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Publicity

Publicity is one of the variables that comprise the promotional mix[?]. The other components of promotions are advertising, sales promotion, and personal selling. Promotion is one of the variables that comprise the marketing mix. The other three are product management, pricing, and distribution.

Publicity is closely related to public relations. Whereas public relations is the management of all communications between the firm and the general public, publicity is the management of product or brand related communications between the firm and the general public. It is primarily an informative activity (as opposed to a persuasive one), but its ultimate goal is to promote the companies products, services, or brands. A publicity plan is a planned program aimed at obtaining favorable press coverage for a companies products.

The most basic tool of the publicist is the press release, but other techniques include telephone press conferences, in-studio media tours, multi-component video news releases (VNR’s), newswire stories, and internet releases. For these releases to be used by the media, they must be of interest to the public ( or at least to the market segment that the media outlet is targeted to). The releases are often customized to match the media vehicle that they are being sent to. Getting noticed by the press is all about saying the right thing at the right time. A publicist is continuously asking what about you or your company will pique the reader's curiosity and make a good story? The most successful publicity releases are related to topics of current interest. These are referred to as news pegs. An example is if three people die of water poisoning, an alert publicist would release stories about the technology embodied in a water purification product.

But the publicist cannot wait around for the news to present opportunities. They must also try to create their own news. Examples of this include:

  • Contests
  • Walkathons
  • Art exhibitions
  • Event sponsorship
  • Arrange a speech or talk
  • Make an analysis or prediction
  • Conduct a poll or survey
  • Issue a report
  • Take a stand on a controversial subject
  • Arrange for a testimonial
  • Announce an appointment
  • Celebrate an anniversary
  • Invent then present an award
  • Stage a debate
  • Organize a tour of your business or projects
  • Issue a commendation

The advantages of publicity are low cost, and credibility (particularly if the publicity is aired in between news stories like on evening TV news casts). The disadvantages are lack of control over how your releases will be used, and frustration over the low percentage of releases that are taken up by the media.

see also: marketing, promotion, public relations

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