I got out of the PR pitching industry recently. Clients simply have the wrong expectations about what we can do for them. They want to get on the cover of the Wall Street Journal; meanwhile, I’m thinking Laser Today would be a better fit.
I think there’s been a lot of false press about getting into top tier magazines and websites. Sure, it’s awesome, but for 95% of small businesses, it’s an unrealistic dream. Getting media coverage depends on:
- Whether you have a compelling story (per the journalist, not you!)
- Timing: what is the publication currently looking for?
- Space: is there space for coverage of your company
- Having your stuff together. No journalist likes having to dig for a story.
So I say, rather than focusing on getting on Oprah (not even possible from here on out, can you believe it?), focus on the industry and trade publications in your market.
The month of February marks Lead411′s awards season for New York City’s Hottest Companies in 2011. This exciting list is made up of privately-held organizations in the NYC region that are involved in the software, wireless, internet, hardware, or media industries.
Lead411 industriously searches through more than 600 press releases, new office openings, business articles, company launches, customer press releases, and venture capital fundings among others, on a daily basis.
This month, Lead411 recognizes fast-growing companies in the Los Angeles, San Diego and Santa Barbara areas with its just released list of “Hottest Companies in Southern California for 2011″.
A result of daily scouring of press releases, business articles, company launches, and other media materials regarding new fundings, Lead411 has come up with this exciting selection of aggressively-growing companies in the software, wireless, hardware, internet, or media industries.
To qualify, companies must either meet a 100% increase in revenues or receive over $9M in funding in the past 2 years.
I pitch companies’ stories to editors and bloggers for a living. While I certainly haven’t gotten the formula down pat completely, I have figured out a few tips that you can use if you decide to go it alone and do your own PR. Here are several problems we in PR come up against and how to get around them.
1. Can’t Find Editors’ Contact Info
Editors are notorious for not posting their email addresses. If they did, they’d certainly have more than the hundreds of email pitches they get each day currently. But that can make things tough if you’re trying to reach them.
According to IT Memo’s special report, I learned that 27% of high tech editors don’t publish their email. However, they are online in other places, like:
It’s very similar across other industries. So how do you connect with editors if you can’t find their email? I start with a simple Google search. Sometimes the editor has her own website, especially if she consults, speaks or has books published. You can always find contact info on a site like this.
Didn’t work? Search the person’s name + Twitter or other social media channel. If they’re “big on Twitter,” you should see their link. A word to the wise: not all editors like being pitched via Twitter, so start with a softball and ask if you can DM for more details. Read More
This just in! I am officially a speaker at the Lavacon Conference, to be held in San Diego September 29 to October 2. This conference is chock full of sessions on how to use social media and content to get the most out of your marketing. There’s even a session on how to use Foursquare for your business.
My session is Old School/New School: Developing an Effective PR Strategy. At Egg, we blend traditional PR techniques with social strategy, and I’ll be sharing some tips on how we do it in this session.
If you’d like to attend, you can enter the referrer code EGGMARKETING at checkout to save $50. Early bird registration ends Monday, 8/30, so get on it!
And leave a comment if you plan to be there so we can connect.
I’m a big fan of online press releases. I use a service called PRWeb.com, which sends my clients’ press releases to dozens of news and industry sites. (They don’t pay me to gush about them, unfortunately, so know that this is solely my opinion). We get tens of thousands of page views for any client’s press releases, and they in turn love Egg for it.
Why We Opt for Online Releases
There are a couple of ways you can use press releases. There’s the online option, which we’re discussing here, and the media relations option. Media relations can be huge for a small business, if a magazine or newspaper elects to pick up a story. But given that they are emailed hundreds (if not thousands) of press releases every day, the chance of major media coverage is usually slim. Read More
While most small business owners will never have to deal with a public relations crisis, it’s important to have a strategy in place in the event that one does occur. And in today’s social media sharing landscape, burying your company’s head in the sand is simply not an option.
Let’s say your company’s products are found to contain lead. Or your CEO is found to practice unscrupulous financial activity. Whatever the crisis, you can expect that people are going to hear about it, be it through traditional media (newspapers, radio and tv) or social media (many a company has been near-ruined by tweets that spread like wildfire. Take the Domino’s example). The key is knowing how your company will respond. Read More
Everybody loves a contest, am I right? Or rather, everyone loves the possibility of winning something. That explains the obsession with the lottery!
Have you considered holding a contest for your business? It’s a great marketing tactic. Take Office Depot‘s current Show Us Your Seat Contest. By taking a photo of their ratty office chairs and telling the story of why they deserve to win, entrants have the chance to win a nice, new chair from La-Z-Boy.
Audi and Iron Man 2 paired up for the Innovation Lab contest, where the winner with the best innovative idea can win $15,000, a trip to California or a special Audi Sports Car experience.
Contests and Y our Business
Contests like these are designed to get people excited. The better the prize, the more the buzz. But how can you apply this concept to your business if your budget is limited? Think about what you can offer. Likely, our services or products are the most affordable thing you can offer (and tie in nicely to your marketing), but also consider attention-getters like the iPad, an iPhone or other fun tech device. You don’t have to offer $15,000 in prize money to get people’s attention!
Here are some more tips for making your contest a success:
- Make it interactive. Include technology that allows people to share their entry or ask for votes on Facebook and Twitter.
- Make it simple. The fewer details you require, the more entrants you will have.
- Promote it! A contest is a great piece of news. Write a press release, blog about it, ask others to blog about it and share on social media and email.
- Set the rules. You may need to speak to your legal department or lawyer to see what restrictions you have in holding a contest. Make them clearly defined on your contest’s website.
- Set a date. Don’t let your contest go into perpetuity. Set a start date and an end date, and clearly communicate these.
Does your business already have a contest? Share it here so we can enter!