How To Give Journalists What They Need – And Avoid Irritating Them

How To Give Journalists What They Need – And Avoid Irritating Them

A big part of the publicity game is attracting the attention of the media and persuading them to interview you. But what happens when you’ve been successful in getting the media to look your way, only to find yourself wide-eyed, nervous and murmuring, “What now?” Governors, mayors and assorted movie stars and athletes are accustomed to talking with reporters, so they generally know what to do and what not to do in such encounters. The average person doesn’t have the same track record, so when they finally land an interview they can unintentionally sabotage their relationship with the reporter before it gets off the ground. This comes from a mixture of not knowing the media rules of engagement and failing to understand that the interview is really about what the journalist wants – not what you want. For example, one no-no is to ask to see a reporter’s notes or finished article before the article is published. For a variety of reasons, most reporters won’t agree to such requests – and some of them will be downright insulted and irritated that you asked. So don’t! Here are a few other tips to help make the interview run more smoothly and to have the journalist singing your praises afterward: Don’t be late. Whether your interview is by phone or in person, be on time! Journalists are on tight deadlines and if you don’t show up on schedule you’re risking that they will move on to another source. Sure, you’re a busy person, too, but you don’t want to leave the journalist waiting. With any luck, you can build a relationship...
Want More Print Coverage? Offer Up Your Own Articles

Want More Print Coverage? Offer Up Your Own Articles

One often overlooked means of getting great publicity is to contribute articles you wrote yourself to publications. Not only does your published byline boost your visibility, it provides an excellent credential. While many of the major national publications don’t accept unsolicited articles, some do set aside space for contributor columns or accept guest columns on their op-ed pages. The New York Daily News and Newsmax, for instance, have published many articles written by our clients. In some cases, these articles have drawn the attention of other media, leading to more exposure for our clients. Smaller publications, trade magazines and online publications also may be good places for your articles to land. These publications often have small staffs, so they’re happy to get well-written articles that they don’t have to pay for. Your reward is the publicity you’ll receive because you’ll likely get a credit line that includes your website and email. To help get you started on the path to publication, here are some do’s and don’ts: Look for submission guidelines on the publication’s website – and follow them! Some publications post their rules for submitting unsolicited articles. They may outline the topics they’re interested in, minimum and/or maximum word counts, and the style. If you find guidelines, stick to them! The No. 1 mistake people make is going over the maximum word count. That will very likely get your article rejected. And, since editors often don’t tell you why they’re rejecting the article, the writer keeps repeating the mistake. Pitch your ideas before writing a full article.  While with some publications you can submit a full article, you can save...
Written A Book? The Next Step Is To Get It Reviewed

Written A Book? The Next Step Is To Get It Reviewed

I’ve long advocated writing a book as an extremely effective way to market your personal brand, and I’m happy to report that more and more professionals – doctors, lawyers, financial professionals, CEOs and others – have come to recognize the value of this. After all, why slip a potential client a business card when you can dazzle them by handing them a copy of the book you wrote?! But even when your book is mainly for marketing purposes and you don’t harbor dreams of bestseller status, you wouldn’t mind if a few people actually took the time to read it. After all, you’ve put a lot of time, energy and perhaps a piece of your soul into it. So you’d like for it to get at least a smidgen of attention in the world beyond your closest friends and relatives. And that’s where book reviews come in! Wait! Before we go further, one important factor to be aware of is that the number of books published each year is tremendous. Sources can vary on exactly how tremendous, but the range is somewhere between 600,000 to 1 million! That means you’ve got a ton of competition for grabbing the attention of those book reviewers and, ultimately, readers. (And in case you were wondering, the average book sells fewer than 250 copies.) All those deflating numbers aside, a glowing book review could be the validation you’ve been seeking for all your hard work! Of course, some reviews glow in a friendly sort of way while others are downright radioactive, so realize you’re taking a chance when you start soliciting reviews. Still,...
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...