I am a big-time proponent of creativity in communications. It’s a defining attribute of exceptional practitioners of advertising, public relations, direct marketing and social media.
True creativity though takes work and, as a result, it’s common for a communicator to slip to tired approaches and clichés.
Here’s an example of how not to pitch a product that inherently lacks news value. I have shared it below in its entirety, minus the name of the PR rep who blindly sent me this pitch by Email.
1. The “look how popular my spokesperson is with major news media outlets” message fails to resonate as I am a columnist and blogger with a more modest following. For me, it’s all about the “get.” My goal is to profile newsmakers who are interesting and engaging, and have yet to be hyped up by others.
2. Trying to piggyback on the murder of University of Virginia lacrosse player Yeardley Love to make the product timely and relevant is in poor taste. I wrote about that very issue in this column in the Washington Business Journal entitled “How to (Appropriately) Market Yourself During a Time of Crisis.”
3. Failing to know about the person you are pitching is the most direct route to the trash folder. I do not write columns or blog posts for people who live in rural communities. I continue to be amazed by the buoyancy of “spray and pray” PR.
Of course, one could also argue that EZ Armor’s PR rep delivered as this pitch did score space on this blog. That contention stands up only if you subscribe to the belief that there is no such thing as bad publicity.
Dear Marc Hausman:
In a down economy home invasions increase – desperate people do desperate things. There isn’t a person out there who doesn’t want to protect their family or themselves from crime – whether it’s in a home, apartment or college dorm, and security alarm systems are not always the answer. Alan Young, a sought-after guest speaker and security expert who has been featured on top TV and radio shows, knows from years of experience exactly what works to keep people safe.
We would very much appreciate your help in getting this message out to your audience via your blog. With rural burglaries on the increase and with many parents concerned about their children’s safety while away at college, we are sure your viewers/listeners would be grateful for this expert’s valuable information on how to keep them safe. Thank you.
NAME AND CONTACT INFO WITHHELD
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Security Must Begin Before The Intruder Gets In – After Might Be Too Late…
“With Rural Burglaries on the Increase – College Towns are on Alert”
Nashville, TN, March 20, 2012 – Alan Young’s common sense and economical approach to prevent becoming a victim has made him a popular guest for radio show hosts who understand how a lagging economy has contributed to an increase in home invasions. In fact, after Young appeared on Georgiann Kiricoples ‘Breaking Through’ radio show, the host commented: “It was really interesting to hear his common sense approach to security. I know that it made me think, especially the part about alarm systems…”
Young, the CEO of Armor Concepts, is especially troubled because crimes are increasing in the suburbs and small towns where it rarely happened in the past.
The recent murder of Yeardley Love, a star Lacrosse player from the University of Virginia, who was killed after her boyfriend allegedly kicked in her door, underscores the theme of bad things happening to good people in good areas. “In any type of home invasion, buying time is critical. If a potential intruder can kick in a door and be in your home in 10 seconds, you don’t have a lot of time to react. If getting in is more difficult, you have time to call the police, plan your escape or possibly prevent them from coming in at all. Home invasions can happen anywhere and at any time,” commented Young.
Featured on local news segments as well as programs like the CBS Early Show, The Today Show, Fox News, Bloomberg and The Discovery Channel, Young explains there are three important factors in making your home secure: “Use some common sense. Don’t post vacation plans on Facebook and don’t post vacation photos while still on vacation. Many burglaries are committed by someone you know or by someone connected to someone you know. Letting the world know that you’re not home is an easy way to become a target.”
The second is to make your home a less inviting target than your neighbor’s. By this, he means keeping shrubs trimmed and installing proper lighting (inside and out). “This will make your home less attractive to a burglar unless he knows you have something he really wants.”
The third factor is about securing the exterior of your home, namely doors. While home alarm systems are helpful, with police response times often greater than 20 minutes the burglar could be in and out before the in your car:Òpolice arrive. Young equates an alarm system with having OnStar will call the police afterÒ“Would you not buckle your seat belt because OnStar you have an accident? Alarms are a good addition to your home’s security but 85% of all break-ins are through a door. Secure your doors and you greatly increase your likelihood of success against a burglar.”
For door security, Young recommends EZ Armor, an inexpensive kit that reinforces the jamb, locks and hinges on an exterior entry door. The kit can be installed in about 30 minutes by a do-it-yourselfer; it’s guaranteed to help prevent kick-ins and it can be purchased at major hardware/DIY stores, or online at www.armorconcepts.com. Easily installed on any door, this would also help bring parents some peace of mind while their kids are away at college.
Young was featured on Nashville news last year when a couple, who had been victims of burglary, avoided a repeat offense by taking Young’s advice. After being robbed, the couple installed EZ Armor as kick-in prevention on their door. When the same burglar came back weeks later and tried to kick in the same door, he made so much noise that the neighbors called the police and he was apprehended. Young reiterates: “Security doesn’t need to cost a lot, it just needs to work. Anyone that tells you otherwise is taking you for a ride. With a little common sense and a little effort you can effectively secure your home.”
Many other valuable home security tips, along with recommendations for what to do after a burglary, can be found at www.armorconcepts.com.