Name: Marsha, aka "Marsha Friedman"
Web Site: http://expertaccess.cincom.com
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- Don’t position yourself as an author or executive. Instead, position yourself as an expert in your topic or your industry. Don’t try to sell anything other than your depth of knowledge and your ability to help answer key questions about some aspect of your topic that may have been in the news recently. For instance, a realtor can talk about escaping foreclosures. A stockbroker can talk about how to manage your own portfolio. Experts on just about any topic can look to the newspaper and find stories related to their expertise. Find that news story and shape your interview pitch around it, and include the fact that you have expertise in the field.
- Make the host your friend. Talk candidly and openly about your topic in relationship to the current events surrounding it, and engage the host. In a recent interview, Lee Habeeb, co-creator of The Laura Ingraham Show and media coach to many of today’s top talk radio hosts, said, “The most importan
t audience is the host. If you can engage the host, you will have engaged his audience. For example, the only reason most people gather around “The Savage Nation” is because they’re interested in what Michael Savage has to say and what he is interested in. So by proxy, you don’t have to worry about entertaining Michael’s audience; you simply have to engage and entertain Michael.”
- Don’t sell. Stay on topic during the interview, and when appropriate, mention the free material on your web site that could benefit the host’s listeners. If you engage the host, give a great interview and offer helpful information, you don’t have to worry about selling anything. The host will do it for you. He’ll make sure his audience knows you’re an expert, he’ll give out your web site, he’ll mention the name of your book or he’ll talk about the value of your product. He’ll do the promotion for you.
- Have a web site that does more than sell your product. If you are an author, provide free “tips articles” that explain your topic or your viewpoint in an informational manner. If you’re selling a product, create free reports or articles for your site that lay out the problem your product solves, again, in an educational tone.
- www.radiolocator.com <http://www.radiolocator.com/>,
- ww.usnpl.com <http://www.usnpl.com/>,
- ww.newspapers24.com <http://www.newspapers24.com/>,
- www.mondotimes.com <http://www.mondotimes.com/ and
- www.newslink.org <http://www.newslink.org/>.
- Local newspaper credibility – 46 percent
- Local TV credibility – 44 percent
- Print advertising credibility – 21 percent
- Television advertising credibility – 11 percent
- Print advertising trustworthiness – 17 percent
- Television advertising trustworthiness – 9 percent
To have a successful TV interview, where you’re able to focus on
message and be completely undistracted, it helps to understand the actions being performed by the crew when they’re setting up for your interview, and their terminology, which may be completely foreign to you!
Here are a few terms you should be familiar with
and actions you can expect:
The printed information about a TV guest displayed or scrolled at the bottom of the screen during an interview is referred to as the “slate.” When a guest arrives on the television set, a member of the TV crew may ask the guest to slowly say (and perhaps spell) his name, title, book title or product or company name. It is important to be very clear during this process so that the information when displayed to the viewers is correct.
It is a smart idea for the guest to carry a plain white index card in his pocket. An index card, held up to the camera, is used by the cameraman to get the right balance, or adjustment, of the camera color to make sure the person’s skin doesn’t appear green on the TV screen. Usually the cameraman will have his own card, but it doesn’t hurt for the guest to be prepared, just in case.
Before the interview, the sound people will ask the guest to speak into the microphone so they can set the correct sound level. The guest should speak clearly and in a normal conversation tone and volume. This is referred to as getting the person’s “level.” The person should talk in the same “level” when the
cameras are rolling—in the same tone and volume—and the voice will sound balanced with the interviewer and any other speakers.
If someone is being interviewed at a conference or during a breaking news story, it may be done as a “standup” instead of the usual seated interview. The reporter or interviewer will stand with the guest in a corner or a certain spot and conduct the interview.
This is the term given to the video footage that is shown on the screen while a voiceover tells the actual story or explains what the audience is seeing. An example would be aerial footage of a congested freeway being shown while a TV guest shares statistics from his book about smog and global warming.
TV is a powerful medium. It’s a wonderful opportunity to share your message with a wide audience in a manner that shines a spotlight on you as the “expert” celebrity!
Most of all, when the lights go on, make sure you enjoy the moment as it will come through in the interview and enhance your appearance as a guest!
By Marsha Friedman
And Turn Your Host's Listeners into Your Followers
The most difficult thing about being a public relations professional is correcting a client’s perceptions about the field of PR itself.
PR people are depicted in the movies as “spin doctors,” stretching the truth or lying outright to present their clients in the best possible light.
That characterization couldn’t be further from the truth, and not because the portrayals are exaggerated and phony, but rather, because they proceed from the false assumption that a PR agent’s work is just about “selling” his client. The truth is, public relations is a marketing tool that is most effective when it isn’t trying to sell anything. At the heart and soul of any good PR effort is the desire to provide the news media with a story worth telling, plain and simple.
The hard truth that a PR agency has to help clients understand is that journalists and hosts don’t care about selling your book, your product, your story or your messages.
What they do care about is serving their viewers, listeners and readers with information and entertainment that keep them tuned in and paying attention. The more eyes and ears that are focused on their shows and publications means more advertising dollars for those organizations. And that is the “bottom line” in those industries.
Keeping that reality in mind, the best way to have successful interviews is to forget you’re selling something and work your marketing efforts around the goal of being the perfect radio guest. The key tactics to this strategy are:
How does this help you promote your book or your products?
Simple – one of the primary points of sale for almost every industry today is the Internet. Your web site is your virtual storefront or sales team, and companies pay big money for search-engine marketing ads that are designed to drive traffic to your site. With your free report, you can drive radio listeners to your site in a non-commercial way that doesn’t lead them to believe you are selling anything. All it does is make you look smart. The host, tired of people using their shows to promote themselves, appreciates you not sounding like an infomercial and even urges his loyal audience to visit your site. If you’re really good, the host may even ask you back another time.
And you achieved all this simply by resisting the instinct to “sell,” and instead re-focusing your efforts toward helping the radio host offer listeners a good show.
At the end of the day, packaging yourself as the “talk radio host’s dream guest” won’t do you a lick of good unless you get booked as a guest on some shows. My pay for performance public relations firm, EMSI, specializes in exactly that. AND we are currently offering a specially priced radio campaign to make sure you get the maximum exposure you need during the all-important holiday buying season.
If you want to hear more about how we can assist you with affordable talk radio campaigns to promote your company, product or service, please call my partner, Steve Friedman, today at 727-443-7115, ext. 202 or email him at email@example.com. He would love to have a conversation with you about our services and helping you with your publicity goals.
Here’s the situation. You have a great product and YOU know it. But just like the “better mousetrap,” it doesn’t mean a thing unless your market knows it too. TV and radio are great avenues for promoting to the masses. They are dynamic media allowing consumers to visualize and hear you enlighten them (the way only you can) to the great value of your offering.
But you may think the only way to get TV and radio exposure is to buy advertising time, which can be very cost prohibitive. And that’s simply not true. An even better and more effective means of promotion is appearing as a guest on TV and radio talk shows.
What you may not realize is that TV and radio talk shows are always looking to interview quality experts who will help them entertain and inform their audiences. Regardless of the product you’d like to promote, with the correct PR strategy, you can land these priceless interviews, and when you do, it’s pure marketing gold!
Why are these interviews so valuable? You see, when you or your spokesperson is on the air, you’re on as part of a regular show with a host the audience has come to trust. By interviewing you, the host is giving an implicit endorsement so the listeners believe you—they’re hearing about you from their trusted friend. And they tell their own audience in turn.
If you think your product isn’t interesting enough for TV and radio interviews, in and of itself, you’re probably right. But keep in mind you won’t be invited as a guest to deliver a commercial. You’ll be there as an expert to discuss an important issue, which of course your product provides a solution to.
Let me share an example.
We had a client who was CEO of a life insurance agency. Now, I don’t think it will offend anyone if I say that life insurance is a pretty boring topic. An angle was needed that would generate interest from the media so they would have him on as a guest.
We created an effective headline for our pitch: “Can You Afford to Survive without Your Spouse?” The interview focus was about the need for spouses and children to be protected financially after the death of the family breadwinner. In effect, it became a human interest story instead of a boring interview with an insurance salesman.
The CEO appeared on numerous radio shows, as well as on local and national TV shows, speaking to the vital issue of financial security for women and families.
The highest number of new leads the company had ever experienced, for any type of promotion.
To be successful in arranging media for almost any product is you need to understand the formula needed to gain the media’s attention and interest.
Two crucial points to keep in mind when approaching the media:
1. Never pitch yourself— pitch the issue on which you’re an expert.
2.Never pitch the product—talk instead about the problem the product addresses and how it ties in as a solution.
No matter what it is you’re promoting, publicity is a valuable marketing tool you should make use of.
The possibilities are endless, so get creative!
Embrace the Celebrity Within
Everyone is a celebrity at something, and by “celebrity” I’m not talking about movie stars, professional athletes or those overnight sensations that are here today, on the cover of People tomorrow and gone by Friday.
True celebrities are experts. In a lot of cases, they’re experts at acting, putting a ball in a hoop or looking sexy in next to nothing. But believe it or not, most celebrities these days—the ones that keep auditoriums and hotel conference rooms and even bookstore shelves full—are folks like you and I; people who realized what they are very, very good at and put it to use by celebritizing themselves (or putting their expert status to use as a modern celebrity).
You, too, can become one of these nowadays celebrities, no matter what business you’re in, how big your company is (or isn’t) or even if you don’t think you bring the chops.
The best part is, it’s as simple as 3-Fs:
Find … Yourself
To be a modern day business celebrity, you have to know 1) What you’re good at, 2) What are you passionate about and 3) What people need from you. Celebritizing yourself is about knowing all three of the above, not just one or two.
So, what are you a good at? It could be anything: gardening, management, economics, knitting, housecleaning, politics—the works. The experts we all know and recognize and who become celebrities, everyone from Tim Russert and Ty Pennington to Linda Cobb, the Queen of Clean, to George Stephanopoulos, may come from a wide array of backgrounds but all have one thing in common: they know what they’re good at and do it very, very well.
Next, what are you passionate about? Now, being good at something and being passionate about it are two very different things. You can be great at fixing cars but hate talking about it, sharing it with other people. If so, this topic just wouldn’t qualify for the expert celebrity game. But, if you look a little harder to identify what it specifically about fixing cars that you truly love and you find it’s restoring classic automobiles, now that’s something you could celebritize!
Finally, what do other people need from you? So what if you’re good at fixing cars AND passionate about restoring classics? Is there a market for that? Do people really want to talk about that? And are you the right person for the job? Once upon a time I might have said, “No, there’s no market in celebritizing yourself around restoring classic automobiles.”
But that was before “Car Talk “on NPR made itself and co-hosts (and brothers) Tom and Ray Magliozzi famous. That was before “Antiques Roadshow” captivated the country’s attention and before both the History and Speed channels became cable staples.
Nowadays, truly, if you are an expert at something, passionate about that thing and can find a market for it, you too can become a celebrity!
Focus … on What Works
We all know what’s going to work for us and what doesn’t. Blink and Tipping Point author Malcolm Gladwell is a celebrity x 10, but I don’t think you’ll ever hear him screaming into a microphone on some shock jock’s call-in show; it’s not him, it’s not his audience—it doesn’t work.
On the other hand, Guy Fieri, celebrity chef, cookbook author and winner of the Food Network’s first “The Next Food Network Star” contest, IS just the kind of passionate, verbal, excited and outgoing individual who has made a career out of what works for him; using his natural passion and enthusiasm for his expertise—cooking—to create a personal brand that is suddenly dominating the Food Network scene.
Of course, even a profound extrovert like Guy Fieri pales in comparison to pundit, expert author and popular CNBC host Jim Cramer. Cramer, with his trademark rolled up sleeves and loosened tie, intense eyes and voluble vocabulary, spends every evening shouting his message of the latest stock tips to an adoring and exceedingly loyal fan base on his popular TV show, “Mad Money.”
With his expertise, proven credibility and solid background, Cramer could have easily been a popular and successful pundit. But by finding his niche on his very own show, Cramer has truly shone and become what most experts crave: a celebrity.
Malcolm Gladwell, Jim Cramer and Guy Fieri are all experts; all are also bona fide celebrities.
And all are doing what works … for them.
Finesse … the Message
Finally, you need finesse; specifically, you need to finesse your message. It needs to be clear, concise and focused. For instance, if you are an absolute miracle worker when it comes to organizing things, it only makes sense that your message is organized as well.
What is that message? Let’s say over time you’ve realize that most people aren’t organized and even fewer people recognize the value of organization. So to make it clear for them just how important it is to be organized, you’ve come up with a simple three-part message that you communicate everywhere you go: your message is that organization saves time, increases productivity and boosts profits.
That message is delivered every time you publish something, hand out a business card or invite someone to read your blog. That message isn’t just the words you use but the graphics you use in your brochures, on your Website and on your business card.
Let’s say you start a blog to spread your message about how important it is to be organized. You wouldn’t write about sports scores or share holiday recipes or Hollywood gossip, would you? Hardly. Your message is that organization saves time, increases productivity and boosts profits.
So every blog post must reiterate that message in articles that have to do with your core expertise. You’ll want to write about how an organized office is a productive office, you’ll want to link to news stories or breaking research that reveals organization boosts effectiveness by 28%, etc. Otherwise you’re just wasting that message, if not ignoring it altogether.
Embrace Your Expertise
So much of expertise is confidence, but we’ve seen how confidence alone isn’t enough to become a celebrity. The bottom line with becoming a celebrity is that once you find … yourself, focus … on what works and finesse … your message, the foundation is already in place for what promises to be a bright and celebritized future.
Becoming a celebrity next becomes a matter of taking all three of these vital core skills and truly embracing your expertise so that you will have the confidence to truly shine in whatever it is you are good at, are passionate about and can find an audience for.
Once all these elements align, the sky truly IS the limit!
How Seeing Through the Customer’s Eyes Can Help Open Sales Channels
Famous restaurateur and former TGIFriday’s CEO, Daniel Scroggin, was always intently focused on the customer experience. “The only way to know how customers see your business is to look at it through their eyes,” is a famous quote that has blanketed the Internet throughout his career. And he makes sense!
The customer experience is often the golden nugget that gets lost when companies work on trying to perfect their message. But as the CEO of several restaurant chains, Scroggin knew he was selling more than food. He was selling the experience… and all the metrics and demographic studies in the world can’t supplant the simple, satisfied feeling a consumer has after having a great time and meal on a Friday night!
That’s why I’m a big advocate, as a marketer, of re-examining the customer experience, especially if you find yourself at a point when sales are lackluster or lagging! Sometimes, walking even half a mile in the customer’s shoes can help reveal basic holes in your marketing. To do that, my favorite place to start is the beginning.
Do I Have a Good Web Site?
Most consumers today rarely make plans to go out or buy anything without researching it on the Internet. The basic information is all there (variety, comparison pricing, reviews and the experiences of other consumers). One of the key places they will always look is the company Web site. No matter whether you sell consumer products or business services (or anything in between), your Web site is your storefront.
So, when was the last time you examined it? When was the last time you gave it a new face, or just surfed it to see if it was easy to use? Web sites need to inform, educate and sell. It should have all the pertinent information for the visitor to make a “buy” decision and then a clear path that allows them to quickly make a purchase.
For some businesses, online purchasing systems are key. Other companies sell services, so a conversation is what’s necessary. Either way, your site needs to be easy to navigate and contain everything a potential customer needs in order to say “YES.” Visit your site as if you were a consumer and read the content, count the clicks and place an order. If any of those steps are too difficult, confusing or take too long to execute, you may have already found your lost sales.
How Does My Google Look?
When you’re shopping for a new TV, bike or other product, if you’re like most people you do an Internet search to check products and pricing. So, think like a person who might be interested in what your company sells. Google your business category topic and company, and see what comes up. When you Google your company, the first thing you’ll likely see is your Web site, and then a host of other links (customer reviews or even some news articles about your company). If your company has a page on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and MySpace (and if you’re not on those networks, you should be), you’ll see those, too. After that, examine where your Web site appears and what rank it has as a company and business category. If you’re lucky, your Web site might pop up in the top 20. Now, if you want to improve those results, there are two things you can do. First, register your Web site with Google, Bing and Yahoo so that their search engines know you exist. It’s free, and if you do it once every month, you’ll ensure your site is indexed monthly. If they don’t index your site, you have less of a chance of being found by consumers. The links for these tools are:
Further, you might want to make sure that your site contains a lot of the more common words associated with your business category. These are the same words (known as kewords) that people use when they search for you or your topic. How do you know what they are? Google offers a free tool that allows you to type in names and topics, and it generates a list of associated keywords that score well. The link for that is:
Am I Doing Any PR?
If you want people to notice your company, and have enough information to make that “buy” decision, then you MUST do some PR. The Web site and search tools are passive elements of your campaign. You’re essentially getting ready for your party before your guests arrive. But if you want people to show up, you have to send out invitations! And, that’s what PR does for you.
By appearing as a guest on talk radio and TV or having journalists writing about your company in their newspapers and magazines, you’re essentially using the media to invite potential customers to your party. But, investing in a great Web site without committing to a PR campaign is like throwing a party, without expecting any guests (except family, maybe!).
Moreover, PR helps to support all your other marketing tactics, including advertising, key sponsorships and promotions. It gets the word out about your company and products and improves the return on your investment in everything else you’re doing to serve your customer.
Will putting all these pieces in place make your company a Fortune 500 winner? That depends on your product or service. However, from experience I know one thing: If you don’t do them, you’ll never get the chance to find out, and your company will never reach its full potential.
How to Do the WORST Print Interview EVER!
Over the years, I’ve given out reams of advice to people on how to do great press interviews, but sometimes it’s difficult to cover all the bases. After all, the way I got smart about the media was to make mistakes and learn from them. So I thought it might be fun and informative if I assembled some tips from the reverse angle – the best mistakes to make. I mean, if you’re going to mess up, why not do it in epic fashion so people remember you.
Don’t focus on the interview.
By all means, feel free to talk about whatever stream of consciousness pops into your head. Your family, your spouse, your health problems and the fact that your neighbor’s dog is doing his business on your front lawn. Make as much nervous small talk as possible, and if the reporter grew up in the same town as you, feel free to grill him for an hour to see if he had any of the same teachers as you in high school. After all, it’s not like he’s a media professional on deadline whose time is at a premium. There is nothing more he’d rather do than to talk about anything, except of course, the reason he’s interviewing you.
Journalists get a kick out of people who are not prepared for the interview, who don’t know the reporter’s name or the publication for which they toil. They completely understand when you don’t know what area of interest they cover in their columns, or when you tell them you’ve never read any of their stories. The only way to score more points is to tell them you’ve read their stuff, and you think they don’t have a clue what they are writing about most of the time.
Schedules are for wimps.
Don’t worry about being on time. Feel free to be late – in fact, be VERY late, especially if you are actually meeting them in person. These guys don’t like going back to the office, so the longer you can keep them out of the office – especially if they are waiting at a diner or coffee shop that’s at least 30 minutes away from the office – the better.
Trash talk is gold.
Do you know what really plays well in the media? Trash talking your competition. There is nothing more fun than shooting off your mouth to a reporter, and then watching the sparks fly in the morning when the paper hits the streets. Your attorney will love you for it, because the fees you pay him to defend you in the business defamation lawsuit your competitor files are finally going to make him enough money to buy that new boat.
Lie, and then lie about lying.
Nothing will get you more ink than if you lie, because reporters are pretty good at discovering the truth. And when they do, that means they’ll write another story about you. In fact, the bigger the lie, the better, because then you get the news coverage hat trick – the original story, the follow-up when they expose your lie, and the contrite news conference where you fall on your sword and admit the truth. I mean, think about all the people in the news today who lied, or who are accused of lying, and continue to dot the headlines. Of course, as with the trash talk tip, make sure you have a good legal budget, because a good long court battle over the lies is a sure way to keep stringing out those headlines.
Okay, it was fun getting all that off my chest.
As you know, my usual writing style is more “positive and inspiring” than “bitingly humorous,” but it’s good to shake things up now and then. And when you think about the points above, we see these mistakes made in the press, in some shape or form, every single day. It always makes me wonder, if these mistakes are so obvious to me, why aren’t they obvious to the people who make them? Or their advisors?
THE LEAST YOU NEED TO KNOW
No matter how unschooled you are in public relations, common sense is a good baseline to guide your forays into the media. And if you’re just not sure about the best conduct during a media interview, get a good PR person, or a good attorney.
Or maybe both, just to be safe.
Whether you are the owner, manager or public relations director of a company, chances are, you’re always looking for ways to get your name in the public eye. While advertising is a great start, enhancing your advertising with publicity creates a perfect marriage of exposure for your company. What is publicity? It’s non-paid communication to promote your company in a positive light using media vehicles like television, radio, magazines and newspapers. Through publicity, you build mutually beneficial relationships between your business and the public on whom your success or failure depends.
When it comes to publicity, most people believe they can write a press release, send it to a TV station, radio station or newspaper and just wait for the avalanche of phone calls. But time goes by… and after they realize there aren’t any reporters beating down their door, they make a few phone calls to the newsroom only to discover that no one even read the press release. All of that time and work goes down the drain. You’re back to square one and you start over, but to no avail. So how do you end the vicious cycle of disappointment?
Research Can Make or Break Your Pitch
Research. Plain and simple, you need to know your audience and your media market. And research is the key to both. So first and foremost you need to take a look at your message and ask yourself a few questions—is it newsworthy? Is it consumer-related? Does it have a local twist? Is it a visual story? What demographic am I targeting—how old is my audience and what is their target household income? The answers to these questions will help you craft your “pitch” and determine which media outlets you should target.
While most people go for the saturation effect, seeking radio, television and print media simultaneously, the reality is that your message might not be a good fit for all media. So that brings us back to the research table. Now it’s time to do a little homework and figure out where your message stands the best chance of garnering media attention.
How do I get on TV?
TV newscasts communicate to their audience through pictures and conversation. Producers look for newsworthy topics that are visual and entertaining or informative “how-to” segments. They want compelling conversation and pictures that will grab the viewers’ attention. They don’t want a “talking head” rattling off statistics or blatantly plugging a new book.
Worried that your message isn’t visual? Try this. Ask yourself how you’d explain your message to a child? Did that help you think of any pictures or simple words that fit your message? Those pictures or simple words can translate into graphics for a TV story. We once had a life insurance agency that wanted us to arrange local and national TV appearances for their CEO. The pitch we created offered interviews discussing the importance of life insurance and why it’s vital for women to protect themselves for the future. Sounds like you could sleep right through it, right? But we offered more than just the interview. We had the client prepare graphs and bullet points with short information snippets showing the mortality rate of women versus men. The TV stations turned them into graphics and voila—it became a very powerful visual story that was successful for our client and the media.
Keep in mind too, that the morning, noon and evening newscasts are each geared toward a different audience. The early morning shows are usually watched by working adults and families getting ready for school. Notice how the news formats shift into more of a talk and lifestyle segment that’s sprinkled with news ‘updates’ after 8 a.m. when most commuters have already left for work?
Saying Your Piece on Talk Radio
Radio talk shows engage their audience through words rather than photographs. Most radio stations are turning to local angles for interviews. So it’s important to figure out if your message has a local tie-in or is important to your community.
Because radio doesn’t require visual props or photos, it’s a great fit for just about any message, so long as you can discuss your topic for a good 30 minutes. Because what you’re really doing is having a conversation with the listeners, you need to be well-versed in your topic and able to handle plenty of questions. Your message should be topical too; something people want to talk about at the office water cooler or over coffee.
Radio talk shows, which are found mostly on the AM dial, also vary from morning to night. Morning shows have shorter interviews during this “drive time” to work. Talk show hosts don’t have time for a 30-minute interview because morning shows are jam-packed with news, weather and traffic updates.
Midday shows were once known to target women, but that’s changed because so many people listen to the radio at work. Now, you’ll find that many business shows air during typical daytime work hours. After work, you’ll find the second “drive time” of the day. Unlike in the morning, listeners are more relaxed. They’re on the way home from a long day at work and there’s more time to air a 30-minute interview.
During the evening, it’s a mixed audience of people listening from home. And don’t discount the reach of overnight interviews—while you may think no one is listening, think again! Overnight talk shows (from midnight to 5 a.m.) are very important due to overnight jobs that bring in listeners—second- and third-shift factory workers, public-service employees and many other industries that operate all night long.
Getting Yourself in Print
Print publicity includes magazines and newspapers. While they are two different vehicles, their requirements are similar to television. Your pitch needs to be newsworthy, entertaining, informative, and in some cases, even visual. Newspapers work on tight deadlines, so make sure you don’t wait a week after a hot story is released to offer your expertise or an interview on the topic. Magazines, on the other hand, often have a 30- to 60-day lead time. Research the publication you want to contact and make sure they have a reporter who covers your topic or message. It’s also helpful to offer quality visuals. For example, restaurants offering a recipe, a gym offering tips to a tighter tummy, even the latest trends in jewelry, can all be accompanied by photographs to support the story.
I’ve Narrowed the Search, Now What?
Once you know the types of media you want to target, how do you know which TV stations, radio stations, or print publications are in your area? You can always subscribe to some sort of media list, but why would you do this when the internet is full of free media information?
Some websites you may find helpful are;
You can also use a basic search engine and search for your city + media. For example, type in “Tampa Media.” You’ll find a whole list of media outlets at your fingertips.
Now that you’ve found a list of media contacts, you’re well on your way to creating a Power Publicity campaign to drive business to your company. Now that you understand why it’s so important to find your media niche, next up in our series, we’ll focus on creating a powerful message. To be successful at publicity, you must create your message specifically for your target audience and then find the best media vehicle to drive your message home. That’s why pushing those standard press releases didn’t work for you in the first place.
Many of today’s business owners and executives find themselves frustrated when dealing with the subject of marketing – even if they have marketing specialists in-house.
For that reason, I thought it might be helpful to share some basics about marketing, PR and advertising, as it relates to your company’s growth.
Let’s start with a very simple, but thorough definition of marketing. The American Marketing Association defines marketing as “… an organizational function and a set of processes for creating, communicating and delivering value to customers and for managing customer relationships in ways that benefit the organization and its stakeholders.”
This definition makes it pretty clear that marketing is not an activity by itself, but rather, a collection of strategies and actions aimed at driving business to your door. Marketing tactics may include branding, advertising, public relations, merchandising, direct mail advertising, phone sales, infomercials, multi-level marketing, and more.
It also includes the production of “collateral” – materials such as sell sheets, brochures, media kits, sales kits and any other document that supports the sales department. This marketing collateral differs from advertising as it is used later in the sales process, often as materials used by sales people to close prospects.
Let’s talk about advertising. It’s a marketing activity in which companies pay for space in print publications or on Web sites, commercials on radio or television, or direct mail pieces to advertise their products or services. This is paid space, so you control everything that goes into the message, and the cost of the space is based on reach and repetition.
Public relations differs in many ways from advertising. The Encarta dictionary defines PR as: “the practice or profession of establishing, maintaining, or improving a favorable relationship between an institution or person and the public.” Publicity is one of PR’s tactics and involves pitching a news story about your company to the press (both offline or online), and booking your spokesperson as a guest on radio and TV.
Given that the media is driven by ratings on radio and TV and by subscribers and visitors per month for hard copy publications and online news sites, they know precisely the demographics of their audience and what topics keep them engaged. Consequently, they’re very selective about who they interview as guests or who they choose to spotlight in their publications.
The great value of PR is the implicit endorsement that comes with appearing as an expert guest on radio or TV, or being the focus of a story in a newspaper or magazine. So, while advertising serves the needs of the company who is buying the advertising, PR serves the needs of the consumers who watch TV, listen to talk radio and read hard copy or online publications as their source of entertainment and information.
Of course, these are just very brief definitions – intended to give you a simple overview of the topics. I decided to write about this only because in my day-to-day conversations with clients and people interested in our PR services, I find people often confuse advertising with PR, and marketing with advertising – even when speaking with executives at large corporations. Yet each one of these tactics, when understood more clearly, can be so important to an organization’s survival and growth.
A short while ago I interviewed David Meerman Scott, author of the number-one bestseller “The New Rules of Marketing and PR” (Wiley … published in 22 languages) and his hit new book “World Wide Rave” (Wiley).
David is an internationally recognized viral marketing strategist and speaker at conferences and corporate events around the world.
As David makes clear in both books, the rules for marketing and PR have changed, and everyone, from marketing executives to business owners and entrepreneurs, needs to understand the new landscape if they want to stay relevant in today’s online world.
Marsha Friedman: David, there are so many questions I want to ask you! But to start off, I’d love for you to tell us about your new book, “World Wide Rave.” Can you explain exactly what this is?
David Meerman Scott: A World Wide Rave is when people are talking about you or your products, services or ideas. It’s really fascinating … it can be an unbelievably successful way to market because, ultimately, if other people are talking about you in a positive way, you’re reaching a whole new audience of people.
MF: Who would benefit the most from the “World Wide Rave” strategy? Is there a certain type of market, industry or individual that is the best fit?
DMS: I’ve seen it work for all different sorts of businesses: large global organizations, small local companies, for B2B, for consumer brands and everyone in between. I’ve even seen it work for very small, local businesses, like dentists. Ultimately, every single person who’s reading this interview is capable of creating something on the web that has potential for people to talk about it, whether it’s a YouTube video, a really interesting blog post, a series of photographs on Flickr, or even an e-book or a research report.
There are countless formats for how you can trigger people to talk about you. I’m convinced from several years of studying these phenomena that anybody can create something that has the power to spread.
MF: Sounds like a nonfiction author could be a good candidate as well?
DMS: Again, I think anybody. For authors, I’ve had tremendous success with what I call e-books. This is a simple PDF document that provides valuable information on the topic that your book is about. The way it works best is that you offer if for free, with no registration required, and everyone sees instantaneously that it’s valuable because it’s well-designed, well-written and because it clearly articulates answers to a problem that people have.
And then they say, “Wow, this is pretty cool! I’m going to share this. I’m going to either email it to a friend or colleague, or tweet about it, blog about it or share it on Facebook.” Then one person sends it to another, who sends it to another who sends it to another.
The reason this is so effective for authors is that within that e-book, typically the second or third page (and then again at the end) you reference your printed book. You can say, “This e-book is written by the author of …” including the title of the printed book and links to purchase the book on your own website, Amazon.com or wherever appropriate.
To put it in perspective, last year I put out an e-book called “The New Rules of Viral Marketing.” So far, that e-book has been downloaded over 600,000 times.
And I point them to my published book “The New Rules of Marketing and PR” as the place that I want people to go if they enjoyed reading that e-book. And that is one of the important reasons that “The New Rules of Marketing and PR” continues to make the Business Week Best-Seller List, even two years after its initial release.
It’s not like people talk about you for five minutes and then you’re history. If you offer something really valuable, it lives on.
Another interesting point that is particularly true for authors of business books is that it allows you to get an important search term into the search engines. Then if you do a clever job with an e-book, you can actually own those search results. So as an example, an important search term for me and for my business is the term “viral marketing.” And actually viral marketing is the term that most people use for the phenomenon that I call “World Wide Rave,” and we’ll talk a little bit later about the differences.
So viral marketing is an important search term for me, and I purposely named my e-book “The New Rules of Viral Marketing” because I wanted to get that term into the marketplace. Now before I did that, if you enter the term viral marketing into Google, you’d probably have to go down to page six or eight before you got to anything that was written by me … which is Siberia when it comes to the search engines because very few people go beyond the first page.
But now because of the e-book’s popularity, if you go to Google and you type in the phrase “viral marketing,” you see something like 5 million hits, and that e-book, “The New Rules of Viral Marketing,” depending on the day that you look, is somewhere between five and seven on the very first page. The fifth, sixth or seventh position. So absolutely, business book authors can use this tool!
MF: David, that is really interesting. How would you define the difference between World Wide Rave and viral marketing? Is there a difference?
DMS: Viral marketing is a term that’s been around for a while and it refers to information that spreads like a virus. There are a couple of reasons why I tend not to use that term very much these days. One is that virus has negative connotations in terms of health and well-being. Not to mention the negative connotations by way of the computer world. I mean, a virus is a bad thing. Right?
You don’t want a virus in your computer. The other issue is that there are many unscrupulous agencies that have jumped on the viral marketing bandwagon, claiming to be viral marketing agents or viral marketing experts and offering to create programs for people around viral marketing initiatives. I have found that a lot of those, not all as there are certainly some great agencies out there, but a lot of them are based on bait and switch contests and games and other odd practices.
That isn’t the form of viral marketing I’m talking about. The World Wide Rave is based on the idea that you create some really valuable and interesting information that people want to share. A lot of viral marketing nowadays has become “Want to Win a Free iPod? Click Here!!!” And when people do click that link, it doesn’t send them to valuable information. The result is that you don’t get people who are interested in what you’re doing. You get people who are interested in a free iPod.
MF: Great point, David. Speaking of sharing valuable information, what is the value of a blog and a landing page to your online marketing strategy?
DMS: I think that some place that you point people to is always important. Getting people to talk about you is fantastic, but you want to point them somewhere where they can either learn more, buy something, join a mailing list or whatever it might be. There are many different ways to do that.
It could be your Amazon.com page (for authors), your blog, your website or a landing page. If you have an email newsletter, you can point them to the place where they can sign up for the email newsletter. But it is important to provide people with somewhere they can either learn more, buy something or get into your lead-generation program.
MF: That makes total sense, David. Bottom line, all businesses need to make sales, and at some point their marketing efforts need to result in leads and sales. David, I know you probably get this question all the time, but how does someone best utilize the social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter? It can be overwhelming for somebody who’s just starting or for a busy executive with little free time. With all of the different formats, group applications and constant notifications, how would you recommend they best utilize it?
DMS: Ok, I’m going to take you through my tortured analogy. I think this is a great way to explain how the tools of social networking — by the way, there’s a difference between social media and social networking. Social media defines any online content that people can participate in. So a newspaper website that allows comments is social media.
Social networks are sites that are specifically created to encourage people to network on those sites. And that includes Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and literally thousands of others. But I think those terms are often used interchangeably and they’re not really the same thing.
MF: I think many will thank you for that clarification!
DMS: The confusion is very common. So anyway, getting back to my tortured analogy. Think of the web as a city and think of each activity that happens on the web as being an analogy with what’s going on in an actual physical city.
So in a city, you’ve got the book store, which is Amazon.com. You’ve got Main Street that has stores and shops, which are the consumer-facing websites of the web. You’ve got B2B websites, which are the office buildings. You’ve got the bulletin board when you walk into the supermarket, which is Craigslist. You’ve got the underworld of p*rn and sp*m going on both on the web and in the city, the physical city. You’ve got eBay, which is the garage sale. And so on and so on.
The social media are things like the private clubs; the bowling leagues, the golf clubs, the churches, the bars, and the pubs of the city. These are places where people meet and congregate to share like-minded interests. And just like in a real private club, you join and hang out with people who you like. If you like bowling, you join the bowling league. If you like bowling, you become interested in somebody’s bowling blog. I look at Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and all the others as the cocktail parties that are going on in the city.
So think about a cocktail party. You walk into a cocktail party, you might know a few people there, but a lot of people are strangers to you. And the way that you participate in that cocktail party, the physical cocktail party, is very similar to the way that you would behave on a social networking site like Facebook. So the question then is how do you decide if you should become involved in Facebook, and what you do.
MF: I love your analogy…thinking about it that way makes the web seem like a “real” place. So which cocktail party — social networking site — should someone get involved with?
DMS: I think it comes down to the same deciding factors you make about whether you’re going to get involved in a cocktail party. If somebody invites you to join Facebook, it’s kind of the same as if somebody’s going to invite you to come to their cocktail party. You need to make a decision. I’m really busy but Friday night I’ve got time, but what’s better, watching the Red Sox on TV or going to this cocktail party? And that’s the same point you make about joining Facebook.
For a lot of people who are looking to use the social networking sites for business you have to decide “Am I going to go to this cocktail party because I’m simply going to have fun and meet interesting people?” or “Am I going to go to this cocktail party because I’m going to do a lot of business there and maybe make some money as a result?” Some people do only one and some people do only the other, but a lot of us — me included — go to physical cocktail parties and go into social networking sites because it’s likely we’re going to do both.
We’re going to meet interesting people, have some fun, maybe make some friends, but there’s also a decent chance that we will meet somebody who might ultimately be able to help us in business in some way. If you come in with that healthy attitude, sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace and whatnot can be extremely valuable.
So the decision point becomes what cocktail party you go to. Do you want to go to the one that’s on the other side of the tracks and in a dirty sort of dungeon-like old warehouse where they’re playing house music that starts at 1 o’clock in the morning and everyone’s got black t-shirts and tattoos?
Or do you want to go to the one where everyone’s got coats and ties and speaks with clenched jaws and talks about their summer homes in the Hamptons?
These are both fine — there is nothing wrong with either of those things. The point is you need to get a sense of where the people are at that you would be interested in hanging out with. Where are they? And where are the people that I might want to do business with hanging out?
After all, a real estate agent can absolutely do business in their city by going to cocktail parties and joining the bowling league. Absolutely.
The same thing is true of these social networking sites. And by the way, the tortured analogy goes even further with Twitter, which is when you’re in a cocktail party and the girls go to the bathroom and talk about the guys and the guys stick around and talk about the girls when they’re gone!
So anything you want can fit this analogy. And I think also that what this analogy does is allow people to get a sense of the right behavior if they’ve never experienced a social networking site.
MF: I’m glad you brought that up David. Can you share with us some of the agreed-upon etiquette for the social networking world?
DMS: You know, a lot of times people who are new to social networking sites tend to behave in ways that aren’t really that well accepted when they first jump in. For example, if you have a sales background, your natural tendency in social networking sites is to sell. But can you imagine if you’re a sales guy, you go into a cocktail party, go into the middle of the room, and scream at the top of your lungs, “Buy my product?”
And some people who have an advertising background, their natural tendency is to buy advertising space. So you don’t go into a cocktail party and then paste posters onto the wall of the cocktail party room that talks about your products and services, do? Of course not!
So I think it’s just a matter of being human, wandering in, seeing who you can meet, being friends with people, being helpful, being interesting, offering to provide advice. And sooner or later, you’ll meet people, you’ll make friends, and all kinds of interesting opportunities will come your way exactly the same way as if you’re on the cocktail party circuit.
MF: Now, I want to talk a little bit about Twitter. I have had clients ask me why someone on Twitter — someone who doesn’t really know them — would even care to read tweets about them, their day or their message.
DMS: Typically what happens is there are three main ways people discover somebody else on Twitter and decide if they want to follow them. One way is if you do a Twitter search. If you do a Twitter search (search.twitter.com is the URL) you do a search under company name, your own name, the category of product you sell, your city and you can find people who are talking about things that are interesting to you and you can choose to follow those people.
Another way is if somebody who you follow all of a sudden is pointing to you and maybe pointing to a blog post that you wrote or one of your tweets. Then other people see this and say, “Oh, that sounds like an interesting person. I’ll try to follow them.” The third broad way is that if somebody starts to follow you, you find out who they are and follow them back. So again, in my earlier analogy, why would someone want to talk to you at a cocktail party? Because you’re interesting!
If you’re not interesting, maybe they won’t want to talk to you more than a minute. If you bore them to tears, they’re going to make the excuse that they need another drink and they’ll go away. But if you’re interesting, people will want to engage with you.
MF: Now, all of the responses can’t be positive in the social networking world. What’s the protocol when you get a negative response?
DMS: First of all, it happens a lot less frequently than a lot of people think…it’s actually quite rare. I’ve had something like 5,000 comments on my blog and probably fewer than 20 have been truly negative. Ultimately, you want to engage the person who has been negative and reply politely saying, “Gee, I’m sorry you feel that way” and go on to explain why you said what you said, and that you hope they can see your side of it. Typically, that’s enough.
But if you really get someone who’s just out of control bent on trying to hurt you, then you just disengage. Again, that’s exceedingly rare. I think that’s only happened to me one or two times. People make it out to be much, much more common than it is. Now of course, there are exceptions. If you work in the banking industry or the airline industry, maybe you’ll see it more often than not. But for most of us, it’s very, very rare.
MF: You know, that’s been my experience too. There’s a really small percentage of people who go out of their way to be rude or difficult, but most people are great! And one of the lessons you (hopefully) learn early in your life is to ignore the jerks and spend your time with the positive folks.
Thank you for your time David.
Zen and the Art of PR For Business
Public relations is by far the most affordable and effective marketing tool available for small-to-medium sized businesses and consultants. That’s a bold statement, but perfectly reasonable when you know the facts. I can’t tell you how many times I am approached by entrepreneurs who ask me, “Can I afford to do PR?” I always answer the same way: “You can’t afford NOT to do PR.”
Advertising is Not Public Relations
First, understand that advertising is not PR, and PR is not advertising. Advertising is simply a tactic by which you pay for placement of an ad—in newspapers or magazines, direct mail pieces or Web mediums—which you hope will generate responses commensurate with the amount of money you spend. The problem with this plan for small business people is that you have to spend a significant amount of money before you reach enough critical mass to make enough sales to recoup the money you’ve spent. At the end of the day, it’s a numbers game, and a game that only large companies can afford.
People Trust News
Public relations is cost efficient, because it delivers more than just numbers—it delivers trust. According to research, people trust news coverage far more than advertising. For example, TNS, a leading marketing information group, announced in early 2009 the results of a survey of 1,000 US households regarding consumer trust. The main result is that people tend to trust the news and what they read in print. As far as advertising goes, not so much.
In that survey, only 35 percent of respondents showed any level of trust in advertising, a number that would concern most CEO’s and their bean counters!
Here’s a summary of the findings:
The reason public relations is more trusted is because of the implicit endorsement of the media organization that covers your story.
Let’s face it, if they are willing to put it on their free air time, their editorial space or their web site, it means you were at least important enough for them to expend resources to cover your news. With advertising, anyone who can pay for the space can buy it. There’s not much pre-qualification or trust required there – just a check book.
In addition, a good public relations campaign costs about one-tenth of an advertising campaign. A small advertising budget will buy you a campaign that drops a pebble in a pond, and you hope the tiny ripples reach some customers. A PR campaign has the potential to drop a boulder in that same pond, for the price of advertising’s pebble.
Some retainer-based firms are taking on small businesses and consultant clients at cut rates these days, while “pay-for-performance” style agencies (that do project-based work with placement guarantees) are even more cost efficient because their guarantees help mitigate your risk.
All in all, there are a wide variety of inexpensive options out there for small companies who feel they can benefit from the branding and exposure good public relations delivers. In addition, advertising is an exercise in sales, whereas PR is an exercise in so much more.
Good PR counselors help their clients with branding, messaging, positioning, crisis communications and community relations.
The better ones know how to position you with the media as an expert in your field so that whenever a story breaks in your industry, you get the proactive call from the media to help them analyze the event and interpret it for their audiences. In many ways, PR delivers a marketing gift that keeps on giving.
In my 20 years in the public relations business, if I had a nickel for every time a client asked me to get them on the Oprah Winfrey Show it is safe to say that I would be a very wealthy woman at this point in my career!
Oprah is indeed the gold standard, and her show carries weight not only because of Oprah’s massive viewership, but also because they’re loyal. She brings with her tens of millions of loyal viewers who trust her so implicitly, that they buy practically any book she recommends, any product she endorses and follow her advice on just about every topic from politics and parenting to bowling and basket-weaving.
And when most PR agencies are faced with that request, they smile and nod and tell their clients they’ll do their best, but we all know what it really takes to get on Oprah.
First, you have to understand a few basic premises:
Oprah is NOT a Product Peddler.
The Oprah Winfrey Show does not exist to “provide coverage” for your product, company or book. Her mission is to inform and entertain her viewers so that they keep tuning in, and her company can sell advertising at top dollar. The more engaged and sizeable her viewership, the more revenue she takes in.
Her show is a true “No Spin Zone.”
You can’t “spin” yourself into a guest spot on her show, because her staff scrutinizes her guests more severely than the press dissect political candidates. You can’t disguise any element of your past, and you can’t use PR techniques to make yourself look more credible or noteworthy than you actually are. Her people are media pros and will see through it.
They don’t see their roles as bookers or producers.
They see themselves as caretakers of a multi-billion brand name and a television personality whose name is synonymous with credibility and trust. Protecting her show and her name is tantamount to protecting themselves and their roles in shaping a media juggernaut. You can’t fool them – either you got the goods, or you don’t.
You don’t call her, she calls you.
This is the one thing no publicist ever tells a client they hope to sign. Why? Simply because they are afraid it will make their agency or service irrelevant to the client who can sign the big check. 95 percent of Oprah’s guests are invited, and are rarely booked because a publicist made a phone call and pitched a client. It’s rare that any of her staff even make themselves available to hear pitches from publicists.
Seeing a guest similar to yourself on her show does not move you to the top of the list. If anything, seeing a competitor or guest similar to yourself on her show actually makes her less interested in you.
With that being said, a publicity campaign is absolutely critical if your eventual goal is to get on Oprah’s show. Contradictory? Not really. Here are some critical tips to give you the best shot at getting on her staff’s radar screen:
Earlier, I mentioned that 95 percent of her guests are invited without a pitch from a publicist, but that doesn’t mean publicity wasn’t involved. Her bookers and producers find out about unique guests by reading the news. They scour the Internet and local newspaper sites, looking for unique individuals and stories from all over the country. All those national headlines you read every day about the guy whose 8-year-old saved his life by giving him CPR, or the woman whose dog dialed 911, didn’t happen in Anywhere, USA. They happened somewhere, and in that somewhere was a local TV or print reporter who found out about it and wrote about it. The foundation of any campaign to get in the national media is to prove you were at least interesting enough to make your hometown papers or TV newscasts.
Stand for something.
The mistake a lot of people make when hitting the media is to be all things to all people, to appeal to the broadest sector of the population, to cast a wide net. However, most of the people you’ll see on Oprah are not good for all time zones; they are passionate, opinionated people who hold strong views and may pick a position that can upset some element of the viewing audience. Controversy and conflict is what drives most talk shows. Imagine how interesting Crossfire would be to watch if everyone agreed, and you’ll see my point.
Have an Impact.
Just because you write a book that exposes hidden injustice in some area of society, it’s not enough to just stand behind the book. You have to be an activist, a clarion voice of passion who actively campaigns to right the wrongs you’ve exposed. Having an impact on people’s lives, and earning the news coverage in your local community, is the highest-percentage way to get on the radar screen of Oprah’s staff, if not Oprah herself.
THE LEAST YOU NEED TO KNOW
At the end of the day, there is no magic potion you can take, no staffer or producer you can pay off, and no stunt you can pull that will get you on Oprah. But if you are truly unique, you have an impact on people’s lives and have the support of your local media, you’ve got as good a shot of being featured on Oprah’s show as any of the people she’s already put on the air.
How a little media exposure can increase your prospects in a big way
EDITORS NOTE: Marsha Friedman, CEO of the National PR firm EMSI, author of the new book “Celebritize Yourself,” and a long-time Expert Access contributor, originally sent me this content in an email – because she knows I love comics and cartoons. Unbeknownst to her, after I read it, I decided her email, with a little Steveditorial Monomythologizing would make a great story. Not often you can mix Batman, aliens and terminators in a business article. The facts below are all Marsha’s. The Heroes Journey motif is an editorial crib from Joseph Campbell, with a tip of the archetypal hat to Carl Jung as well. — Steve Kayser
ENTER: MARSHA FRIEDMAN
AND THE CALL TO ADVENTURE
In July of 2009, our agency played a behind-the-scenes role in a battle that pitted The Dark Knight against Aliens and Terminators.
It started with taking on the PR campaign of one of Hollywood’s most successful but lesser-known producers, and giving him a high enough profile to stand toe-to-toe with Hollywood hit-maker James (The Terminator, Titanic) Cameron.
Our client, Michael Uslan, executive producer of blockbuster movies like Constantine, Batman, Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, was headed to Comic-Con International in San Diego to announce a variety of projects and his new company.
To set the stage, let me try to describe the enormity of Comic-Con. More than 140,000 people attend every year, on a show floor packed with movie studios, book publishers, Internet companies, media firms, television networks and, of course, there are comic book publishers there too.
IT WASN’T REALLY A DARK AND STORMY KNIGHT BUT …
Celebrities like Steven Spielberg, Keanu Reeves, Johnny Depp, Tim Burton and hundreds of others routinely walk the floor and hold panel discussions. More than any other Hollywood trade show, Comic-Con is where movie studios debut new footage, previews and announcements of every movie genre and type. This year would be no different.
THERE WERE AVATAR-LIKE ICEBERGS RUMORED IN THE COMIC-CON SEAS
James Cameron, producer and director of landmark movies like The Terminator, Aliens, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, The Abyss and Titanic, would be the centerpiece of this year’s convention. For the last five years, he has been working on a 3-D animated film called Avatar, and he was debuting the very first footage from that upcoming blockbuster at Comic-Con.
AND THE HEROES JOURNEY REALLY BEGAN (Cribbed from Joseph Campbell’s Heroes Journey … Who cribbed it from Carl Jung)
This was great news for movie fans, but bad news for Michael Uslan, whose solo panel discussion was scheduled against Cameron’s presentation.
THE ROAD OF TRIALS
Our challenge was clear – we needed to populate our client’s panel, who was assigned a 750-seat room in the far wing of the convention center. So, not only did the panel have stiff competition, but it would also be a trek for conventioneers to walk to the venue.
IN THE BELLY OF THE WHALE
What’s worse, the show was only two weeks out.
THE MEETING WITH THE GODDESS
We hit the ground running. The first thing to do was get Michael on the air, pronto. So within a day, we booked him on Fox Business Network’s “Opening Bell” with Alexis Glick.
Alexis and her husband are both huge comic book fans, and she loved having him on the show so much, she did an additional offline interview with him after the taping, and wrote a special blog about his appearance for the Fox Business News website.
THE MAGICAL FLIGHT
Next, we needed to immediately book him some national radio. We scored an hour-long interview on the “X-Zone,” hosted by Rob McConnell that airs on 160-plus stations nationwide.
The same day as his “X-Zone” interview, we pitched print and online media that caters to fans of movies, TV shows, comics and science fiction. The result was 40-plus web clippings widely circulated among the fanbase.
CROSSING THE THRESHOLD
As soon as Michael arrived in San Diego, we had him scheduled on the local Fox affiliate and two other local TV affiliate stations prior to his panel discussion. The stations were provided the schedule for Comic-Con, and ran the schedule as a crawl under the live interviews.
DESCENT INTO THE UNDERWORLD
And then came Friday afternoon, July 24.
I stepped lightly as I made the trek to panel rooms 7A and 7B, a combined venue that would look cavernous if it was empty.
THE ULTIMATE BOON
As I turned the corner, I saw a line of fans that stretched around the corner, and by the time the panel began, there wasn’t an empty seat in the house, and a dozen or so people were standing through the entire discussion.
So, armed with a little bit of radio coverage, a little bit of print and a saturation of local television appearances, we were able to help Michael hold his own against a popular rival in the most important show of the year!