Seth Godin has a cool blog about marketing and other business stuff. I like his direct writing style and he definitely has a “value add” focus in his topics. You walk away from each blog post with useful information that can usually be applied readily.
Seth's topic today was PR vs. Publicity. He makes a good point: PR is about crafting your story and it is composed of all data points that get associated with your business. It's about how you do business, the way you do business, why you do business, etc. Publicity, as he describes it, is “getting ink”.
My experience is similar to Seth's: most people think a ton about getting ink and disregard the importance of a good story. And it is cool having a story written about your business. But I adamantly do not agree with the misconception out there that any press is good press. You want GOOD press – and accurate press. People care about integrity and authenticity. Now – when dollars are being spent even more carefully than in previous times – it's the stories that matter (much to Seth Godin's point). People really care that you sew your decorative pillows by hand in your basement. They want to hire an insurance agent who makes house calls to house-bound clients to gather policy information. Money is emotionally charged in new ways – and people look to feel better when they spend. It feels good to spend money on a product or service with someone who is clearly and powerfully living their passion.
Write out your story – the part about why you do what you do. Share the history in your bio or About page on your website. Let them feel your passion for your work when they hear you talk about it or when they contact you to buy your product or service.
And if you can't find that passion and tell a meaningful story, reconsider your work. Or, dig deeper. You really gotta have it.