Media Secrets for Establishing Yourself As An Expert

platinumWhether you’re a physician, an attorney, a fashion designer, an author or a filmmaker, to establish yourself in the media, you want to establish yourself as an expert in your field.  By appearing and being featured in the media you can establish a sense of trust.  Appearing in the news offers you the credibility and validation that only the media can offer.  That sense of trust and credibility can then extend to the general public and help you establish your personal brand.  You can utilize the media coverage to gain more clients, customers, patients, speaking engagements and business opportunities.

There are a number of strategies you can use to establish yourself as an expert in your field.  I’ll be reviewing a couple of the strategies here and a few more in the next article.  What you’re striving for is creativity, credibility and consistency.

Strategy A:  Make 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 much wider list of topics you can discuss.  For example, if you’re a cardiologist, can you discuss the various ways that social media and the internet are changing the practice of medicine?  That’s not exactly a cardiology story, but it does deal with medicine, the culture at large and can help establish you as an expert.  Remember the bigger the media bull’s-eye, the greater your chances of success.

Strategy B: Study the media on a regular basis to see what stories they are covering.  If you can address any topics that are currently in the news, present yourself as an expert.  For example if you are an attorney and a lawsuit is garnering media coverage, pitch yourself as an expert who can address and explain different aspects of the case.  If you’re in the beauty of fashion world, tie your pitch to a new celebrity look, or how someone in the media could enhance his or her look.  If you’re a physician, present yourself as an expert who can explain and make sense (in layman terms) of the health stories in the news.  Present yourself as an expert who can explain how your particular field is changing and the new treatments and modalities available.

The media needs experts and your job is to meet their needs.  By doing so you establish yourself as an expert in your field, which leads to clients, customers, patients, sales and opportunities.   It’s doable, it just takes some work.  More tips on establishing yourself as an expert are coming.  Stay tuned!

Copyright © Anthony Mora Communications 2014

The Red Carpet PR Caper

red carpetI was speaking to an actress the other day who had been on a soap opera for a few years.  I asked her what her PR Company had landed for her, her response was that they had not landed any editorial coverage, but they had managed to get her to quite a few red carpet events.

I was then contacted by a prospective client who was working with an independent publicist who was scheduling him to make the red carpet walk at a minimum of two times a week.  The prospect had a toddler at home, was exhausted and wanted to know if that was the route he needed to take to succeed in the entertainment industry.  Again I asked what media he’d been featured in and again the reply was no traditional media, but a barrel full of red carpet appearances.

That got me thinking.  During the last few years, I’ve watched as red carpet events sprouted like weeds.  They are now ubiquities.  A restaurant changes its menu and they launch a red carpet event.  A club offers a new drink, so they roll out a red carpet event.  The weekend arrives, so, hey, why not, let’s have a red carpet event.

I’d wager that 99% of the general public would have trouble naming 99% of the people prancing down the carpets at the majority of these events, but apparently that’s no longer the point.  It appears that the point is now to be at as many of these as you possibly can, have your picture taken by photographers that are in place at every one of these things drink; mingle with a group of people you’ve never heard of and will most likely never see again; head home and get ready for the next one.

But why?

These events are great if you enjoy dressing up socializing, and having your picture taken, simply to have your picture taken.  But if you have a more specific PR or career objective, it might be worth rethinking this approach.   Will appearing at the majority of these events help your image, your career, or your brand?  I seriously doubt it.

I’m not stating that all red carpet events are useless, some can be very important.  The trick is not to focus on the fact that there is a red carpet, but on the importance of the event itself.  Sure, it helps if you’re a rising star to be seen at an event and have your photo taken with tried and true stars.  If you’re an established celebrity, these events can help keep your photo in the magazines.  Then there is that whole dance that designers, jewelers and celebrities do on the various red carpets.  But the true value of these events are seldom the photo ops, but the conversations to be had, meetings to be scheduled and deals to be discussed.

If you want to build your career and your brand through effective public relations and publicity, focus on landing media coverage and news stories.   Don’t get seduced by the red carpet and the photographers.  There are carpets all over town.  As a matter of fact, I found a red carpet in my cellar.  I think this calls for an event!

Copyright © Anthony Mora Communications 2014

5 Holiday Marketing Tips & Happy Thanksgiving!

iStock_000018159844XSmallIt’s the holidays, so slow down, relax, breathe and be thankful for all you’ve been given.

Not that the holidays necessarily offers us time to slow down, relax and breathe, but we do have time to be thankful.

Below are some quick holiday marketing tips that you can utilize to help grow your business and boost sales, so your holidays can give you even more reasons to be thankful throughout the coming year.

Just about any business or service can utilize the holidays to boost sales. We generally think of the season boosting sales of clothing, jewelry or electronics, which is does, but those are just the obvious ones.

If you’re in the FBI or CIA, or a covert spy of some sort, the pitch might be a bit more troublesome, but overall, generally there is going to be a way that you can pitch your business, product or service during the holiday season.

1. Think about it, if you’re a florist, what better way to make the holidays cheerier. If you’re a psychotherapist, there is help for the holiday blues. If hairstylist, cosmetic surgeon or make-up artist, you can help create a new look for the New Year.

2. If you’re a restaurateur you can offer the perfect holiday meal. If you’re a marketer or business advisor, there is no better time to prepare for the New Year, you get the idea.

3. The last quarter of the year presents unique opportunities to get your story out to the media, your customers and your prospects. The holiday season is a time when people spend on others and themselves. It’s also a time when the media is looking for story ideas with holiday themed gift guides and a stories having to do with holiday gifts, gadgets and products.

4. What you need to do is drill down and develop story ideas that speak to the needs of the various media outlets. Remember during this time you need to tie your media angle and pitch to the holidays and you need to keep the needs of the various media outlets you’re pitching in mind. TV is a visual medium, so you want to pitch them a visual hook.

5. If you have a product that you can bring on and show, that helps, or if you do a quick makeover that that could work. Print publications need a strong story. If you can tie your product in with a cause, charity or local angle, that can give you a step up.

There is quite a bit of clever marketing and PR you can do during the holidays, which can pay off throughout the year.

But tomorrow, forget about marketing.

Focus on the day and being grateful.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Copyright © Anthony Mora Communications 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 TIPS: Working Your Media

Screen shot 2013-05-13 at 5.42.20 PMOnce you’ve landed some media coverage, whether it be print, TV or radio, make sure that you work it.

For example, let’s say you were featured in a newspaper story and – nothing happened.  No one called.  No offers came in.  No interest was generated, at least as far as you could tell.  To start, you don’t know what will eventually come from that one placement.  I’ve seen cases where months down the line some amazing opportunity arose because of one story.  But, for argument’s sake, let’s say nothing happened.   It’s still remarkably valuable.  You just need to work it.

Become the story’s distributor – and I mean distributor in the most basic sense –

  • Circulate your story
  • Feature it in all of your social media platforms.
  • Spread the word.
  • Mention the story in your biography and fact sheet, use it when pitching other stories.
  • Let other media outlets know that you were featured in the article.
  • Duplicate it and use it as a press sample.
  • Use quotes from the story in your mailers, newsletters, ads, and marketing.

I understand being temporarily depressed if you don’t get a decent response to a story, which is why it is so important to understand exactly how media placement works.  One story does not make for a PR campaign.  By understanding the process, you turn what appears to be a lost opportunity into a tremendous advantage.

Make a list of the various ways you can utilize your media, on social media, in ads and newsletters, emails, etc.

Don’t let your failed expectations cloud your business sense.

Don’t waste opportunities due to short sightedness.

Be imaginative, inventive.

Think.

Be creative…

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2013

How Robert Ebert’s Two Thumbs Down Saved a (Bad) Film

robert_ebert_dies_630A few years back when I was still managing actors, I was working with a client who was starring in a low budget horror film.  It wasn’t a very good film.  It basically was what it was.  But still, we wanted to generate as much media as we could for the project.  We sent a copy of the film to At the Movies when Gene Siskel and Robert Ebert were co-hosting the show.  We didn’t figure anything would come of it.  They certainly wouldn’t review this straight to video low budget horror film.  But hope springs eternal so we watched for the next few weeks.  Then, three weeks later, towards the end of the show, Robert Ebert picked up the video and looking into the camera explained why the film in question was so bad.  He panned it big time.  This was beyond two thumbs down.

We were overjoyed.  No one had heard of the film before and now it was being discussed by (arguably) the top critic in America on national TV.  I’m no believer in the adage that any PR is good PR, but this was one case where a rotten review by that particular critic was a homerun.  Suddenly the film was on the map. That’s how powerful and respected Robert Ebert was.  He turned film criticism into an art from that captivated the mainstream public.  He brought thoughtful reviews and criticism to the masses.

Ebert passed away at the age of 70 in Chicago on Thursday, April 4.  He was the first critic in history to win a Pulitzer Prize for Criticism in 1975.  He was famous for his writing style which was incisive put also sarcastic and humorous.   Apart from film criticism, he also wrote film-oriented books including Werner Herzog: Images at the Horizon in 1980, I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie. He also co-wrote the screenplay for the film “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.”  That fact alone brought him its own unique form of cache.  He was great fun to read and watch and helped bring film literacy to a new level.  I have to admit it was even enjoyable to watch him tear apart the film my client was in.  He did it with such relish and conviction.  It was hard not to be entertained.  I just wished I’d had popcorn.

He will be missed for he was one of a kind.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2013

Reuters. “US: Famed film critic Robert Ebert dies of cancer at 70.” Photo. IBN Live. 05 April 2013. 07 Nov 2013. <http://bit.ly/1becSVL&gt;

Hathahaters: Anatomy of A Collective Bullying

article-2480650-18DA53E000000578-806_634x858Sunday’s New York Times ran an article titled “Do We Really Hate Ann Hathaway?”  The article went on to list the blogs and articles that have all taken their shots at the actress and went on to further cement the term Hathahaters in the current pop lexicon.  This phenomenon is not confined to bloggers or Twitter.  It has been covered not only in the Timesbut also in New York Magazine, the New Yorker and the New Republic.  It is generally covered with a certain amount of glee.  The writers in the mainstream outlets tend to feign neutrality and proporte to simply be reporting on the story, which is tantamount to telling a group of thirteen year olds that other people are calling one of their classmates ugly.  You’re not saying it of course; you’re simply reporting what you heard to the rest of the school.

I think it’s safe to say that these stories Tweets and posts reflect more on us than they do on the actress in question.  For a culture that prides itself on taking a firm stance on bullying, we seem to have a collective relish for it.  For that’s all that is really at play here.  Miss Hathaway seems to annoy some people, but a lot of celebrities annoy us.  That’s really what’s at work here.    With the collective piling on of the highbrow and lowbrow media, pop culture has given itself a free pass at collective bullying.  It’s okay to attack her because, hell, everyone else is; not only are some bloggers taking shots, but the mainstream media is as well.

A few weeks ago Howard Stern did a riff on the topic, but that’s his job.  At least that makes sense.   As to the rest the ongoing attacks they must be difficult for her to take.  Yes, I know, she’s a celebrity and needs to have thick skin if she’s going to be in the public eye.  But this is more akin to a Lord of the Flies mentality at play than a TMZ day at the office. Hathaway doesn’t seem to be the real story here and all in all, it certainly doesn’t reflect well on us.  There is an axiom that all publicity is good publicity. I doubt it.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2013

Dodge, Shyam. “It’s 100 percent false!’: Anne Hathaway denies claims that she ‘demanded’ fans not talk to her at cancer gala.” Photo. Mail Online. 30 Oct 2013. 08 April 2013. <http://dailym.ai/19TyNnd&gt;

The Art of Success

art of successAs an artist, you never know what is going to grab the media’s attention.  That’s why your best bet is to do the work you love and then tailor your marketing to fit your artwork.  I’m not a believer in trying to figure out what‘s going to entice the media, or coming up with the next big thing. Film companies and TV networks have tried that approach for years and you’ve seen what their track record is like.  Your job is to focus on your art, your creativity and on your strengths.  But that doesn’t mean you forget about the marketing aspect of your business, because art is a business.    And that needn’t be a bad thing.  It simply is.  Don’t resist it; use it to your advantage.

It all comes down to your perspective and how you approach this aspect of your career.  Remember creative marketing is an art.   Not to mention the fact that without marketing, most likely your art will be your avocation instead of your vocation.  But again don’t tailor your work towards your marketing, but tailor your marketing towards your art.

For example, our client, Brendan O’Connell, has been painting his Walmart series for going on eight years now.  This is not a series he’s worked on because he thought it would be a great marketing tool.  He painted the series because that’s what he was organically moved and inspired to paint.  He was following his calling.  Now the media has caught up.   His work has struck a chord.   He was featured on CBS Sunday.  Watch Brendan O’Connell (Walmart’s Warhol) CBS SundayHe’ll be coming out in People magazine; he was profiled in the New Yorker and was interviewed on the Colbert Report.

Brendan O’Connell on the Colbert Report!

The bottom line is he stay focused on his art first, but was prepared when media interest surfaced.  So, yes come up with a marketing plan and a direction, make that an integral part of your career gameplan, but don’t try to assume you know what’s going to interest the media and tailor your work in that way.  You’ll generally be wrong and you won’t be doing your work…

…Focus on your art, your unique vision and then tailor your marketing accordingly.  Be authentic, do your work and prepare for success.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2013

Why Placements In Small Media Outlets Can Be Gold

small media outletsNot long ago I had a conversation with a prospective client.  He was confused by some of the media I had suggested targeting for his campaign.  He wanted us to go big, fast.  As he explained, his story was hot, big; we should go directly to USA Today, People, CNN, and the New York Times.  This was a new filmmaker that no one has ever heard of, with a new film that is still in pre-production.  No producers or editors were knocking on his door, still, he was sure they would and he didn’t want to waste his time on smaller outlets.

I did my best to explain the process.  You build a groundswell, start to generate some media interest and go from there.  PR is a cumulative process.  It works, but it takes time to gain momentum.  I walked him through another client’s campaign where it began slowly and then picked up steam.  It began with a small newspaper article, followed by a local NPR story, a larger newspaper then picked it up, that lead to the New Yorker, which caught the eye of the Colbert Report, CBS then became interested.  We then pinched and landed a piece in People magazine.  It was a consistent build.  If we had started by pitching People, chances are they would have passed on the story.  I explained that those first smaller placements are not necessarily important in and of themselves (although they can be), but that they offer us ammunition to help land interviews and stories in larger media outlets.  He listened and nodded and said it made sense and that he understood.

Then after about an hour conversation he said it all made sense but insisted that he not be pitched to smaller outlets because they were beneath him and didn’t have the readership his story demanded.  I told him a story about another client we worked with a few years back.  We initially placed him in a very small regional media outlet.  I then used that story to pitch Oprah and our client’s second media appearance was on Oprah.   I was about to explain the entire process one more time and illustrate why the small media placements are important because they help us land bigger, more mainstream media outlets, but decided not to.  Instead, I thanked him for the meeting and suggested we both think about possible next steps.

His campaign would have never been successful, because he wouldn’t have allowed it to be.  His preconceived ideas of how the campaign should work all but guaranteed that it never would work.  He can teach all of us a powerful lesson.  Whatever endeavor you’re involved in, if you start with a set-in-stone view of how it has to unfold, I guarantee you you’ll stop it from unfolding organically.  You’ll be cheating yourself and will never know just how amazingly successful it could have been.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2013

Creating Your Brand Through Effective PR

brandingAccording to Wikipedia, a brand is the “name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers

In essence a brand is a concept.  It’s an idea or an image that the public, over time, connects with a product or service.  The identifying factor could be the name, the colors, the look, the slogan, the logo, or the design, but the overriding power of a brand lies in the concept.  The brand is a shortcut that tells a company’s story.  The power lies in the narrative that a logo, name or slogan both denotes and connotes.  A brand is effective when it is readily recognizable, when it is identified with a company or product. But a brand not only has to be recognizable, it needs to provoke a certain type of feeling or reaction.  The role of each brand is somewhat unique, some focus on trust and reliability, others focus on a hip or cool factor, still others focus on elegance and luxury.

what-s-the-value-in-a-brand-name--86ec9f7591You need to understand your product or company and your market before you can create a successful brand.  Once that’s defined, you want to focus on their needs and wants, and on offering them solutions to their particular problems and issues.  A successful brand will connect with your prospects, motivate your clients, and develop a loyal base.  A brand connects emotionally.  If there is not an emotional component, your brand won’t effectively connect with your market.

Because developing and creating the right brand is so important for a company’s success, we’ll often work with clients on the development of the brand, concept, style and narrative before moving forward on the PR outreach.

There are myriad ways to market your brand and establish it in the market.  But, the most effective is to utilize PR and media relations to establish your brand through the media.  By being featured on TV or in print you and your company attain the legitimacy and validation that comes from being featured as a news story.  In essence you become the news.  You can then use that media coverage in all of your other marketing strategies.  When it comes to creating a powerful brand always keep in mind the power and importance of an effective public relations outreach.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2013

Swallow, Erica. “What’s the Value in a Brand Name.” Photo. Mashable. 5 Nov. 2010. 18 Mar 2013. <http://mashable.com/2010/11/05/value-of-brand-names/>

The Art of Music Marketing

music marketingBack when I was still managing musicians you could take a cassette to an A&R rep, drag him or her down to see a band perform and if they struck the right chord (so to speak) the label could take over from there.  Times have changed.

Truth is even if a label does get excited about an act or a singer; now a days they’re as much in the dark about how to launch a new artist as anyone else.  Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating it a bit.  The labels still have some clout.  But you basically follow my drift.

The bad news is there is no longer that huge well oiled machine that can take a band, run them through the process, and pop out a potential mega star.  Although, truth be told that machine was not always a benevolent one and quite a few artists lost their sound, persona and soul while being run through the process.

The good news is more artists have a shot at getting their music out there.  Production costs are miniscule compared to what they used to cost.  More and more artists are able to control the process and more albums, CDs, Downloads (whatever) are being produced.

The really tricky part now is how, without the help of a label, artists can get their music heard.  It’s tricky but not impossible.  Musicians that realize that marketing is now a part of their job description can take their fate into their own hands.  Yes, the music is the thing, but musicians who focus on their look, image, PR, guerrilla marketing, social media outreach can still reach a formidable market.

It takes work time and dedication, but not that long ago this type of individualized outreach was not possible.  Without a label there was little chance of finding a real market.  Times have changed.  Chances are no A&R rep is going to make you into the next rock superstar, but you now have the control box in your hands.  Use it!

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2013

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