Who doesn’t like positive press? It’s generally good for business. Strokes the ego. Makes your employees feel good. Heck, you could even argue that even some bad press can be good for at least some of the above reasons. But positive media coverage isn’t always good for business. Yes, you read that right. Good press. Bad thing. It’s a lesson I’m reminded of as the Consumer Electronics Show fades into the rearview mirror and companies continue working toward the next product stage. A few years ago, I attended CES with a small startup to help preview a new product. Scheduled for launch later that month, it was unique, cutting-edge and had the chance to establish a standard. That’s what the media told everyone, and there was a lot of media. The client was thrilled. We were thrilled.
There was a small problem. The launch timetable we promoted wasn’t realistic. The product wasn’t ready that month. Or the next month. Or six months later. When it finally launched that fall, the effect was the polar opposite of that thrilling preview. The reasons were many, but it’s hard not to revisit CES as crossing a significant threshold. We set expectations. We established momentum. It’s an important consideration for anyone seeking to leverage the power of public relations, whether that’s just a small story in a community newspaper, or attempts to seize attention at the largest trade show in the U.S. When you press go on a media relations program, when you actively solicit them to write, view, promote, recommend a product or service, you must be prepared for the potential ramifications. Understand that the story doesn’t end with, well, a good story. It’s just the beginning. Can you handle the time and the demands? Can you leverage it effectively? Can you deliver on the messages you discuss? Or is the timing just not right? Be honest in the assessment, because it will have an impact on sales, marketing, operations and every piece of the business. And once you’ve peeled back the curtain, there’s no turning back. Media coverage is a powerful thing, for any business. Done right, it can help to transform a product or a company. But you only have one chance to capture their imagination. Make sure to use it wisely.