Monday, August 3, 2015

Is Press Presence Worth It?

Every week I see a business "profiled" in the various local newspapers.  And in fact, one of my current clients recently picked up one of these spots, arguing that it was essential for their re-branding effort to have some visibility in the market.

A good question is: "Are these profiles worth the trouble?".

On balance I think the answer is No.  I have a number of reasons for skepticism.  Here are a few:

(1) I spent ten years in newspapers and even as far back as 1996 knew that newspaper circulation has been in free fall for years.  Even free supplements and regional newspapers are losing traction, and online subscriptions aren't moving that well.  Worse, relatively low percentages of readers are likely to see anything past the front page.  Fewer eyeballs will see the business profiles every year.

(2) Advertisers know that the benefits of a spot don't kick in until there are several impressions.  One "news" story is not going to cut it.  It's seen once, and pretty much forgotten.

(3) I think people have a natural suspicion of profiles that are thinly disguised advertisements.  They are all written from a perspective that can't honestly assess the business.

If taken as a feel-good measure, say, in framing the article and hanging it on the wall, that's nice and fine.  It is merely important to understand that these profiles are not and will never be meaningful ways to truly promote a business.  Minimal energy should be invested in seeking them out.

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