Plan Your 2017 Marketing And Reduce Your Tax Bill At the Same Time

Plan Your 2017 Marketing And Reduce Your Tax Bill At the Same Time

Have you ever noticed that often in life we fail to take advantage of all the opportunities available to us – even when we knew or should have known they were there for the plucking? Let me give you an example of what I’m talking about that’s relevant as the end of 2016 comes roaring into sight and soon will be nothing more than a fading memory in our rearview mirrors. Most of us know that when you spend marketing dollars before Dec. 31 you gain a 2016 tax write-off. But let’s face it, at this time of year we get caught up in last-minute shopping, decorating and other holiday activities that are mixed in with our already hectic day-to-day responsibilities. Thoughts about what we might be doing to score some down-to-the-wire tax savings can’t always find their way through all that clutter. Perhaps around the second week of January what we missed will dawn on us and we’ll smack ourselves in the head like those people in the old “I could have had a V-8” commercials! I don’t know about you, but I never like the feeling I get when I think I may have squandered opportunities for both promotions and tax savings. I mean, it’s a double whammy of woes and you never want to fall into that trap. So let me offer a few simple suggestions on how you can combine thinking about taxes with thinking about marketing and come out ahead on both. No need to delay. “But, Marsha,” you say, “I’m not releasing anything until a few months into the New Year. I’ve got...
Tailor Your Message To Match The Media’s Needs

Tailor Your Message To Match The Media’s Needs

One of the challenges we often face at EMSI is helping our clients understand the need to tailor their message – or even condense it – so that it appeals to busy editors and producers whose email inboxes are inundated with pitches. That’s the name of the game with publicity. If you can’t sell the media on your message, you won’t reach your audience. It’s a lesson I learned early on in this business. I built my company on a pay-for-performance approach, so it was clear that if I was going to be successful I would need to serve two clients – those who pay me to get them in the media, but also the media themselves by giving them content that suits their needs and engages their audiences. Just this week some of the team members at EMSI and I were discussing how some clients have big, complicated messages with numerous working parts, all of which they want to cram into one short article or interview. That’s just not going to work. It’s like trying to stuff your entire wardrobe into one carry-on travel bag. In that situation, we tell them, it’s better to break your message down into bite-size chunks, pitching easily digestible portions of it to the media rather than trying to serve them every item on your menu. I’d say most people get this once you explain it to them. But, unfortunately, not everyone does. Not long ago, one client rebuffed our efforts to help him massage his message in a way that would give it broader appeal, saying, “I’m not here to please the...
How PR Can Help Mend Your Broken Reputation

How PR Can Help Mend Your Broken Reputation

I’m happy to report that the Internet remains one of the most powerful tools around for helping you build your brand, whether your goal is to promote yourself, your business or both. I’m not so happy to report that there’s a downside. Unfortunately, the Internet is also a tool that your detractors can wield to tear down your reputation and sully your brand. Dissatisfied customers, sneaky competitors and anyone else with a keyboard can post critical reviews and maybe even outright fabrications about you, and their words could show up when people start searching you out in the online world. This is also true if you made some regrettable mistake that was significant enough to become media fodder. That may show up, too, much to your reputation’s detriment. That’s the bad news. The good news is there are steps you can take to repair your online reputation, though admittedly this can sometimes be a long-term endeavor. Let’s explore some of the possibilities: Secure media coverage. One way to fight bad publicity on the Internet is to counter it with good publicity. If the news media publish articles or broadcast interviews that put you in a good light, the negativity can be pushed down in the results people see when they Google your name. So pitch yourself to the media, offering to speak on your area of expertise. For example, if you’re a financial professional, you could talk about ways people can plan for a more stable retirement. If you’re a nutritionist, you could discuss dieting tips. Let the media know you are at the ready to provide useful information...
Don’t Be Bashful! Self-Promotion Is Essential For Building Your Brand

Don’t Be Bashful! Self-Promotion Is Essential For Building Your Brand

We’ve probably all been at social gatherings where one person monopolizes the conversation and drones on endlessly about his or her extraordinary achievements and experiences. By evening’s end, you walk away shaking your head and thinking to yourself, “What a shameless self-promoter. I hope I’m never like that!” And you certainly shouldn’t be! Not in that manner anyway! But whether you’re a small business owner, a professional, a CEO or an author, you do need to promote yourself, no matter how uncomfortable the “bragging” might make you feel. While you don’t want to come across like the boasting uncle who claims to have done everything first and better, you do need to overcome any shyness or reluctance that keeps you from letting the world know about what you have to offer. So let’s take a look at some steps that can help you promote yourself – without coming across as an egotistical windbag in the process! Acknowledge that self-promotion is necessary. Like it or not, brand awareness – whether it’s a personal or company brand – is essential for success in today’s marketplace. If you look around you’ll see that even people with well-established personal brands continue to promote themselves. Elon Musk, for example, keeps an active Twitter account. So do horror novelist Stephen King and former astronaut and recent book author Buzz Aldrin. Each of these people has a name that you wouldn’t think needs any more promoting. And yet they and others just as famous keep right on promoting. You should, too. To get some ideas for how to go about that, research the opinion leaders in...
Identify The Unique Message That Will Help You Promote Your Brand

Identify The Unique Message That Will Help You Promote Your Brand

Each day journalists and radio and TV talk-show hosts need someone to talk to. In fact, they need many someones. Maybe they want a source who can explain why the stock market just crashed. Maybe they are in search of a guest for a TV talk show that specializes in lifestyle topics or a radio show that emphasizes health issues. On any given day they could want any number of people on any number of topics. And that’s where you come in because if you position yourself correctly, you could be one of those people the media go to when they need expert commentary on breaking news or on the latest trends. Of course, there’s also plenty of competition for that media attention! Why should they choose you over all those other folks?  Clearly, you need to separate yourself from the pack and to do that you’ll need to figure out what’s unique about you and your message, and then let the media and the world at large know about you. How do you accomplish that? Here are a few steps you can take to get members of the media to turn their attention your way: Focus on what you’re passionate about. You no doubt work 40, 50 or 60 hours a week. Maybe even more! Even if you love what you do, I’ll bet you’re not passionate about everything you do every minute of every day. So examine your typical day’s routine and figure out what it is that really gets your juices flowing. What revs up your enthusiasm? If you home in on what you’re really passionate...
Blazing A Trail Of Publicity Until The Paparazzi Get Here

Blazing A Trail Of Publicity Until The Paparazzi Get Here

We all love to dream big, so I guess it’s no surprise that at EMSI we occasionally speak with people who expect to leapfrog over what they consider the “lesser” media and land a spot in the chair next to Ellen or be quoted in the New York Times. My husband and business partner, Steve, who has a great sense of humor, sometimes gets in a teasing mood when he is on the phone with potential clients who express this sort of ambition. He tells them to get up and go to the window. They are rightfully puzzled and ask why they should do that. “Just go look out the window,” he repeats. Being good sports, they comply. When they return to the phone, Steve playfully asks, “Did you see any paparazzi out there?” The message, delivered with a bit of lightheartedness, is clear: For most of us, the media is not hovering at the doorstep, ready to cling to every word we say. Certainly, the point is not to dash anyone’s dreams of hitting the big time with publicity (I’ll cheer enthusiastically if you do), but you have to be realistic. Before you have a reasonable shot at getting Ellen DeGeneres or the New York Times or anyone else of that caliber to even consider you, you need to build credibility and give them a reason to want to interview you. Top-tier publications and national TV talk shows prefer sources and guests with a track record. If they Google you and find nothing more than your LinkedIn and Facebook pages, they likely will move on. If, however, they...