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March 20, 2008


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Carole Gunst

David - I made the Sunday New York Times once for being an organizer of the "Association of Ex-Lotus Employees" complete with photo. The best part of that experience was having old friends call to say that they'd read the article. Enjoy your day(s) of WSJ fame! -- Carole

Scott Monty


First of all, congratulations on the mention. I was glad to be able to give you a mention in my recommended reading list - it's well deserved.

Unfortunately, I think your analysis is not atypical. I had a slight lift on my blog during that day, but not nearly as significant as I would have expected. As you say, having the cache of saying "I was in the WSJ" is a plus, but in the end, if you're trying to build a readership or sell a product, it doesn't really matter.

What I did find is that my community came out of the woodwork to offer congratulations & praise. I had more comments on my blog that day than previous, and the stream of Twitter messages my way was significantly higher. As I said, it's an indication of my standing within my *existing* community.

This is an interesting lesson to keep in mind when counseling clients about the importance of engaging with their audience / community. It takes time to build all of those smaller links, but in the end, the relationships and credibility that you build are well worth it.

Benny Greenberg

Congratulations on the mention. The one real big thing I think we learn from this is that your theories and studies that were part of the "New Rules" Book (and I am on the third time through now - each time learning a bit more) are absolutely true.

Free "hits" in those publications are well worth it - but if you need to shell out the kind of money that would get your PR firm (if you could afford one) to get you in the Journal, you would gain a much better ROI by getting to work on your blog(s), webinars, pod casts and the like.

Thanks again for a great read and a greater book


Adrian Harrington

So I guess the question is- how to leverage that WSJ hit into influence/ action outside of your existing community of disciples? And how to expand the circle of awareness by getting noticed by people other than your peers? Maybe it's the case that the WSJ (FT in our case in London) is the ultimate arbiter of opinion- and brings the greatest bragging rights- but not a great mobiliser. So the best ink is to be found where actions follow- is that a matter of tone? readership profile? sheer content?

Matt Gentile


In regard to the value of being mentioned in the WSJ, I believe there is one tangential value that you have not discussed. I am the PR Manager for the largest real estate brokerage company in Florida, Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate. It just so happen that our parent company, NRT, VP of Marketing, Dan Burnett was in town that day. Having read the article and also having a strong desire to push our marketing more in that direction on a local level, I shared the article with him.

Now, I'm not claiming that this particulary scenario will help drive your book sales; although, it could bump your numbers up by 2 or 3, on a more macro level it demonstrates the power that traditional media have as influencers of opinion and strategic direction. Is it possible that our new VP of Marketing may read your book and set a new course that steers our marketing more in the direction of social media? Yes.

So, does that one mention then influence the entire direction or real estate marketing for the largest real estate brokerages in the world? Hyperbole, yes, but I don't believe you can discount the notion that a mention in such a high profile, highly targeted publication has the power to influence business leaders and potentially lead to big changes.

Sender - Channel - Message - Receiver, Same as it Ever Was.

From the beach chair,

Matt Gentile
FloridaMoves.com - 300 Days of Sunshine

David Meerman Scott

Thanks, all, for your comments.

Matt, yours is particularly interesting to me - I appreciate you sharing it. Yes, the WSJ certainly has the power to influence senior executives.

Take care, David

Denise aka The Blog Squad

David, congrats again on the mention in WSJ. Even though I was quoted, I got no link so my stats didn't move much from their usual daily average. However, they did feature one of the case studies I provided, of one of my blog readers so that made my day. And, I think the intangibles are important in that a mention in a major publication can help you with credibility in your niche and as you say, you get bragging rights.

Love your analysis. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Blog on!

John Bradley Jackson


The WSJ's impact may take longer than you think and may be more "linked" than you realize. I bet the story gets republished again and again in affiliate newspapers and pubs for weeks to come.

I had a similar experience and found my interview appearing for months in other pubs. When people order my book "First, Best, or Different" on my website, I personally email everyone and ask them how they heard about my book. The interview's impact on book purchase decisions continued for many weeks.

Be patient.

John Bradley Jackson
Author: First, Best or Different

Mary Ellen Merrigan

David, thanks for sharing your experience which only underscores the new reality: traditional media is not everything. For any person, any company, PR is not a one hit wonder, it’s a process. More than ever you’re the sum of everything you do. Kudos from the PR clip book (especially aka WSJ) certainly add to credibility and visibility rather than making or breaking it. I’ll be passing this post along for some time. And I can just hear it now: “Darn. There goes another shortcut to fame and glory.”

Jeff Davis

I love this post. I once had a consumer food client that I helped get exposure on NBC's Today Show, followed shortly thereafter on DailyCandy.com.

The Today Show segment was extremely positive with Katie, Matt and Al clearly liking the product.

The DailyCandy review, however, led to significantly more sales, pointing to how the immediacy of the right online hit helps customers make an instant buying decision.

Phil Myers

Actually was lucky enough to get two feature articles in the Journal for prior companies. The value we got out of it was only in the reprints. The only people who see these things are you and your immediate family unless it's a hot issue that week.

Random thought. It would be really cool to line-up the measurements you get from a sample of activities -- article in journal, publishing an e-book, running a webinar, blog post, speaking at an event, direct marketing, etc -- and see what the impacts on traffic are. The nature of your business makes this all really tangible and interesting.


Adele Revella

Love this post, David. Speaking as someone who "grew up" in PR a few decades ago, it's my experience that press coverage never did have a measurable impact on these metrics -- its just that we didn't have many other options in those days. It is the nature of mainstream media that makes it impossible for it to have the impact of your New Rules. I read the WSJ every day (pretty thoroughly) and yet missed your mention -- wouldn't have known about it if you hadn't referenced it here. If we want to get any return on our investment in traditional press coverage, we need to republish it in places our buyers are visiting, impressing them that we were the experts (or product) that publication chose to talk about. Thus traditional PR can support the New Rules if you can afford to do it. It isn't a bad idea, its just that too many companies have their priorities misaligned.

Steve Yastrow

David, thanks for pointing out a great example of how the world has changed. It's not just the fragmentation of the media ... your customers are influenced by different things.

- Steve

Kelly Monaghan


I enjoyed reading this.

Things have changed in the last decade or so (as we moved from a print-centric world to a bits and bytes model). When I first started writing and publishing (early to mid 90s), a mention in the New York Times would send orders pouring in, often hundreds in a day or so.

Since I am a worker who controls the means of production, and since I had limited bookstore distribution then, and since back in those days people actually ordered through the mail (!), all this was easily quantifiable.

Fast forward to the Internet era and, as you discovered, things are not so simple. And while sales of the books I now publish have gone up (in aggregate -- not every one is a winner), pegging sale A to medium B is nigh on impossible, except for ads in ezines and coding with my affiliate program.

You didn't mention Bookscan. Bookscan lets you zero in on bookstore sales (well, 70% of them, according to the most commonly cited rule of thumb) by region, city, and week. It's therefore possible to get a sense of what an article in, say, a Chicago paper did for your sales in Chicago bookstores.

If you'd like me to run a Bookscan report for you, I'd be happy to.

Tatiana Tugbaeva

I believe there is one important benefit that you have not discussed in your post. Traditional media, especially a powerful opinion-driver like WSJ, builds your credibility and improves your reputation.

Hundreds (thousands?) of potential fans of your blog may have read that article by now. And, who knows, next time they are looking for a blog on online marketing and PR, they will know who you are and choose your blog over tons of others.

Eero Brillantes

Hi David,

Your piece on reality bites after a good publicity is thought provoking. Let me mention some points to further underscore.

Without having to steal the thunder after a successful press agentry, it might also be worthy to note the my learnings of public relations, with emphasis on relations.

A lot of times I get briefings from potential business clients requiring the service of a PR firm. They would usually mention a plethora of services they need to be supplied with. In these types of briefings I am somewhat disturbed by the marketing concepts laid on the table. These are usually heavy on promotions and publicity, and they decided early on that the problem is communication.

Having stamped their expert opinion on what ails their sales and what needs to be done, they expect the hired gun to make the world a better place.

That is why I find this kind of briefing lacking in some essentials. A staccato of questions run through my mind and usually left unanswered when asked. Is it really a communication issue? Is the industry in a slump or competitors experiencing more growth? Where will the growth come from? Who are the stakeholders and are they happy with the company?

All of these questions run up to a basic issue. Relationships.
To my mind, what seems to be essentially missing is a deep understanding of nurturing relationships between companies and their potential or actual core believers.

Thus more often than not, companies reliant on heavy promotions and publicity are caught in a vicious cycle of high turn over of clients and even for marketing and sales personnel.

But since sales do consummate, bring out the wallet for another round of heavy promotions and publicity. What the heck. It’s a living.

For companies who invest in relationship building with core believers, namely satisfied customers and passionate personnel, the returns are more sustainable and cost effective.

The increase in talk value and referrals alone made by those who believe in a company and its product or service becomes very inversely proportional to the amount of money for tactical campaigns. You only have to look at premium blogs to emphasize the point.

Later on in the road, a mention in the Wall Street Journal puts more exclamation points to the credibility of a company with good relations management programs.

Of course it goes without saying that as a basic rule in PR, you can only do so much bells and whistles. The company must first be able to really back up its claims.

The power of good PR first comes from within the company and the people who stake their reputations along with it.

Good publicity in the major media outlets is the global stamp of approval. A seal of good house keeping in a way.

Eero Brillantes
Mind Bullet inc.

Raj Khera

Several years ago, one of my company's web sites, http://www.morebusiness.com, got ranked in the WSJ as one of the top small business web sites for entrepreneurs. I didn't even know it was mentioned till weeks later when a friend mailed me a clipping. We saw no increase in traffic as a result of that mention.

But don't discount the bragging rights. We immediately updated our media kit to include the fact that WSJ thought so highly of our site. The result: a boost in ad sales.

Raj Khera

David, after I posted my comment above, I peaked at your Wikipedia entry. Your birth date is right at the top. Happy Birthday!


Many clients and PR companies (as, David you mention in your book') measure results by the number of press clippings. As a PR consultant I've always found this a soulless outcome. Not only was it stress for the poor little PR worker desperately trying to call-in favours from their buddy journalists to make up the required (usually over ambitious) number of monthly clippings; but it also seemed to a bit pointless when in a bid to get the required results l you'd be happy with any old name check in any publication, no matter how small or unrelated to your target audience. Am sure some of the clippings I've secured for clients in my past life have never been read by anyone (except the client) never mind acted upon..

'New Rule PR & Marketing' makes a lot more sense and it much cheaper.

Robin Avery

Hi David,

Congratulations on your mention in the Wall Street Journal!

In the last chapter of the “New Rules...” your appreciation for human nature and the difficulty, with which we often resist change, is most welcome.

I wonder if it isn’t typical to hold onto what is familiar, i.e. traditional marketing strategies and PR because it’s simply hard to change and large marketing budgets offer an illusion of security and success. Thinking through who is your buyer, researching their persona and concerns, writing interesting, alluring and targeted website content, and making blog comments requires commitment, creativity, is challenging and requires a dedicated work ethic. But as I attempt it, I imagine the financial and personal satisfaction will be second to none. (except, in my case, finishing an original recording.)

As a singer/songwriter the royal road to sales was always seen as possible via the major record deal, national terrestrial promotion and distribution. On the other hand, myriads of brilliant independent artists were shut out of that possibility. Not the case today. But to succeed in the new business model we have to wear many different hats. To function as both artist and independent label in the new online world, I find myself in marketing and PR. That can be a little intimidating and yet, exciting.

Embracing changes in online marketing, as you mention in the final chapter, at a pace and approach that is in sync with my own personal strengths, skills and comfort level, is encouraging. It gives me a sense of control over what I do, and offers more realistic possibilities. But, in order to move forward, to try out and apply the new model, life experience has taught me that I must do the research, use the data to drive traffic and sales, as you point out in the Wall Street blog,
but eventually let go of the outcome.

Hopefully, if I am like most people, I am not on either side of the extreme and fall into the category of, eager to get started but not impulsive; cautious, careful, but not paralyzed by overwhelming feelings.

I will remind myself to put one foot in front of the other every step of the way.

Thank you for your thoughtful wisdom.

Robin Avery
Green Eyes Music

David Meerman Scott

Robin, you are so right. Embracing change is important. What I do is similar to what you do. My first book (a novel) was self published. Many people laughed. Now that I have earned some popularity, that decision to self-publish looks brilliant, even though many see it as less than ideal.


Jacqueline Staph @ Redpig

True, true, true! My company, Redpig Gifts, was featured on a prominent national TV show, and we did not reap the benefits in the way we thought. Sales barely hovered above normal in the days following the air. However, bragging rights and the inexplicable proliferation of the video online have proven beneficial enough over the last few months.

שולחן מנהלים

I think there are many intangible benefits of being quoted in a major publishing company or have spoken in your home.


I think it all depends on the visibility and popularity of the article. That type of link on popular topic will show your blog as an authority in your industry + dofollow link will help your search enegine rankings big time. I can not see more valuable linkback than a link from WSJ.


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