I Wish I Had Done This Sooner

I Wish I Had Done This Sooner

As our team sat down for a brainstorming session this week, talk gravitated toward exciting news for one of our clients. We had arranged an interview for him in a national newspaper and he was elated. It was just the latest in a string of successes for him. “I wish I had done this sooner!” he told one of our print campaign managers. We were just as elated because not that long ago this same client had been hesitant about whether launching a national publicity campaign was the right move for him. Now he recognizes the value, is fired up by his success, and knows absolutely that the decision to build his authority by being spotlighted in the media was the right thing for him. Our conversation about this client got me thinking. There’s no doubt that building your authority as a thought leader and having a strong media presence can play a significant role in your overall professional success. But how do you know if a publicity campaign is the right move for you? Here are some things to consider: Be ready to step outside your comfort zone. Are you willing to step from the shadows out into the media spotlight to build that authority? For some people, the idea of doing a live TV or radio interview, or speaking with a journalist from the New York Times or USA Today, can be daunting. I understand! Think of it this way, though. A media interview may be new territory for you but you’ll be asked questions on a subject that’s within your expertise and one you’re presumably passionate... read more
How To Respond When The Social Media World Gets Unpleasant

How To Respond When The Social Media World Gets Unpleasant

Most of you are fully aware by now that social media plays a significant role in building your authority as a thought leader and expert in your field. One of social media’s great advantages over traditional media is that you get to control your message to an extent you can’t when you’re being interviewed by a print journalist, a talk radio host or a TV show host. With social media, there is no media “gatekeeper” standing between you and your audience. That’s the good news! But, as wonderful as social media is for promoting your brand, it does present its own treacherous pitfalls. A particularly onerous drawback is that your social media followers can post responses to your posts that are, shall we say, less than ideal! That happened just this week to one of our clients when one of her Twitter followers suggested quite publicly and forcefully that she quit posting about one subject (business culture) and write about a different subject (blockchain) he cared about instead! (This is the polite version. I will refrain from injuring your ears with the sailor’s language he actually used.) It was, to say the least, quite an aggressive response to a fairly innocuous post. Luckily for all of us, there are lessons to be learned from how this situation played out. Jay York, our senior social media strategist who manages our client’s social media platforms, says there were a few options he considered. On behalf of the client, Jay could have directly challenged the person’s comment. He could have also tagged the blockchain community, who likely would have brought down their... read more
How Small Publications Can Play A Big Role In Your Publicity Efforts

How Small Publications Can Play A Big Role In Your Publicity Efforts

I don’t believe I’m going out on a limb (well, at least not too far out) when I say that nearly everyone recognizes the giants of journalism. Such venerated (and at times vilified) publications as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and USA Today are hard to ignore, even if you’re not a regular reader or subscriber. But as wonderful as they are, these behemoths of the reporting world aren’t the only option for those who long to see their names in traditional and online print. Small towns throughout the country also are blessed with daily or weekly newspapers that keep their communities informed about who’s engaged, who died, whose child made honor roll and what the city commission and school board are up to these days. These more obscure practitioners of journalism still serve a significant role in our information age, but admittedly without the luster and renown that those top-tier publications enjoy. That’s why if you’re seeking to promote your brand, you could be thinking that it’s OK to ignore these lesser lights of the print and online media world in your quest for publicity. Stop right there! Let me tell you why that would be a mistake. These smaller venues, whether they appear online or in old-fashioned ink on paper, can be more important than you realize as you build your reputation as an authority in your field. How so? People read those local publications. Weekly newspapers and small dailies still attract a loyal readership for one simple reason: They provide readers with articles that have a direct impact on their... read more
In Search Of PR Success? Think About The Media’s Needs, Not Yours

In Search Of PR Success? Think About The Media’s Needs, Not Yours

When you have a great company or book that you want to promote, it’s easy to get so caught up in how things look from from your perspective that you start to think: “The media will want to talk to me the moment they hear about this!” I’m sorry to report, that won’t necessarily be the case. Instead, if you want to succeed in the publicity game, you need to take a step back and look at the world from someone else’s vantage point. In other words, stop thinking about your needs and start thinking about the media’s needs. Remember, you and the media have different goals. You are determined to promote your personal or company brand, establish yourself as an authority in your field, and then leverage that publicity to outshine your competition. The media, on the other hand, want to provide useful or interesting information that will keep their readers, viewers or listeners coming back. That means the onus falls on you to come up with articles or pitches that will resonate with the media’s audiences. If you can try to think like a newspaper reporter, a radio show host or a TV producer, that will go a long way in helping you to achieve your goal of getting in print or on the air! This is why we have experienced print journalists and broadcast professionals on our team. They have been on the other side, which means thinking like the media comes naturally. It’s what they did every day for decades. So what are some things you can do to put yourself in the media’s shoes... read more
The Advantage Women In Business Have With Being Interviewed In The Media

The Advantage Women In Business Have With Being Interviewed In The Media

Men and women both regularly experience successful publicity campaigns, promoting their position as authorities in their fields by being quoted in the press, interviewed on the air and building a following on social media. But (sorry, men) I think that women often enjoy an advantage on the PR front. Why do I say that? When you think of consumers, who is really doing the buying across the United States? Hint: It’s not the men. Women account for a staggering 85 percent of all consumer purchases, a fact not lost on advertisers. Because the media depend on the dollars they receive from advertisers for their very existence, they play to women and that means women have an advantage when it comes to seeking publicity. We’ve seen the effects of this phenomenon when we send what we refer to as “hot sheets” to our media contacts. A hot sheet is a list of our clients in a particular field who can speak on the issues of the day. Here’s something interesting we’ve encountered when we do that. If there’s a woman’s name on the hot sheet she may get a little more attention, assuming she has the same high-quality credentials as the men on the list. The media may see her as someone who can speak directly to the concerns and interests of that highly coveted female audience. But beyond the fact that the media often plays to the interests of women, there are other factors that in some cases can give women an edge in PR. Women bring a different point of view to the table. Everyone has experiences that... read more
What To Do When Media Successes Are Quickly Followed By Media Failures

What To Do When Media Successes Are Quickly Followed By Media Failures

In the publicity world, nothing quite matches the excitement of landing not just one great media hit, not just two, but a whole series that follows quickly one right after the other. Such extraordinary success can trick you into thinking: Hey, this publicity and brand-building game ain’t so hard after all! Of course, success this week – or even this month – doesn’t automatically mean success from here on out. You’re probably familiar with that old bit of wisdom: “Don’t rest on your laurels.” It definitely applies in the publicity game. Because sometimes you can achieve a string of remarkable successes and then – kerplunk – it all comes thudding to a halt! Why? There could be a few reasons. One possibility is you’ve gone to the proverbial well too often. Policies vary, but some publications have rules about how often they’re willing to use the same source. A health reporter, for example, doesn’t want to quote the same doctor in article after article, for months on end. So print journalists, radio show hosts and TV hosts seek out others with the same knowledge and skill set – if for no other reason than to add varied points of view to their reporting. That’s great if you’re the new guy who’s being sought out. It may not be so great if you’re the person who exceeded the quota for being quoted. Regardless of the reasons for your sudden publicity slump, there are a few tactics you can try in an effort to get your A-game up and running again: Switch media. If the problem is that you’ve overstayed your... read more
The Time And Toil That Lie Behind ‘Instant’ Media Success

The Time And Toil That Lie Behind ‘Instant’ Media Success

Have you ever heard actors or singers who became “overnight sensations” explain that their success didn’t happen overnight after all? Instead, it was the result of lots of toil, along with years in which they languished in obscurity before – after much persistence – they rose to prominence and finally achieved “instant” fame. Building your personal brand works in somewhat the same way. You can’t expect to bolt out of the starting gate one day and end up the next morning on the front page of a major newspaper or on the set of a national TV show. So, the bad news is that success in the publicity and personal-brand-building world can take time. The good news is, for those willing to put in that time and effort, success does happen – and often in a big way! Case in point: One of our clients was just featured in an Inc. magazine article that focused entirely on her and her message, along with a mention of her book! That’s not a common occurrence with this publication. But this was no overnight achievement. She’s been our client for a year, and in that time we steadily helped her build both a stronger social media presence and print media presence. Would Inc. magazine have devoted so much space exclusively to her if she hadn’t built her authority over the last 12 months? Unlikely. I share her success story for a couple of reasons. For one thing, this shows what can be accomplished by those who find a message that resonates with the media and who keep at it, realizing that publicity and... read more
Don’t Ignore The New Names In The Media Landscape

Don’t Ignore The New Names In The Media Landscape

I’ve shared in the past how excited our team gets whenever we score a big media hit for one of our clients. What’s interesting these days is the changing nature of some of those hits. Certainly, the New York Times, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and other traditional print media have always been a part of the mix that sends our enthusiasm into hyperdrive. And they remain so! But, with the rise of digital media publishers, more and more we are seeing and getting excited about names that were unfamiliar not that long ago, yet reach audiences that rival — or even surpass — those time-honored media giants. Maybe you’re familiar with a few of them. Refinery29. The Verge. BroBible. Ladders. Or maybe you’re not -– because I wasn’t until recently! But if you’re still old-school in your media orientation — and are concentrating only on established media for your publicity efforts — it’s time to re-think your universe. These digital publications are fast becoming too big to ignore, and they can play a significant role in promoting your brand. Let me offer three reasons why you should be thrilled if one of them wants to interview you and share your expertise with the world: Social media sharing. The readers of these digital publications love to share on social media articles that catch their fancy — and that means your appearance in one of them has the potential to gain exposure that gets multiplied several times over. Let me tell you about one recent real-world example. We arranged for one of our clients to be included in a... read more
Writing Op-Eds Vs. Being A Journalist’s Source

Writing Op-Eds Vs. Being A Journalist’s Source

When it comes to the print media, there’s more than one way to get your message out and to position yourself as an authority. Some of our clients want to be the go-to expert for journalists who are in need of well-credentialed sources for their articles. Others long to write opinion articles – or op-ed pieces, as they are commonly referred to – where they can more fully express their views on trends, breaking news or life in general. Many want to do both! So is one better than the other? Well, each has its advantages, so let’s take a look at that. With an op-ed piece, you have the opportunity to give your complete point of view, as opposed to a reporter picking and choosing a few highlights from an interview with you. It’s definitely an option when it comes to positioning yourself as a thought leader in whatever field of endeavor you want to be viewed as an expert. On the other hand, when you’re quoted in a news or feature article – especially with a highly respected publication – the readers recognize that the journalist trusted your expertise enough to turn to you as a source. You’re offering insight and maybe even giving your opinion, yes, but in this case you are getting the added bonus of an implied endorsement from that journalist, who essentially is saying to his or her readers that you’re someone who brings experience and knowledge to the topic under discussion. Some people prefer the op-ed, perhaps because they assume there’s a certain distinction that comes with these bylined pieces. Plus, they... read more
How Patience Pays Off When Trying To Grab The Media’s Attention

How Patience Pays Off When Trying To Grab The Media’s Attention

Sometimes media opportunities emerge quickly after you pitch journalists with a great story idea. Often, though – especially with the print media – those opportunities take time and the fruits of your labor may not reveal themselves until days, weeks or even months after you send out your pitch. We experienced a remarkable example of one of those “takes-time moments” recently when a reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reached out to us with a surprising request. She wanted to speak with one of our clients for an article we wrote for her campaign that examined how to talk to parents who are grieving the loss of a child. The journalist remembered receiving our pitch a year ago, about what to say to grieving parents. So she searched her email and, sure enough, there it was, ready to lead her back to us and our client. Now, it just so happens that this particular client’s contract with us ended about eight months ago. Even so, we didn’t hesitate to arrange the interview. We were happy that the interview went so well for our client as she was featured prominently in the article that appeared in the Journal-Constitution. But it didn’t end there! Over the next several days other publications picked up the article. A week later that was still happening, with the Boston Herald joining those that had published the piece. It was a big win all around, all because of a year-old pitch! This particular incident brings to mind a couple of things worth remembering when you’re out there trying to grab the media’s interest and worrying that all... read more

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