A Couple PR Spring Training Tips Just in Case You Missed Our Call!

I had a blast on Weds hosting a free PR Spring Training course and was so glad so many of you could join me.  It's often hard to weed through all the messages about what to do, when to do it, or what's a "must know".   Because of this I was happy to share some tactics that you should be employing RIGHT NOW if you are hoping to see results two weeks, or two m

Read This: In Marketing, Say How to Find You

This is a post that was inspired not once, but twice from people yelling outside of my window. The message, however, is deeply important and supremely simple. Yet, many of us overlook it. So let it serve as a reminder. If it doesn't bring you sales, it may just save your life.

First, let's set the stage: I live in a building in New York City, several floors up. I have windows on all sides of my apartment, and it is generally quiet, save for chirping birds, emergency sirens, and the occasional store-front protective metal door being closing at night. I am a Home Office Worker who has been working from home for two years.

Every summer afternoon at 3:00pm, a group of young adults get onto a microphone, and start yelling about a Yogi Bear Club where they are going to provide entertainment of some sort to kids. The yelling begins at the strike of 3pm every day, which is very distracting, and all I can do is wonder where they are. I have been outside during these afternoon hours to run errands, but have never seen this club meeting. I picture it to be a giant puppet show out the side of a truck, but have no idea. Only recently did they start mentioning Christian things, so I have learned that they are associated a faith-based related program of some sort.

In the winter, they have stopped their shows. For Easter, they did a special edition, and fired up the microphones at 1pm. They were shouting: "Come on! It's time for the Yogi Bear Club! We're going to start, it will be fun, etc. etc." After several of these encouraging announcements, they finally stated what they were doing: an Easter egg hunt. And not long after that, they finally stated: "Get up! Get out of bed! Come down to W. 103rd and Amsterdam! We are having an Easter egg hunt! Get out of bed! Come see us at W. 103rd and Amsterdam!"

By jove! An address! After all of these years! It occurred to me in that moment that for two years, they have never stated this. Or stated it once and did not repeat it. Not only that, but their language shifted to one that was speaking to people in buildings, who they presumed were sleeping. If this had been a Home Office Rally of some sort, had they said "Get off of your computer and get some fresh air!", that might have done the trick for me.

What I learned: They had neglected to state the most obvious piece of information that could get me there: their address. And, they thought about their audience and what their audience may be doing, and used a message that appealed directly to that audience. Business owners may forget this when they are Twittering, and forget to mention a website of where to find something. Or a postcard design may have a website address in an hard to notice spot. I know I've done it.

As I was developing a website proposal for a client, I heard a one-word shout outside. I heard it a few times. Sounded something like: "Bob!" I wondered if it it was a person in distress, but decided that it was not. The sound got closer, and I imagined that it was a woman looking for her son or lost dog. She started to speak a sentence, that sounded like: "Bob! Come home!" Eh, I ignored it and put full concentration back into my proposal.

The shout continued, and suddenly the word "...elevator..." floated into my open window. Now "elevator", spoken by a shouting person, can only mean one thing: they are stuck. I ran to my window, and shouted: "Where are you?". She muffled something back about the evelator being stuck. But, I needed to find her. Finally, I shouted: "What address? What building are you in?" And sure enough, she was in my building (our elevator does get a little sketchy from time to time), and I put two and two together, and recognized her voice right away as my downstairs neighbor. The elevator got stuck, but she was not inside of it, rather in the basement doing laundry, and came out the basement doors to a back patio area to call for help. I called our Super, who was 4 blocks away, had him come down to get her, informed her of what I did, and called it a night.

What I learned: Again with the address, and a non-traditional word. The main point of her message was that she was trapped in a building and needed to be found. Calling "Help! Help!" yeilded nothing from anyone for several minutes. And there are a lot of people around her in buildings. Using unexpected words, like "elevator" is what called my attention.

Overall Takeaway: Think extra carefully about your audience. What are they doing at the moment you are sending them a marketing message? Are you emailing on a holiday? Are you emailing during a dead-zone of time? Are you Twittering a very important message about your new earrings that are for sale during a flurry of live Tweeting about the Presidential Debates? Are you bragging about your product, but forgetting to include your URL? Are you selling something niche online and want to improve your SEO, but not using that niche word anywhere in your copy because it is so obvious to you, but if you don't say it, Google will have no idea that you specialize in this?

So. Think about your audience and what appeals to them at that moment. And don't forget to make it very clear on how to reach you. :)

How to use PR to become an "Overnight Success"

I moved to New York City years ago as a former high school teacher with big dreams of finding my true calling and leading an exciting, passionnate, and successful life.  When I daydreamed about doing just that I'd often be playing the song "Only in New York" in my head, which includes the line

How to Make the Most of your Spring/Summer Trips: Expert on Tour

It's that time of year when many of you are planning  quick getaways for your spring or summer vacations.  Even if this only consists of a road trip, here's an idea that could possibly net you more brand buzz, more sales, and give you a couple hours of "fun work" to log, meaning you can enjoy the rest of your vacation that much more!

Expert on Tour:

While packing your swim trunks or hiking gear for your upcoming vacations/road trips, be sure not to forget your media kits and a great tv outfit - as it could well be time to take your expertise or cool business story on the road!  If you have a business that can share some seasonal tips (lean meals for summer, how to create a staycation at home, family road trip advice,  must-haves for summer fashion, how to keep the kids out of trouble in the summer, etc) or if you are an expert with a great story and bit of advice to share, why not think ahead and try to book yourself some press in the city you are visiting.

Why not?  This is what pr firms do, why shouldn't you?  Call ahead to news stations in your destination city and pitch yourself as an expert on tour.  Have a one-sheet ( one page:  short bio, talking points, headshot) and some great segment ideas ready to go.

Be sure you include contact information and the times and dates you will be available.  Any old reels or media you have that can support you as an expert is great to include here as well!  Then pitch and follow up beginning 6-8 weeks before your arrival, in order to time their calendar. 

The more seasonal or relatable the story the better - so think about how you can spin yourself into a great short lead story!

TIP:  to find the best media information for the city you are visiting just google their local news stations and call the information desk or news desk number, which is always provided online.  Bonus points if you read through the website first to get familiar with the studio and networks style and reporters!

Bon Voyage!

Don't Send a Naked Sample, and Other Rules about Mailing Products & Media Kits

We've been taught since we were young not to judge a book by its cover.  Unfortunately when sending out anything from your media kit to a sample, that's often exactly what happens.  Because of this, there are certain rules you must always follow to be sure that a) your product gets to exactly where it's going, b) people know what it is and all the information about it they need and c) th

How Gossip Girl* Changes Brands (*and all those other shows you secretly watch)

If you happened to be on Tin Shingle (or my personal) Facebook or Twitter pages today, you may have heard our buzzing about three great brands featured on Gossip Girl :  Gemma Redux, Kara James Bags, and Lust4Luxe handbags.

What Worked: Pitches

Yesterday I had a lovely afternoon chatting with another female entrepreneur, partly to catch up and partly to celebrate a slam dunk she had with her own pr campaign - Crains and NPR - great, serious business plugs!

Of course I was thinking of all of you and how I could translate her success at pitching those outlets into yours!  Then I began thinking, as the president of an agency that has placed clients everywhere from O Mag to CNBC, and with the great fortune of working with amazing strategists, entrepreneurs, and publicists who have done the same for themselves and others, why not show you real examples of what worked?  

And so it was written!  What Worked: Pitches will launch this week, and I will search far and wide for real examples and anecdotes of what worked that YOU can use!

Stay tuned, this week we will begin with Crain's Business & NPR!  If you yourself have a great pitch that worked, send it to us, and perhaps you'll find you and your business in  a What Worked: Pitches blog soon!

Happy Pitching!



It's Mother's Day in Short Lead Media!

Hey Ladiesssss!

Happy Monday!  To steal a line from Sesame Street, "M is for Monday's"  and it's also for Mother's Day!  If you are a product that would make a great Mother's Day gift now is the time to reach out to your short lead outlets and not a moment later!  May is also sweeps time for television which means competition is even stiffer so be sure your pitch pops!

Short lead, constituting blogs, newspapers, radio, and television (as well as any weekly magazines) are already planning their Mother's Day issues.  Have you submitted your line sheets, samples, or pitches?  If so you should definitely be in follow-up right now! 

Be sure you keep your pitch quick and to the point and make it clear via your headline why you are emailing them.  For instance, be sure to mention if it's:

Eco-friendly Mother's Day Gifts
Under $100.00
Under $25.00

When you pitch rememeber to quickly introduce yourself, explain why their readers/viewers would enjoy the product, and be sure you have a great looking website with a functioning cart to share with them.  Don't send attachments, and copy/paste your most recent press release in the body below your pitch for more information.

Clock is ticking!  Get moving!

Your Local Press: How & When to Pitch

Telling your story to your local press is key to your company's publicity campaign plan.  Whether you live in New York City or San Diego, pitching your local news has multiple benefits:

It's less competitive than your national news stations, and a local story with an interesting, trendy angle which both female entrepreneurship and small business are:

Is easier to land than a coveted spot on The Oprah Winfrey Show.

It can convert to quick sales and perhaps local retail interest, local partnerships, and allows you to create
relationships with the press for future stories.

Local press allows you to practice for the "big leagues" and get footage for a reel, necessary for national
television press

You can severage your local and regional media hits!  Local press often turns into more local press of different mediums such as newspaper and radio.

That said there are specific ways you should go about pitching your local television stations:

Watch the station you wish to pitch and decide what time slots and segments you fit into the best. 

Call at an opportune time, ie, know when not to call...If you are reaching out to a producer or even the news desk during there larger news hours (drive time before or after work, lunch news, evening news) your chances of having a useful and unrushed pitch are slim to none.  Reach out after the morning news or after the lunch news break when things have slowed down. 

Don't forget weekends and holidays: Just because most of the working world has weekends off doesn't mean the news desks close down.  Reaching out to producers and assignment desks is actually much easier on weekends and after hours.  You are competing with fewer callers (including go get 'em publicists) and it's also a great time to find the producers who cover weekends segments, which tend to be lighter and not heavy news, what many of your stories most likely will be.

Create a reputation as a local expert in your area of expertise.  This way when a breaking national news story that you can address occurs, you will be the first they call, or when you reach out to them after seeing a story you can bring a new angle to (which you should) you will be a familiar and trustworthy source.

Reach out and get your company active in your community - another great way to raise visibility.

Let them know you have great: visuals, facts, food, drinks....all great ways to lure in the press.

Finally, when you do a segment, be easy to work with, organized, and always send a thank you note. 

Great first impressions often lead to second and third opportunities!

**Core Members:  Can't find the number for a local news station?  Email us and we'll put it into our media database asap!


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