Branding Your Company Using PR

PR and media relations are not only effective ways to garner coverage in print, TV or the radio, innovative companies and entrepreneurs are utilizing the basic PR methodology to build their brands.  Effective public relations is one of the most powerful and effective brand building tools available.  Companies build lasting successful brands by creating a powerful emotional response in their customers and in the public at large and they do so by developing and creating an effective story.  Successful branding is not a process of the hard-sell.  It is not about being the biggest, or the loudest, or even the coolest.  A company builds a successful brand by making a deep powerful connection with its market.  Branding is about communicating on a basic human level.

Having worked as a journalist, editor and producer, I know from the media’s perspective what makes a powerful and compelling story. Having served as president and CEO of a PR firm, I also know from the perspective of a public relations consultant what creates a story the media will respond to.  It is the same type of emotional responses that companies look for when it comes to establishing their brands.

For a story to work it must be compelling, interesting and hit a true human chord.  Public relations is the only form of marketing that lives or dies on how compelling the story truly is. Unlike advertising, with media relations you can’t pay to have a story placed in the editorial section of the media. You need to craft and pitch a story that is compelling enough to capture the media’s attention – a story that in essence is strong enough to become the news.

PR is not an event; it is a process and using that process is the most effective and powerful way to create and develop an effective brand.  It is the PR mindset and methodology, the ability to develop and establish stories that resonate with the public that truly create the most powerful and lasting brands. A successful brand tells a company’s story both emotionally and narratively, which is why PR consultants who truly understand the process are the most effective brand creators around.

Keep in mind when you’re launching your PR campaign that you’re not only reaching your target market, establishing yourself though the media, and promoting your business, you’re also successfully connecting with your customers and establishing your company’s brand.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2012

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

Creating A Blog Buzz via PR

Content is what makes the world go round on the internet and when it comes to marketing, content truly is king; but is it enough?  For example, if you create a blog that is poorly designed or has poor functionality, you can end up posting some great content that never gets read.  You want to offer your readers valuable information, but you want them to enjoy their experience, want them to come back, and refer others to your site.

Let’s say you have a great idea; you’ve developed some dynamite content and have created a blog that works? Now what?  It used to be that the name of the game was getting articles indexed on Google and other search engines.  Google was king.  It still is high royalty, but if you ignore the social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Digg and YouTube, you’re doing you and your business a real disservice.  A concentrated social media campaign has to be at the top of your online marketing.  You don’t need to spend all day working every site out there.  Utilize each social media site and share links in the categories that best target your audience and put your focus there.

Linking to, commenting on and recommending other blogs is a great way to increase visitors and readers and to develop important relationships with other bloggers.  Consider adding a blog roll and spotlighting some of your favorite information. Allowing readers to comment is another way to generate interest.  The more you increase the level of interaction, the better.

Now let’s jump offline for a bit.  How about launching a public relations campaign around your blog?  Try creating an interesting angle or story idea that ties in with your blog.  What about your blog is different or unique?  What topics does it address? Does it help people solve problems?  Is it funny?  Controversial? Irreverent?  Does it appeal to a specific niche or target audience?  Or how about your story?  What has your journey been creating the blog?  How has it impacted your life?  Come up with some different angles, write a fun or incisive press release and pitch your blog as a story to the traditional media.   If you can launch an effective media campaign and generate some press coverage – that will give your blog more buzz than you can imagine.  Turn your blog into a media story.  Develop stories and angles that interest the press, and watch the media buzz build around your blog.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2010

How to Effectively Work With Your PR Firm

Perhaps the most difficult concept for those new to PR to fully understand is that an effective public relations campaign is a gradual building process.  It is the most effective and powerful form of marketing.  It offers validation, credibility, reaches your target market.  But, seldom does it happen overnight and to be honest, there are often real pitfalls to campaigns that move too quickly.  A gradual sustained build that offers a cohesive story and establishes a brand is the best approach.

When launching a public relations campaign keep the following in mind:

You need to define your stories. It’s important to create different stories to meet the needs of different media outlets.  I’ve found that it’s often effective to initially send out a general handshake release and then drill down to more media specific stories.

Develop pitches for the various types of media.  For example, TV is a visual medium.  You want to offer them more than a talking head.  Think of visual oriented segments or stories you can offer.

Keep in contact with your public relations firm, but don’t try to direct or control the campaign.  If you’ve hired them, let them do their job.  Otherwise you’ll never really know how the campaign could have worked.

It’s important that your communication with your PR firm be free flowing.  Keep in touch but don’t demand an excessive amount of time.  Again (and I know this can be difficult) trust the firm you hired to do its work.  Remember if you’re demanding they spend their time communicating with you, they’re not spending that time pitching the media.

Remember that PR is a gradual process.  Give it time to work.  If you keep digging up your bulbs to see how their growing, you’re eventually going to end up with a lot of dead plants.

Don’t go into a campaign expecting to land a national TV segment or a magazine cover within the first month or two, that’s not a PR gameplan, that’s a fantasy.  And, as I mentioned previously, I’ve worked with clients who landed major national media right off the bat.  Ironically that’s not always the most advantageous situation.  A gradual, organic build is the optimum approach.   If you hire professionals that know their field, you work with them and give them enough time to launch a campaign, chances are, your PR efforts will be successful.

Prepare for your media interviews.  Your PR firm can set up interviews for you, but once those are set you need to be able to articulate your story, stay on message and meet the media’s needs.

Develop anecdotal stories and testimonials that can be used in the campaign.  They are often your best stories.  For examples, a physician’s most important stories are his patient’s stories.  His expertise and knowledge is important, but what’s truly compelling is how he has changed his patient’s lives.  Those are also the stories that the public will identify with.

PR and media relations can brand your company, take you to the next level, grow your business and establish you as an expert in your field.   But, as with so much in life, for it to work, you need patience, preparation and sometimes have to get out of your own way.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2010

How To Revitalize and Transform Your Business

When you first launch a business you jump in with the excitement of starting a new romantic relationship.  It’s new, exciting, the possibilities are endless.  You throw all of your time effort and creativity into it.  You stay up late and wake up early.  You eat, drink and sleep your business.  As your business grows and the newness fades, the excitement can begin to wane.  Whether your business is on a success track or on stale mode, the sameness of the process can cause your excitement to fade, the energy to ebb, and the overall process to come to a virtual standstill.  It’s time to revitalize your business, your outlook and your approach.

In life, change is the one constant; the problem is that most people hate change.  They resist it and do everything they can to stay with the status quo.  But for businesses to remain competitive they must grow, transform and adjust.  The problem is knowing exactly what adjustments are the ones to make.  Change for change’s sake can often be more disastrous than rigidly staying in place.  When it comes to figuring out what changes you need to make, look to the marketplace; your target audience can be your best ally.  The market’s needs will let you know what business opportunities are out there. Often when change happens in a marketplace, companies and business owners go into panic mode.  It can be a daunting time for many businesses.  Look at the music, publishing and DVD arenas.  Seismic changes in those fields are causing businesses to falter and in many cases go under.

If you don’t get into a mindset of change, you could remain stagnant, or worse yet, go backward.  It’s time to view your business with new eyes.  This isn’t always easy.  We get locked in our business process and it’s hard to pull away from that gravity field.  But if change is happening around you, you’d better be ready to keep up.

For example, when blogs, social media outlets and online media sites began to become important communication outlets, many predicted that they would spell the end of traditional public relations.  Not a happy thought for an owner of a PR firm, but as we began to embrace the changes and utilize the various different forms of communication, it soon became apparent that not only was the Internet not a threat to our PR efforts, it greatly enhanced them.  Now, when we place a client in a magazine or newspaper article or on a TV or radio segment we can magnify and amplify that media coverage via blogging, social media and forums. Conversely we can first establish a client via the net on a website, blog, social media outlet or other online avenues and use the online buzz to generate interest from the traditional media.

Think of your business as an ever evolving process.  Let your competition stay rooted in one place.  Keeps your business growing; you’ll be surprised at the new outlets and opportunities you’ll find.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2010

Why “Selling” Never Works

Forget about selling when entering the PR world.  The media’s not interested in being sold; it’s interested in finding new, unique and compelling stories – that meet their specific needs.  That is something most companies and, to be honest, PR firms, generally forget.  Actually that’s something I have to remind myself on a daily basis.  When I worked as a journalist or as a magazine editor, it was always obvious that what I wanted was a good story.  When a company or PR rep would call and pitch me an idea, they (at times) had interesting stories, but generally not stories that interested my readers.  So, nine-times-out-of-ten, my response would be a (hopefully polite) no.

 

It’s not enough that the story you’re pitching is interesting, it has to fit the needs of the publication or TV show, or radio segment that you’re targeting.  That’s where the brainstorming comes in.  You have to think like an editor or a producer in order to find the story that works.  And once you’ve found your primary story, you need to drill down and come up with more targeted story ideas.  For example if you’re pitching a product, your primary story will most likely be around the product and how it helps your customer.  But it has to be told with a narrative, as a story, not as a hard sell.  Once you’ve figured that out, you then have to uncover you’re other stories.  Is there a human interest angle, is there an entrepreneurial angle, what other story ideas can you come up with to meet the needs of the various media outlets?   Your stories hold the key to your success, so focus on finding them and presenting them to the media in the most interesting way possible – and forget about the selling.      

 

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2009

 

 

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