How do we get one of those?

So, the predictable flurry of puff pieces is out to accompany the launch of Microsoft’s Zune. The Times article includes the obligatory rockstar shot of the pointing brand manager, as well as the money quote, "The first days of working on Zune were like working in a start-up company…"

Of course, the question every entrepreneur asks is not how do I get a Zune, but, "How do we get an article like that one?"

The problem with most PR strategies is that they are actually publicity strategies, and the number of really good publicity spots available is tiny. And companies like Microsoft get a big share of them, because they’re not reserved for the good, they are reserved for the big. The Zune was panned by the Times and many other reviewers just last week, and yet here’s a piece that’s practically written by their PR firm. What’s up with that?

The answer is surprisingly transparent. The Times considers this news, news worthy of two photos and a front of the biz section placement because, "…after committing hundreds of millions of dollars, Microsoft is scheduled to release that device, Zune."

In other words, if you spend 9 figures on a tech device or a movie, you can count on publicity like this.

If you can’t, time for plan B. Plan B is to hope for this but not count on it. Plan B is to have a plan that works just fine without counting on a busy editor at the local paper to make it work.