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Why Press Releases Don’t Work Anymore

Posted by on Oct 30, 2014 in PR Insider | Comments Off on Why Press Releases Don’t Work Anymore

Why Press Releases Don’t Work Anymore

And Something That Will… At EMSI, we don’t use conventional press releases to secure media coverage for our clients and we haven’t for nearly 25 years. I realized early on that they just weren’t effective at getting the quality and quantity of publicity we guarantee. So we tried to make it as easy as possible for journalists and talk show hosts to use our content and book our clients as guests. We began writing newsworthy articles in a ready-to-publish format and we crafted talk show segments that we “produced” on paper. It worked! Back then, almost all public relations companies relied on press releases. Today, that’s changing. More marketers are realizing that the standard press release – basically, an announcement that the sender hopes will catch the interest of the media and inspire an article or interview request – just doesn’t work anymore. Why? The traditional media all have websites – 24/7 news outlets that constantly require fresh, new, high-quality content to attract visitors. Online staff trying to “feed the beast” are far more likely to post a well-written, newsworthy article than an announcement about a company milestone, new product or change in personnel. Newspaper, magazine, TV and talk radio staffs have been dwindling for years. The number of newspaper journalists alone has dropped more than 30 percent since 2000, according to the Pew Research Center. Smaller staffs mean less time for turning conventional press releases into interesting articles and talk show segments. Before the Internet, we relied solely on traditional media to publish or broadcast the news. Conventional press releases were our private plea to them. Today, anyone can publish and broadcast via the web. While that doesn’t diminish the value of newspapers, TV and radio – they still have clout, credibility and large audiences – it does change how we communicate with them. Curious what one of EMSI Public Relations’ custom news pitches can do for you? Take a look at the results we’ve had for our clients. So, what can you do to get publicity for your new product or book, company milestone and recent award? First, think about what would make that news item interesting to someone who’s never heard of you or your business. Does your new product address a problem that a lot of people share? Can you cite documented statistics or studies that reveal the breadth of the problem and/or its consequences? Can you share tips for dealing with the problem? If your company is celebrating a milestone, such as 50 years in business, can you offer insights into how your industry has changed in those five decades and what those changes have meant to consumers? Can you offer them a glimpse of what your industry may offer them in the future? If you’re celebrating an award, others will appreciate learning from your success. What steps did you take? What lessons did you learn? Use those answers to write a short, objective news story – one that doesn’t include subjective adjectives, like “wonderful new product” or “innovative, ground-breaking company” – or to pitch publications and talk shows. Work in advance – it’s better to send your pitch before your news is old news! But before you do, do your homework. Familiarize yourself with the publications or shows you’re pitching. Don’t waste your time...

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Afraid to Admit that You Don’t Understand Social Media?

Posted by on Oct 21, 2014 in PR Insider | Comments Off on Afraid to Admit that You Don’t Understand Social Media?

Afraid to Admit that You Don’t Understand Social Media?

I talk to a lot of business owners and authors who don’t “get” social media. A year or two ago when I’d speak with them, most were quick to say they didn’t understand it and didn’t need to. Today what I hear is: “I know I’m supposed to be doing that, so I have a Facebook account.” Or, “Yeah, I’ve got my teenaged nephew taking care of that.” Unfortunately, simply posting occasional announcements about upcoming sales or telling people why they should use your service or read your book is not social media marketing and it’s not helping you. In fact, if that’s all you’re doing, it could be hurting you! What’s worse, you’re not taking advantage of what could become the most powerful tool in your marketing arsenal. Why? Need help boosting your social media marketing? EMSI’s social media experts are some of the brightest minds in the field and can take you to the next level. Learn more about EMSI’s social media marketing here. Social media is the world’s biggest cocktail party and everyone’s there – including your competitors and your potential customers. I first heard the cocktail party analogy from marketing guru David Meerman Scott, who used it in his best-seller, The New Rules of Marketing & PR, published in 2007. It immediately clarified for me why social media networks are marketing gold. Imagine walking into a networking party at a hotel. People are roaming around, engaging with folks they know and being introduced to those they don’t know. They’re talking about the economy, the weather, the price of milk. You get into a nice chat with someone and he asks what you do for a living. If it were me, I’d say, “I’ve got a national PR company that specializes in publicity.” The person might say, “Wow, I’ve got a friend interested in that. Let me introduce you!” The friend may or may not be present at this cocktail party. But if that same conversation happened on a social network like Facebook, that friend and dozens more would be so close by, they may actually be “listening” to your conversation.  That’s what makes social media so much more valuable as a marketing tool.  You can be exposed to thousands more potential customers than you would through traditional networking channels. How does that happen?  Social media users stay connected by “following” one another. If I’m following you, I can see your conversations. Post something clever and I might share it with my followers, who may also share it with their followers. Before you know it, you and your brilliance may be exposed to hundreds of thousands of strangers. Some of them will become your followers and, voila! You have a growing audience. But it won’t happen if you don’t have a plan and don’t apply cocktail party rules of etiquette. What works on social media – and what doesn’t – are the same things that work (and don’t) when you’re networking at that hotel conference room party: Go in with a plan. If you’re going to a party to network, you have goals. Maybe you want to find prospective clients or get people interested in your upcoming project. You identify your target demographics and learn which influencers will be at the party – the local media, politicians,...

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The Challenges of Working with Family

Posted by on Sep 23, 2014 in PR Insider | Comments Off on The Challenges of Working with Family

The Challenges of Working with Family

A couple of weeks ago, I agreed to be a guest on a radio talk show that I thought would focus on marketing tips. But – as I always warn people preparing for their first talk radio interviews – the host can sometimes take the conversation in a completely different direction. In this case, the hosts had noticed there are four Friedmans at EMSI Public Relations: my husband and me, our son and our daughter-in-law. That prompted them to ask about the dynamics of working in a business with so many family members. “Oh, we’re not the only family at EMSI,” I told her. “There’s two other married couples, plus a mother and daughter. But, that said, our whole company is really like one big family, whether or not the employees are related by blood or marriage.” Since those hosts seemed so curious about the dynamics of working with family, I thought you might be, too. After all, 90 percent of all small businesses are family owned and operated according to the Small Business Administration. While we’re not perfect, I think we owe at least some of our business’s success to learning how to work every day alongside the people we married or gave birth to. Here are a few things we’ve noticed help a lot: Arrange for the entire staff to spend fun time together. I think this is important for nurturing genuine caring, which is essential to forming a tight-knit team, just like a tight-knit family. Co-workers who care about one another tend to jump in to help when they see someone struggling, so whatever’s “broken” quickly gets fixed. They encourage one another, and they’re more honest about their feelings, so disputes tend to be aired and resolved rather than allowed to fester. Some of that caring comes from spending time together doing non-work activities. A couple of weeks ago we took a Friday afternoon so the whole office could go bowling. And on Halloween, we’re clearing off our desks for a pumpkin-carving contest. These fun events help relationships expand and grow. Don’t talk about work during your commute – or once you get home. For two of our younger married couples, this is fairly easy. They head straight from the office to the day care to pick up their kids. From then till bedtime, it’s all about the children. But for my husband and me, it would be easy to rehash the day’s events, dissect problems, or work through plans after we leave the office. Instead, we talk about family things, friends, movies, the weekend ahead. I think it’s important to have a healthy interest in concerns and activities beyond the office walls; you can’t be happy if you’re consumed by just one aspect of your life. (I know – been there, done that!) If there’s an upset, whether it’s between spouses or unrelated employees, keep it contained. I’ve read experts who say you should never display anger at work, and others who say doing so can be a good thing. Personally, I can’t think of any instance when people who witness a blow-up are more productive, creative, resourceful or innovative in the aftermath. Angry outbursts create tension, and when you’re really angry, you’re likely to say things you later wish no one else had heard....

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Tips for Overcoming a Fear of Public Speaking

Posted by on Feb 13, 2014 in PR Insider | Comments Off on Tips for Overcoming a Fear of Public Speaking

Tips for Overcoming a Fear of Public Speaking

Recently, I was asked to be a panelist for a webinar about using the power of publicity to achieve your goals. The participants asked great questions.

The first: “How do you step into the spotlight when you don’t like the spotlight?”

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The Most Rewarding Marketing Mistake I Ever Made

Posted by on Dec 16, 2013 in PR Insider | 0 comments

The Most Rewarding Marketing Mistake I Ever Made

Recently, a colleague asked me, “What was the most rewarding mistake you ever made in business?” It’s a great question, and I quickly had an answer for him because it was an incredibly painful mistake

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Slider 2

Posted by on Nov 29, 2013 in Sliders | 0 comments

Slider 2

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Slider One

Posted by on Nov 29, 2013 in Sliders | 0 comments

Slider One

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3 People Who’ve Helped Me In Business

Posted by on Nov 6, 2013 in PR Insider | 0 comments

3 People Who’ve Helped Me In Business

I love it when I’m asked a question that really makes me think. The latest was, “Who are three people you credit with helping you in business, and what did you learn from them?”

That wasn’t an easy one – there have been so many! Thinking it through made me realize that my answers might help someone else. So, here are just three that come to mind right away.

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Capitalize On the Family in Your Business

Posted by on Sep 25, 2013 in PR Insider | 0 comments

Capitalize On the Family in Your Business

I discovered an interesting statistic recently – 90 percent of all small businesses in the United States are family-owned. That got me thinking about the positive impact working with family can have on everything from marketing to sales to customer service.

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Business Lessons I’ve Learned As A Small Business CEO

Posted by on Sep 18, 2013 in PR Insider | 0 comments

Business Lessons I’ve Learned As A Small Business CEO

I found a fascinating website while trolling around the Internet recently. It’s called Statistic Brain and it has data and rankings on all kinds of topics, from hair loss to consumer spending. The numbers that caught my eye had to do with start-up business failures. Did you know 25 percent of start-ups strike out within the first year? Thirty-six go down in the second, and 44 percent in the third. Nearly three-quarters of businesses that start in one year will be shuttered 10 years later. Why? “Incompetence” is the No. 1 reason, according to Statistic Brain. My fun new website cites specific pitfalls including “living too high for the business,” “lack of planning” and – this one’s a doozy – “non-payment of taxes!” All those numbers made me want to pat myself on the back. My company is in its 23rd year, which sounds ancient by Statistic Brain’s standards. It hasn’t always been smooth sailing; there was one terrifying year in the wake of 9/11 that we very nearly went belly-up. But I changed course, pulled out of the storm, and emerged much wiser. Reading the alarming stats on Statistic Brain made me think about what I’ve learned in my two-plus decades in starting and growing a small business. Much of what I know now came from painful experience; something I wouldn’t wish on anyone. So, in the hope of preventing others from learning the hard way, I thought I’d share some of the lessons that have proved most valuable to me. Be flexible when building your team. You hired Person A to do Job A, but as you get to know him, you find he has talents and skills better suited to another job – possibly even a job you haven’t identified! Be open to switching things up. Your business will benefit from having the right people in the right jobs, and your employees will be happier and more productive when they’re doing what they’re really good at doing. No one I know enjoys work they find too easy – boring! – or too challenging. You’ll have a great, loyal team if you play to individuals’ strengths. Don’t spend more than you make. It may sound like a no-brainer, but based on Statistic Brain’s numbers, far too many people make that deadly mistake. If your product or service isn’t earning enough to pay the bills, it may be time to re-evaluate what you’re offering. Is there a demand for it? Is it a quality product or service? Do you need to cut expenses – even forego taking a salary – to balance the budget while you build up the business? If you make the mistake of relying on credit or investors to pay for your daily expenses, it’s going to be difficult to evaluate whether or not your business model is working. If you borrow, invest it in the company. If you’re going to draw a salary from that money, don’t be tempted to take more than you absolutely need to survive. If your lifestyle is a little uncomfortable, you will be far more motivated to do whatever it takes to make your business thrive. Don’t allow marketing to fall by the wayside. One of the most important components of any business plan is its marketing strategy. Too often, people don’t think that through...

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