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.