Category Archives: PR Planning & Strategy

Storytelling: How to find and tell your company’s story

Experienced marketers know the best way to talk about a company is by telling stories.  I’m not talking about the Dr. Seuss kind; I’m talking about your one-of-kind corporate story that infuses a human element and establishes a true connection with your audiences.

The kind of story that persuades, inspires and influences others. The type that digs deep into your company’s ethos and reveals who you are, where you’re from, how you got started and what you stand for.

storytellingStorytelling connects us in an emotional way and brings us closer to the storyteller. It grabs peoples’ attention. Telling your story to a stakeholder – whether it be an employee, an investor or a customer – will help you to get them on your side.

Effective corporate storytelling is relevant, interesting and informative. It is authentic and encourages your audience to start conversations with each other and even with your brand directly.

So how do you find your story? Every business has dozens of stories to tell.  Here are some examples: Continue reading

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Filed under Media Relations, PR Planning & Strategy, Public Relations General, Social Media

Optimized Press Releases: Press Releases on Steroids

In this era of online media, PR and social marketing pros are providing value in new ways.

The gold standard for a brilliant press release today extends beyond mainstream press coverage and includes well-thought out SEO that generates direct traffic to an organization’s website and provides self-published news directly to the customer. The reporter or editor is no longer the middleman.

Third party endorsements from news media and bloggers are still valuable but a well written, keyword rich press release can generate thousands links and help “bury” bad news, poor product reviews and customer comments that show up in Google. Continue reading

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Filed under Digital PR, Media Relations, PR Planning & Strategy, Social Media

Strategy is an over-used buzzword

Definition: Strategynoun – a plan, method, or series of maneuvers or stratagems for obtaining a specific, goal or result.

When I hear people use the word “strategy”, I often wonder what they really mean or if they even know what they’ve just said.  So I ask them what they mean by “strategy”  and it turns out, the people that use the word the most, seem to understand the least.  This post is for you guys.

Call it what you will….brand strategy…PR strategy….customer engagement strategy.  Folks, it isn’t that hard to develop a PR strategy. There, I said it.  The secret is out. Here’s how you do it:  sit down, look at the challenges and the goals you want to accomplish, then map your tactics to them, and get to work. Sure it’s an over-simplification but I think this is better than watching  people throw the word around or spin their wheels by over-thinking the best “strategy”.  Let’s get beyond the buzzword to the real meaning behind the word as it relates to PR. Continue reading

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Infographics: A PR secret weapon

In a recent issue of the Globe and Mail, I learned about a cool new, web-based app called visualize.me, which takes user data from LinkedIn and turns it into a customizable infographic résumé like this one I quickly created for myself here: visualize.me – Maria Loscerbo.

Some people believe conventional text-based resumes are too linear to describe information that is often non-linear. This software tool allows you to market yourself visually with a creative and interactive résumé that you can construct in less than 5 minutes.

With visualize.me, prospective employers can read about your work history in a dynamic and colourful flowchart complete with stylized sections that include skills, interests, testimonials and relevant career statistics. The creator of this app was originally inspired by the infographic resume of writer Chris Spurlock. This resume (shown above) garnered high profile media coverage around the world and, eventually, a journalism job at Huffington Post.

I am a huge advocate of infographics for PR purposes! Not only are they a quick way to graphically convey key information but they are a helpful visual aid for time-crunched people who want the top line facts in about 10 seconds.

Continue reading

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Filed under Marketing Communications, Media Relations, PR Planning & Strategy, Product Launches, Public Relations General, Social Media

How to deal with detractors

Most issues have two sides where detractors or naysayers will challenge your point of view – often out in the open.  In a news story, the media strive to create balanced stories or use ‘conflict’ as a news hook so they will often include comment from critics.

Here are some tips on how to deal with detractors:

  • Identify who they are and do your research on them so that you know who you’re dealing with and why. Often people are simply misinformed and they may have misunderstandings about what you’re doing. What do they know and how much do they know? Is it accurate or inaccurate?
  • It’s easier to rebut their criticism pre-emptively in your key messages. This is best done by not leaving gaps in your messages. Continue reading

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Filed under Issues & Crisis Management, PR Planning & Strategy, Public Relations General

Criteria for a good story

Clients, friends, colleagues and even family members ask me to help them get a story in the news all the time.   The conversation usually starts with “Can you help me get a story in the papers about….(a product, person, organization, issue, etc)?”  The first thing I say is, “Tell me more”.  This is a telling moment because it is tantamount to a ‘media pitch’  — they are trying to sell me their story.

Invariably the pitch is not relevant and lacks a newsworthy angle.  The story is important to them but it is not crafted to garner attention of the media and hence the general public.   I spend a lot of time educating people about the criteria for a good story.  In this post, I thought I’d share with you some of the criteria that I use (and hence editors and producers) to decide whether a story has enough meat to get attention in newsrooms:

news-150x150Criteria for a good story:

  • Focus:  Does the story have one main focal point, “hook” or angle?
  • Timely:  Is it relevant to a current issue? Could it relate to a holiday or special event?
  • Novelty:  Is there something unique or different about how you run your business? Is your product a novelty in its industry?  Have you found a new way to do something?
  • Impact:  Is there an impact on a particular market segment that uses your products, programs or services? Will it change how your customers work or live? Does the topic appeal to a specific group of people? Continue reading

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Filed under Media Relations, PR Planning & Strategy

Communicating During A Recession

When the financial crisis hit, everyone seemed to batten down the proverbial hatches. Executive management slashed budgets, put projects on hold, and started using phrases like “cash is king”. Although it remains to be seen how long the economic downturn will last, the shock has long settled so if you haven’t woken from your communications slumber, it’s time to wake up!

Slow periods are an opportunity to refresh your communication strategy and ensure your company’s name stays alive and topical with important audiences — particularly when your competition is fast asleep.  Many stakeholders are waiting to do business with a company such as yours when the markets recover.

recession-proof-businessIt may seem counter-intuitive, but now is an excellent time to tell your company’s story. What makes your organization unique? What makes it a compelling investment? That means conducting an honest, transparent assessment of your company’s strengths, not a promotional pitch. This should be the cornerstone of your communication efforts over the next several months.

You may be working with reduced budgets but don’t abandon all communication efforts. Research shows companies that maintain marketing activity in down markets, quickly outperform competitors when the economy picks up. Maintaining PR momentum is critical because in the absence of information, people will make things up…and it will usually be bad. Don’t get stuck in a communications void. Continue reading

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