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
It's a New Year and time for new thinking in generating positive attention for your business. Would you like to be interviewed by media? Are you frustrated as to why your press release(s) aren't getting the coverage you desire? Do you want to learn how you can attract media attention? First you have to realize that there are is a lot of news, and not so newsy, out there. Just because you write it, doesn't mean they will come. If it were that easy, we would all be in the news,
I see it all of the time. A press release that reads like more of an informational brochure than an actual compelling news story; a boring corporate-type release that never quite says why the announcement is important. And, companies pay thousands to their PR agencies to push it out and hundreds of dollars to post said release on wire services just because “that’s the way it’s always been done”. In truth, few media will see it. This kind of press release is everywhere and it
Thanks to the world of the Internet almost anyone can paint the picture of whom they would like to be, but really aren't. A flashy website full of catchy key phrases coupled with impressive experience. Sadly, we continue to hear stories about "PR pros" who have taken advantage of businesses, in a variety of ways, but mostly making a lot of promises they knew they couldn't fulfill just to get the client to sign a tight, inflexible contract that would, results or no, assure tho
(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
(As originally published on NBCChicago.com's Inc. Well) PR Stunts. Everyone wants to do them and hopes they trigger massive media attention. From the World's Largest Roll of Toilet Paper to tying small promotional banners to flies and setting them loose in a crowd, PR Stunts are becoming a more and more desired avenue for small business. Why? Because a little creativity doesn't cost much. While your creativity can pay off dividends with media exposure, some are good, some ar
Learning to work with an agency, especially when you’ve never done it before, can be an exercise in trust and faith. Having an understanding of the dynamics of this relationship will help you develop a strong relationship with your agency and they will perform better for you and your company. Finalize a plan: Before you start moving ahead with your agency, make sure there is a plan. Everyone needs to know where they’re going, what goals and budget need to be set and met, and
I am often asked the question "why should we go with PR?" The answers are quite simple: 1. Public relations is a more affordable alternative for small businesses - vs. an aggressive advertising or direct mail campaign 2. PR is the process in which media provide endorsements for your business 3. Media endorsements create credibility in the minds of consumers/customers 3. You can actually see the return on your PR investment - some of my clients see immediate sales and growth w
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.
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
I am always looking for ways to share with entrepreneurs the best practices for conducting public relations for their business. DIY PR can take time, but it can also be very worth it. Here, I join several experts in a round up of our best tips for writing and distributing successful press releases that help you attract media attention. Check out my advice at #18! However, it's important to remember that just because you send out the press release or distribute it on a wire li
(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
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
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'm really amazed at the number of new, small businesses that have come to me recently with a real commitment to community and understand the importance of giving back. And, today's startups are taking their social responsibility to new heights. We all know that you have to keep the balance of things and you can't get without giving.
Today, we see so many large corporations that have become so out of touch with their community. There was a time when corporate responsibilit