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Publicity 101: What, Why and How

Everything you need to know about publicity before publishing in media.

All publicity is good, except an obituary notice. Brendan Behan

What Publicity Is

Publicity is a mention of a brand in the media. The more mentions a brand has — the more people get to know about it, remember its name and buy its products. Simply said, publicity is an audience outreach and promotion of a brand awareness.

Publicity is mostly used for attracting the audience’s attention. This strategy increases brand awareness, helps in building a loyal audience and customers’ trust. People often buy from companies they are used to seeing in the media.

What others say about a brand is usually much more important than what the brand itself conveys to the audience. That’s why publicity is a stronger means than advertising.

Why Brands Need Publicity

Moving down the sales funnel, users at first know nothing about a brand, but later they can become the brand’s loyal customers. Marketers use different technologies at each stage to attract the audience’s attention and get the message to it.

In fact, publicity can become the entry point to the sales funnel. Without publicity, a customer may not get to know about the product at all. After being mentioned two or three times, the brand’s name settles down in the memory of the customer. When a person needs a certain product, at first, they remember those brands they heard about in the media. As time goes by, customers become more interested in the product and buy it. They are already familiar with the brand and the products/services it offers.

Publicity can also spur repeat sales: it forms a loyal audience that can return over and over again for new goods or services. That’s why major brands like Nike, Adidas, and Samsung stay dominant in the marketplace. Young Chinese brands such as Xiaomi and Meizu are also quickly gaining audiences.

People are getting tired of advertising. It’s not a trusted source anymore. The media article or a news story on television where a brand shares valuable information are both far more reliable sources of spreading information. Thus, people get the solution to their issues and get more details about the brand and its products.

According to the Nielsen survey:

— 70% of Internet users trust information posted on a brand’s website;

— 66% users trust customer reviews;

— 63% trust information on TV;

— The smallest percentage, only 40%, trust direct ads on the Internet.

Selling a brand that is familiar to the audience is far easier than selling a no-name one.

How Publicity Affects Sales

Each customer goes through four stages before purchasing:
1. Problem recognition.
2. Search for a solution.
3. Options evaluation.
4. Purchase.

Customers need their questions answered at each stage. Step by step, it leads them to purchase.

How it works
John Doe plans to visit London. He has to choose an airline to fly as he has never been to London before and knows little of what aircraft provides regular flights to that destination. This constitutes the first stage: problem recognition.

John Doe starts looking for a solution. He recalled that he read some interesting flying tips, recommendations about luggage packing, and other travel-related information provided by a company named FlyTrip. Browsing the Internet, John Doe noticed that this company offers a variety of information, such as tips on how to choose a plane seat, what stuff to take on board, and so forth. This is the search-for-solution stage.

Thanks to the various publications provided by the FlyTrip company, John Doe selects three airlines that meet his requirements regarding the time of the flight, the seats available, and additional services during the trip. The first company has recently been involved in a scandal with a passenger. The second one is a small company he has never heard about. The third one is the FlyTrip airline. Combining the information about their services and the overall impression about the company that John Doe got from the media, he makes a decision. This is the options evaluation stage.

John Doe visits the company’s website. He chats with one of the airline’s employees. After sorting out some minor details, John Doe purchases the airline ticket.

John Doe is happy with the trip. He enjoyed the service he received on board, liked the airport where they landed, as well as the airport’s location. Next time he will definitely consider flying with FlyTrip. He leaves a good review on the company's website. He recommends the airline to his friends on social media. For FlyTrip, this represents a new round of publicity.

How to Get Publicity with Publications in Media

The best way of achieving fame is by being the first; the first to offer a new technology, innovative product, or an out-of-the-ordinary service. The media crave for the freshest, the best, and the hottest news. If a brand can offer such news, it has a great chance of getting high-level publicity.

The IT market trendsetters of today, such as Microsoft, Intel, Dell, Oracle, Cisco, and SAP were the first who posted their news releases and other PR content on The Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Forbes, Fortune, and others. They still do so, publishing hundreds of pieces every day. Thanks to this, even those non-techie persons know about Intel or Microsoft.

Publicity can be gained without cost. If your news is really explosive, editors will grab the opportunity and publish the catchy headline. Just bear in mind that media can use such information for their own purposes. The form in which it will be presented — whether it will be changed or reduced — depends only on journalists. Counting on such publicity for increasing sales is something that can be considered too much of a risk. This type of strategy is more apt for creating a positive company image.

How PRNEWS.io Helps with Publicity

It’s a wiser getting publicity on your own terms. PRNEWS.io offers a Publicity package to meet your needs. Just choose the number of media publications you need.

How to Understand If Publicity Fits You

Companies pay for a high number of marketing activities such as advertising, SEO, publicity, and so on. Because of the high costs these activities entail, it’s better to sort out your priorities and choose which activity is the most important to focus on currently. Advertising and PR in combination can achieve greater results than either one of these instruments separately. Publicity creates a positive image about a company while advertising tells customers about a particular product. Keep in mind, that each of these activities is focused on different goals. You can’t substitute one with another.

Publicity is good for companies that create media space around a brand and work at their brand awareness. If you need your brand to be familiar to a vast audience, then you definitely need publications in the media.

Publicity is important for B2B companies with high average checks. In the case of these companies, both brand image and performance stability greatly impact the decisions on collaboration.

Publicity is also important for businesses that produce consumer goods.

Who Doesn’t Need Publicity

If you don’t know what you are expecting to get as a result — forget about publicity.

If you can’t offer catchy news hooks or your business characteristics don’t allow you to use impressive PR-moves, then publicity is not for you.

Thus, it doesn’t make sense for a small online store to order publications in media when it has poor SEO. Instead, attention should be paid to a proper on-page and off-page optimization to get higher in the SERPs.

However, if you sell offline, you need publicity to attract customers to your store.

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