands, send me an email to set up an appointment. I will be glad to explain how we can help your branding efforts.

Norbert Hobrath believes in the power of content marketing, both in words and images, and the powerful combination of these two. For more than 30 years, he has developed interesting, informative and influential strategy and content for both industrial and service-based B2B clientele. He has also directed marketing and communications programs as Director of Marketing Communications for a worldwide manufacturing company, and as Communications Manager for the Fortune 500 American Greetings Corporation, and for a BASF chemicals company. He enjoys promoting corporate and product brands through effective storytelling. He is President & Chief Content Officer of Hobrath Group, LLC in Cleveland, Ohio. www.hobrath.com

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Norbert J. Hobrath
Founder and President