|At age 15 Gladys developed a travel service that would prosper for more than 30 years. She is a national award winning entrepreneur, keynote speaker, author and columnist. Visit her at www.gladysedmunds.com|
Finding a Publicity Fit for Your Business
I often get e-mails and phone calls from entrepreneurs asking for advice on how to land interviews in newspapers, radio and television. I often try to help answer some of the questions through this column. I have met many entrepreneurs who have many stories about not getting what they want from the publicity experts they hire.
My friend, Mildred, recently published her first book. She hired a public relations company to help her to land media attention. After several months and several thousand dollars Mildred’s publicist had not landed one placement for her.
I realize there are thousands of Mildred’s out there and I am always looking for ways and people to help make things a tad easier. Many entrepreneurs struggle with hiring the right fit for themselves and their business. Then it’s harder still when they can’t afford to hire someone and are faced with doing it themselves.
This past weekend I was doing online research about foods and various diets to quell my seasonal allergies. I came across Michelle Tennant Nicholson’s YouTube channel titled “Fast Food From the Farmers Market.” Michelle’s channel invites us to follow her on her journey to getting healthy. Michelle begins most episodes by introducing herself as an international publicist. So I thought, she has a catchy title, she was informative, engaging and inspiring and that led me to want to know a little more about her.
I visited her website and learned she and her business partner, Drew Gerber, own a public relations company in North Carolina called Wasabi Publicity. Michelle was doing a good job of holding my interest, which is what any good public relations person is skilled at. Also, remembering advice from my grandmother that you don’t hire the shoemaker whose kids are barefooted, I decided to call Michelle to see how she, as a publicist, would advise entrepreneurs.
Michelle has a few very good suggestions I want to pass on to you. Before you call a publicist check yourself on the following:
“Prepare your online media/press kit, which should include biography, photos, and any other media interviews that you have been in.” She adds, “It doesn’t hurt to place a few ideas in the kit that you are prepared to talk about.” I would think she means, if you are in the dog and cat grooming business you can perhaps speak on various subjects relating to pets, such as; how much exercise does Fluffy need or how to train Fido to alert you when he has to go.
Michelle also says you need to have social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and so forth, already active along with a working website so people can connect to you.
Michelle goes on to say, “Consider what you want the end result to be.” In other words, are you trying for local coverage in your area? Are you more interested in regional coverage? Or are you ready for the big guys on the national scale, such as Good Morning America, 20/20, or Katie Couric? It’s important to know what kind of publicity you are seeking.
Have an interesting story to tell. A good marketing and public relations strategy starts with a good story. She puts it this way. “What is there about you that would be of interest to the public?”
Once you have these things taken care of, and you are ready to move on to hiring a publicist, you might want to consider the following.
You must have a general idea of what you are looking for in a publicist. You should then select your publicist based on what you want. If you want to land a spot on The Ellen Show or be featured in a glossy magazine you need to have some idea of that up front.
When you interview a public relations person ask what their most recent placement. That should help you to know if you are on the right track. If they are not placing where you want to be then move on. “You need a consultant who has demonstrated results,” she said.
How did you feel during the meeting? Were you made to feel comfortable by the public relations person or did they seem agitated by your questions? You should feel like you can have a good working relationship with the company you select, otherwise it’s best to move on.
And finally she said, “Trust you gut.” I would certainly agree. In the end we have to trust ourselves. If you feel that a situation is not right most likely you are correct.