When An NFL Quarterback Calls an Audible

Drew BreesA lawsuit is a powerful way to put a lot of pressure to convince other people to pay.  Sometimes it’s a just correction of a wrong sometimes it’s not.  However, once they are filed, they are public information and, therefore, can find their way into the news.

A lawsuit filed against you or your company requires expert crisis communications management even if it’s not in the news.  Lawyers almost always recommend silence.  But silence can imply guilt and affect a company’s reputation in a way that affects the bottom line.  When questioned by reporters, a skilled publicist can often help keep the court action from becoming news.  If it’s already a story, the publicist can ensure your key messages don’t included “no comment.”

Obviously, NFL quarterback Drew Brees is a very famous person.  As soon as he files a law suit, it’s in the news.  Insofar as publicity is concerned, Brees has the advantage of both being a popular personality and the plaintiff, not the defendant.  If you’re the defendant in the news, what is your first move?

  1. Take a deep breath.  Keep a cool head.  This will pass.
  2. Do not manage the press yourself.  Refer to your company’s “crisis communications plan” which should include bringing in an outside expert who is detached from the story.
  3. Move all crisis communications out of the office.  Firewall bad news so it has the least impact on company moral.  Crisis communications should include internal communications with staff which is candid, factual and optimistic.
  4. Choose a single spokesperson.  Refer all reporters to that spokesperson.  They should be available 24/7 to screen all reporter calls and answer media inquiries in an orderly fashion.
  5. Answer all reporters.  You can state you will have a statement in 24 hours, but answer all reporters’ emails and phone calls with a prepared statement.
  6. Tell the truth.  Often, this is painful.  Always, this is necessary.
  7. Stay calm.  Focus on the positive.  Don’t do “spin” – only relevant factual information.

By having a simple, easy-to-execute crisis communications plan in place, a surprise lawsuit won’t derail your business before you have even entered the courtroom.   In fact, when handled well, it can/should enhance your reputation.  The key is the be prepared and delegate communications to experts in this particular type of publicity.

YouTube + WordPress

One of the most powerful ways to communicate is by using YouTube videos embedded into blog posts.  The process is simple.  Record the video.  Upload it to YouTube.  Copy the YouTube video URL into the wordpress blog post (without a hyperlink).  The result is a YouTube video embedded into your blog post.

Seven Publicity Tricks

Any business can generate publicity for themselves.  It takes creativity, diplomacy and patience.  It not “who you know” it’s “how you say it” that makes the difference.
We’ve included seven go-to publicity tips to help with the creativity.  These are very common business story angles that journalists look for when deciding what to report.  So, what does diplomacy and patience have to do with publicity?
It is very easy for us to get caught up in our own enthusiasm for our business.  This is a good thing.  Reporters like enthusiasm and passion.  In fact, if our clients aren’t passionate about what they do and how they do it, we don’t take the account.  Passion is key – if it’s combined with diplomacy.
Journalists are very busy workers.  They are under a tremendous amount of pressure from their editors and producers to generate compelling, newsworthy stories.  Moreover, they have dozens, perhaps hundreds, of story pitches and press releases being thrown their way by passionate advocates for their own cause.  Some of the people contacting them are more aggressive than others.   Diplomacy can help you rise to the top compared to amateurs who can become pushy when a journalist doesn’t call them back much less cover their story. Yes, it can be frustrating, but it’s all part of the process.  Be diplomatic.
Often, a journalist will be able to fit your story in later – not now.  So you also have to be patient and continue to feed the journalists story ideas month after month.  Soon enough – one will be the right topic at the right time.  This is why it’s important to be consistent with your publicity over time.  Help the journalist write about you when they have a demand for a story, not when you have a demand for a story to be written.
Here are some ideas:
  1. Be the first, newest, oldest, biggest, smallest, etc. and explain why this is important.
  2. Introduce something new or improved and focus on key benefits or problems it solves.
  3. Announce anniversaries and stage a special event to celebrate.
  4. Announce a new member of your team and how they will change the way you do business.
  5. Win an award. Of course, you have to find them and apply, but third-party recognition are great tools.
  6. Announce a new major client – the bigger the better. Another third-party endorsement.
  7. Offer to be an expert on a specific topic or event. Journalists always need quotes from experts. Help them out and they’ll put you in an article.

YouTube Optimization

Image representing YouTube as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

We are not going to spend your time in this article explaining why. These are very concise step-by-step instructions on how to optimize your YouTube account to gain the greatest number of viewers the quickest. We recommend you set aside 15-30 minutes per section to carry out these tasks.

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Optimizing Your Account

Create a YouTube account:  To improve SEO results, secure the name of your company as both the username and profile name   [www.youtube.com/users/profilename] = [www.youtube.com/user/CyberspacePublicity].  If the name is already being used, have one that sounds similar.

publicity, public relations, social media, video production, website building
Modern Publicity's logo
Upload an avatar/logo (see ours to the left), give yourself a keyword-rich description, link back to your site in the Website section, share your hometown and dig into the hobbies focusing on activities that complement your business or line of work.

Optimizing Your Video Content 

Video File Name: By default, your video will have a file name like “vid027612″. Rename the video to give it a more descriptive, keyword-rich title that accurately describes the video content in five words or less.  Edit off the three letters after the dot (“.mov”  “.wmv”).  Nobody needs that detail.

 TIP: Do Not Include Business Name – describe the content accurately, clearly, briefly.

Description: Write a easy-to-understand video description that accurately depicts the video content placing a link to your Web site into the video description.

Tags:  Tags are words, not phrases (except for names and brands like Modern Publicity and Paul O’Sullivan) and include all keywords used in the file name/title/descriptions.

Optimize Your Video Channel

Visit your profile page and click the link to edit your channel to include keywords, an accurate description and include a link to your Web site, assign tags and allow comments.  Also,  select the type of channel you’re running to and upload a custom-branded background. (stay tuned to a how-to blog post on this topic).

TIP: To get optimized YouTube tag words without SEO analysis: search out videos in same business category (eg: “San Diego real estate”) ignoring promoted videos. Pick video w/same marketing goals & click “show more” button. Copy and paste their tag words and add your firm’s name, your name, etc. onto your YouTube page. This isn’t as good as our SEO analysis, but it’s much, much better than nothing.

YouTube "Info and Settings" page
YouTube "Info and Settings" page

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.