Observations of Campaign Techniques-It’s Who you Know

A lovely older woman I know asked me to attend an event to see a nationally renowned Congresswoman. She didn’t say why, just asked me to come and who I could bring. I know the ropes, it’s actually a pep rally to get a group of people excited about the upcoming election. But none of that was discussed. Reminded me of an Amway pitch-I once was suckered into doing that for a while too.

I went because I know this woman, because she asked. I also had in the back of my mind that two interns should go for an opportunity to meet this federal representative. So I shared the appointed time and location with students and gave up a Sunday to attend.

Room was filled with 150-200 people. There wasn’t enough coffee. The food didn’t recognize today’s standards to eating issues–most women my age have given up donuts and fattening muffins for breakfast. Did I mention there wasn’t enough coffee?
The location had the worst accoustics. If you want to plan an event for 200 people you certainly need parking and space. But you also need to be able to have sound. Someone set up the microphone in front of the speakers–assuring hideous feedback every time the Congresswoman moved. Had the speakers been placed closer to the audience so she could walk…er…pace…behind them, she could have stuck with the microphone. In the end she abandoned the microphone to bellow. She was able to reach most of the room, but not those of us in the back. It’s okay, it was a pep rally, I know the drill. She wrapped up and people started to head out. The political aids were all poised at the back to capture departing guests to sign up to volunteer.

What they lacked in setting logistics they made up for in understanding their purpose–get the enthused audience to volunteer. It’s the only reason for the event. I’m sure they succeeded in getting several. Except me and my interns. We have our own campaign. But that’s another post.


Social Media Five Reporter Tips same as Traditional

The folks over at PR News do a great job of mini Q&A sessions with keynotes as part of their promotion for seminars. It’s a great PR tactic in and of itself. In their latest post Comcast PR Veteran Walter Neary was interviewed. He mentioned how he hopes one day using social media to reach reporters and bloggers stops being “special”. I agree. If you want to reach the news you need to know where the news people are. More and more tweet, blog or host FB posts. Some base their tool on company requirements, some base their tool on personal preference. Either way, no different reaching out to media on their platforms than if you called, emailed, or met them at the grocery story or local event. All that has changed is the channel of communication. What hasn’t changed is some basic elements:

  1. Know the reporter/editor’s beat (topics covered)
  2. Understand their style-each will tell their story their way, not yours
  3. Provide facts and resources to back those facts up
  4. Respect their deadlines–just because social media as well as media is 24/7/365 doesn’t mean there aren’t deadlines
  5. Build a relationship-sending media releases blindly and never communicating not likely to get you covered. Especially in the social media realm.

We cannot afford to keep blinders on about the race to reach media. If you aren’t on social media, you’d better catch up. If you don’t know how to talk to any media, social or otherwise, you’d better catch up. Or you won’t know what hit you when the Google glasses arrive.


Pitching bloggers on Pinterest Shared

Nicole is a former student. She works at the Abbi Agency. She posted the blog on her personal and originally posted to The Abbi Agency blog. I liked it so much I wanted to share. Student surpassing the professor. *-0 Good job Nicole.

By Nicole Rose Dion, social media coordinator/graphic designer

Bloggers have flocked to Pinterest like seagulls to your sandwich at the beach, especially if their blog involves photography in some way. They love it because Pinterest gives them just another lovely outlet to display all of their excellent photos and the ability to interact with their fellow blogger brethren (because what more do they really want?).

There are a number of steps you can take to interact with these bloggers on Pinterest and get them to notice you (or your client) and therefore have them want to interact back.

  1. Follow them/follow their boards: A lot of bloggers will have content pinned from their own blogs as well as other people’s blogs. Follow all of their boards in order to see what sort of content they are pinning. When a person gets a new follower on Pinterest, they usually receive an email alerting them of this, so this will get your name in front of them. But don’t just stop there, follow the pinners that they follow to see what sort of things they’ve been pinning as well.
  2. Repin their pins: If they’re a big blogger, they may not notice your name in their email right away, but if you keep repining their pins, your name will consistently show up in their Pinterest feed/email feed. The goal is to get them to see who you are and see that you’ve been taking a genuine interest in their content before they see you’ve pitched them.
  3. Like/comment their pins: These are just other ways of interacting with their content. There’s a lot less commitment involved than actually repining something and it will show up in their Pinterest news feed as well. Commenting will get more notice than just a “like” because people tend to read the comments on pins before they re-pin them.
  4. Tweet/Facebook post about their pins (& tag them): Most likely if they’re on Pinterest, they probably have a Facebook and Twitter page associated with their blog as well. As your client, make sure when you like one of their pins, or repin some of their content from their blog, you post about it on Twitter or Facebook and give them proper recognition by tagging them. Maybe they don’t watch their Pinterest feed very often but they will definitely be watching their Twitter @replies or Facebook mentions.
  5. Email them and reference their Pinterest content: Finally, once you’ve spent some time getting to know this blogger and the types of things they like to pin/blog about, you can email them about your client. Make sure you mention that you have been following their pins and like their style.

At this point, they should recognize that you’ve been following all their social media efforts and they will appreciate that, especially if you actually read their blog and know what they like to read about. From there, help them see how your client would align nicely with their current blog/social media topics. Reference things they’ve posted/pinned about before for extra points.

What to know before you pitch a blogger

Bloggers are media. They have more and more influence and reach than ever. You can be a blogger and follow blogs. Dip your toe in the blog water and just join a blogging group. You can participate on several blogging groups such as Blogher, DivineCaroline, Betterfly. Follow those bloggers who match your interests, business type, etc. Then you can get a feel for connecting to them. When you want to pitch them, make sure you do your homework. Just like with traditional media sources you’ll want to know

  • the blogger’s audience-who reads them
  • their reach-where else besides their blog can you find them: books, media outlets, social media
  • their look and style. The Blaspheming Bitch is delicious, but may not be for your business audience
  • what their criteria is for working with them. The best interchange I’ve seen is from TheBloggess. She was pitched to cover a celebrity. She doesn’t do celebrity endorsements. She gets so many of them that she has a standard, if snarky, reply. Great advice. Someone took offense to receiving the Will Wheaton collating paper photo. She wrote a blog on the worst PR pitch that got the PR firm fired for the way it was unprofessionally handled. Just a warning, she swears. A lot. So do I, just not usually on my blog.
  • Just as with regular media, don’t try to get the bloggers to be your personal salesman or pitch woman. They don’t do that.

What you can learn from a case study

Last fall I offered three clients a case study opportunity–they’d get a six month coaching session in exchange for my ability to discuss. All three were grateful for the opportunity and acknowledged they could use help in their marketing plans. We scheduled the times from fall through the first quarter of the new year. What I’m finding is time and value can be culprits to planning or intentions.

One client hopes to actually use the offer to train a staff person. But health issues and client influx ( a good problem to have) prevent this client from taking advantage of the offer. A second client hoped to delegate the role to a family member in the business. But scheduling, prioritizing a free service,not fully being able to delegate because of obligations and skills has prevented this client from participating. The third client is finding that prioritizing the biggest key-so the coaching has gone in fits and starts.

For the business client with both retail and service we started with breaking down the everest of planning into rolling hills to overcome week by week. Our work is helping the client determine which elements to start, flesh out till  proficient, and what to add. Prioritizing the marketing approaches likely to bring effective marketing with the time resources.

Start with your website. Make it current, interesting, able to capture contact and using key words and content worth sharing.

Second work the lists you have. Updates need to go to clients-either via email, direct mail, social media, texting–whatever your channels. But talk to your clients. Give them a call to action-make them your sales force, while keeping your business top of mind.

Expand to find new audiences–could be social media, publicity, traditional media, events–all depends on the audience and time/resources of the business.

Coaching helps do a couple of things: create deadlines and accountability; and it helps justify when its time to delegate or outsource. Coaching helps you determine the plan and figure out how to realistically accomplish marketing when you are a small business owner.

Are you asking questions?

MCASwiki picture. Site no longer updated.

To find out what your clients want, sometimes the best thing to do is ask them. Take advantage of the survey options available. You can go to online tools like such as Survey Monkey or Zoomerang. Depending on budget you can mail, do phone, in person.

Five elements of newsworthy for business

How do you get into the news? You can’t just send a press release that looks like a sales sheet and get coverage.

As with everything we start with in public relations: look at the audience. Remember when dealing with the media you have TWO audiences–the media itself and their audience. Be sure you’ve targeted the media most likely to be the news platform your target audience is connecting too.

For the News factor, you need to know what is news. The majority of news today seems to be either conflict, celebrities or the bizarre. But to get news attention as your business try

  • Opportune: define what in your business is NO—expanding space and going green while you’re at it? New invention?
  • Planned timeliness: CPAs can always provide tax advice before April. Healing arts specialists can make suggestions in January when people are starting fitness resolutions or overdoing their resolutions.
  • Prevailing: describe the long term solutions what you offer provides.  Bringing new businesses to the area? Expanding Nevada products to overseas markets? Impacting the educational assessment tools to help school systems be more proficient?
  • Mutual: discuss the benefits large numbers of people would be interested. This one gets tricky–this isn’t a commercial and you can’t love your stuff so much that you can’t see when you are writing one. More likely provide info from a case study proving the community improvements your product makes. Another example, a contractor client uses a paint that helps reduce energy costs and could have been a preventative coating when fires raged through our community.
  • Personal: people do business with people they know, like and trust. Look for news opportunities to showcase either you or an employee. Not the time to be modest, it’s okay to apply for those “15 minutes of fame” type stories. Really can’t see yourself featured, perhaps you can pitch the story based on a client that you helped. Or do a company philanthropic effort that features your business giving back to the community.

There are two types of news: Things that go boom and everything else. Keep in mind your story may not make it if there is a community emergency, a natural disaster, business blight or, you get the idea. Be considerate of the news outlets’ deadlines. And be sure to use appropriate media release format. Remember too that you can always put your news article on your website, even if the “news” doesn’t pick it up. See you in the news!