Timing is Everything When Big News Happens

Timing is Everything When Big News Happens

An otherwise quiet Friday in our office quickly ratcheted up to high-alert level this past week when a major news story broke and journalists from far and wide pounded on our doors – or at least our email inboxes! Just like that, our print-campaign team was extraordinarily busy – and extraordinarily thrilled! We happened to have the right client for the right moment – and soon he was just as busy as we were, fielding media questions with professional aplomb. You probably heard about the event that launched the frenzy. It was the announcement that Amazon was buying Whole Foods, a business transaction that raised this intriguing question: How would this affect the brands of both companies, as well as the brands of their competitors? Our client, who soon became the media’s best buddy for the day, happens to be an international branding expert. Our team immediately understood that we could tie him to this major breaking news event in an impactful way. We crafted a quick pitch and sent it right off to our contacts at major publications. The response was downright explosive! Within an hour we heard from journalists at major publications like CNBC, USA Today, NBCnews.com, the Houston Chronicle, and others all vying to interview our client. We jumped on the rapidly arriving requests and arranged interview after interview after interview. Within the hour we began seeing the articles these news sites posted. And shortly after we got notice that over 60 other publications ran the USA Today story. Even LinkedIn got in the act. If you’re one of those people puzzled about the value of...
Are You Giving Your Online Reputation The Attention It Needs?

Are You Giving Your Online Reputation The Attention It Needs?

Everyone’s favorite kite-flying and stove-making founding father, Benjamin Franklin, once said that it takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, but just one bad deed to lose it. And, to my knowledge, Ben never even encountered the internet! He definitely was on to something, though, and what was true way back in the 18th century is perhaps even more so here in the 21st! Each and every one of us has a reputation to uphold, and these days we may even have two – one that gets built (or dismantled) the old-fashioned rumor-mongering way and one that’s online. That brings me to this question: Since it’s almost certain that you have an online reputation, what are you doing to manage it so that you can make sure that when someone Googles you, what they find is positive and not something that sullies your good name? Because reputations need attention – and even more so if a bad deed or two is lurking around somewhere. (Just ask our friend Ben!) So let’s take a look at a few things you can be doing to make sure your online reputation shines like a newly minted Franklin half dollar: Watch your P’s and Q’s. The best way to avoid online reputation problems, of course, is to not let them happen to begin with. Sometimes that’s easier said than done (you can’t control what others say about you online), but if you handle customer problems promptly or refrain from posting inappropriate messages on your social media, you can at least reduce the odds of bad Google results. Take advantage of social...
Fishing For PR? Always Grab The Wide Net!

Fishing For PR? Always Grab The Wide Net!

Each morning (of course, after everyone has had their first cup of coffee!) our team assembles in our conference room for a meeting that includes a little brainstorming mixed with reports on how well things are going with our clients. This is the time when we tackle some of life’s thornier questions, such as: What do you do when a major publication wants a client’s comments for an article, but the article’s focus doesn’t really relate to the client’s core message? Often, a client will say: “I pass.” Just as often, we say: “Not so fast!” We encountered just such a scenario this week and I’m happy to report that we were able to explain our reasoning to the client’s satisfaction. The result? The publication got what it wanted and our client and his company were cited in the news. But this comes up often enough that I think it’s worth sharing some of that reasoning with you. First, let me be clear that we don’t want to waste any client’s time. Occasionally, when media opportunities are flowing in, we may have to do a little PR triage as we figure out which interview requests should get priority and which ones may not be worth the time and effort. But when it comes to the top-tier newspapers and magazines, we are rarely inclined to forgo an opportunity, even if the reporter’s angle is a little off topic for the client. Our philosophy is that if it’s something the client has the expertise to provide insight for, then they should take advantage of this media moment. So here are a...
When A Journalist Comes Calling, Maximize The Moment

When A Journalist Comes Calling, Maximize The Moment

If you see it as your big moment in terms of publicity – you’re right! A journalist with a major daily newspaper contacts you by email seeking your input on his latest article, and helpfully includes a few questions for you to answer and send back. Of course you’re going to answer – or at least I hope you are! Oddly enough, we sometimes encounter clients who decide to take a pass in such situations. Maybe the reporter’s article doesn’t fit exactly into the niche they see for themselves and their brand. Maybe they don’t see any evidence that being quoted in the article will lead directly to sales or new clients. But as I so often remind them, they are missing the point. Publicity is about establishing your credibility as an expert in your field who is quoted in the press or interviewed on a show. It’s then up to you to leverage your press coverage by linking to it on your website, mentioning it when trying to attract new clients and sharing it on your social media. So even if the journalist’s topic is not exactly what you would prefer to promote about yourself or your brand, if it’s something you have the expertise to discuss, you should jump at the opportunity. Once you’ve wisely decided to participate in the interview, how do you make the most of such a media moment? Let me make a few suggestions: Keep your responses concise. I sometimes hear from clients who are unhappy that they provided a lengthy, detailed response to a journalist’s written questions, only to see just two...
The Unseen Impact Of Social Media Marketing

The Unseen Impact Of Social Media Marketing

Fairly often when I talk about social media and its role in a PR and marketing effort, people ask me this question: If I invest my money in social media marketing, how many leads will I generate or products will I sell? Whenever I get this question, it hits home that there’s a fundamental misunderstanding about what social media marketing is – or is not. As I try to explain, what social media does most effectively is create brand recognition and keep your name in front of the people you’re trying to reach. And, of course, through that process it should definitely have an impact on your sales. But it can also be an unseen impact, not just direct-response sales or leads. So, what do I mean by an unseen impact? I was just discussing this with Jay York, our senior social media strategist, and he had a great way of explaining it. Years ago, the popular TV show “Seinfeld” was often referred to as a “water cooler show” because the morning after a new episode aired people would chat about it with their co-workers. So, even those people who never watched an episode of “Seinfeld” learned about the Soup Nazi, puffy shirts and an eccentric holiday known as Festivus. They became part of our culture at that time … and still are! The same water-cooler-type moments hold true with social media. When people see something on social media that strikes their fancy, they’re likely to mention it in real life to friends or associates. It could be a restaurant, or a book, or a new store that opened...