Category Archives: media relations expert

Blog Post Visiual

What Really Gets Press Coverage?

Blog Post Visiual

And the question of the day is –  what actually gets press coverage from the media? If your product isn’t getting the earned editorial props it deserves, perhaps it’s just a matter of telling your story in a different way.

  1. Billion (and gazillion) dollar space research gets press. Is your product “breakthrough” or innovative in anyway?
  2. Scary scientific studies that can kill us or make us very sick for a very long time gets press.  Does your product or service help save us or the planet, if so, how?
  3. People doing bad things – now that gets way too much press.
  4. How technology and the big, bad Internet is always changing everything we do, want, need – gets lots and lots of press.  Does your product fix a big problem? Maybe a problem we don’t even know we have yet?  Well, how big is that problem?
  5. Things we can relate to, like “13 Smells That Every New Yorker is Way too Familiar With” @BuzzFeed  What exactly does your service do to make people feel at one with it?
  6. Things we should worry about  or not worry about, now that gets press.
  7. Trends in fashion, music, food, cars get press. Is your thing a part of a regional or worldwide trend?
  8. Native advertising (an advertisement disguised as a news article) like this pen and paper combo with livescribe app gets a different kind of confusing press. This is not real press.
  9. Stuff that may or may not happen, but we should be anxious about – gets press.
  10. Useful, fun tips and life advice gets press. Can you offer tips, tricks, hacks when using your service?      Need help putting a little spin on your story. Drop us a line at m.johnson@themarketcouncil.com
beauty awards

Award Winning Beauty PR

The cosmetic, skin and hair care market is inundated with exciting innovation. With so many products available, how does a consumer know which really works and which are safe? How will they know that your product is truly the most innovative and absolutely the best bang for their beauty buck?

Sure, beauty blogger and website reviews assist with web searches, and we certainly help our clients reach the most influential – – but awards from top-tier media will also boost your brand awareness as well. A part of our PR strategy,  for many of the brands we represent, is making sure their new products are considered for the Best of Beauty from media outlets like. . .

  • Allure Reader’s Choice Awards (June) and Best in Beauty Awards (October).
  • CEW (Cosmetic Executive Women), a nonprofit professional organization with over 5,000  execs in the beauty, cosmetics, fragrance and related industries. CEW is on their 18th beauty award year where 46 finalists in 29 product categories,including the new Nail category, were chosen from a robust offering of more than 625 products representing 300 top beauty brands by approximately 4,500 beauty industry professionals. The exposure at their annual events is remarkable for new and emerging brands.
  • Shape announces their awards in their annual September issue. Beauty experts, magazine staffers and panelists decide which are worth the splurge.  Which if you win, can lead to additional press coverage.
  • Women’s Health 53 Award winning product Shopping List
  • Self Magazine’s Healthy Beauty Awards.
  • Elle Magazine’s Genius Awards with their pick for the world’s top hair, makeup and skin care pros and their favorite secrets.
  • Health Magazine’s 35 best products
  • TotalBeauty.com 2012 Awards with rising star editor’s picks (new emerging brands) and reader’s choice awards.
  • Teen Vogue Beauty Awards with over 35,000 votes cast.
  • Think Smart, Look Amazing with Marie Claire’s Prix D’Excellence Beauty Awards
  • Whole Living Magazine’s Healthy Skin Awards.
  • Prevention’s best beauty products for the skin below your chin.

This is just an example of the many awards out there. If you are looking to submit your new beauty product launches for awards in the hair, makeup, skin or nail category, get in touch with us. We are here to help your beauty brand grow.

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Newswordy PR

Stumbled upon www.newswordy.com, a website that gives you a clearer understanding about the most popular words used in the news and precisely how they are being used in stories and on social sites like @twitter.

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Television News Coverage 101

This post is not about pitching a television show idea. The following insight is about getting your new product/service on national network and/or local TV news. Every brand owner wants a bit of TV time in his or her earned media coverage mix. Big network coverage (GMA, Ellen , The View. . . all add clout and help build brand buzz and sometimes even a spike in sales.

Pitching busy television producers is a whole lot different than approaching a blogger, magazine or newspaper editor for a review.

First there is the element of time.  As in, there is no time to hear you ramble on about why your product or idea deserves news coverage. Because time is money and it takes lots if money to produce a big, popular show. Producers at popular daily programs like The Today Show and the CBS Early Show are usually in a rush and don’t have time for chatting on the phone or reading your two page pitch.  They also rather like it when you help build-out the story for them. That is you provide them with –

  • The big great new idea, product or service and why it is a timely story.
  • The independent, credible, media-trained expert to speak objectively about your big great new idea and if necessary . . .
  • The model (s) to demonstrate the great new product or service.

This is called a “package” and producers will more often than not ask that you pitch the package.

How difficult is it to get my product covered on a popular show like The Today Show?

On a scale of 1 to 10, if you don’t know what you are doing, a 10. Meaning, most often than not, you will be rejected. How? You will never get the producer on the phone, your voice mail messages won’t be returned, and you emails not read. And the biggest reason why. Most people pitching, never watch the show. They don’t know the format, the time, the hosts, the angles, the segments, so they aren’t focused on pitching appropriately.

Is it okay to pitch more than one producer at a time for the same show?

Yes, just make sure that they are covering the right beat for your pitch. In other words, don’t send the sports producer your new detox diet book. So if you are pitching a new beauty product, it’s okay to call the fashion/style/lifestyle producers. Just don’t call the DC correspondent.

How do producers decide on what to air?

Producers meet on a regular basis to hash out ideas for upcoming programs.  It is a courteous rule to let them know that you are also contacting their colleagues/co-workers. Big networks are also owned by big corporations, so sometimes a rejection is more of a political thing.

Is there a best time to call a producer?

Try not to call before or during the show – check air times, show location (east or west coast) and then call about an hour after the show. Producers work long hours, especially when they are starting out in their career. And most really prefer email.

How to I find out who the right producer is?  

You can hire a media relations maven to pitch for you, subscribe to a service like Cision, or Vocus (which can be costly) , or you can take the cheap route by watching the show and taking notes from the credit roles. You can also do some research on the web,  if you are on a very tight budget. Or you can simply call the network/program and ask who the best producer would be to contact.

How long is a typical segment opportunity? 2 to 4 minutes, if you are lucky.

What type of content should I have ready to send them? To begin with –

  • A fact sheet with low-res photos of your product or service. Make sure it answers the questions – Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?
  • A bio/profile of your independent expert with b-roll (video footage of their past TV experience).
  • A model (if needed) who has signed a model release form and agreed to be filmed on TV.

How can I build a relationship with a TV producer?

By being honest, forthright and authentic. Fact checking your story for them will help. Site your statistics and provide double-blind clinical studies. Television producers’ jobs are even more difficult now, as consumers and online enthusiasts become more cynical and critical of their reporting. See this recent example here, where a fierce  web editor criticizes Good morning America.

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Where Brand Meets Blog

Busy PR bees, we’re on a whirlwind desk side tour media tour in NYC this week – about 30 meetings in three days. Hoping to inspire journalists, editors, writers with new story ideas and content sharing to build brand buzz for our clients. We’re meeting with editors of magazines like Allure, Women’s Health, Parents, Shape, Natural Health, Essence, InStyle, etc.

We’re also meeting with emerging beauty and style bloggers. We asked an up and coming blogger what she saw as the newest revenue trends in blogging. 

Legit or not, here’s where the brand currently meets the blog

  1. Sponsored posts on the blogger’s site. 
 Legit -as long as it’s identified as paid for, but proceed with caution.
  2. Paid for reviews
 from brands looking to spread it on the web. – see above.
  3. Blogger hosted sponsored parties for new brand launches – illegit. why?
  4. Freelance writing on magazine websites for extra income and SEO. Gotta pay the rent.
  5. These bloggers as “Brand Ambassadors” or Brandvocates– Illegit. Question, how do they write about other products?
  6. Charging fees as industry consultants. Helping design collections. Legit. See number 4.
  7. Hiring agents to represent them (so they can keep to the “creative”). Ambitious. Legit.
  8. Bloggers positioning themselves as experts on television. Super Ambitious. Very legit.

Many agreed that old-school brands have still not caught on. Translation: Chanel, Hermes and Prada still not giving away free samples.

Some said only the really good looking people get views on You Tube. (Remember, this is vanity. Welcome to the fashion/beauty world.)

Most were moaning about their day jobs and how all the want to do is write and wish they could make more money blogging.

The truth is, we have been following these bloggers for over three years. And they are growing. Their sites look stronger, their views are higher, respect is growing. The traditional media mentioned above took quite some time to earn their reputation. Most of these magazines were launched over 15 years ago. Time and trust is key. A bit of patience doesn’t hurt either.

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10 Personal Tips to Elevate Earned Media

Meeting with another editor today made us realize once again, just how personal it really gets. Journalists or not, people in general like to talk and think about themselves – what they like, how they like it and what their needs and wants are – and in the end – that is how they will determine what they write about –if they can relate, they write. Everything really is personal.

 Here are our rules for customizing your pitch for increased chances in editorial coverage –

 1. Define your  company’s primary target audience and research what they read/watch and follow. What information is most important to your customer?

 2. Create a top-tier list of those publications/shows/websites that your target audience (primary and secondary customer)  is attracted to and research the editors/producers/writers who create content for them.

 3. Read/review/watch these media outlets to better understand their unique point of view. Saving time? Saving money? Status? Future trends? Every magazine/program and website spins it a different way. What ever it might be, twist your pitch to the POV.

 4. Study the sections/segments of each outlet and develop pitches for those sections/segments. It might be the “What’s Hot/New” review or it might be the “Splurge vs Save”  section. Remember to mention it in your pitch.

 5. Next, be sure to be properly prepared, create a template that you can customize for each media connection and conversation you make. This will help you save time as you smile and dial and network your way through the media.

 6. Read/review/watch those media outlets you are about to pitch for timely and up to the minute stories that you can mention upon first contact. Research the writer/producer. Get to know what resonates with them.

 7. Let the writer/producer know that you are aware of what and how they write/produce.  There’s nothing more embarrassing than pitching a story idea they already wrote about last week or month.

 8. Have your prepared content and photos/illustrations ready to send upon request. If they grab a pitch, you have to be ready to move swiftly with the specific information they need to write/produce the story.

 9. Offer your most coveted media outlet (where you’d like to be seen first) an exclusive. If they don’t bite, go down your priority list of media.

10. Approach the editor/writer/personally and patiently.  Call/email/tweet/send a message – just make sure it’s customized and hand-crafted for them.

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5 Tips on How to Position Yourself as an Expert

We’ve often hear potential clients say, “the media always interviews the same five people in my industry and we can’t understand why. “ “ Don’t they want someone new to speak to? “Sure they do, but trust builds media and business relationships and that happens over time, one story at a time.  Staying on top of your game and your industry can make you a trusted “go to” resource for journalists and writers researching and writing about a story.

So where do you begin? How do you become a trusted resource?

Here’s what we help our clients do. . .

1. Create a bio/profile as an expert in your field. Be certain to list of all the facts and information you have to share with the media. Include video interviews of yourself.

2. Research and curate trends in your industry and keep a journal of everything that is affecting your sales, growth and product offerings.

3. Hire a representative or have a in-house employee contact members of key publications, digital and broadcast outlets and let them know you are available for research, brainstorming and interviews.

4. Update these writers (and your owned media) with your accolades and awards as well as speaking engagements and the projects you are working on. Invite them to come here you speak.

5. When they call, tweet or email, listen to their questions. Do your homework (see step 2 and do the research for them) and be ready to meet timely deadlines.

Remember to be approachable,  resourceful,  quotable and  bold.  The writer/producer wants to create something that their audience wants to read, watch and engage in.

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Marketing Lessons from PR Frontliners

 The following describes a typical day of whirling dervish marketing and PR activities along with rules to remember when reaching for the stars.

 To whirl |(h)wərl|

verb

move or cause to move rapidly around and around : [ intrans. ] leaves whirled in eddies of wind |

9:15 am –

  1. Pick up copy of October Allure and Harper’s Bazaar at Hudson News (pray client made the best of beauty directory) – wait is that a barefaced Lady Gaga on the cover?  Purpose of purchase: pitch accurately. Must read magazines, newspapers and sites daily– study the sections you dream to be in.
  2. Follow up with editors seen at Essence, Real Simple, Prevention and Seventeen last week. Email client to send personalized product selections that were discussed during desk side meetings. Keeping product personal really helps increase the chance that editors might even try them. Be sure to enter all new editorial contacts in our phones. Lists are useless if they’re not worked.
  3. Reach out to buyers at Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman’s – InStyle loves new fragrance collection but needs store launch for editorial review. Can’t wait for distributor. Editorial and store launch lead times must meet to ignite the pivotal point of retail excitement.
  4. Schedule complimentary experiences and tours for franchise spa client for NYC bloggers – need continual flow of reviews to drive sales into upper east side (God’s Country) location. Hope they don’t ask for taxi fare.
  5. Write sharp, crisp desk side invitation for national media – include weeklies – Time, Newsweek and NY newspapers (note – create more timely angles for dailies/weeklies) for online beauty site client. Begin calling for appointments.
  6. Follow those that the chic beauty editor follows (follows 250, followers 89,523) while managing UK  client Twitter account. Look she follows that Electric Room guy.
  7. Write 200-word blog post about October promotions for client and broadcast to their Facebook and Twitter pages to boost SEO and keep customers in the know. Check @mentions to respond in a timely fashion.
  8. Schedule local marketing calls for locations in Miami Lakes, Kendall and other suburbs you’ve never heard of South Florida. Brainstorm creative non-discount promotions, client says prices are already affordable, dammit. Jump right on call with client in Orlando, discussion about co-promos with whole foods and plan for November grand opening event. Love Whole Food’s cozy sense of community. Local networking works hand-in-hand with national branding.
  9. Email CEO client for approval on special for Plum District email blast (28,000 coupon clipping moms). PR also stands for public relations, re-write copy and pitches for direct customer leads. 
  10. Help client select and brand event displays for regional marketing program, for stronger trade/ business-to-business PR.
  11. Call and email dermatologist’s office that expressed interest in co-marketing and promotion with our client. Brainstorm ideas on how to work together for mutual marketing success. Remember, it’s not all national news, it’s a 360 degree marketing approach. 

5:45 pm

Should I tackle that TV list? Why hasn’t Kathie Lee and Hoda’s producer jumped on that idea?  Oh no, feel the NY October chills coming on  Wrap it up. It’s a long week ahead.

Photo courtesy of National Geographic

The ritual dance of the Sufi sect, a mystical branch of Islam, was created in Konya 700 years ago by the Persian poet Rumi. Practitioners, dubbed “whirling dervishes” by early European travelers, believe the act of repeatedly spinning allows them to forget their earthly body and move closer to God. “Dervish” is an adaptation of darwish, the Arabic word for Sufi.

Magical PR Powers

Magical PR Powers

Magical PR Powers

We have a super star PR friend who, when clients were moaning, use to say “we’re publicists for God’s sake, not magicians”.  It’s true, sometimes clients, for one reason or another, think that PR can solve everything and/or make it all happen, just like that, with the wave of the magical PR wand. Yeah, right.

Now, one way you can make editorial magic happen is by telling a damn good story. An intriguing one. Now, were not talking about super spinning it, were talking about digging deeper to find the “magic” in every launch you pitch. You need to analyze and examine every detail about the new product or service it is that you are birthing into the world and find that special “something”.

For example, one of our client’s has created an exquisite fragrance collection called Illuminum Perfume. We want everyone to know and appreciate the intoxicating beauty inside each and every bottle.

We’ve been visiting with national beauty editors who have the opportunity to smell just about every new fragrance you can imagine, even before or while it’s being created, so we know we have to be on our game. One of the fragrances, White Datura, is quite sophisticated and although it is really scentsational, we have to admit, we did not know what White Datura is. This in fact, made the story of this fragrance harder to share, until we asked our client. That’s when the magic began.

Datura belongs to the classic “witches’ weeds,” along with deadly nightshadehenbane, and mandrake. Most parts of the plants contain toxic hallucinogens, and datura has a long history of use for causing delirious states. It was well-known as an essential ingredient of love potions and witches’ brews.

Now, how does that sound for the key-note and heart of  a very alluring new fragrance?

Take the time to find that astonishing fact about what you are offering and share it with the world. Your PR efforts will be all the more successful for it.

Backstage-Beauty

Your Pre-Game Press Plan for Editorial Coverage

One of the most helpful documents you can create is a Press Fact Sheet for editors/writers and journalists who are looking to feature or review your company in their respective media outlet. Whether it be for their blog, trade journal or national consumer magazine, answering their FAQ’s before the interview will save you time and energy.

  • This document will come in handy when a writer who is on deadline calls at 5 pm before a holiday weekend and tells you that he/she would like to feature you and needs the answers before 6:30 pm.
  • It also helps to ensure that your key messages are appropriately positioned in their story the way you want to share them with the world.

Here is a sampling of questions and answers you should include in your Press Fact Sheet.

  1.  What precisely is the nature of your business?
  2. What is your philosophy?
  3. What makes your operation so unique?
  4. Who created your company?

 Who was and is the visionary?
  5. What is their background? Where did they work before?
  6. When was your business formally launched?
  7. 

How many people does your company employ?
  8. Where is your company based?
  9. Who is the spokesperson for your company?
  10. 

What does your company offer it’s customers/clients?
  11. What is the average demographic (age, race, etc) of your customer base?
  12. What are your proprietary products/services and why are they so special?
  13. What are your average retail price points?
  14. Who do you consider to be your competition?
  15. What is your trophy product/service? Your best sellers?
  16. What trends do you see evolving in your industry?
  17. What are your hopes, dreams and aspirations for the future?

Remember to keep your answers detailed, interesting but brief and include any awards that your company has won. This document should not be more than one page and should be in a locked PDF file that can easily be emailed to anyone writing about your business.