How to waste money on PR

The second question I am asked at dinner parties is “How do I get on TV?”

(The first question I am asked is “How do I get a knighthood?”…I’ll save the answer to this one for another time).

I tend to reply with a question of my own, “Why do you want to get on TV?”

The answer is usually one of the following:

1. I just want to get out there more…​​​
2. I need some exposure for our product/service…
3. I’ve always thought that if we got on TV, our business would explode…

Getting on TV can do all of these things for you, but what most people don’t see is that getting on TV, by itself, isn’t a very sound marketing or PR strategy. In fact it’s usually a waste of money.  Let me explain…

There are basically two major forms of media available to you:

1. Mass Media – Television, Radio, National Newspapers​

2. Targeted Media – Brochures, email, websites, sales letters, CDs/DVDs or any media that you create and send directly to an audience who cares what you have to say (usually an audience you’ve pinpointed as good prospects or a list of people who have indicated that they’d like to learn more about what you do). 

A great way to build an audience for Targeted Media is using Google pay per click and search engine optimisation.

Mass Media is great for building two things, credibility and reputation. Both of these benefits are important, but they usually don’t directly drive revenue.

Targeted Media is great because you can control it; how much money you spend, when, where and how you use it. The downfall of Targeted Media is that it doesn’t have the credibility that heavyweight Mass Media delivers.  Consumers think that the information they see in the Mass Media is unbiased and credible, they aren’t sure about Targeted Media because it usually comes across as one-sided commercial marketing.

The secret to success is therefore two pronged:

1)     Get as much Mass Media as you can…

2)    … then promote your mass media appearances and content through Targeted Media to your core audience of prospects and clients. This is really the only audience that you need to see it, and you get to control whether they do or not.  

Mass Media will build your reputation and credibility, but if you don’t use the media and convert it into a marketing piece that you can use over and over again, it’s really just an expensive exercise in getting your message heard once, plus perhaps an ego building exercise. I’m sure by now you know what happens when people hear your message once – NOWT!

And that’s the mistake that causes so many small and medium sized businesses to waste their marketing budget. They pay a fortune to try to get on the TV, radio and press. Then, if they succeed, they wait for the phone to start ringing off the hook and the orders to start pouring in, but rarely does that ever happen. 

So Mass Media is the first step to creating credibility, but marketing through Targeted Media is the second step that generates the revenue. 

Just remember the two step formula for success with PR and you’ll be all set to raise your profile, enhance your reputation and ultimately make money.

And, now that you see the value of getting Mass Media coverage and how to make it really work to grow your business, give us a call on +44 (0)1444 230130 to start making it
happen or simply email

Find out more about our Reputation Management Programme.

Mark Llewellyn-Slade 

Managing Director Awards Intelligence