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 Multidimensional PR Approach

Whereas traditional media is still as important as ever, you can now utilize it in a variety of ways.  For example, as opposed to focusing solely on traditional media, you can target some specific media outlets and use those validating mainstream media hits to enhance your online media campaign.

Clients that we’ve place on Dr. Phil, Oprah (well those days are gone), the Today Show, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and other media were able to magnify those media placements by posting or commenting on them in blogs, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, forums, etc.  Utilizing this approach you can achieve one of the primary functions of traditional media – gaining the validation and credibility of being featured in the news.  Once a few traditional placements have been secured, you can then magnify them using social media.  That approach has helped us create an online buzz about our clients.  It separates our clients from the competition, enhances their brand and creates greater awareness about them and their company.

PR is now multi dimensional. There are myriad ways you can develop successful campaigns.  The optimum approach is one that incorporates traditional and online public relations, yet at times, developing a hybrid campaign, or one that focuses solely on traditional or online media, can also serve its purpose.  It all depends on your needs, your business model, your market and your budget.

It is now possible for campaigns to be more targeted and strategic.  For example, a physician we worked with who was featured on Oprah separated herself from the others in her field by using social media and blogging to spread the word about her segment on the show.  A beauty expert who was featured in Allure was able to present herself as a much more credible authority and expert in her field by blogging about and posting the link to the Allure article on various social media sites.

After one or two validating placements you can either continue to focus on traditional PR, or , if you’re on a tight budget, you can shift your campaign towards an online approaching using the magazine, newspaper or TV coverage on you and your company to generate interest online.  Using online PR and social media you can establish yourself as an expert via your traditional media coverage and further establish the credibility of your brand.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2011

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