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Choice Words from Schneider the Writer

THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD TO VISIBILITY

 

A recent edition of THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER pointed out several interesting phenomena about publicity. A company profile in the business section represents a year-long effort to gain this type of visibility. While the group has garnered publicity elsewhere, nothing quite matches a picture and a whole story in a metropolitan daily newspaper.

Anyone who read the newspaper could not avoid noticing the two major stories. THE REGISTER listed 18 reporters who were dispatched to the airport to cover one of the front-page items.

What does one thing have to do with the other? Everything and nothing.

Undoubtedly, page 2 of the business section was set long before the major news items occurred. It was not the kind of story that had to be bumped to make room for something with greater news value.

However, if a significant business event had taken place on the evening of the disaster, some of the reporters who went to the airport might have been unavailable to cover the business event. The client would have had an easy answer: shoot the publicist. The publicist would have had an easy answer: timing is everything.

Planning a media blitz around one event has its pitfalls. Even if we can ascertain that there is no conflict with scheduled events, nobody can predict the unexpected.

The antidote for the unexpected is to have a long-term, well-coordinated publicity program. It may take a long time before a given newspaper staff recognizes the value of a company's products or services.

That time may come when the company least expects it and for reasons completely outside of the company's control. Nonetheless, an editor might recognize the name of the company, have a file of press releases that apply to a news event and decide to do a story on how the company's products or services can be valuable under the circumstances.

Think of publicity as an ongoing effort, rather than a "one-shot" project. Provide information that combines the timely with the timeless, and keep the message articulate and appropriate for the intended media. The rewards will come eventually, if not sooner.

 

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Copyright 1998 Schneider the Writer
Last modified: July 25, 1998

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