From Guest Blogger, Ann Convery: Want the Real Secrets of a Super Star? Ask Will Smith

FILM Smith 1Hi ,

Years ago, Will Smith was doing OK
as a rising TV star and movie actor.

But he was dead clear about his goal:
he wanted to be the biggest movie
star in the world.

So he and his manager studied
the 10 top-grossing movies of all time.

10 out of 10 had special effects.
9 out of 10 had special effects with creatures.
8 out of 10 had special effects with creatures and a love story.

They found the sweet spot in the market.

So they found a special effects script
with creatures and a love story.

Matthew Perry dropped out of
“Independence Day” at the last minute,
and Smith was in.

It was the highest grossing movie of 1996.

“Men in Black” didn’t do too badly either.

By age 44, Will Smith had accrued $4.4 Billion
in box office receipts.

What does this mean for you?

Will Smith’s success is no accident.
He studied the market and
made it happen.

Will Smith, and it might surprise you,
Elton John, Paul McCartney, and Mick Jagger
plotted their rise to the top.

If you want to go from where you are
to the top of your field, take this little test:

Have you actually studied your rise to the top?

Do you have a juicy, mouth-watering vision,
in living color, of what life will be like when you
get there?

Do you know what the sweet spot is
in your market?

Do you know what your market craves
and can’t get enough of?

Do you know what draws people to you and makes them
want you, you, you?

Do you know how to create that?

Think Will Smith. Bruce Willis. Tom Cruise.

Their star power is not an “accident of birth.”

Smith studied every actor, like Don Cheadle,
who came on “Fresh Prince” to learn the
secrets of what made them good.

Do you study the stars in your market
to see what makes them stand out?

Do you know how your market sees you now?

Do you know how to reposition
yourself for amazing success?

Do you have a mentor who can take
you there?

And by the way, you need that
juicy, mouth-watering vision from
the top right now.

Research proves that without a
crystal clear picture of your success,
you’ll never believe you can get there.

So you won’t have the motivation
to get going.

So you stay where you are.

Success is not fairy dust.

It’s more than hard work.

It’s a series of deliberate, planned, calculated,
shrewd moves.

If you answered “yes” to 8 out of
10 questions…

World – Stand back!

You’re on your way.


There’s 1 spot left in the Private Accelerator
Program for entrepreneurs who are hell-bent
on reaching the top.

If this is you, and you’ve got butterflies
just thinking about it –
Good sign.

Send a quick email to with “Ann, I’m interested” in the subject line.I
I’ll send you a one-page application so we can see if you’re a good fit for this high-octane ride.

Copyright © Ann Convery 2012

McMullen, Marion. “The Secret of Will Smith’s Success.” Photo. Coventry Telegraph12 Jun 2012. 27 Mar 2013. <;

Failure: The Biggest Success Secret

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots; 26 times I missed the game winning shot. I’ve failed over and over again .That’s why I succeed.” Michael Jordan

Jordon knew a bit about success.  The main thing he knew was that what is often defined as failure is actually a roadmap to success.  Failing to succeed.  The title of this article is tricky.  It sounds like I’m writing about how not to succeed, a blueprint on how to fail.  But, in fact what this article is about is how failure can lead to success.  Sounds strange, but that’s the way life works.  Often we spend so much time ensuring that we’re not going to fail, or fall on our face that we basically end up staying in one very small, very closed space.  There is really only one failure and that’s giving up.  And, when you think about it there are also times when that’s not a failure.  Sometimes we learn that we we’re headed in the wrong direction.  We stoop and take another road.  That too is not failure, that’s wisdom.

So how does this relate to public relations and marketing?  Simple, learning to launch a successful media relations campaign follows the same rules as learning to do anything successfully.  You come up with a success game plan, implement, and see what works.  Chances are that not all of your plans will be home runs, some might be complete flops.  So learn from those.

For example when I launched the PR campaign around my book Spin to Win, I initially pitched stories on how the PR process works. They were stories on the nuts-and-bolts, how-to aspects of launching a public relations campaign.  Well, we got some media bites, but not big ones.  So, I thought here I am the owner of a PR company and I’m launching a pretty ineffective campaign on my own book.  I could have stopped there, figured I’d missed the mark and given up.  But we switched approaches.  Instead of pitching stories on how to launch a PR campaign, I came up with pitches on how celebrities or companies that were in the news (usually for reasons that required PR damage control) should and could handle their PR problems.  This gave the media stories they could have fun with.  I met the media’s needs by giving them media stories that worked for them and was also able to get my message out and have my book featured on CNN, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the BBC and several other media outlets.

So although the initial pitch didn’t resonate the way I hoped it would, it lead me to coming up with the second approach and that approach worked.  I can’t tell you how many times this has been the case in my PR experience.  That’s why it’s impossible to judge a media campaign on one, two or three months.  As with everything in life, true success takes time, creativity, work and persistence.  It’s the persistence that can be the hardest part, but that’s also the piece of the puzzle that can yield the biggest pay off.  Just ask Michael Jordan.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2011

PR Follow-up Etiquette

Once you’ve come up with your PR campaign strategy, developed your various media pitches, and created your target media list, it’s time to launch and contact the media.  Initially pick five or ten targeted media outlets to send your press release to.  Press releases are important; they are generally your initial contact with the media.  Make them short concise and compelling.  But sending or emailing releases out is just the start.  You don’t want to just sit and wait.  You want to be patient, yet proactive.
After you’ve sent out your releases, give the media a day or two to read them, but don’t make the mistake of waiting for weeks, hoping for a call.  You need to make follow-up calls after sending out your press release. Initially it’s often best to concentrate on your local media. The local press will usually be more open to your calls and pitches. Keep your follow-up calls brief (three to four minutes maximum) and be polite. Be upbeat and enthusiastic. Don’t spend your time explaining why yours is the best store or product in town, or why they will be missing the story of the century if they don’t use your idea – everyone tells them that. Never beg or berate the media. You’re calling to introduce yourself, make sure they have the information, and ask if they have any questions or need any other information. Don’t be pushy, but be assertive. Don’t sound intimidated. Be upbeat and polite. Listen to the editor’s or producer’s feedback. If the person on the other line can’t talk, acts hurried, or says no, remember that chances are you caught him or her right in the middle of a story deadline. Don’t push it. Politely ask when would be a good time to call back, say thank you and hang up. Then, make sure you call back.

If the person on the other line starts a dialogue or asks you questions, be open, keep the conversation going, but don’t try to do a sales job. You are not there to sell anything, but to be a resource. If you’re told there’s no interest in your story, don’t try to bulldoze him or her. An effective public relations campaign is about telling good stories. Find out if there are any stories they are currently working on that you could help out with. Find out what kind of stories that particular editor or segment producer usually works on.

Your initial follow-up call is to make sure that your information arrived and was seen by the right person, and to introduce yourself. Keep the call short, polite, and very much to the point. Be courteous and quickly get off the phone. Although it is almost impossible to be effective by simply sending out press releases, don’t call until you have given your release some time to do its job. But keep in mind; you are going to have to make follow-up calls.  Without them media placement is often a real crapshoot.  Nine times out of ten, you will call only to find out that no one saw your email or received your letter. If that is the case, during the conversation, give a quick thumbnail sketch of your release, ask if you can re-send it, and thank them for their time. Be polite and get off the phone quickly. And, don’t call back twenty minutes later to see if they are now free to talk. Be judicious in your calls. In time, you will cultivate a working relationship with some of the media and begin to develop your own, unique and effective follow-up etiquette.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2011


4 (more) Secrets to Developing the Perfect PR Pitch

You might have a great story, but if you don’t know how to present it, you’re not going to grab the media’s attention.  Remember what seems like a great story for you might not seem that way to the media.  Building a great pitch for a TV segment or magazine article takes some time, thought and creativity.  Have fun with this process.  Give it some time and you just might uncover some hidden gems that will launch your PR campaign.

Before you approach the media, study and review the press release or pitch you’re going to be using.  Again, simply because it looks good to you doesn’t mean it will resonate with the media.  Keep working on and refining your pitch with the focus on how it will meet the media’s needs.

1. Debunking a myth:

If there are certain preconceived ideas in your industry, or surrounding the topic you’ll be pitching, focus on those and pitch a story around how those myths or preconceived ideas are wrong.  For example, if you’re in the fitness industry, come up with some points that debunk some commonly held misconceptions about working out or losing weight.  Present yourself as the expert who can set the record straight and  educate the public.

2. Comment on a national issue:

If there is a story being covered in the media, or if there is a particular topic that is being discussed that you can comment on do so.  For example, if you are an attorney and there is a particular legal case that is in the news, or if there is an issue or topic that is being discussed that you can address, pitch yourself as an expert in the field who can clarify and explain the topic.  Perhaps take a side and explain why the other side is wrong.  Make sure to explain why you are the expert to address this topic.

3. Seasonal Stories

The media always covers season stories.  It has to.  Whether the story has to do with the Christmas holidays, or summer, these are stories that are covered every year.  Find a way to pitch yourself or your product as a part of one of those stories.  For example if you own a beauty salon, or a cosmetic company, you can pitch a “new look for the new year” New Years story.

4. Your journey.

Often the best and most compelling stories are those that tell the story of your journey.  We’ve worked with a wide range of clients from filmmakers to physicians, and in almost every case the story of how the client developed his or her business, created the product, or started the service, served us well.  The media and people in general gravitate towards human interest stories that show how someone overcame odds to achieve a dream.

Keep all of these approaches in mind when you’re putting together your list of stories to pitch to the media.  Remember this is not a one-size-fits-all type of campaign.  Shift your pitch to match the needs of the particular media you’re going to be contacting.  Let the media know why your story works for them.  Keep your pitch short and to the point.  Present your story as a news segment, not as a pitch.  These tips work, so be prepared.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2010



The Truth About Content Marketing

Content marketing has become a new buzzword.  It’s spawned its own cottage industry; there are content marketing courses, experts, books, etc.  According to Wikipedia,   “Content marketing subscribes to the notion that delivering high-quality, relevant and valuable information to prospects and customers drives profitable consumer action. Content marketing has benefits in terms of retaining reader attention and improving brand loyalty.”

That’s great and although I’m a big believer in content marketing, an important point to realize though is that content marketing existed well before this term was coined and well before the internet became such a dominate force.  At my firm our focus has always been on content, on valuable information that the public and the media can utilize.  Good public relations firms have been utilizing content marketing for decades.  The concept is not a new one. It’s only the spin that’s different.  Similarly, media relations experts have been building and developing brands  long before the term “branding” became such a catch all term.

The emphasis on the approach, style and content are really not new, what is new is the mode of distribution.  Social media, blogging, online marketing.. those outlets are relatively new.  Still, they are the channels of distributing and disseminating information, they are not the information itself.

The new mantra is that “on the net content is king”, but in reality content always was.  Whether writing a press release, a white paper, or an article or pitching a TV segment, developing a good story and creating strong content have always been the bottom line.  An effective PR campaign has always depended on strategic content development.

The shift is in the medium(s).  Now you can deliver content via the traditional press outlets of TV, magazines, newspapers and the radio, as well as via blogs, vlogs, social media, and email marketing.  Using this combined approach a company can grow a business, build a brand, and develop a strategic reputation-building approach.

But keep in mind that a standard pitch or sales laundry list does not qualify as effective content.  The job is to solve a problem, offer a solution, advocate a new idea, or reveal a new way to approach a problem. You want to be inspiring, thought provoking, and offer cutting edge approaches and effective solutions.  You can discuss what’s new and what’s next, but the bottom line is that your content is useful and speaks to your target market.  How can you make your customer’s lives easier, happier, more time effective, more cost effective? Offer anecdotal stories that illustrate these points.  In this case content means value.

So, yes content marketing on the internet is an extremely important marketing tool, although social media and blogging are relatively new mediums, the basics of creating impactful content that tells a good story and offers value to the reader is as basic as marketing itself.  Content has always been king.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2010

When “They” Become the Enemy: The Danger of Perception Creating Reality

How we frame a story often defines reality.  Every day, via the traditional media, blogs and social media, perception creates reality.  When it comes to marketing films or merchandise this can be amusing, interesting, entertaining and downright annoying, but when it comes to defining a people or a group, it becomes insidious and dangerous.

Generally during tough economic times, people look for reasons and, often, for scapegoats, but, too often, instead of searching for the real causes and explanations, people will search for quick fixes, for easy places to put their anger.

Life is always easier if problems are caused by “them”.  This need to define a group and then lay blame is a dangerous, knee-jerk reaction that all humans seem to share.  If we can pinpoint an enemy and blame them for our ills, life seems so much easier.  Everything makes sense; life becomes black and white.  We don’t have to mess with those irritating shades of gray.  More importantly we don’t have to look at the fact that we might be part of the problem.  America seems to be caught in this type of mindset.  From the furor over whether a Mosque should be built close to where the World Trade Centers stood, there are now calls over national TV for no more Mosques to be built anywhere in the U.S.  It is as though by limiting freedom of religion we strengthen our basic freedoms.  On another front, there are calls by others to nullify the 14th Amendment.  These types of approaches are attempts to define “them”, pinpoint the enemy and demonize all Muslims and illegal aliens.

According to section 1 of the 14th Amendment   “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States….”  That seems like a well thought out section.  There is wisdom there.  It has served us well since 1868.

Perhaps if we can pull away from the 24/7 non-stop spin cycle where rancor, and sensationalism is the order of the day, we can remember that each person is an individual and should be judged on his or her merits.  Perhaps away from the vitriol found in much of the media and blogs we can remember the basic tenants that this country was based on.  Another part of the 14the Amendment states: “nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”  That seems worth contemplating.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2010

Newspapers on the Rebound?

Not long ago, newspapers were seen as a dying breed.  Admittedly, they have seen better days.  Advertising is flagging and readers are moving form the papers to the Internet.  The Federal Trade Commission set up sessions exploring how to safe the flagging newspaper industry.  There was talk of state subsidy and of possibly turning them into some form of charitable corporations.  In “The Vanishing Newspaper” (2004), Philip Meyer, predicts that in 2043, someone will be receiving the final copy of the final newspaper. Yet the demise of the newspaper could have been greatly exaggerated.  Many are turning a profit again, admittedly a small profit, but that is certainly better than the nose dive they were experiencing not long ago.

But their survival has come at a steep price.  These are not the same newspapers that we read a couple of years ago.  Journalists and editors have taken the brunt of the cuts as newspapers have pared down.  According to the American Society of News 13,500 positions have been cut in the last three years.  An article in the Economist points out that unlike papers in many other countries, American newspapers have traditionally relied heavily on ad revenues.  According to the Economist: “Fully 87% of their [American newspapers] ad revenues came from advertising in 2008, according to the OECD.  In Japan the proportion is 35%.  Not surprisingly Japanese newspapers are much more stable.”

In central Europe some publishers had their most profitable first quarter on record.  Brazil now boasts five tabloids and advertising has remained strong. In the U.S., some companies have had remarkable rebounds since mid 2009.

Although most newspapers have raised their prices, and cuts in the cost of paper and in the amount of paper being used have also helped, it is the internal cuts and terminations that have led the way in publishing’s survival of the fittest.  In the U.S., newspapers reacted to the recession by cutting not with a scalpel, but with a butcher knife.  From film and theatre reviewers, to science, business, reporters in nearly all fields felt the cuts.  This approach has reshaped newspapers as we know them.  Most now rely on wire services or the larger national outlets to supply them with much of the information and articles on music, film, food, health, cars, business, and foreign affairs.  With newspapers now heavily relying so heavily on the wire services for their coverage of the arts and business and foreign affairs, we are losing a great deal.  We are left with a homogenized centralized view of the world.  We have one or two voices where once there were many.

Newspapers are also morphing; learning from the net, many are becoming more specialized and niche focused.  Most are concentrating more than ever on giving readers what they want as opposed to offering a well rounded, vetted, journalistic view of the world, which also has its dangers. Yet, the upside is that, realizing that small papers have overall fared much better than large publications during the recession, many are once again becoming truly local newspapers.  An increase on local news and events is a good thing.  It is that approach that initially built the newspaper industry.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2010

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