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January 28, 2010

The iPad and the secret of PR led advertising

Ever notice that Apple's new products are greeted with almost blanket coverage and buzz, even without publishing their first advertisement.

When Google was beginning it shunned advertisements in favor of a PR led approach. Even today I cannot recall ever seeing an ad for any of Google's products except the Adwords ads they run.

And just in case you missed the whole concept of trying to be the news and not the ads, have a look at the current PR blitz that Seth Godin has unleashed ahead of the release of Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? (Already #15 with a bullet on Amazon)

How do these juggernauts develop this PR steamroller, and more importantly could you do similar in your area?

The answer is your brand.

Everyone wants to hear what Steve Jobs has to say because he has a track record of beautiful designs, revolutionary products, and (of course) the coolness factor.

Google, even back then, was immediately obvious as a search engine that was fast, accurate and incredibly simple compared to the complex sites offered by Yahoo and Alta Vista. This was the brand, this and the distant rumbles of an incoming tide.

And Seth... what can I say that hasn't been said...

If you want to be the news and not the ads then you have to be newsworthy. Unfortunately, as a consultant you don't get to determine what your brand is - we do! But you can influence it...

1) Products and services that deliver scarce value. In the 21st century, all marketing is product based.

2) Articles, tweets and other interactions that provide scarce thought leadership.

3) Customer services that are focused on saying yes - not telling people why you can't help them. (I hate you Telstra!)

4) A level of ubiquitousness from paid blog posts and interviews throughout the net. Do not sweat it even slightly if they are not all positive. Negative reviews and posts mean people are at least engaged with what you are saying or doing.

5) Continued ubiquitousness through regular (2 - 3 per week) press releases designed to show value, tell a story and be picked up by news outlets.

6) And of course the standard Old media stuff like media kits, videos of speaking engagements, articles in prestigious magazines, copies of published books and so on.

The last tip I would offer, based on my own experience when I owned an engineering marketing firm in Latin America, that if you want to be on the news - then you have to ask the question.

Backed with your brand and focused on relevant issues... how could they refuse you?

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