PR Tip of the Day: Let The Media Be Your Guide

Room with a wall of tv screens
Let The Media Be Your Guide:
 You don’t want to be completely reactive when launching a public relations campaign, but you do want to know what stories the media is covering and if there are any topics that you can address.  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, that gives you a great PR opportunity to present yourself as an expert.  In the cases of breaking media stories, you need to move quickly since the window of opportunity will be short lived, but this type of approach does offer you a way to position 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.

This is also an opportunity to utilize social media and see which new stories are trending on the various social networks. Especially if you utilize social media analytics and you are engaged with your target market online. You can see what news is news that you want to be a part of. How can you weigh in? How can your company add value and understanding to the topics within your market’s culture. Brainstorm and consider all ideas.  Lots to think about. Get out there and get in the media!

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2013

PR, Marketing & the Downsides of Authenticity, Engagement & Empowerment

In the worlds of public relations and marketing you hear quite a bit about relevance, value, authenticity connection, community, relevance, empowerment, simplicity engagement and purpose.  An impressive list and all are important words to keep in mind.  But these are all words that are being overused to the point of irrelevance.  It’s great to say you need to be authentic and connect with your audience, but simply using that verbiage is not enough.  The trick here is that you truly do need to connect, which means you have to give your marketing messages thought and view your message from the point of view of the consumer.  I recently read that for brands to be effective they need to address a number of issues including entertainment, information, utility, rewards and recognition.  These are all important but without relevance and context, you’re not going to get far.

Whether your launching a PR, social media or marketing campaign, your goal is to connect with your audience and to do so effectively you need to be creative.  But more than that you need know your audience, understand their needs and speak to your target market’s issues.  You need to address the problems that nag at them or keep them up at night.  That’s why when crafting your marketing public relations message, you want to know your market well enough to offer relevant content within the right context.

Generally there is a vast chasm between what drives marketers and consumers; each has different needs and objectives. The marketer wants to land the consumer as a client.  The consumer wants to fill a need or solve a problem.  Consumers don’t care about you as a marketer unless you give them a compelling reason to do so.  And the only way marketers can do that is to think like consumers.  Here is where the disconnect comes in; marketers generally work backwards.  Their starting point is their product or service.  They then try to fill in the dots that will lead consumers to become clients.  They should in fact start from the point of view of the client and work from there to figure out what the client needs, worries about or longs for, as well as what he or she reads, watches, and listens to.  It is only then that a business owner or marketer can develop a succinct, successful message.

Without a message that connects with your audience it won’t mater what media platforms you’re utilizing.  Your message drives your medium.  Don’t feign authenticity.  Don’t try to fool your audience into believing that what you’re selling is what they need.  Yes you want to emphasize relevance, value, authenticity, connection, community, relevance, empowerment, simplicity engagement and purpose, but (and here’s the kicker) you want to do so in an authentic relevant way.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2012

How To Stand Out In a World of Dot.com Gerbils

The internet has not only drastically changed industries, such as music, media and film, it has changed marketing forever.  Let me restate that, it is changing marketing on an ongoing basis.  How we send and receive information is in a constant state of flux.  There is no final destination; no point of arrival, there is only a constant ever evolving journey.   The not-so-long-ago lonesome trails of the net are now overly congested and traffic is bumper-to-bumper.

This is true not only of the number of web sites themselves but of the proliferation of web and dot-com advertisements. The amount has reached critical mass.  Not only has how we receive our information changing from PCs and Macs to pads and smart phones, but the amount of information that is flowing to us seems to be growing exponentionally.

The problem is the more information we receive, the less we actually register.  Every day we are bombarded with emails, pop ups, banners, etc.  It’s bad enough that we’re assaulted online; the offline world offers little escape.  From sponsorship of college football bowl games, to billboard ads, to stickers on produce, companies are trying any and every advertising and marketing avenue available to lure customers to their sites.

The sheer volume is so overwhelming that most of us are left with little more than a memory of countless dot-com companies that offer something – we’re just not sure what.  From traditional ads and commercials, to PR and media relations campaigns, to email marketing and social media campaigns, companies are trying any and everything to get your attention.

In real time the internet has shot from toddler to grown-up overnight, and the marketing strategies of even one or two years ago will no longer suffice.  So, where does that leave the entrepreneur who is looking to successfully market his or her online business?  Advertising, when done adeptly and consistently, is essential, but these days it can only take an internet company so far. To truly establish a company in the public eye, it’s imperative at some point for the message to take that defining, and validating leap from an ad that precedes the evening news to the story featured on the news.

Whether a company’s objective is to obtain more funding or attract more consumers to its site, there is nothing as validating and legitimizing as a well-placed print piece or TV segment.  The trouble is that not that many years ago, garnering Internet-oriented press was relatively easy.  Remember all of those articles and TV segments heralding the emergence of MySpace?   Stories about the launching of new IPOs, teen-aged wunderkinds who became overnight billionaires, and the very novelty of it all commanded reams of print as well as hours of TV and radio coverage. The wanna be Amazon.coms of the world were featured in every magazine and newspaper and on every TV and radio station.

Well, these days not only are consumers inundated with dot.com information, so is the media, and launching a successful media relations campaign is a bit tougher than it once was.  Still, when it comes to launching and implementing a successful marketing campaign for your online company a strategic mix of traditional PR and social media is your best bet.  As to the hows; I’ll be covering that in my follow up article.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2012

PETERD. “Fish.” Photo. SEOBOOK. 17 Oct 2011. 15 Apr 2012. <http://www.seobook.com/web-publishing-strategies-help-you-stand-out-competition&gt;

A Guest Post by Ann Convery: Can You Remember Why You Started Your Business?

Before the GO BIG! Online Telesummit ends, I wanted to let you TopStoryPR Readers/ Entrepreneurs/ Business Owners know about this really cool event still going the next 2 weeks.

You’re invited to the event of the season…

Join Lisa Cherney, Nancy Marmolejo, Carolyn Herfurth,  Michele PW and 34 others… (including me!)

At the GO BIG! Online Telesummit.

When: Monday, October 24th through Friday, November 4, 2011

What you’ll hear: 38 handpicked experts in sales, copywriting, marketing, teleseminars, info products, video, public speaking, networking, organizing and  outsourcing.  Resonate with One.   Resonate with Many.

What you’ll receive: Rememberable “ah-ha” takeaways, step-by-step same day action how-to’s,  access to bonuses galore.

Cost: $0.00

Grab your phone or rev-up your computer to GO  BIG! and get your passion back, grow your business, and find the balance you desire.

Click Here to RSVP Now!

Join 38 Unique Global Experts as they Reveal  Cutting-Edge Systems so YOU Can Go Big & Enjoy  the Reason You Started Your Business in the First Place.

>> Click Here to find out more

These experts are the absolute BEST in their industries, and they are just as committed as I am to helping you spread your message and grow your business!

See you there!

Ann

Copyright © Ann Convery 2011

Why You Should Launch a PR Campaign in a Tough Economy

No one is going to buy your product or services if they don’t know it exists and this is particularly true in tough economic times.  As counter intuitive as it might seem, the slow times are the times that you can’t afford to cut back in your marketing efforts.  It has been documented that companies that increase their marketing efforts during a recession can improve their market share as well as their return on investment at lower costs than they can during good economic times.  This is true because during uncertain times consumers need the reassurance.  They need to see you’re there.  While your competitors are cutting back and going into stealth mode, you should be keeping yourself and your company in front of your target audience.  While the competition is out of sight and out of mind, you should be front and center.

Understandably you don’t want to take on an expensive advertising campaign during lean times, but you do want to market.  You want to be creative.  You want to focus on how to best reach your market at a reasonable cost.  You also want to be realistic and understand that you’re going to need to invest in yourself and your company.  As the old adage says, it takes money to make money; but it needn’t take a lot.

  1. Initially, study your market and define your specific target market.
  2. Next, do some research and find out how to reach that market.  What do they read?  What do the watch?  What social media sites do they use?  What web sites do they visit?  You don’t need to hire a firm to do this market research for you.  Give someone the parameters you’re looking for, put them in front of a computer and get them started.  Twitter and Facebook alone offer a wealth of information on consumers and their likes and dislikes.
  3. Make a list of the media they read, watch, and visit.
  4. Develop a marketing campaign that will speak to your target market.

Because advertising and direct marketing can be expensive, I generally recommend a targeted marketing campaign that combines traditional public relations with an online campaign that includes blogging and social media.  Media relations is so effective because it reaches your target market, establishes you as an expert and offers you the validation of being featured in the news.  It also gives you powerful ammunition for your social media campaign.   The story pitches and press releases that you develop to present to the traditional media can also be modified and used online in your blogs and social media posts.  Always keep in mind that your objective is to present yourself as a problem solver.  Don’t pitch your business or product, explain how you can solve your client’s problems and make their lives easier, more efficient, healthier, etc.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2011

The Value of Online Press Releases

Online press releases are a bit like ants at a picnic.  They are everywhere and can be a bit annoying.  Whereas they do have their uses, it’s important not to confuse online with offline releases.

Traditional (offline) press releases are used to pitch a story to the media.  They are your calling card; a quick way to tell your story and highlight exactly why the media should cover you.  But when it comes to landing media, a press release on its own is seldom going to do you much good.  It’s true that we’ve placed stories by sending out a press release, but those instances are rare.  Chances are you’ve also heard stories of companies that have placed a press release on one of the paid wire services and have gone on to garner national media coverage.  Those stories are also true, but, to be honest, your odds are better of winning in Vegas than of hitting it big in the media world on the strength of a press release.  A press release can be a great introduction, but if it’s not followed up with phone calls and other media approaches, chances are it’s not going to get you far.

The job of the traditional press release is to start a conversation and to generate some initial interest or curiosity.  Online press releases have different objectives.  When effective they can help you move up in search engine rankings, build back links and help drive targeted web traffic.  If you’re lucky they will get picked up by other news sites and blogs.  If you’re remarkably lucky they can result in landing you traditional media coverage.

As I mentioned earlier, they can help with your SEO.  So know what keywords to use.  Use one of your primary keywords in your titles and incorporate other keywords into the content.  Don’t overdo it though.  Be judicious in your keyword usage.  Keep in mind that with online press releases you’re primarily talking to your target audience, whereas with traditional press releases you’re talking directly to the media.  Those are very different audiences.  With online releases, create copy that is as relevant to your audience as possible article content.  Don’t sell yourself or your product or service; offer solutions.

But if traditional media is your objective, sending out online press releases is generally a very ineffective approach.  They can be seductive at first.  Your releases might get picked up by Google or Yahoo or other online sites, which is fun to see, but the chances of that type of exposure leading to coverage in a magazine, newspaper or on TV are remarkably slim.  So keep your objectives in mind when deciding what types of press release you want to utilize.  Both traditional and online releases have their place, but each has a different function.  If your objective is to help increase your web traffic and raise your search engine ranking, online is worth a shot.  If you’re looking to gain coverage in TV, print, or radio, whereas online might help, to be truly effective, focus on the traditional approach.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2011

Gregory, Alyssa. “Publish Your Story to the World.” Photo. SitePoint. 02 Oct 2009. 30. Sept. 2011. <http://www.sitepoint.com/online-press-release-distribution-sites/&gt;

Developing a New PR Approach

Marketing has shifted dramatically in the past decade.  With the advent of blogs and social media, companies now have different marketing and PR needs.  With that in mind, it’s important to rethink your approach to media relations.  As opposed to focusing solely on traditional PR campaigns or 100% on online campaigns, consider a menu of strategies.   What fits your specific needs can vary, from

1) A full blown traditional PR and social media campaign,

2) A campaign that emphasizes traditional public relations, along with a more targeted online media approach,

3) One that cover a targeted traditional media outreach in conjunction with an online media approach,

4)  A campaign that focuses 100% on online PR

5) A social media campaign.

6) You get the picture, you can mix and match.

Remember what is right for you and your company depends on your specific needs and its budget.  Although it is possible to launch a successful online PR campaign, it is quite different from a traditional media outreach.  The media outlets and the overall approach have to be handled differently.  When launching an online campaign, you’re targeting bloggers, online media, forums and individuals via social media such as Facebook and Twitter.  Your approach needs to be more conversational and more personal in its tone. The traditional media approach is more formal and more press release driven.

This is a PR/marketing world of mix and match, and no one approach is designed to fit all.  Study your prospective clients and customers; review your marketing needs and how to best reach your target market. Now come up with a plan that specifically meets those needs.

Although both traditional and new media PR campaigns can be successful, your best bet is to create a campaign that encompasses both. Whereas some companies have been quite successful going strictly with the online approach, your needs might be better served by adding the credibility of being featured in the news.  A feature in a magazine or segment on a TV program changes how you’re viewed by your clients and prospective clients.  You are more readily perceived as an expert in your field.   People who see your magazine articles and TV segments on social media sites will view you as an expert, as a professional who can be trusted.

A strong traditional media campaign is still imperative to gain the credibility and validation of being featured as a news story.  Yet particularly when starting out, you can achieve your initial marketing goals if you have both a strong online presence and a limited traditional PR campaign.

Develop a media relations plan and campaign that is designed specifically for your needs.  Don’t assume you intrinsically know who your target market is and how to reach them.  Do your homework.  It will pay off in the long run.

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

Marketing You

Sometimes it just seems as though we should market whenever and wherever possible, particularly during tough economic times.  And now with the array of marketing venues available things can get more confusing than ever.  The promotional choices seem endless including traditional advertising, direct marketing, public relations, online marketing, SEO, social media… the list just keeps growing.

But don’t simply make knee-jerk choices, when picking a marketing program, or building a personalized marketing machine.  When it comes to marketing, you can’t separate yourself from your business.  You want to reach your target market and increase sales, but you also want to present yourself and your company in a specific way.  With an organic marketing campaign, you’re not only marketing your business, you’re marketing yourself. You want your brand to illustrate who you are and what your company stands for.

PUBLIC RELATIONS

One the of reasons I’m such a strong advocate of traditional PR is that it is the best marketing tool available for branding your business.  Nothing offers you the validation and credibility of being featured in the news.  You are positioned as an expert in your field.  Your product or service is presented, not as an ad or a commercial, but as a news story.  But even within the PR arena, it’s important that you figure out:

How you want to be presented
Whether you’re comfortable being the spokesperson
What media you want to approach
What type of media angles you want to use, etc.

Even once you pick a marketing approach, such as media relations, you need to tailor it to meet your specific needs.

ADVERTISING & DIRECT MARKETING

So, let’s say that PR is part of your promotional mix, an integral element in your marketing machine, what other forms of marketing are you going to utilize?  There’s advertising, but that can get expensive, and if you’re going to give it a shot, you need to commit to giving it some time (actually you need to commit some time to any form of marketing to see if it actually works).  If advertising is in your marketing mix:

Where are you going to advertise?
What image are you going to put out there?

Direct marketing is another avenue, but again, does that type of marketing truly suit your type of business?  If you have a restaurant or a spa it very well could.  It might not suit another business as well.

INTERNET MARKETING

Finally, we come to the wild world of the internet.  Here you have article marketing, online advertising, blogging, social media, ezines, etc.  The trouble here is often it might look like you’re moving forward, where in fact, very little is happening.  You could have a couple of thousand followers on Twitter, but is that converting into actual business?  Also, with such approaches as article marketing or blogging, are you comfortable writing?  Is that one of your strengths?  On the net content is king.  If you are posting information, you want to make sure that it’s accurate and that it says what you want to say, how you want to say it.  There are those who will write and post for you and that can often work, but make sure that you are keeping your voice and your point of view, otherwise you’re losing control of your message, which means you’re losing control of your brand.

Some people thrive online and have fun posting blogs, commenting on other’s blogs and posting on the various social media sites.  Others find it intrusive and intimidating.  If you are one of the latter, that doesn’t mean you should avoid blogging or social media, but that you should either have someone do it for you who you can carefully supervise, or that you should come up with a system that takes no more than an hour a day.  So although social media is the buzz-of-the-day maybe you’re someone who hates the net, but loves the phone.  Cold calling could still be your most valuable marketing tool.  This entire marketing puzzle is best solved by focusing on your strengths.  Yes, there will be marketing arenas you’ll be leaving out, but that’s okay.   You’re life will be simpler, your approach will be streamlined and, you’ll find, your personalized marketing machine will work much more effectively.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2011

PR 2.0: Succeeding in the New Media World

When it comes to distribution and media outlets, PR has changed dramatically.  Mailing used to be the standard way of sending out information (actually it’s not a bad approach now a days, since everyone is getting so adept at hitting their keyboard delete button). But on the whole mailing in many ways has become archaic.  The number of media outlets and what defines a media outlet has also shifted.  Yet the basics of PR, which include defining your objectives, defining your stories, learning how to present your stories, defining your target market(s), and creating a media contact list that reaches your target market(s), remain the same.  Although the distribution channels have changed, and the internet has redefined who and what the media actually is, the public relations basics remain constant.

This truly is a situation where the more things change, the more they remain the same.  You still want to reach your prospective customers, you want to tell a compelling story, you want to give a call to action, and you want to demonstrate your value.  None of that has changed.  That is all as it always has been.  Yet, while the core basics remain the same, it’s true that just about everything else has changed. Mailing a release to editors and producers and making follow up calls is no longer the sole name of the game.  It is still a part of the process, but only a part, the media relations terrain is constantly evolving and the changes have made the process more intricate, not less.  Placing a press release on one of the paid wire services is not going to meet your public relations objectives.  Anyone can write what they consider to be a press release and send it out to a number of contacts and place it on a wire service.  The trouble is just about anyone does, so most of those releases remain totally ignored.  They might end up on some websites, but most of the time, little more than that will happen.

Many business owners think because there are the paid wires, blogs and social media sites that they can now effectively launch their own campaigns.  That sounds good in theory, but a do it yourself approach generally backfires.  Your best bet is to hire a company or a consultant who knows the terrain and can run your campaign for you.  In a sense this truly is the Wild West when it comes to PR.  There are those marketing experts who will tell you that they know exactly where PR is heading, but they’re all making educated guesses.  It’s a rapidly changing world.  Whereas social media and blogging have actually made traditional PR more important than ever, and as the internet and new communication devices evolve, the process of media relations itself is continually changing and evolving.

For example where you still want to pitch mainstream media in the traditional way, the following is an approach that would have been impossible only a few years ago.  Many high profile media outlets have added a box on their site that reports on various blog posts to the site.  One approach is to write a blog referencing a specific article from one of the magazines or newspapers that you’re interested in getting coverage in; then link your blog using a trackback link.  A trackback is a way of request notification when somebody links to one of your blog posts.  You can then submit it to Technorati.com.  Technorati will report it and the publication will link to you.  That was not a possibility a few years ago.   Whereas that can be valuable, and worth a shot, keep in mind it’s not the same as being interviewed by or featured in said publication.

In the world of PR 2.0, the internet has revolutionized how media and publicity campaigns are run.  The most effective PR approach is one that includes traditional public relations, blogging and social media.  The media world is no longer as clearly defined as it once was.  Social media sites and blogs have become as important as newspapers and TV outlets.  Make sure that you don’t confuse social media with online marketing.  Social media facilitates communications and conversations between people – it is not the practice of social marketing.

By understanding the new media world and combining your social media strategy and blogging with a traditional PR campaign you can create a powerful three-pronged 2.0  approach which results in more followers, more buzz, more customers and more business.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2011

The YouTube Star Making Machine

According to a YouTube press release:

More than 13 million hours of video were uploaded during 2010.

35 hours of video are uploaded every minute.

More video is uploaded to YouTube in 60 days than the 3 major US networks created in 60 years.

YouTube reached over 700 billion playbacks in 2010.

Less than a month after its fifth birthday, YouTube has announced that it has exceeded two billion video views per day

That is a lot of video.  How does anyone break through all of those images, music talk and clatter?  The amazing thing is that many do and some ride it on to major success.  That Bieber guy for example.

Although it’s only been around since 2005, and was sold in 2007 for 1.65 billion (yeah billion with a B) to Google, YouTube is now a household name, a major player and a launching pad for new careers.  The list of those who have emerged from YouTube includes Justin Bieber, Soulja Boy, and Tay Zonday, among others.  The list is varied, from Bieber to the Bed Intruder to the double rainbows guy.  John Jacobson and his Double Dream Hands video became a huge hit thanks to YouTube.  Jacobson ended up on Ellen’s TV show teaching her staff how to do the dance on her birthday segment.  There is now a Double Dream Hands phone app and a book and DVD are on the way.

Whereas YouTube used to be the site to visit to watch goofy, crazy videos, it is now the new engine for launching talent and careers.  It is a community where viewers go to find news, sports, science, music and how-to information.  Like a social network it also allows viewers to subscribe to different channels, friends, etc.

YouTube creates stars and sensations; Auto-Tune the News’s “Bed Intruder Song” was the year’s most-watched, non-major label video on YouTube.  The site helped take it from obscurity to online sensation.

The Bieber Effect: The Beiber story is the most striking.  The sixteen year old Canadian singer shot from anonymity to superstardom in three years. At 13 he competed in, signed by Usher.  After his debut release of “My World” he topped 100 million YouTube views. The Bieber effect signaled a new phenomenon – a combination of digital/viral social media and a crossover of digital/analog/print phenomenon.  This was a true example of the new media melding with old.

Apart from videos from major labels, last year’s most popular videos were inspired by or take offs on established performers such as Lady Gaga, Ke$ha and, of course, Justin Bieber.  There was also the Old Spice guy, and we’re all still recovering from the double rainbow.  But musicians, performers and comedians aren’t the only ones to profit from YouTube.  Who are they and how do they do it?  I’ll be talking about that in my next article.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2011

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 206 other followers

%d bloggers like this: