Making The Right PR and Marketing Choices

You need to market, that’s a given.  The question should not be if, but how.   Your best choice is to hire a firm or a professional consultant.  If you’re on s shoestring budget, that makes it tougher, but there are still myriad ways to approach it.  Going the do-it-yourself route is one choice, but if you do chose to go this way, you have a big learning curve ahead of you.  For example, let’s say you decide to handle, create and launch your own media relations campaign; to start, you need to learn the hows and whys of putting together a successful campaign.  And you need to know how to define a campaign.

Keep in mind that landing an interview on TV program, or in a magazine, is not media relations.  That is simply one small step.  I’ve had potential clients tell me that they tried PR and it simply didn’t work.  When I asked them to define exactly what they did, they usually explained that they were featured in a magazine or newspaper or TV segment and nothing happened.  When I then asked them how they utilized or maximized that one media placement, I’d generally be met with blank stairs.  In their mind, that one media placement was a PR campaign; it didn’t change their life, so PR didn’t work.  The trouble was, they never really tried a public relations campaign, they simply appeared in a story or two.  Being featured in the media a few times is not a media relations campaign.  It’s a start.  It’s nice.  It can help, but it’s not a campaign, and that’s what public relations firms focus on creating, launching and implementing effective PR campaigns.

This is not to say that you can’t do some initial PR work on your own.  You can, but your goal should be to shift from doing your own marketing to brining on a professional as soon as possible.  Your job is running your business.  Your marketing team should be marketing your business.

Effective media relations is an art and a full-time job. It takes skill, know-how, experience persistence, and contacts. The art of effective PR entails more than writing releases, posting releases on paid wire services, putting together press kits – and praying. If a campaign is launched haphazardly or incorrectly, it’s often best not having been launched at all. The last thing you want to do is alienate the press, which is often what happens when well-meaning but inexperienced individuals try their hands at running their own media campaigns.

So until you can bring a team or a consultant on board, do what you can on your own.  But be selective.  Keep your efforts targeted and focused.  Once you’re ready to hire a PR firm or marketing company, choose wisely.  Choose a firm or individual you’re comparable with.  You need to be able to communicate with you representatives. You also need trusted advisors who will tell you when they feel you’re steering off- base or making a wrong move. If you pick wisely, do your part and work with your PR firm, (to paraphrase Bogie in Casablanca) this could be the start of a successful and profitable relationship.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2012

Daily Tips On Using PR To Establish Yourself As An Expert In Your Field -Strategy A

One of the main values of a public relations campaign is that it helps establish you as an expert in your field.  But you need to help the media help you.  Your job is to let them know why you’re an expert and make it as easy as possible for them to use you as a resource.  With that in mind, this week, I’m going to focus on daily tips on how to use PR and media relations to establish you as an expert in your field.

PR Strategy A: You can’t expect the media to see you as a resource, unless you’ve positioned yourself as one.  With that in mind, job #1 is to present yourself as a resource who will resonate with the media’s readers, listeners and/or viewers.  Begin by making a list of the topics that you can address.  You have a specialty; a topic or area that you’re expert in.  That’s the main area you want to address, but if you move a little right or left of center, chances are you can come up with a much wider list of topics you can discuss.  For example, if you’re a cardiologist, can you discuss the various ways that social media and the internet are changing the practice of medicine?  That’s not exactly a cardiology story, but it does deal with medicine, the culture at large and can help establish yourself as an expert.  Remember the bigger the media bull’s-eye, the greater your chances of success.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2012


How To Approach Your PR and Marketing Campaign

Marketing, whether it be in the form of public relations, advertising, email marketing, social media or direct marketing, has to be a part of your business plan.  Which mean it has to be a part of your budget.  It’s important to view marketing as a part of your hard costs, as opposed to a luxury. Promoting your business is not an option, it’s a necessity.  Cut out your marketing budget and chances are you’ll end up with a great business that stalls at the starting line.  Either budget for some form of marketing campaign, or prepare to have your business stall, sputter and ultimately fail.

Regardless of the type of marketing campaign you choose to launch, keep in mind chances are you’re not going to hit a home run your first time at bat.  There are those situations where you score big right off the bat, but don’t count on it.  The most effective campaigns are long term, cumulative approaches.  They need to be refined, adjusted, and modified.  As you go, you learn.

If you choose to bring on an agency or public relations company, work with them.  It’s a collaborative process.  It’s important you work as a team to develop story ideas, media pitches and create a campaign that meets your needs but also allows your PR firm to meet the media’s needs.  Don’t look to your friends and acquaintances to give you marketing and PR advice.  Advice is cheap and easy to give.  Everyone believes they’re marketing mavens, but few actually have a clue.  If you start listening to everyone’s advice you’ll continually be in reactive mode.  Your marketing campaign will function like an old fashion pinball machine, shooting to the right and then to the left with no focus, no point of view and no concrete direction

I read recently that, if a marketing approach makes you nervous, you’re probably on the right road.  There is truth to that.  Keep that in mind.  If you need to invest a bit more than you planned, or you’re feeling uncomfortable about having to expose yourself a bit more than you’re used to, take a deep breath and move forward.

Before you take and action, define your target market.  Initially focusing on one niche and one market is generally more effective than trying to cast a huge net.  Focusing on satisfying everyone can be a problematic approach.

Listen to the market.  The marketplace continually gives us feedback.  If a particular marketing approach or media relations campaign isn’t working the way you’d hoped, it might not be the campaign itself, but the focus or the approach.  Sometimes all it takes is some minor tweaking to go from a stalled marketing approach to an amazingly successful campaign.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2012

Crafting A Successful PR Pitch

The primary focus of a public relations campaign needs to be meeting the media’s needs.  If you don’t accomplish that, you’re missing the mark.  Meet the media’s needs and you’ll meet yours.  As I’ve stated in other articles, leading with statistics can be an effective approach.  Let’s say you’re a health care worker that deals with chronic pain.  Or you produce a supplement that helps relieve pain; you can lead with the fact that chronic pain affects approximately 25 percent of the U.S. population and three-fifths of adults 65 or older.  Find some studies and statistics that you can quote that illustrate that the story you’re pitching does indeed affect a large number of people.

Numbers and statistics help give a PR pitch gravitas.  Also never forget that the media is interested in their own type of statistics; they’re interested in the number of viewers, readers or listeners that will be interested in this story.  So the more you can assure them that this is a story that not only affects, but will also interest a large target market, the better your chances of landing a story.  Once you’ve used your statistics to narrow down your specific pitch, you can then take a reverse course and broaden your pitch.  For example if you use statistics to show how pain affects older Americans, after making that point, you can then add a sentence stating that this type of pain does not only strike seniors, but a wide range of people, from professional athletes and weekend jocks to those who suffer with fibromyalgia and arthritis, who deal with bouts of acute and chronic pain.

Use statistics to give your pitches credibility.  For example, if you’re pitching a story about complementary medicine, look online for stats regarding how popular alternative and complementary medicine has become.  Then, depending on the specific angle of the story you’re pitching, you can use those statistics to illustrate why your story idea is both important and timely.  Now use those statistics in your press releases and pitches.

After making a specific pitch, close with other topics and angles that you can address.  Include a short (very short) bio listing your expertise and qualifications and that you can also address such topics as (fill in the blank).  That way if your particular pitch doesn’t work for an editor or producer, they can see that there are other topics that you can address.

Using statistics, numbers and figures can help anchor a pitch and a story, but don’t rely on stats alone; the main part of your pitch needs to be compelling and newsworthy.  So, when launching a media relations campaign, keep the media’s needs in mind; first develop your pitch and then look for stats that help give your story idea credence.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2011

Learning the PR Mindset

Launching and sustaining a public relations campaign is an ongoing process.  In the PR world, you are continually refining and modifying your approach, pitches, story ideas, and media lists.  If a basic pitch is working, you want to stay with it for a bit.  One mistake I’ve seen companies make is that they try to continually send out new pitches and releases simply for the sake of getting new information out to the media. This mindset of continually writing press releases that aren’t newsworthy in order to keep new information flowing, is a dangerous one.   Yes you want to offer the media new angles, pitches and media hooks, but you don’t want to send out new information unless it’s truly warranted.

Monitor how your media pitches and press releases are being received.  If a pitch you sent out six weeks ago is gaining traction and garnering media coverage, stay with that story.  Work it; develop it; use the media coverage you’re now landing to garner more media coverage.  Don’t shift your focus simply because your calendar says it’s time for a new media release.  Truth is that media relations is more of an art than a science (which drives most left brainers crazy).  If you try to simply set up a mechanical or statistical PR gameplan and allow that to dictate the campaign, you’re in trouble

As with the media itself an effective public relations campaign is fluid.  It is both proactive and reactive. If a national story breaks and you can tie your story to it, you need to be able to react, move quickly and change your approach.  If, on the other hand, a pitch is working and gaining traction, you want to stay with it, work it and keep it moving.  Media relations can be difficult for those who need to follow a specific course set-in-stone approach.  It is an ever changing, continually evolving practice.

Begin by creating a list of objectives that you want to achieve before launching a media relations campaign.  Now come up with a list of story angles and media pitches that you can use.   When it comes to PR brainstorming, your goal is to create a list of the most important story ideas including: new business concepts, the unique value you offer, important information you can give, and anecdotal stories.  Part of that process is to give some thought to how and why you can be presented as an expert in your overall field.

Initially you want to come up with your story ideas and media pitches, followed by your target media lists.  Create specific objectives, but allow the campaign the ability to shift and change course.  Developing an effective PR strategy is not unlike creating an effective sports gameplan.  You develop a strategy and draw up specific plays, but you also allow yourself the ability to act and react depending on what comes at you. There is an intuitive aspect to the PR process that has to allow for action and reaction.  You want to set up a specific target and gameplan, but you need to be able to shift and alter your plan as needed.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2011

Media Training Secrets for Business Success

When I began in the public relations world over twenty years ago (that’s daunting), I quickly realized that landing an interview or a story for a client was only a part of the process.  Early on that first part of the process was my primary focus.  My job was to garner media coverage for my clients on TV, print or radio (this was actually pre social media days) and that was that.  Well I soon learned there was a huge difference between simply landing an interview and having the client give the media a successful interview.

Clients need to be prepared to speak to the media.  Although the best interviews seem like conversations, in fact they are not.  Both the interviewer and the interviewee have an agenda.  The interviewer wants to interest his or her target audience; the interviewee wants to get his or her message across, which should include a call to action.  Interviews work when the questions and answers flow and the agendas don’t clash.  But this is easier said than done.  After having producers and editors give me some tough but needed feedback about clients who were either boring or were too pushy, I realized that in order to achieve real PR success, media training was needed.

That’s when I brought on Ann Convery.  Ann has served as our media trainer since then.  She is now an international speaker, seminar leader, trainer and author who has prepared clients for interviews on Oprah, CNN, 60 Minutes, The Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, as well as hundreds of local, regional and trade-oriented media outlets.  Ann’s gift is to teach clients how to distill their message and speak to the media in a way that meets the media’s needs but also meets the client’s needs.

For a PR or media relations campaign to be successful, landing interviews and media coverage is not enough.  Clients need to be able to deliver their message in a clear, succulent, informative and entertaining manner.  Easier said than done, but it is a skill that can be learned.   For years Ann has prepared our clients to do just that, deliver effective and successful media interviews.

But her real genius was her ability to connect the dots and realize that the ability to effectively communicate with the media could be just as powerful and effective when communicating in the business world.  Using her media training skills and techniques, she developed Speak Your Business in 30 Seconds or Less.  Speak Your Business is a system that shows you how to find very specific words and numbers – found only in your business – so that you are effortlessly speaking and writing directly to the hidden, hungry “buying” brain in your prospects, every time.  Utilizing these tools, many of Ann’s clients have generated up to thousands of dollars in business within months with her Signature Series program, “You’re So Brilliant. Why Don’t They Buy?”

The bottom line is if you’re going to launch a public relations campaign for you and your business, you first need to master the art of effectively communicating.  Just last month a client who assured me he had been media trained and was set to do interviews, came off looking like a deer in the headlights when we landed him a spot on a TV news program.   Believe me, media training is a skill that will serve you well.   More importantly, as Ann teaches, these communication tools and skills work whether you’re talking to the media, delivering a speech, networking or making a phone call to a prospect.

For more information visit:   www.annconvery.com     

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2011

How to Use PR to Establish Yourself As an Expert in Your Field

PR can reach your target market, validate and legitimize your business by establishing you and your business as a news story, it can separate you from the competition and it can establish you as an expert in your field.

Establishing yourself as an expert can offer amazing benefits, first and foremost people trust experts, they rely on them – they hire them.  Also, the media calls on experts to address topics and explain issues.  So, how do you establish yourself as an expert?  Public relations is far and away the most successful tool for creating experts.

You have a specialty; a topic or area that you’re expert in.  That’s the main area you want to address, but if you move a little right or left of center, chances are you can come up with much wider list of topics you can discuss.  For example, if you’re a cardiologist, can you discuss the various ways that social media and the internet are changing the practice of medicine?  That’s not exactly a cardiology story, but it does deal with medicine, the culture at large and can help establish you as an expert.  Remember the bigger the media bull’s-eye, the greater your chances of success.

Also make sure to study the media on a regular basis to see what stories they are covering.  If you can address any topics that are currently in the news, present yourself as an expert.  For example if you are an attorney and a lawsuit is garnering media coverage, pitch yourself as an expert who can address and explain different aspects of the case.

Now breakdown the various ways you can present a topic.  For example, review how the topic you’re discussing impacts women, men, children, seniors, etc.  If you can present your topic in different ways and to different audiences, you’ll have a much greater opportunity to garner media coverage as an expert in your field.

Your field of expertise is your primary area of focus.  Can you present new ways of looking at or approaching that field?  For example, if you run a company that produces skin care products, your main pitch is obviously going to be how effective your product is, but can you develop a pitch about how your company is helping the environment?

Be creative.  Is there a new trend or a new approach that you can discuss and explain to the media and the general public?  For example if you’re a musician or a record label can you address how the music industry is shifting and explain how the various new trends in music are impacting the culture at large.

Once you’ve come up with a list of topics you can address, put together some short concise pitches.  Make sure to send appropriate pitches to the various media outlets.  For example, if you’re pitching women’s magazines make sure to structure your pitch in such a way that pertains mainly to women, if you’re pitching the business-oriented media, make sure you lead with a strong business angle.  With some practice you’ll see that you can pitch different media in different ways, the more media you pitch, the more hits you’ll garner and the more your influence as an expert will grow.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2011

The PR Business Model Approach

The World Book Encyclopedia defines public relations, or PR, as “an activity aimed at increasing communication and understanding between an organization or individual and one or more groups called publics.” That is a good start. A good PR or media relations campaign also informs and educates. If you think about it learning how to communicate, explain and educate the public about you and your company, service or product really drills down to the basics of business. And this is true whether or not you’re looking at launching a PR campaign. Whether you’re launching a public relations campaign or building a strategy for the overall communications, marketing and branding for your business, following the PR blueprint is an invaluable exercise.

Why is PR such a valuable tool?

Simple. Referrals, or the lack thereof, are what make or break most businesses. Business growth basically comes down to that very low-tech, old-as-the-hills strategy known as “word of mouth.
If you have a great product or service, but are unable to communicate what makes it great, who it’s for and why anyone should buy it, you’re in trouble. The basic steps for launching a PR campaign make for a great blueprint for any business owner to follow. Once you’ve outlined these you know what your message is, what your target market is, how to reach your target market and what your primary selling points are.

The Basic Questions To Answer Before Launching A PR Campaign Include:

Who are your target markets?
Why is your product or service valuable?
What problems does it solve?
What value does it offer?
Who is your primary target market?
How do you reach that target market?

When developing a media relations campaign, we then focus on the media outlets, when and how to pitch them and what angle to pitch where. But, even if you don’t get to that stage, simply answering the above questions can be invaluable. We’ve consulted with clients where our focus has been on defining the message, market and brand, without actively launching a campaign.

A successful campaign is based on lucid, crisp, to the point communication. You clearly appeal to your target markets’ wants and needs, and you illustrate how you, your product or your service meets those needs. You also need to throw in a little imagination and creative brainstorming.

Communicate your message in the shortest amount of time with the greatest impact. This is an important business skill, as well as a media skill; because we live in a 24/7 world and we’re assaulted with up to 20,000 images a day. Our attention spans are short – only about 10 seconds – so you need to engage the listener and you need to do it quickly.

For a campaign to be truly effective, it needs to be well strategized and thought out. It is a cumulative process that builds day by day and month by month. I have seen both businesses and careers launched through public relations, but I have also witnessed campaigns that went nowhere. The latter is usually due to ignorance of the process.

Know your market(s). You may have the best product in the world, but if you’ve picked the wrong target audience, or don’t know who they are, they’re needs, what defines them, it’s not going to work.

So, whether you’re launching a PR campaign, or are simply putting together the building blocks for your business, marketing and branding, follow the PR basics and develop your business game plan.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2011

Why You Don’t Know That – You Need PR

Many people still feel that Public Relations is for celebrities, politicians and professional athletes; those people are missing a huge marketing opportunity to build their business.  Do you need to sign more clients, sell more products, increase your cash flow, establish your brand, interest more prospects, or broaden your target market?  Then read on.

Do You Need To:

Sign more clients?

Sell more products?

Generate a better cash flow?

Interest more prospects?

Get in front of your target market?

Establish your brand?

Grow your business?

Establish yourself as an expert in your field?

Get in front of decision makers?

Broaden your market reach?

Separate yourselves from the others in your field?

Fill your seminars, telseseminars and workshops?

Market and sell your book?

Find a distributor for your film?

Create a buzz around your concerts and your CD?

Land more speaking engagements?

Achieve the validation and credibility that only comes by being featured in the media?

 If the answer to any of those was yes -  You need PR

Many people still feel that Media Relations is for celebrities, politicians and professional athletes; those people are missing a huge marketing opportunity to build their business.  Public relations is not primarily for entertainers or politicians.  It is one of the most powerful marketing tools available for growing your business, landing clients, finding customers and growing your brand.  PR can achieve a variety of goals.  Some clients are looking to establish their product and reach their target market, others are primarily looking to establish themselves as experts in their fields, while others are looking to build their business and increase their cash flow.  Others are looking for a way to reach their target market, or broaden their reach into new markets.

Understanding that PR is vital is particularly important in a challenging economy.  What good is it to offer a quality product or service, if no one knows it exists? What good is all of your hard work, if you keep it a secret? You could have the best product or service that there is, but if you don’t build a bridge between yourself and your clients or customers, your success is unlikely.

An effective public relations campaign is an integral and extremely necessary part of any business plan. Developing and implementing an effective public relations campaign should be as integral a part of your business as paying your bills, or buying your materials.

Keep in mind that your job is to reach your market, your customers and your clients.  Once you do decide to move forward, begin with some clear specific objectives.  Do you want to increase your business by a third in one year? Do you want to open another store or branch? Do you want to take a product national? What are your long term goals?

Keep your eye on the future. This is a long-term, cumulative process.  Write down your short-term and long-term objectives, then put together a campaign with those objectives in mind.  One client we worked with was featured in Time, Newsweek, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, NPR and countless other media outlets, but these interviews did not come about overnight. They were part of a long term commitment to achieving her PR objectives. If we had stopped her campaign in two or three month’s time, she would never have been in Time or the Wall Street Journal and would never had known that her campaign was going to pay off in that way.

So even though the chances are you don’t think you need PR, if you’re looking to build your business, land more clients, generate more sales, establish your brand, give it a shot.  As they say, you’ll be glad you did

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2011

The PR How-to Bible

It’s said that you can’t find the right answers until you ask the right questions.  So with that in mind if you are thinking of hiring a PR firm or of launching a media relations campaign for yourself, the following is a list of how to questions to ask yourself before moving forward.  Done correctly, a PR campaign can establish your brand and build your business and establish you as an expert in your field.  It’s the most powerful marketing tool out there, so give it a shot, but first do your homework.  Find out what you need to know how to do in the list below.

As you go through the list, write out your answers and see where you feel most comfortable and where you feel you need some help, or points that you need to give more thought to.  Once you’ve reviewed the questions and developed your own list, you can start searching for the right answers.

With that in mind, before you move forward on a PR campaign, you want to know:

PR CAMPAIGN CHECKLIST:
How to set up your public relations objectives
How to outline your PR timeline
How to develop your story
How to come up with 5 story angles.
How to write a press release
How to decide which stories to start with,
How to decide what angles to pitch local and national media
How to deliver press releases
How to create a media list
How to pitch the media
How to do an interview
How to develop an interview script for TV, local, newspaper, national
How and when to send out press releases,
How to brand your company using PR
How to create a compelling PR story
How to use media relations to reach your long term marketing goals
How to pitch your story and not your product or service
How to establish yourself through the media as an expert in your field
How to find a media trainer
How to meld social media and PR
How and why to develop a blog
How to use video marketing in your public relations campaign
How to create a story online
How to magnify and amplify an article or TV segment on the internet.
How to pick a PR consultant that meets your needs
How to use PR to launch and develop your brand
How to use your media in advertising, online marketing, and social media.

These aren’t all of the how-to points you need to review, but if you’ve gone through and answered all of the above questions, you are well on your way to launching an effective public relations campaign for you and your company. Perhaps the most difficult question is how to know how long to give a campaign.  Generally, I’d say give it at least six months.  Trying a campaign for one or two months is counterproductive.  If you stop in two months, you’ll never know how successful it could have been.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2011

How to Get More Business, More Clients and Make More Money

The difficult part is that there are so many choices.  Sometimes one particular avenue is going to be the right choice to build your business, other times it’s going to be a specific marketing mix.  You’re looking for the most effective and inexpensive ways to promote and market your business.  Most business owners have had the experience of spending money on marketing that never paid for itself.  So, how do you find that magic marketing equation that not only pays for itself, but brings you more business, more clients and makes you more money?

That’s not always that easy to answer; chances are you’ve tried Internet marketing, advertising, direct marketing, networking, advertising and/or Internet marketing (including social media, bogging, Adwords, email marketing, social media, etc.).  Maybe some of these approaches paid off and maybe none gave you the results you were looking for.  If that’s the case, don’t despair, you’re personalized successful marketing approach is there, you just need to find it.

To begin with define your product or service.  How do you describe it?  Is your pitch meeting your needs, or your client’s needs?  Make sure your description and pitch is tailored to meet your customers and clients needs.  Next define your target market.  Who are you selling to?  Once you’ve defined that find out how to best reach this market.  What do they read?  What do they view? What do they listen to? What type of sites do they visit on the net?  Once you’ve answered those questions, you’re well positioned to create a marketing campaign that actually works to build your business.

The cornerstone of any effective marketing campaign is a traditional public relations campaign.  Media exposure builds your credibility and and validation.  You can then leverage your press coverage to find more potential clients and customers.  PR is an ongoing process, the more media coverage you have, the more media coverage you get.  Once you start garnering coverage in newspapers, magazine, TV or radio, it’s time to add the next step.  Start using social media and bogs to maximize and amplify your media coverage.  If you’re covered in a local newspaper or on the Today Show, or the Wall Street Journal or CNN, let the world know about that.  There is no better tool that the Internet to get the word out.  Finally make sure that your website talks directly to your clients needs, answers their questions, and explains why you’re the person or the company that can solve their problems and meet their needs.  Utilize your media on your website.  Use your blog to reinforce your message and educate your prospects, customers and clients.

This marketing strategy will not work for you overnight, but if you implement it faithfully and stick with it – it will work!

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2010

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