ant to get the most media attention and spotlight for your business? Then the first place to start is with a GREAT press release. Now I can almost see half of you leaving now, dreading the thought of having to write one of these. But wait!! I’m going to show you easy methods to make your press release work for you and get the attention it deserves. Ready? Let’s go. We’ll briefly go over the basics because of their importance. Editors want to see things done the RIGHT way. I would bet that a lot of good releases simply get tossed out just because they aren’t set up properly. To a busy editor, that all too familiar “10 second glance” says a lot for you and your business; it let’s them know if you’ve done your research enough to warrant that release to be placed in their newspaper or magazine. Here are your essentials: "FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE" on the top left of the page. Your contact name, phone number, e-mail address, and website follows. Headline is next, normally in bold and centered on the page. Summarize what the release is about and capture their attention. Spend almost as much time on your headline as you do writing the release. It’s that important. The press release body starts with the location of the release and the date (Margate, Florida, May 5, 2005.) Most press releases are between 200-500 words, and no more than a page. The first paragraph has the most important information. Don’t save the best for last, it won’t get read. In this paragraph answer the questions, who, what, when, where and why? It is recommended that you write press releases in the 3rd person and use short sentences and paragraphs. Do not go over board, trying to dazzle the editor, it won’t work. Target your release. You will be sending your release to a specific audience so make sure that in your release you keep to what would appeal to that audience. What don’t they know that you can add? Nothing works better than getting an “AAH HAA” when an editor is reviewing your release. Provide statistics. Do some research and find some relevant information that applies. You can easily do this through Google. Once you find your quote, do a Google search or Yahoo quote on that particular topic. However, don’t stop on the first Google link and take that for gospel. Research it a bit further. Have it come from a respectable company or magazine. Include relevant quotes from experts in your field that will reinforce what you are saying. Approach authors, leaders in your Industry, and other experts that back up the facts you are stating in your release. They will normally appreciate the added publicity and you get the quote you’re looking for. For example, as an author I’ll often get asked to provide a quote for an article on home-based businesses or the virtual assistant industry. I welcome the opportunity as it provides me more publicity. Also, if you have a satisfied client that you feel will add credibility to your Release, add a quote from them as well. The first time you mention the expert, write out their full name. Then list them by last name or Mr. and Mrs. Smith only. I normally prefer the last name. The last paragraph should be your call to action. You’ve talked the whole release about your business or product, now tell them what to do with the knowledge they just acquired. At the bottom of the release include ### to indicate you are done, followed by a short bio. Make sure if you include your website that you include in front of it for search engine recognition. Your bio should include your information, any books authored, etc. Double check this for accuracy. At this point, you’re tired and done with the Release. But if it goes out to the world with the wrong web address, the valuable time spent even writing the Release has been wasted. That’s it! The basics for writing a press release. Now one other thing I’d like to add in, they work! They truly work. I’ve had a recent release get accepted by PRWeb (and yes they do reject bad ones!), and then go on to hit several other major newspapers and media outlets and the Google alert, which resulted in our paper in the area contacting me. You want to set up a Google news alert for your name so that you can follow the path and see when you make the news so you can follow up. Also, PRWeb at prweb has complete guidelines for setting up a good press release. Go with the extra money and spend $20.00. It’s worth it to get the additional exposure.
Excitement at the thought of starting your own business venture, fear at the thought of failure, are the two major emotions that people face when thinking of starting their own business. For many the fear of failure is enough to hold them back from taking the chance at starting their own small business; however, with careful planning and some luck a small business will be set for success. When starting a small business it is important to step back and decide what exactly the company will be focusing on. What type of products or services will it be providing and to what group or niche will the company be aiming towards as its target audience. This seems like a simple enough step however many people many people either try to cater to too broad of an audience or to too small of a group. Although trying to appeal to a large audience may sound great at first, it can be harmful for a small business. Trying to cater to a broad spectrum of people makes the company lose focus and ultimately lose its identity. Targeting too small of an audience is a problem simply because a small target group makes for a small population of potential customers. Another thing to consider is the supply and demand of the market that the company will be focused on. A company will need to either be excellent at what it does, very unique in what it does, and most importantly lucky to succeed let alone survive. Choosing a market that is largely in demand and short in supply will increase a company’s chance of survival immensely. The opposite can be said for a market that is low in supply and large in demand. Try to study where current business trends are headed towards and what is needed or wanted by today’s consumers. Also, it is important when looking at trends to try and think about its long term viability. The last thing that you want to do is start a business based on a fad that is over within a year or two. When a general direction is decided for your small business, it is important to then think about the things that your company will do better than your competition. What will make you unique? What will make people choose your products and services over anyone else’s? Most importantly, is there something that will make people choose you over your competition? There is definitely a problem if the last question was met with hesitation or a no. There needs to be something that sets your company apart from the rest and pulls you out from the mold of every other business. Finally when all of that is set, it is important to think of how you will get your name out to your consumers. Marketing and advertisement are crucial in getting your business known to your audience especially at the start of your business. If it’s possible getting a public relations firm to help market your name will help immensely.
Sometimes, a great product is not enough to get the attention your company deserves from the public. Sometimes, you need to make waves the right waves in order to get noticed and employing a public relation firm can help you gain your place in the limelight. The relationship between a company and its public relation firm should be long-lasting. IF you change public relation firms periodically, the public may end up being confused with the ever-changing messages of your ads. Start advertising right with the right public relation firm. Heres how to find the perfect public relation firm for your companys needs: Work Experience in a Particular Industry and Location Hiring a public relation firm with extensive experience in advertising and marketing hotels is not a good decision, no matter how many awards it had garnered, if your business belongs to the medical industry. Hotels and hospitals are two completely different things and thats why you need a public relation firm with experience in handling public relations of hospitals, not hotels. Likewise, hiring a fancy New York public relation firm may not be a good choice to make if your business is located in the smallest and most traditional town of Texas. Again, New York and Texas are two completely different tastes and inhabited by completely different people, so what may work in New York could absolutely fail in Texas! Party, Party, Party! Public relation firms are best known for their ability to create glitzy events. Availing the services of the right public relation firm will enable you to create parties that are nothing but exciting and fun without having to spend half as much as you imagine you would for such events. Offering Something beside Trendy Most individuals believe that hiring a public relation firm is necessary only when you have to organize a party or get the right people to notice your product. The right public relation firm, however, can give you more than that if you know the right things to ask for. A public relation firm understands that each company is unique from the other, even if theyre competing in the same sector. This means different strategies as well. Given the opportunity, a public relation firm can also help you determine the right positioning in the industry, make brand recognition possible and identify the target market for your company and products. Public relation firms are not all about parties and fun. They can get down to business too, if youre dealing with the right firm. The AllInOne Media Kit Getting heard is not enough; the best public relation firms know that saying the right things in the right manner are equally, if not more so, important. The right public relation firm takes the time to get to know a company inside and out in order to generate the right kind of media frenzy. Numbers They know that figures carry considerable impact, but too much of it can make a report boring and uninteresting. Events Narrating the companys history can be tedious, so it must sound exciting while remaining factual at the same time. Testimonials Customer cases are tricky; too much gushing can make a reader suspicious while lack of information will make a reader lose interest. Ability to Solve Crises and Sensitive Issues Publicity firms generally act like problem solvers. When a crisis ensues that threatens the reputation or credibility of a company, a good public relation firms able to step in to smooth out ruffled feathers and restored damaged company images. Creativity and Out of the Box Thinking The right public relation firm never runs out of creative ideas to help promote your company. Because it knows that the world around us is constantly changing, its also aware that the company must have continuous use of dynamic advertising for their success. Adapting a Maternal Role Lastly, the right public relation firm is one who acts like a mother hen to your company. It knows how important it is to listen to your concerns and your complaints, but it also knows when its right to stand firm and push for its suggestions while ignoring your recommendations. The right public relation firm always has your best interests at heart - even if it may not seem so at first glance!
Copyright 2006 Dennis Sommer Do want to be known as "The Expert" or "The Guru"? Do you want to advance your career and income? If you answered yes to both of these questions then you need to become a “Top Performer” in your profession. Whether you are now a Manager, Executive, Consultant, Sales or Service Specialist, then Customer Relationship skills will be one of the keys to your success. Experience and knowledge in your area of specialty may make you an above average performer, but to be a “Top Performer” start implementing the following 24 Customer Relationship skills and action items today. Top performers are successful by being honest, respecting a clients intelligence and focusing all their energies on how to make a difference in a clients life. After reviewing the following “Top Performer” Customer Relationship skills and action items, you will know how to be more effective, efficient, and successful. Building a strong relationship with your customer will last a lifetime and will be your #1 success factor in your career. 1. Show off your offering “Live” by hosting seminars. Customers viewing offerings first hand will dramatically improve positive reactions. 2. Make mentoring available to your customers. Provide one day a week, one day bi-monthly, or one day monthly where you are available face to face with the customer. Give them a list of what you can do during this time period. Example, training, audits, project reviews, etc. 3. Do a 20 customer road show twice a year. Nothing beats going into the field and meeting customers face to face to better understand what they need and show them what you have to offer. 4. Make the selling process as easy as possible. A long, complex selling process will turn off customers and drive them to your competitors. 5. Showing or presenting an offering three or more times to a customer will result in a more positive impact. 6. Setup an annual meeting with your customer to discuss where there business is going the following year and review your companies long term vision. 7. Connect with a customer on a personal level through common interests and goals. Make efficient use of the buyer’s time, be courteous and polite. 8. Create a pattern of dependability by making small promises and over delivering on results. 9. Be an honest advisor. Present both the strengths and weaknesses of your offering. It is better for the customer to learn about your weaknesses now than to discovering them later. 10. Reduce customer stress. The easier it is for the customer to do business with you the greater their likelihood of repurchasing. 11. Be polite and respectful of a customer’s time and schedule. Always ask when the best time to see and talk with them. 12. Ask for small things first. A customer who says yes, is more likely to say yes to bigger requests later. 13. Positive momentum creates positive momentum. Ask a customer first, “How are they doing?” When the customer states they are feeling good, they are more inclined to give you a positive response to your next request. 14. If you smile, people will respond in kind and be more open to your message. 15. Keep your tone upbeat. Make a point to elevate everyone you come in contact with . When they hear your name, their mood will be lifted. 16. When a customer can’t buy or won’t buy, fall back and ask for names who might have an interest. 17. When a customer says no to your first big request, ask for a smaller one. Customers feel obligated when you make a concession. Present your most expensive option first. 18. We prefer to buy from people we like. We really like people who like us. Being likeable is as simple as helping customers feel happy, relaxed, and even feel good about themselves. 19. The more you make a relevant, yet unexpected connection with their lives, the greater chance of gaining their interest. 20. Mimic your customers feelings, tone, attitude, and gestures. They respond better to like people. 21. Meeting over food and drink has a positive impact on customers reactions to your offering. Dine, drink coffee, listen, talk, connect. Sharing meals has significant impact on customer attitudes. 22. Remembering a customers name and personal details can have a dramatic impact on your ultimate success. This shows that you value them. 23. Keep silent. When you don’t speak, you create the need for the customer to make a decision or keep talking providing you with more information. 24. Pay attention to details. Customers make a direct connection between attention to detail and competence. Pay attention to spelling, out of place items, grooming, dress, hotels you use, etc.
Impressions, as we all know, are blurry ideas in which confidences are given. Marketing materials such as business cards, posters, postcards, flyers, brochures and catalogs must satisfy the customer’s confidences even at the very first sight of the material. Catalogs, for instance, must leave a lasting and positive first impression. Before they can encourage potential readers to read on, they must entice them first to come closer and take a look at them. They must have fascinating design and facade to lure the would-be receivers. To complete the marketing formula, the company or its marketer must entrust the potential masterpieces to a master in catalogs printing. If you have hesitations and worries regarding the printing process, the colors and materials like paper and ink to be used, ask the pool of experts that surround the printing company. They will help you seek solutions to your catalogs printing dilemmas. Catalogs are made to have easy access on your products and service. You do not have to bring them with you. With catalogs around, there is no need to present the literal product or demonstrate the services that your company is offering. All it takes is an effective modern catalog. In the production of catalogs, areas of concentration must be established and considered. One area is the product or service. Some product need not be included in the catalog while some are indispensable. Choosing which are to be incorporated from which are not must be carefully done. After selection, the next area of concentration is categorization or grouping. There are products that can be grouped as one while there are products that need to be presented singly. Samples of these products are the feature for the month and the freshly released products. Same thing should be considered in marketing services. In this area, you have to master one thing and that is sorting. Next to categorization is the process of creating descriptions. Descriptions must be exact or definite. You can begin by writing the name of the product or service followed by its features. Ideal number of words range from 30 to 60 words for every product or service. Make a good impression by selecting clear pictures and crisp texts. Be reminded that the heart of every catalog is its overall appearance. Thus, superior artsy taste is a marketing edge.
I approached her sliding glass window and stood in back of a gentleman whom I assumed she was helping. After about three minutes, I realized he was waiting for the office manager and she could have acknowledged my presence. I stepped up to the window; she did not say good morning; she did not smile; she just glared at me. I started to speak; she pointed a finger at a clip board with a paper to fill out. I placed the completed sheet in front of her, perhaps expecting a thank you or a smile or at least ‘have a seat; the doctor will see you soon’. I was so intrigued by her manner that I watched her interaction with the other patients. The man sitting next to me started to tell me that even though he had an appointment he had been waiting a long time. He told me he was extremely dissatisfied with the way the place was run and was starting to regret his association with this office. With a bit of humor, I told him I was watching the receptionist and asked if she had uttered a word to him. He started to laugh, and said, “Come to think of it, not a word!” The next patient to come in was an older woman with a walker. The receptionist was not at her desk so the woman took a seat and waited for her return. She again pointed at the clip board, took the form, threw her sliding glass door closed and said nothing. The next one was the mailman, who I’m sure she sees daily. Again, not a smile or a hello; she stuck out her hand for the mail and handed him the outgoing mail. Now my new disgruntled friend and I were sort of enjoying this and decided that maybe she was a mute….and then it happened. A good-looking UPS delivery man came in. Lo and behold, there was a big smile and a voice that was able to say good morning! That was short lived. She treated the rest of the patients in her same rude uncaring manner, a total lack of personality. To me, the ability to positively interact with the customer, no matter what the business, is most essential. Hire your receptionist with as much thought as you would hire a sales person. Some smart person once said “If today you give a stranger one of your smiles, it might be the only sunshine he sees all day.
Online marketers are always on the lookout for promotional channels that are novel and are yet to be saturated with the unfortunate stigma of marketing abuse. Different people are constantly trying to find new ways by which they could promote their online enterprises. One of the newer, and most effective, marketing strategies are press releases. Press releases are informative and objective pieces which are supposed to be newsworthy, and are circulated in PR wires for pickup by various news groups and editors. Once a press release is picked up, it can be published in various channels all over the Internet, or even through print publications. Immediately, the sharp marketing mind would be able to see the grand potentials of press releases as amazing tools that would help them spread the word about their business. Imagine the promising things that await if ever a press release is picked up or print or online publication. Such would be tantamount to instantaneous exposure for your business to entirely new audiences! However, you cannot simply write a press release the same way you would an article, or a content piece, or a sales letter. To employ the same style with press releases would be to court disaster. Your press release won’t be accepted by newswires, hence, it won’t have the chance to get picked up. So how exactly should you write a press release? Let’s take a look at the guidelines below. * Pay attention to the 5 Ws. These are Who, What, When, Where and Why. These are the questions which your press release should focus on. If you’re going to write a press release for your dog grooming business, for example, you should be able to state who you are, what your business is about, when it will, or was, launched, where it can be found and why it was established. If you are going to launch, or just launched, a new product, you would have to state who the creator is, what the product is all about, when it was or will be launched, where it can be bought, and why it was introduced to the market. * Be objective. Remember, a press release should be a newsworthy item. News is never subjective. Stay away from flowery words that merely tend to hype up what you want to discuss. Stick with the facts, and ONLY the facts. You are writing news, not a promotional piece. * The ultimate aim is to promote your product, but be subtle about it. To do this, reorient your focus. Try to make your press release informative instead of persuasive. Remember, you’re not writing a sales copy. You’re writing something that would announce your business or your product. * There are three parts to a press release: the headline, the summary, and the body. The headline is the title of your piece. The summary is a paragraph that would serve as an introduction to your press release, or a summary of its most salient contents. The body is where you objectively discuss the 5 Ws. * Length is not a factor. Don’t ever think that if you write a longer press release, it would have a better chance of getting picked up. Often, the rule is, the more concise your press release, the better its chances are of success. A 1,000 word piece is considered a little too lengthy for a press release. 300 to 700 words are succinct enough for this purpose. Press releases can win for your business the exposure it needs. It is capable of instantaneous results for as long your press release gets picked up and published. A lot of Internet marketers have testified to the power of press releases as marketing tools. So put on your thinking cap and commence to write an objective and informative piece about your business or product, observe the guidelines we have delineated above, and ready yourself for the new audience you’re most certain to garner. Of course this short article only gives you a brief guideline about writing effective press release. If you wish to learn more then I suggest you to download “Press Release Magic,” a 70-pages PDF manual that will give you more insight about how to promote your business using the power of press release. Here’s the download link: privatelabelpublishing/press-release-magic. pdf
There's a clear way around press release failure and it's called the pitch. A lot like it sounds a pitch is a fast throw at busy editors about a possible story. If they want to find out more, then you send the press release. That leads me to a huge pet peeve: Sending out press releases via e-mail to a list of editors. From my experience it's never - ever - worked. I no longer try it and suggest you don't either. It's a waste of your time and all of the editors. Instead: 1. Focus on a handful of your "dream publications." For me, I'd like to get into Fortune Small Business, Entrepreneur magazine and the Wall Street Journal. When picking your publications, think of your target audience. What do they read and why do they read it? 2. Pick the section you'd like to appear in. You never know, but chances are you won't appear on the cover of the publication in your first attempt at placement, instead, focus on sidebars, resource listings and short news sections. Almost all print pubs have them. Look at it as the waiting room for bigger and better stories on the unique products and/or services you offer. 3. Find out who the editor is. Once you have your section, find out who's in charge of it. You'll need the person's name, e-mail address and the most important element of successfully getting placed in the publication . . . 4. Learn what the editor needs. The number one thing you'll need to know about the editors you're targeting is the kind of information they want to publish in their sections. There are two ways to do that: You could ask, but then that could open up a can of worms if the editor doesn't want to get calls - and most don't. Or, you could compare a few back issues of the publication to find out what they've published in the past. 5. Create the pitch. You'll want to start your pitch by stating your understanding of the editor's needs. Then list - in clear bullet points - how your news fits his or her requirements. Note: Always leave your phone number in the text of the pitch e-mail to give the editor easy access to you - and your story. 6. Repeat steps 1 through 5 until you get a response. Sound tedious? Maybe. But at least the time you spend on this will reap much better results than sending one release out to thousands of editors - right along with other business people hungry for coverage. Bottom line: It's about building relationships with editors. And the only way to build a relationship is to find the need and fill it - consistently and considerately.
I see your lips moving, but all I hear is “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” I know it’s not what you want to hear, but quite simply, if you are a speaker, author, consultant or other "expert" I see being interviewed by the news media, your expertise just isn’t very interesting. Information is a dime-a-dozen and yours is no different. So in this age of round-the-clock, on-demand, blue tooth, on line, high def., Wi-Fi, via satellite, news junky, at your fingertips world of information, what separates those messages that break through the clutter and the vast majority of expertise that goes un-tapped? The answer is very simple: It’s the delivery! Information, delivered by experts in a straightforward fashion, is too often reminiscent of a classroom lecture – Boring! However that same content, deliver with passion, purpose, urgency, spirit and conviction can move people to action and move you to the top of the news media’s first call list. The information stored in your brain is merely the entry fee. Your credentials to deliver that content is only the prerequisite. But your crusade is what truly makes you interesting. Your passion for the message is what makes you believable and its timely connection to some current or personal challenge is what makes it relevant. Watch any national morning show, or cable news talk show and note who has the lion’s share of camera time. In television news, the one who most deftly steers the conversation, wins. But all too often, experts who are invited to sit on the television set to comment on a story of national interest, merely answer the questions posed to them and provide informed analysis. They are graciously thanked for their time, but rarely asked back. Why? Because most media opportunities are a test in disguise. And most experts unknowingly fail the test. But think for a moment about the experts that have been featured time and time again in the national news – some even being rewarded with their own show. What is the common denominator? Above all else, it is that they are fiercely opinionated. They know what they want to say and aren’t afraid to say it. I’m not suggesting that you have to be a jerk to be newsworthy, only that you have to have the conviction that personifies a true thought leader. Good radio talk show hosts, for example, don’t bring up a topic and ask for your opinions. Instead they tell you what they think and invite you to agree or disagree. Who among us is inspired to follow, or be moved to action by a credible, yet straightforward, or “dry” expert offering his or her expertise on a story of national or industry-specific interest? To build your business, to attract clients or customer, to inspire others to hire you or buy your books or products, to engender loyalty and inspire true change, you must move beyond the realm of simply being smart and good at what you do. You must truly inspire. And while we are all made up of the same composite materials, we are all wired a little differently. Being overly expressive and delivering content on the edge of your seat can be challenging for some, but it must be done. In working with the news media, we are playing in their sandbox and we must play by their rules, or we won’t be asked to play again. For any kind of high-profile sustainability, you’ve got to provide what television journalists call “Good TV.” New, innovative, or provocative solutions to long-standing problems can be good TV. Either healthy exchanges or outright conflict among guests can both be good TV. Good TV means nothing more than being interesting and not blending in. Unfortunately, experts tend to be so immersed in their content that they believe it is the information that is interesting. In reality, it is the passion that brings about “Good TV.” The biggest misperception in working with the press is the false notion that when a reporter asks a question, it’s because they want to know the answer. Unless it’s some sort of news investigation, the purpose of their questions is in most cases, simply to give you a launch pad for your ideas, your input and perspective. I’m not suggesting that you don’t answer the question, just use the answer as the springboard for your crusade. Most reporters don’t know the subject nearly as well as the guest and you can easily move past the often irrelevant, or less important question by simply employing transitional phrases such as: “While I certainly agree, it’s also important to remember that...,” “That may be true, but the issue that really concerns me is...,” “While that issue is making headlines, we can’t forget that...,” “people sometimes fail to recognize that...,” “I find it fascinating that...” Then say what you came there to say, and do it with passion – regardless of the questions asked. Despite conventional wisdom, the reporter or interviewer will be very appreciative of your media savvy. As most on-air interviews last no more than 90 seconds, I advised my clients to be crystal clear in their mind what they want to say, what they HAVE to say, what is crucial for them to impart to their audience for them to be successful in their business. Then they must make a solemn pledge to themselves (and to me) that they will not get out of that chair until they say it! It’s the quid pro quo of working with the press: We help them fill up their newspapers and newscasts with content, and in return, we get a platform to relay our ideas. Use it. Don’t waste it. Don’t be boring. Be opinionated. Be passionate, relevant, provocative, believable, timely, different, memorable and news-worthy. This article is more than just my opinion and my expertise – it is my crusade. If I had begun this article with a simple admonition to be more animated in your interviews, do you think you’d still be reading? Or would you have turned the page long ago? Remember, there are hundreds of millions of TV remote controls and page-turning fingers out there. Don’t be boring and they’ll likely stick with you, turn to you and hopefully come back to you.
Bimboism is rampant in today's media climate where those who do get their fifteen minutes of fame squander it with empty words and idiotic antics. Think about how much of YOUR time is wasted when you watch TV, listen to the radio or read newspapers or magazines. How long do you stay with a story if it's not pertinent to your interests or if the interviewee is dull? With so much competition for your attention it's easy to move on to the next best thing. If you don't want to become the next bimbo and instead touch the hearts and the minds of the nation, here are three things to avoid. 1. Give a fatty bone. The quickest way to lose interest is to ramble. When you can't make your point succinctly your audience tunes out-literally. They change the channel or they shift their attention. To keep your audience jazzed respect their time by getting to the point of what they want to know. Give them value every second you're speaking. Shave off any unnecessary fat and get to the bone, the real core of what you have to give. 2. Be professorial. In my experience people who have the highest degrees are the biggest bores. They speak with the jargon of their industry or training using long sentences and obscure ideas. Simplifying is the key to communication. One of my favorite clients, syndicated technology columnist and national correspondent for KCBS news Larry Magid, is an exception. He can take the most complicated ideas and turn them into a Zen garden. He puts each word stone in the right place at the right time to create order, simplicity and understanding. Follow Larry's path to your own garden by taking the big idea down to its roots. Refuse to be high fallutin' by making your knowledge inaccessible to the masses. 3. Praise the Lord. Preaching will set people hellbent against you. I don't know about you but when someone tells me what to do I automatically rebel. Whenever you're attached to an idea and try to push it on someone it's natural to resist. When you have an agenda people sense it. If you're unattached to the outcome your audience will be more receptive to you and your ideas. Allow them to make their own choices based on the information you impart. Tempt them with heavenly insights and offers.
How one expert made a splash on CNN'S Paula Zahn Now, and how you can, too Cosmetic surgeon, Dr. Robert Kotler's New York based publicist, made contact with the Paula Zahn Now program on CNN to schedule an appearance. Here's what happened next. 1. Map out the segment with the producer *I was referred to one of the *bookers* who did a quick screening and then put me in contact with an associate producer. Over several phone conversations, we worked out the subject matter of the 3-4 minute interview.* NOTE: Once you've passed the *audition* with a booker you're passed to an associate (or other less senior) producer. Often after that first "audition" you must be screened by producers at higher and higher levels. If you're chosen then you begin to create a segment together. 2. Help the producer shape the segment *The *backbone* of the spot was my recently published book, SECRETS OF A BEVERLY HILLS COSMETIC SURGEON, The Expert's Guide to Safe, Successful Surgery. The associate producer and I had discussed what I consider to be the non-frivolous and important consumer issues of the book, such as how to select a properly trained surgeon and how to be certain that the facility in which the surgery is to be performed is properly credentialed and hence safe. And even the issue of having an anesthesia specialist in the patient's service to assure comfort and safety. Those are the key gems for the consumer-reader-viewer.* NOTE: Robert choose important issues of concern to Zahn's audience angling his ideas to suit her show. It's up to you to suggest ideas that would make a great segment. Listen to the producer's ideas and don't be shy about gently suggesting alternatives. A pro-active guest who knows his material is prized. Be sensitive though to how attached the producer is to his idea and suggest yours accordingly. 3. Expect the Unexpected *On the air, the focus of the segment was somewhat different than I had been lead to expect. Paula Zahn, who is as smart, charming, and attractive off camera as on, was a hospitable and engaging interviewer. However, as comfortable as I was made to be, the questioning by Paula got stuck on *which celebrities have had what done.* And, they put up photos of some selected celebs and asked me to comment on them--including ones I had not seen prior.* NOTE: Always be prepared for the unexpected. This is a frequent tactic of TV shows. If they had told Robert ahead of time what they were planning he may not have agreed to be their expert. Instead they lead him to believe that they would focus on what he considered important issues. To be fair to the show they may have planned to cover what was discussed, but changed their mind at the last minute. Or they may not have had time or didn't feel it was necessary to inform their guest of show changes. Also, talk show hosts are expert at making you feel comfortable. It's their job to help you be a good guest (relaxed and credible)--as ones who are nervous don't come across well. A typical tactic is to put you at ease and then ask an unexpected question to get a candid response--which often makes for good television. Be ready. You can be candid and still speak to YOUR talking points. 4. Prepare your answers and bridge to them *While I have had professional coaching on *guesting,* and understood how to redirect the questions, I decided to just *go along* with the trail of questions Paula posed. I could see that this was going to be a *light interview,* not hard news. Not that it was distasteful or unpleasant, but, frankly, it seemed redundant and wasteful of audience time. I felt the public deserves more significant information than yet another review of Joan Rivers' ultra--raised eyebrows or Michael Jackson's nose remnant. While I did not expect a formal *book review* I felt the viewers would have appreciated knowing how to avoid the bad surgical results that everyone is so familiar with. As I would have told the viewers, *If presumably smart and wealthy people can have such bad cosmetic surgery, how does the *average citizen* avoid it?* In the end, it was not a particularly informative session--a bit fluffy--and I saw that as an opportunity lost. But, hey, while it says Cable NEWS (italics mine) Network on the door, it is still first and foremost entertainment. Show biz. So, always be cognizant of that, I just rolled with it and enjoyed myself.* NOTE: The show wanted the sexy celebrity angle, but Robert could have bridged to the information he thought was important with a phrase such as *Mistakes can happen to anyone, including celebrities like Michael Jackson. To prevent these mishaps for yourself you can*...and then he could have delivered the key points he wanted to cover such as the importance of a good anesthesiologist. 5. Follow the host's lead *and* make your points *Yes, I could have diverted the conversation and tried to say what I thought needed to be said, but one has to weigh the benefit of taking that path and possibly being disfavored by the program and hence not be welcomed back or just going with the flow knowing that just *being there* and having the cover of the book flashed on screen is quite satisfactory for my purposes of promoting the book.* NOTE: You can satisfy the host and yourself by balancing the information with what the host wants and what you want. If you transition gracefully by taking a few seconds to comment on their question and then a few seconds to focus on your point everyone will be satisfied. 6. Let the host and show promote your product *Another unanticipated plus of appearing on the program was that during the entire day, the interview segment was promoted heavily and the repetition of my name throughout the day was a bonus that cannot be disregarded. I saw each hourly announcement as a *free advertisement.* I was happy. Bottom line: Breathing or not breathing, dead or alive, being a guest on a nationally televised interview -- regardless of the quality of the interview--is worthwhile to any author or public figure. And, it is fun and a memorable experience for those of us from outside the media world. The producers liked the segment and, after all, it is their show.* NOTE: Often times guests are overly promotional in an effort to make the most of their on-air time. You won't be invited back if you plug yourself or your product obviously. Find out ahead of time how your product will be positioned on the show. Let the host do the promoting. Your job is to give great information about the product, service or cause that incites your audience to take action. BEFORE the show, and at the time your booking is confirmed, ask that your website, 800# etc. be displayed on the screen (this is called a chyron). Realize though, that some shows have policies not to do this. Ask also how your product will be positioned on the show. Always bring your product with you in the event they've lost the one you sent. This will insure that your product will get the publicity that you want. Better yet, if you can create interactive scenes that involve your product that are entertaining and witty you will be a hero. 7. Enjoy the recognition and propose a new segment *Finally, and probably most importantly, my 87 year old parents thought I *looked very good on TV.* They liked my suit and tie selection. So, everyone was happy!* NOTE: Make your parents proud. The kind of exposure you receive on national shows is invaluable for credibility -- with your parents, competition, clients, and other national shows. And you can increase your recognition by calling up other talk shows and suggesting a different angle of the topic you just covered. Also, while you're in studio propose another segment with a totally new angle. The time to pitch a segment is right then when everyone is happy with your appearance. Try and get a committed date on the spot.
PR plays a key function in a successful business. And for PR to be productive you will need to trust more than friendship or basic instincts in choosing an “ideal” PR company. Since public relations are about communication and steering the company towards realistic targets, you must consider a number or crucial and tangible issues. Be clear that PR cannot be handled just by the firm it is a partnership between you and the PR experts. It is your inputs that will provide the PR firm with direction. You must on your side provide complete and updated information, be available to advice on or check material put together by the firm and spend time with the PR team on ideation. Only when the grounding is laid clearly will PR be successful. 1. The company must have worked for a business such as yours before or have at their fingertips the strategies they will employ to meet your PR objectives. 2. The PR firm must have updated its systems to include all the latest in media and communications. 3. The company must understand your business thoroughly and know in no uncertain terms how much strategic versus tactical support they can provide. 4. Determine whether the staff deployed for your project has both experience as well as expertise. Find out about their successes and failures. 5. Ascertain whether they can comfortably reach out to your target market and if they cab quantify their value. 6. Study the proposals presented by them on your project and use your in depth knowledge of your business and the market to determine to what extent this will work. 7. A dedicated PR firm will not hesitate to disagree with you on any aspects of your plan they are not in agreement with. They know the ins and outs of their business and know what works and what does not. 8. The firm must not just have a series of meetings there should be constant interaction as well as reviews of work undertaken and subsequent results. 9. The contract must be clear and transparent with no hidden clauses. The PR firm must have a system where it clearly understands and then delineates in a contract its responsibilities. 10. Be sure to check their testimonials and credentials. Go through their case studies to determine their efficacy and do some research to find out their standing in the market. The most apt definition of a PR relationship is that of the Counselors Academy of the Public Relations Society of America. It says, “ a successful relationship between client and public relations firm or counselor has as a fundamental: a match of capabilities and needs, a 100% agreement on objectives, constant and instant accessibility, full information sharing, interaction at all levels, regular updates as well as progress review, and a clear contractual agreement.”
News releases are not the best way to get major media coverage, but they can be used to increase the frequency with which your company name appears in the press. Press releases will get you coverage in set features like business notes, and new personnel columns. They also provide a good way to let allies, employees and customers know what you are doing. For these purposes, post releases on the company website, send out by e-mail, or distribute by one of the services like PR Newswire or PR Web. Here is a quick list of 33 possible reasons for you to write and distribute a news release. * New Products * Business Start-Up * Partnership * Strategic Alliances * New Or Innovative Business Strategy * Restructuring The Company * Going Public/Going Private * Company Comeback From Adversity * New Employees * Important Executive Retiring/Resigning * Executives Comment On Business/Economic Trends * Employee Promotions * New Branch Offices * New Divisions Established * Headquarters Relocating * Research Results Announcement * Major Anniversary * Major New Client Acquisition * Company Revenue, Sales or Profit Growth * Company Name Change * Winning Major Awards Or Receiving National Recognition * Company Presenting An Award * Receiving Important Accreditation or Certification * Holding Free Seminar or Workshop * Employee Appointed To Civic/Government/Professional Board * Availability Of Guest Articles Or White Papers * Issuing A Position Statement On Topical Subject * Free Consumer Information Available * Company Speakers Bureau * Company Philanthropic Support * Major Company Milestone * New Board of Directors * New Website
In business, the customer is always right - sometimes confused, misinformed, rude, stubborn and changeable, but never wrong. Ever date anyone like that? Customers are the reason you have a business. Without them, no matter what you do, there isn't any business. Therefore, you should approach customer service the same way you approach a date. Nurture it with good habits and relentless care. Each date builds on the previous one. Each sale does the same in building customer retention. So, here are the simple suggestions for "dating" your customer and enhancing your business relationships. * Dazzle customers with your service. The key to good customer service is treating all your customers well but not necessarily the same. Respond to their needs as individuals. While one customer might need a ton of help and attention, another might prefer an opportunity to browse with privacy. * Anticipate the needs of your customers by emphasizing service over sales. Good service sells. But pushy service people who are always trying to sell more can be a major turnoff to all customers. * Treat your customers well by being a problem solver. If you can't help the customer, help him or her find someone who can. Customers appreciate your help - even when you aren't directly profiting from a sale. Just consider it an investment. They'll appreciate the advice and remember your business the next time they need your goods or services. * Innovate by understanding that most rules should be flexible. Don't ever say, "No, that's against the rules," to a customer who's making a reasonable request. Your main rule - one that should never be compromised - is to keep your customers happy and satisfied. * Nurture your employees by giving them the care and respect that you want them to give your customers. If you treat them well, your employees will be great ambassadors of service. If you treat them poorly, they'll treat your customers badly in turn. * Guarantee that your customers keep coming back. Have a great customer service plan and post it in a central location for all to see. Once employees understand the importance of great customer service, you will have customers returning over and over.