Category — Public Relations
This is part three in a 3 part series on the “3 Steps To Achieve Publicity Success In Any Venture” from Guest Blogger, RuthAnn Bowen, PR extraordinaire and Founder of PR firm The Bowen Agency Public Relations. The first step was “Embracing Your Difference”; the second step was “Tell Your Story”.
This blog post explores the third:
3. Be Nice
If you were anticipating a big insider PR secret for the third necessity to publicity success, this is it. Be nice.
It’s not flashy. It’s simple, common sense. But you’d be amazed at how often nice is missing from the world of media.
It’s a simple rule of thumb that has served me well in my publicity career. It doesn’t matter if I’m working with an intern reporter or the producer of a national TV show or these days, a blogger. They are all people and deserve respect.
I’ve seen my share of publicists with pompous and entitlement attitudes. And quite frankly, I don’t want to be around them, so why would someone in the media? In a follow up call I made to a newspaper reporter several years ago, this was the response I got: “These calls from you people make my job so difficult.”
So how do you handle a response like that? Be nice. Be polite. Do your job without the attitude.
Out of the three requirements to publicity success this one would seem the easiest to brush off. Don’t.
Nice is powerful. And it’s a must-have for long-term publicity success.
This is obviously not an exhaustive list so please leave your thoughts or additions in the comments below! What tips have you used to get your foot through the door with publicists or journalists?
This is the third installment of “3 Steps To Achieve Publicity Success In Any Venture” by RuthAnn Bowen of The Bowen Agency Public Relations. Ms. Bowen is a thirteen-year veteran of publicity having worked in the entertainment industry in Nashville, TN and owning her PR firm The Bowen Agency Public Relations. Contact her with your PR question at email@example.com
or follow her on Twitter @thebowenagency
Picture credit: Pictr 30D
April 15, 2010 8 Comments
Everyone has a story. And when it comes right down to it publicity is all about telling your business story. It’s also about keeping your fairytale from becoming a nightmare. This is part two in a 3 part series on the “3 Steps To Achieve Publicity Success In Any Venture” from Guest Blogger, RuthAnn Bowen, PR extraordinaire and Founder of PR firm The Bowen Agency Public Relations. Come back tomorrow for part three!
The first installment of this blog post discussed the requirement of “Embracing Your Difference”. Here’s the second requirement:
2. Tell Your Story
Believe it or not, we all learned back in junior high the elements for telling a story: Who, what, where, when, why, and how. Here’s how to use these same guidelines for business storytelling and publicity success:
Ultimately, you are the one who can tell your story best. If you aren’t the best storyteller find a publicist who understands brand storytelling. Make sure whomever you hire understands your story and can partner with you to tell your business story effectively. They should also have the same passion for telling it.
Figure out your brand message. What do you want consumers/clients/customers to know about your product or service? This ties into what makes you unique. Figure it out, put it in writing and begin telling your audience.
There are a lot of media outlets out there to promote your brand story. Let’s split where to use your business storytelling between traditional and new or social media:
- Magazines, etc.
- Your website
- YouTube, etc.
Do your research. What publications, websites, blogs, does your audience frequent? Which reporters/journalists/bloggers cover your topic? What are people saying about your industry? Target the ones who cover your specific product or service. Join the on-line conversation.
(One caveat: Please, don’t send out mass e-mails! This is a huge publicity pet peeve of the media’s–and mine. Don’t send your cat food press release to the automotive reporter. It’s not going to get covered. Period).
Timing is a key factor when working with the media. From the time of day you call to the time of year your story runs, timing is to PR what location is to real estate.
There are specific PR tools to get your brand story out. Coree’s article on 6 PR Tips to Writing Publicity Friendly Content provides a good go-to list to check out. For help on putting your business story together, Engage365 has a tremendous article from Ian McGonnigal on Storytelling in Social Media and Events.
Everyone loves to hear a good story. So tell them yours! Earning the media’s attention in the right way could be the beginning to your publicity happily ever after.
Our next post explores a surprising requirement. Don’t miss it!
How have you used storytelling to promote your business? Do you have your own story prepared and ready to share? Have you ever used a third party story in your publicity campaign? How and how well did it work for you? Please leave us a comment below and share!
This is the second installment of “3 Steps To Achieve Publicity Success In Any Venture” by RuthAnn Bowen of The Bowen Agency Public Relations. Ms. Bowen is a thirteen-year veteran of publicity having worked in the entertainment industry in Nashville, TN and owning her PR firm The Bowen Agency Public Relations. Contact her with your PR question at firstname.lastname@example.org
April 14, 2010 15 Comments
This is the first in a 3 part series on the “3 Steps To Achieve Publicity Success In Any Venture” from Guest Blogger, RuthAnn Bowen, PR extraordinaire and Founder of PR firm The Bowen Agency Public Relations. Come back tomorrow for part two!
Throughout my career as a publicist I’ve learned a few things. Here are two:
- 1. Publicity is often misunderstood
- 2. Publicity success is often misunderstood
If you want to see a publicist get on their soapbox just use the words “publicity” and “advertising” interchangeably. Publicity is not advertising.
Advertising is time and space you purchase. Publicity is time and space you don’t purchase. I know that’s a pretty simple explanation, but it really is that straightforward.
Publicity success, however, is entirely different. Publicity success is not necessarily being on Oprah. Publicity success is not something that happens overnight. The definition of publicity success for one business is not the same for another.
I have found there are three characteristics that can help shape and define publicity success no matter what your venture. There are others but I believe these three are the most important. (And please contact me at email@example.com with any you’d like to add to the list!) In this blog post we’ll explore the first one.
1. Embrace Being Different
When it comes to publicity, conformity doesn’t work. The media continually scan the horizon for captivating stories which means run-of-the-mill isn’t going to cut it. So what makes your story unique?
- Have a distinctive product or service?
- Have an unusual story?
Let’s start with a distinctive product or service. This automatically gives your story a natural separation from all the others in your industry. That’s good. Utilize it. Capitalize on it. Make sure everyone you know and talk to understands what the difference is and that you’re communicating the difference effectively.
You can own the next best wheel invention with state-of-the-art, improved technology and performance. But if you’re not communicating these differences in a way that people or the media can understand them, you might as well have the original wheel.
If you don’t have a unique product or service, don’t despair. You can still gain quite a bit of media coverage. And I’d say 95% of publicity comes from this aspect. Simply look for a unique angle or pitch that might gain media’s attention.
Here are some ideas to consider:
Is there a certain time of year that demand for your product or service increases that the media might not be aware of?
For example, we all know that accounting and the April 15 tax season go together, but perhaps you have a unique product or idea helping businesses remember to pay their quarterly taxes. Pitch this idea to a reporter at the end of any quarter during the year. (And if you actually offered to pay the tax? Well, let’s just say that would be a very unique twist!)
Can your product or service be tied into a certain off-peak holiday during the year? Think Memorial Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, International Day of Peace (September 21 for those of you who weren’t sure), Grandparents Day? You get the picture.
3. Personal story
Did your business or product idea grow from an unusual situation? Did you take over the family company and change its direction with success, increase revenue, upgrade all the equipment? Did you start your career on one path and end up on another that became more successful? Did your hobby turn into a business?
Where is your business located?
- Are you a start-up but struck the real-estate lottery and are located in a posh section of town?
- Did you choose your location for green reasons?
- Or did you find the best place ever but had to renovate it all by yourself because of budget constraints?
Granted, this type of coverage may not get your product covered necessarily, but it will get your business name some ink.
5. Unique consumer trend
Nobody knows your consumers the way you do and it’s up to you (or your publicist) to notify the media.
If you notice all of a sudden there’s an uptick in grandmothers buying your high-end fashion purses originally designed for teenagers, alert the media. If there’s any unique demographic you weren’t anticipating interested in your product/service, alert the media. Who knows, yours could be the start of a worldwide phenomenon in that particular demographic.
Any publicist worth their salt will tell you that if you don’t have a unique angle or twist to what you do, your story falls flat. So go ahead and celebrate your differences! It’s your first step towards publicity success.
Next post, “Tell Your Story”. Because it does no good to have a compelling story and then keep it to yourself.
This is the first installment of “3 Steps To Achieve Publicity Success In Any Venture” by RuthAnn Bowen of The Bowen Agency Public Relations. Ms. Bowen is a thirteen-year veteran of publicity having worked in the entertainment industry in Nashville, TN and owning her PR firm The Bowen Agency Public Relations. Contact her with your PR question at firstname.lastname@example.org
or follow her on Twitter @thebowenagency
April 13, 2010 15 Comments
Your blog is craving attention and journalists are starving for new useful information to share with the public. Top quality content attracts publicity, recognition and traffic. Writing content that attracts journalists and backlinks from other bloggers takes a little know how but if you know how to write attention grabbing content for your readers, you’re halfway there.
Here are a few tips and strategies to write Publicity Friendly Content.
1. Write Compelling Headlines
An average site visitor will spend 30 seconds checking out your article to decide if it’s worth their time to continue. Start with a compelling headline that tells your reader what you’ll be talking about and how it can answer their needs. Always remember to use “WIIFM” mentality. What are you offering your readers? Figure out a need and meet it.
One secret I learned for coming up with great headlines was to track what gets my attention. Create a “swipe file”, which is a list of all the headlines in your email inbox that grab your attention. Swipe and file those headlines as a resource to return to for ideas.
Without a doubt, you MUST do a little keyword research when creating your headlines.
You do this for a number of reasons but the most important one is to learn the language of your audience. What keyword phrases are they using to find the content they need? The old sales term comes to mind “mirror and match”. This means you practice being and speaking just like that person you are researching so there is a better – clearer – means of communication that they can relate to. Speak their language.
Use the keywords and phrases in your headlines for a better search engine results, but don’t sound like you just pulled your headline from a dictionary. Be human and speak like you normally would…just incorporate the keywords into your sentence.
Erika Napoletano just wrote an awesome post over on Copyblogger that explains Copywriting 3.0. She has some great tips that add to this post on implementing SEO, real time search, article marketing and also suggests creating mobile versions of your website as trends lean that way.
A few resources for writing great headlines:
- How To Write Magnetic Headlines – Copyblogger
- A Top Headline Writing Trick Copywriting Gurus Love – Remarkablogger
- 31 Days To Build A Better Blog - by Darren Rowse of Problogger
2. Why Am I Here?
As we mentioned before, you have a matter of seconds to convince your visitor to continue reading your blog, so it’s important to have your message – or your blog’s purpose – to come through at first glance.
Remember your readers are always asking “WIIFM”. Can they identify your message and does it speak to them? Does your blog title, domain name, tag line and blog design give an immediate snapshot into what they can expect from you?
My goal with Market Like A Chick’s domain name was to take the “she throws like a chick” innuendo and dish it right back up with smart marketing strategies in the voice of a chick – a woman that can hang with the best of the guys and speak with a real, no BS viewpoint. I created my main header banner myself to include my personality…one that is current with the trends, a deep thinker, yet still definitely feminine. Do you get that when you visit here?
When creating your content and lay out keep your points clear and your content formatted so it’s easy to read online. That means headings and subheadings with clear points and bullets or lists because the truth is, people tend to scan rather than read online.
A journalist looking for an article to publicize is not going to take more than a few moments to try and uncover your message. Keep things easy to scan using subheading to pique the reader’s interest. Your subheadings are just as important as your main headline to keep readers engaged. Long, run-on paragraphs are boring and lose attention.
I generally try to keep my paragraphs between 2 to 4 sentences. Just get your point across without making a reader dig through a bunch of rambling.
Don’t be afraid to use a one sentence paragraph to make a point and keep your reader from glazing over.
Some great resources:
- Are You Trying To Be Too Smart – Men With Pens
- Can Your Blog Explain Its Purpose in One Second? – Entrepreneur’s Journey
3. Use Images and Graphics
Whenever possible you should integrate graphics and data to support the information in your article and quote sources responsibly. Journalists take their work seriously, as we all should, and when our work is used without permission or proper attribution it is considered very bad etiquette.
If you’ve written your article based on a case study or market research you will usually find that the graphs have already been created for you. If not, it’s fairly easy to create one in PowerPoint yourself and use the image in your article.
Images speak a thousand words and can help get your point across or prepare the reader for what to expect, simplifying the reading experience.
One of my most trafficked articles that received several trackbacks was written using a case study report that Razorfish had done on why we friend brands online. It doesn’t have to be YOUR case study, just remember to quote your source for proper credit. Your viewpoint is what readers are interested in and helps uncover the meaning of all those statistics.
4. Make Your Content Newsworthy
Make sure your publicity friendly content has a point and the point is relevant and newsworthy. For example, an article about housetraining a dog may not be newsworthy though your prospects may be drawn to your site to access that information.
However, if your article is about the rise in homeless animals and the need for more adoption, which could then lead into information about housetraining a new dog or link to an article on housebreaking a dog then you’re fulfilling the needs of journalists and your audience at the same time.
Journalists and publications seem to love “top lists”. You can create a list for whatever niche you are writing about. Think of what has benefited you as you have learned your industry…what authors helped you the most, what 20 things did you discover were a waste of precious time, where can you find resources to save time or money? Get creative and make your list.
One example that I used was the 20 Best Marketing and Social Media Blogs by Women that had made a difference in my journey. I put together the list of all the women I had networked with, learned from and respected. It took me weeks to put together this one article, but it was worth it since it was picked up and published on Forbes! Not only did I benefit, but so did those 20 ladies.
5. Share Your Industry Knowledge
Journalists respect and flock to experts in a particular industry and if your website is consistently leading with information and discussing the latest industry news you stand a great chance of becoming their go-to person.
Using your keywords that we talked about in #1 will help journalists find you. Without those keywords and your name associated with them how will anyone ever know you have the experience they are seeking?
Google your name, your industry niche, and industry keywords to get an idea of where you rank and what type of message you are sending for Google to reference.
When I wrote my series on using social media for event marketing I made sure I checked keyword competition and the amount of search traffic for various phrases before publishing. Because of this my articles appeared on the first page of Google which led IABC (International Association of Business Communicators) to my blog and my work was discovered.
I just finished writing an original article on event marketing with social media for IABC’s monthly newsletter which goes out to over 15k subscribers.
Awesome resource for keyword research learning:
- Cloud Living – by Glen Allsop of PluginID and Viper Chill
6. Create Your Own Media Kit
Finally, make sure you have a media page on your website with photos, bios and contact information. You may also want to post links to press releases, published work, awards, recognition and any other information that will add credibility.
If you have great publicity friendly content but forget your media page, then you could be losing valuable opportunities.
You will find most of this information on my About Me page…barring the photos, which is still one of my most dreaded requests. Yes, I need it. Yes, I know I am probably missing out…so what is my problem?? I’m working on my camera shyness, so bear with me as I overcome this last hurdle. Don’t be like me in this case.
When designing your content strategy for the next quarter or year, make sure to include regular publicity friendly content, it can work quite well to attract media attention while at the same time add credibility to your website and still help draw traffic from prospects and customers.
What say ye?? Do you have any other tidbits you might offer to get your content noticed? Start the discussion below in the comments section. Replies are usually posted within the hour.
To Your Success,
March 29, 2010 16 Comments