Resources  >> White Noise: 3 Changes That Impact Your Publicity Efforts

About Vickie Sullivan

Vickie Sullivan is internationally recognized as the top market strategist for thought leaders, professional speakers and B2B professional service firms. Specializing in brand and message strategies in crowded markets, she has helped thousands of talented people outsmart their competition since 1987.

Written by: Vickie Sullivan  |  August 01, 2010

White Noise: 3 Changes That Impact Your Publicity Efforts

Originally published for RainToday.com

Editor’s Note: This article is part 1 of a look at how the changed media landscape has affected publicity campaigns. Part 1 looks at what PR tactics are no longer effective. Part 2 looks at what campaign strategies are generating website traffic and new leads.

More experts are using publicity to get noticed and get leads. And why not? Between article distribution and the 24/7 news cycles, it’s easier than ever to get your message “out there”. The challenge now is that the deluge of information has created a lot of white noise. It’s tempting to get caught up in the activity of distributing our ideas. Before you do, however, consider how the increased number of outlets and white noise has affected media campaigns.

Reporters Quoting You

In the good ole days, getting quoted in a larger article was golden. It still is, but for a different reason. Being interviewed in a high-profile article is great bragging rights. Name dropping has an impact, and it’s cool to include high-end publications in your bio.

But as far as getting leads or traffic to your website, don’t count on it. Any response you get is a happy accident. That’s because your quote in the context of a larger article is no longer enough to inspire action. Even if you quote is the perfect sound bite, it takes more than a pithy thought for someone to take the time to track you down (even when Google makes it easy).

Should you stop talking to reporters? No way. Use the article as a direct mail piece to current prospects. These articles are great branding tools and can get you back on the radar. And pull out the reporter’s quote about you and plaster it wherever you please. Example: “Best thing since sliced bread according to The Wall Street Journal.”

Articles Written By You

Feature articles written by you are another casualty of white noise. Like pieces in high-end media, these one-off articles don’t get the attention they used to. In a sea of information, these articles have gone from creating waves to creating mere ripples. Think about it: how many newsletters or journals arrive in your inbox that you want to read but save for later? In the deluge, later becomes never in record time.

Treat these articles like you treat futures in high-end media. Send them to your community and those “fence sitters”. They also add meat to the resource section on your website.

What’s working now and in the foreseeable future with these types of articles is what marketers call the passing parade strategy. That’s when a new offer comes so often that you warm up to the idea and finally buy something. Apply this thinking to media. Six articles in one publication will generate more leads than one article in six publications. Where to start: industry associations and online communities.

Content That Is Being Ignored

Some sound bites are not worth their space. The biggest culprit: the “hey, I’m smart” quotes that sound good but are not strategic enough to inspire action. I call this brilliance in a vacuum.

Here’s the problem: there are a lot of smart, talented people out there. Many of whom give away a bunch of free stuff. So, showing that you are smart, ask good questions, or can talk in metaphors isn’t enough anymore. This puts you in the “nice to have” category.

The “gotta-have” folks are far more strategic. Everything they do–in media, social media, out in public–helps them get known for something. And they hammer that home every single time.

Let’s use popular author Thomas Friedman as an example. Every time he talks to the media, he tells a story highlighting his international access to movers and shakers. The message: I know where the global bodies are buried. That consistent message turns into his unique voice. Folks will follow him — and buy his books — because they believe in his access.

The New Benchmark for Publicity

Can we still use media to brand our expertise and get leads? Of course. But we need to adjust our campaigns to the current environment. We can no longer assume that if we “are everywhere”, the leads will come rushing in. Those days are gone.

The new benchmark for publicity must go beyond getting in front of people. That is no longer the challenge. We have to get strategic about what we know, not just get our ideas out there. The attention we get must inspire action: to go to our website, to inquire about our services, or even buy a book or two.

In part two of this series I’ll explore what campaigns get website traffic and leads in our ADD media landscape.


About Vickie Sullivan

Vickie Sullivan is internationally recognized as the top market strategist for thought leaders, professional speakers and B2B professional service firms. Specializing in brand and message strategies in crowded markets, she has helped thousands of talented people outsmart their competition since 1987.