What My Mother Told Me Relates to Your PR Image

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What My Mother Told Me Relates to Your PR Image

I remember when I was a kid my mother telling me, pharmDon’t sign your name to anything that you wouldn’t be afraid of appearing one day on the front page of the New York Times.” How true these words of wisdom were.

Today, buy with the advent of the internet, it seems that everyone is obsessed with themselves—and others—from constant social media updates, including those ubiquitous snaps of what they’re eating, to selfies.  But heed the warning of my mother and beware of the following:

  • Photos–The next time you go to post photos of your awkward encounters, including drinking, carousing and canoodling, think about what mother said—and don’t do it.  It can come to haunt you in the future.  Today, employers often ask not only to view your social media sites, but also ask for passwords so they can take a closer look.  Don’t risk it.
  • Social sites—The same warning goes for sites like Facebook and Twitter where people often vent their hostilities towards people, places and things.  Mom would tell you to inhale, breathe slowly, and take a minute to rethink posting hostile posts.  Like those irreverent photos, they too have a life of their own.  And in the corporate world, where you may go to seek future employment, well, this just may be a hindrance. But, on the other hand, a little reverence may go a long way by posting comments/opinions/complaints on company social sites, such as their Facebook or Twitter, and often will engender a rapid response.
  • Emails—Need I say more than these two words: Hillary Clinton.  Be aware that emails too have a life of their own and a strange way of never disappearing. They are like that stray piece of dog hair that sticks to your clothing and try as you may, never gets pulled off.  That’s what happens to emails. After you write them, again, think about taking that extra breathe, inhale and then fully contemplate the possible ramifications of the content in your email appearing on the front page of the New York Times.   In another point of interest: Be aware of that reply all button, and try NOT to hit it, especially when replying on personal matters.  Everyone remembers at least once occasion when that button got them in trouble.

Using a Telephone in Public Relations

Using a Telephone in Public Relations

Remember when  Sex and the City Carrie Bradshaw’s boyfriend broke up with her via a Post-it note? And then my friend Naomi broke up with her boyfriend via email. Sometimes I like to imagine what would happen if the telephone was just invented.  I imagine writing the press release announcing the new product  introduction–it would go something like this:

New York, cialis NY (July 24, 2015) Today, XYZ company announced the introduction of the telephone, a new technological advance in one-on-one personal communications whereby people can actually hear their party’s voice live, in real-time. This new, instantaneous communication device can take the place of email and text messages thereby virtually eliminating those nasty auto-correct messages.

“All you have to do is dial someone’s personal number and whoa la, a live voice answers the line,” announced Mike Jones, CEO of XYZ company.  “In the past, communication were sorely lacking that personal touch–that immediate interaction. Now, with the telephone, consumers can realize the satisfaction of knowing that what they are saying is not miscommunicated, which often occurs with email messages.”

“In the past, consumers had to use emojis on emails to ‘soften’ their conversation and make sure that the recipients of these electronic messages were not “offended” or” put off” by the words.   Now, with voice-to-voice communications, consumers can actually listen to and understand the emotions behind the spoken word,” noted Mr. Jones.

As for using the telephone in public relations–try it! It works wonders when you are trying to establish initial rapport with a potential client, a current client or a journalist.  No more guessing as to the emotion behind the message. No more challenges trying to decipher auto-corrected messages. The invisible wall and distance that occurs from texts and emails can be shattered with a simple, “Hello Tom, this is Temi.”

Finally, a new technological advance that puts the conversation in real-time.

7 Tips: How to Write a Strong Press Release

7 Tips: How to Write a Strong Press Release

Press releases are essential in any public relations strategy.  They detail product launches, special events and other newsworthy activities that a company produces. Because media outlets are flooded with daily stories and pitches, it is imperative that you make yours stand out from the rest. Here are seven tips to make your press release stand out, look professional, and attract reporters to your story.

  1. Grab their attention with a strong e-mail subject.

A strong subject in an email will peek the reporters’ interest, and lead them to read your release. Keep a subject 5-7 words highlighting the most important takeaway from the release.

  1. Get right to the point.

Assume the reader will not read more than the first paragraph. Get the message out quickly. Every point should be addressed in the headline and first paragraph with supportive information in the subsequent paragraphs.

  1. Always use quotes when possible.

Including quotes from your client makes them an authority in their profession. It is important to have your information validated by a trusted source.  Quotes can also clarify any information that you have in the press release while attributing it to your client.

  1. Check your grammar, then check it again!

Always proofread your press releases; any grammatical errors can turn a reporter off. It is unprofessional and sloppy for anyone who works in PR to have spelling or grammatical errors in their press releases. Remember, the only thing that we produce as a profession is words on paper: they should, therefore, inform and impress.

  1. One Page is best.

As with most good writing, shorter is usually better. You should limit yourself to one page. This will force you to condense your most significant information into a more readable document, which is something that journalists always appreciate.

  1. Provide access to more information.

Just because your press release is limited to one page doesn’t mean that you have to leave out information. Provide relevant links to your client’s website where prospective writers can learn more about their mission and what they’ve accomplished. Don’t make writers search on their own for more information; it is important to guide them as quickly as possible to your website, and to keep their interest in your message.

  1. Always provide your contact information.

A common oversight that can render a press release ineffectual is a lack of contact information for reporters. Whether you or someone else at the company is the point of contact, don’t forget to include an email address and phone number on the release. Media people are not shy; if they have a question they will contact you.

14 Things to Keep in Your Desk at a PR Agency

So there I was, generic on my way to my public relations agency when suddenly the heavens opened up to a torrential rainstorm the likes of which is seldom seen in the Big Apple. And of course, hospital your intrepid public relations executive was without her trusty umbrella.  Caught defenseless, viagra there was little I could do but walk those four gigantic city blocks from the Seventh Avenue subway to my Park Avenue office.  And, to make matters worse, I not only wasn’t wearing a raincoat, but had donned a cotton dress that as I walked, absorbed more and more of the downpour, until I was literally soaked to my skin.

When I got to the office the first thought I had was to get out of my clothes and to somehow get the supersaturated garment dried.  Luckily for me, I kept exercise clothes in the office for my after work class which offered a quick solution to dying from pneumonia. I called the local dry cleaner located around the corner and asked if they could indeed “dry” my wet garment. When they said “no”, I was confused. Doesn’t a dry cleaner provide drying service? Well, obviously not.

So now, to add insult to injury, the phone rang and an important client wanted to drop by for an impromptu meeting. Oh my goodness, I couldn’t greet him in my exercise outfit.  At first, my assistant actually offered me the shirt off her back.  But, the day was saved by an intrepid intern who, in planning for a weekend getaway, had brought along her hair dryer.  Hanging my dress on the back of my door, within minutes it was dry enough for me to put it on and greet the client, not a minute too soon.

Well, I learned a lot from that incident, not the least being the importance of preparing an office emergency kit.  This is what I keep in my kit (obviously it’s skewed to a women’s emergency needs—and in no way meets the needs of a true disaster or emergency):

  1. Hair dryer—for the obvious hair and dry cleaning needs
  2. Sewing kit—whoops, catch that unraveling pants or dress hem
  3. Grooming items—toothbrush and paste, nail file and polish, brush, lotion, hairbrush, hair ties
  4. Vanity mirror
  5. Medicines—prescription and over-the-counter
  6. Energy bars—for that 3PM energy pick-me-up
  7. Safety pins
  8. Mini lint roller
  9. Tampons
  10. Breath mints
  11. Pain relievers
  12. A blazer—for that spur-of-the-moment meeting
  13. Black heels
  14. Sweater or pashmina—for when the air conditioning wars ensue

The Value of PR in a New Product/Service Launch

The Value of PR in a New Product/Service Launch

If you are one of the lucky ones to have invented a new product or service, look or even better a new product category, the likelihood of it being successfully introduced to the general public without public relations and marketing support is highly unlikely. This proverbial: a horse won’t drink the water unless you take him to it, so to speak. So how do you accomplish this?

Well, first and foremost is the use of a public relations agency that will work with you to develop a brand strategy and a launch strategy.  Working with both the traditional media (print and broadcast) and the new media (social and websites), an agency experienced in new product and new service introductions will often initiate the following media tactics:

  1. Press Releases. There are certain basic PR tactics that should be done as a matter of course, when you are releasing a new product, starting a business or want to tell the public about any new business related development. Press releases are probably the best known PR technique of all.
  2. Media deskside briefings. In an instance where you have actually created a new product category (lucky you), the PR agency may set up a series of one-on-one meetings right at the media outlet’s office. More cost-efficient then a press conference, and obviously more intimate, the PR person can describe and actually demonstrate a new product.
  3. Product reviews. New product reviews by critical media and bloggers only help to elevate your product’s visibility among your target audiences. Public relations agencies may distribute product samples to targeted media for review. Good reviews may be posted on your product website as a badge of honor.
  4. Contests. Working with the media, your public relations agency may suggest implementing a consumer-based contest in a magazine or newspaper.  With this, the media will call upon their readership to actually participate in a contest, the prize being your product sample.
  5. Spokesperson. It is always wise to appoint either a client-based internal spokesperson as the media liaison, or, if not available, to seek out, train, and work with an external spokesperson, such as a celebrity, book author, etc. Often you can work out a deal that you will allow the book author to promote their book in return for promoting your new product—this way you can avoid having to pay for their time.
  6. Live events. Live events can include many different possibilities, from the conventional to the more outrageous guerrilla marketing tactics. Involvement in trade shows, charity events and publicity stunts are the kind of thinking out of the box tactics that a good public relations agency can suggest and implement on your behalf.

A well timed and clearly executed public relations program can go a long way to helping successfully introduce a new product, service, or business.  How else will you get those horses to drink the water?

How to Handle Nightmarish PR Clients

How to Handle Nightmarish PR Clients

Every agency has one—the nightmare client.  And if you don’t have them now, viagra order trust me, ambulance you will experience this at some point in your agency life.  If you have worked in the public relations business long enough you will certainly have horror stories of clients with bad habits and unrealistic campaign requests.

Yes, order I have fired clients in the past—and it’s not something that I relish having to do.  But sometimes when you’ve taken enough Valium and pulled your hair out by the roots, it’s time to cut the cord and let them go. But not every horrible situation has to go that far.  Sometimes all you need is a little time and a lot of patience.

From my experience, here are five nightmarish client personalities—along with gracious solutions for dealing with them.

  1. The pedantic, passive aggressive. This one can be a real doozy.  They want to take forever to brief you on the business– taking days and sometimes weeks –causing major start-up delays on your part that may ultimately hinder results.  There will be major rewrites on the press background materials and the press kit sits not only in the client’s office, but often in “legal” for weeks.  Once I had a press kit sit in legal for nine months—yes, I could have had a baby in the time it took to approve the press kit.

In this case you’ve got to get to the decision-maker(s) and explain that time is money and offer to have a sit-down to get things moving.

  1. The frugal. This is the PR client who has already negotiated the budget down to the bare basics yet remembers all the goodies that the original proposal promised—and wants them included—for free.

In my experience, no client likes to hear the word “no,” but you’ve got to be firm.  Try negotiating an hourly fee for additional program elements.  Don’t let them get away with trying for freebies.

  1. The absentee. Sometimes worse than the client who hovers over your head, the absentee client is a danger. I once had a pharmaceutical company launch its product without us!  Yes, they actually forgot that they hired a PR agency—you can’t make this up.

In this case reach out to the client’s assistant, even if it is a secretary, and make your situation and needs known.  S/he can often be a lifesaver.

  1. The ignorant. This person’s lack of knowledge will not only hinder the implementation of your PR program but can hamper your results.  Though they may be a great business person when it comes to communications, it’s just not their expertise.

Manage this type of relationship by setting expectations and goals.  Let the person see some of your previous experience and results with similar clients so that he can be reassured that you know your stuff.  Assure this person that your job is to help him look good—that’s often worked for me.  So, with all due respect, please get out of my way and let me do my job.

  1. The hothead. The hothead often shows their stripes at a meeting when they are feeling uncomfortable and unprepared in front of their peers.

Take the time to email briefing documents in advance and review them prior to the meeting.  If this behavior continues, or they becomes abusive to you or your staff, well you need a one-on-one meeting in which you lay down the law, gently, but firmly.

9 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a PR Agency

9 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a PR Agency

A successful PR campaign can help grow your business and gain awareness of your company. When considering a PR agency to hire, drug  here are nine questions you should ask an agency to make sure they are the right fit for you.

 

 

  1. Have you worked on campaigns in my industry?

You will get the most out of an agency if they have experience with your sector of business. You can ask for references from previous clients, seek and to see results from past campaigns. This can give you an idea of their industry capabilities.

 

  1. Who is my direct contact/team members?

You should know who you will be directly working with on your campaign. Ask who your contact person at the agency will be and who will be working with them. It is important to know your team and be comfortable with them so they know what you want and what you expect from them.

 

  1. Which media outlets are best for me?

It is important for PR agencies to know who their client’s target audience is, viagra and for an agency to have experience in traditional and new media. The agency you select knows the outlets that will reach your audience the best. This can range from traditional media placements, such as television and newspapers, to online promotions, such as social media outlets.

 

  1. How will your agency measure success?

Before hiring a PR agency, it is important to know how they measure success. The most common ways that agencies measure success with a client is through media placements, and social media analytics. Examples of social media analytics are page “likes”, content reach, and follower interactivity. Another thing to consider when choosing how a firm will measure success is an increase in traffic to your website or increase in sales after a PR campaign.

 

  1. Will you provide media coaching?

See what is being offered in terms of media coaching or training; this can be a valuable lesson to anyone who will be interviewed by the media. If the agency doesn’t handle media coaching directly, ask if they refer you to for an experienced media coach.

 

  1. Are you experienced on social media?

Social media is an important tool to reach many of your stakeholders. It is essential that you find an agency that is well versed in social media, and the social media trends. You can ask to see results from social media campaigns or promotions from previous clients to see if the agency has success promoting a company in your field.

 

  1. How will you communicate with me?

It is important that your PR agency communicates with you on a regular basis. Usually agencies will send a monthly status report detailing what they have done and where they have placed your business. However, it is still important for them to touch base with you on a regular basis in order to maintain a pulse on your campaign. You can ask how often you will be updated on campaigns for your company, and how often the staff will be available to you. You should also make yourself available to your PR agency, in case they need a quote or approval in a pinch.

 

  1. What type of contractual arrangement do you provide?

Most New York-based public relations agencies require a minimum contractual arrangement, such as six months, or, in the case of a specific project, time will be allocated against the project.

 

  1. What type of financial arrangements?

Most agencies work on a monthly retainer basis with time worked against the hours of the retainer.

5 Qualities of a Good PR Client

5 Qualities of a Good PR Client

A bad public relations agency client is like a really bad meal—miserable but not life-threatening.

Still, viagra buy 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:

  1. Good clients have a realistic budget. Unless the new client has had a former relationship with a public relations agency, cialis 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Tips for PR Pros: How to Pitch Journalists Via Social Media

Tips for PR Pros: How to Pitch Journalists Via Social Media

Social media offers an opportunity for public relations agencies to reach out to journalists in a more intimate space. But beware—not all channels offer appropriate outcomes.  There are right and wrong ways to use social media to query reporters, because you don’t want to come across as a stalker to a reporter. Remember that the social media sphere is a very personal shared space so be careful to follow these simple do’s and don’ts:

 

Don’t:

  1. Don’t pitch journalists through Facebook.
  • Facebook is a place for friends. Even though Facebook has become a place for business too, journalists consider Twitter a professional tool, not Facebook. Also, when you message someone you aren’t friends with on Facebook, it goes into their “other” folder, which often goes unchecked. Avoid posting on their wall or to pictures to get noticed– journalists want to maintain some privacy on their Facebook page.

 

  1. Don’t mass pitch reporters on Twitter
    • Remember, when your tweet can be seen by everyone. Don’t try to get noticed by a lot of reporters at once by pitching multiple accounts at once through tweeting. As soon as you pitch a journalist, they will likely click on your Twitter profile to learn more. If the reporter sees that the last several tweets are copied and pasted to different multiple people, they will lose interest quickly.

 

  1. Don’t contact another journalist to get his colleague’s information
    • It’s unprofessional to contact a reporter to get through to another one. Even though one reporter might have less followers than another, and it might be easier to see a @mention with that person, reporters are being pitched all the time—so they don’t need to be bothered with  a PR person trying to reach their colleague through them.

 

  1. Don’t follow up more than once
    • The point of pitching on social media is to keep it short and sweet. If you follow up more than once, reporters will automatically mark you as spam and you won’t be able to contact them in the future.

 

Do:

 

  1. Find out the reporter’s beat before you pitch them
    • It’s your job to do the research and theirs to determine your pitch’s relevance to the audience and publication. You can find this out by seeing what the reporter is tweeting or retweeting, and also by investigating their bio; it will usually say what topics they are interested in or what their beat is. You can also double check on such media directories as Cision.

 

  1. Use Twitter to pitch
    • Twitter forces PR pros to keep their pitches short and catchy. It is okay to pitch journalists through Twitter because they treat their accounts as an extension of their reporting, so they might be more willing to chat with you on Twitter about topics relating to their beats. When pitching reporters on Twitter, @mention the company you are working for and a link to some news–if they recognize the organization they maybe more likely to respond.

Remember to follow social media etiquette and you’ll do just fine.

6 Tips: How to Prepare for a PR Crisis

6 Tips: How to Prepare for a PR Crisis

A crisis can happen at any time. And most often it happens when you are least prepared.  And when it happens there is no such thing as a small crisis.  In today’s environment things can go wrong when least expected. Your CEO is accused of financial misconduct, clinic your employee is accused of harassment, order your product has a manufacturing glitch, purchase your pharmaceutical has unforeseen side effects.  These, and more, can catch you off guard and make your life, and the life of your corporation, miserable.  The best laid plans are those that are penned in advance. Here are some recommendations from T.J. Sacks & Associates, a New York-based public relations agency with experience fighting the good fight for companies in a bad situation:

  1. Identify potential crisis situation(s) in advance. Identify your potential internal and external weaknesses. Start doing your research early to see where your weak links exist and how you might possibly shore them up ahead of an event.
  2. Do you have a crisis plan? If not, these are elements to be considered: Start researching and writing a crisis plan today.
    1. Identify your key response team.
      • Media train them early and often—ideally in front of video camera so they can get immediate feedback on their mock responses.
      • Have their contact information on hand for rapid access.
    2. Have written statements prepared for each potential weak area.
    3. Make sure that no one but the key response team members respond to any media calls.
      • Train your receptionists and phone people so they know whom to forward the calls to in case of a crisis.
    4. Alert staff as to whom are on the response team—explain that these are the only people authorized to speak to the media.
    5. Stage crisis readiness simulations.
  3. Key leadership role. Start preparing early to develop and fine-tune your corporate leadership. Make sure they are comfortable addressing the media and have them “practice” during off-crisis times, such as when they are releasing earnings or when a product’s sales is doing exceptionally well.
  4. Be prepared to respond to the immediacy of social media. Are you prepared to respond quickly to misinformation, accusations and distortions? Is your social team prepared or will they have to wait hours and days for “corporate” to sanction social outreach? Is your management aware of the potential damage that waiting on social media can inflict?
  5. Review and update your crisis plan annually. Once developed, and the team assembled, they should meet quarterly to review their “action plan”.
  6. Hire a public relations agency. I have been involved in a number of crisis situations reaching from an ineffective birth control device to a crises of confidence for an infant formula to poor quality manufacturing practices to improper corporate practices. In each case, we worked to develop a crisis plan, train the response team, prepare media responses and act quickly and effectively on behalf of our clients.

Although a crisis is seldom averted, it can be dealt with quickly and efficiently once all your ducks are lined up in a row, so to speak. Remember, be calm when all hell is breaking out, be straightforward when the hordes are pounding at your door and be truthful and quick to respond when the media call.  You reputation depends on your planning for the worst, and being grateful that it has passed.