People like success stories, fairy tales that have actually come to life. It is the nature of PR and why I love doing what we do.
People like success stories, fairy tales that have actually come to life. It is the nature of PR and why I love doing what we do.
It’s nothing new! We all know that Public Relations is highly dependent upon networking. Why? Well if no one knows your name then your office phone will never ring. It’s a simple I have friends and they like me science folks! No one wants to work with Mr. or Ms. No Name. It’s essential to stay on top of networking because if you fail to make an amazing impression and/or have no web presence, then you are forgettable, and forgettable people…simply put…do not exist. It’s not about meeting everyone, just about meeting the right people, and maintaining good relationships. Keep reading and allow me to share with you some helpful hints on where and how to place yourself within the world of networking and what you need to do once you are in there.
Networking Is More Than Just Handing Out Your Business Card
Yes, it’s hard to believe that the day-in-the-life of a person in PR isn’t all glitz and glam, and rubbing elbows with the elite—not! People who are not involved in the PR industry find it hard to grasp this concept. It’s not all play; we work hard, and even when we do “play” it’s actually work! Don’t get me wrong, of course you should keep your business cards in your clutch, or pocket and hand them out whenever you get the chance. But make sure you get their cards too. The key to kicking off a relationship is to strike a chord with people. Relate to them. Don’t just take their card and shrink away to the background. Ask them about what they do, how they got into their field. Strike up a genuine conversation about something happening within current affairs or speak about family, kids, anything. I’m talking real conversation. Not rehearsed, and not scribbled out on the back of index cards. People appreciate genuine connections. Genuine connections are memorable. On the other side of things, when you do receive business cards while networking, it is extremely important to write some extra information to help you remember this person on the back of their card immediately. I promise by the time you get home you won’t even remember what they look like without doing this. Shoot them an email, or better yet write out a little card that touches on a subject you spoke of, like their child’s upcoming basketball game or a restaurant you have both wanted try. They will remember you and think fondly of the fact that you remembered them, the small amount of time and conversation that you have both shared. VOILA! You have successfully made a genuine connection through networking. This is officially the beginning of a beautiful business relationship.
When Networking, Do Not Pitch!
Do not pitch, I repeat, when networking DO NOT PITCH. I cannot stress this enough. There is always time for that later. You can speak about what you do and make sure that you stress that you do it well. However do not ramble on into your sales spiel. Pitching throws people off, they know that you are just trying to make a sale. It is a common misconception, networking is NOT about pitching. It is about genuine connections and building relationships.
Social Networking Does Not Solely Depend on Facebook and Twitter Pages
As I stated earlier, a web presence is essential these days. How do you find out about some of your favorite things? I don’t know about you, but I Google religiously. And if I can’t find it on the first page, then it simply doesn’t exist. If the company’s site doesn’t pop up first, then you usually get their social media accounts. Facebook and Twitter are nice to have when you’ve got upcoming events and exciting announcements, but what about professionally? It’s less about hiding your embarrassing drunken girls’-night-out pictures, and more about making sure your work history is out there and ready to be seen!
You cannot rely on the same social networks that you use to commonly connect with your friends. Newsflash, there are other social networking sites out there! Try professional networking sites like LinkedIn.com and MeetUp.com. Find people that have similar business aspirations on these sites, and make sure you communicate with them. They’re looking to network too! LinkedIn even has groups to help you keep up with the 411 of your own profession and field of choice. If you are to be your own publicist, or represent your company in the way that a seasoned PR Person would, then you must take full advantage of these sites.
Get Out of the Office and Show the World Your Company Exists!
Once you’ve set up all of your accounts, and you’ve been communicating well with other industry professionals, it is not time to take a break. In fact, it’s time to work even harder. Okay, so you emailed back and forth with the cute CEO of a small event production company. Now it’s time to get out there and do something about it! No, I’m not referring to a hot date, and NO, I don’t mean sending your intern to stand on the corner handing out business cards and flyers for you. Learn to attend in-person networking events. I say learn because it is a process. It takes practice to work a room so don’t expect to feel oh so comfortable doing it on your first few times out. Simply Google industry networking events for your field within your city or town and get started! RSVP and don’t forget to bring your business cards, a pen to write some interesting facts that I talked about above, and anything else you might need to make a good first impression. A little lipstick and deodorant never hurt anyone! The point is to network, network, network! It’s also not about meeting a tremendous number of people, but about meeting the best people that could benefit you.
To make it easier and cut out the middle man, Google, and the straining of your eyes as you glance over all the possible networking events, you can also join MeetUp.com, as I stated earlier. This site cuts out the endless searching by giving you a network of local groups you may be interested in. So log on, and find your fateful little groups and meet up! it is also smart to attend meet-ups and networking events where your client base lives. For instance if you are a photographer attend events for Models. But remember DO NOT PITCH.
Congratulations! With these helpful tips you are now ready to get out there and network—the right way! Remember to stay focused on promoting yourself and your company. Keep your networking goals in mind and follow these tips, and I promise you will accomplish things you never even thought of.
To learn a bit more about launching your very own Public Relations campaign, tips and tricks visit http://www.prlearningcenter.com.
Author: Wendy Vazquez of Beautiful Planning Marketing & PR
Anyone who has lost track of time when using a computer knows the propensity to dream, the urge to make dreams come true and the tendency to miss lunch.
Public Relations is all about timing and knowing your client. Those two aspects, combined with a keen senses on when to push forward or back down and a dash of media savvy create the perfect recipe for a successful PR campaign. Featured below are a few helpful tips on dealing with the media and a few small nuances that if kept in mind, can be priceless assets for your public relations campaign.
PR 101: Social media is relational, not transactional! Building lasting brand awareness cannot simply be done via twitter and Facebook.
If you think using social media to build your brand is a good idea, you’re only half right. Social media is a great tool to stay current, establish relationships and interact directly with the public. It is a fast tool to help you gage opinions. The modern day lead generator and image management tool all rolled into one. However, in addition to building brand awareness you must take it a step further than Twitter and your facebook fans page to really make a lasting impression. Use Twitter and Facebook to capture key information, be witty and interact and then take the conversation offline. Major deals are not closed within 140 characters or less, or on direct message. Your doors will not flood with customers because you tweeted your latest “discount”. There needs to be backing behind that promotional push. Media is not going to write a feature because you tweeted the editor that receives a hundred tweets a day. You must follow up offline. You must establish a presence in some other form of media, whether it is in print, online, TV, radio, a good old phone call or a piece of hand held mail. WHAT!? Yes Direct mail STILL exists and because people are so overloaded online- guess what….IT STILL WORKS.
PR 101: Newsworthiness is key! Don’t push out crap & editors will notice your real news. If it is not real news it shouldn’t cross their desk.
In the world of Public Relations there are a lot of false news pushers. A lot of information is disseminated across the web via press releases, via email and pitching on the phone. It’s important to keep in mind what should and shouldn’t be released to the press. No one wants to know that your pet poodle is now the office mascot. If you start publishing press releases, which contain insignificant news, it not only reflects badly on your brand and actually will desensitize the media to any pitch that is received from you or your company. DO NOT TURN THEM OFF. It can damage your image if you don’t have real news and are only perceived as an attention-seeker. Your reputation relies on your ability to separate real news from everyday occurrences and your ability to capitalize on what people actually want to know and find interesting enough to pay attention to. News includes events, partnerships, new products, price changes, new executive hires, and more.
PR 101: Let your fingers do the talking and ensure that your publicity pitch Sings and Sells! Sad drab emails will always hit the junk email folder.
When pitching via email, the last thing that anyone wants to read is a long, drawn-out, boring pitch. Keep in mind that whomever you are pitching is busy and if they do decide to read your pitch, you need to capture their attention within the first couple of lines. For goodness sakes editors receive thousands of pitches per day. Now don’t go bedazzling your letters or sending emails with a black background and white font o anything. Simply make sure that your content sings and sells. Send it to a few friends to get their feedback on what they would change. Is there too much Hyperbole? Does it seem to drag. You want to get the media exicted to read it and excited to speak to you about it or cover it. Subject lines should also be used to place clever, attention-getting titles or summaries of watch you’re pitching. Remember when pitching, always think positive and it will emanate in your pitch.
PR 101: Never say “I Don’t Know” not to a customer and definitely not to the media. Instead say “I will have to get back to you on that.
So you’re at your desk, buried in work and the phone rings – the person asks you a question and you haven’t the slightest idea what they are asking about, much less how to answer it. Was that in the press release? Wait- is our chicken farm fed?! The best thing for you to do is just say “I don’t know” right? Wrong!! In all business settings, no matter the context, never and I mean never use those words. It has nothing to do with honesty but rather how the other person perceives you. Especially the media who are quick to hang up and so oh well I thought it was interesting but they can’t even tell me about their own brand. Your “I don’t know” can come across to them as if you are not aware of something that you should be or that you are incompetent. The smart publicist or Publicity pitcher says “I will have to get back to you”, or “Can I get back to you on that in a few?”. This assures them that they will be receiving an answer – maybe not when they want the answer, but a slow yes is always better than a fast …. I Don’t Know. Public Relations is all about generating the right public perception. So make the right impression. You are able to now provide them with the most up to date and accurate information as opposed to a jumbled and confused reply.
For more information on how to approach the media with your Public Relations pitch visit our PR Learning Center at http://www.prlearningcenter.com. Classes are presented by Beautiful Planning Marketing & PR professionals and range from beginner, advanced, all the way to intermediate.
As a small businessperson, you have no greater leverage than the truth.
With the abundance of advertising and marketing channels out there for businesses nowadays, it leaves each CEO or small business owner to wonder which one will get them the biggest bang for their buck; which one will establish their product, their brand or even their persona as an author or expert within the field of choice? Well I’m here to break the news to your that its time o break into your piggy bank. Cutting corners on PR expenses and penny pinching is not the way to go.
Many business owners thought processes when going into a PR relationship runs the route of ” How can I cut costs and forge ahead to still see a brighter day” By brighter day I mean a bank account ending in as many zeros as many executives had before 2009.Well the answer is that you cant. There are simply crossroads in business where you have to spend money to make money. If you are looking to save then you may also be setting yourself up to be screwed over with freelance publicists and wayward experts screaming I CAN DO IT! Well guys you often get what you pay for.
Public Relations can truly change a business. Business owners often forget about this avenue, or mark it off the list because it is such a costly expense. What they don’t realize is that the right PR firm can land you national news articles, gain the attention of top bloggers, get you a few radio interviews, push out sales to magazines for your products and so much more. However they done think of it as an investment and in the long run end up paying more in print advertising, google adwords campaigns, trial and error from marketing initiatives that just dont cut it for real value branding.
A well connected PR firm can run a business anywhere from $3,500- $5,000 per month. The thing is what kind of kick back can a business owner expect in return? A nice one given the social media aspect I can tell you that.
Over a year’s time a Public Relations retainer can surely come back to any business owner that has truly acquired the right firm. In short public Relations should be considered an investment in a business and not at all an expense. Instead of throwing random dollars out to actual advertising, why are more businesses not jumping on the bandwagon to open the eyes and ears of their prospects with solid PR?
If you cannot afford a costly retainer at the moment you may want to try our Do It Yourself PR classes at PRLearningCenter.com. Small businesses often cannot afford it and get caught in an ugly catch 22. They cant afford PR , but they need PR to grow. Allow us to bridge the gap for you.
We have all read the Yelp reviews, hit City Search online prior to a night on the town or slightly tilted our heads at a bad reviews for a restaurant on Zagat. Well nowadays a bad review can go quite far. I’m not just talking about two zip codes away far, I mean crossing the equator far! People don’t care to see your face in business anymore. Personally I could sit in my office eating twinkies all day without ever taking a meeting and still close deals, manage and arrange events, build partnerships and more. I have a friendly phone manner, however I digress. The point is that people don’t care to meet you face to face, now face to face is how you are presented when they log on. This is why we invest on our razzle dazzle websites and advertising and also why we need to ensure our that online reputation remains clean.
Personally when I read reviews online as a Publicist of 12 years I go through and think, created, created, created, REAL. Meaning that no one wants to say it but someone’s marketing team or PR firm has sat there and created a on of reviews and then you land upon a real one. You can truly tell the difference. Here is what it generally looks like: Five large paragraphs boasting about the same things that a general customer would NEVER notice or really even care about and then a small one that hits on a real experience. Now sometimes the real ones are actually good which is wonderful, but then there are the ones that at horrible and bash your business or bad to the ground. These are the ones that you need to keep an eye on. We have all heard that rule. A happy customer will tell three people while an unhappy customer will tell fifteen. Guess what, your fifteen just hit mass millions via Google with bashing reviews.
Many a review site syndicates to other online blogs, other smaller review sites and these negative reviews could single handedly reduce your income and kill your business. There are things that you can do to manage these items. Use a few of our classic Beautiful Planning Marketing & PR tips below.
Review your business processes and practices the caused the bad review
This out of any other tip is the most important. For every 10 people that have come across my desk asking me to help them with their Online Crisis Management and Reputation PR there are about 5 of them with absolutely terrible processes. Meaning yes, they are actually ripping people off without realizing it, providing shotty service at one point or another or lacking in a general area that needs to be fixed. No amount of amazing Public Relations work, and not event the best publicist in the world can spin your business processes into positives. No I cannot scale that extremely large skyscraper wearing a spiderman costume. We can land you stories, get positive reviews, get you involved within new initiatives, but we cannot change bad business processes and practices. I tell clients to look at their processes and practices within first prior to investing in a PR campaign. What caused this review or negative article? Was there something that you could have done better? Is there a way to change your business practices or process so that a customer never has to experience this again? That is up to you. You can always begin reputation and crisis management without reviewing but it is not a smart idea.
Set Up Your Google Alerts ASAP
Google sends mail, Google has apps, Google has Circles, For Petes sake, Google can do a somersault in the UK and land on the wing of a plane taking off from NY JFK airport in a single bound. Now that’s some real time on demand action! Well did you know that Google can tell you almost immediately when something, anything hits online for your name, or your business name via Google Alerts. These alerts can come directly to your email or via text. We’ve all seen Kim Kardshian look at her phone and say with a frowned brow “ Kourt!….I’ve just received a Google Alert” as she continues to discuss whatever may have just rattled her reputation online. Well kids that trusty PR tool is not just for celebrities. It is important for you to set them up and manage them. The sooner you know about someone attempting to ruin your reputation online, the easier it is to contain.
Obtain Positive Reviews From Real and Current Customers
Send out a simple email asking your customers to write a positive review for you. Happy customers are what I call sneezers. Sneezers are what you want and if you provide amazing service sneezers are what you will get. Why do I call them that? Well when a person sneezes whatever they have, you can catch! Gross right? Well not in business. Sneezers will climb to the highest mountain and spread their “This company was AMAZING” germs. That is what you want. They are your ultimate free PR and marketing tool.
Distribute Positive News Online About Your Business
Consistently distributing positive news about your company online is a really fast way to push down negative reviews, negative press or a negative perception of your company or brand. Just like bad reviews spread quickly, so does positive news. A press release about changing your business practices for the better, teaming up with a local charity to donate proceeds from all sales, positive partnerships or participating in uplifting community events. This shows the public that you are active within growing your business, brand or name in the right direction. Without that you simply seem the dormant person that allows negative reviews to run wild about your company. Consumers are smart. They know that negative reviews are a part of business. How many are too many? What positive news does is it floods the web and pretty much makes it difficult for consumers to find old negativity.
If your negative online reviews are unwarranted and greatly effecting your business then the best recourse is to immediately take action. List the sites that the negative reviews are on. Email them and state why it needs to be removed if the reviews are false. If they refuse to remove it then simply draft or have a lawyer draft a formal Cease and Desist letter and send it off to them. I bet you my last quarter that review will be down faster than you can blink. No one wants to be sued over a single false online review. Be prepared for questions from the site owners. They want to ensure that you do have stellar business practices prior to removing anything for you. However if these are one off occurrences, they will help you.
In all your online reputation is more important nowadays than that Brooks Brother suit or that beautiful dress you just purchased from Bloomingdales for your next meeting. You are not landing anything, knocking out the competition, or selling with negative reviews online. Eliminate them and eliminate them fast.
For more information on PR Learning Center classes via live online webinars visit http://www.prlearningcenter.com.
Attendees Will Learn:
So you have decided to take that step and hire a public relations firm.
The person, or firm, that will be representing your brand manager, the face of your product, your company or possibly even…you.
If you have never worked within public relations, written your own press release, picked up the phone and decided to ring a few media contacts you will not know the warning signs of a PR firm or professional that is not REALLY a PR professional.
Publicists come a dime a dozen but a truly talented and hardworking publicist is a rare find. Here are a few warning signs that a publicist is not at all the right choice.
#1) They won’t provide you with any type of reporting.
Most public relations firms will not share their contacts. A lot of them pay for media contacts through services such as PR Newswire’s Media Atlas or Cision and they sign contracts stating that they are not allowed to.
Some of them simply guard their contacts to avoid others using them and have the upper hand within the industry which is quite understandable.
However, they should provide you with an updated report every so often, either monthly or bi-monthly stating work that has been done and what media outlets have shown interest.
The report should also include a contact name at the media outlet. What happens if you decide to terminate your contract or the firm goes belly up and you cannot work with them anymore? Do you begin from scratch? No you have a report to push forward with, names to track down for future reference and confirmation of a job well done.
#2) They do not know how to write a press release.
Many times clientscome to me with a horror story. They have just fired their publicist and are jaded in working with another such as mine. They put money upfront for services that ended terribly wrong in the past because the PR campaign never really began.
In these cases the client always provides me with a link to the press release that “their old publicist” wrote for them, and I always in turn giggle. I pop open the trusty link each and every time to find nothing but a pile of jargon formatted terribly wrong posted up on a meaningless press release website. In most cases:
The single most blatant tell tale sign that a publicist is a sham is when the press release does not have a boiler plate.
A boiler plate is the info at the bottom of the press release that reads “ About (Insert Your Company Name Here). The boiler then continues on with a firm rundown of the company, owner, author etc. A boiler is standard in all press releases and if your release is missing it….then it is not a release.
Huge red flag to the client that came to me and the boiler on all of their press releases was info for the PR firm that they chose to work with. Isn’t that a bit backwards random communications professional? Why are you advertising on the bottom of your client’s press release when it should be their information?
#3) They don’t have set contract terms.
Any PR firm or real publicist that has worked within the industry knows that for every wonderful client, there are three that will make you want to take it to the WWF.
This being said, if your firm does not have a list of established terms that make you sit up and say wow they are strict than more than likely you are the test dummy that is in for the crash and burn of PR experience 101 for them.
#4) Googling them or their clients comes up empty.
When you hire a publicist what is your main goal? Your main purpose? To get your name, product or company out there into the spotlight.
All publicists claim that they can do this. However we have determined that the good ones charge a pretty penny because they know the lesser publicists simply cannot do it.
Take the time to Google your publicist. What comes up? Are there pages upon pages of info or a simple lonely listing? Take the time to Google their clients and client websites that they provide you. Do you see any press for them? Anywhere? If not, then you have your answer. They are not for you because they are that dime a dozen. In a few rare cases some publicists may land more print, TV and radio. If this is so, they should be able to provide you with recording to listen to, a few videos pulled, and pdfs of placements within magazines.
At the end of the day, it is your job to go above and beyond to find the right PR professional and not be duped.
Put on your research hat and do a little digging. Use these trusty tips as a guideline to put you on the road to communications success with a trusted and new found publicist.