Category Archives: PR

Want more Time?

Who doesn’t want more time?

As a small business owner it is your most precious commodity, so it only makes sense to use it wisely.  Here is a simple, yet powerful, way to help you gain more time for your business and your family.  Best of all, you’ll be helping another business owner do the same!

Get More Time & Business Here

 

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Filed under BNI, Life Hacks, Marketing, PR, referrals

A Little Reminder for Me (and maybe You)

I wanted to take 1 minute, to share this article that I wrote for BlogBNI as a reminder to myself today–no matter how busy you are, you can almost always scrape up 1 minute to do one of these things. I’ll bet the ROI will be far more than you invested!

One Minute to Better Networking

 

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Filed under BNI, Entrepreneur, Marketing, PR, referrals

Painting a Better Picture of Networking

I live in a historic, well really just old, house. It was built in 1920 and challenges us weekly with quirky things that are the result of many different people living and working on this house over the years. This summer I decided that I wanted to paint the exterior of my abode, so I spent some time with my husband picking out colors and trying them on for size. We eventually landed on a combo that we thought served our Craftsman-style home well.

2015-10-25 18.36.47

Good prep work is required to make sure the paint, or a referral, will stick.

With the colors all picked out, I was ready to paint. Just hand me a brush!

But, like the networking lessons I have learned in BNI, I quickly realized that a little prep work would go a long way toward making my paint stick. Like prepping for painting, prepping a referral can make all the difference:

  1.  Tools: Now is the time, before you start any actual work, to assemble all the tools you may need to do the work, such as business cards or brochures.
  2. Clean: Do a little ‘rolodex” housekeeping and make sure you have the most accurate and up-to-date info on anyone you plan on referring.
  3. Fill: Make sure that any possible referral holes are filled by having a one-to-one meeting with your fellow BNI member before you refer them.
  4. Sand: Knock off any rough edges or sticky spots during the meeting. Ask them to educate you on how to best refer them. For example some businesses may have set rates that they want you to share, while others simply want a warm introduction.

After making the referral (or painting), it simply makes sense to go back and check your work. Were there any areas missed? Does something need to be gone over again? Making sure to check in with both parties is a sure-fire way to make your referral stick.

 

 

 

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Filed under BNI, Marketing, PR, referrals, Uncategorized

The Art of an Excellent Testimonial

We all love receiving a testimonial about ourselves or our companies, but have you ever thought about what goes into making a truly excellent and useful testimonial?

  1. Speak from a position of knowledge; you need to have used the goods or services before you can give a testimonial about that person or company.
  2. Be Specific.  People want know how and why you used the product and how it performed.  Be sure to include some basic details about your age and demographics. i.e. Forty-six year old, mother of two girls.
  3. Honesty is the best policy. If there were glitches in performance but you were overall satisfied, include that information so that others can make an informed decision.  Be sure to acknowledge your own role in any shortcomings.
  4. If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. At least in public.  If you truly had a poor experience, take it directly to the company and let them know that you would like to offer them the chance to correct the situation.  Don’t use a testimonial opportunity to lash out at someone else; it will only make you look bad.
  5. Short is sweet. You can give a great testimonial without giving two paragraphs of back story about why you decided to use the service. While people like to know a little bit about you, the point of the testimonial is to tell them about an excellent company or person.Harry
  6. Put it in writing.  The very best gift you can give a company or person is your testimonial in writing.  Whether you write an online review on LinkedIn or speak up in a BNI or Chamber meeting, putting it on paper gives them something tangible that they can use to market themselves even better.

Bonus Tip: One of the best ways to receive excellent testimonials is to give excellent testimonials.  Use these guidelines the next time you want to give a testimonial and see if the good karma you generate pays off.

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Filed under BNI, Entrepreneur, Marketing, PR

Your Best PR is Your People

My husband came home from a bike ride the another night with another story about someone who had nearly run him off the road and come perilously close to having caused a crash with two other cars.  This, unfortunately, if not such an unusual occurrence.  What made it stand out in his mind was this–there was a company name on the car.

While he wasn’t very familiar with the local construction company named, he certainly has a negative image of them now.  And here’s the thing, it has NOTHING to do with how well they construct buildings and everything to with his experience (unwitting or not) with one person.

A safer place to ride your bike--the High Trestle Trail in Iowa.

A safer place to ride your bike–the High Trestle Trail in Iowa.

Do you think he’ll have good things to say about that company when their name comes up in conversation?  While my husband is a nice guy, he’ll uncountably recount his ONE experience with ONE person from that company.  Sadly, that company may never know the harm that one employee did to their reputation.

I think we can all agree we may behave a little better under the watchful eyes of the boss. So how do you make sure that your employees are representing your company in an outstanding manner no matter where they are?  A lot of it comes down to corporate culture and probably has as much to do with how the boss behaves and treats the staff as anything else.  Show me a boss who cares for and supports their employees and I’ll show you employees who go out into the world and show that same care and concern to others.

You really can’t BUY the positive Public Relations (PR) that comes when one of your employees stops the company car at the side of the road to help someone change a tire. It may not seem like a big deal, but those hundreds of cars flying past are filled with people who will notice and file that positive impression away for future reference.

While it’s not the standard business school method for creating a PR plan, having a positive company environment and happy employees will go a long way towards creating the very best environment for a PR plan to flourish. So the next time you are thinking of investing in PR, start with your company culture and make sure that your people are delivering the company impression that you really want.

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Filed under Entrepreneur, Marketing, PR

6 Minutes to Finding Your PR Moments

I had a phone call the other day from a friend who has a great public relations (PR) opportunity in the form of an event that is taking place at her business on

Uncle Jerry celebrates Pi Day.

Uncle Jerry celebrates Pi Day.

March 14 (3/14) or “Pi Day.” She was looking for some feedback on what kinds of PR might be appropriate. Since my friend has more than 20 years in the marketing industry, she’s no slouch when it comes to recognizing PR moments.

But what about everyday business people who are so busy running their businesses that they barely have time to take out the trash, let alone think about PR?

PR moments surround us, but it often hard to see them without a little guidance. These questions will help you generate a list of possible PR moments so that you can garner more awareness for you and your business. Grab a sheet of paper and use the next six minutes to put together your PR road-map.

1. What National Days might naturally fit with your business?

For example, if you run a bakery you’ll want to mark National Cupcake Day (Dec. 15) as well as National Dessert Day (Oct. 14) on your calendar. And that’s just the start, there’s also days set aside for Oreos, Banana Cream Pie and Pi Day. Google “National Days” and see what opportunities exist for your business.

2.  Does your City/Town/Village have annual celebrations?

Make sure you put each and every local festival and parade on your PR calendar. There are always opportunities to raise your business profile by marching in a parade, sponsoring a contest or hosting a booth. If you happen to do it with a zany theme or to benefit a children’s charity, media will be delighted to hear about it.

 3. Has your business been nominated for or won any awards?

Don’t wait until you win! Even being nominated for an award is an honor and a press release to let the public know about it is perfectly legitimate. If the organization giving out the awards hasn’t created a release, you can build a little good will with others and mention all the award nominees in your press release. If you’ve won a coveted award, make sure the awarding organization has a professional photo of you or your business to send with their press release.

 4. Do you or your employees have any unusual hobbies or collections?

The media loves juxtapositions, so if you are a beautician by day and a roller babe by night, that’s the kind of “opposites” that make for an outstanding story. Bonus points if there are great visual elements to the story.

 5. Is there a trend that you’ve been seeing in your business?

One local business in our area has had eight couples become engaged at their facility in the past three years. Because the business owners generally know about the proposals in advance, it opens up some fun opportunities for that company to leverage the tenth engagement or an engagement that has unusual elements (like a singing mascot). Media is always on the lookout for emerging trends (why more people are doing public engagements) with great visual elements (a newly engaged couple with a singing mascot).

 6. Is there an organization or charity that your business avidly supports?

If you have a charity of choice, especially if you have a personal story that makes that bond tight, consider raising awareness and funds for that organization by hosting a special event or activity at your business. This is truly a win-win-win, with the media getting a great positive story while the charity and your business raise awareness.

 Take this list of PR moments that you’ve just generated and plan your PR for the year. I guarantee that taking advantage of all these precious PR moments will pay off big for both you and your company.

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Filed under Entrepreneur, Marketing, Non-Profits, PR, Sponsors

Social Media Vacation

After that headline you are probably envisioning another one of those crazy “niched” cruises filled with only people of a certain age or who like a certain band… Unfortunately, that’s not at all what I did.  Instead, I made a conscious decision to take a little over a month off from each type of Social Media that controls my life, …er, I subscribe to.

In order to avoid some type of septic shock to my system, I only took time off from a few of them at a time.  That is, until the last week of December…then I went, more or less, cold turkey.  Here’s why:

I realized I had gotten into this weird loop of living my life as though it didn’t count until I tweeted, posted or wrote about it.  Talk about screwed up!  I was so focused on thinking about how I would share what was happening to me right that minute, that I was missing a lot more interesting minutes.  I clearly needed an intervention!

However, the problem is, no one thinks that any of this is weird or wrong or even OCD anymore.  We have created this norm where it’s OK to text while having dinner with your spouse, it’s fine to post stupid (blackmailable) photos of your friends and people who we have never met in person are now our new best friends.

So, I did my own intervention.  I decided I had better get out there and live my life as though it mattered only to me.  I put down my Treo

Keep your iPhone, I love my Treo!

(I know, how unhip) and stepped away from my netbook and just went nuts!  It was really fun to BE in the moment.  Enjoying the fun and companionship for its own sake, instead of FaceBook’s.

I actually LEFT MY PHONE at home! Which, I have to admit, initially caused a kind of frightening deep-seated panic similar to thinking I might have left the stove on and the house would burn down.  But overall, it was good, really, really good!

And now, I’m back on the social media bandwagon (addiction) because it is important to my job & professional life.  But I think that I’m a little more restrained and perhaps you won’t hear as much from me in the evenings or on weekends.  I suppose you’ll just have to imagine what kind of trouble I’m getting up to–and that’s not a bad thing!

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Filed under Life Hacks, PR, Social Media