How To Be Newsworthy

No – big hands are not required to be in the news. 
First, ask yourself: “what is my message and who cares?” If you can’t answer that question, I give you the answers of “what” and “who” after my initial “29-minute” free consultation . I develop a news storyinspire based on who it affects. Continue reading “How To Be Newsworthy”

Creating the right message

Emergency "Twitter was down so I wrote my...
Image via Wikipedia

I am creating a powerpoint tool to walk my clients through the social media message-making process.  If you can relax for just three minutes – long enough to read this post – I’ll let you know what it does:

I am a publicist. In my world, the message rules. The technology (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Flicker, YouTube, Google Analytics) is simply a tool to serve the message. Knowing about all the technical bells and whistles has as much to do with social networking as sports announcers spouting box scores have to do with winning the baseball game.  In sports, it’s the athletes.  In publicity, it’s the message.

Everything starts by defining your online ‘voice.’  The voice must be simple, direct and transparent. This is true of all effective publicity.

“I’ll be back.”

“Heeeeeare’s Johnny!”

“What ju talken’ ’bout, Willis?”

Technology is fantastic. I listen to Irish radio live on my phone. As you know, the Irish are known for their wonderful word smithing. This morning, a news columnist who wanted desperately to keep a specific area – a remote peninsula jutting into the wild Atlantic Ocean – preserved as-is was interviewed. Her key message: “above all, no cars.” Simple, direct, transparent. Common sense, really.

Irish coast
Image by K2D2vaca via Flickr

She did not focus on the people and interests who want the area developed for tourism. She didn’t counter complex arguments about jobs, the economic development, politics, the environment, etc. making it a point; counter-point debate. Instead, she characterized the place as “shutting the door behind you” to enter a world of silence away from the noise of the modern world. “If you like silence, this place must be preserved. That means no cars.” No cars. That’s her catch-phrase, her mission, her message. Our job is to develop the same message simplicity for you, too.

What is your “no cars” catch-phrase? Let’s find it and use it. Remember, the message rules!

First, we need you to express your voice effortlessly in a simple of manner. Then, we add volume, lots and lots of volume. The real difficulty is keeping the transparency (honesty/authenticity).  That is the first place most social media campaigns fail.

Your friends and fans, prospects and clients,  strangers and nair-do-wells don’t want to read what your ad agency says you should say.  Nope.  They want to hear your voice. They want to know, “Hey, YOU – Cars? No cars? What do YOU think? Oh, you’re in business, too? Cool. My sister needs two of everything you got.”

I solve the challenge of transparency by asking you up front to define the following:

  1. What are the three things professionally you do better than anyone else? [What makes you uniquely qualified? What is your niche in the marketplace?]
  2. What are the three biggest problems your best clients need solved?
  3. What are the three biggest problems you solve for clients best?

We use your own answers to craft three very simple general messages that reflect the values you and your little township of prospects and clients have in common. Those messages are then translated into posts using a variety of grammatical devices such as analogies, similes, examples, etc.

The posts are then linked to either your web page, your blog or something else. The idea is to:

A) Always offer genuine value

B) Be a good (social networking) neighbor

C) Engage your fans!

Every post has a link.  Every post is written to offer genuine value.  Every post reflects the values and priorities you have in common with your clients.

Once we have your voice defined, here’s what I do:

  • Distribute your key messages cleanly using LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
  • Generate up to one post-per-hour (8/day – 56/wk) (can be pre-approved)
  • Create a conversational mix with about 1/5th being direct sales-oriented and the rest being your key messages (see fb page as example).

Beyond, this, as we drill down, we customize to include key words (SEO), web site landing page copy, blog posts, etc. within a comprehensive/holistic communications strategy. But it all revolves around the message – your key messages.

Why not do SEO and web copy first?  Why not post funny quotes and links to your site? Why not write a blog about your business.  Why not?  Because the message rules! We get the message nailed first.  From a compelling, pithy message, all things are possible.  In other words, Is Féidir Linn!”  Si se Puede!  Yes We Can!

Si Se Puede

Why Hire a Publicist?

It is common for non-PR people to not have a clue how a publicist can improve your business’s bottom-line.  Even when they intuitively know that getting mentioned in news reports (ie: magazines, newspapers, popular blogs and television) has much higher credibility and impact, it’s often difficult to imagine anything you or your company is doing is news worthy.  We get it.  But keep an open mind and take a look at you from our perspective for a moment…

Modern Publicity defines public communications using four distinct segments (ADDD):

  • Awareness (if no one knows you exist, they can’t buy/hire you)
  • Differentiation (if you’re like everyone else, there’s no reason to buy/hire you)
  • Decision (if you don’t give people a specific, timely reason to hire/buy, they typically delay the decision)
  • Delivery (if you don’t deliver what you promise (your brand), you won’t keep old customers or acquire new ones).

Given this, publicity is a powerful communication tactic to do one or more specific ADDD goals.  The results must be measurable. This doesn’t simply mean you see more news about yourself  and your business, it means we work with you to ensure you see bottom-line results such as more customers coming through the doors, more referrals and more sales.  But the question is begged; even if you know a publicist can raise awareness, distinguish you from you competitors and give shoppers or prospects a reason to buy today, what is it that a publicist can do about it?

Putting aside the tactic of self-publicity (social networking), I’ve begun a list of things we quiz you about in order to reveal a newsworthy ‘hook.’  An important value we bring to the table is understanding how difficult it is to get into the news cycle and what reporters are looking for in order to cover you.  Sometimes we create a news event, such as a press conference, an award or a special event, or we’ll define your product or service in relationship to an existing newsworthy trend or event.  To see specific examples of our work, you’re invited to visit our newsroom.   But here are some things that we use to generate interest and mostly links to Google searches for ‘news’ using the term:

  1. Grand opening
  2. New product
  3. New service
  4. New staff
  5. New idea
  6. New partnership
  7. New study (that relates to your business)
  8. New song (for recording artists)
  9. New book (for authors or that relates to your business)
  10. New video
  11. New law (proposed or actual that relates to your business)
  12. New controversy
  13. New invention (it doesn’t have to be yours)
  14. To Be Continued…

Here’s the truth: you don’t need to know how a publicist can improve your business.  What you need to know is a good publicist.  Let US describe what you have that is newsworthy and then get you covered and integrate into a comprehensive marketing communications campaign.  That’s our job.

R.I.P. Maximillian

Facebook Post March 28th, 2011, by a high school friend Laurie Lola Andersen:

Woke up this morning and found our dog Max has gone up to heaven… My heart is broken but at peace to know he had a long fun-filled life with us.R.I.P Maximillian – You will be dearly missed

Paul OSullivan Hey Max, thanks for the love and loyalty for our friend Laurie and her family. Please be on lookout for an ol’ golden retriever named Jack. On Tuesday, he goes to the groomer to be pampered. On Wednesday, he’s enjoying an entire Costco chicken with the family and vanilla wafers for dessert. On Thursday morning, he’ll fall asleep in my arms. But, just before he does, I’ll whisper in his ear to look you up. My guess is the two of you will be good friends in no time. He’ll be the one with vanilla cookie-breath.

3 hours ago · Like ·  1 person