The real secret of *free* PR to grow your business

No shortcuts despite promise in dodgy sales pitch

Get Rich Quick schemes

Get Rich Quick schemes

Get rich quick. Look 10 years younger with one simple trick. Develop rock hard abs in just six weeks.

Yawn. Now I can add another example to the list of unlikely sales pitches  – “use the power of *free* PR to grow your business”.

My quizzical eyebrow started twitching this week, when an email crossed my desk from a client. They’d been messaged by an online business development ‘guru’, promising untold PR success – for free.

The email recounted a tale involving wildly successful TV and press coverage, all achieved for no cost and without any help or involvement from a PR advisor or professional.

In fact, the message went further,claiming this PR success wasn’t just free, it was easy. Ridiculously easy. We media folks tend to be a cynical, jaded and hard-bitten bunch. But just in case there are any wide-eyes innocents out there, I’m going to let you into a wee secret:

There are no shortcuts. No foolproof way to make a fortune in the blink of an eye. No 10 minute secrets to looking a decade younger. No pain-free way to get a stomach like a washboard in a few short weeks. And there is absolutely no free or ridiculously easy way to use public relations to grow a business.

There is no such thing as free PR

Free? Unlikely.

It’s not the first time I’ve heard this stuff and sadly it’s unlikely to be the last because, somewhat ironically, public relations has traditionally suffered from a wee perception problem – the belief that it’s easy and anyone can do it while barely breaking sweat.

Nobody disputes that a person with a compelling story which the media like can find themselves enjoying a quick and easy PR win.  However, sustaining that over the long haul to actually make an impact on the bottom line of a business? That takes graft, commitment, experience, guile and creativity.

Any prospective PR client should be encouraged to ask serious questions about the service they’ll receive, including:

  • Where will a constant stream of stories come from?
  • Who’s going to identify them?
  • How best to package them for different audiences?
  • What’s the right message?
  • Where to look for bear traps and avoid pitfalls?
  • How to tie results to business metrics and how to measure and evaluate success?
  • What to do and who do you turn to if things go suddenly and spectacularly wrong?

None of this involves either ‘free’ or ‘ridiculously easy’. It’s tempting to believe that somewhere, alluringly just out of reach, there’s a magical solution to some of life’s difficult wee challenges. A way to live comfortably without the burden of a job or to have the body of Brad Pitt without the monotonous hours in the gym.

Reality is more prosaic. Few ‘get rich quick’ schemes stand up to scrutiny, because genuine business success actually requires years of hard graft and/or a killer product or service.

There is no free PR and no easy way to look 10 years younger

Myleen Klass presents 10 Years Younger

I’ve seen Channel 4’s 10 Years Younger. Unless you’ve been blessed with lucky genes, then knocking a decade off your age requires costly cosmetic surgery and dentistry, celebrity hairdressing, Hollywood make up assistance and a professional wardrobe adviser.

Rock hard abs in six weeks? Not with just a few sit ups, a simple dietary supplement or the latest muscle-building kit. In fact, if you devote yourself to a punishing gym routine and advanced nutrition you might see abs in six months.

How public relations really works

As part of the team at the multi award-winning public relations agency in Edinburgh, Holyrood Partnership, I am delighted to offer genuine PR advice and counsel to a wide range of clients.

Unfortunately that advice is not free although we share huge amounts of tips and insights at our website

However, the work of our Scottish public relations agency does does deliver immense value and measurable results to diverse clients. I’d be happy to explain how PR could help your business. Either phone me on 0131 561 2244 or fill in the simple form, below, and I’ll get straight back to you:


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