WHY PR CAN’T FIX YOUR BAD PRODUCT
In previous blog posts, I’ve elaborated on what I believe PR is and why it can be incredibly powerful. I think PR can be highly beneficial for the majority of folks that use it effectively, and that good PR can go a really long way in improving your image, visibility, and most importantly, your long-term sales.
But let’s get one very important thing straight. PR people aren’t magicians. We can’t pull things from the sky and we can’t fake things that don’t exist. If your product isn’t good, innovative, or interesting, even really good PR can’t fix it.
At the end of the day it’s up to you, the creator, to produce something awesome and amazing. With the tech industry in particular evolving at a lightning pace like we’ve never seen before, thousands of new products, apps, and games are released every week. Competition is fierce, and there are many products that are super innovative, and likely just as innovative as yours.
Do your research. Look at what else is out there early on in the process. Do your due diligence. Then don’t stop. Continue to research and evolve accordingly. However, this isn’t just about competitive research. Take a step back and evaluate. Ask yourself if what you are making is something you are proud of and be honest. Make sure the product you are putting out, whatever it is, is truly something that you stand behind one hundred percent.
Chances are that you probably think the thing you’re making is good because well, you’re making it. The further along you are in the process, the more biased you likely are. The more you work on something, the more emotional investment you have and the harder it is to look at your work objectively. Ask for feedback from people you trust to be totally transparent with you along the way. This can often be invaluable in creating something awesome.
I mentioned before that good PR should be authentic, which is something that I wholeheartedly believe. That’s why at the heart of every good PR campaign is a great product. Asking a PR person to represent a shoddy, boring, unpolished or just a plain bad product is begging for inauthenticity.
When you engage in utilizing a PR person, welcome honesty and feedback. From my own personal perspective, I try to be very honest in giving clients my feedback and recommendations, even if it’s not what they want to hear. I’m often very transparent if I believe a product doesn’t look polished or could use some work because more than anything, I want the people I work with to succeed. Competition is incredibly tough for visibility, word-of-mouth, and press coverage. By having a truly amazing product, you’ve already accomplished half the battle.
In reality, PR people can only do the best with the hand that they were dealt. I try my best to only take on products and projects that I believe in. Sometimes I end up working with someone very late in the process and am asked to do shotgun PR for products that are near launch (I definitely don’t recommend this process.) In this case, there are hundreds or even thousands of decisions that have been made before I’ve even entered the scene. Some I may agree with, and some I may not, but regardless, this is the hand I was dealt. I hear from other PR pros that they often find themselves in very similar situations. This is not maximizing your PR person or capitalizing on their potential and the value they could bring to the table.
If you already released your trailer video or announced your launch date months before your launch, your PR person can’t undo this. They can help you navigate this and mitigate any problems that arise, but again, PR people aren’t magicians and can’t make things disappear (although I would personally love a top hat or a cape.) This is why it’s always best to engage in working with a PR person early.
Good PR people understand the industry, know what’s newsworthy and what isn’t, and what strategies and timing makes sense for you to get the best results. It’s true that there are never one hundred percent guarantees in PR but why not stack the deck in your favor? Start early. Encourage honesty. Work as partners and collaborate with your PR or marketing person. But most importantly, do everything you can to make the most amazing product you can possibly dream up.