I have a pet peeve that is at the crux of being able to sell something (or not). It’s loudly apparent at trade shows. Picture this: You’re walking through a conference, and for a second, your head turns from side to side, capturing a glimpse of booths, and you either continue moving or stop.

What keeps you going? What intrigues you enough to halt?

This is the journey of the consumer, which happens every second all over the world, for every type of product and in every buying environment. You do it when you’re scrolling on Instagram, at a networking event giving an elevator speech to someone you’ve met or deciding which snack to grab from a city sidewalk bodega.

I think many of these opportunities are a result of what I call “banal language,” and it makes me wonder how many sales are missed out as a result. As such, I have a bone to pick with marketers who create trade show booths and, indeed, with marketers in general. It’s this: Will you please just say what “it” is?

Bland language (especially industry jargon) is the marketing kiss-of-death, the biggest examples of which include this particularly non-descriptive word: solution.

Other words that I constantly hear and see that are chock-full of little or no meaning include platform, innovation, services, support, infrastructure and wellness. When I see these words blaring from above a trade show booth, my mind unengages, I get zero understanding of what they make/why they’re interesting and I keep walking.

There are three parts of any business, which I call The P.O.M. Principle: “p” for product, “o” for operations and “m” for marketing. Marketing is the activity that is done to get a product into the hands of the customer, who not only wants it but will quickly pay for it. This could be through a trade show, publicity, SEO, pay-per-click, influencer marketing, etc.—there is a long list of marketing activities one might choose based on who their customer is.

Over the last 30 years spent launching startups, I have noticed a proclivity to slick over the actual “thing” and the founding stories—both usually unique and interesting—in favor of genericizing everything to the point of cliché and making it plain unmemorable.

Why does this happen? Here is my hypothesis: Every parent has winced when children blurted out what we consider to be unedited communication. As kids mature, they learn to tamp down and mentally edit communication in favor of being socially acceptable. This is not a bad thing in parenting, but in the world of business, when you’re trying to find new customers, you need to say what you mean.

If you’re looking for a new customer to buy your product, tamping down its essence—the marrow of what it intrinsically does—is like shooting yourself in the foot. To wit, your product may indeed be a platform. But a platform can be a wooden deck, an evened-out piece of dirt, a speaking subject or a place online. Will those descriptors sell weatherproof decking?

Marketers need to start by saying what it is in very simple “baby language” that provides an instant mental picture.

Here’s an example that makes my point: The Wikipedia entry for Google does a great job of describing what the company does. While it could simply say, “Google provides technology solutions,” it says, “Google LLC is an American multinational technology company that focuses on search engine technology, online advertising, cloud computing, computer software, quantum computing, e-commerce, artificial intelligence, and consumer electronics.” This says exactly what the company does. See the difference?

Here is a four-step formula to do this correctly. These are the questions marketers must ask themselves when writing the “About” page for their website, deciding what copy goes above the fold, creating a boilerplate for press releases, making the headers for their website and, yes, when designing a trade show booth.

1. What is my product/service?

2. Will a 6th grader understand my description?

3. Once a sentence is structured, highlight each word in three colors.

• Primary words are the words where if they don’t exist, you cannot convey what the product or service is.

• Secondary words are nice to have and provide context.

• Tertiary words are words that connect and elevate.

4. Use the primary words only and add anything needed to meet grammatical rules.

Take this to someone who is not in your business and ask them: What do you think this is? Find someone as diametrically opposed as possible. For example, if you’re in the tech business, ask your hairdresser. If you’re in the food industry, ask your dog walker. Better yet, ask your kids.

Is it crystal clear?

Once you have the basic description, you can play around with words that make it more soul-shaking, stylized or tantalizing, but the basic “what it is” cannot be lost—or else your sales will.

Many Yiddish terms go hand-in-hand with the goal of marketing your invention

In my 30-year career of launching products, chutzpah is the one quality that is mandatory for becoming successful.


Yiddish is a rich, joyful language, filled with words that have double and triple meaning. Much of the lexicon is difficult to describe in English without an entire explanation, lots of hand gestures, and always a heartfelt smile.

A few examples of those words are mensch, mazel tov and putz. Bupkis, kvell and kvetch are also some of my favorites. But chief among those expressions is chutzpah (pronounced huht-spa), which means extreme self-confidence and which I see as synonymous with being a successful entrepreneur. Now that I think about it, I’d say schmoozing and spiel are also two important terms for an entrepreneur to understand.

For the etymologists in the crowd, Yiddish was originally a German dialect spoken by Ashkenazi Jews in central and later eastern Europe. It was written in the Hebrew alphabet, containing a substantial substratum of Hebrew words as well as numerous loans from Slavic languages. For that reason, some of the words originated in Hebrew or Slavic languages but have entered English via Yiddish.

My goal: To be menschy

Being a mensch is important in business. It means you are a good person.

But if someone calls you a mensch, it is indeed so much more; it also means someone who gives back and is well known as a kind-hearted type.

This word is sometimes used as an adjective—as in “Alyson is a menschy person.” This means she’s (hopefully!) a sweetheart of a human, someone who can be counted upon, trusted without question and whose heart walks in the room before her head.

Mazel tov denotes celebration, and big celebration! It’s often used as a congratulatory term, as in when a baby is born or a marriage is announced. But its meaning is deeply rooted in familial support. Mazel is a term used in Jewish mysticism to describe the root of the soul.

Getting a “mazel tov” is a big deal and may come with a hearty pat on the back. For skeptics, yes, sometimes the term is used as a backhanded slap and delivered with a twang of bitchy jealousy in the same way that “congratulations” can be.

Having a spiel (pronounced sch-peel) is like an elevator speech to pitch an invention but with good meaning that can be repeated with abandon. Schmoozing, my friends, is networking in a way that’s warm and heartfelt. It could be a little smarmy if you’re wearing a shark suit, but it’s a virtual business necessity if you want to get anywhere.

Kvelling is speaking about something with passion, beauty and love, as if you were a songbird twilling away. A putz is the dum-dum in the corner of the room who is too afraid to talk to others, has his invention in his pocket—and oh, he just dripped the teriyaki sauce from atop the rumaki right down his tie. And he doesn’t know it’s there.

Bupkis means you “ain’t got nuttin’,” as in you’ve come up empty-handed or your idea exploded into nothingness and it’s start-over time. A kvetch or kvetching can be both a noun and adjective. It is an angry bird-type of cackling, best characterized as a gnawing, incessant complaining that has no purpose other than to annoy those around you.

Saving the best Yiddish for last

In my 30-year career of launching products, chutzpah is the one quality that is mandatory for becoming successful. One might describe it as moxie, but that does not quite encapsulate the breadth of tenacity that “chutzpah” conveys.

Being an entrepreneur requires the ability to take action—sometimes on impulse or inspiration, but more important to do the work required to know if it’s viable. Someone with chutzpah might be characterized as a person willing to take risk.

Chutzpah has a minimal connotation of wildness: The danger factor is not just out of the ordinary but slightly bizarre and maybe even plain stupid.

People with chutzpah, like the beloved honey badger of popular culture, don’t give a (blank) about what others think. They are entirely courageous and willing to be stung by lots of bees just to get the honey.

Imagine the chutzpah of the Wright Brothers. They really thought a flying machine was a good idea. Einstein attempted to re-create fire in a glass bulb that didn’t need gas.

And Bitcoin is a modern example of serious chutzpah. Who in the world would believe that a new monetary system would really become a thing without the backing of a government?

To have chutzpah, you need to be in another paradigm. One of my favorite business books is called “Blue Ocean Strategy,” in which W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne explain why thrashing about in the “bloody red ocean of competition” is a bad idea and looking beyond to other oceans of possibility is the way to go.

I couldn’t agree more.

No chutzpah, no ka-ching

How many of us have had ideas run through our heads, never done anything about it, and then saw that idea in form later?

I remember one such idea of mine: As a younger publicist, I spent a good part of my career traveling the world for the Miss Universe pageants and doing international publicity for clients like Sun City, South Africa, during the fall of apartheid.

This was borne of my desire to make travel less arduous. My idea was to have massages in airports and on planes. I thought we needed on-the-go stress relief to dissolve those take-your-breath-away muscle spasms that inevitably and suddenly pang when lifting your suitcase into the overhead compartment.

Years later, the Massage Express Co. and XpresSpa showed up in airports. I felt both vindicated and a little sad that I never did anything about it.

Where was my chutzpah when I really needed it?

Nevertheless, I am now a happy customer and though it costs an arm and a leg, when those horrible layovers happen I’d spend any amount of money for some relief.

In the marketing world, the former silos of earned and paid media have melted into a difficult-to-navigate integrated mash. Yet earned media is still the gold standard of all marketing, providing valuable, objective word-of-mouth marketing for everything from startups to Nike, Amazon and Coke. Bill Gates has been quoted as saying that if he were down to his last dollar, he would spend it on PR.

For publicists who do PR for products, this world has changed radically and now requires understanding how affiliate marketing works. As product launch specialists, my company has been at the forefront of these changes, and I am here to demystify the landscape of affiliate marketing as it relates to PR.

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is the use of automated links in an editorial environment so that the outlet that reports on a product can be paid on commission. Have you ever noticed a “shop” button at the bottom of an article or a live link in the copy? That is affiliate.

Gift guides, product roundups and product reviews, once the Valhalla areas of earned media opportunity, have been taken over by affiliate.

Today, 40% of reporters my company pitches simply will not report without an affiliate program. Some reporters will kindly say, “We need an affiliate link to include you,” but most will just maddeningly ignore your pitches. If you are lucky, they will forward your pitch to their publication’s e-commerce department, a new set of contacts every publicist must build.

While this is not a surprise to most PR pros, how it works can be unclear and is the subject of endless debate in the professional publicity community.

There are three general categories of affiliate publishers: mass media, bloggers/influencers and specialized affiliate networks. As publicists, we are most interested in mass media for the famed third-party endorsement. Affiliate networks like Demand.io or Shoplinks are powerful for sales. Influencers and bloggers usually do not produce mass sales (unless their last name is Kardashian) but can be used strategically for awareness.

How Editorial Brands Got Into The Paid Game

Of course, it is no longer possible for a print magazine to survive selling ads for six-figure rates. The big magazine publishers like Condé Nast, Hearst and Meredith have done a great job of monetizing editorial—more so than television networks, which are struggling to reimagine television.

Meredith’s affiliate arm is called Dotdash and manages affiliate marketing for hundreds of their titles, including Better Homes & Gardens, People and Real Simple. Condé Nast has an e-commerce division for their titles, which include Glamour, GQ, The New Yorker, Vogue and WIRED. Some publications have created their own affiliate channels, like USA Today’s Reviewed.com.

How each media outlet does the editorial/affiliate dance is completely unique. Some, like Reviewed.com, invite lab-testing for everything they report on. It is a murky world to navigate, as publishers insist they are making objective choices for what products to cover, yet the relationship is still fundamentally pay-to-play.

How Some Legendary Reporters Made The Jump from Editorial To Paid

This trend isn’t entirely new. Some legendary reporters began monetizing products a long time ago. One of the first was the West Coast editor of Lucky magazine, Marlien Rentmeester, who created a shoppable fashion blog called Le Catch in 2011. The venerable food editor of the New York Times, Amanda Hesser, saw the writing on the wall in 2009 and created Food52. Since 2000, publicists have vied for the attention of Adam Glassman, who oversaw the coveted “O List” at O, The Oprah Magazine. Now he has become a product expert, heading monetized product curation pieces for the magazine and now also for TV shows like EXTRA.

Television networks, like magazines, can no longer sustain themselves selling bookended commercials around content, so they now monetize anything commercial through product integrations in their programming. Some have leveraged their media brands online, such as CNN, which created a hybrid between integration and an affiliate program called CNN underscored. A virtual online catalog, underscored offers approved products a “review” from a bonafide CNN reporter that includes affiliate links, so they earn commissions.

Affiliate Marketing For PR Pros

How does a PR pro navigate this world?

The first rule of thumb is to insist that product clients have an affiliate program; if they do not, set it up for them. When publicists set up affiliate programs for product companies, this provides an added revenue stream on top of the typical PR agency service retainer.

Newer, smaller brands will have to start on ShareASale, which costs only $500 to sign up and does not require previous e-commerce experience. This platform, owned by Awin, is the biggest globally. (Full disclosure: My company uses this platform often, though we also use others and have no paid affiliation with any platform.) Skimlinks is similar to ShareASale, hosting a universe of merchants and publishers, but smaller, with a 4% versus 24% market share. If your e-commerce business is already robust and you have a larger budget ($10,000+/month), consider Impact, Commission Junction or Rakuten.

If you want to work with influencers only, consider LTK, a.k.a. Like to Know (formerly RewardStyle), but their rates start at $2,500 just to get on the platform, and you need to have an affiliate program already in place.

Depending on your market, you might consider specialty affiliate networks, such as Dealmoon, which reaches millions of luxury-loving Chinese-language shoppers; it is a super affiliate for high-end brands like Gucci, Ferragamo, YSL and Marc Jacobs. (If you did not know already, Chinese-language shoppers are “the engine of worldwide growth in luxury spending,” according to McKinsey & Company, and China is set to become the largest luxury market worldwide by 2025.)

For publicists entering the affiliate game, there is a lot to learn. The best way to get up to speed is to actively participate in the affiliate community; my company makes sure to attend the Affiliate Summit in Las Vegas annually. We hope to see you there.

Successfully developing a product means knowing your customer

If you are going to attempt to compete in a trending sector, you need to think long and hard about how you will differentiate. Get serious and highly creative about this.


I once knew an entrepreneur who loved basketball. In his professional life, he was a doctor. He put the two together when he developed a shoe designed to prevent ankle sprains.

He had done his homework and found that ankle sprains were the No. 1 basketball injury, and there was a multibillion-dollar market for basketball shoes. But it was not until he had 26,000 pairs sitting in a warehouse—and spent a lot of money on marketing—that he realized this wasn’t going to fly.

Another inventive soul who was in the printing business learned that the nose of dogs was as unique as the fingerprint of a human, so he conceived a dog noseprint product as an identifier for lost pets.

It was a fabulous, noninvasive idea that bypassed injecting a chip into a dog. But what he did not consider was that for his noseprint to be a valuable identifier, he also needed to create a national database as the place to look for a lost dog. He had already gone into production, spent money on packaging and thought he was ready to go.

Both entrepreneurs lost their shirts, so to speak, because they didn’t consider the end customer before they spent money and time creating their product.

A good idea isn’t enough

Many products and services are created by someone who is passionate about solving a personal problem. Often, products emerge from those who were doing something else in their careers when an idea popped into their head, and they were courageous enough to do something about it.

However, so many products are created without a thought about the end user.

An idea is only as good as a customer who not only wants it but will pay for it. Otherwise, it will die a sad death, and someone will have exuberantly spent time and money on something that never sees the light of day.

Don’t be that person.

Sometimes products have customers who would want them, but they are so expensive to produce that they will never sell. Other times, entrepreneurs create something that appears to have a large market opportunity, but they cannot compete. Or, they miss an important psychographic about their customer.

In the case of the basketball shoe company, there was a huge market for basketball shoes. But those brand-conscious 12-16-year-olds he found in his research who were buying 5-7 pairs of shoes a year were literally killing for name-brand sneakers only.

Nike and Adidas had tied up contracts with every level of basketball from the high schooler to the NBA, so would-be ambassadors were contractually not able to put anything on their feet other than Nike and Adidas no matter how many ankle sprains they endured.

Prioritize packaging

Some entrepreneurs see a market or a trend first and attempt to compete.

I call these copycat products. Sadly, so many spend a lifetime thrashing about in a bloody red ocean (reference to one of my favorite books: “Blue Ocean Strategy” by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne). Without a truly meaningful differentiation, they get nowhere.

I hate to see so many products like this and entrepreneurs so infatuated with their concept that they are blinded to what should be driving them: the customer.

No product will ever become a success without a customer. No business is a business without a customer, no matter how great the product.

If you are going to attempt to compete in a trending sector, you need to think long and hard about how you will differentiate. Get serious and highly creative about this.

And, news flash: A “new fragrance,” “cheaper,” “faster,” or “great customer service” are not differentiators.

Sometimes that differentiator is simply the packaging. This is typical in the beauty and the tequila business. What’s inside is usually not that different, but what it looks like on the outside is what customers remember.

When you are competing in a highly saturated category like this, incredible packaging is the way to go. And it had better be eye-poppingly cool, gorgeous or interesting.

Aesthetics success story

An example: The cannabis industry is red hot right now. There are gazillions of products that use these ingredients for skincare, foods, sports and spa applications, and recreational use.

Many entrepreneurs have come to my company’s doorstep showing yet another marijuana leaf-emblazoned, badly executed package. We usually turn them down because we can’t market something like that; we will surely fail.

For a sector like cannabis, there is too much competition out there. Your packaging or marketing has to be dazzling.

Another way to compete, as did a company called Doist, is to create a unique delivery system with incredibly attractive packaging.

Doist created a dose-controlled cannabis therapy line delivered in a proprietary precision delivery system. The tagline is “Targeted Formulas, Precise Dosage.”

Each package is a super clean, white-sleeved box with lots of elegant whitespace simply labeled, “sleep,” “bliss,” “calm,” “arouse.” The box slides open to reveal a solid-colored carrier, each one that differentiates its contents: calming blue for sleep, hot magenta for arouse.

I think the company did an amazing job.

This went a step further by marketing the product to lovers of aesthetics. I saw ads for Doist in Architectural Digest, not a place where one might see such a product. But the company knew its customer was someone who appreciated something beautiful.

Do not spend another dime or moment creating a product until you are superlatively clear on who your customer is, why he/she would want to buy and how much the person would pay for it. Only then, move forward with your prototypes, sourcing and finally distribution and marketing.

Ideas are only ideas without this intel.

Understand the 2 types and who your customers are in answering this marketing question

The two types of influencers are self-created and those whose accomplishments make them influencers.


Influencers. It’s a new title, a trendy new career path and something every entrepreneur thinks he or she needs.

But unless you are a fluent Instagram user, they can be elusive, even guarded by agents and publicists.

How do you reach them? More important, how do you know if you really need them?

While we’re at it, what exactly is an influencer?

Influencers and social media are a small part of a marketing tool kit. Before embarking on the marketing journey, you must ask yourself who your customers are. This will determine whether influencers and social media are a choice for you.

New term, old concept

There are two types of influencers: self-created and those whose accomplishments make them influencers.

The first have indeed reached stratospheric levels of significance recently. This happened because the internet democratizes exposure to anyone. Prior to this, gathering an audience required being on radio or a film/TV stage to get exposure from a screen or airwave.

What kinds of businesses need influencers, and is this really something new? The answer lies in defining the meaning of influence.

Influence has existed since the dawn of time. It has taken the form of chieftains, warlords, royalty, presidents, prime ministers, celebrities, experts, educators, governments, religious beliefs and probably much more.

People are influenced by those they admire, see as a role model or believe have something to teach them.

Influencer campaigns can be powerful; the self-appointed type is indeed new. Before you start spending money thinking this is the marketing Valhalla for your business, let’s see how this fits into the basic tenets of marketing.

Humans follow humans

The No. 1 marketing method is word of mouth. I call it the “Oh, yeah, I’ve heard of that” response.

When we hear about the inventive strawberry rhubarb or chocolate pudding shakes with handspun vanilla whipped cream that are served at the Shake Shack, this paints a delicious mind picture of what your experience might be like at that burger chain. If you hear this from someone you admire or respect (and you like food), the chance of your trying the Shake Shack is extremely high.

Because humans can sense when something is unbiased versus biased, the likelihood of you spending your lunch dollars at the Shake Shack are much higher than if you saw an ad for the restaurant or if an influencer you liked was paid to say nice things about it.

No matter what time we live in—with prehistoric cavemen or when we will have microchips implanted in our arms to open doors, this will be true.


Like animals that herd, bees that swarm and fish that school, we are territorial animals. We gather in places that we consider safe and with the like-minded. When one member of that tribe displays leadership, wisdom or style, others follow.

In the 1940s, Betty Grable was such a big celebrity that her legs were insured for $1 million. In a publicity stunt for a maker of nylons at the time, DuPont, her stockings were auctioned at a war bond rally and fetched $40,000.

Not always a good match

Influence is relative.

If you Googled “top 5 celebrities of 2021,” songstress Billie Eilish tops the list, followed by Demi Lovato and Justin Bieber. After their names are their social media follower statistics, signaling the type of audience to whom they appeal.

If you’re talking about science, the list includes those dominating in the fields of quantum physics and virology. If you have a scientific product that needs to become known, would you be worrying about your social media, or what YouTuber you should be using for your marketing campaign?

Let’s say that product is a cooling coil for a quantum computer, and cooling is one of the biggest problems to overcome for quantum computing engineers. Influencers for you will be engineers and product developers in computer science at IBM, Hughes Research Labs and Google.

If you got your product in front of these people, they become your influencers. These thought leaders or experts could make or break your business—and because they have accomplishments behind their notoriety, their opinion is worth its weight in gold.

This is an unbiased opinion. Reporters are paid to do the same thing. This is why public relations is so valuable.

Creative use of influencing

Apple does an annual state-of-the-state address. Google did one this year for the first time called I/O, in which Sundar Pichai—CEO of Google’s parent company, Alphabet—outlines what the company is up to and where it’s going. For a public company, this is similar to a shareholder letter that Warren Buffett writes in his annual report.

I recently watched I/O because a good friend of mine is the lead engineer at Google and is building the quantum computer there.

For all the different parts of Google’s business, the department leads gave presentations. But when it came to one of the most influential things that Google is doing (quantum computing), it hired a celebrity, Michael Peña, to pithily question my friend Erik Lucero about the nature of quantum computing. It was entertaining and made a difficult subject more understandable.

In this case, the influencer is Google, which is using a celebrity from another world of “Oh, yeah, I know who that guy is” to interface with a PhD physicist to express this. What a brilliant use of influence!

The influencers people speak of today are self-appointed and using the viral nature of social media to look pretty or sound fun and collect as many others to watch them. After they’ve collected an audience of followers, this provides value and they charge money to talk about your stuff to that audience.

This is not really that different than The General or Icy Hot hiring Shaquille O’Neal to be a spokesperson. But unlike influencers of today, he has become an influencer because he’s already had a career of stupendous accomplishments in basketball.

Remember the 2 questions

The biggest question about the self-appointed influencers of social media today is: Why are their followers following them? If that reason matches what you’re trying to do, it may be worth paying them to say what you want them to say.

Before you choose an influencer or tastemaker in your sandbox, however, the most important thing you need to begin with is: Who is my customer? Where does he or she hang out? Who do they believe is influential?

This levels the playing field of choices and is the only way that any business—whether it makes cooling coils for quantum computers or designer shoes—must do if one expects to build a business or even sell an invention.

Social media audiences

Even if your customer is someone who spends plenty of time on social media, he or she still may not be influenced by influencers. First, get clear about social media audiences.

Each of those audiences are influenced by different things.

For example, iGen aka GenZ (ages 9-26 in 2021) will likely buy mascara from a beauty influencer who has been paid to say nice things about it and not think twice about the bias they were just suckered into. These young people grew up on social media, so culturally, they define personal worth by social media popularity.

A Baby Boomer or Gen X (57-75 and 42-56) would generally not be as wooed to buy and consider being paid to recommend or “sell out.” Two very different customers—neither better than the other but influenced differently.

Traditional marketing is still the best way to make customers aware of your invention

PR is hands-down the most cost-effective traffic generation tool.


Every Internet marketer I’ve met is staunchly defensive of direct result marketing methodologies as the only way to sell a product.

Yes, more than 60 percent of products can be found online, but that’s not the marketplace for all things. E-commerce has not replaced how we become aware of inventions or products.

Whether you’re selling online, in a brick-and-mortar environment, a bodega in New York City or a kiosk in India, you still need to get customers to know about you before you can sell to them.

For e-commerce, search engine optimization (SEO) is necessary to get traffic to your store. (Editor’s note: SEO is the process of making web pages attractive to search engines, most notably Google. The better a website’s SEO, the likelier someone will come across the website when searching for information on the Internet.)

But I’m going to tell you why public relations is more effective.

Proven approach

In 1991, when the first Internet bubble was growing, I attended one of the first swanky Internet networking organization parties for a large networking organization in Los Angeles. Everyone had a business idea, and selling it online was so novel that money was being thrown at non-revenue-generating business models.

Being the entrepreneur I am, I saw an opportunity: How were these products going to market themselves? At the time, entrepreneurs were so over the moon about e-commerce, they naturally thought if they were selling online, they had to market online. This could not have been further from reality.

I was not sure at first that PR would be well received by this group. However, within an hour of being there, I came up with my own technology and called it Marketing Bridge. It was meant to teach online businesses how to integrate traditional methods into their marketing mix and vice versa.

My pitch about the value of Marketing Bridge: “If you are selling tickets online to bus and train riders, you might think about buying ads on bus underground station benches (instead of just online).”

Soon after, I accepted an invitation from e-marketing guru Eben Pagan to talk about PR to his Guru Mastermind group of 500 who had flown to Los Angeles from all over the world. I practically pulled out my hair figuring how I could connect the non-measurable, awareness-centric value of PR for this audience of hardcore e-marketers.

During the three-day workshop I incessantly texted my e-marketing mentor, Chance Barnett, with requests for encouragement. I needed ideas on how to make this direct marketing/PR connection.

Finally, he said: “Listen, what you do is the only way I know that you can get third-party endorsement to millions of people in just one magazine, newspaper article or TV/radio show. No affiliate marketing program or pay-per-click program does that. So, go get ‘em!”

I exhaled, sat back, and realized he was right.

Non-SEO impacts

I decided would just talk about what I know: PR is hands-down the most cost-effective traffic generation tool.

Press clips my company has generated garnered from 350 percent to 156,000 percent return on investment—and reached millions of eyeballs for clients including Mrs. Fields cookies, a no-snoring product endorsed by Shaquille O’Neal, and virtually every invention startup you can imagine. That’s pure PR value.

Every website in the world must have marketing to get people there! Not marketing to attract your customer is like having a party and forgetting to send invitations.

Did you know the Los Angeles Times is the largest metropolitan daily newspaper in America with a daily readership of 1.4 million; 2.5 million on Sunday; more than 22 million unique latimes.com visitors monthly; and a combined print and online local weekly audience of 4.1 million?

As for magazines, the largest readership of any is AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) with a whopping 35 million. These traditional print publications pose great PR opportunities.

PR’s trust factor

Here’s the clincher: Did you know that when a reporter gives his or her opinion about something in editorial, it’s free?

By contrast, the cost of SEO services vary, depending on what’s needed. In 2020, the average SEO project cost between $1,000 and $2,000 a month based on the scope.

A one-off project could range from $5,000 to $10,000; hourly rates for SEO consultants charge between $80 and $200 an hour. And because the competition is stiff, this is a cost a company must spend consistently throughout its lifetime.

The beauty of PR is that when a reporter writes an article or reports a story on air, your invention or product is getting treasured “third-party endorsement.” This, next to a “word-of-mouth” recommendation, is the most influential marketing you can get.

Think of all the products Oprah has deemed her favorite. What do you think happened to their traffic?

Many customers today know the difference between an ad and editorial. They know that an advertiser buys space and has the freedom to say just about anything. The trust factor that once existed in the advertising world is no longer.

Internet marketing is all about building trust between a seller and customer. It’s about getting into a customer’s head and finding a way to solve his or her problem. This makes PR an even more stellar approach.

I’m not suggesting you ignore the e-marketing basics of looking for rankings, obtaining affiliate relationships or pay-per-click advertising. You have to do that, or your website will wander aimlessly in Internet space.

What I am suggesting is that you find something newsworthy about your product and get it reported about in magazines, newspapers, radio and TV that is read /seen/heard by your target customer.