PR’s #1 Success Secret Part 2

Success Thumb Up SignHaving worked as a journalist and as an editor, I can tell you that facts and information do not sell a story.  When I had PR consultants or publicists call me and pitch me story ideas by reading off a list of facts and information about their clients, my response was to say thank you and promptly hang up.  Facts do not a story make.  When a publicist called me with a story that included his or her client I’d listen and if that story related to my reader’s interests, I’d really listen.  Without a narrative, I was being pitched an ad, not a possible article.

I’m not alone in that, every journalist, editor and producer looks for the same elements.  They look for a story that will interest their readers, viewers or listeners.

Let’s say for example, you’re a plastic surgeon and you have your PR company pitch the media a list of the procedures you offer.  Boring.  Anyone can do that.  Once again, you have your firm pitching an ad, a commercial, not a news story.  But, if you find a patient who is willing to speak to the media, who is having a unique procedure which can be videotaped, you now have the makings of a story.  We did that a while back and landed a spot on a national daytime talk show.

Or, say you’re a producer and have finished your new film, and want to get the word out, not only to the public, but also to distributors and possible investors for your upcoming projects.   You can have your firm send out a press release saying you’ve finished your new film and hope that the media somehow finds that compelling, Chances are 99% that they won’t.  Or you can come up with a story about the behind the scenes making of the film, create an event where you’ll show the film, or tie the film in with some foundation or charity,

Or let’s say you run a cosmetics company, again you can have your PR representative send out a release on the new products you have.  Who knows you might land some coverage, or you can get creative and come up with an actual story.  A company that we worked with sold a concealer product, we launched a campaign targeted towards the women’s and bride’s publications on women who used the concealer to cover up their tattoos.  The company found women who were willing to take before and after photos and tell their stories.   There was a story.  The media loved it.

The same is true whether you’re a video game designer, a painter, an attorney, a musician or… you get the idea.  The same is true no matter what you do.  No matter how fascinating you think what you do is- nine times out of ten, pitching what you do is not going to be enough to interest the media.  You need to come up with stories to pitch.  Sometimes they are going to feel forced, it’s not going to feel like what you do.  But your objective here isn’t to show the media a day in the life or a day at the office, the point is to give the media a good story.

I’m not suggesting that you to turn yourself inside out, be inauthentic or present yourself as something you’re not.  But I am telling you that if you want your PR campaign to be truly effective, you need to get creative, which means getting involved, which often means getting out of your comfort zone.  Work as a team with your PR firm.

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

Public Relations for Fashion & Style

The fashion and style industry is all about creating a buzz and a brand.  It’s all put impossible fashion and clothing lines to successfully establish themselves without being in the public eye. For a fashion line, media coverage is not a luxury, it’s a necessity.   Particularly for new designers and companies, trying to do a launch without media exposure is a true uphill climb.  By appearing in magazines, newspapers and TV shows fashion lines and designers are viewed as newsworthy. News coverage creates a buzz and the buzz leads to clients and sales

If you own a fashion line or are a designer, it’s important to understand that the quickest and most impactful way to establish your fashions brand is by appearing in the media.  Nothing gives you the credibility and validation of media coverage and in the internet age that coverage is more important than ever.   Today traditional media works hand in hand with blogging and social media. If you land an article in a local newspaper you can then amplify that media coverage by posting it on Facebook, Twitter, Digg and other social media sites. By combining a traditional media campaign with a social media campaign, you can create an extremely powerful branding approach for you, your fashion designs and your company.

To begin, it’s important to understand that effective PR all comes down to effective storytelling.  Simply pitching that you have a new fashion line is not a story, that’s a sales pitch and the last thing the media wants is to be sold.  So before you move forward with a media launch, figure out what your stories are.   What makes your fashions different, unique? What about your personal story? Do you have a compelling human interest story about how or why you started your own line, or began in the fashion industry?

Once you’ve figure out your stories, come up with a compelling, one-page (never longer than one page), press release.  Next study the media, learn who the writers and producers are, know their timelines.  For example the monthly publications are working on the holiday issues in August.

Invest in quality photos and an attractive website or blog. If you don’t have a big budget, be creative.  Make deals with up and coming photographers, they too are looking for ways to get exposure for their work.  Don’t build a fancy site filled with Flash or other bells and whistles.  Create a clean, attractive, easy to read site.

Remember not to neglect social media. It not only enhances your traditional media campaign; it is also a way to speak directly with your customers. Create your own YouTube channel that showcases you and your fashions.

There is quite a bit you can do to market your line and your company.  The bottom line is that it’s all but impossible to make it in the fashion world without an effective and creative public relations campaign.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2012

Seward, N. Jayne. “Billabong Celebrates Spring ’13 with 5,000 Friends.” Photo. ApparelNews.net. 03 Aug 2012. 29 Aug 2012. <http://www.apparelnews.net/people_events/120802-Billabong-Celebrates-Spring-13-With-5-000-Friends>

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

3 PR Tips For Landing More Media & More Clients

A few years ago we worked with a client who had landed some media before starting with us.  I asked her if she could bring some of the articles and TV interviews she had been featured in.  As it turned out she didn’t have any.  She had not kept one.  From her perspective, the media coverage was nice, but she didn’t consider what a powerful tool it would be for her down the line.  So in a sense, media-wise, we were starting from scratch.  Which was a shame; we didn’t need to be.   Whether you’ve launched a media campaign in the past, or have been fortunate to have a print article or TV segment come to you, all of your media coverage is a part of your PR and marketing arsenal.

If you use it correctly, media not only begets media, it also enhances all of your other marketing efforts, from social media and online marketing, to traditional advertising to direct marketing.   The following are tips to how to successfully utilize your PR efforts and media coverage

1) Use your TV and radio appearances and magazine and newspaper articles to interest other media. Copy the article, video, or audio tape and send it out when the media requests further information on you. Spotlight your media appearances in your bio or one sheet.

2)  When pitching media, let them know about other segments or articles you’ve been featured in. Be prudent in the media you send.  If a feature story or interview has certain quotes you are unhappy with, you may want to copy only the parts of the interview you want highlighted. If you have a recently taped interview from a particular TV program and are now being considered by their direct competitor, you may want to think twice before sending that particular tape for viewing.

3)  Don’t just use your media to pitch the press.  Use it in all of your marketing and promotional efforts.  Highlight your articles and TV segments on social media; mention your media coverage in your ads, flyers, newsletters and brochures. Create one-sheets of your more impressive articles to pass out to clients or prospects.  Consider hiring a graphic artist to help professionally display your articles and interviews.

These are just some examples of ways to utilize your press. With a little thought and ingenuity, you’ll come up with several more. Make your PR efforts and your media coverage work as hard as you do.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2012

Malloy, John. “2011 important but most underreported stories by media.” Photo. Network News.  29 Nov 2011. 28 Mar 2012. <http://www.networknewsdaily.com/2011/11/29/2011-important-but-most-underreported-stories-by-media/&gt;

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

6 PR Secrets To Maximizing A Media Interview

Pitching the media and landing interviews is a big part of a public relations campaign, but it is just one step in the process.   Once your public relations firm has landed an interview for you it’s now your turn to spin the media opportunity into gold.  Many people feel because they know their business so well that a media interview will be a no brainer.  Well, think again.  This is what you and your PR company have worked for, this is your chance to reach your market, grow your business, build your brand, sell your products and establish yourself as an expert in your field.  Make sure you fully utilize each media opportunity that comes to you.  The following are some media relations tips to follow to ensure that you maximize your media interviews:

1) KNOW YOUR TOPIC:.  Find out what the scope of the interwar is going to be about.  If you’re doing a phone interview, make yourself a cheat sheet that you can refer to.  If you’re going to be on TV make sure you’ve reviewed your information, facts and practiced your particular point of view.

2) WARM UP:  It takes most people at least ten minutes to warm up.  If you have only a 3-5 minute interview, you want to practice until you are warmed-up in ten seconds.  This is you, sitting around after a dinner party telling a great story to good friends.  This is the “you” that will make a great interview.  Practice with your associates, in the car, at the studio.  Just talking and laughing with people, and especially putting others at ease, will do it.

3) IT’S YOUR EVENT.  Imagine reframing the interview in your mind, to where you have invited these people in order to educate, inform, and entertain them.  This will add vitality, power, and energy as you talk.

4) SHOW PASSION.  Why are you there?  Because you want to make money or sell books?  Probably.  But try this motivator instead:  you’ve got a great story, secrets to share, tips to impart, and you want everyone to know about it.  You REALLY BELIEVE what you’re saying, you’ve got the answers, and it’s fun to enlighten people.  You have a mission.  You want the public to know the truth.  Passion will make you come across like a dynamic expert who has the answers, rather than simply a talking head.

5) LOOK TO THE PROBLEM.  If you need a hint as to how to make your communication more vital and exciting, ask yourself – what problems did you (or your profession) solve in order to do this procedure, or write that book, or create that program?  Tell us how bad the problem was, and how happy your clients are now that it’s solved.

6) BELIEVE IN YOUR MESSAGE.  If you’re shy and you can’t believe in yourself that much in front of strangers and a camera, believe in your story, or your product, or your message.  Can you help people?  Can you make their lives better?  The answer is yes!  Believe in your message and that will come across in your interview.

Prepare, know your information, be enthusiastic, engage with the interviewer, and present yourself as a problem solver.  Now, once you have those points covered, relax and have fun.  Enjoy the process and the rest will take care of itself.

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

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