The Placement Crash The Failure Of Pr In The Conversation World

Submitted by: James Clark

Traditional public relations yields a common problem called Placement Crash, which is like a sugar crash in business something that gives you a brief high, but bottoms out fast and leaves you with nothing.

For instance, one big media hit can bring volumes of visitors to your web site — but did the PR firm, the online communications expert or anyone in the marketing department devise a strategy to leverage that traffic and Capture the Conversation during and after peak traffic to drive sales or solidify new relationships?

My guess is the answer to that question is NO.

Do excited or curious new visitors arrive at the web site, only to find a disappointingly stale home page full of corporate marketing-speak, dull self-serving press releases, and untargeted and out-of-date content?


My guess the answer to that question is unfortunately YES.

The skills, practice and application of media relations and generating media exposure through mainstream media channels ends once the story is run. Upon confirmation for publication or broadcast, the PR person is on to the next pitch. You can t blame them, it s their job and how they have been taught to do it, although it is a terrible disservice to not only the client, but to themselves.

The value is in continuing the successful media relations effort online to track sales, generate new leads and engage in a meaningful conversation with, now because of the great story- emotionally available customers.

Imagine this scenario: A new DNA testing company gains exposure on a prominent national morning show. Millions of people see the show s anchor take the test and discuss the impact of genes and diet. Of those millions of people thousands go the DNA testing company s web site, and when they get there, they see a message welcoming the viewers and sign up form to join an upcoming teleconference with the lead scientist in the company to answer questions about the product and the application of the science. Of those individuals that attended the teleconference, 200 of them purchased the product resulting in over $40,000 dollars in sales.

So instead of generating monthly billing reports that attempt to justify the public relations budget using antiquated measurements such as Ad Value Equivalency, the PR team can now confidently state the number of new business leads or sales generated online through the mainstream media placement.

Great media exposure holds tremendous value – but its just not enough. When access to information via the internet through search and the proliferation of two-way conversation tools such as blogging give the customer easy and instant access to critical decision making information, connecting with the customer online is a critical success factor. If you re not participating in that conversation, I can guarantee you someone else is and you better hope it s not your competition.

It s like the early 1980s, when direct mail experts explained how direct mail can drive new customers but never mentioned how to coordinate direct mail with other marketing and sales tactics. Later, companies wised up by integrating advertising, telemarketing, and direct mail into coherent, integrated marketing campaigns.

The same integration needs exist today. The barrier to success is obtaining the skill sets and knowledge needed to integrate the disciplines of public relations with search visibility, and online sales and marketing. Successful PR teams have a balance and mix of media and journalism skills to accompany techie, online analytical and search visibility expertise.

Form my experience I can tell you there are very few individuals able to straddle both sides of the media/techie fence, which is why team integration and strategic communications leadership supported by analytical data will be the difference between market success and failure.

About the Author: James Clark first introduced the The Placement Crash in the article Fire Your PR Firm, published in June, 2006. To view the extended original article visit



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