Get media to cover your news: public relations works

Public relations is powerful.

Writing a press release, getting it almost print ready, reaching out to the media with it so they have all the information they need and don’t have to do too much extra reporting on it, then having the story picked up by two media channels in one day is just beautiful. This happened this week with a new, local client I’m writing stories for and has helped solidify that this was a good move for them to make.

People think they don’t know how to get the word out for whatever they are doing – sometimes I think that – but then I realize it’s good to get back to the basics. This is how it was meant to work, and when it does, it really works. A lot has to do with timing and the other news, so it doesn’t always work, but it certainly can when everything comes together.

There’s a school of thought that writing press releases too fully will prevent media from doing additional reporting, and this is is a possibility, but with how strapped newsrooms are these days and how much news there is to cover, it could come down to your story not getting used due to lack of time for additional reporting. If your release is well done, but a reporter still wants to get their own material, they will do so.

Here are some tips for getting media to cover your news:

  • Having good relationships with the media is important – find them on Twitter, share their other articles, feed them good news and always follow through. If they know they can trust your work they will use it. Use their preferred method of communication to reach out. This is what they are checking the most.
  • Follow press release structure and AP style rules – use a dateline, use last names for sources on second reference, use dates and times correctly. This helps them have to edit little and get your news out faster.
  • Include a photo whenever possible – visuals are appealing whether it’s for print or a blog. Some places won’t run the article without a photo and most news outlets are looking for something horizontal in nature. This also prevents them having to spend time asking for one.
  • Try sending it at an off time – most public relations professionals work mostly 8 to 5, and send press releases during this time and this helps the day time media staff, but they are probably getting a lot of material during the day. For TV news, try hitting the night crew a little later. We contacted local television reporters around 5 p.m. for this story and it got picked up for the 9 p.m. show. It can be good to have your news in front of them if something else falls through.

Building these relationships and finding the right way to reach out to the media can take time, but it starts with a well-written release by someone who knows what reporters are looking for and the style they want it in. Find a good writer and then get started getting the word out about your news.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

4 Content Marketing Tips: Buying a Tablecloth

She had me and she knew it.

I’m sure she spotted my American naïveté as soon as she swept from the back room and laid eyes on me. She turned up her French accent, put on the sweet French grandma routine, and came at me.

I was unsuspecting as I eyed the most expensive tablecloth I have ever seen and was trying to quickly decide if I could afford to actually take it home. In just a few minutes, we were sharing secrets like we were old buddies and it made me feel like I finally had a second French friend (I have one already).

French tablecloth

I might have walked away had it not been for her Frenchness and her great selling ability. And, my experience makes me think of four traits this woman had in her traditional selling that also work as content marketing tips (or really for any kind of marketing).

1. Know your audience. – She could tell I liked the tablecloth; I was sitting there telling her I loved France and all the French things she had. She didn’t have to work that hard to figure out I was in her target market. And the fact that I didn’t flinch (well I did inside) when she told me the price meant that she knew I could afford it if I wanted it. I just had to be persuaded that this was the tablecloth I actually needed to buy. She did an excellent job.

There are tons of tools out there now to learn more about your audience: social listening tools, upgraded analytics and CRMS, etc. It is possible to get to know your audience and what they are looking for. Sometimes they’re sitting there telling you, like I was, but sometimes you have to seek it out. It takes some time and effort but it can have big payoff in the end.

2. Share the benefits plain and clear. – When she realized she was close to selling me, this lovely French woman began to expound on the benefits of the tablecloth: how you can’t cut it with a knife like those cheap ones you buy at the store (she had her very own story about one she loved too!), how it’s easy to clean and maintain (throw it in the machine no problem!), how people in France love designs like this and this is an especially popular one (French people use them too?! Where do I sign?), and how it was the last one in this design she had (It’s destiny! I can’t let it get away).

Your customers are typically looking for a solution to their problem so explain the benefits of your product or service and how you can solve their problem. Make it easy for them and they will purchase from you when they have enough information. If you make it too hard for them to find what they are looking for, they’ll just look somewhere else.

3. Make them feel like they’re your friends, like you’ve bonded during this sales cycle and that you shared a secret. – We talked for maybe five minutes but she shared the story of how she came to America and why she worked in this shop and how an old tablecloth that she bought was poor quality, unlike the one we were looking at. We were like gossiping girls in a schoolyard sharing secrets of tablecloths and I loved it.

She shared something personal (as far as I know) and it resonated with me. I could spend money on something like this that would last. She listened and was open and I felt like I had known her for years. She became the French grandma I never had, and I felt comfortable actually going through with the purchase.

It’s about building trust with your audience and making them feel comfortable. When they feel like they know you and can trust you, they will buy from you.

4. Make them feel like they are getting a great deal. – This lady reiterated how this tablecloth was on sale at an already low price and made it seem like I was getting the deal of a lifetime. She asked me if I was a New Orleans resident (while nodding) and said that she was giving me the resident discount so there would be no tax on it. I have no idea if this is a thing but it solidified the thought that I was getting a deal. I had already decided to buy; this was just an extra bonus she gave me but it helped. I was sold.

If someone is on the fence, explain how the benefits will outweigh the cost, give them a good deal they can see or an extra discount, or something else that will reward their trust (even if they’ve already bought from you), and your customers will keep coming back. Once you’ve gotten a customer, you want to keep them so reward their trust, be easy to work with, and provide great customer service. It can go along way.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Greatest sports insult ever

Greatest sports insult I ever heard

It was the greatest insult heard that day. Amidst the calls of “tiger bait” and “corn dogs” to those in opposing paraphernalia, and in between shouts of “Roll Tide” and “Geaux Tigers” it was there. It hung in the air to claim its place as the best insult ever expressed. It was simple and to the point, and it expressed exactly what everyone was thinking but didn’t have the ability to say in such a direct way.

My friend weaved her way around the LSU campus with her boyfriend (now husband, but I was sure she was going to get him killed), decked out in her crimson and houndstooth, and possibly acting a little belligerent. When this female LSU fan looked her up and down, looked her right in the face, and had one reaction: “Ew!”

So simple, yet so effective, and so hilarious

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Fantasy Football and Social Media

5 things I learned about social media from fantasy football

Fantasy Football is a big deal. I’m playing for the first time ever this year and it has been an eye-opening experience. I’m more invested than I thought (3-2 baby!), and it’s been more serious than I thought. I also realized that Fantasy Football and social media have some strong similarities. Here are five I found:

1. Strategy is everything

I joined an existing league of some friends and friends of friends, and I was amazed at just how serious the live draft was. Everyone, well almost everyone, had their strategy all worked out and ready to go before the event began, and they weren’t too keen on sharing tips or tricks that day. The time for help was done; it was to play.

Some people had computers, other tablets with specific apps, and some just used good, old-fashioned paper lists of players and their rankings. Those who had played before varied in sticking to their previous year strategy or using something completely new, but they had a plan ready.

They also had a specific strategy about which player position you should pick first. You might think a quarterback would be the best way to go, but I learned picking a running back or wide receiver can typically be a better strategy in the end.

Social media is this way. Whether you’re a professional with lots of pages or someone who is brand new to the realm, you need to have a strategy before heading into the game. You don’t want to just create social media profiles all over the place and post to them the same way. Sometimes it can be beneficial to pick a couple to focus on, depending on your goals, because each social platform is used differently and can provide you with different things. You also need to be aware of which ones are more visual, the length of posts, and more.

It’s also important to have a clear view of your goals before you start. Are you really just trying to grow your audience on social or looking to drive web traffic and sales or get emails for your list? You need to keep all this in mind as you plan.

2. Things move fast, pay attention to updates

In fantasy, you get a chance to drop, pickup and trade players during the week but you have to be paying attention. Players go on the waiver wire and, depending on your position in the waiver, you can pick them up (I’m still trying to figure this part out), or you can pick up a free agent, but you need to pay attention who is playing each week and who isn’t. After Eddie Lacy got hurt, I was checking everyday to see his condition and it was improving but I couldn’t decide whether to play him until just a few minutes before game time. It was stressful.

Social media is exactly the same way. You read something new everyday about what posts work best on which platform and which ones don’t, and sometimes this information can be conflicting. Facebook especially seems to favor a lot of different post types, depending on who you talk to. That’s why it’s important to monitor your feed and see what works best for you and your audience. You might find it matches what the experts say or maybe not. On Twitter, you decide whether to use a photo or not; on Instagram you might be debating on putting words on your photo versus just in the caption box. … There are a lot of decisions regarding social media so you’ve got to pay attention to what works.

You also have to stay on top of platform updates. Facebook makes regular changes that you need to be aware of that can affect what and how you post, your audience, ads, penalties and more.

3. Things don’t always go as you expect

This has certainly been true in Fantasy Football this year. Those who did a lot of work to get certain players, like Ray Rice or Adrian Peterson, in their draft are now scrambling for new players as both have recently been suspended due to activities off the field. You think you’ve got a player that can rack up the points and now they’re out indefinitely.
And, you can choose the best players each week but there’s no guarantee how well they will do. A couple of my players keep trading off on having great weeks but it’s usually the one I’m benching that’s doing the best, of course.

I’ve found it’s the same way with social media posts, especially on Facebook. With my healthcare posting, I find that the things I just know people are going to like, share, and comment on tend to get ignored, but the stuff I’m sure no one will find important sometimes turns into my best content. We’ve found that pictures with employees, even when they’re not really specific to anything, do really well – which is not necessarily unexpected, but it took us a while to start using them because we weren’t expecting it. So keep an eye on what’s not working and always be thinking of new posts to try. It also is a good idea to keep an eye on what’s working for your competition.

4. There can be big payoff

In our fantasy league, there is a weekly winner, with a financial incentive, and then those who make it into the playoffs and further have a chance to win even more money. This means you have to be playing the game the right way and outlast everyone until the end.

Social media, too, can have huge payoffs for your business if you can stick with it, learn from your audience, and post the best content. I’ve heard countless stories about businesses growing and continuing because of their social ranking and drawing in new customers. A bakery in Gulfport told me that they have seen their business close to triple with the use of social media in the last year – that is significant. It happens everyday and you don’t want to miss out on what social can do for you.

5. Have fun with it

Fantasy was tense at first; I was super nervous during the draft. But, as I get more comfortable each week, I find tracking the players and the points and deciding who to play and seeing them do well to be so much fun. I’m interested in new players, watching more games, and learning more about the game as I go. It’s been great so far.

Social media can be the same way. It is so much work and can be tedious on those days when you just have no idea what to post, and there are times when it’s just no fun at all. But, there are times when it can also be so much fun. When you come up with a great post idea and start seeing some likes and actually get a comment or two or even that coveted share (gasp!), you’ll find yourself getting way too excited. If you stick with it and post consistently, you can see some great results on your page and in your business and that’s when you can start having a little fun.

Also, look for fun content that goes with your overall message. Have some fun with your posts and toss in a dog photo every now and then – your audience will love it and you’ll enjoy it too.

If you need help with social media, please email me at to discuss options for how I can help you.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Hello world!

Do you ever feel like the universe (or God if you believe in that sort of thing) is trying to tell you something? I’ve had the fever to do something like this for a long time, but I’ve been ignoring it, or maybe just too scared to do anything. But, I’ve been listening to podcast after podcast of people that have made their dreams come true by taking a little risk and doing what they love. So, this is my shot.

I finally got the push I needed – I’m getting laid off. Like no job, no money, no nothing laid off after six years at a place. What do I do? I’d love to work for myself and just write, but I need an audience to do that with, so here’s my shot at building one. The job hunt is there in the meantime (and that is terrifying by the way) but I’d love to build a business on my own.

If you got laid off, what would you do? Or, if you’ve been in my shoes what advice do you have? I’m doing fine except for the waves of terror that catch me off guard. It feels like a blessing; a terrifying blessing, but a blessing nonetheless.

Here goes…

Given the chance, what would you do? What is your passion?

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather