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Category Archives for "Online Public Relations"

Four Ways To Make HARO Better

Let me preface this blog post by saying that I still love HARO (http://www.helpareporter.com/) and I think Peter Shankman is a smart guy. I’ve even used HARO from a pitching standpoint twice now with amazing results. It is a great idea and deserves a lot of credit.

By the way, Shankman’s book is awesome. Watch my video review of it here.

But lately, as a member who gets the email 3 times a day. I’m finding that it is harder and hard to read them. Here’s why I think.

1. 3 times a day is rough to commit to reading. I realize they’re short and everything, but think about it. 3 times a day times 30 days = 90 email a month.

2. Why must I get all the stuff? Why can’t I just get the stuff that interests me? For example, let’s say I want only the tech or blogging stuff, why can’t I just get that? Why do I have to sit through pitch requests about homeowners and tax stuff, etc…

3. Can I get a html version please? Maybe with a nice linked anchor index at the top so I could click on it and it could take me to the section I only want to read very quickly?

4. Enough requests asking for content for your blog. Everyone wants free content, and nobody wants to pay for it, I get it. But I don’t want to give you free content, and asking for free content is lame.

Just some small improvements that would make HARO much better in my opinion.

By the way, you know what the best part of HARO is? It’s the personally written ads that Peter writes at the top. A very smart way to do it. Learn from how Peter does it because it works… well.

Niche Marketing: Your Product + “What’s Hot” = Success

Shmuly gets it. He’s taken a traditional piece of Jewish headdress called the Kippah and combined it with current trends, in this case the Presidential election here in the USA. Check out his product at VanityKippah.com. Pretty smart.

In this video I talk more about how smart marketers like Shmuly know to take their product or service and combine it with current events or trends to make more sales and get publicity. It works. You can do it too.

Take a moment and think about how your product or service relates to what’s hot right now. Sports (the Olympics?), entertainment, politics? You get the point. Now make the connection and do something creative. The press will eat it up.

Music on video from http://cantorgottesman.com/chazzan-first-cd.htm

Quit Wasting Money On Press Releases, Buy Shankman’s Book

Seriously. Stop sending boring press releases that don’t work. It’s a huge waste of money. Grab a copy of Peter Shankman’s book for a few bucks and learn why, and how you’re going to save thousands.

Book title: Can We Do That?! Outrageous PR Stunts That Work–And Why Your Company Needs Them

Peter is the guy who brought us HelpaReporterOut.com (HARO), which is a great resource if you haven’t signed up yet, go now and do it. Back to the book…

This is a must-read book for you as a small business or brand that’s wants publicity, and you should. Spend the money and read this book and thank me later. And yes, those are my affiliate links in the video widget below. If you buy from clicking on them I get like 10 cents or something, lol.

Check out Pete’s blog too. Good stuff.

A Press Release Should Tell A Story

Great write up here outlining why press releases as we know them should die a slow death.

Press releases are nearly useless. They typically start with a tremendous amount of top-spin, they contain pat-on-the-back phrases and meaningless quotes. Often they will contain quotes from C-level executives praising their customer focus. They often contain praise from analysts, (who are almost always paid or have a customer relationship.) And so on…

Press releases are created by committees, edited by lawyers, and then sent out at great expense through Businesswire or PRnewswire to reach the digital and physical trash bins of tens of thousands of journalists.

This madness has to end. It is wasted time and effort by hundreds of thousands of professionals.

man_reading_paper.JPGAgreed.

A good press release tells a story. Plain and simple. If I’m a journalist, or a blogger, whatever, I want the release to give me the angle… to give me the story. Let’s face it, and I know this will make some journalists angry, but many of them are lazy and they simply want the story hand fed to them, with accompanying facts and figures.

A good release does that. It’s not about “launching a new company” or “we just passed 1 million sales”. Nobody cares about that stuff.

Instead, what does your new company do that solves a problem for a reader? What does it really mean to the industry that you’re in that you just passed 1 million in sales?

Online public relations is changing. I fully expect to see a more robust way to get your news releases into the hands and minds of the people who want it.

The question is… what exactly is that format going to be? If I had my choice, a release would look like this.

Headline

Video – No longer than 2-minute clip explaining press release

Summary paragraph

Quotes from executives/owners, etc…

Fact and figures and sources

Story ideas

Contact information

In that example, a journalist could then take all the pieces they needed and formulate a story from the pieces parts.

More here, and here.

Wag The Dog, YouTube Style

Faking “viral” success is now a tactic that media companies are using according to this piece at the WSJ.

A 24-year-old singer and guitarist named Marié Digby has been hailed as proof that the Internet is transforming the world of entertainment. What her legions of fans don’t realize, however, is that Ms. Digby’s career demonstrates something else: that traditional media conglomerates are going to new lengths to take advantage of the Internet’s ability to generate word-of-mouth buzz.

Summary: Video of chick signing on YouTube gets millions of views. Agency claims that they signed her because of it, but in reality, they had signed her before the videos were made, so they’re using the “hotness” of the YouTube story angle to generate PR. I’m not sure I blame them really though.

The fact that a big company supported Ms. Digby’s ruse reflects how dearly media giants want in on the viral revolution that’s changing how young consumers learn about new entertainment — even if it means a tiny bit of sleight-of-hand. It also reflects how difficult it is for new recording artists to get noticed now that young fans are paying more attention to Web sites such as Google Inc.’s YouTube and News Corp.’s MySpace than to traditional media like commercial radio.

Forget Press Releases… The Video News Release Is Coming

With the ever advancing world of online video comes the next generation of the press release. The video news release, or VNR.

With Social Media Releases (New Media Releases) in the spotlight again, I felt this was the ideal timing to introduce you to the Video News Release (VNR) redux. Ready or not, start brushing up on flash, screencasting, video production, and video networks.

Online video is the next frontier for the communications industry adding a new layer of engagement to any existing PR, marketing and web initiative. In my opinion social media has reinvented the VNR, putting the power of creation and distribution in the hands of those with a camera, PC, and a broadband connection – well, and a little marketing savvy and an understanding of the pains and needs of the people they’re trying to reach…

What the social media press release is to traditional releases, amateur video, screencasts, and demos are to traditional video news releases (VNRs).

Here’s a great example. One that I find much more interesting than a written news release. But then again, I’m a visual thinker.

How To Sell A $100,000 Sponsorship For Your Blog

Joel Cheesman is a blogger in a niche of career/recruiting. Early in 2007 Joel sold a one-year sponsorship for his award-winning blog, Cheezhead.com, to Jobcentral.com for $100k. I recently interviewed Joel via email to find out how he did it, and how you can do it to.

jclogo207.gifJim Kukral: Was it your idea to sell your entire blog or did the sponsor suggest it?

Joel: Mine.

Jim’s Analysis: It just goes to show that success comes to those who ask for it. Decide what you want, then make it happen. It sounds harder than it is.

Jim Kukral: How exactly did this sponsorship come about? Who contacted who? Who came up with the $100k number?

Joel: My blog had done (and continues to do) a nice job of supporting my SEO business. So the issue arose of Do I focus on SEO and blog less, or do I create a revenue stream for my blog and justify the time spent blogging. Revenue stream and more blogging won. I contacted JobCentral. They were a great prospect because they had supported me before (http://www.cheezhead.com/2006/06/11/jobcentral-wins-auction/).

I came up with the $100K number. I knew that if we were going to garner attention, it would have to be something big.

Jim’s Analysis: Never undervalue yourself. Sometimes asking for too little is a very bad thing.

Jim Kukral: What exactly does the sponsor get?

Joel: Dominating presence on blog (header, banner, sponsors page, single post drop-down link); plugs in podcasts and videos; logo on T-shirts worn at tradeshows and conferences; advertising in anything I publish, etc.

Jim’s Analysis: $100k/12 months=$8,300/month. Not bad for all that. As Joel mentions below, a company can spend over $100k/year on a trade show presence and possibly never even track that ROI back. With a blog sponsorship they can track everything, and the buzz alone from the sponsorship can pay off as it reaches every major blogger in that space. Hey, look at this article for proof :)

Jim Kukral: What’s the advantage to the sponsor for doing this?

1) It sounds corny, but there was really an element of “supporting the arts.” Bill Warren, head of JobCentral, really believes in the medium and where it can go.

2) Brand awareness. My blog just won Recruiting.com’s Best Recruiting Blog for 2006. I have a good name in the industry and healthy growth.

3) Zagging. A lot of companies will spend over $50K on one tradeshow in our industry, where they largely go unnoticed. By sponsoring a blog at this level, JobCentral took a different approach to its competitors’ marketing activities.

Jim’s Analysis: While I don’t think this will be an easy sell to most companies who are used to dropping wasted money into trade shows and banner ads, I do think that smart companies will see the advantages Joel talks about. The trick is finding one like Jobcentral, who is obviously way ahead of the curve. I’m going to try and interview Bill Warren, head of Jobcentral next and get his thoughts on Joel and this sponsorship.

Jim Kukral: What’s the advantage to you for selling a sponsorship this way?

I can better justify the time spent blogging. Time is money, right?

Jim’s Analysis: I would agree. The #1 advantage is that Joel can now concentrate on his craft, instead of worrying about selling ads.

Joels’ Dirty Little Secret

I saw Joel in person at an event the other day and he secretly told me that after he sold this sponsorship he was contacted by other industry people he knew who wondered why he didn’t come to them first, as they would have given him way more than $100k. Lesson learned, it doesn’t hurt to ask.

Read Joel’s story about “selling out” on his blog.

Digg this story please?

Here’s Joel’s “selling out” funny video. Good work buddy.

Cheezhead Sells Out

Add to My Profile | More Videos

How To Manipulate The Media & Get Free Publicity With Creative Marketing Ideas

Got 10 bucks, an hour of time and a creative idea? Because that’s all it really takes to get all the media publicity and exposure you or your business could ask for, all for almost free.

Don’t believe it? I can prove it. This is a story about how I did it, why I did it and the results I got from it. You can do it too. What, you don’t like free publicity for little work? I know you do, read on.

The Setup

I live in Cleveland, Ohio, and I’m a die-hard Cleveland Browns football fan. If you don’t follow football, the team has not been good for close to 10 years with losing season after losing season… the fans stay true, yet at the same time, they get very disgruntled come the end of the season. The Browns had one final home game left in December 2006, on Christmas eve, a horrible day to leave your family to go watch a losing football team in the snow and cold.

The Opportunity

This is key in your strategy to get publicity and attention. You have to focus on what is a “story” to a news person. You have to have the awareness to understand how a news person or show producer thinks. They’re thinking, “What stories are available that are topical and timely and most importantly, interesting?”

Those are the stories they want to cover. So your opportunity is to create a story. You need to figure out an angle about something that gives that reporter a story, and then present it to them in a manner which makes it attractive. It’s not that hard, read on.

What I Did To Exploit That Opportunity

So I asked myself, “what does a reporter want right now?” The Browns are always a huge story here in Cleveland, so I decided that I’d concentrate on them and their final game in 6-days. All I needed was an angle.

The idea came quickly. I’d call for a boycott of the Browns game on Christmas eve. But wait, that’s not good enough. That’s been done before, and a reporter isn’t going to bite on a story that simple unless there’s a hook, or a unique angle to it.

Aha! I thought of a unique, cheap and effective angle. Something that could be done in an afternoon or less.

Here’s Exactly What I Did

1. I registered a domain name called www.fanprotest.com. It cost me $10 at Godaddy.

2. I built a one-page website on the domain and wrote a few paragraphs about how I was calling for a protest of the game on Christmas eve.

3. I recorded a short, unedited, simple computer webcam video at my computer in one take where I wore my Browns jersey and called for the boycott. Here’s the video.

4. I uploaded the video to Google and YouTube (free) and added the video to show on my webpage.

5. I looked up all the local television news stations in town and found their contact emails for stories, and sent off a simple email with a short summary of what I did and a link to my page to view the video.

That’s It. It Took Me About An Hour And A Half Total

I sent the emails off at about 3:30 on a Tuesday afternoon, and I went back to my regular working day. At 6pm I got in the car to drive home, and at home I was chatting with my wife and playing with my kids when the phone rings, my wife picks up, she looks confused.

She says, “Scott from Channel 3 news is calling and wants to talk to you about some fan protest story?” I hadn’t even told my wife what I did yet, hence the confusion in her eyes.

The Results

The reporter asked to come to my house to film a story about me and my website and idea. I said “when”, and he said, “now”. So less than an hour later, and less than 4-hours after I sent the email, I had a television news crew and reporter in my kitchen filming me for a story. That story then ran that very same night, about 4 hours later, on the 11 o’clock newscast.

You can view the actual story here on the Channel 3 website in video form.

Summary

Why did I do this? To see if I could. Could this be done by anyone? Yes. What did I get out of it? Well, I get to tell you about it here, and I get to prove a point that it’s not that hard to do.

Don’t let your highly paid public relations firm tell you this kind of stuff isn’t possible. The media is begging for you to feed them stories that are interesting and unique and frankly, helps them not have to work so hard. I’m not saying that the media is lazy, not at all. What I’m saying is that the easier and more interesting you make it for them, the more likely it is that your story will be picked up.

Anyone can do this, the key is concentrating on what the media wants and giving it to them. What I do/did is use online media tools and marketing techniques to create unique angles to get attention.

Sales Pitch Alert!!!! – Jim Kukral is currently providing similar type consulting services to customers who are looking for more publicity, sales or leads, or who simply need to find new ways to be successful online. Find out how Jim can help your business.

Want To Monetize Your Blog? Start Thinking About “Fun”

Recently I launched a little thing called Kukral’s Top Bananas. Anyone can buy the top banana spot for $10.00, and upload a graphic and get a link.

I can hear you now saying, “Jim, are you nuts? What is this top banana stuff?”. Look, it’s all about having some fun and testing new ideas and finding new and creative ways to monetize blogs and get publicity and all that cool stuff.

But mostly, it’s just about having some fun. If it was about money, I’d charge way more than $10 measly bucks to become the Kukral top banana of the moment.

Our first top banana is listed below, or can be seen here. Thanks for participating.

Small Business Ideas Forum – Small business people come to share their knowledge, find help and encourage one another. A friendly place to discuss small business marketing, finance, employees, books, taxes, tech, you name it.

Do you concentrate on “fun”? Have a look at ZEfrank’s home page. See all the fun? He built his brand on it, in fact, his very first step to stardom was a fun little thing that showed him dancing like a moron.

People love fun. That’s one of the primary reasons people come to the Internet.

When was the last time you thought about doing something fun? Maybe it’s time?

Have you experimented with fun? Go ahead, share some examples of what you might have done here in the comments. I’d love to hear about it.