More Bang for Your Trade Show Dollars

24 03 2014

(Guest post by Kayla Brown, Intern)

When it comes time for your company to take part in a trade show or an event just showing up isn’t enough and it won’t guarantee the media coverage you are looking for. So this time around shake it up and try something new.KB Headshot

Trade shows offer prime opportunities to showcase your newest products, as well as opportunities to extend and amplify your messages to a broader audience.

Your company has already spent thousands of dollars on a booth, developing messaging and creating a unique experience for your customers and prospects. Why not enhance that by inviting and interacting with the media?

Engaging reporters with interviews and demonstrations will help reinforce your message by earning media coverage, which can add to your credibility and also reach thousands of customers and prospects who could not attend the show.

Best of all, this can be easily achieved. Here are some simple tips:

1. Reach out to media several weeks before the show. Let them know what you’ll be offering such as new products, demonstrations and who will be available for interviews;

2. Set up interviews or demonstration appointments a week or two before the show;

3. Prepare press materials and brief your spokespeople;

4. Have a PR expert handy during the show to engage and pitch reporters on the spot; and

5. Conduct follow-up with the media after the show to answer any questions and make sure they have all the materials they need (press kit / images / etc.).

Of course, social media is another great way to generate extra buzz before, during and after a trade show. Here’s how:

Twitter

Create and promote a #hashtag for your show presence so users can find all related tweets. Also, tweet links that lead media and prospects to where they can find information, especially if they were unable to attend.

Facebook

Post coverage and links on your company’s Facebook page and encourage attendees to “like” your page, so they can post replies, share feedback and learn more.

YouTube

If you have any videos from the show or press conference, edit the footage into short, exciting segments then promote and link videos to your website and other social media sites.

Integrating traditional PR and social media with your trade show activities can maximize your reach, credibility and impact for enhanced marketing ROI.





How Journalists Find Quotable Experts

7 05 2013

Ever wonder why one of your competitors – perhaps even someone who is less experienced or less knowledgeable than you – is frequently quoted as a “subject matter expert” in news stories? 

In many cases, as in other situations in life, it’s not so much a matter of what you know or who you know … but who knows youreporter

A reporter’s livelihood depends upon developing good sources. And today, good sources are more important than ever, as reporters are expected to produce more stories in less time, because of smaller newsroom staffs.

Here are six methods reporters use to find the expert sources they quote:

  1. PR people they trust – Often, reporters will go to the PR people or firms that have delivered quickly and appropriately in the past.
  2. Online searches – Journalists sometimes conduct Google or Bing searches to see what experts are tied to the subject or issue they’re writing about.
  3. ProfNet – Reporters sometimes turn to ProfNet (http://tinyurl.com/bsrgswh), an online database of experts  companies or agencies can use to expose their experts to a wide array of reporters.
  4. Conference speakers – Reporters like to note which executives have spoken (or are speaking) at major conferences related to the topic at hand.
  5. Other reporters – Many times, reporters will turn to the same sources their colleagues, competitors and trade publication counterparts are quoting.
  6. Trial and error – Sometimes reporters will go to new sources because they just stumbled upon them, met them at a reception or sat next to them on an airplane.

In short, reporters first go to sources that are known and visible, because they’re the easiest to find.

As a business-to-business PR firm, we spend much of our time and effort positioning key executives as experts with the appropriate trade, local, regional and national media.

We make introductions; we identify the topics, trends and issues these experts can address; and we strive to keep these experts top of mind with the right reporters, because, sooner or later, we know each reporter will be looking for an expert source.

But beyond that, once you’ve connected with a reporter, what else can you do to enhance your likelihood of becoming a “go-to” expert for key journalists?

  1. Credential yourself – Demonstrate how your education and experience give you authority and a unique perspective.
  2. Make it easy – Be responsive, make it easy for the reporter to interview you, and offer good, useful quotes and information, quickly.
  3. Be accessible to talk – Reporters want more than just emailed responses to their questions. They want a conversation, so they can ask follow-up questions, they want the nuances and tone that can’t come through on email.
  4. Deliver the real deal – Reporters want expert sources who shoot straight … and don’t play them or make them look bad. Burn them once and you’ll move from “go-to” status to “never again” status.
  5. Offer depth – Journalists want experts who go beyond their basic talking points or key messages to provide real background, perspective and insights.

There’s an old American adage that an expert “is someone who is 20 miles from home.” To that definition, we might add the words: “… and is widely quoted by the media.”





How to Get the Most Out of Your PR Firm – Part 2

26 03 2013

In our previous post (http://wp.me/ppqb5-qI), we offered the first five of 10 things you, as a client-side PR professional, can do get the most from your PR agency.

My contention, based on more than 30 years in the PR profession on both the client and the agency side – is that the best way to get the most out of your company’s relationship with its PR agency is to invest more thought and time into the actual relationshiplock

Nurture it. Feed it. Grow it.

If you want to get more satisfaction, better ideas, better service and ultimately better results from your PR firm, here are tips six through 10 for building a better relationship:

6)      Make a sincere effort to show your appreciation. When the agency provides exceptional service, meets a crazy deadline or scores a major media hit, make the time and the effort to recognize it with a call, a text or an email.

7)      Be honest. If your boss doesn’t need that release draft until next week, don’t ask the agency to have it done today. If your account team suspects you are crying “wolf” too often, they may not take you seriously when you really do need something today.

8)      Provide the agency with feedback on projects promptly.  Even if it’s just to say “Thanks for the draft. Looks good. I’ll run it by the product team and will get back to you,” close the loop so they know the project has been received and is moving along. A good agency will ask, but an agency with a good client won’t have to ask.

9)      Trust the agency enough to really listen. If you chose the right firm, the account team is on your side and wants you to succeed. You may not always agree with them, but you hired them for their expertise and their outside perspective. At least hear it out. And if you don’t agree, give them insight as to why you are may be taking a different path.

10)      Make sure the housekeeping issues are being handled. Ensure that the agency is being paid fairly and on time for its work. Be the agency’s advocate with your Accounts Payable Department if there are payment issues. Cash flow is critical to every agency’s success. And if you help ensure that cash flow is steady, the agency can better focus on generating ideas, opportunities and results for you.

To have the best PR partner, you have to BE the best PR partner … and most times, all it takes is a little more focus on the relationship you create.

Clients: What else are you doing that helps make your company your PR firm’s preferred client?





5 Tips to Keep Your Newsroom Newsworthy

30 11 2012

(Guest post by Leslie Dagg, Account Supervisor)

With 2013 quickly approaching, you might be taking a look back on 2012 to take stock of successes, lessons learned and improvements to be made. During this review, setting aside time to review your company’s website – and most importantly, the online newsroom section – can be valuable.

Having a newsroom and simply posting occasional updates just isn’t enough in today’s 24/7 “I need it NOW” news cycle.

There is an increasing need for accessible, updated content, and journalists – especially digital journalists and bloggers – are in a frantic quest for the information they seek.

If a reporter needs background information, images, video, people to quote, etc. they usually need it FAST. They’ll likely turn to the web first. Even when a reporter doesn’t have a split-second deadline, making your company’s information accessible and worthwhile can help build solid relationships with journalists over time.

So as you look to build momentum for the new year, here are some tips to help make your newsroom a premium asset to your targeted media:

1. Don’t Hide Your Contact Information. Make sure to list contact names, phone numbers and email addresses so reporters can reach the right person. One of the most frustrating things to encounter on a website: a general, nameless, indirect “contact us” form listed as the only contact option. Avoid this at all costs.

2. About You. Post a corporate fact sheet which gives a quick, accurate overview and perspective on the company in terms of size, revenues, employment, products / services, markets served, locations, etc., all in one place. Reporters find facts and numbers like these essential to building their stories.

3. Put a Face On It. Include short biographies and a professional photo for each of your top executives and spokespeople – list their backgrounds, specialties and achievements to help introduce them to media visitors.

 4. Gallery of Options. Don’t underestimate how much hi-res images, video clips and other multimedia options can help you gain media coverage and repeat visitors. Remember our mantra: Everyone reads pictures. Media need these at their fingertips. Maintaining an accessible multimedia gallery section is absolutely key.

5. Update. Update again. Update some more. Be sure to keep your online newsroom current and fresh with new entries to help guarantee more consistent traffic and to prevent media from using out-of-date or incorrect information. Update bio sketches for executives as soon as they’re named to a new position, keep financial figures up-to-date, and post background and images on new products as soon as they are available.








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