After Public Relations There’s Always Comedy @ShaneRhyne

ALT = "happy, sad mask"A man I’ve had the pleasure of meeting IRL a few times goes by name of Shane Rhyne, and he’s a former public relations executive who has gone comedy.

Shane tells me and us about his transition (yes, gents, he is having a mid-life crisis) from PR to comedy which to him is not exactly a flying leap. If you listen to the whole kit ‘n caboodle, you’ll hear a classic joke from Shane and it cracks me up because I laugh at everyone’s jokes.

Shane also shares about overcoming fears about the monsters that are no longer scary, what it’s like to move in with mom and dad, and how he makes it through his new daily grind. [Read more…]

Startups Should Hire PR Early

What-is-the-plan.jpgDuring the earliest stages of a startup, there are many discussions and decisions about how a business will launch and with which bells and whistles to go to market. Marketing needs to be involved in these earliest stages; does public relations?

The very lawyerly answer is, it depends.

When you work with a hybrid public relations professional who brings 30 years of experience to a team, then public relations influences a startup’s business strategy. There is even counsel delivered by public relations that can influence business model. This expertise comes from years of innate knowledge acquired from representing clients across industries.

A public relations professional is a startup’s single-most critical member of the team, especially during pre-launch.

Why?

While marketing morphs the business, public relations stands in the wings absorbing the dynamics of company culture and adding expertise from the outside looking in. While executives are safely spinning their business model, public relations contributes external perspective from the vantage point of a variety of stakeholders.

  • What will media ask; what will executives say?
  • What would investors and boards of advisors want set up at the start point?
  • Will consumers be able to understand why this company matters?

Startups Spend Time Inside

The formation of a company requires intense focus on the inside of a company. There’s so much more that happens beyond writing a mission statement or determining company values, structure and model.

What’s likely most confusing is the fact that public relations, in the presence of marketing, will not influence the inside of a company as much as it will influence how the company is positioned for external consumption.

Please read that again.

Therein lies the major differentiator among marketing and public relations – we who do the latter will always be listening for the language we need from marketing to describe and position a company for audiences who reside outside the company.

Throughout my career, I have influenced the business model of a startup. Because I bring such a breadth of experience across industries, it’s comfortable for me to share insights based on three decades of influencing results and driving measurable campaigns.

Ultimately, the best team for a startup is one where marketing and PR work hand in hand so all the expertise is conjoined with the same goal. Usually, that’s rare as the startup budget cannot afford a seasoned or deep team with these key players.

Would I to choose which professional to hire at the outset, it would be public relations – a seasoned, hybrid professional who has continually innovated and morphed alongside industry and technology.

PR And Marketing

Public relations is blending more with marketing than ever before; that’s nothing new, it’s been happening for years, yet now everyone is finally labeling what’s happening. Although the disciplines of marketing and public relations are blurring, there is still a major gap in understanding of how public relations delivers.

The logical progression for a startup is to hire marketing to morph its insides with branding, mission, vision, values, etc. When done, public relations enters from the wings during pre-launch. The positioning begins.

  • Public relations rolls in with a message mapping process.
  • Executives are trained to deliver strong messages to external audiences.
  • The business model is tested with all the key audiences in mind.
  • A strategy unfolds to announce the company’s existence with the differentiators in place.
  • A media relations strategy is launched to announce to the market this company exists and is serious about earning a spot in the vertical market.
  • Social media and blogs are launched to continuously push content.
  • Public relations and marketing blend and work cohesively to execute strategy.

No Budget? Hire PR

What if a startup is working on a shoestring budget? There are seasoned public relations professionals who can bootstrap alongside a startup.

When a startup needs communications and marketing counsel, a public relations professional is the best hire at the outset. Someone who knows enough about technology, business, messaging, strategy, positioning, marketing blend, and much more.

Having the ability to write professionally is critical; adding someone to the team who is a professional blogger and media relations professional is smart for a startup.

To understand more about why PR is a better hire for startups than marketing,

contact Jayme Soulati at jayme at Soulati dot com. The hands-on experience is there.

You may dial 937-312-1363, as well.

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B-to-B Firms Need Content Marketing

Not everyone using device for notes! #converge...

Not everyone using device for notes! #convergesouth via soulati

You’re a business-to-business firm; perhaps a mid-sized business with no marketing team. You know you need marketing; however, beyond setting up a basic one-dimensional website you’re unsure what comes next.

Sound familiar?

It should and does, most likely. There are many organizations, firms, companies and business units scrambling to piece blended marketing together in order to communicate and sell to business audiences.

While there’s research everywhere saying B-to-B marketing is blending and blurring with B-to-C marketing, there are still firms that will never market to mass audiences of consumers. There are still businesses that will remain steadfast with its services offering and sell to other businesses and never to consumers.

It’s this type of business, often with an entrepreneurial approach I’m thinking about in this article today.

In order to elevate the firm’s brand and earn exposure, there are a variety of program elements to recommend. There’s one approach, however, that is the strongest recommendation and that’s content marketing.

Power Up The Blog

The first best recommendation is to launch a firm blog. The blog is owned media; you control the message and frequency of the writing. It can become the traffic hub for all types of content creation, including:

• Educational information
• Q&A with a guest
• What Is…Series
• Themes explored and explained
• Guest profiles/features
Breaking news
• Events announcement
• Recap of a presentation + SlideShare deck
• New product launches

Share on Google+ and LinkedIn

Every B-to-B firm should claim its brand identity on Google+ business page and LinkedIn company page. The owners of the firm need to develop personal profiles on each and begin building their networks on these social channels.
All the blog content being written should get shared on these channels alongside industry articles relevant to the firm’s services and interest.

Blend Digital With Content Marketing

When we suggest digital marketing, it means developing content to generate leads. This content can be free downloadable material like an e-book, white paper or research. It can also be a thought piece on a related issue or perhaps a tip sheet or news bulletin.

There are landing pages developed to encourage people to submit an email for the content, and your firm starts creating a list with which to engage in the future.

It’s not as simple as it sounds; however, when you imagine the vast number of users combing the web for information, your content marketing has to be highly useful. Instead of giving it away free, add an email capture form and consider how you’ll keep people interested with your informational content.

Consider a Message Map

When you’re unsure of how to present the firm to external audiences, there is a nifty tool called a Message Map that helps provide answers to all the 5Ws of the firm. A Message Map is helpful in extrapolating answers from executives and getting approval from leadership on how best to position a company going forward.

This book provides a step-by-step approach on how to Message Map. You can consider its purchase right here http://MessageMapping.co.

Message-Mapping-Book.jpg

http://messagemapping.co

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PR Is NOT Press Release

news-release.jpgHello, my SEO colleagues and internet marketers. For several years now I have cringed when I hear the word “PRs” emanating from your neck of the wood over to mine. Upon the first hearing, I wasn’t sure my ears had picked up correctly, must be that invisible hearing aid.

PR Is Public Relations

For, the abbreviation PR has always been for one thing and one thing only – public relations, my discipline, my profession, and my world for many decades – yes, I’m ancient.

Your continual delivery of PR as “press release” is confusing because people in PR, the practice of public relations, are migrating over to the word news release. And, I’ve share why on many an occasion.

When SEO folks get a turn at a “press release” to optimize it and push links, it’s not a press release at all; it’s merely a communication tool we can call a news release IF there is news within it. The point I’m trying to make to save anyone from having to go hunting down a rabbit hole is this:

Back in the day, the press corps was everywhere following folks and the press conference was a gathering of journos listening to a spokesperson shoving mics in his face (yes, it was always a he back then).

Today? Not so much.

Press Corps

There really isn’t a mass grouping of press, the print media, covering companies like groupies. The press corps is relegated to U.S. federal government officials, like POTUS and the secretary of state.

So, when the term press release is used, I switch it out for news release because that’s the goal of the communication tool – to be a vehicle of news.

When an SEO professional uses “PR” for press release and not public relations, I will kindly correct your vernacular and inform you to kindly remove that abbreviation from your vocabulary and call it a news release.

Wouldn’t you agree the word “news release” is so much more powerful than a “press release” anyway?

Note: Jayme Soulati is a veteran public relations practitioner of 30 years; she has a right to defend the purity of her profession.

Anatomy Of Feel-Good PR Stories

desert-tortoise.jpg

advocacy.britannica.com

The single-best place to find the single-best headlines in addition to feel-good PR stories is the bottom feature story on the front page of the Wall Street Journal.

Within these pieces are sensational and zany stories about topics you can’t imagine. Today’s story is one of the best feel-good features I’ve seen there in awhile as it melds the rough and tough U.S. Marine Corps with the desert tortoise.

Yes, our nation’s military dual as conservationists. Hard to believe, eh?

The Story

On a training exercise in the deserts of California, in Twentynine Palms to be exact, the troops were charging a hill and shooting at targets until one of the softer-hearted screamed “tortoise alert!” (Those last four words are speculation.)

The exercise ceased and the turtle doctor was called to the scene; he’s part of “a little-known army of biologists and other scientists who manage the Mojave desert tortoise and about 420 other threatened and endangered species on about 28 million acres of federally managed military land.”

When the tortoises are scared, they pee themselves. I’m only telling you that so I can use this word I’ve never seen from the story…”an unplanned micturition can cause dehydration and even death.” (The best explanation for that is the turtle wets the bed, and BTW? My spell check did not like that word.)

So, the biologist shows the Marines how to soak the reptiles in water until they drink enough to carry on. Apparently, these desert dwellers don’t need a drink for about two years, and when they dribble from fear, their supply of water is exhausted.

Elements of a Good PR Story

Let’s look at why this story works for national news:

  • Endangered species protected on federal reserves
  • A team of biologists functioning within the military under a bit of secret cover
  • The Marine Corps doing drills in the Mojave desert
  • The Marine Corp as conservationists; ceasing all ops until the tortoise families are safely moved to distances away from training sites.
  • Background about the reptile and its habits (the water factoids)

And, that really good headline tops it off, “The Few, the Proud, the Tortoises: Marines Protect Endangered Species; An Army of Biologists Are on Nature Patrol at Military Bases; ‘Walking Ravioli’

Your Good PR Story

Considering trying for national news with a good media relations professional? Here are some elements you can’t be without:

  • Hard news with a soft news twist
  • Current events angle; news that ties in with world affairs
  • Data: could be new research, patterns of behavior
  • Third-party Spokesperson: academic, scientist or other expert to vouch for the data
  • Consumer: Person who receives the service, uses the product with a good story
  • Company executive: Someone with the Message Map in hand who can present the company in proper light

The final item on your list is to have a professional pitch this to national media. It will be a huge challenge if you try to do it yourself.

By Jayme Soulati

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