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Entries Tagged as 'branding'

Media coverage is not a given

January 16th, 2014 · Media

NewspaperRoll_optI have the opportunity to review many business plans and one thing that always causes me some concern is that every business owner believes that they can generate a significant amount of marketing exposure by getting media coverage.

They pepper it throughout their plan because to them, it feels free and easy to get.

I  hate to tell you, but media coverage is not a given.

My concern comes from how unrealistic business owners, non profit directors and business leaders are about the type and amount of media coverage they’re going to be able to garner.

Here’s the reality check most need:

  • Most of what is newsworthy to you, is not newsworthy to the rest of the world.
  • Most reporters/editors are bombarded with news releases – yours has to stand out to even catch their attention.
  • Blinding sending your release to everyone is a sure to annoy most of them and reduce the likelihood of receiving any coverage.
  • Good manners go a long way.

Let’s dig into each of those reality checks to see if we can identity some best practices that will increase your chances of getting the coverage you want.

It has to actually be newsworthy: Earning media coverage can be daunting. Journalists have a finite amount of space/time and they have to decide which stories are going to be of value to their audience.

As you consider pitching a story, ask yourself – how would the reporter sell this story to his editor? What benefit or value would the reporter’s audience get? What could make this story so compelling that someone would share it with someone else who hadn’t seen the news coverage?

If these questions have you stumped, odds are the story isn’t newsworthy and you shouldn’t risk damaging your credibility by pitching it.

You have 3 seconds to peak their interest: Reporters and editors get buried in pitch phone calls, emails, faxes and snail mail releases. They can’t possibly read all of them thoroughly. They’re going to read the headline and scan the release, so you need to write it with that in mind.

Your headline will make or break you. If it doesn’t grab the editor’s attention, you’re headed for the “thanks but no” pile in a hurry. Make sure your headline makes them want to read more and tells them exactly why this is something their audience needs to know about.

Don’t let your laziness or ignorance cost you coverage: Because of my blog, I get pitches from PR pros and business owners every day. I’m often embarrassed by their efforts. They clearly got my contact information from some list – but have no idea what I write about.

Before you hit send be sure you’re sending it to the right reporter and the right publication. Take the time to review the last few issues/shows and get to know the kind of content they routinely cover. Don’t embarrass yourself or irritate the reporter by waving your laziness under their nose.

Say please and thank you: Never forget the importance of having decent manners. Be helpful, be available and be grateful if they tell your story.

More important than just simple good manners – don’t be a pain. Don’t call them incessantly to see if they got your release or if they’re going to use it. Don’t get ticked when they tell you “thanks but not this time” or it will be the last time. And if you really want to earn their appreciation and trust – you might give them a story or two that don’t involve you or your clients.

Earning media coverage takes some time, some preparation and some forethought. But most of all – it requires you take an objective look at your “news” and only pitch it when it’s worth pitching.

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We have to earn our audience’s attention

August 9th, 2013 · Content Marketing, Customers/Clients, Social Media

Listen Vs. Ignore - Toggle SwitchWe have to earn our audience’s attention.  Let’s see how you’re doing at that.

If you own or run a business, I’d like to you take this little quiz.

  1. Would you ignore your business phone 30% of the time it rings?
  2. If a customer was standing in a crowd of your best customers and complaining loudly, would you ignore them?
  3. If you had the chance to have the attention of your best customers and your best prospects for about 3 minutes uninterrupted, would you talk incessantly about yourself?

I have to believe that all of you passed this quiz by answered “good golly no!” to all three questions. After all you hustle like crazy to capture the attention of your customers and potential customers, right? Only a fool would squander the opportunity once they earned it.

And yet…that is exactly what’s happening online every day.

  • 30% of customer questions and comments on Facebook, Twitter and company blogs go unanswered.
  • 71% of complaints on Twitter are ignored.
  • 89% of corporate blogs only talk about themselves, their products, promotions and awards.

No wonder so many business people say that they can’t measure any ROI on their social media efforts. If anything, their ROI should come up as a negative number!

Too many businesses believe that social media networks are simply places they need to put a placeholder in. Like a flag that says, “Look, we exist here too” and then go to some autopilot shout into the abyss mentality. The core idea behind Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ or any of the other networks out there is connection.

Real, human connection.

It’s why people share photos, stories of their day and get fired up about politics, religion and what their kid’s school is up to. And into that very personal and very meaningful conversation – most brands just blunder in and shout that they are having a sale.

Ugh.

Businesses spend thousands (and some millions) of dollars putting on elaborate dog and pony shows, with the hopes of capturing someone’s attention for a millisecond. So the assumption would be that they would actually value the attention, once they’d earned it.

But the truth is, most businesses think of social media as the newest necessary evil. They can’t get out of their own way enough to see the potential in it or that they need to approach it with humanity for it to work.

So what would that humanity look like?

Real interactions: When someone talks to you, it’s polite to reply in a reasonable amount of time. If you can’t monitor and react to a social media stream – don’t be there. Every social media tool out there has a way for you to be notified if you’ve actually started or were mentioned in a conversation.

Conversation, not monologue: No one enjoys being talked at. Your goal should be to spark conversation, not spit out rhetoric. Conversations are started when we care about the other person and ask questions, offer helpful information and listen to what they need from us.

Consistency: Just like all of our other relationships – we grow connections partially because of frequent exposures. You can’t get to know someone very well if you only communicate once or twice a year. It’s better to be fewer places but be in the places you’ve chosen more often. Don’t spread yourself too thin.

Having a heart: If you don’t actually care – then don’t be there. If you genuinely care about your customers and what’s going on with them, then show that by asking questions, reaching out and being very human.

You can create an amazing referral source and client base with your online presence or you can alienate those who already have you on their radar screen. All it takes is a little humanity to make it work.

 

 

 

 

 

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Building a great brand means going the extra mile

August 1st, 2013 · Branding, Customers/Clients, Love Affair with Customers · 42 Comments

Want a great brand? Building a great brand means going the extra mile. Let me give you an example. I travel a lot so I decided it was time to invest in a suitcase that could take the beating that 100+ flights a year dishes out without having to be replaced every year.  So after [Read more...]

Marketing is getting the details right

April 15th, 2013 · Marketing, Strategy · 9 Comments

Marketing is getting the details right.  And its always the simple things that companies mess up.  Lt me give you an example. As you may know, I travel quite a bit. I’m a big believer in maximizing my travel by being a loyal brand consumer…which gains me status, points and makes my travel life easier [Read more...]

Why isn’t marketing’s version of storytelling working?

November 11th, 2012 · Branding, Content Marketing, Sales, Storytelling · 13 Comments

Storytelling, storytelling, and more storytelling. Seems like every marketing book, blog (including mine if you’ve been reading this week’s posts) and study is talking about how we should be using storytelling as a marketing technique. I couldn’t agree more.  Unfortunately, I think most attempts fall short. Earlier this week — I made the point that [Read more...]

Have we lost the art of storytelling in marketing?

November 5th, 2012 · Branding, Content Marketing, Psychology, Sales, Storytelling · 17 Comments

As the buzz about content marketing, social media and all things digital continues to rise, one of the catch phrases that gets a lot of attention is storytelling in marketing.  We afford it incredible lip service but do we actually practice it? As we give way to our USA Today sound byte style of sharing [Read more...]

Desperate makes us both feel cheap (pricing strategy)

October 5th, 2012 · Business Owner/Leader Stuff, Psychology · 6 Comments

Your pricing strategy should never be accidental.  It’s a vital element in your marketing mix. Let me give you an example:  We use an outside vendor to provide extranet services for our clients.  We’d been with them for over five years. We recently discovered a better solution.  Not only is it better, but it’s also [Read more...]

Hello? Is there a human inside?

July 11th, 2012 · Branding, Customers/Clients, Voice · 14 Comments

Honestly — haven’t you felt that way more than once when you’ve dealt with a business? Either their marketing materials are so full of corporate speak that you can’t figure out what the heck they’re talking about or the service you get is lackluster at best and that’s being kind. As consumers continue to get [Read more...]

Crisis communications – don’t wait to create a plan

February 6th, 2012 · Business Owner/Leader Stuff, Media, Strategy · 10 Comments

Does your organization have a crisis communications plan that you could actually put into action at this very moment? All of the hubub surrounding the Susan G. Komen decision to stop funding Planned Parenthood and then their reversal of that decision following a 72+ hour firestorm of public outrage should have scared the bejesus out [Read more...]

Don’t add frill until your core is rock solid

February 2nd, 2012 · Customers/Clients, Psychology · 5 Comments

A couple times a month a cleaning company comes into our house and does a deep clean. Every time I walk into the house after they’ve cleaned… the toilet paper rolls and tissues sticking out of the boxes are folded in some sort of origami art.  Sometimes, they leave a truffle on the kitchen counter. [Read more...]