Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Finding the Media's Need and Filling It: Tips on Shining a PR Light Amid the Storms

A J.C. Restoration Large Loss Catastrophe Bus
 "Give the media what they need, and you will get what you want."

I've uttered that so many times to my clients that it's become a mantra.

What the media need: legitimate news.

What clients want: to get their name "out there" in the various media outlets.

So as storms have swept through the Midwest, including northern Illinois, do you work for, or represent, a company that has some logical tie-in to the meteorological repercussions that have flowed?

It's time to consider what your company does that might help the media tell the stories that will follow in the severe weather's wake.

For Inside Edge PR, anyway, it was time to share a message about the expertise of J.C. Restoration, a Rolling Meadows-based disaster restoration firm.

A vital piece of such a communication is to be clear on precisely how you can help the media tell stories that are relevant and helpful to their audiences.

This J.C. Restoration buggie reveals the core of the firm's expertise.

It isn't enough to simply say that ABC Firm is "available to comment."

With J.C. Restoration, then, I told producers, editors and reporters, "Among other facets related to the storms, J.C. Restoration has experts who can provide:

-guidance on how and when homeowners and businesses should file an insurance claim

-advice to business owners and homeowners on steps they can take to minimize further damage to their properties

-insight into the industry as a whole: What does a restoration contractor do? What certifications are involved? Where can consumers go to learn more and ensure they are dealing with a reputable business?

-work-related photos that augment your media coverage

-historical perspective on the storm, compared to previous storms’ impact

-on-site interviews (either at our job sites or at our state-of-the-art 100,000-square-foot building just off I-90 in Rolling Meadows)

-demonstrations on restoration equipment and procedures"

In short, you want to give at least a partial blueprint of how the media should think about coverage. Certainly, you will be restating some angles that have already been developed. But in some instances, it's a safe bet that you will be shining a light on an approach they would not have otherwise pursued.

In the end, it would all be in a (very stormy) day's work of giving the media what they need.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Providing PR Support for Guinness World Record Bid, Hotchkin Family Fundraiser

Much afoot with Inside Edge PR, including a great cause that was oh-so-easy to get behind: raising awareness about an outreach to help the family of Gunnar Hotchkin, a Hinsdale native who was killed in Afghanistan earlier this year.

Starting on Saturday, Oct. 23, the indefatigable George Hood is aiming for another Guinness World Record and using the platform to raise money for the Hotchkins, as noted in this TribLocal piece.

If George's name looks familiar, it may be because I have blogged about him before, in addition to providing PR support, either officially or informally, for all five of his GWR bids on the spin bike.

Monday, October 11, 2010

How To Capitalize on Facebook Opening the Door on Personalizing Fan Page Suggestions

Until recently, Facebook had a glaring oversight when it came to Fan Pages: if you wanted to suggest a Fan Page to someone, you were unable to include a personalized note.

But about two weeks ago, there came a welcome change. Now you can jot a note with that suggestion. So the question you may have is should I include a note?

Absolutely--and it ought to go beyond the obvious "Hey, I think you'd like to be a Fan of XYZ Cause or ABC Organization or LMN Business."

Communicate in terms of what's in it for the individual to whom you are making the suggestion. Tell him or her why they should become a Fan.

Here are excerpts from a notes that I sent to friends last week:

"...I am helping with the Facebook Fan Page for BHG/Gloor and giving away $10 gift cards weekly when folks submit song names with real estate related titles (such as "Our House" or "Homeward Bound" etc.). Come play!"

"...I am helping promote Five Seasons Burr Ridge's Facebook Fan Page. Our Fans win prizes, get helpful fitness tips and keep posted on other related news. Come join us!"

"...I am helping with the Facebook Fan Page for McAdam Landscaping. To our Fans, we award gift cards, provide helpful gardening/landscaping tips and generally add value to their FB experience. Want to come join us?"

If you are tempted to get long-winded, you'll soon find Facebook limits the number of words you can write. So you'll have to keep your message succinct, which is as it should be, anyhow.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

ULI Assignment: J.C. Nichols Prize Luncheon Honoring Chicago Mayor Richard Daley

A few days ago, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley was named the 2010 laureate for the Urban Land Institute J.C. Nichols Prize for Visionaries in Urban Development.

Through my ongoing writing engagements for the ULI's Chicago District, I had the privilege of being at the Art Institute of Chicago to chronicle the event.

In addition to gathering brief remarks on video from about a dozen prominent business and civic leaders, I wrote this summary that appears on ULI Chicago's website.