Why PR is like Coffee – Not Cocaine
By: Mark Macias
Public relations is like coffee, but it should never be confused for cocaine. I got that thought this morning as I was pouring a cup of coffee.
Coffee – much like public relations – is needed to give your day a boost. Without coffee, you are not as quick on your feet and it’s harder to get through your day. Every growing business needs public relations, like you need your coffee. A healthy dose of public relations gives your business a jolt and if it’s an effective publicity campaign, it makes your work easier.
I speak with a lot entrepreneurs and I hear a consistent theme from our conversations: They want to see an overnight correlation between publicity and sales. It is possible to directly increase sales from public relations, but this is an unstable foundation, especially for a fledging operation.
You shouldn’t view public relations like a drug that delivers a quick hit to your bottom line, or you risk a very large crash. Public relations is not medicine. It’s more like a vitamin. We take vitamins in the morning to stay healthy, strong and vital. We turn to medicine when we need a remedy, when our health is failing. All public relations campaigns will be more successful if they are launched while a company has little headwind.
Bill Gates grasped this concept in the early days of Microsoft. He’s been quoted multiple times, saying “If I was down to my last dollar, I’d spend it on public relations.”
Another reason why you don’t want to view public relations as medicine is because it gets harder to influence the public when you face negative news. I frequently get unsolicited calls from businesses or nonprofits, asking for advice on how to improve their image following a negative news story. That’s not a publicity campaign. That is a crisis campaign.
So the next time you’re thinking of ways to make your work flow more productive, hopefully, your coffee will inspire a new way of thinking.
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Mark Macias is a former Executive Producer with WNBC and Senior Producer with WCBS. He’s also the author of the communications book, Beat the Press: Your Guide to Managing the Media. Macias now consults small and large businesses on how to get publicity. You can read more on his firm at MaciasPR.