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PR & Publicity

Get Great Publicity

Nine options to grow your personal brand and business.

Andeline Williams-Pretorius

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A good PR campaign is often crucial to the success of your business or personal brand.   The rewards that you can get from free media exposure, by positioning yourself as an expert in your field, far outweighs the rewards of a paid advertisement.

Challenging financial times require that you be able to re-invent yourself, grow and ensure that you remain relevant. This can be quite challenging, especially when you are not sure where to start, do not necessarily have the benefit of being a celebrity, or have a particular look or product that basically sells itself.

Not being a celebrity doesn’t have to be a problem though. There are a number of ways in which you can get great publicity that can assist with growing your personal brand or your business.  An extra benefit is that this may lead to more publicity and to you being recognised as an expert in your field.

Anyone can do it, provided that they are doing it right. Another benefit is the fact that the media is always looking for news.  You have to ensure that you or your business is that news. You have to stand out.

What are you passionate about? What do you already know? How could you package what you know and have, to get great media attention, grow your personal brand or business and position yourself as an expert?

What you can do to get fantastic publicity?

1. Write a regular column for a reputable publication

If you could convince a reputable publication that they require your services, you are a real star.  Identify your publication of choice. See whether there is a gap that you could fill.   Once you have identified this gap, you have to convince them that you are it and that they require your expertise.   When approaching your media platform of choice, make sure that you focus on the value that you could add to their readers, viewers or listeners.  You have to be able to answer this question: “How will they benefit by being exposed to my message?”

2. Write a book

Has anybody ever told you that you have a book inside of you? Everybody has a story, is an expert in some way or another and can write a book. A book is one of the best ways to assist with positioning yourself as an expert.  If your book is interesting enough and appeals to many people, there is a great chance that the media will be interested in telling people about it.

Should you self-publish or go the national publishing route?  This is a very important point to consider.  With both options, there are advantages and disadvantages. When you plan properly, you can choose the option that would be most beneficial to you.

3. Be a regular expert on radio or television

When you write a good book, something that is of interest to the general public, there are various options to ensure that you share your message on a regular basis on your platform of choice.   Build your confidence and enquire about such possibilities, even while you are still writing your book.  There are many opportunities out there, but they are reserved for those individuals and businesses who can see the bigger picture.  In a competitive market, you want to be that person who gets to share their message on their platform of choice.

4. Contribute your expert opinion to magazine or newspaper articles

When you are recognised as an expert in your field, journalists may approach you to contribute your expert opinion to articles or stories that they are working on. Your opinion. When this happens, it is quite a compliment. When you do well and deal with the particular journalist in a respectful manner, they will tell a colleague or journalist at a different publication.  Then you can say “hello” to more wonderful opportunities to contribute your expertise.

5. Register your passion as an NPO

What causes are you passionate about?  Ever thought of registering your passion as a Non Profit Organisation? Causes that are interesting or seen as worthy tend to draw automatic media attention. If you have overcome a challenge and want to assist others, you may want to consider registering this as a Non Profit Organisation. The media is always interested in interviewing founders or representatives of Non Profit Organisations.

6. Have a reputable publication tell your inspirational life- or business story

Regardless of who you are, you have a wonderful life or business story.  Whether it is one of success, a great life or about overcoming adversity, the media might be interested in telling your story, provided that you package it in the right manner.  One of the most important things to remember when packaging your story is to ensure that readers, viewers or listeners will benefit by being exposed to your story.

7. Write online articles

Writing online articles is a wonderful way in which you could share your knowledge and position yourself as an expert.  If your articles are good enough, they could lead to more opportunities where you are recognised as the expert on the particular subject matter.  This might lead to fantastic exposure on various media platforms. When writing an article, you should focus on what you could teach the reader. You have to write as an expert. The reader is mostly interested in what you could teach them or how what you are writing about, could resolve their problem. With this in mind, you will do well.

8. Write a Blog

A successful blog has led to wonderful media exposure for many and provides a great platform to share your expertise. Such experts made it work by focusing on a specific theme, for example: business, child care, food, to mention a few.  You have to plan properly by also identifying your audience beforehand.  The most important factor is traffic. This includes recurring visits and visitors sharing your blog posts. Successful blogs are those that make money for the author.

9. Write a Press Release

Press releases are a great way in which to get your company or your personal brand publicised.  Journalists and editors love press releases. You can keep it that way. How? Make sure that your press release is short, to the point, neatly typed and without spelling errors.  The editor might decide to publish your press release just the way you wrote it, with all the information that is important to you.

With the above options in mind, it is important that you stop believing the lie that ‘all publicity is good publicity.’ Surely you heard someone say this at some stage. As an ordinary person or entrepreneur, you shouldn’t believe this lie.  You want great publicity, so why settle for second best?   Why try to get publicity by being controversial, especially when you run the risk of having it affect your business or personal brand in a negative way?

Andeline Williams-Pretorius is CEO of Andeline’s Motivational Training and the creator of The Empathy Campaign. She works as an inspirational speaker, trainer, author, columnist, relationship expert and PR Consultant. She is a regular expert on Empathy on Afrikaans radio station, RSG and was recognised as one of South Africa’s most inspirational women.

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PR & Publicity

5 Reasons Your Start-up Isn’t Getting The PR You Need

Understanding and working with the requirements of journalists covering your industry will go a long way toward increasing your company’s visibility.

Syed Balkhi

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Getting press coverage for your start-up has become increasingly difficult. With an average of 550 000 new businesses starting each month, you’re facing some serious competition to gain traction with your audience. If you don’t take the right approach to PR, you’ll see your competition pass you by.

Exposure doesn’t happen by chance. Behind every great brand story you see in the media, there is a great PR strategy.

Let’s look at some of the most common mistakes that prevent startups from getting the press coverage they desire.

1. Not taking blogging seriously

Blogging on a regular basis is one of the best ways to impact mainstream discourse. A growing number of journalists and reporters are constantly looking for new and interesting story ideas in the blogosphere. You can make your blog a fresh source of news stories by writing about your story and your industry, and by commenting on different aspects of your business.

To get the right press coverage by blogging, ask yourself why your company exists and what problem your product or service solves. Present your story as human and relatable and make sure it is compelling enough to grab the attention of the media.

Related: 9 Answers You Need About Yourself Before Starting Your Own Business

2. Not networking with relevant journalists

Networking allows you to build a quality relationship with relevant journalists whom you might not have encountered otherwise.

To get quality press coverage, you need to focus on networking with journalists who cover your niche, and to learn what they write about and what their audience likes to share.

Once you have built a connection, you can pitch them the story of your business.

But before you jump in, keep in mind that journalists hear pitches all the time. If you’re sending generic pitches that focus on only yourself, most likely they’ll ignore your proposal. To make your pitch stand out, tailor your story to fit with their beat.

3. Not making your story exclusive to each journalist

business-story

Exclusivity is a strong enticement for a news outlet. Not only will it make them more invested in the story, but it will also entice them to get the jump on their competitors.

Assuming you have exclusive-worthy news, the next thing you must decide is what outlet to offer it to so that it has the best chance of reaching your target audience. The goal is to not always reach the broadest audience but to get your news in front of existing and potential customers.

Related: 5 Books To Read Before Starting Your Business

4. Not using the right tools

To build and maintain a great PR presence, you need to use the right tools; ones that help you amplify and monitor your business’s public appeal.

Some of them are:

  • Help a Reporter Out: HARO is one of the easiest free tools when it comes to pitching the media. It lets you gain access to daily emails from journalists seeking interviews.
  • Google Keyword Planner: This free tool helps you plan out your blog posts with relevant keywords that people are searching for. Careful word selection will help your blog show up higher in search engines returns.
  • BlogAbout Title Generator: My favourite free tool to help me brainstorm catchy titles for reporters.
  • Google Alerts: This is a free tool that sends you alerts when your company or competitor is being featured in various media outlets.

5. Not being authentic

Reporters are consistently getting pitched stories from entrepreneurs that want press. To make your pitch stand out, be authentic. The reporters covering news in your industry want to hear your story.

Related: How You Create A Money Spinning App Without Any Coding Skills

Keep in mind that they need you as much as you need them, and they are actively looking to build relationships with entrepreneurs. So, don’t be afraid to reach out to them. To get your story covered, you need to find the right reporter and the right publication at the right time and to be authentic.

No matter how good your product is, it may fail if it doesn’t make its way into the public eye. To get the right press coverage, you need to build a strong network of journalists and bloggers writing about your industry.

When you send a pitch, ensure that it stands out and tailor it to fit it with the reporter’s beat. From this list of errors, you can avoid the mistakes preventing you from getting the PR you desire. Fix it and you can increase the visibility of your start-up.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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PR & Publicity

How To Use Mistaken Inquiries To Drive Awareness Of Your Business

Whether this is a walk-in, telephonic or e-mail client, be sure not to regret your interaction with them, have a plan in place, how you will deal with such situation.

Neli Moqabolane

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At times, we receive inquiries or communication from people seeking products/services that aren’t in our line of work. It can also be someone who has mistaken you for a certain company that you’re not. It’s easy to dismiss such inquiries, by simply saying you’re unable to assist the person.

Don’t miss an opportunity to publicise your company, treat the enquirer as one of your clients. Take a proactive approach, use this as an opportunity to inform them about your company and the services/products that you offer.

In doing this you are building a reputation for your brand, and introducing your corporation to someone who might have never known about. It might happen in future, that the said person needs your products/services when they remember how you professionally assisted them, then they will come to you.

Another possibility is that at that moment they are connected to someone who needs your services and they don’t know anyone in your field. Should you play your cards correctly, you might gain a client for the future or the present.

Whether this is a walk-in, telephonic or e-mail client, be sure not to regret your interaction with them, have a plan in place, how you will deal with such situation.

1Respond professionally

Your response should be structured in a manner that will make the enquirer feel respected and not embarrassed about the mistake they’ve made. When responding to emails ensure that you do so quickly. Sympathise that you cannot assist them because your company only specialises in different services/products. State clearly what is it that you provide and how you do it. 

Related: A Guide to Optimising Your Business’ Social Media Usage

2Show how you solve problems

In the process of explaining your services/products, demonstrate how you can solve people’s problems or meet their needs. This means that you describe your products/services in detail. However, your description should be a comprehensive summary, consider that the enquirer has a life to live.

3Make your brand visible

brand-recognition-marketing

When responding to emails, remember to include your logo, motto and other things that your brand is identified by. Your offices should be designed keeping this in mind when someone walks in, they should immediately see your identity.

4Offer samples 

If you have samples to give, kindly offer them to the enquirer. Should you have demonstrations/presentations that you do, politely inform the enquirer about them. Let them know how they can get hold of this.

Related: How To Impress The Press

5Provide them with an opportunity to come back to you

You can share your business card with someone you meet, this should have all your contact detail, i.e. telephone, fax, e-mail and social media details. In an email, these should be nicely positioned at the end of your email, as part of your final greeting.

6Refer them to a relevant business

Should you know of any company that offers the services/products they need, refer them to it without hesitation. If possible, provide them with contact details and a contact person to assist them.

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PR & Publicity

How You Can Avoid The ‘Facebook Effect’

Don’t let perceived realities – of your business or those of your competitors – derail your strategies.

Allon Raiz

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As a young entrepreneur, I received my first bit of publicity from a daily in Durban. It was massively exciting and stroked my ego tremendously because after all, what I had achieved was considered newsworthy enough to be published in a newspaper.

There was a big photo of me on page four, with my interview where I talked about the success of a promotion I had conceived and implemented. My friends saw the article and called to congratulate me, and in my distant social circles people discussed my story and congratulated me too.

Perception versus reality

What they didn’t know was that my business was barely breaking even at the time. The perception of my success was very different to my reality. I proudly showed the article to my mentor (naively expecting a pat on the back) and instead he asked: “Do you believe what they say?” “What do you mean?” I said. “Do you believe all the things the journalist has written about you in the article?” he asked again.

I didn’t answer him because I knew deep down that they weren’t all true. I wasn’t the hugely successful businessman that I was portrayed as in the article.

“If you believe all the good things the press write about you, you’ll also believe all the bad things they say. Be grateful for the press, but do not let it govern your emotions.”

Beware curated reality

In today’s era of social media, fake news, memes, and overly filtered photos, it’s very easy to become envious of the perceived lives that others showcase.

Much like the envy we experience when scrolling through our friends’ posts of their expensive destination holidays — where they can be seen showing off their tanned, ripped bodies while sipping expensive champagne — the same type of envy occurs between business owners when they scroll through competitor’s company timelines and witness their competitors winning great awards, attending glitzy launches and receiving kudos from the press.

In my experience, the perception created by these often-boastful social media posts is seldom close to reality. Like the article on my Durban business, what my friends perceived was nowhere near my financial reality.

Be cognisant and sceptical of this curated reality, so that you as a business do not react in one of two ways to a competitor’s posts:

  • Don’t try to emulate their strategy based on what seems to be working
  • Don’t end up feeling depressed based on your jealousy of this curated reality.

Instead, your reaction to witnessing these posts should be to:

  1. Frame your competitors’ posts simply as marketing. They have carefully curated these posts to only show followers the great things about their businesses, products and services. The ‘make-up’ hides the imperfections.
  2. Use your emotions to make a change. Use the energy their posts ignite inside of you — not the content they project — and pump that energy into YOUR strategy to reinforce it.
  3. Drive your differentiator harder. Make sure your business stands out as being unique and a thought leader in its industry and not one attempting to copy others. Your differentiator should not be influenced by what you are seeing either positively or negatively.

Always remember, your competitors’ posts represent selective truth-telling because they curate what they want you to see online.

They will never post when times are tough and they are losing clients and not making a profit at the end of the month. Don’t believe everything you see, and most importantly, don’t let these ‘perceived realities’ affect you or your business strategy in any way.

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