The Latest

Arbor Avenue Films Kickstarter Campaign Goes Over the Top!

February 24, 2013

Arbor Avenue Films Kickstarter Campaign Goes Over the Top!

The Star and the Snowman Kickstarter campaign met its goal $8,000 with two+ days to spare and went over $9,400 total! Now, the filmmakers will work to shoot the necessary winter scenes in Ohio and plan for the rest of the filming to take place in the first half of 2013. Follow the project at http://www.facebook.com/ArborAvenueFilms?fref=ts

Fun to be part of a successful Kickstarter campaign and gratifying to see so much support for this project! 

Crowdfunding campaign for “Star and the Snowman” in the news!

February 11, 2013

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I’m helping client Arbor Avenue Films promote its crowdfunding campaign for the team’s latest project, “Star and the Snowman.” Here are some of the news stories about this talented team of Columbus filmmakers. And if you want to help spread the word, you can follow the campaign on Kickstarter here and share it on Twitter and Facebook: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/230353252/star-and-the-snowman?ref=home_social

Crowdfund Insider:

http://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2013/01/ohio-filmmakers-crowdfunding-campaign-debuts/

ThisWeek:

http://www.thisweeknews.com/content/stories/clintonville/news/2013/01/29/local-investors-sought-to-bring-snowman-to-life.html

Columbus Underground:

http://www.columbusunderground.com/forums/topic/central-ohio-filmmakers%25e2%2580%2599-crowdfunding-campaign-debuts-on-kickstarter

Of Small Businesses and Social Media…

January 29, 2013

 

It’s no secret that many are overwhelmed by social media. I recently saw a tip advising small businesses who’ve avoided social media to date to choose an outlet that fits their type of business/target market to focus on. Great advice, as it seems many small businesses (and larger ones, for that matter) are overwhelmed even by the idea of social media.

While I always go out of my way to explain to clients I’m not a social media expert or strategist (as many who claim they are unfortunately are not), I do see the value in incorporating social media in marketing and PR efforts and often help clients to do so. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when there are so many social media outlets out there to choose from. The bottom line is you probably can’t keep up with them all and do them all well—and you probably don’t need to.

Focus on one or two outlets: Picking one or two social media outlets where your target customers spend time IS a good investment of your time or dollars. Maybe your customers use Facebook a lot, so you’ll want to focus on that. Or maybe your customers are more of a LinkedIn crowd—put your time and effort there.

What do I post? Once you choose one or two outlets on which to focus, you need to update them consistently. I’ve had clients tell me, “But we don’t know what to post.” Not a valid excuse. There are no end to the sources where you can get content ideas. I’ve retweeted many articles about that very topic—do a Google search to find some. Here are a few examples:

This was a great article that appeared last week by Joan Stewart (@PublicityHound) on how to create blog content, for example: http://www.ragan.com/Main/Articles/46121.aspx#

And a couple of others:

7 Effortless Ways to Find New Ideas for Your Blog

6 ways to find relevant and valuable content ideas for your social media marketing

And those are just a few of many great articles on the topic of creating content.

Once you start, keep up with it: It’s a mistake to start and then not keep up with your social media channel(s) of choice. It only takes a few minutes a day to post something—even less to retweet/reuse something, if you don’t have any fresh content of your own.

PR feeds social media: Another point—use PR efforts to feed social media content. So every press release you issue, every article that results from your media outreach, every case study or success story on a customer, every speaking engagement, every award and so on should be issued via your social media channels.

So don’t be overwhelmed. As with any marketing effort, it’s fine to start small and grow from there. Just pick your poison and get started!

Excited to be part of AMA’s Achievement in Marketing Awards this Fri., Jan. 18!

January 16, 2013

So pleased to be part of the Columbus Chapter of the American Marketing Association! We have a record number of attendees registered for the AMA’s Achievement in Marketing Awards this Fri., Jan. 18 at 5:30 p.m. The keynote speaker is Paul Smith of P&G, author of Lead with a Story, http://www.leadwithastory.com/bio/. It’s sure to be an evening of great networking and fresh ideas for your next marketing effort! We on the programming committee have been hard at work to make this an unforgettable event. There’s still time to register, http://eevent.com/cama-luncheons/aim2013?e=u16265. Don’t miss it! Hope to see you there!

In Honor of Halloween: A “Scary” Week for PR

November 2, 2012

This week was an interesting one for PR pros, as we faced challenges due to a number of current events that came together to create a “perfect storm” for those of us who regularly pitch reporters on behalf of our clients.

Even last week, I had received feedback from reporters that this wasn’t a good time to pitch any news not related to the upcoming presidential election. So when the hurricane came into play this week, it pretty much put an end to any media outreach outside Sandy or how the candidates might be responding. Not exactly what clients want to hear, but to proceed poses the risk of alienating reporters. (Now that’s SCARY!)

With the election next week, it’s probably best for us PR folks to put our pitching efforts on the back burner and wait it out. Let’s hope the week of Nov. 12 is uneventful, because–EEK!–Thanksgiving is coming up the following week…!

From a Reporter’s Perspective—What Are You Doing Wrong When It Comes to PR?

October 16, 2012

I came across a recent Inc. article in which reporter Minda Zetlin talks about what you might be doing wrong if you can’t get the media’s attention:

Can’t Get Good PR? 4 Things You’re Doing Wrong, 

http://www.inc.com/minda-zetlin/cant-get-good-press-heres-what-youre-doing-wrong.html

This piece resonated with me because a) this is what I help clients do every day and b) it has some great reminders for those trying to do PR themselves—or even for those who have help, but don’t seem to get why their PR person can’t get them ink.

Point 1: Assuming a journalist has the same agenda as you:

I often view the job of the PR pro to get the client the opportunity to speak with a reporter. Once the interview’s taken place, it’s out of our hands. It does happen sometimes that while the reporter seemed interested in the story at the time of the interview, their editor may not be as interested. It may be a timing issue—perhaps the space planned for the article was cut. There are many reasons, in fact, why an interview may not lead to an article. If it doesn’t, this isn’t the fault of the PR person (and sometimes, not the reporter).

Point 2: Lying to yourself about what is and isn’t newsworthy:

This is what I help clients determine. Many times, something the client thinks is very much headline material simply isn’t. In these cases, it’s better to wait to contact the reporter or issue the press release until something more newsworthy comes up. You don’t want to waste reporters’ precious time by pitching story ideas that cause them to yawn as they delete your email.

Point 3: Staying relentlessly “on message:”

Even I preach to clients to prepare their “nuggets” of key information before an interview, but she makes a valid point here. You have to be willing to branch off in other directions, if that’s where the interview goes. If the reporter wants your expert commentary on a topic related to, but not directly on, what your company does, it’s OK to comment and not try to constantly steer the conversation back to your key messages. As she mentions, she’s more likely to quote you if you provide more bits of useful information versus less.

Point 4: Not being available.

This one I could absolutely rant about! NEVER—and I do mean NEVER!—be too busy to speak with a reporter in a timely fashion. If you’re lucky enough to get their time, take it! Do whatever it takes to make yourself available. Keep in mind how busy reporters are, how many companies are competing for their limited time and mindshare and how much that real estate is worth in their piece. And, let’s not even talk about cancelling or not showing up….the cardinal sins of media relations.

Read Minda’s piece in Inc. for all her valuable tips on what not to do when it comes to PR.

See Michelle’s tip featured in this blog post on procrastination

October 1, 2012

 

Want to stop procrastinating? See my tip in this blog post (#23): 

Stop Procrastination: Slay This Business Beast Now

http://spirited-solutions.com/stop-procrastination-slay-this-business-beast-now/

23. Just Get Started!

My top tip to whip procrastination? Just get started. Whether it’s writing something or starting a new project, if you just force yourself to start somewhere (whether or not you really want to), you’ll find it much easier to keep going. The hardest part is often just getting started. So, dig in and do one task that will get you going. Often, you’ll feel much better knowing that you’ve at least made a dent in the project. And sometimes, you’ll even keep going until it’s done!

Thanks to Michelle Garrett of Garrett Public Relations

Handling Media Opportunities: Media Training 101

September 27, 2012

Everyone knows that media attention is usually a GOOD thing! But, what do you do if you’re lucky enough to get a reporter interested in your story? The truth is that many companies might not know how to handle a media opportunity if they were fortunate enough to land one.

Relationships with reporters require the utmost care. Here are some tips to help you make the most of any media attention that comes your way:

1)      RSVP! At the top of the list is a prompt response. If a reporter contacts you proactively or in response to something you’ve contacted them about, drop everything to respond. Even if you don’t have all the answers to their questions, at least let them know you’ve received the message and are working on their requests. If you wait, the opportunity may disappear because they’ll have moved on to the next source on their list.

2)      Provide what they need: Make sure you’re ready BEFORE reaching out to media by having your images, logos, customer references and any other information they may request ready.  

3)      Prepare for the interview: Do a little research on the reporter. Take a look at what the reporter’s written to get a sense of his style. Read his bio, if you have access to it. Think about what questions he may ask and what answers you’ll give. It doesn’t hurt to prepare a Q&A document to refer to, especially if more than one person at your company is speaking with the media.

4)      Listen more than you talk: During the interview, you want to make sure you don’t talk too much. I’ve been on media calls with clients who, despite coaching to the contrary, seem to do ALL the talking! OOPS! Not a good move, if you want to build a relationship with the reporter. Let the reporter drive the discussion. DO answer their questions and work in your nuggets (see next point), but don’t overdo it.

5)      Work in your “nuggets”: What are the top three things you want this reporter to take away from your interview? If they remember nothing else, what three pieces of information about your business—or nuggets!—do you want them to write about? Weave those in throughout the interview, as much as it makes sense.

6)      Wrapping up: When you wrap up the interview, make sure to ask if the reporter needs anything else—images, customer references, etc.  See #2 above so you’re prepared to send these over immediately after the interview. Also during wrap up, you should ask when the article might appear. You can then follow up to get copies, if it’s a print publication.

7)      Follow up: If the reporter did need something, make sure to get them the requested information as soon as possible. If they contact you with questions following the interview, get right back to them with the answers (or reply to say you’re working on getting them the answers).

8)      Promote Your PR: When the article appears, blast it out via social media, post it on your site and make sure to let your audiences know it’s out there!

Follow these tips and you’ll be well on your way to building a relationship with the reporter so that next time he needs an expert source, he’ll call you first.

And if you need help, consider hiring a professional to handle media outreach, requests and responses. Even if you can’t do it yourself, you can make sure someone is there to handle media relations with the care it deserves.

 

 

Passionate About PR

August 23, 2012

I was reflecting recently on what led me down the path to a career in PR. I started writing at an early age, just for fun, poems and journal entries, even short stories. That love of writing led me to a role working on my high school paper, where I reported and edited stories. My long-term career goal was to someday write a column for a magazine. I went on to study Journalism at The Ohio State University, where I wrote for The Lantern and learned so much about the news business. I elected to focus on PR as my area of concentration. At that time, I think I liked the way it sounded, more than anything. “Public Relations Practitioner” had a ring to my young ears!

Since then, I’ve come to truly embrace PR as a profession and have developed a real passion for getting my clients “ink.” To me, there’s no professional high like getting my client in a news story. I honestly get EXCITED about this, because I know what it can mean to a company. Many times, it gains momentum and leads to other media opportunities. It puts them on the map in a way that’s tangible. Once that story appears, it’s forever…and there’s no end to the ways it can be leveraged and the ways it can benefit the client company.

It can lead to more customers, more prospects, more funding, more exposure, more attention, more visibility, and a sense of pride for employees, vendors and current customers who love seeing the name of the company in the news. With social media, stories can go viral, meaning the snowball effect is amped up even further.

For those who have a passion for PR, like I do, it’s a way of life. One sees everything through the eyes of a reporter, which may be why I’m always trying to cut to the chase. What’s important about what you’re telling me? What information must one need to know? How can I say this so that anyone can understand what I’m trying to convey?

I guess at the end of the day, although PR always had a certain ring to it, I never knew I’d grow to love it as I do today.