THIS IS WHAT WE BELIEVE IS THE RECIPE FOR PR SUCCESS
We have all been admiring these amazing PR success such as Google, Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, Elon Musk’s Tesla and SpaceX or Red Bull Stratos huge campaign. Now, sit back and think about what do they have in common. I agree, this isn’t that simple. Otherwise, everyone would be buzzing right now. But when you have a closer look to them, they have three magic ingredients in common: A great story, exciting News announcement and strong Media Relations.
We’ll try to analyze three of them here and try to give you all key elements to reproduce this for your own business. Our aim isn’t to make all your campaigns big, viral and buzzing globally, but you can have local and very good successes if you apply the three of them wisely.
Barack Obama was a young handsome and cool black candidate to US presidential campaign. Elon Musk was Paypal’s co-founder and successful entrepreneur behind innovative new startups Tesla and SpaceX. Sergey Brin a 25 years old Russian born met Larry Page, a same age American guy and decided to start working on a new Algorithm oriented search engine in a small garage. Our three examples have different stories based on something different for Obama, American dream and successful story for Google, inspiring and admiring Elon Musk. You can both capitalize on your own story or create a new one. Red Bull has invented one by inspiring people and giving them wings. You need to assume your story. Whether it’s innovative, creative or even a David VS Goliath promise.
One of our clients, Poopy Cat, has decided to adopt a creative company story. Poopy Cat is a startup producing entertaining and fun accessories for cats. They started with a subscription based business selling litter boxes and now they do sell creative playhouses, sort of card boxes Lego, for cats. There promise is: We are very creative and innovative. And they show it with their website where they have some very funny wording, and on their videos where they created a musical group called Poopy Cat Dolls. Even with their products, they promise creativity for their customers when building the playhouses.
Another great example, which inspired Poopy Cat when building their brand, is Dollar Shave Club. A former marketer decided to stop buying 20$ razors and had the idea launching a subscription business of razors and blades for a dollar per month. And the result is pretty amazing. They first launched this crazy video three years ago that generated 21 million views.
In one word, your story is what will make people buy your product. This is your existing reason, what you are standing for. Simon Sinek has a theory for this and he explain it amazingly in this video. He says you better start with Why. Why you do what you do. He says this is what makes the difference between Apple and Samsung.
Having a great company story doesn’t mean you can expect a buzz spreading globally. The company history helps you attract journalists’ attention. You need to give the journalist a reason to talk about you, NOW. Here are three aspects every news announcement should take into account.
There’s life before, during and after press release distribution. Depending on announcement value for journalists, you can suggest an exclusive for a top media under embargo. Note that embargoes are often not respected by journalists and brands have few capabilities to prevent this. When the press release is distributed starts the announcement momentum. you can expect the largest amount of coverage during first 2 days from distribution. Don’t throw this into the bin. On future communications with journalists you can send your archived announcements to the journalist so he could get a full sense of the company’s activity and take notes when writing an article.
Journalists are keen to write about topics that readers haven’t read before and preferably won’t read them elsewhere. The last point isn’t crucial but sometimes you’ll find some media looking on for exclusives. They need to hear something fresh that makes you special or another word explains it even better: being remarkable. We highly recommend watching Seth Godin’s video explaining the Purple Cow principle where he says: « If you are in a car driving would you stop by having a look to a cow? Non. If this cow was purple, would you stop? the answer is yes. »
Worth sharing / reading
7 out of 10 people you ask in which media they would like to get featured will answer: Les Echos (largest french business daily newspaper), Le Figaro (largest national newspaper), etc. Basically top publications. As important is the company and announcement might look important to the brand but not to the journalist. What a company would like to say isn’t systematically worth sharing or reading. Hiring a new CTO is important for a startup. Hiring Apple’s CTO in a startup IS a new worth sharing because they’ve succeeded attracting the world’s biggest company’s CTO.
One of our clients, Pebble Technology, is the smartwatch pioneer. They launched their smartwatch more than 2 years before the Apple Watch. They raised money on Kickstarter which made a breakthrough record of 8 million dollars from a garage in the United States. Good story here. Apple announced its smartwatch. At the same moment, Pebble launched a second Kickstarter campaign for a new product. Guess what? they made raised 10 million dollars in less than 24 hours and reached more than 20 million by the end of the campaign. Crazy news. They hired us with the ambition to battle with Apple, Samsung and ten of other competitors. We’ve went with a strong media relationship building programme. We’ve met personally with key journalists in France and we’ve done product demo for everyone, highlighted positive points and followed-up with journalists during all the review process. After a week, we went personally to bring back the product and check with journalist how it went and what they think about the product. One of them asked us why we do come and pick up the product personally. Is it because Pebble doesn’t have budget for courriers? We just answered we do care about what they think about the product and how the review went. Coverage was simply amazing. Medias were very positive and starred several times 5 out of 5. Titled « Apple and Samsung should learn from Pebble ». We are not saying journalists aren’t independent. We just saw some cases where journalists bought a Pebble by themselves and reviewed it without being in our review process, they didn’t have full capabilities and opportunities of the product.
We see more and more publications dropping news announcements for in-depth articles. In that case, the reporter would need some comments from an industry expert. And this is where you need exactly to be. For this, you should be identified by the journalist as an expert. Frequent meetings, comments on news and relationship building are key to remain top of mind.
There are obviously some exceptions. When one of the ingredients is so powerful, you don’t need to gather everything. Look at how Psy, Gangnam Style singer succeeded with a very powerful freshness and remarkable product. Another example is Red Bull, they don’t even need to have media relationship to get global success.