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Ask Mark Coker your PR questions

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    dovetaildovetail subscriber Posts: 1
    Hi Brandon,
    Congrats on the book mention.  First, I`m going to assume that the mention is favorable, and that it conveys messages about you or your company that you want heard by a broad audience of prospective customers, clients, media and peers.
    A few quick options for your consideration. 
    1.  From a general marketing perspective, you should promote the book mention on your site, because (I assume) the messages it contains about you lend greater credibility to you, your company and your vision.  Provide links to the book (sign up for the Amazon affiliate program and you`ll even earn a commission on book sales).
    2.  Mention in your "About" myplace2sell section that your company was featured in this book, and consider extracting a quote for this or other marketing pages (of course, get permission from the author or publisher, which won`t be a problem).
    3.  You might consider contracting for a special printing of the book.  Many book printers will happily sell you 500 or 5,000 or so custom-printed books with custom book jackets (that prominent call out your mention or inclusion in the book, as well as even marketing pages bound into the book).  The idea is you give these books away to clients, prospective clients or media to impress them, or to communicate a certain message to them. 
    4.  You could write a press release to announce your inclusion in the book.  You`d post the release on your web site so clients and prospective clients can read it.  If you have an email list or email newsletter, you can link to the release or excerpt it (best option, with a hyperlink back to your press room).  And of course, if you maintain a press list of media with whom you regularly communicate, you can email the release to them as an fyi, but only if you think the book or your contribution to the book would be of sincere interest to them.  Before you contact the media, you should ask the author or publisher if they`d be willing to mail copies of the book to your media contacts who request it.  If the answer is yes, then incorporate this offer into your campaign.
    Good luck!
    Mark
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    beautifullifebeautifullife subscriber Posts: 3
    Mark,
    Thanks for providing such a wonderful service.
    I have a small business representing talent (bands and individuals
    who are asked to perform on college campuses during orientations, conferences,
    etc.).
    I’m comfortable handling the PR for the band and singers I
    work with, but I have a bit of a PR challenge with a speaker I’m working with.
    Without going into a lot of detail her story is truly
    remarkable, she went from being homeless to graduating near the top of her
    college class. She is a very down-to-earth personality. Very authentic.
    She is getting rave reviews and every college she has spoken
    at wants her back. How can I go about getting her national coverage without
    going against her brand? Will “pitching”
    her story somehow weaken her story? Ideally, I would like to get her one piece
    of national coverage.
    Thanks!
    Keena
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    dovetaildovetail subscriber Posts: 1
    Hi Keena,
    You will build her "brand" by securing her positive press coverage, especially the national press coverage you desire.  The challenge with any pitch is to make that pitch compelling, relevant and targeted.  If you succeed on all three counts, then you`ll never harm the reputation of a client by pitching them to the media.
    Behind nearly every great brand -- whether the brand relates to a person, product, service or company -- is often a great PR person who knows how to motivate the media to cover the story.
    Good luck!
    Mark
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    beautifullifebeautifullife subscriber Posts: 3
    Thanks Mark
    I guess was concerned that by pitching I was taking away from her brand quality of being authentic and genuine (which she is). In other words,  I thought that if I pitched her story somehow she would be perceived as being less genuine. But I gather you are saying that is not likely.
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    PRProPRPro subscriber Posts: 25
    Hi Keena,
     
    Mark is right. If you take the time to prepare a targeted story angle for a specific press member, you will be able to project the brand that you want.
     
    Before picking up the phone, conduct your research and figure out exactly what message you want to get across. By preparing in advance, you will have more control over what the press says about your client and the image you want to project.
     
    Just my two cents..
     
    All the best,
    Melanie
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    dovetaildovetail subscriber Posts: 1
    Keena,
    A well-reasoned, credible and targeted pitch only serves to increase the reputation of your client.  My view is that if the dissemination of the story provides some societal benefit (educational, enlightening, entertaining) to the target audience of the reporter, then you`re doing a public service by getting the word out.  The key, as you hint at, is authenticity. 
    By contrast, bad PR is PR that misrepresents the truth, or causes the recipient of the message to arrive to an inaccurate conclusion. Take, for example, any PR done by tobacco companies.  They often do deceptive public service announcements designed to make you think the company cares about the health or well being of their customers.  Yeah, right. 
    Go forth and pitch!
    Best,
    Mark
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    beautifullifebeautifullife subscriber Posts: 3
    Mark and Melanie,
    Thank you so much!
    Keena
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    PRProPRPro subscriber Posts: 25
    Hi Tim,
     
    Thanks for sharing this with us.
     
    I`m off to a meeting, but just a few quick notes: Is it possible to edit some of this out and make it a little more reader-friendly? The paragraphs are pretty long, and it is difficult to get the specifics and "newsworthy" aspects of the release just from glancing at it.
     
    Also, are you planning to pitch the news to specific media members as an exclusive prior to posting the release? You can get some good coverage this way before you even spend a dime on a press-release distribution service.
     
    Just my quick thoughts...
    Melanie
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    dovetaildovetail subscriber Posts: 1
    Hi Netuser,
    Thanks for the question.  Some notes:
    -  There`s a typo in your headline
    - Two paragraphs in to your release, the reader doesn`t know who Ojolie.com is or what the company does.  This is important context, without which the reader will become confused and will stop reading.  It also better conforms to the inverted pyramid style of writing.  I prefer press releases that identify the issuer up front, such as "Ojolie.com, a provider of animated ecards, today releases a Tibetan-themed ecard, free, as a public service.  The card is available at [hyperlink].
    -  I`d added hyperlink to the first paragraph, because the reader may not know to click on it in the head or subhead.
    - for more on the inverted pyramid, go to google and search:  Wikipedia inverted pyramid and it`s the first result.
    -  re: press release services, my firm typically uses PRNewswire though you`re probably fine with PRWeb or some of the others.  Remember that 95%+ of your best press placements will come from your own proactive efforts.
    Good luck!
    Mark
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    PRProPRPro subscriber Posts: 25
    Hi Netuser,
    When developing your exclusive pitch, think about the reporter who will be most interested in your reports and news. This will take some research on your part. Look online for stories related to your news and the media members who cover this beat.
    Then, simply call the reporter and give him/her the most newsworthy information first and offer the exclusive story prior to announcing it to others.
    Try not to be too much of a pest - If they are not interested, move on to the next reporter on your "exclusive pitch list."
    And if a reporter is interested in your exclusive story, be sure not to divulge the information to anyone else. The reporter will not be happy, and you will not develop a good reputation in the media community.
     
    Hope this helps,
    Melanie
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    ScholtyScholty subscriber Posts: 0
    Tim and Melanie,
    May I be so bold and ask for feedback on a release of mine that I`m trying to send out tomorow or soon there after?  And if you have a sec an opinion on the site overall would be awesome!
    Press Release

    It`s a `just for fun` website that I created a few months ago and I am not anticipating a profit from.  This is a trial run for me, using something I have fun with, in order to learn about what works etc. when I`m going to promote actual products.
    In response to your last message about `exclusives`, should I try that route first before trying to spend money on a PR service?
    Thank you so much for your time and energy.Scholty6/11/2008 1:20 AM
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    PRProPRPro subscriber Posts: 25
    Hi Scholty,
     
    Thanks for sharing this with us. I think you have a great idea!
     
    Before you send out your press release, I highly suggest that you call key media members first (see http://www.startupnation.com/blogs/inde ... s-nothing/) and share your story.
     
    I think there would be a lot of interest in your unique business and background. If you do this, take the press release off of your site until the exclusive runs.
     
    In the meantime, I would suggest shortening your release and having an editor review it for grammatical issues. (You could even have PR Web edit and send out the release for you for a limited amount.) After all, you want your first impression to be a good one.
     
    Your site looks nice, but it needs to have more clarity. As soon as I go to the home page, I need to know what you have to offer and if I`m in the right place in just a few seconds.
     
    These are just a few thoughts. I`m sure others on this community will have more input for you.
     
    All the best,
    Melanie
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    ScholtyScholty subscriber Posts: 0
    Melanie,
    Thank you so much for your constructive criticism.  If you would like to give the homepage another look, I have changed it just a bit to make it more clear to the reader per your suggestion.
    Will pull the press release.  Should I also pull the first article by our new writer?
    Am going to put a new article/interview in its place later on tonight if this is what you suggest.
    Do you know who at a newspaper etc. I should contact?  The lifestyle/family section or?
    Thank you again for your valuable input!Scholty6/11/2008 1:58 PM
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    PRProPRPro subscriber Posts: 25
    Hi Scholty,
     
    I like the update on the website. There`s no need to pull the new article.
     
    But I really think you need to focus on what you want people to do when they visit your website. Right now, you provide a little information, but it is confusing.
     
    Try to be perfectly clear what you want visitors to do and what you want them to take away from your site.
     
    As far as reporter contacts, this is going to take some research on your part. I`d start with the local newspaper. Look for a reporter who writes about your subject matter.
     
    But before you start looking for media attention, you may want to make sure your site is ready to go. You don`t want to risk making a bad first impression - with potential visitors and the press.
     
    Gotta run, but that`s my two cents. Anyone else?
     
    Thanks,
    Melanie
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    luxdesignsluxdesigns subscriber Posts: 0
     
     
    Hi Mark,
    I`ve read all of the fantastic advice you have given others and truly appreciate your time. I would like your insights into utilizing PR for my Business. It is a Travel/Events firm. The firm specializes in group travel- (higher-end trips) for corporate clients (meetings, incentives, corporate outings etc) and also leisure special interest group trips,affinity cruises, destination events etc. Selling airline tickets, (although we can sell them in conjunction with the groups) and other "traditional" travel agent duties is not our core.
     
    My question is how can I use PR to truly launch this company? I did send out a release detailing the new firm and it did receive some mentions. (not many). I know it is appealing to a narrow niche so I wasn`t even sure if PR might work? Can PR work for small boutique travel companies??  I`ve tried some advertising (mainly online) but that really does not seem to work well. I do have a professionally done website and we are located in a large metro area. I`m not a novice in the travel/events field but this is my first business. Any advice is greatly appreciated!
     
    Lux
    luxdesigns6/11/2008 11:33 PM
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