Posts Tagged ‘media’
December 5, 2013 by Kay Paumier
January is the start of the new year, and what better time to “get organized.” That’s probably why January is Get Organized Month.
Like most anniversaries, this provides some great publicity opportunities. For example:
Got the idea? Here are some other events that provide opportunities for publicity in January:
November 14, 2013 by Kay Paumier
My previous posts discussed some online ways to market a service business, as well as some tips for dealing with mainstream media. Here are some more ideas.
Develop visuals that tell a story.
Magazines, newspapers and websites all need good visuals: photos, graphics and video. Editors need visuals to draw attention to the text, break up the page visually, and help tell the story. The editors get a lot of written material, but relatively few good photographs or illustrations.
Start a file of photographs and illustrations that catch your eye and tell a story. They may spark ideas when you need some inspiration.
For example, a pharmaceutical firm developed a board-game-like diagram that clearly illustrated the FDA approval cycle for new drugs. I still remember that illustration even though I saw it more than a decade ago.
You may not routinely have news, but you can “create” it. So hold a contest. Take a survey. Celebrate an anniversary.
Depending on the type of news you create, you may have several publicity opportunities:
I hope by now you see that, although success is not automatic, there are many ways to market a service.
But remember, one of the best marketing activities is also the most fun: networking. Be active in one or two professional organizations. Help others out in their businesses. Participate in projects big and small. No matter how digital the world gets, we still like the “personal touch.”
A caveat: My rule of thumb is to do three marketing activities. Choose the ones that make the most sense for you; do them well and do them consistently. Doing no marketing risks having your business dry up. Trying to do too much can be distracting, time-consuming and even counter-productive.
If you’re not doing any marketing now, start small. Pick one activity and master it. Then add another activity and then another.
Let me know your results. I’d love to hear from you.
November 7, 2013 by Kay Paumier
December is so focused on the holidays, it’s easy to forget there are other celebrations as well.
For example, did you know that December 15 is Cat Herders Day
Before you laugh, think of how organizations could use that day to publicize their business or service.
Got the idea? Here are some other anniversaries coming in December.
October 31, 2013 by Kay Paumier
In my past two posts, I outlined some ways service businesses could market themselves online. Here are some ways to get the attention of mainstream media.
Track media activity.
One of the best ways to get publicity in mainstream media is to track what the reporters are working on and what they need…and give it to them.
Fortunately, that is easy with HARO (Help a Reporter Out). This free service emails notices about what topics reporters are researching, and what kind of information or sources they need.
It’s a great service. The challenge is that it is very popular. So when you find that someone needs some information you can provide, reply quickly. Outline the information and tell the reporters a little bit about yourself. (You want them to understand you are a good resource.)
I have successfully arranged media interviews and generated publicity for clients through the HARO inquiries. A colleague was even mentioned in The Wall Street Journal, thanks to the service. So it’s definitely worth the effort.
Develop story ideas.
Developing story ideas can be an effective way to ingratiate yourself with the editors. Reporters and editors are typically overworked and underpaid. They appreciate it when someone does some of their work for them.
Develop a few ideas so that if the editor doesn’t like the first one, you can suggest another story. “How to’s” are often good, as are stories about trends, personalities and any unusual aspect of your product or service.
What do you do once you have these ideas? For one thing, you can just contact the editor of a publication or website and discuss it with him or her. That’s a little tricky, but can work.
Or you could suggest it as an angle for an editorial calendar topic.
Track editorial calendars.
An editorial calendar is a schedule of the topics publications (and some websites) plan to cover over a period of time. You can often find this information on the publication’s website, usually in the advertising or media kit section.
Two caveats. Editorial calendars change frequently. Topics get deleted, moved or changed. Also, often the editorial calendar just lists topics (e.g., “widgets”), not story angles (e.g., “the growing importance of widgets in medical imaging”).
However, when you find something that “fits” (or might fit) your company, contact the reporter. Find out if he or she has a specific angle in mind. If not, suggest something. (That’s one reason you developed all those stories ideas.) If the publication takes contributed articles, volunteer to write it. Otherwise, offer to be a source of information for the article.
I have successfully maintained PR programs for clients based almost exclusively on “working” the editorial calendars. You can do the same.
I’ll cover some more suggestions for dealing with the mainstream media in my next post.
October 10, 2013 by
A reporter’s job is not an easy one. There are fewer of them than even a few years ago, and they are faced with multiple deadlines, with writing for both print and online, and with trying to become an expert (or at least proficient) in dozens of subjects.
Unfortunately, this also means it is becoming increasingly difficult to connect with reporters. Here are some techniques for getting attention.
Pitch the right person. It amazes me that, with so much information online, reporters still say PR people target the wrong people. Check the publication’s beat lists, which is often on their websites. Or do a database search on the publication or reporter.
Make your email subject line work for you. To avoid the dreaded “delete” key, include important keywords in your subject line. Even better, refer to past articles or coverage. A simple, “about your story on….” Can dramatically increase the chances that your email will be read.
Face it, if your subject line isn’t good enough, chances are good your pitch will not be read at all.
Pitch people over products. Show the product or service in action, helping make businesses more productive and profitable, helping doctors save lives, helping teachers educate the next generation.
Or craft a story around the product’s development. What were the problems? The challenges? The obstacles? Who was involved? Whose idea was the product?
Give reporters a plot and you’ll increase the chances they’ll “bite” on your story idea.
Begin with WIIFM. Answer the question “what’s in it for me?” in the first paragraph of the pitch. Provide the facts—the who, what, where, when—at the very beginning.
Go heavy on data. Reporters love statistics. Give them timely information from reputable sources. Bullet them in your email or pitch. That will help establish you as a source.
Avoid attachments. They will probably get stripped out anyway. Instead provide links for the reporters to get the information off your website.
Have a good online news room. Increasingly reporters rely on the online news room for their research. Make sure yours is complete, easy to search and accessible. Include high-quality, downloadable visuals.
Follow this advice and you’ll increase your odds that you’ll get the reporter’s attention…and that your story will be told.
June 13, 2013 by
Here are two more techniques for handling media interviews.
Lead the reporter on.
Simply add a phrase at the end of a response, leading the reporter to the next, obvious question. For example:
“That’s not all.”
“Here’s how this might play out.”
“There is much more to this story.”
The reporter typically will ask for more information. “Tell me more.” “Can you give an example?” And then you’re on your way, presenting your messages.
Redirect the question.
Here you start with a verbal stop to shield yourself from an unwanted question. Examples of verbal stops are:
Then make your point, possibly explaining why you can’t answer the original question.
No technique works all the time, but these techniques can help you through a challenging interview and raise your chances for success.
Some material for this article came from the article “Sneak Peeks and Deflections: How they Can Raise Your Spokespeople’s Performance,” by Ed Barks (Public Relations Tactics, November 2012).
May 9, 2013 by Kay Paumier
I have watched, with interest, as Tesla has defended itself against a negative product review in The New York Times.
Until recently, this could have been disastrous, but Musk took to Twitter. Of course, he had an advantage. The car’s data-monitoring system indicated the reviewer undercharged the battery, didn’t set the cruise control to 54 m.p.h. to save energy as he had claimed, and cranked up the heat as the charge faded.
Only time will tell whether consumers believe Musk’s tweets (and the tweets of other Tesla fans) more than they believe the photo of the Tesla being loaded into a flatbed.
The episode reminded me of experiences I’ve had with product reviews over the years. These reviews happened before sites like Amazon became powerhouse review resources, and before online social networking gave companies a real chance to fight back.
They happened when we had few options to fight a poor review. Sure, we could (and did) complain to the reviewer, refuse to participate in future reviews, explain our side of the story to our customers and business partners, and pitch other reviews to other publications. But in those days, we couldn’t take our case directly to the public as Musk has done with the Tesla review.
Here are some stories.
In one case, my client fired the technical contact we had given the publication, but let him stay on the job for two weeks. (An interesting concept, indeed.) In that timeframe, the reviewer called and the tech contact trashed the product. The reviewer believed him. The resulting review said that my client’s technology product was good as a door stop, little else. And our subsequent contacts with the editor got us nowhere.
Then there was the competitive review when the AT&T business phone got an “A” and all the competing phones (including my client’s) got “C’s.” The phones were very similar; we thought they were all “B’s.” Then we learned that the reviewer (a freelancer the magazine had hired for the review) was an award-winning reseller for AT&T. We notified the magazine, saying that we did not feel the review was fair because the reviewer had a vested interest. (The magazine ignored us.) We – and all the other companies in the first review – refused to participate in other reviews in that publication. But a new company did and the result was the same: an “A” for AT&T and a “C” for the other product. (Note: this is not to disparage AT&T which, in all likelihood, did not know about the subterfuge.)
Another time a competitor contacted a reporter, pretending to be “just an interested end-user.” The competitor said he had tested several products, and gave his “test” results to the reporter. The gullible reporter printed the information only to learn that the “interested end-user” had a vested interest indeed, and that the highest ranking product came from his company. The editor was duly embarrassed, and I doubt that the offending company ever got coverage in that magazine again. (My client’s product was not included in the “test,” so experienced neither a positive or negative impact from the episode.)
And a final example. We were promoting a home-networking product that was designed for the latest computer hardware and software. For some inexplicable reason, the reviewer decided to cobble together a network from used computer parts and outdated products for his test bed. Not surprisingly, my client’s product–and all the products in the review–got poor marks because they were all geared for up-to-date technology, not left-overs from previous years. The products made these perfectly clear in their user manuals. Again, we contacted the magazine to explain the discrepancy and ask for a new review, to no avail.
Today, I often check reviews before making a purchase, especially a technology product. I know how flawed the system can be, and yet it still helps to see what people think about a product. And some sites, such as CNET, PCMag.com and Consumers’ Reports, have good reputations for objectivity.
I am glad they have. And I am happy I now can respond if the review is totally off base.
May 2, 2013 by Kay Paumier
These are some of the sobering statistics in the article “Sourcing Information: the Impact of ‘Pageview Journalism’” in Public Relations Tactics (March 2013, Public Relations Society of America).
What does all that mean?
I think it means both challenges and opportunities.
What will happen in the next few years? Probably an acceleration of the trends (e.g., fragmentation of the media, dearth of context and analysis, decrease in the number and quality of traditional media outlets) that have created our present situation. And what that will bring about, I hesitate to speculate.
April 25, 2013 by Kay Paumier
As you may know, I’m a fan of capitalizing on observances to generate publicity. The trick is to find and capitalize on the ones that fit your product or service. By tying your product or service into something bigger, you increase your chance for publicity and attention.
It is important to think ahead and plan such tie-ins. We all know that July has Independence Day. But there are a lot of other lesser-known (and more targeted) observances. For example, did you know that July is Cell Phone Courtesy Month?
What could you do with that? Well, if you have any connection with cell phones (e.g., a retailer or a cell phone service provider) or with business, you could consider generating publicity by:
Get the idea? Here are some other potential observances for the month of July:
Here are some individual days celebrated in July:
You can learn more about these and other observances through Chase’s Calendar of Events, which is available at Amazon and at other leading book stores.
April 18, 2013 by Kay Paumier
In my previous post, I discussed these five ways to announce a product:
Here are three other ways to make an announcement.
#6: Trade Shows
I am not a fan of introducing products at trade shows, but it can make sense in some circumstances. If that is your case, I recommend arranging one-on-one interviews. Start contacting reporters and analysts about six weeks before the show (depending on its size and type) and give them enough information to get them interested, but not enough so they could report on the story without seeing you.
Depending on the type of product, you might find a way to make the “pitch” illustrate the product benefit. For example, a 3-D imaging company sent the media invitations that needed 3-D glasses to read. The company was almost overwhelmed with media attention, in spite of competition from much larger, better-known companies at the trade show.
Another possibility is to announce your product before the show. Many publications and websites have “show preview” issues. Generally you’ll get better coverage in those than you would in the after-show articles when you’re competing with everyone else.
#7: Press Conferences
I am also not a fan of press conferences. By definition, they require significant news and important people. Few announcements qualify.
However, if yours does, make sure you invite the media in plenty of time. Schedule the conference early in the day. Put out fewer chairs than you expect attendees, so it can look as if you’ve generated more interest than expected as you pull out more chairs. Practice the presentation and review possible questions. Videotape the presentation for use on the website afterwards and, for that matter, for a way to evaluate the effectiveness of the presentation.
#8: Media Tours
A media tour means you travel to the reporters to meet them in their offices. This can be very time-consuming, but can yield enormous benefits. After all, the reporters like the fact that you take the time and trouble to visit them. You get one-on-one face time in a fairly controlled environment, and you can tailor your presentation for the individual reporter.
Start at least two months beforehand, contacting the reporters and analysts. Get a good (no, a great) travel agent to help with logistics. And recognize that things will go wrong. (In one case, the company spokesperson and I were in a traffic accident while en route to a live TV appearance in Boston. We made it…with about 20 seconds to spare!)
A Final Note
In all this, I’m assuming that you have your other announcement “ducks in a row, e.g., that you have notified the appropriate people internally and externally, that you are supporting the launch through your social media channels, and the like.
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