I almost missed it in the pre-holiday frenzy, but last week Kate Kaye of Clickz wrote up an excellent way to use Google Ads (in this case funded by a Google Grant) to hitch your promotional wagon to a presidential candidate’s star:
The Environmental Law and Policy Center gets up to $10,000 worth of Google ads provided free of charge each month to help promote its green efforts, including one aimed at reaching Iowa caucus voters. A search for “Hillary Clinton” turns up an ad suggesting that users “Learn how Hillary Clinton proposes to solve global warming.” Targeted to presidential candidate names, the ads link to IowaGlobalWarming.org, and are part of a year-long campaign set to finalize after January’s Iowa caucuses.
This tactic is an extension of a classic PR tool, which is to tie the story you’re trying to pitch to something topical and pressing. Of course, it’s a classic PR tool because it works, though if too many people jump on board the Google Ad train, the cost of running ads on the candidates’ names becomes prohibitive (try buying a more specific query if that happens to you).
While we’re on the subject of PR, check out this Wall Street Journal blog piece by Laura Lorber (via Publicity Hound) about a flack’s pitch gone tragically wrong (be sure to read before you send, kids). For more consequences of bad pitching, see “Long Tail” Chris Anderson’s email blacklist, which also sparked a fairly violent discussion among PR types.