Look at the bigger picture from the perspective of a dentist, landlord and supermarket clerk. What is their desire or need in the community? For themselves? For their business? Which are the most pressing issues for them regarding time and money? Invite a dentist, landlord or clerk for a coffee chat, ask these questions and listen as you put yourself in her shoes.
Although new to the art licensing industry, Janet familiarized herself very quickly and used her business-savvy to develop unique story angles, which resulted in unprecedented coverage of the annual SURTEX trade shows in 2012 and 2013.
Make an appointment with yourself to address one of the seven Communication goal questions each day for the next week. As a reminder, when setting a Communication goal, the acronym S M A R T guides you to successful completion of the goal: Specific, Meaningful, Action Oriented, Realistic and Timely.
Our firm had been debating the marketing/brand awareness value of the holiday cards that we sent out each year when we read Janet Falk’s newsletter on the subject. […] Janet helped us design a new card that stood out from the pack — with our firm name on the cover and a classy message inside. […]
When you agree with and like another’s LinkedIn post, make this opportunity work for you. Take the time to respond to the person and the discussion, as you like it. COMMENT to indicate: what you agree or disagree with; how this confirms or disproves the trend; what the discussion overlooks; how this relates to another topic or lesson learned; why this is or is not a best practice; or any other interesting aspect.
I enjoy reading Janet’s newsletters. They’re pithy and always have good ideas that I can use in my business.
Photos of a destination appear barren and forlorn without visitors. Putting people in photos will attract and retain the reader’s attention. It will lead her to imagine herself on the scene and ideally prompt a visit to your destination.
The New York Times Weekend Calendar featured a large photo of the cherry blossom trees and write-up, as did other publications. Janet’s media outreach generated TRIPLE the expected attendance [at the First Annual Cherry Blossom Festival on Roosevelt Island] and contributed to the program’s continuation in subsequent years.
If the annual report is dead, and is not to be produced, it’s time for the nonprofit to devise — and revise — other communication vehicles to ensure that newer supporters are fully informed about the breadth and depth of programs and services. Here’s how.
Everyone should review these tools and accounts in an Annual Communications Audit. Approach various social media platforms from the perspective of someone who is not familiar with your company and services. Where might they look for information (website, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter)? What would they find there? Is the content current (timeless or within the last week)? Take a few minutes to check the latest entries on your LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter accounts, and others that your audiences visit.
Posing problem and solution questions will highlight the types of issues that the respondent likes to tackle, the approaches she offers and the clients she targets. Based on the answers, you may determine how this person meshes with your contacts and resources.
One week before you attend a networking event sponsored by a membership organization, contact key officers and committee chairs to apprise them of your interest in the group. The Program Chair, Membership Chair and Communications Chair, as well as the chairs of any committee that aligns with your profession, will be eager to meet you. At the event, ask them to introduce you to the President of the association, which enhances their stature and helps you join the inner circle of leaders.
Networking is not about ME; it is about YOU, the other person. These are the reasons to attend Networking events: Be seen as a connector/Recruit resources. Make introductions. Maintain contacts. Learn from the speaker. Stay up to date informally. When you are seen as knowledgeable and trustworthy, you will attract clients and prospects.
Like other marketing activities, this holiday card is not about you, personally. It is about the you on the other side of the table, the person who is opening the envelope. Keep the image and discourse neutral. The United States has many faith groups. Respect them; you cannot be sure another person shares your beliefs about a seasonal holiday and may take umbrage.
Speaking at events is one of the top five ways to attract new clients. Where can you find speaking opportunities? Try: Networking group, Classes taught by colleagues, Professional membership associations, Business associations, Local merchant associations, Chambers of Commerce, Municipal public library, City and county small business services agency, City and county economic development corporation, Associations of nonprofit organizations and United Way, Center for management training.
Media Relations activity is like gardening. You clear, plant and cultivate. Then distribute. It’s up to you to propagate the news story you’ve placed by sharing it everywhere you can. Don’t trust that the wind (social media) will carry the seedlings (news coverage) of its own accord. As the gardener, you have to play an active role. Root around for ideas and find fertile ground to plant them.
Five key marketing activities are Networking, Speaking, Writing, Trade Association and Digital Presence. Consider which approaches are most comfortable for you and which will be most effective in reaching your target market. Set goals for participating in these marketing activities monthly.
Review the images on your website on a scheduled basis to ensure their relevance to both the organization’s message and the external environment. In addition to photos and context, references to pop culture, for example, can become outdated and reflect poorly on the organization.
Your business or nonprofit group held a conference. Considerable effort went into preparing the event; once over, strategize so that the conference still remains relevant. Undoubtedly, the issues addressed will persist. Treat the conference as a launch pad or a way-station in the extended conversation and cultivate future exchanges for fruitful follow-up and action.
When someone you met at a conference searches for you online, what will she find? What you say about yourself?
Or is there a blank or incomplete space?
You have the positive obligation to shape your digital presence and tell your story through multiple channels. As a business or nonprofit professional, place yourself in the most favorable light.
To lead a workshop that will attract new clients, look beyond the membership of a professional organization and the four walls of a classroom. Develop an interactive session and offer it to your connections for their professional development and that of their peers. At this contact’s office, you’ll collect their colleagues’ cards and their appreciation.
Tap into your network for advice and your own brain-stretching. Networking meetings are not only about individuals and their presentations. It’s the collection of multi-disciplinary perspective each one brings to the table. Informally advising your colleague will help you exercise your brainstorming muscles, build trust among contacts and garner ideas to develop your own business.
When writing an article, an author or reporter traditionally thinks of the five W’s – Who, What When, Where and Why, plus How – as questions to be answered.
Consider how that familiar paradigm looks when the reader is put at the center of the discussion.
What is COPE?: Create Once, Publish Everywhere.
Clients, prospects and supporters are looking for resources and information across multiple platforms: online, newspapers, magazines, newsletters and video. Whenever you create content, take steps to share and promote your insights. Whenever you are the subject of media coverage or another’s blog, you can respect copyright and reference the media outlet.
I have sent a holiday haiku as an e-card to clients, colleagues and contacts since 2009. Click on the year to see haiku e-cards and a related image. If a similarly customized holiday greeting appeals to you, please contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com or 212.677.5770. 2022 ‘Neath the golden moon Stately stand evergreen trees Hear the […]
Email is here to stay.
Email has a larger reach; there are THREE times more email accounts than Facebook & Twitter combined.
Email delivers to the recipient 90% of the time; only 2% of Facebook fans see posts.
Email converts with a 3% click-through rate vs .5% click-through on Twitter.
YOU control the distribution of email, not Facebook or Twitter algorithms.
You probably love to give advice to others. We all have insights on (un)usual business issues and strained relationships, plus tips for gardening, exercise and travel.
Ever get that AHA moment when you realize the suggestions you offered work for your own situation?
You may not believe it, but you’re probably sitting on 5,000 contacts in various pools of connections.
Imagine the opportunities they represent for new business, new alliances and new volunteers directed your way.
Possibilities for you to refer connections to them also abound.
Consider: “It’s not business, it’s personal.”
Or “It’s personal.” (meaning It’s not business)
These slogans were designed to reference a close, even intimate, working relationship. Some clients prefer to be reassured and reminded, on a frequent basis, that a vendor or partner has their interests top of mind at all times.
Consider that what is personal from a client’s perspective may not be reciprocal. Many clients think primarily of themselves and may have a limited interest in the individual private lives of their contacts.
Why do people say they hate networking but they love referrals?
What is the flip side of referrals?
Match your Communications activities to your goals. Highlight select programs by consistently featuring stories about the participants or clients, services, staff, allied partners and results. To ensure consistency, coordinate with colleagues across the group for a steady flow of new content.
Consumer goods are well known for flaunting their other-ness. Apple urged customers to Think different. In the beverage industry, 7-Up was the Un-cola. For cars, one manufacturer nearly denied its heritage: This is Not Your Father’s Oldsmobile. Consider the attributes of your cohort to see where you might be most different and distinctive.
Your co-author speaks to her peers in their language. An article may not be accepted by, for example, a legal publication, without relying on the legal expertise and writing style of an attorney.
Who might be your sounding board? Members of networking groups. Former clients and former co-workers. Set up a phone chat with a social networking contact whose thoughtful blog posts and comments exhibit insights. The retired executives who serve as coaches at SCORE counsel business owners for free; ask to be paired with someone who worked in your industry.
Share your content with reporters. Case studies, articles, blog posts and presentations testify to your credentials as an authoritative expert. You will position yourself as a source to comment on solutions to problems faced by others in that industry or serving a similar population.
Your email signature is a fundamental component of your brand, as are your logo, website and business card. Every team member should have an identical signature, to reinforce the organization’s positioning and messages. After a revised email signature template is developed, provide the model and instructions for an update to all personnel, along with a two-day deadline for implementation.
Make a list of photos to be taken at an event, as if you plan a wedding. Prepare to stage photos with the management team, Boardmembers, key staff and special guests. Hover near the principals, with the photographer ready to aim and shoot. Keep groups to a maximum of five people. Note the name of anyone who is not immediately familiar, to identify the person for a caption and perhaps share the photo with the attendee later.
Do your colleagues treat your clients and prospects with respect? It’s polite to begin an email with Sidney, or Dear Leslie,. These forms of address acknowledge the virtual distance between the writer and the recipient and do not overstep the bounds the way that Hey Nicky, does. Write complete and grammatically correct sentences. Use restraint in tone, limit exclamation points and avoid emoticons. Finally, consider that the email might be forwarded to the CEO or another senior executive who has the final say-so on the buy decision.
You and your colleague worked very hard to get the reader’s attention; don’t let your email be discarded because it was disrespectful.
Take the reader by the hand. Start with the end in mind, i.e., what you want the reader to do, and write clearly. Include the necessary details (event date, time, location and fee), as well as phone number to request additional information. Make your newsletter easy to read with headings and subheads. Use bold and bold italic font for emphasis. Proofread by reading aloud every word in the sentence, from the period backward.
Make the most of your radio appearance. While the live segment is being edited in digital format, you can prepare to start the redistribution process. The more platforms where the radio interview appears (email signature, website, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, as appropriate), the broader your reach, far beyond the listening area of the radio station.
Why should a board member or volunteer care about news? The president of a foundation once remarked, “I give money to nonprofit groups that I’ve heard of. One way I hear about your organization is in the news.”
Because many nonprofits with a budget of less than $2 million do not have a professional to manage contact with the press, it is the responsibility of the board — and an opportunity for volunteers — to support the organization in its media outreach. Otherwise, multiple opportunities for fundraising, promotion and collaboration might be missed, as discussed in When Nonprofits Fail to Communicate.
Do you have to list your company’s or nonprofit’s website in your profile? Of course not. On the other hand, why ignore the free real estate on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook where you can reference your professional successes? Even a cursory mention may invite someone to visit your organization’s website or click through to your business or nonprofit’s page on LinkedIn or Facebook. The potential for a prospect or referral to learn more about you should not be overlooked.
How might you get a politician’s attention? Put your business or organization (and yourself) on the leader’s radar screen BEFORE you ask for any assistance. Attend a program the elected official is hosting or look for her or him at a community gathering. At the event, speak to an aide about a shared interest or concern, then ask to be introduced to the politician. Write a letter commending her for introducing legislation. Offer positive feedback on his stance on an issue in the community. As with any sales outreach, it’s best to have interacted with the individual prior to making the pitch.
Save Time, Save Money or Get More JOY Out of Life. A restaurant and a museum offer a less tangible service. They create a transformative experience and people are willing to spend their time and money to capture an elusive mood, engage their senses or master content. Compared to the quantitative terms like time and money, these moments where participants get more JOY out of life are best described as a before and after. Even those who are not patrons or supporters can recognize the possible uniqueness of being connected to such an experience.
Sometimes stations butcher a news story. In industry lingo, the news story was bumped, cut or killed. Those are the terms that reporters (and Public Relations professionals) use to describe the assault on the fruits of their labors. Typically, a television reporter visits an event, conducts an interview with the principal organizer of the program […]
A similar approach uses the acronym STEEP. Speed, you must make a public statement quickly. Transparency, you must be available and accessible at all times during the crisis. Empathy, show your concern for those affected. Expertise, engage a respected consultant to analyze the situation and make recommendations. Pledge, that you will do everything possible to prevent recurrence. Professor Peter Horowitz of Baruch College follows this approach.
Reporters call the people that they know, so introduce yourself in a professional way. But, when you receive a call from a reporter to whom you have not been introduced, be on your guard. Consider whether the reporter knows something that you do not — or that you are not prepared to talk about right then. Let’s strategize now, before you get that call, so you’ll be prepared.
Who do you know that could use a helping hand? Look at your list of former clients to identify someone who might value a thoughtful introduction. She or he might benefit from a connection to a vendor, prospective customer, employee or donor. Plant the seed with an e-introduction that describes the two parties succinctly and their shared interest. Then step back to watch the relationship bloom.
Who do you know who knows Someone Special? You probably abhor name-droppers, yet someone you know has a contact who might refer you on to the next person whom you’re eager to meet. LinkedIn offers various ways to approach this issue, via searches among connections and by companies. Best of all, locating a person among its 300 million members will yield the names of the intermediary contacts who will put you on her or his radar screen. Everyone knows someone worth knowing. You don’t know who that person is until you ask.
Do you have to answer the tough question? Yes and no. It’s always best to respond to a reporter’s question, whether nasty or nice, to prove you are open and trustworthy when dealing with others. When your answer to a tough question is a statement that does not merit repeating, the question evaporates. You are not cited as unavailable for comment, which may give the appearance of not being forthright.
The clock is ticking on your 15 minutes of fame. After you speak to a reporter, prepare to spread the word, even before you see the article. When the news story is published, you’ll be ready to launch the amplification process, so your target audience may encounter you in multiple venues, a positive reinforcement.
A traditional website layout may make your business appear out of step. A pre-2011 design could fall short of visitor expectations. Compare your site to those of your competitors and see if you are on, ahead of or behind the curve. Then budget accordingly for an update — and also for the next one three years later.
It’s not always who or why — but HOW. Be sure you highlight the HOW of the product or service to show your impact on people and organizations. For ULTRA Testing, their HOW means that clients receive better outcomes and exceptional people get jobs. That’s a clear win-win and readers see the benefits for everyone
It feels like a light bulb. Prospective clients are more likely to identify with the needs of satisfied customers than with self-proclaimed expertise. When reading brief case studies, the potential client imagines that the solutions described will have a similar impact and will solve their problem. Voila!
Interns can catch the story idea you pitch. Interns have to get approval of story ideas from editors, as do staff reporters. Interns might even be more invested in the story, because it offers them a chance to shine and stand on their own two legs. Consider how an intern may open the door to another contact at the same publication.
Show how your national group has local impact. Plan ahead to line up area customers and supporters, as well as provide background facts, to ensure credibility.
Photos given to reporters and shared via social media accounts must adhere to your objectives. Reputation management entails confining the discussion to the facts and ensuring personal privacy is respected and maintained.
Look beyond The New York Times. The online formats of industry trade publications are hungry for fresh content, daily. Provide actionable information and visuals to land this coverage.
Keep your insights accessible. Incorporate imagery and limit use of technical language; your readers might forward your ideas to colleagues who are less conversant with the issue.
Public Relations activity affects more than sales. Miserly Communications spending may save dollars, and also affect how customers, prospects and industry observers remember — or overlook — your organization.
Reporters always want to know what lies ahead. Be the one to anticipate the trends about to happen.
A photograph is worth 1,000 words. People in the picture are an engaging testimonial in your brochures, on your website, in media outreach and in your emails.
An active photo grabs attention. Focus on a staff member interacting with a client or a visitor, who is seen from the back or in profile.
Teach your contacts and prospects in partnership with other groups. The fundamentals, advanced techniques, new technologies or latest trends in your field are vital subjects for sessions sponsored by organizations whose marketing muscle will fill the room.
As a Guest Blogger, you can write whenever it suits your schedule. You’re free to produce timely, insightful content and, chances are, the host will welcome the respite from their frequent writing frenzy.
Harness the power of a client testimonial at a membership group’s event. A case study comes to life when a client tells your shared success story. Audience members visualize themselves participating in the process and achieving similar results, fueled by your insight and services.
Why you? And why now? That’s what reporters will ask. Introduce yourself, your organization, your event, etc., to journalists at appropriate publications in a memorable way. Reporters call the people they know and they do not call people who wait for the phone to ring. Find a reason to put your name in front of the press as an authoritative source on a timely matter.
Who do YOU know? Board members, advisory board members, former officers. Everyone knows someone worth knowing, so spend some quality one-on-one time with the inner circle to build lists of contacts and locate candidates whose presence will enrich your group’s fundraiser.
Always Be Celebrating Success. Make sure your contract or engagement letter allows you to possibly mention your work with the client in future media outreach and marketing activity. This way you don’t need to ask for permission after the project is completed.
Confirm spelling of all names. After a phone interview, send a follow-up note to the reporter with relevant names, websites and email addresses in a large font.
Make a list of topics to tell the reporter. Print in a large, easy-to-read font to consult when you have a phone interview.
How much would it cost to buy leads of CFO’s in your industry? Before you contacted them, were they motivated to use a service that might save them thousands of dollars?
Sometimes attorneys in a litigation case need to motivate opposing counsel representing a business. When unfavorable news stories lead that company’s customers to voice their concern and dismay about business practices, it usually prompts defense counsel to respond.
Timing is everything. A well-timed pitch, made to a reporter in a casual setting, may lead to a high-profile news story.
Watch mid-morning news headlines for topics that relate to your industry. Afternoon and evening news reporters may need sources to comment on those stories.
When technical information needs to be accessible to the reader, especially about personal finance, snappy headlines with eye-catching phrases can make the difference and engage the client.