Arthur Conan Doyle & Self-Promotion

My latest reading ventures have led me into the pages of the biography “The Adventures of Arthur Conan Doyle” by Russell Miller. As a Sherlock Holmes fanatic, I know just about everything about the wonderous fictional character that Conan Doyle created (including the author’s own disdain for Mr. Holmes). In more recent years, especially after reading the novel “George and Arthur” by Julian Barnes, I’ve become fascinated with the man behind the world’s greatest (and only) consulting detective.

Arthur Conan Doyle is a character in his own right, and his own life story is more than worthy of the pages of a bestseller. Reading this biography is nearly as thrilling as reading one of the Holmes and Watson stories. As I’ve been reading, I’ve learned a lot about the man as both an individual and an author. I’ve also been reminded of several things I already knew–for instance, Conan Doyle was a doctor who, after a less than successful ophthalmology practice, decided he was more passionate about writing and was rightfully convinced that he could make a living from it. And yet, even before he opened his eye doctor practice, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle began his first practice outside of London with seemingly similar success–at least at first. He advertised his services as a general practitioner, but the client flow was slow, and Dr. Doyle soon turned to some interesting techniques in an attempt to draw clientele.

Reading this biography through the eyes of a PR major, I was quite impressed with Conan Doyle’s own self-promotion. The relatively poor young doctor begin by taking out a small ad in the local paper:

“…curiously in the ‘Miscellaneous Wants’ column, announcing: ‘Dr. Doyle begs to notify that he has removed to 1, Bush Villas, Elm Grove, next to the Bush Hotel.’ The wording was crafty, implying that he had transferred his practice from some other location.”
Undoubtably Dr. Doyle had a way with words in his novels and short stories, but I was surprised (and impressed) to find that his brilliance even extended as far as self-promotion. His cleverly worded “ad” would make PR practitioners of today proud. Wording is everything, and Conan Doyle clearly knew how to position his message to the proper audience. By thinking of him as an established doctor, people would be more willing to consult him.

The next little bit of publicity that impressed me took place that same year, as he worked hard to get his small practice off the ground:

“After a riding accident outside his front door in November 1882, he sent [his brother] off to the Portsmouth Evening News with a report which it obligingly published: ‘An accident, which might have led to serious consequences, occurred this afternoon in Elm-grove as Mr Robinson, of Victoria-road, was riding in front of the Bush Hotel, his stirrup leather snapped, and he was thrown to the ground, the animal rearing at the same time and falling partially upon him. He was conveyed to the house of Dr Conan Doyle, of Bush Villas, and that gentleman was able to pronounce that, though considerably shaken and bruised, there was no injury of any consequence.'”

Conan Doyle’s little story runs like a modern-day press release, while working to get him some much-needed publicity.

Of course, all through his life Conan Doyle showed a distinct ability to relate to his audience, making him a beloved and personable national treasure. These are just two examples that truly jumped off the page at me as I read about this marvelously interesting man. It just goes to show that even one of Britain’s greatest writers was not above a bit of self-promotion. I can’t wait to read on and find out more about the man, and I highly suggest that if you have any interest in either Sherlock Holmes or the man who created him, pick up a copy of Russell Miller’s “The Adventures of Arthur Conan Doyle,” from which I quoted in this blog.

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PR Humor: “The Most Amazing Press Release Ever Written”

How would you like to read the [self-proclaimed] “Most Amazing Press Release Ever Written” ?

Well you’re in luck, because Mitch Delaplane, founder of PitchPoint Public Relations, has seen fit to bequeath upon us this most amazing release.

Delaplane clearly displays his unique approach toward the industry, but putting a twist on the classic release. This tactic is sure to garner much deserved attention for his company. So read on and enjoy, but beware contradicting the release’s title, because, as the press release concludes: “If you disagree, issue your own press release and prepare for war.”

The Most Amazing Press Release Ever Written

PR Professional Distributes Groundbreaking Press Release

CHICAGO, Jan. 11, 2011 /PRNewswire/ – Mitch Delaplane of PitchPoint Public Relations has issued the most amazing press release ever written.  While hundreds of press releases are distributed daily, Delaplane feels this particular release will go down in history as the most amazing press release that has ever been written.

“I’ve been in the business for over ten years and have to say, I’m speechless,” claims Delaplane.  ”The title alone grabs you and demands that it be read.  Then there’s this quote that completely takes things to an entirely new level.  I’m proud of this press release.  In fact, I think it is [really] amazing.”

Typically reserved for company news announcements and other public relations communications, the press release has long been the favored default for informing media about exciting, groundbreaking news.  Then this news release comes along and changes everything people thought they knew about press releases.

“I’m quoting myself again because the first quote didn’t do it justice,” says Delaplane.  ”If you’re still reading this news release, then you know what I’m talking about when I say it’s something special.  In fact, it’s 483 words of pure awesomeness.  When it crosses the wires, I believe history will have been made.”

The science behind this Earth-shattering news release lies in its simplicity – no science, just pure old press release craftsmanship.  It started with an incredible brainstorming session that asked a very simple question: “what makes a press release amazing?”  Elaborate notes from that brainstorm were then formulated into mesmerizing sentences, paragraphs and pages…all expertly designed to make you pause and reflect at the brilliance of this press release.

Every single word of this news release was track changed, stetted, then track changed again to its original draft.  Upon final approval, it was spell checked, fact checked and printed for posterity.  The result is a two-page, 1.5-spaced news release that is like no other news release in existence.

According to PitchPoint Public Relations you have just read the most amazing press release ever written.  If you agree, tell Mitch at mitch@pitchpointpr.com or follow him on Twitter at Lifeisamitch.

If you disagree, issue your own press release and prepare for war.

About PitchPoint Public Relations

PitchPoint Public Relations is a very small public relations company located in Chicago, IL.  It currently consists of Mitch Delaplane, an Apple computer and his bloodhound Sally (no overhead, just great PR).  Mitch has been doing public relations since 1999 and has worked for some of the largest public relations agencies in Chicago and many of their Fortune 500 clients/brands.  While he can do every single facet of public relations, his background is in consumer and sports marketing.  His main interests are helping companies develop creative programs and alternatives to traditional public relations tactics.

SOURCE PitchPoint Public Relations