6 Recent News Stories and 8 Regular Features That Will Keep Media And Public Relations People Off The Air And Out Of Print And What To Do About It

Thank Goodness for Weekends, Public Affairs Programs, and Slow News Days.

Most news that public relations people are asked to help make is not earth shattering or life changing. Stop protesting; you know it’s true. More often than not, we are asked to help make “soft news” visible. That does not make you (or me) bad or silly or indicate that we lack discernment. It merely acknowledges what we all know to be a fact of life for the modern public relations person.

The media have limited resources and only certain types of stories they want to cover. Take your story to the weekend if you want to get covered!
The media have limited resources and only certain types of stories they want to cover. Take your story to the weekend if you want to get covered!

Soft news comes in lots of forms that include but are certainly not limited to, new product introductions and demonstrations, new location openings, speeches, new brochures, seminars and other promotions. Occasionally there is an issue on which a client wants to air an opinion pro or con about things like red light cameras, building permits, property and sales tax increases or decreases. Regardless of how interesting or not these are to you, the people paying the bills want exposure. When are you likely to not receive any? On days when something dramatic happens and the news cycle is focused on that happening.

Clients and bosses will not be sympathetic when you tell them that what they want covered is not terribly newsworthy. At the same time, you want to collect a fee for your work or stay on the payroll. You have bills to pay too!

Bad Days for Public Relations People

Newsworthy events that sucked the air right out of the office lately were: disturbances in Baltimore, disturbances in Missouri, the Boston Marathon Trial, Hillary Clinton, the German Wings Airline Crash, the ISIS attack in Garland, Texas, etc. If you are planning an event in a larger media market, you can plan on competing for the limited resources of local news reporters with these and similar events. And do not forget the usual reporting on auto crashes, apartment fires, armed robberies, bad weather, good weather, cute animal stories, cute children stories, and sports that clog the airways and fog the minds of viewers/readers/listeners. What does a public relations person do when faced with normal reportage and hard news? If possible, plan to release your news on a typically “soft news day”.

When you wake up on the day of your release/event and the TV is full of some war or rumor of war, explosion, spill, or natural disaster, move your event to a weekend, or holiday. Yes, there are fewer news crews and reporters available on weekends and holidays. There are also fewer stories to cover. So put your story where the others are not, Saturday or Sunday.

Since news resources are scarce, be prepared to visit the local station (TV or radio) with your news and demonstration. If you go there, it frees the assignment editor to send his reporters elsewhere. Most TV stations have long form news programs on Saturday. Use them as avenues for publicity. For radio interviews, use the phone. Phone interviews are easy to record and re-broadcast. They are also easier to book with the producer you will deal with to get on the air.

In conclusion, take your soft news to a softer time of the week, the weekend!

 

 

 

PR Rocket Covers Our New Press Release Service

prrocketnewThanks to the nice people at PR Rocket who covered our announcement about the new press release service we introduced.

To see the coverage, click here: http://www.pressreleaserocket.net/media-and-public-relations-introduces-new-press-release-writing-service/171527/

 

Order Today: Media and Public Relations Introduces New Press Release Writing Service

Media and Public Relations (mediandpublicrelations.com) is introducing a new press release writing service for North America. The service will help those who know they could benefit from a news release but do not have the skills or the time to produce one. images-1

The press release is the best way to communicate news about any type of enterprise to editors, reporters and bloggers who cover an industry, practice, non-profit or charity. Unlike ads, direct mail or blogs, the press release is formatted and written in a no-nonsense way that helps journalists inform their audience about news that will be meaningful to their readers and listeners.

Business writing in general and journalistically styled releases in particular are difficult to produce and then get published. Not everything is newsworthy. Reporters hate it when businesses send them what amounts to commercials in the guise of a news release.

If any information is not right for a release to the news media, the public relations veterans at Media and Public Relations will edit information into a newsworthy format. For those  starting with only a blank sheet of paper and nothing written, no problem. The people at Media and Public Relations can do an  interview over the phone to draft, review and edit a news release in the format and with the content needed. “I’ve got a soft spot for start ups and entrepreneurs,” said owner Harold Nicoll. “I especially like those who have some very cool product or technology or skill that will make lives better, cheaper, faster, and at the same time reward them for their know-how. So many of these folks know a lot about their respective field but nothing about how to market and sell their wares. I can help.”

Release Basics To Get Me Started

Or Contact Me Directly

My e-mail is haroldnicoll@gmail.com and my phone number is 979 292 8026. Or, fill out the form and I will go to work for you. Payment is via Pay Pal. But first things first, fill out the form or call or e-mail me and I will get back to you within a single work day or sooner.

About Media And Public Relations
Harold Nicoll, APR is the owner of Media and Public Relations. He a veteran public relations, marketing communications, content marketing and public affairs expert. He started his career at Hill & Knowlton Public Relations followed by 23 years at The Dow Chemical Company. He is “Accredited to Practice Public Relations” by The Public Relations Society of America. He has a Master of Strategic Public Relations Degree from The George Washington University and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from The University of Houston.

9 Surprise PR Tactics That Will Make You Irresistible to Reporters

This article was published by PRNews and written by Steve Goldstein on April 16, 2015.  Enjoy!

Attend any panel discussion featuring PR pros and journalists, and within five minutes of its commencement you’ll hear one of the journalists say, “I delete email pitches in batches of 20 with hardly a glance at the subject lines.”

Then comes the inevitable follow-up question from the audience: “So what would it take for you to open my email?”

And the answer: “Know my beat, read my articles, give me real news I can use.”

Silently, the PR pros in attendance grumble in unison: “But if you’re deleting everything without looking, then what difference would that make?”

Tania Luna, co-author with LeeAnn Renninger of the new book Surprise: Embrace the Unpredictable and Engineer the Unexpected, would encourage those silent grumblers to think beyond the journalist/PR pro dynamic and harness the elemental power of surprise to cut through the noise and make a connection.

“One of the most challenging and rewarding aspects of working in PR is building relationships with reporters,” says Luna, who will be the keynote presenter on day two of PR News’ Digital PR Conference, which will be held June 1-3 in Miami. “Luckily, things get a lot easier when you have the science of surprise on your side. When you pleasantly surprise people they think of you more often and are more interested in what you have to say.”

Here are nine tips for bonding with reporters from co-authors Luna and Renninger:

1. Jump over the expectation bar: Our brains are delighted when someone exceeds our expectations, disappointed when someone falls below the bar and unmoved when someone meets our expectations. Take the time to learn what each of your contacts expects (what topics do they prefer? what style? what format?) and find ways to exceed expectations at every point of contact (e.g., offer all necessary links before they have to ask; use bullet points so your pitch is easy to digest).

2. Under-promise, over-deliver: Here is a shortcut to exceeding expectations from author Tom Peters. Set expectations just an inch lower than you plan to deliver, then over-deliver every once in a while (e.g., promise you’ll respond in 48 hours, then reply in just two). Pleasant surprises release dopamine in the brain, a neurochemical associated with excitement and interest.

3. Do a scriptease: So many of our interactions feel scripted and formal. Leave your script aside and connect with reporters the way you would with friends (respectful but playful and authentic). Authenticity builds trust but also triggers people’s interest.

4. Give just because: Be helpful or encouraging for no particular reason (even when you aren’t trying to place a story). Research shows that we think about random acts of kindness longer than we contemplate explained kind behavior (and random kindness makes us happier).

5. Bury a cookie: Find ways to tuck small delights into your interactions. Can you sneak a joke into your conversation? A genuine compliment? A funny GIF into your email? In a study, researchers found that even a handwritten Post-it Note can be personal and unexpected enough to double response rates to a survey.

6. Build knowledge gaps: Spark curiosity by pitching your stories in a way that shows readers you know something they don’t. Our fascination with mystery is the reason listicles work so well. (Just compare these two titles and see which one your brain likes more: “These 8 Subject Line Tweaks Will Get Everyone to Open Your Emails” vs. “How to Get People to Open Your Emails.”)

7. Tell stories: Most of us are familiar with the power of story, but it helps to know why stories work as well as they do to remind us that we have to weave stories into our pitches. Because stories have mystery at their core (we want to know what will happen next), they trigger the P3 brain wave—this cognitive shift grabs our cognitive resources and forces us to pay attention.

8. Design experiences: Devise opportunities for your contacts to have an emotional, multi-sensory experience with your company or story (hint: the more senses you engage, the more memorable the experience will be).

9. Harness fortune cookie psychology: A handwritten thank-you note will trigger a burst of dopamine in the recipient, but the same card with the same message sent several times will soon fall flat. Take a tip from the fortune cookie and switch up how, when and why you reach out to say thank-you or offer a tip. In short: Exceed expectations, be genuine, be mysterious and delight often.

Tania Luna will be the keynote presenter on June 2 at PR News’ Digital PR Conference in Miami.

Follow Tania Luna: @Surprisology

Follow Steve Goldstein: @SGoldsteinAI

http://www.prnewsonline.com/water-cooler/2015/04/16/9-surprise-pr-tactics-that-will-make-you-irresistible-to-reporters/#.VUaRHwxPfkc.google_plusone_share

Why You Should Advertise On Face Book

There are more and more small businesses with Face Book pages and others still who join or start interest groups with the idea that these will help them promote their trade. I do not think Face Book is a good venue for corporate business or for those involved in business to business sales. On the other hand if you own a small or just starting put brick and mortar store, or professional practice then Face Book is ideal. Setting up a page on Face Book is free and easy and that is good. But getting it and you in front of potential customers will require some advertising. While not “free” it is very reasonable and a good value, in my experience.

Locally targeted ads on Facebook are an excellent value for new and/or local business.
Locally targeted ads on Facebook are an excellent value for new and/or local business.

Local Focus

If you own a business with customers that come to you based in some part on proximity, then here you go. Data supports the use of location-based advertising. Gannett’s G/O Digital released a recent survey and found that 60 percent of users viewed a local business’s Facebook page before visiting the business itself. Looking at the reviews on the page was also part of this process. According to a research study from Google, 32 percent of customers visited a store or made a purchase after viewing a location-based ad. Additionally, 19 percent of those customer visits or purchases were unplanned. As far as I know neither Gannett or Google have any direct financial stake here.

Face Book For Local Business

Face Book now has the capabilities that will allow the local merchant the ability to target his or her ads to people located near by. Face Book also allows advertisers the ability to target potential customers by different demographics. Face Book calls these “local awareness ads”.

These ads allow you, the advertiser, to target people who live in your area or even recently paid a visit. Previously the only way to target people on Face Book was via zip code. Anyone with a little experience in direct mail advertising knows this is not efficient. For example, if you owned an auto repair shop there are plenty of people who live in your zip code who could benefit from your service, but most will not. In that zip code are people who do not drive, do not own cars, lease vehicles, have company cars etc. And yes of course, the new local awareness ad targets people in your area now, whether visiting or living there. But wait, there’s more!

You can target your ads based on age, marital status, education, interests and zip code. Most people who own cars and need them repaired fit into a certain demographic category. And if you do not know exactly who those people are, make your ad choices based on the customers you already have. So if most of the people who come to you shop own vehicles that are less than 4 years old and were imported from Germany, bring children with them, wear gear from a university but are clearly too old to be students you can assign them the following on Face Book:

  • income greater than $100,000.00
  • married
  • age 30 – 45
  • college education
  • zip code

Face Book will take that information and point your ad at others on Face Book who fit that profile. There are other options as well. You can assign your ad to an event, like a concert, parade or other special happening. This function can also be linked to the web site that sells tickets for those said events. More often though, the ad needs to point back to your web site where you offer some kind of value added information, coupon or other special offer. This will drive more traffic to your web site, which is almost always the best place to send a prospect.

Costs

The cost of ads is based on a few things. Broadly, the amount of time you want it to run and the budget you assign to it. Like Google Adwords, you can set the amount of money you are willing/able to spend and keep it to that. For the special event option, charges can also come based on the number of click-throughs, again just like Adwords.

Another plus is the reporting feature. Face Book will tally the reach, clicks and expense for all of the above. On top of everything it is really easy. If you can post a photo on Face Book, you can set up advertising. I do not mind sharing with you that I have advertised for clients and causes on Face Book with results that were very worthwhile. I hope you also have success with this channel to your prospective customers.

 

 

Why You Should Advertise On Face Book

Locally targeted ads on Facebook are an excellent value for new and/or local business.
Locally targeted ads on Facebook are an excellent value for new and/or local business.

There are more and more small businesses with Face Book pages and others still who join or start interest groups with the idea that these will help them promote their trade. I do not think Face Book is a good venue for corporate business or for those involved in business to business sales. On the other hand if you own a small or just starting put brick and mortar store, or professional practice then Face Book is ideal. Setting up a page on Face Book is free and easy and that is good. But getting it and you in front of potential customers will require some advertising. While not “free” it is very reasonable and a good value, in my experience.

Local Focus

If you own a business with customers that come to you based in some part on proximity, then here you go. Data supports the use of location-based advertising. Gannett’s G/O Digital released a recent survey and found that 60 percent of users viewed a local business’s Facebook page before visiting the business itself. Looking at the reviews on the page was also part of this process. According to a research study from Google, 32 percent of customers visited a store or made a purchase after viewing a location-based ad. Additionally, 19 percent of those customer visits or purchases were unplanned. As far as I know neither Gannett or Google have any direct financial stake here.

Face Book For Local Business

Face Book now has the capabilities that will allow the local merchant the ability to target his or her ads to people located near by. Face Book also allows advertisers the ability to target potential customers by different demographics. Face Book calls these “local awareness ads”.

These ads allow you, the advertiser, to target people who live in your area or even recently paid a visit. Previously the only way to target people on Face Book was via zip code. Anyone with a little experience in direct mail advertising knows this is not efficient. For example, if you owned an auto repair shop there are plenty of people who live in your zip code who could benefit from your service, but most will not. In that zip code are people who do not drive, do not own cars, lease vehicles, have company cars etc. And yes of course, the new local awareness ad targets people in your area now, whether visiting or living there. But wait, there’s more!

You can target your ads based on age, marital status, education, interests and zip code. Most people who own cars and need them repaired fit into a certain demographic category. And if you do not know exactly who those people are, make your ad choices based on the customers you already have. So if most of the people who come to you shop own vehicles that are less than 4 years old and were imported from Germany, bring children with them, wear gear from a university but are clearly too old to be students you can assign them the following on Face Book:

  • income greater than $100,000.00
  • married
  • age 30 – 45
  • college education
  • zip code

Face Book will take that information and point your ad at others on Face Book who fit that profile. There are other options as well. You can assign your ad to an event, like a concert, parade or other special happening. This function can also be linked to the web site that sells tickets for those said events. More often though, the ad needs to point back to your web site where you offer some kind of value added information, coupon or other special offer. This will drive more traffic to your web site, which is almost always the best place to send a prospect.

Costs

The cost of ads is based on a few things. Broadly, the amount of time you want it to run and the budget you assign to it. Like Google Adwords, you can set the amount of money you are willing/able to spend and keep it to that. For the special event option, charges can also come based on the number of click-throughs, again just like Adwords.

Another plus is the reporting feature. Face Book will tally the reach, clicks and expense for all of the above. On top of everything it is really easy. If you can post a photo on Face Book, you can set up advertising. I do not mind sharing with you that I have advertised for clients and causes on Face Book with results that were very worthwhile. I hope you also have success with this channel to your prospective customers.

 

 

The Differences Between Public Relations and Advertising

The tradeoffs for advertising and public relations are many and tilt toward p.r. But if you can afford to advertise, then do so.
The tradeoffs for advertising and public relations are many and tilt toward p.r. But if you can afford to advertise, then do so.

For business owners who are just starting out, knowing the difference between advertising and public relations is important. Advertising is paid for, public relations is earned.

When you are able to convince a reporter to write a story about your company, cause or candidacy it is positive public relations. It is written or broadcast as a news story or feature. Those who see it will know that it is not a paid advertisement. Stories that appear in the media as editorial or news items like this are granted more credibility and are better remembered than ads because they were written and validated by a 3rd party who has no financial stake in the company or cause covered.

Depending on who you ask, articles that are presented as news are 5 – 100 times more valuable than an ad with the same information. In fact, a recent study from by Nielsen commissioned by inPowered on the role of content in the consumer decision-making process concluded that PR is almost “90% more effective than advertising”. According to the study, “on average, expert content lifted familiarity 88 percent more than branded content…” but I think that’s low.  Your ad is unlikely to attract positive attention like invitations to speak at conferences. With advertising, you tell people how great you are.  With publicity, others tell how great you are.  The later is more effective and persuasive.

Advertising Is Beneficial

An advertisement is purchased and people who see, read, or hear them know that advertiser paid for the time/space allowed. Paid media is a great way to promote a business and though my background is in public relations, I often use and recommend advertising. But realize that everyone who experiences your ad will acknowledge that you paid for it, compared to the public relations placement that was earned. With advertising you can pay for the right to tell your story the way you want it told. And you can tell it as often as you want to or can afford. It’s not for nothing that you sing the Armor Hot Dog song, or started doing a Mathew Mcconaughey impersonation of him while driving a Lincoln (mine is spot-on, but I have the advantage of being from Texas, ‘time is a flat circle…”).

Advertising also allows control, where public relations cedes control to the reporter or editor who publishes/broadcasts the story. When I was working for a large chemical manufacturing company whose name rhymes with “cow”, those interviewed by the trade press would ask or in some cases demand that their words be reported exactly as they were uttered. I recommended they buy an ad if they wanted that level of control. For the demanders I found someone else to do the interview when the next opportunity came to us. And for those who have trouble relinquishing control, pursue advertising. When you rely on a reporter to tell your story you are at their mercy. But the trade off of control for other benefits is such that it is a really good bargain. Here is why.

Endorsements

Next to word of mouth endorsements by your friends and neighbors, articles and news stories have a lot more sway than an ad. The fact that a public relations person wrote most of the article, sent the photo, told the interviewee what to say and what not to say are facts below the radar. The public is not aware of any of those details. All they see is an editorial about how good the product, service, candidate or cause is. They never see anything or have knowledge about how the story got there, unless they are reading this. Another difference is the cost.

Expensive vs. Not Expensive

Public relations is far less expensive than advertising. When you see the reports of how expensive a minute of advertising is on the Super Bowl, that is only part of the story. The costs to employ writers, editors, actors, stunt people, costumes, make up, lights, sound, video cameras, editing, etc. are all contributors to the to the costs of advertising. Public relations will employ a client representative who more often than not does all the writing him/herself. Sometimes there is a photographer or videographer and that’s pretty much it. In the case of value for the dollar, public relations deliver far more than the cost.

 

Comparison of ads vs. p.r.

 

Ads                                                                  P.R.

Paid for                                                           Earned

Control of content and frequency                  No control or guarantee of coverage

Less credible                                                   Very credible

Expensive                                                        Not free, but not that costly

Good for exposure                                          Good for memorability

Shameless sales appeal                                   Conveys importance

 

Here is my final word on this for now; if you can afford to advertise you should. But if you are advertising do not neglect the public relations possibilities for your enterprise as they are many. Do both. If you can only afford one or the other choose public relations. It will deliver far greater value and better outcomes for you.