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... read more
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... read more
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... read more
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... read more
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... read more
4 Reasons Why Live Video Should Be Your Latest Publicity Tool

4 Reasons Why Live Video Should Be Your Latest Publicity Tool

Anyone who tunes in to television news is familiar with those moments when the anchor announces dramatically that “we are now going live” to a reporter who’s on the scene of whatever extraordinary event has grabbed the attention of the news crews. But in all your years of watching such broadcasts did you ever imagine that one day you might have the ability to “go live” with your publicity efforts? Well, that day has arrived (which could mean that flying cars and robot maids aren’t far behind). Just recently I was talking with our social media team about the popularity and benefits of Facebook Live, a social media format that allows people to speak directly to an audience in a visually interesting and content-rich format. Anyone with a smartphone can literally “go live” on Facebook to express views on a new theme park ride, demonstrate how to prepare a gourmet meal, teach guitar lessons or talk about whatever topic moves them on that particular day. And it’s free! But the even more exciting thing to me is how this can be used by anyone who wants to promote their brand. For example, a financial professional who writes a blog on retirement issues could in addition share the same information with clients and potential clients through the live video. So just why would you want to make this one more part of a well-rounded publicity campaign? I mean, after all, you’ve got that blog that’s serving you well, right? And you already post on Facebook. Here’s one reason. As wonderful as the written word can be, video has a significant... read more
4 Reasons You Should NOT Seek The Media Spotlight

4 Reasons You Should NOT Seek The Media Spotlight

On most days it’s my goal to explain to people the benefits of PR and how landing an interview in print, on the radio or on TV can add to their credibility and help establish them as sought-after authorities in their fields of expertise. But as I know it to be true that there’s an opposing view to practically everything, I thought it might be an interesting exercise to see what the opposing view could possibly be when it comes to public relations. So, here are four reasons – absurd as they sound – that might make someone want to run like the dickens should the media spotlight shine their way. (And even more absurd is that in our 27 years of being in business we’ve actually experienced clients who seem to view things this way!) Those pesky reporters and their pesky deadlines! You’re making good progress on the day’s to-do list when you learn some bothersome New York Times reporter wants to talk to you. Naturally, she has a tight deadline for getting her article and your name in front of her 30 million combined print and online readers. Is she serious? Why should her deadline stress become yours? The media follow the media that was following you! I mean this is practically a form of stalking! Let’s say you write an article for the New York Daily News. The article is done and you’re done. Or so you think. But no! Someone at MSNBC sees that article and now they’re trying to hit you up for an interview and foist some free air time on you! The... read more
From Anonymity Into The Media Spotlight

From Anonymity Into The Media Spotlight

When their teams enjoy a great day on the gridiron, football players love to celebrate with high fives and end zone dances. I can happily report that our team isn’t much different when we experience wonderful successes in the media for our clients! And, we’ve had plenty of reason to dance around our office these past few weeks! We’ve been celebrating because some of our clients have appeared in such major publications as the New York Times, Forbes, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Parade magazine and others of this caliber. So, you may ask, who are these clients exactly? Star athletes, big name celebrities or rock stars? Nope. They are folks pretty much like you and me. Many are experts in their fields, and possibly known within certain circles, but they aren’t household names. Yet, there they are, being interviewed by the nation’s top media. Let me tell you about one client in particular, Jeannette Bajalia, a financial professional who specializes in helping women prepare for retirement. She’s had a remarkable few weeks in the media spotlight. We arranged interviews for Jeannette with such publications as the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Time.com, Parade magazine and Investors Business Daily. Those are some media heavy hitters! I’m sharing Jeannette’s experience because I think there’s a lesson in here for those who don’t believe these iconic publications would be interested in them. But first, let me pause for a moment and allow Jeannette to tell you in her own words her reaction to how the media has embraced her and her message: You journey through your life and professional career thinking... read more
How Social Media Can – And Can’t – Help You Survive PR Calamities

How Social Media Can – And Can’t – Help You Survive PR Calamities

Everyone has a PR misstep every now and then, but few brands have experienced the kind of unmitigated publicity disaster that United Airlines has dealt with the last couple of weeks. Certainly, I hope you haven’t. By now I’m sure you and nearly everyone you know have seen that viral video of a United Airlines passenger getting yanked out of his seat by police, his face smashing into the armrest in the opposite row. Other passengers, clearly mortified, aimed their smartphone cameras at the ordeal. In seemingly no time, the video was shared online, news organizations reported on the PR disaster, and people on social media skewered the airline relentlessly. All because United Airlines needed to open up a few extra seats on the flight and couldn’t come up with a more delicate way of solving the problem. I often talk about what a great tool social media is for promoting yourself or your brand, and how in this day and age social media is an essential element in an overall publicity campaign. And that’s just as true as ever. But, as the United Airlines situation reveals, social media is a double-edged sword that can be used against you when the publicity tides turn and customers want to complain about your service. As I pondered that situation, I decided to ask Jay York, our senior social media strategist, to share a few tips about the role social media can and can’t play when your brand gets a black eye. Here’s what Jay had to say: Get ahead of the problem before social media is involved. While it’s great when... read more
You’ve Got Publicity, Now Where Are The Sales?

You’ve Got Publicity, Now Where Are The Sales?

After all these years of writing and speaking about the ROI of publicity, I still sometimes hear from people who say they had a great publicity campaign but “it didn’t work.” They were disappointed that they didn’t get the increased sales of their products, books or services they hoped for. If they really had a great publicity campaign, they would have gotten media coverage that boosted their visibility and added to their credibility. That’s the true ROI of publicity. What “didn’t work” is actually what occurred at their point of sale. Making sales is actually a two-step process.  Step one is getting broad recognition from a good publicity campaign.  Step two occurs at your point of sale. A good publicity campaign positions you as a thought leader and sets you above the crowd by the implied endorsement that comes with being quoted as an expert in the media. People learn your name and your message when they hear you on the radio, see you on TV or read about you in a host of publications. Consumers not only discover you, they’re also more willing to trust you because you’ve earned the confidence of journalists and talk show hosts who turn to you for your opinions or expertise.  They become interested in learning more and will typically check out your website. Visits to your site are part of the second step in the process.  Whether your point of sale is your website, a store, or Amazon.com, what potential customers find when they walk in the door (figuratively speaking, of course) may seal – or kill – the deal.  For this... read more

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