How To Launch A PR Campaign in 2013

iStock_000006123578_MediumLaunching a PR campaign can be a tricky proposition.  Although each campaign is different and unique, there are basic steps that we follow, which could serve as a basic blueprint.

We begin by setting up a brainstorming session with the client.  Before the session, we send the client a questionnaire to review, which we use as a guideline.  The session can be in person on over the phone.

The purpose is to review the client’s history, expertise, stories, media angles, etc.  I generally have an account executive who will be working with me on the campaign on the call with me.

Once we finish the session, we write the initial press release(s) which we send to clients for approval.

We then build the specific media lists to approach.  The list will include magazines, newspapers, TV, radio, online publications, blogs, etc.

Once the client approves the release, we start approaching the various media outlets.

Except in special situations, we generally do not use paid wire services.

We target our proprietary media list.  Here is where experience and having contacts and ongoing relationships with the media can be real assets.

Once the media has been contacted, we then make follow up calls to each editor, writer or producer; the follow up phone calls are how most of the stories and interviews are placed.

Initially we target the national media, Los Angeles, and New York.  We then approach the more general and regional oriented media.

We focus on L.A. and New York, because they help create a media buzz and influence the national media.

If there is a local focus to the campaign, the initial media lists and outreach will be targeted to the local and regional media.

Even with locally based campaigns, we’ll launch a national outreach.  I’m a big believer in reaching out to the national media even on a local story.  It can be tricky and the story has to be presented in the right way, but it can be done.

Depending on the client and the campaign, there are various media outlets to consider including sports and fitness publications, women’s magazines, trade publications, TV talk shows, TV morning shows, business-oriented publications, entertainment oriented publications and TV programs, general interest media, etc.  Overall, we have in thousands of media contacts in our database.

It’s important to modify the pitch for the various media outlets.  A pitch that would work for the Dr. Oz, would generally need to be modified for People, Allure, USA Today, or to a local or regional media outlet.

It’s also important to understand that each media outlet has its own lead time.  A nightly news show is reporting breaking stories; newspapers are timely, but not as immediate as live TV, weekly publications deal with current stories, but not

It’s equally important to understand that each media outlet has its own particular needs; which means, even though you can develop one main pitch or release, you need to know how to modify them to meet the needs of the various outlets.

Copyright © Anthony Mora Communications 2013

 Shutterstock. “How to Create and Execute a PR Campaign on a Shoestring Budget.” Photo. Under30CEO. 02 Dec 2012. 03 Jul 2013. <http://bit.ly/WCPLNz&gt;

Jay-Z &Samsung: Using Old Media To Drive New

samsung-magna-cartaSo how did Jay-Z choose to launch his upcoming album Magna Carta Holy Grail, which is due out on July 4.  Did he decide to go through social media?  Twitter?  Facebook? YouTube?  Nope.

Jay-Z decided to unveil his new music during game 5 of the NBA finals last Sunday.  Samsung aired a three-minute ad announcing the release of the rapper’s upcoming album.  Yep, the launch was on a TV commercial.  Old school, eh?

According to The Wall Street Journal, Samsung is paying Jay-Z $5 per album to issue his newest LP, through a dedicated app.  The catch is that the offer goes to the first million Samsung Galaxy users 72 hours before the LPs wider release.

For Jay-Z, the deal will offer a wider market for his already impressive sales. According to Nielsen Soundscan, even in this era where downloading music for free is a common practice, his last LP, Watch The Throne, sold 436,000 copies in its first week,.

The teaming of Jay-Z and Samsung makes for an effective PR approach.  Choosing to go via traditional media and airing a TV commercial during the NBA finals generated mass media coverage, which then went viral on blogs, Twitter and other social media platforms,

Just what they were hoping for.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2013

Coooper, Daniel. “Samsung launches Magna Carta app, users will get Jay-Z album early and for free on July 4th.” Photo. Engadget. 24 Jun 2013. 05 Nov 2013. <http://engt.co/11WaSfK&gt;

Spielberg, Lucas & the Fate of The Film Industry

MovieLogos1If anyone knows the film business, Steven Spielberg does.  Many consider him a visionary.  He’s been a force that has shaped the industry as we know it.   So, if it’s true that Spielberg knows the film biz, the industry is in for some hard times.  His most recent prediction is not a happy one.

As part of a panel at USC for the opening of the university’s School of Cinematic Arts’ new Interactive Media Building, Spielberg predicted the “implosion” of the film industry. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Spielberg predicted things could wind up so that: “you’re gonna have to pay $25 for the next ‘Iron Man,’ you’re probably only going to have to pay $7 to see ‘Lincoln.’ “

According to Spielberg the industry could falter if, as he predicts, several high-budget, high-profile films fail.  The impact could alter the film industry as we know it.  “That’s the big danger, and there’s eventually going to be an implosion — or a big meltdown, “he explained. “There’s going to be an implosion where three or four or maybe even a half-dozen mega budget movies are going to go crashing into the ground, and that’s going to change the paradigm.”

And this is not only Spielberg’s take on the state of the film industry.   George Lucas, who was also on the panel, concurred with Spielberg’s view.  According to Lucas, cable television is now “much more adventurous” than the movie industry. The two film giants told the students that this is a time of huge changes both for the film industry and filmmakers. “The pathway to get into theaters is really getting smaller and smaller,” explained Lucas.

The irony is that these pronouncements come from two filmmakers who helped usher in the blockbuster film world that we now live in. But I doubt that even they could envision the direction that the film world would take.  Studios now pour hundreds of millions into huge blockbuster films.  Those films pay for just about everything else’s the studios do, but when those blockbusters begin to fail, the walls will come crushing down.  Add to that the threat that  TV poses, particularly cable and the new online on demand models that are surfacing, and the traditional film model is in real trouble.

But, at least from my perspective, having worked as a film producer, writer and film PR consultant, this could be the best thing that could possibly happen to the industry.  Yes, there could be a huge shakeup which will be uncomfortable for many, but these huge films with their bloated blockbuster budgets have strangled the industry.  There is no room left in the traditional model for low budget or mid range films that tell an interesting story and offer actors roles that allow them to actually act.

The current film industry model is to bet the entire industry on the success or failure of blockbusters  Either the studios, and the film world as a whole, will realize that they are playing a losing hand, and change their gameplan accordingly, or they will learn the hard way.  For as Spielberg and Lucas predict, the inevitable is coming.

If they take those hundreds of millions and make smaller budget action, fantasy, or sci-fi films that work and then produce films in a number different genres that target different audiences, that will help spread the risk.  The industry needs to produce more films that target different sectors.  Those films will make more modest returns, that’s true, but there will be more of them and costs will be kept in check.  Under this model you’ll not only have a much saner approach to film making, you’ll end up with more creative, dynamic compelling films.  The movie industry is more than aliens, robots, superheroes and CGI.  It’s about storytelling.

So filmmakers take heart.  Yes the film world is in for a wild ride, but it will be one that in the end could very well offer more producers, directors and actors more opportunities and will offer the public more quality films.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2013

Megzus. “Cool Movies and Films of 2012, 2011, and 2013.” Photo. Megzus. 14 Jan 2013. 17 Jun 2013. <http://bit.ly/175Mz2J&gt;

 

The #1 Secret to a Successful Public Relations Campaign

Young businesswoman whispering something to her colleagueMost people think that once they hire a PR firm, they’re job is over.  They pay their fee and wait.  Or they pay their fee, call to check in on the firm and then wait.

Well that’s one approach, but it’s a poor one.

If you are:

Working with a PR firm,

Launching a PR campaign,

Or considering hiring a public relations company to launch a PR campaign you need to read this.

Why?

Because, I’m going to tell you the number one PR success secret.

This is the primary reason that PR campaigns succeed or fail.

What is that secret, you ask?

Street Interview in TokyoYou!

Your involvement in your media relations campaign is essential, if you expect to succeed.

And by involvement I don’t mean calling your PR firm to see how the campaign is progressing.

By involvement I mean developing a working partnership with your firm, helping them come up with story ideas, getting out of your comfort zone and helping set up events or presentations, or approaches that the media will respond to.

Your firm knows what the media wants, but you know your business.  Working together you can develop pitches and story angles that meet the media’s needs, and also meets your needs.

This often means looking at your business or company with fresh eyes, stepping outside, getting out of your comfort zone.

You need to be open to ideas and events that aren’t generally the norm for you.

An effective PR campaign is a collaborative effort.  A PR firm can do its job, what it cannot do is your job.

I’ll be following up with some examples of how clients can successfully work with their public relations firms to implement incredibly successful PR campaigns.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2013

The 5 Most Asked PR Questions – Answered

q&aHaving been in the PR business for over twenty years, I’ve been asked a number of questions about PR, media relations, marketing, publicity and the media.  Each person has his or her unique concerns, but overall there are five questions that I get repeatedly asked.  With that in mind, I’ve listed them below with a short explanation and response to each

1. Why should we use PR instead of advertising?

It’s less expensive, reaches your target market and gives you the validation and credibility of being featured in the news.

2. What is the difference between PR and marketing?

Public relations is a form of marketing.  It differs from advertising or direct marketing in that through PR you’re presented as a news story.  We pitch and place stories in the media , we do not buy ad or commercial space   PR are reaches your target market, but also offers you the validation of being featured in the media.  Your story is not placed as a commercial or as an ad, but as the news.

3. Why do I need traditional PR in the age of social media?

Traditional PR separates you from others on the various social media platforms; it amplifies and magnifies your social media outreach.  It’s a way of turbo charging your social media campaign.  Almost everyone is online these days, but it’s a select few who have been featured in the media.

4. Do I need a PR firm that specializes in my specific industry?

The industry specialization is not as important as the firm’s overall PR experience.  You need a PR firm that understands how to launch an effective PR campaign.  A PR consultant can learn about a particular industry but if he or she does not understand the PR basics, you’re in trouble.

5. Can’t I launch a PR campaign on my own or hire someone in-house to do the job?

You can, but when you hire a PR firm, you’re hiring a team with experience contacts and know-how.  You’re bringing on board the collective experience, perspective and contacts of an entire firm

If you would like me to elaborate on some of these points or have other questions about PR and marketing, feel free to shoot me an email.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2013

PR & Marketing Tips for Style and Fashion Lines

StageWhen launching any type of line in the fashion, style or jewelry world, your first step is to identify your target market.

Who are your customers?

What else do they buy?

How do they perceive themselves?

How will your line complement and enhance who they are?

Remember you’re not selling a product; you’re selling a lifestyle, a feeling, an approach to life.  You’re offering your customers that magic that helps distinguish them from the rest of the crowd.

To begin:

Know your market.

Study it.

Where do they shop?

What do they read?

What do they watch?

What social media sites do they utilize?

Have a specific customer in mind and study how to best reach them and market to them.

Be realistic, if your line would sell well in Target, that’s great.  Understand that.  Know those customers.  Know what motivates them.  But don’t design for a target client base while thinking your customers shop at Tiffany’s.  Drill down and get rid of any disconnect between the reality of your brand and the fantasy of what you might feel it should be.

Defining Your Line:

Create a distinctive line that allows you to build a distinctive brand.

Don’t be different simply for the sake of being different.  That never works.

But do find a way to create a signature style.  Reflect who you are through your work so that you can separate yourself from the competition.

Be organic in your approach. Be authentic.  That will resonate.

Study other designs, other lines and collections.  This isn’t in order to copy but to get a sense of where the market is going and to get a feel of your competition.  Know what’s out there.

Contact boutiques.  Show your excitement about your line and let them know that you will help market not only your products but the boutique as well in your outreach.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2013

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 Mapping, Brainstorming and Media Success

beautiful-dreams-dreams-come-true-feithful-fotografia-Favim.com-254548Developing and launching a PR campaign can be an interesting, exhilarating and exciting process.  I’d say that if it’s not, you’re approaching it the wrong way.  The most important thing to keep in mind is that it is a process, a cumulative process.  It begins with mapping out your stories, pitches, strategies, and timeline.  I generally begin every campaign with a brainstorming and PR mapping process.  Here I ask the client to tell me everything about their life, company product, hopes, dreams, etc.  This is where we gather the ideas and information to build the campaign.  I ask that the clients not censor themselves or only tell me information that they think is relevant or important.  Often what the client finds boring or inconsequential can be the basis for a fascinating pitch or story.  Generally the client is too close to his or her story to be the best judge of which pitches will or won’t work.

As I suggest to prospective clients, it’s important that you too go through a brainstorming session before moving forward on launching a campaign.  This is the process in which the stories and ideas for the public relations campaign are developed.  In fact these stand alone consultation sessions can redefine a direction and create a roadmap to success that had not been initially considered.  In a true sense, they have become a cornerstone of our business.

Once the PR roadmap is developed it’s important to focus on your primary goals and objectives.  Keep in mind that media exposure is the vehicle, not the end game.  You want to garner media in order to get you and your business exposure, but that’s not your ultimate objective. In other words, garnering media coverage is the avenue not the destination.  For a public relations campaign to be truly effective, the media exposure needs to lead you somewhere.  Which means before you launch you want to come up with a game plan; in essence you want a PR and business roadmap that will keep you on track towards your goal and objectives.

Media relations is a unique form of marketing.  Unlike advertising or direct marketing, with public relations you can’t pick and choose specific outlets and dates that your story or segment will run – that is the challenge of PR.  Yet, on the other hand, when a news story does run on you or your business, you are positioned in a unique and powerful way.  You gain the credibility and validation of being featured as a news story.  Your story is not an ad or a commercial.  It’s a news story.  A feature in a magazine or newspaper or a segment on TV or radio positions you as an expert and positions your company or product as one of the tops in the field.  With PR you reach your target market and build your brand via the media.

Still, as I mentioned before, the media coverage in and of itself is not the final objective.  Effectively utilizing your PR is what will build your brand and help bring you clients, customers and sales.  That’s why it’s important to define your objectives and your PR blueprint before you launch a campaign.  Do you want to establish your brand, sell more products, land more clients, and establish yourself as an expert in your field?  All of those objectives are valid, but which are your main objectives?  That’s where the brainstorming sessions can be of such value.  Once you develop a PR roadmap, you can set a course to reach your media and marketing destination.  I’ll be writing more about the value of brainstorming and PR mapping sessions in upcoming articles.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2013

Hassler, Christine. “Dream it. Wish it. Do it.” Photo. Christine Hassler. 15 Nov. 2012. 25 Jan 2012. <http://www.christinehassler.com/2012/11/wondering-if-your-dreams-will-ever-come-true/&gt;

Why You Need To Be Specific in Your PR Pitches, Goals & Objectives

SMART GoalsOne of the most tempting, and dangerous aspects of launching a PR or media relegations campaign is to try and pitch everything about you or your business at one time.  You want to focus.  Keep it simple.  Journalists are generally working on deadlines and have a limited amount of time.  If you try to pitch the media every aspect of your business, you’re not going to be able to come up with a targeted, concise pitch, which is what it takes to be successful in the PR business.  Trying to go broad instead of deep is a common error, but it can be a costly one.

Create PR pitches that either work as news stories or a human interest stories.  Pitches such as new partners joining the company, or new promotions, can be okay for trade-oriented media, but don’t waste your time trying to pitch those types of stories to the mainstream media.  There is no news there that they can use.  From their perspective they’re going to feel you don’t understand their needs as a journalist and that you’re wasting their time.  If you’re sending out a release on a new product or service, don’t simply announce that a new product is being launched.  Include information on how the product impacts others.  For example, how does it make life easier, or how does it help change an industry. You get the basic idea.  Also, make sure that you don’t inundate journalists with press releases or media pitches.  If a journalist starts receiving pitches from you on a regular basis, he or she will soon simply tune you out.  You will be quickly relegated to their spam folder.

Before launching a public relations campaign, write down your overall media objectives.  Create a list of objectives and benefits that you hope to garner from you media relations campaign.  By writing down your targets and by writing down your goals and intents, you will also start to clarify your direction, pitches and press releases.

There are a number of goals you could have in mind, for example, your objective could be to: 

  1. Help build your brand by using the validation and credibility of being featured in the mainstream media
  2. Introduce you and your company to a specific target market
  3. Increase sales
  4. Attract funding or investment
  5. Establish yourself as an expert in your field

Once you’ve clarified your goals, you’ll be able to create a much clearer roadmap for your PR outreach.  Remember the more targeted, concise and specific you are when creating and launching a PR campaign, the more successful your campaign will be.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2012

Surviving (and thriving) In The Music Industry

The music industry has made such a complete 180 in the past few years, that it’s enough to make you dizzy.  The days of A&R reps finding a new band, recording them and putting them through the star making machine is pretty much a thing of the past. The mid to late ‘80s was one of the heydays in the music industry.  From The Police and Motley Crue to the GoGo’s and the Chili Peppers (originally Tony Flow and the Majestic Masters of Mayhem) bands were signed and snatched up out of the local rock scenes.  Those were the days of powerful large labels and upstart independent labels.  Most bands sparked for a minute or two and faded away, some are still on top today.  But the difference is that back then there were labels that were willing to take a chance on an artist or a band, produce, market and distribute their product.  That was also the heyday of MTV.  A video in strong rotation could launch a band.  Touring was still important, but bands could do so more sparingly.  Radio and video exposure could help keep an act in the spotlight.  CDs were sold directly to the consumer.  Artists actually made money by selling their music.

Fast forward to 2012.  The world I just described is as anachronistic as that of the era of the horse and buggy.  Everything has changed.  It is now a true struggle to make money by selling music.  Touring and merchandising is a must.  The days of musicians and record labels spinning gold by selling music are over.  Not long ago there were bands who wouldn’t consider selling their music to an advertiser or TV show.  They could make their revenue off of an album and then CD sales.  With product placement now becoming the name of the game, recording artists are having to rethink their approach and their career paths.

The upside is that there is more of a level playing field.  More singers, bands and musicians now have an opportunity to get known and develop a career.  But, it has become more of a do-it-yourself world; musicians, who know how to work social media, blog, and launch traditional media campaigns, can still establish a presence, create a fan base and build a buzz.   There is still a way to launch a music career and make money while making music, but musicians now have to be savvy marketers.  They need to understand PR, media relations, publicity and the basics of marketing.  It’s a bit daunting, that goes without saying, but for those who learn the ropes, it also puts the power squarely in their hands.  It’s true that labels launch many a band, but there are also myriad stories of bands who were taken advantage of and ripped off.  Musicians now have to be more savvy about marketing and business, but they also command more control.  In the long run it could be a decent trade off.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2012

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

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