3 Signs Your PR Efforts Are Stalling Out

3 Signs Your PR Efforts Are Stalling Out

It’s usually easy to figure out when to call a plumber. You turn on the shower and there’s no hot water, or your basement suddenly looks like the kiddie pool at Busch Gardens. It’s the same with your car. If it doesn’t start in the morning, something clearly is amiss and you might want to check with your mechanic. Your public relations campaign, however, is a bit more art than science, so it’s not always as easy to tell whether it needs the eye of a pro. But here are a few tips that can help you determine when your own efforts have run their course: Sporadic Response from the Media: When you send out repeated press releases or pitches, and no one responds, that’s an obvious clue. However, some campaigns start with a smattering of response – a few nibbles in the first week or two – but a month later everything goes silent. When this occurs, it’s definitely time to regroup. Another red flag is when you get a few media inquiries, but most of them elect to pass on your story after your follow-up to their response. That could mean many things, but one reason might be a disconnect between your pitch and the information in your release or website. If you get more than one or two of these interrupted cycles, take a closer look at the information the media is viewing about you. Try to see it from their point of view so you can identify whether something might be chasing them away. It’s rare for anyone in the media to take the time...
How To Handle The Media’s Tough Questions – And Come Out Smiling

How To Handle The Media’s Tough Questions – And Come Out Smiling

What makes for a good talk radio or TV show, or a captivating newspaper or magazine article? Often, it’s a little controversy – just the thing many people being interviewed by the media hope to avoid. They want a friendly chat, but they fear an inquisition. I confess to a mixed view here. I understand the value of a robust debate – and I also sympathize with the trepidation of our clients who are afraid they’ll be lobbed a live grenade instead of a polite question. But remember this: people go head-to-head with talk show hosts and print journalists every day and emerge smiling with their dignity and all their body parts intact. How? They’re prepared. You can be, too. Let me share a few tricks for holding your own during a media interview, regardless of whether the person asking the questions decides to stir things up or not: Make it a conversation. During the interview, don’t picture yourself on a stage or as a voice blaring from car stereo speakers. Instead, talk with the interviewer as if the two of you are having a conversation in your living room. I’ve had many clients tell me that once they understood this approach, interviews were much easier no matter what direction the journalist or talk show host tried to steer the interview. Boil down your thoughts to three to five bullet points. These will be the messages you want to get across, the information that will be the most valuable to the readers, listeners or viewers. (Note: I know the message most valuable to you is “buy my book/product/service,” but...
The Secret To Promoting Yourself Is That It’s NOT All About You

The Secret To Promoting Yourself Is That It’s NOT All About You

Sometimes the harshest truths are the most important ones. In public relations, one of the most important truisms revolves around the primary question members of the media ask themselves as they evaluate potential stories: Who really cares? They ask that not to be rude, but out of a genuine desire to serve their audiences. Now, as media consumers, we may argue with some of their story choices (personally, I never understood the endless fascination with the Kardashians), but we have to remember that the media’s revenue comes from the size and scope of their audiences. If they believe their audience wants to hear about a particular person or story, you can be assured they’ll cover it. For anyone seeking to promote themselves or their business, that “who really cares?” question is absolutely paramount because it reveals one of the most critical and common pitfalls in the PR business. That is, the idea that promoting yourself should be all about you. The hard fact is that if the media don’t already know who you are, they really don’t care about you. They don’t care about your book, your website, your company, your product or just about anything you’re selling. Of course, their advertising director would love to sell you time or space, but that’s advertising, not PR. So your key question becomes: How do I get the media to care about me? The answer is you must demonstrate to them that your expertise and your message will add value to the lives of their audiences. Now, many self-help authors will think that should be easy, but it’s not. It’s not...
Why Your Marketing Plan is like A New Year’s Resolution

Why Your Marketing Plan is like A New Year’s Resolution

If you sat down at your desk the first workday of the New Year, and vowed to do something bigger and better to market yourself or your business in 2017, you certainly were in good company. There’s nothing like the fresh start of a New Year for motivating us to tackle what seemed to be an overwhelming task last year. But, unfortunately, the odds may be stacked against your well-intentioned plan. The failure rate for strategic business plans is right on par with that for New Year’s resolutions, which is a discouraging 88 percent. That doesn’t mean your marketing plan, or my diet for that matter, is doomed. It simply means we both need to be more committed and disciplined! As with diet and exercise, consistency makes all the difference in marketing and public relations. A well-executed strategic plan of action builds credibility, image and brand, and keeps you relevant. It takes small steps every day. Sound familiar? Large organizations with dedicated marketing teams have an advantage: They have people whose only job is to make sure their name is out there in a favorable light. They are just like those movie stars with personal trainers and private chefs – they don’t have to drag themselves to the gym each day because the gym comes to them. They don’t have to come up with delicious low-cal recipes; their chef does it for them. The rest of us have to do it all ourselves. If you’re running a business, big or small, the daily fires that need to be put out – generating revenues, managing staff, getting vendors paid or...
Is Your Website Being All It Can Be?

Is Your Website Being All It Can Be?

What’s one of the first things you do when you want to learn more about a new store that opened in town or to research a financial professional a friend recommended? If you’re like me, you go in search of a website. Today of course most people realize that whether they’re running a business, operating a professional practice, selling their product, promoting their book or building their brand, they need an effective website. But, yes, even today I encounter people who don’t have a website, or confuse being on a website, e.g., Amazon.com or LinkedIn, with having their own. I find this as amazing as you probably do, but it’s what inspired me to broach that subject this week. A well-designed, well-organized website is essential and can accomplish a lot for you. It can build an incredibly valuable database of people who are interested in you, so you can interact with them directly and stay in front of them on an ongoing basis. It can help you tell people what sets you apart from your competitors. It can increase sales by making it convenient for people to buy when they’re ready. But to get a topnotch website that will reflect well on you and your brand, I recommend hiring a professional web developer/designer. An amateurish look will send potential clients or customers scurrying away, perhaps never to return. You should understand the components of a good website so you can evaluate the work of designers you’re considering, and so you can talk with your designer about what you want. With that in mind, let me share just a few...
Simple Tips To Make Design Work  For You And Your Brand

Simple Tips To Make Design Work For You And Your Brand

Like many of you, I’m excited about 2017 and the possibilities for another successful year. To achieve that success all of us need to be looking for ways we can improve, and over the years I’ve noticed that one extremely important area where people can improve is in the design on their websites and on their social media platforms. I’ve always felt that the content of your copy and the design that enhances that content are equally important. You can have great content on your website, for example, but if the design accompanying it is unprofessional, visitors will zip right past it in search of something more credible. At the same time, a captivating design can grab people’s attention, but if it turns out that you’re all flash without substance, they may leave and never return. Over the last several months it seems that I’ve shared a lot with you about the content side of things – what to say, how to say it and when to say it. I’ve been a lot less focused on design, but let’s remedy that right now. Quite some time ago we recognized just how essential graphic elements are in brand promotion and that’s why our team includes Becky Lofgren, our in-house graphic designer, who works solely with our social media clients. Becky shared with me a few simple things you can do to help get the most out of your design. Select the right color. Any color that appeals to you is a good one, right? Not exactly. Colors can evoke certain emotions so you want to choose a color that sends...