This weekend I saw a perfect example of a great piece of PR. Richard Herman has spent the weekend being interviewed by national newspapers, TV news channels and radio stations after he successfully charged £220 to a cold calling company for wasting his time. Why is that a great PR story? Because, as the Daily Mail pointed out quite blatantly in its story, Richard runs a company that sells call recording equipment. It was his experience doing this that gave him the knowledge to achieve his goal of exacting revenge on a company that kept calling his home phone when he had asked them to stop.
I’ll summarise the story briefly, in case you haven’t read it, but you can read about it on the Telegraph website. A cold-calling firm kept trying to sell Richard a PPI reclaim service, so he not only asked them to stop, he recorded himself saying to them that if they called again, he would charge them £10 per minute of each phone call. When another call came in, he sent them a bill, which they ignored. He then took action through the Small Claims Court to sue them for £195 plus £25 court costs and they paid up before the case went to court.
Here’s why this story should be a great inspiration for your PR efforts.
- The Daily Mail story names Richard Herman’s company twice in its story. The traffic increase to Retell Recorders from that story alone must have been massive.
- Other stories did not mention the company but some interviews showed him wearing a shirt branded with his company logo.
- Other stories mentioned a new website that Richard set up to help others who would like to do the same thing. Sensibly, this website does not directly promote his company, but the association still exists.
- If you search for “Richard Herman call recording”, the top results in the natural Google results is a page of his company website.
Around 15 years ago, Larry Ellison, the CEO of Oracle, ran a PR campaign saying how Oracle had saved a fortune by using its own products. This week, Richard Herman did the same thing – making his product the story. If you want to catch cold callers out, you need to record your calls, and here is an exciting story that deserves to be reported. Voilá. Blanket coverage for the story, natural growth of interest in your product, a likely boost to the rankings of your website as more people search for it and link to it.
Creating genuine news where your product is the star, even subtly, can give a major boost to your website traffic and to your search engine optimisation efforts.