Do You Need A Public Relations Agency?

A very common question asked when considering public relations is, do I need a public relations agency?  The answer is yes, you do need a public relations agency for a variety of reasons (and not just because we are a public relations agency).

Why you ask do you need a public relations agency?  Let us count the reasons why:

  1. The media receives thousands of pitches a day.  Having a public relations agency make the media contact adds credibility to you and what you are promoting.  It shows the media that you, your company, service or product are credible and you are placing money behind it to promote it.  Trying to do it yourself lessens your credibility in the eyes of the media.
  2. It saves you money and time.  In business, everything revolves around the bottom line.  In this alone it is smarter to retain a public relations agency.  Public relations is not just press releases, press conferences, and media appearances.  It also includes the social media aspect of maintaining a company’s blog, and social media pages.   This would require several salaried people.  In terms of salary alone, you are losing out as with a retainer with a public relations agency you have a team of professionals on your account that handle each aspect of that public relations campaign.  For small and medium sized organizations, the savings is even greater.  Not only are you saving money, you are saving time and remember time is money.  There are not enough hours in the day for a small or medium sized business to do everything that needs to be done.  And time away from your core business means lost opportunities.
  3. The personnel at a public relations agency are the experts in their field.  They bring their expertise in writing, social media, media relations, branding, and special events to the plate.  They know public relations.  They know how to position a client for the maximum exposure.  They have the contacts with the media.  They know which reporters will cover which topics and also how to package a story that the media wants.  Many people think of an interview in terms of sales, it isn’t.  If a reporter suspects someone is just trying to sell them something through their story it will never see the light of day.  An experienced public relations expert knows how to package a story so that it is newsworthy to the reporter while still being of marketing benefit to a client.
  4. Crisis Communications. Most people think of public relations as positive news.  It is, until disaster strikes. Businesses always have a plan for when a crisis strikes in how to handle things except in terms of publicity.  Working with an agency means a preliminary crisis communications plan has been developed beforehand that can be altered to fit the crisis.  Agency personnel have the skills and experience to objectively evaluate your business, clearly assess its strengths and weaknesses, and figure out how to use them in crisis communications.
  5. By bringing in someone from the outside you are bringing in someone who can be more objective and doesn’t have the emotional commitment and blinders that an owner or company employee has and can assess what ideas will work and what won’t work.
  6. A public relations agency tends to be more creative in developing story ideas and teasers to induce the media and can think outside the corporate box. An agency constantly monitors the news and often sees opportunities that others don’t.  For example, our agency represented a marriage counseling service and when the Anthony Weiner story broke during the 2016 campaign, went into pitching mode to have our client discuss why powerful men cheat which resulted in coverage on FOX News Channel, CNN, HLN, Good Morning America, People Magazine, and the New York Post.

So, based on these reasons, the answer to whether you need a public relations agency is quite simple and emphatic.  Yes, you do.

Advertisements

Businesses seek to attract attention to their newest brand, product or service. With about a quarter of a million new product and service launches globally each year, and countless established brands seeking coverage, it’s not always easy for a new company get the publicity it seeks. But, it’s possible to break through the clutter.

Here are a few ways to achieve it:

  1. Get key stakeholders involved early.
  2. Use several ways to get your message out.Media Relations
    1. Social Media
    2. Stakeholder Involvement
    3. Influencers
  3. Give the media various ways to cover your news.
  4. Know your story and what makes it unique.
  5. Utilize a variety of storytellers in getting your message out.

The challenge for any new business is getting the word out and attracting customers.  That is why the roll out is so important.  Without the proper public relations campaign, you may have the greatest product or service ever but nobody will know about it.  Following these basic strategies will ensure that people do learn about it.

Tips For A Successful Speaking Engagement

Speaking engagements are a critical part of any public relations campaign.  They allow a person to get before their target audience and directly communicate with them.  Authors find that after a speaking engagement, members of the audience will purchase copies of their book.  Business leaders find that after a speaking engagement members of the audience will be interested in their products and services.  In addition, speaking engagements assist in branding the speaker as an expert in their field.  Despite all of these benefits many people find speaking engagements to be challenging and nerve wracking.

What are some tips to help when doing speaking engagements?

  1. Know your purpose for speaking.  Are you looking to help in branding yourself as an expert?  Are you looking for sales?  Knowing what you hope to achieve from the speech helps in the development of the speech and developing key points to zero in on.
  2. Know the audience. It is critical that you know who will be in the audience; the level of understanding they have on your subject matter; and what they hope to learn and achieve by attending and listening to you.  Knowing this will allow you to develop the key points in your delivery.
  3. Keep it simple. When crafting your speech have three main points that you want to get across.  More than three will lose the attention of the audience.
  4. Use stories. A personal story with some humor and facts always is a hit with an audience.  It is also a way to connect with attendees.
  5. Concentrate on the beginning and the ending. Audiences pay the most attention to a speaker’s opening and closing remarks.  You want those parts of your speech to be memorable and have a call to action for the audience.

Speaking engagements are critical in any public relations program.  Utilizing these tips will help any speaker achieve the results they are seeking.

Tips For A Successful Media Interview Via Skype

The importance of a good television interview cannot be overstated.  Everyone knows the power of television and that it often reaches far more people than other media forms.  In addition, a television interview can be repurposed for online marketing and social media outlets.  With advances in technology, more television interviews, especially on networks and affiliates in major cities are being conducted via Skype.  For the television networks and stations this cuts down on production costs.  For the interviewee it means more preparation for the interview.

Here are some things to consider when doing a Skype interview:

  • Check Your Connection– Test your Wifi connection in advance.  Make sure that it working and that signal is strong.
  • Make Sure Your Video Is On – The worst thing that can happen on a Skype interview is for the video not to be working.
  • Consider Your Background– Keep it simple and branded, if possible.  A background with the company logo is perfect.  Also blue and green backgrounds are ideal.  Avoid red backgrounds.
  • Avoid Bare Walls– Add visual interest, but be relevant to the topic at hand.  Bookshelves are always a nice touch.
  • Secure Your Location; Lock the Door– Make sure no one interrupts you during the interview.
  • Wear Solid Colors– Busy patterns move and jump on camera.  Dress just as you would if you were in studio.
  • Look Into The Webcam– Look at the viewer; not yourself.  This is critical as you want to come across to viewers as direct and as if you were in the studio.
  • Create Space; Sit Back– Don’t get too close to the webcam.
  • Center Yourself– Be sure you are in the center of the screen.
  • Check Your Lighting– Make sure you are well-lit and not in shadow.  At the same time don’t overdo it.  Shut any blinds or curtains to avoid any sun glare.
  • Turn Off All Notifications– You don’t want your inbox pinging you or sounds going off that will disrupt your flow and distract the audience.
  • Use a Professional Skype Name– Remember this is how the television station or network will contact you.  You want your name to reflect you and your brand.  Avoid Skype names like Partyanimal or OnforaBuzz.

Skype interviews are the way all of television is headed.  By following these simple rules you will guarantee yourself a successful interview that will reach potential customers and be able to be utilized on social media channels.

 

The Benefits of Public Relations

Business leaders know that their companies need public relations.  It increases a company’s visibility, assists in marketing efforts to increase profits, and helps establish a strong brand identity in the market.  Regardless of size or type of business, public relations is essential to any business.

The benefits of public relations for business success are immeasurable.  Among the benefits are:

  1. Today’s consumer is more savvy than ever before.  They start their search for a product or service online.  Not only do they check a company’s website, but they search social media, reviews, and news stories about the business.  With public relations, companies have a strong social media presence as well as credibility through media stories about the company and its products and services.
  2. Brand Identity. Public relations creates brand identity with the public.  This is done through media relations, social media, community relations, and other public relations tools.  This means that that the consumer is aware of the company and what its brand stands for in terms of values and service (and today many consumers search for brands that share their values).
  3. Public relations doesn’t equal sales.  What it does is reinforce marketing efforts.  Studies show that companies that use public relations see an increase in the success of their marketing efforts by 45%.  Don’t just take our word for it though, recall what Bill Gates said, “If I was down to my last dollar, I would spend it on public relations.”

Public relations is critical to business success and growth.  Every company needs a public relations strategy and needs to keep it continuous to reap the benefits.

Authors Don’t Forget To Mention The Title Of Your Book In Interviews

Authors know that broadcast interviews (radio and television) are a critical part of any book promotion campaign.  These interviews allow an author to reach many people who would not hear about a book in any other way.  The interviews help build both the author brand and the book identity.  Yet many authors make one common mistake in interviews – they forget to mention the title of their book.

The whole purpose of the interviews is to get the book name out to potential buyers and get them to purchase the book.  Yes, most interviewers will mention the title when introducing the author and sometimes at the conclusion of the interview.  But authors need to mention the title in some of their answers.  Rather many authors forget this and refer to the book as ‘it’ or ‘my book’.  Listeners and viewers who might have missed the opening of the segment have no idea what book the author is referring to in the interview.   Add to this that if the interviewer doesn’t mention the name of the book at the end of the interview, this part of the audience never learns the book’s name and the promotion was wasted.

At the same time, the author doesn’t want to answer every question by referring to the title of their book.  A good rule of thumb is that for most interviews, the author should refer to the title two times.

Broadcast interviews are essential for successful book promotion.  They reach far more potential buyers then a print interview.  That is why by avoiding a common mistake, authors can maximize on their potential – mention the book title.

Dealing With A #Boycott Crisis

Our society is more polarized today than at any moment in recent memory.  Our politics is divisive.  Opinions have become more outspoken and outraged.  Driving all of this is social media.  Social media has allowed millions to have a voice and share their opinion.  It is also a driving force in spreading disapproval of a brand when it takes a stand that someone disagrees with.  The hashtag #Boycott followed by a brand’s name is one of the most popular ones on Twitter.  Brands need to be prepared when this happens.

Here are a few examples.

A local Cracker Barrel in Indiana fired the wife of a man named Brad.  Brad went on to social media to demand that Cracker Barrel explain why his wife was fired.  His posts were picked up by people on social media with the hashtag #JusticeforBradsWife.  The Cracker Barrel social media sites were inundated with comments and questions about Brad’s wife.  Traditional media picked up the story which became a humorous running joke.  Cracker Barrel ignored the posters and social media outcry.  This led to a new hashtag #BoycottCrackerBarrel.  The chain took a hit and its stock price went down.

Adidas made a tone-deaf move by sending out an email to Boston Marathon participants with the subject line, “Congrats, you survived the Boston Marathon!” the day after this year’s marathon – just four years after the bombings at the 2013 marathon. The backlash was immediate.  The hashtag #BoycottAddias started.  Before it could gain traction and Adidas quickly issued a public apology saying, “We are incredibly sorry. There was no thought given to the insensitive email subject line we sent Tuesday. We deeply apologize for our mistake.”

The heartfelt public apology stopped #BoycottAddias in its tracks. It prevented the incident from turning into a negative three- to five-day story.

A result of #Boycott means that it is more important than ever to make sure that you are prepared with a statement supporting your decision if you are caught in the crosshairs of a boycott. Or if you feel like you’ve made a mistake, make sure the statement explains why you made the decision in the first place and what you are doing to fix the issue. Consumers want to know their voices are being heard and changes are being made.