Do you remember the “Got Milk” series of ads? The thing that was so great about those ads was their udder (couldn’t resist) simplicity.
The commercials always offered a serious problem that could only be solved with milk. And the ads drove the message home with their ending line – a simple question: Got Milk? If you didn’t have any milk on hand, you wished you did. Heaven forbid you end up in the same circumstance as the poor guy or gal who ran out of milk in the commercial.
But what does milk have to do with public relations? Everything.
The bottom line in any successful PR strategy is whether or not you can tell your story simply. This isn’t the same as having a simplistic story — in fact, you may have a very complex story. But your need to be able to tell your story in a way that your audience – i.e., reporters and editors, and ultimately, your target customers – can readily understand. The got milk marketing team could have bored people to death with stories of strong bones, calcium deficiencies and osteoporosis – all told by doctors and hunched over grey-haired grandmas. But you wouldn’t have listened or remembered the message – or probably even what they were selling.
The Got Milk ads worked because they took a complex thought and boiled it down to a simple form. You may have the most complex business in the world, but if you are unable to boil down your PR message to something that reporters and editors can understand in the blink of an eye – because that’s about how long you’ve got to get their attention – then your message is trash can bound.
The place to tell all, really delve into all the details about the message you’re trying to convey, is not in your press releases or your pitches to an editor. It’s in the interview that those tools help you to get. The key is to get an editor’s attention quickly, succinctly, with a message that makes sense for both the editor and his or her audience, which of course is your target customer. Give them just enough to leave them thirsty for more – information that is, not milk.