How 3 Non-Celebrities Got Big Publicity

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Like most companies, at the end of each month we step back and assess how we’ve done, with an eye toward identifying the most successful strategies.

When we took a look at September, I was blown away. Our clients appeared in many top-tier media including Better Homes & Gardens, Barron’s, Cosmopolitan, The Hollywood Reporter, Washington Post, and on Voice of America and Wall Street Journal Radio.

Why am I telling you this? For one thing, I’m proud! But also because sharing these stories will give you ideas for your own PR. I selected three brief case studies to illustrate different opportunities and how we took advantage of them. The common denominator for all: We got each placement by paying attention to the news and anticipating what will be news.

  • Client No. 1: A Lesson in Long Lead Times

One of our clients is a psychotherapist who specializes in helping people deal with the emotional aspects of having cancer. She wrote a book that pulls together much of what she’s learned from working with these patients – strategies that help them reduce stress and cope with negative emotions.

Back in May, our print campaign manager, Ginny Grimsley, sent out a notice announcing publication of the book to magazines and other “long lead” publications (those that work months in advance). Ginny knew that October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month; she also knew that many editors and reporters would already be planning, if not working on, their October issues.

Sure enough, not long after Ginny’s email went out, a writer for Better Homes & Gardens responded with a request to interview our client. The writer said she was just getting started on a piece for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Four months later, our client and her book were prominently featured in the article.

So, think ahead! Keep in mind that national magazines (like Better Homes & Gardens) often work three to six months in advance.

  • Client No. 2: For Best Results, Respond to Breaking News Quickly!

What we do for our clients we also do for our own company; client No. 2 is us – EMSI Public Relations.

Last week, we sent out a PR Insider about the changes Twitter was making to the popular social network, quoting our lead social media strategist, Jeni Hinojosa. She explained how the changes affect users.

As we were working on the article, news broke that Twitter had taken formal steps toward going public back in July. With the social network in the news, we quickly re-tooled the PR Insider piece for distribution to the press. Within a couple hours, Forbes magazine requested an interview with Jeni, and it published online by the end of the day! Soon after that, a second magazine emailed an interview request and this week, a third asked if we would re-tool the article again for its publication.

If you can speak to timely breaking news, act immediately!

  • Client No. 3: If Everyone’s Talking About It, Maybe You Should Be, Too

As we approached the Oct. 1 opening of the insurance exchanges that are the centerpiece of Obamacare, every news outlet in the country was scrambling to provide information to consumers.

One of our clients is a nurse who is raising awareness about a dangerous vitamin deficiency, the symptoms of which are often mistaken for other illnesses, resulting in lots of expensive and ineffective treatments. Obamacare, with its emphasis on preventative medicine to reduce health-care costs, was the perfect tie-in for our client.

In the days before Oct. 1, everyone was talking about the impending unveiling of the insurance exchanges and the media were hungry for relevant stories.

We sent out a pitch to talk radio stations titled, “What Simple Vitamin Deficiency Adds Billions to U.S. Health Care Costs?” with a note about the Obamacare tie-in. It got our client on Wall Street Journal Radio.

Be aware: “Old” stories sometimes get a resurgence of interest.

For great publicity, stay plugged in to the news and consider how you can add useful information or insights to the conversation while gaining exposure for your book, product or service.

I hope our September successes will help you achieve your own publicity coups in the months and weeks ahead.


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