A well developed and well executed public relations program can do wonders in helping to develop and drive sales. Let me count the ways:
Earn credibility. The big difference between public relations and advertising is that PR takes a lot more effort, thus it is often referred to in the marketing industry as “earned media.” Nielsen’s 2015 Trust in Advertising report shows that people trust earned media (as in editorial articles and posts) and owned content (as in social media) more than any other formats. The dynamic partnership that these two elements play is important to understanding and realizing sales growth.
Generate interest. A successful new product or service launch to your target audiences will greatly help to develop and stimulate interest and serve as a platform for introducing your brand to new audiences. Successfully breaking through the enormous clutter of information available to the average consumer is overwhelming and sometimes confusing. Working with the media to convey your brand messages and values so that interest in piqued, is the job of a good public relations agency.
Educate prospects. A well executed public relations program can not only help to educate consumers to your products and services, but also reach out to and influence potential shareholders as well as potential business partners. The more that they read, see and hear about your brand, the more engaged them will become, and the exciting your brand becomes to them.
Create a buzz. What makes a good public relations campaign is its ability to create a buzz through both traditional and new media outreach–through the earned, owned as well as purchased outlets. By connecting them all, a client soon realizes the value of a well integrated and orchestrated marketing plan.
Door opener. OK, which would you find more credible? Receiving a link to a sales pdf file or a link to a recent news article? This should be a no brainer. The more newsworthy a company or a brand, the more likely it is to engage with its audience–to be more believable, more important, more credible. That’s the power of public relations in helping to drive sales.
Good content is recyclable. Good content, whether it be for a blog, social media site or a press release, should be recyclable and reused time and time again. After all, what are you paying a good PR agency for, if not for them to create content that you can recycle. It’s not only time efficient, but cost efficient. And it’s a way of getting more bang for your buck as well.
Did you know that you can win or lose your new job interview within the first five minutes?
First impressions count, and non-verbal cues matter even more than verbal ones. So in those first few minutes, it’s all about smiling confidently, shaking hands firmly, making eye contact and generally looking as if you’re glad to be there and you want the job. Lean in slightly, widen your eyebrows slightly, and wait to be invited to sit down. In everything you do, project an attitude of energy, enthusiasm and interest.
Once you make it through the door of the office and pass the initial 5 minutes, then these tips should be helpful:
Prepare smart questions for your interviewers. This is where exploring their website will be most helpful. Getting your interviewers engaged is always a challenge, so do your research and take notes. Jot down your questions and take them with you, along with something for note-taking.
Rehearse your answers to common interviews questions in front of a mirror. Know what why of gestures you’re comfortable with and which ones have to be discarded.
Be prepared with examples of your work. Show n’ tell is always impressive, so make sure to have some strategic examples on hand.
Plan your attire the night before. If possible, ask ahead of time what the office attire is; business casual or buttoned up.
Arrive 15 minutes early. This is a no-brainer. Better to be early than late. President Obama was late for his first interview with a law firm and his wife Michelle, who was interviewing him talks about it to this day as a negative factor. Guess it’s not a great example since he ended up with the job and a wife.
Win them over with authenticity and Don’t speak negatively about previous bosses or companies with which you’ve worked.
Tie your answers back to your skills and experience.
Make everything you say memorable.
Think before you speak, and only speak the truth.
Don’t keep your answers short and sweet! After all, the interviewer came to be impressed and informed by you. Show your stuff and your knowledge—and let the interviewer see how articulate and spontaneous you can be.
Ask about next steps. Don’t be shy. If you want the job, ask for it. Show them you are interested and motivated and have initiative.
Send a personalized thank you letter or email after the interview.
Don’t follow-up with a phone call. Quite frankly. If they’re interested they’ll contact you. That’s just the fact of life.
As a public relations agency, edwe have been working on behalf of the toy industry for many years. Trying to get toy and game owners to understand the unnatural deadlines applied to us by the media is often a difficult and trying task. Nothing is worse than when a toy company comes to us in the September asking for media exposure for their products in the nationally recognized media Holiday Gift Guides—efforts will be limited, cialis at best.
To help toy and game companies plan their annual publicity calendar, healing we offer up the following guidelines:
January—Toy Fair—Now is the time if you are a toy company to begin planning in earnest for February’s Toy Fair. More than 1,000 reporters, editors, photographers and bloggers from Manhattan to Madrid are on?site at the New York Toy Fair each year to report on hot new toys and the latest trends for kids. Thousands of articles and broadcast segments from around the globe feature content from Toy Fair.
January– International TableTop Day was founded three years ago as a way for the world to celebrate tabletop gaming together. Every April fans host thousands of events all over the world and every year, the event grows. TableTop Day 2015 was celebrated in 80 countries, over 7 continents, and had over 3,000 events in total. If you are a board game developer why not host an event in your area. If so, then you’ll have to start your PR engines in January in order to get the ball rolling.
January—Toy Tests, Awards & Reviews—The beginning of the year is a good time to start researching and planning for inclusion in the nationally recognized toy awards, reviews and tests that are conducted annually. Go to each website and get the rules and deadlines and plan accordingly. Getting recognition from industry peers goes a long way to establishing top-of-mind awareness for your company and its products. A few of the top venues include Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Award,Parents Choice Award,Good Housekeeping, Mom’s Choice and Dr. Toy, to name a few.
April—Holiday Gift Guides–Start planning for the Christmas holidays. Yes, that’s right. The long lead national print media (monthly magazines) plan approximately 4—6 months in advance for each issue. Almost every media outlet nationwide develops its annual Holiday Gift Gifts—and by all means, you need to be included. This means in order to be considered for inclusion in national magazines such as Family Circle, Good Housekeeping, and Woman’s Day, for example, you had better have your engines ready and your press materials sent out for consideration by these influential media outlets.
But all is not lost if you miss the long-lead deadline because national media also have websites that accept online content on a more timely basis.
July–Mommy Bloggers–For the most part, many of the mommy bloggers want not only free product, but also payment to “review” your toys. Payment may vary from $25–$100.
July—November—Short-lead media—The short lead print media such as daily and weekly newspapers, weekly magazines, wire services, news syndicates, and broadcast have lead times that closely mirror real time, as do influential websites and bloggers. So if you are introducing a new product during the year or for consideration in the Holiday Gift Guides, now is the time to get your press materials out to the media.
Start your publicity engines early and follow your annual planning schedule closely. This will lead to increased awareness and brand-building throughout the year.
According to Merriam Webster dictionary, mentorship is the guidance provided by a mentor, especially an experienced person in a company or educational institution. Mentoring is the process whereby one person is sharing their skills, knowledge, and assistance to aid their mentee’s growth in life or their career. The intention of most mentors is to “give back”, by spreading the knowledge and skills they’ve acquired over time. A mentor and mentee relationship is a combination of trust that one develops through a friendship, and guidance that one may receive from a parent. This role surpasses simply “giving advice”; a true mentor genuinely empowers you to reach your full potential as an individual.
Today I am fortunate enough to say that I’ve had a mentor to not only aid me in my career development, but also in the real world. Temi Sacks has been my boss and mentor for almost two years now, and I credit her with being a catalyst in my life which has fostered my growth. I arrived at T.J. Sacks’ office an eager college intern, ready to soak up every bit of knowledge like a sponge. Over the course of my mentee and mentor relationship I’ve grown to understand the Public Relations industry, improved my skills while acquiring new ones, took on leadership roles, and broadened my reading interest. Like a true mentor, Temi has pushed me to reach for more, but with the reminder that hard work is always the driving force behind success.
Throughout this journey, I’ve not only acquired a phenomenal mentor, but also a network of women who have gone through this process before. At least twice a year, Temi will host an intern gathering in her house, with all her past interns. This has been one of the most rewarding experiences for me. Through this network I’ve been able to gain insight into the current professional PR world. At the gatherings, each one of us will go around and briefly explain our current jobs, positions, and what that position entails. We chat about work environments, and the PR industry as a whole. More importantly we share anecdotes of our time at T.J. Sacks & Associates, and experiences working alongside Temi. Just like me, these young women have had the opportunity to experience a true ongoing mentorship from Temi. A former intern, bought me a book to read on a guide to finding a job. It was so thoughtful, because I am now a senior, and will soon be experiencing applying to the job market. I’m fortunate enough, to have a professional network of women who will always be there to guide and support me, whether it be professionally or personally.
I am Afro-Latina, and was born and raised in the South Bronx. The opportunities I’ve encountered and strived to obtain throughout my lifetime, are not the same for many women of color where I come from. Temi and I constantly discuss the influential women of color who are paving the way for success within their marginalized communities. Temi has pushed me to see my capabilities to one day become a leader and impact the world the same way these women are. Through her mentorship, I’ve become inspired to one day reciprocate one of the most important relationships a young girl should have in her life. Women of color especially, need women mentors to lift and guide them to reaching their true potential. I am happy to say that today there are more women of color in fields than ever before. However, our strength lies in working together. Developing a network allows us to change the world around us, and achieve our goals more quickly and effectively than working alone.
So I had been working in public relations so about a year when my parents asked me, “What exactly is public relations? Is it like advertising?” If your parents or spouse don’t understand the difference, don’t be surprised. A recent survey of 1000 PR pros found 72% of them say their parents don’t understand what PR is, and another 41% say their spouses don’t know either.
So, in an effort to try to educate my parents I drove down to Philadelphia and gave a full two-hour public relations presentation to both my parents and an uncle. The case history revolved around a current client at the time, Mannington floorcovering. I brought down sample pitch letters and media lists, explained the difference between earned media and paid-for media, and even went so far as to show them final media placements for the client in both magazines and newspapers.
Although I wasn’t surprised when they asked why my by-line didn’t appear in these content-driven articles that had been basically lifted from my press release, I felt confident as I drove back to New York that my family definitely had a much clearer understanding of the difference between earned content and paid-for advertising.
And then, about two weeks later, I got a letter from my dad. The contents of the envelope contained a full-page, four-color ad of Mannington floorcovering appearing in the recent issue of Better Homes & Gardens magazine. Penned proudly at the top of the advertisement was a hand-written note from my dad proudly saying, “Great job! Love the work you did for your client.” That night I called to thank him for his continued interest in my success. What more could I say?
So, you are challenged with coming up with the proverbial Big Idea for a new public relations campaign. Where to start? How to begin? Well, I for one have always fallen upon a Big Idea in the most remarkably unremarkable places. Sometimes I find that if I leave the tumult of the office behind and literally remove myself from the everyday commotion that is forever going on in a busy office that creativity soon follows.
Here are some of the most unremarkably creative venues in which I have come up with the Big Idea:
The bathroom break. I have gotten so good at coming up with either the lead sentence for a feature article, a tag line to a brand launch or the Big Idea itself that for years I have never gone to the bathroom whether in the office or at home without a pen placed firmly behind my ear. Then, with relative ease, the roll of toilet paper becomes my writing surface.
The shower. I guess that it’s the sense-numbing sound of the water mixed with the penetrating heat that causes my mind to melt to mush and allows freethinking to emerge. Now, if someone would only invent a doodle board and pen that writes in the shower, that person would surely become the next tech millionaire.
The dog. I am fortunate to have a large black Labrador retriever who not only serves as my muse, but allows me to walk aimlessly around Manhattan, pen and note paper in tow, creativity flowing. And if I dare leave the house without pen and paper there is always my cellphone where I either jot down or send myself an audio message chocked full of Big Ideas.
The river. I live two blocks from the Hudson River and afford myself to glorious opportunity to walk its banks on an almost daily basis. During good weather, its banks are filled with bike riders, skaters and joy-seekers. But during the colder months of fall and winter I often feel as though the river and its hidden pathways belong to me alone. Looking out at the sturdy little tugboats pushing the larger unwieldy barges through the currents gives me peace of mind…and a peaceful mind often spawns creativity and great Big Ideas. Again, make sure to record your gems either my hand or via cell because trust me, you’ll never remember them once you return to office or home.
Life is a journey…and Big Ideas often lie in its path. Take the time to smell the roses, pet your pooch, take a shower or just meditate (with pen and paper handy). You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to close one door of your mind and open the other to a creative moment.
There comes a time in every public relations staffer when all of the stars line up and it’s very obviously time to start the job search—while you are currently employed. There are lots of reasons for taking that next step; these are just a few.
Stay for a year. Unless the job is excruciating, the rule of thumb is to remain at a position for a full year. Why? It gives your time there validity. It shows that you decided to leave on your own terms instead of being asked to leave after a few months.
Exception to the one year rule. If the position absolutely is intolerable, or worse yet, you just made the wrong public relations agency decision, get out of there sooner than later. Why? Because a mistake of a few weeks/months can easily be erased from your resume—which means, not included at all.
Your boss is a terror. The interesting thing that I have witnessed about newly minted bosses is that in most cases the company has put little if any effort into creating an environment whereby junior people are shown how to be a manager/boss. In most cases, employees learn from example—they see how other managers manage and hopefully they extract the most outstanding leadership qualities. But, that’s assuming that their bosses have great qualities that can be emulated. I’m all for leadership and managerial training.If your company doesn’t provide training, look into courses at such institutions as Dale Carnegie.
You’re not learning anything new. Yup, there may come a time when you feel like you are just running around in a hamster cage—doing the same tasks every day with seemingly no opportunities to learn new skills. That may be a time to first talk to your supervisor and explain your situation. If your request for growth opportunities is ignored, well, then that is definitely a sign to start updating your resume and posting it on
You weren’t promoted. So you think the time has come for you to get a promotion—and it didn’t happen. And even worse, someone who you think is your equal got the promotion. What to do?
Make a plan with your boss. A former employee of mine did just this. She desperately wanted to be promoted to Account Supervisor. So, she made an appointment to meet with me to get me engaged in a plan to help her gain that promotion. We laid out a six-month plan and low and behold, she kind of had me between a rock and a hard place because at the end of the six months she had accomplished all that we laid out—and she received the promotion.
You can just look elsewhere. But this is often a hard one because other public relations agencies usually require new hires to already be doing the work of that position. There’s the conundrum.
You made a big mistake. Now, how do I sensitively approach this one? OK, first is that I need to explain what may be defined as a big mistake.
An office affair. In most instances and in most agencies, this is a big no no, especially if your affair is with your boss. There’s been a lot already written about this one so if you need it to be spelled out for you, go to
You’ve been dishonest. This is another big no no. This can include anything from taking money from the company by turning in falsified expense reports to searching for a new job on company time. For greater insight here’s an article from Small Business Chron.
A bad public relations agency client is like a really bad meal—miserable but not life-threatening.
Still, it’s good to avoid them as much as possible. And the best way to do that is to know what qualities to look for in a good client/agency relationship. So I present these qualities for your review:
Good clients have a realistic budget.Unless the new client has had a former relationship with a public relations agency, he is likely to be clueless about the cost of a public relations program. But, hopefully, a good client will realize that he has to spend money in order to make it. So, it is your job to help educate him as to how you work: What is your monthly retainer? How much do you allocate to fees vs. expenses? What is the average length of your contractual arrangement? Good clients take the time to be educated.
Good clients are interested in working with someone they can trust. When a client trusts you as a communicator they take your opinion seriously, especially if your opinion is contrary to theirs. No client likes to hear the word “no”. But, after all, they have put their business in your hands and are depending on you to be the monitor of their brand image.
Good clients are willing to accept advice.A good client is eager for advice, that’s why they hired a public relations agency to begin with. They allow you to become a part of their marketing team—working with them and not necessarily for them. I have had the good fortune of working with a number of good clients who have even sought my advice on matters from my opinion on their advertising campaigns to how they should appropriately congratulate their boss on his promotion.
Good clients have a single point of contact.You’re on a deadline and you need that quick approval—who do you call—the client contact. You don’t want to have to deal with several point people, when one will make your life so much more effective. Make certain that you get that point person, and then go on to earn their trust—they’ll be your client for life.
Good clients participate in the process. Now that you’ve got that point person, you want to make sure they remain involved and engaged in your public relations program– but not too much. An uninformed client is not a good client. Assure them that part of your job is to make their job easier, and that you value their opinion. A good client will review your monthly status reports and not merely file them—and if possible, you’ll develop monthly review meetings so that you keep the client informed. An informed client is an advocate for your agency.