Friday, January 21, 2011

Events Offer Three Bites at the Publicity Apple

Stories that are event-based--with a specific time and a specific place--offer three bites at the publicity apple.

If you're settling for anything less, then you need to work on growing your PR appetite. Not to get too technical, but I like to refer to these bites (or "phases") as:

1. Before. 2. During. 3. After.

Before: This is a preview that promotes the event, to encourage attendance by media and/or interested individuals. It also lays the groundwork for a follow-up.

Here is an example from this week's media outreach by Inside Edge PR, on behalf of DivorceIllinois and its Feb. 4 meeting in Oak Brook.

During: This is when you can secure coverage of the event itself, via the presence of one or more media representatives. Serving as an "In-House Journalist," Inside Edge PR often plays the role of pool reporter for those media outelts unable, or uninterested, in attending.

After: This is typically a news release, often accompanied by video and photographs, that highlights significant developments at the event. It represents an opportunity to break new ground, so should go beyond a re-hash of the preview with a mere revision of verb tenses.

All along the way, too, you should be buzzing things up on social media, through communication portals such as YouTube and Facebook.

Inside Edge PR's website has a bevy of other resources to help you secure media coverage, including "To Get the PR You Want, Focus First on The Media's Need.'

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Bad News-to-Good News: Income-Tax Hike in Illinois Presents PR Opportunity for Businesses

Yesterday, the Illinois legislature approved an income-tax increase for individuals and corporations.

What do you suppose that has to do with life insurance salesmen, sports marketers, a wealth advisory consultant and restaurateurs?
At minimum, two things:

1. All are affected by it.

2. All can--and should--parlay our lawmakers' lazy and gutless (yeah, I'm steamed) decision into news that turns the spotlight on their business and their industry expertise.

An op-ed piece,a news release, a pitch about the impact of the change on their field--all are fair game as responses to the governmental money grab.

I mention those four business categories because over the past three days, I've met with prospective clients in each of them. To each, I've sung this same tune.

It's one way to turn the legislature's lemon into lemonade. There's no law (at least not yet) against parlaying really bad news into good profits that flow from raising an organization's profile in the media, social media and via any other platform.

Search Engine Optimiziation, that holy grail of online attention-getting, flows more abundantly when your content is current and relevant. In another word: news.

So what are you doing right now to ride the coattails of the state's income-tax grab and offer up actual newsworthy material to the media? The clock is ticking, and the media spotlight usually shines most brightly on those who make the first move.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Driving Home the Lesson of the Red Sports Car: Command Attention with Your Next "Top 10" List

Can you picture a sports car?

How about a red sports car?

With that little, colorful adjective, the image becomes much more vivid. It catches your attention in a way that a generalized statement did not.

It's the same with "Top 5" or "Top 10" lists, which were everywhere we turned as 2010 drew to a close (year-end reviews of this, that and every other thing). Compilations along those lines should be in decent abundance as 2011 gets rolling here, too, as we learn how to get smarter, thinner, wealthier, safer and savvier.

So if you're in the attention-getting business and are thinking about developing a "Top" list, remember the lesson of the red sports car. Be different, be flashy, be memorable--or risk winding up in someone's "Top 10 List of Hum-Drum Top 10 Lists."

Anyone can come up with a "Top 10 Weight Loss Tips." Be someone who goes the extra half-ounce, steps out on an edgy ledge and offers counsel on "10 Steps to Quit Being A Fat American."

My favorite recent "red sports car" example is from Dave Ramsey's financial e-newsletter: "11 Ways to Be Weird in 2011."