Like all small businesses, my work email finds its way onto many lists. My junk email box is a menagerie for everything from VC offers to bank loans, opportunities to advertise my business, companies selling me their services and the occasional random millionaire in Nigeria. This morning, I received one that I almost deleted until reading the first line available in preview, and it really got my goat. “Successful businesses must send press releases on a regular and consistent
As a startup, you are the Believer. The one who holds the candle of Faith. Who pushes through the barriers with Determination, Persistence and a Plan. However, because you're in the weeds of your business day-to-day, it can be difficult to see your company story. The real one that will attract media and be the foundation of your marketing. What you think your story is, may not be your story I have spent nearly two decades as a journalist, integrated marketing and PR professio
(As originally written for and published on NBCChicago.com's Inc. Well) Most companies understand the power of a press release as a tool in their PR campaign toolbox to deliver news and information to media. The problem is most don’t understand how to use a press release effectively, especially today. We hear it all the time, “we’d like you to send out at least one press release per month as part of the strategy.” That’s great and happy to do it, but is there enough news to
Working on behalf of business owners, entrepreneurs, and startup founders everywhere, Cascade Communications has a passion for brand stories, news and marketing. We’re a distinctive public relations and marketing communications agency, building a brand around your story using our client-centric, outcome-driven program – Communicate. Engage. Participate. Since 2001, Cascade has worked with Fortune 1000s, multinationals, mid-market companies and become a leading public relation
There’s nothing worse than being interviewed by a journalist only to forget who you’re speaking to and that everything you say is “on the record”, unless you say otherwise, and then seeing a quote or story that completely took what you said out of context. These kinds of snafus by political figures, celebrities and some business people quickly become fodder for “The Daily Show” and late night comics. Although most media don’t seek out the opportunity to “turn your words aroun
Public relations has many arms and legs beyond just a press release and pitching a story. There are a variety of strategies that fuel opportunities for ongoing, long-term public relations. The most important is expert positioning. Do you ever wonder how certain people become regular contributors on morning news? Do you see someone in your industry giving tips and advice in the media and think "I can totally do that, in fact, I have new thoughts and ideas to shares." Becoming
For small businesses DIYing PR there are three things that they have to learn to do well so be successful: 1. Tell their story – in effect, writing a strong press release 2. Effectively pitching media 3. Following up with media with respect The last of these seems to be the one that most DIYers miss. A majority still believe that if they distribute their press release online and email an effective pitch to media that those two things will do the trick alone in garnering publi
The DIY craze has been around for years. Thanks to the cable television, the Internet and the whole "information at your finger tips" you can learn to do most anything from changing your oil to renovating your bathroom. Personally, I love it. Taking on a task normally I would pay for feels like so much of a personal accomplishment, however, my cobbler and plumber will always get my business. In recent years, the DIY movement has become even more prevalent due to the economy.
Starting a business can seem like a daunting task with applications and business plans, but if you don't know or understand what your brand is, you might as well throw all of that in the trash. Consumer perception is 9/10ths of the rule always, not sometimes but always, and how you present yourself to potential clients from the moment you open your doors can determine your success as a business owner. Over the years I've encountered many small businesses, entrepreneurs and ev
Small business owners ask me this same thing almost on a regular basis - "I can't afford to hire a professional to manage public relations for me. What can I do on my own to market my business?" My first response is always that you haven't met a PR/marketing professional who focuses on small businesses and even smaller budgets.
When it comes to marketing small businesses you must think outside of the box. Yes, that term has been used ad nauseum since the 1980’s, but it's tr
When you're a small business owner you wear every hat from accounts receivable and manager to new business/sales and marketing. It can be a daunting task to look at that laundry list everyday. What you need to do is determine the most efficient route to accomplish it all and grow your business. Determining how to generate public relations for your business can be narrowed down to three things - what is your story, why is it meaningful to people and who is your audience. Knowi
Today, everyone is focused on the love of a partner, friend or family member, but are you honoring your professional relationships with equal enthusiasm? Entering into a relationship with a new agency can be a daunting experience that requires some faith, and understanding. It’s easy to perceive them as the hired help, but there are real reasons you should love your agency and build a strong, respectful, mutual relationship with them. Moreover, maybe you've had the same agenc
(As originally posted to NBCChicago.com's Inc Well) Sometimes I feel like a doctor. It never fails that whenever someone asks what I do and they hear “public relations” they suddenly say “I want to be on TV”. “Really? What’s your story?” They give me a quizzical look. “What is the story you have to tell?” Now, blank stare. Everyone wants to be on TV or see their name in ink or on a blog, but the truth is that public relations isn’t the best marketing avenue for every busi
Integrated Marketing: IM is creating a marketing plan that includes a variety of Marketing Mix elements in combination with one another to create awareness and build brand. Simply put this means not putting your eggs all in one basket, but strive to combine your advertising with, say, direct mail and personal selling; diversifying your advertising, engaging both nontraditional media and traditional media; and create opportunities for PR that can be followed up with an incenti
Most people think it's bad luck to consider the worst possible effect their service, product or business might have on a customer. But truth be told it's always best to plan for any potential crisis your business might experience. Most restaurants and major corporations have a plan and revise it annually, so why shouldn't a small business also plan ahead. Over the years, looking at some of the worst PR crisis of our time I can tell you one thing: Lack of an immediate response
The practice of public relations seems to be an intangible to many. Why? Because unlike advertising where you pay someone to develop and place an end product (tangible), PR is not such a sure thing. Practitioners, like myself, focus on writing press materials for your business (every business needs a press kit), generating strong story ideas and pitching to media. However, I can't predict if media are going to be 100% interested or even if they'll run the story right now. PR
When I started in PR many, many years ago there was barely an Internet, in fact we didn't even have computers in our office for every employee. We created and implemented multi-million dollar PR campaigns based on an almost 40-year old formula. Sure it's morphed some, but most corporate PR agencies continue using it, and sadly, many who come out of those firms to start their own continue to perpetuate the formulaic approach to PR. With that said, there are many who have more
(As originally written for and published on NBCChicago.com's Inc. Well) As an entrepreneur, the most precious commodity you have is time. There never seems to be enough of it for you to fill every role you play every day. It's enough just to be CEO, accounts receivable/payable, secretary and janitor, but throw in public relations efforts and it feels as if one ball must fall in order to keep a new one in the air. Truth is that in the beginning stages you most likely don't
Generating positive public relations is all about THE STORY. What is your story and why are you unique in the industry or amongst your competition.
When I sit down to learn about a new business I often listen for key things:
1. What is your direct competition in the market like? How unique are you?
2. What made you decide to go into this industry? Is there a personal story here? 3. Why did you develop this product of service? What problems will it solve for customers?
I’ve told you how public relations can help grow your business, but are you truly ready for the growth a strategic marketing program can bring? When you own a small business, the number one priority is to drive business immediately. The first thing you need to do before putting a marketing plan in place to generate awareness and drive interest in your business is to think through the steps you will take, or put into place, to handle the increase in business.
I’ve seen and w