RSI SlamdunkMarch Madness in basketball doesn’t have to mean madness in your own self-promotion or in your business. In fact, madness with the right intention and mindset can become a positive energy to get things done in a quick and efficient way, especially if you have a plan. Your plan  doesn’t have to be complicated or color coded, but there is one secret – you have to get off the sideline, and make a move.

Here’s my take on March Madness and How to Slam Dunk Your PR:

  1. Keep your eye on the ball. Stop worrying about what everyone else is doing. It’s distracting and throws you off guard. Think about the big picture and your role to ‘get er’ done. During times of madness (the crazy kind) we lose our vision and clarity. Stay in the moment and be the best you can be.
  2. Stop Dribbling. If you want to get somewhere, you’ll need a road map for sure, but there’s no time like now to take bold action. There’s plenty of time for course correction along the way. The go for it, pause, go for it, pause tempo gives you action and an opportunity for reflection. Liken the pauses to a short time out!
  3. Motivation to succeed is an inside job. You can hear it, you can feel it, but it’s only you who can make the decision to take action. Success is the result of getting off the couch or from behind the computer and doing what you hate to do, but need to do. A mentor of mine tells me (often) to do what I hate first thing in the morning.  Once it’s done, there’s relief.  Procrastination is a silent killer.
  4. The tallest person isn’t always the best player. Each one of us is blessed with a set of skills, and none of us are fantastic at everything. (Sorry, honey) Share the blessings of your collective team and make the most of it. I don’t know many who won’t offer their best game, when it’s their best skill. If they’re not playing full out, blow the whistle. You want everyone on board if you’re going places.
  5. You have to be in it to win it. Want to score? You have to be in the game, ready for action. That’s not to say you have to be ‘in it’ 24/7. But, when the iron’s hot, the iron’s hot. Work like the dickens, and then dance like there’s no tomorrow.

YOUR TURN

How do you keep your eye on the ball with madness all around you? Take a walk in the morning to clear your head? Work from a quiet restaurant in the middle of the day?

What’s your best tempo for work? Calendaring your time? Setting a timer?

Have you developed a reward system for yourself after a job well done? Do tell!

RSI Boston Love (1)I’m a native Bostonian and have had the pleasure of knowing and loving Boston intimately — from my college days at Boston University, and as a more than frequent visitor having worked and played within an hour of the city for most of my adult life.

At 24, I launched my first real business in Boston (a lobby stand called Robbie’s Lobby in the garment district) which led me to open a small restaurant at the Boston Marine Industrial Park. Little did I know then, that I would be drawn to learn marketing, sales and PR in the cable television world, work with the Boston Red Sox and Major League Baseball, and start a PR and promotions company that works with Fortune 500 companies and helps experts across the country get recognized for their greatness.

Though I love to travel, I’m still a one city girl. I love Boston.

Somehow, when bad things happen to a place you love, you can’t help but love it more. And, from the front row of the VIP grandstand at the Marathon bombing, when your life and those you love are at risk, love becomes more important as loss looks you in the eye.

Closer than many, I saw Boston Strong — defending our city, our wounded and above all, our freedom.

I was inspired this morning by a friend who told me that “love isn’t love until you give it away.”

Let’s send and share our love with those who make Boston Strong, day after day.

Let’s send PR love to a city that bounced back after tragedy — with a fearless attitude.

Let’s send PR love to Boston, a city that has its twinkle back — for the world to see.

After all, ‘love isn’t love until you give it away.”

Your Turn:

What do you love most about Boston?

Do you have memories as a child about Boston that you’ll never forget?

Is there a story about Boston Strong that moves you to share?

In a world with over 7 billion people and an internet that never sleeps, I’m guessing there must be at least a million experts who can comment with some authority on ways to increase visibility and offer positioning advice for success.

There is no one formula that works, and every entrepreneur, professional or business owner has to create their own promotional mix that they can commit to, to get the results they are looking for.

The bottom line in both cases is:

If you don’t create a visibility or promotions plan, and ‘work it’ to get your brand, products or services out there, chances are that you won’t build the recognition, leadership position,  or ‘buzz’ that you’re looking for to increase your rates, expert status, or income.  

Here are 5 Ways to Increase Your Visibility in 2014

1.       Choose 3 – 5 Vehicles as the Keys to your Promotion Strategy

Whether you choose Google +, your blog, LinkedIn, video marketing, Twitter, Pinterest, industry-specific websites, or any other vehicles, pick 3-5 and make them the centerpieces of your promotion strategy over the next year. Remember to populate them with engaging and original content that is first and foremost relevant to your target audience. Give them a reason to like, trust, respect, and ultimately, partner with and/or refer you.

2.       Deliver Workshops and Lectures

Don’t worry about not being paid – you’ll be paid a hundred times over with new business opportunities that may come immediately afterwards, or weeks, months or even years after. Just be sure that whatever your share is congruent with your brand, adds value, solves a problem and offers solutions. And if you’re one of the millions of people who dread public speaking, this is the perfect opportunity to face that fear and finally conquer it!

3.       Showcase Your Brand

Make it a point to put your name and website url not just on your business card, but on all collateral material – as well as when you post comments on other people’s blogs, if you’re answering an Op-Ed or publishing a white paper. Be sure to take advantage of every opportunity to promote your business in personal and business settings. The more often you share your brand and what you do, the greater your chances are of success.

4.       Volunteer at Community and Industry Events

Volunteering isn’t just good for the world, it’s also good for you.  And, being of service in your own backyard helps your community as well as presents an opportunity to network one- on- one with fellow business owners and C-level executives. Choose community or industry events that resonate with you and volunteer with an open heart.  You’ll feel rewarded and be of service to a cause that’s important to you as well as make a difference.

5.       Be a News Source

There are free press opportunities every day that can increase your company’s visibility if you know where to find them. One of my favorites is HARO (HelpAReporterOut.com). Sign up for their complimentary service and you’ll receive emails on a daily basis from reporters, researchers and talent scouts who are looking for experts like you – to share their opinions on various platforms. Being published or on the air is an instant way to build credibility and leadership position within your industry, and add content to your all-important press kit.

The Bottom Line

Lastly, I urge you to do yourself what could be the biggest favor of your professional life and ditch attitude of waiting until your marketing is “flawless” before you get out there and start making waves. Yes, you want to make a great impression and build strong relationships, but if you keep holding back until the stars perfectly align, then you’ll be waiting…and waiting…and waiting. Don’t be an obstacle to your potential: take the plunge. It will be worth it.

YOUR TURN:

What will you do differently this year to liven up your PR/promotion plan?

What’s on your list to try – to be more visible in your industry?

Do you have any tips you’d like to share, so others can benefit from your success?

How can you be more charismatic in your presentation?

Questions for thought…as we increase visibility in the New Year.

 

As an entrepreneur, expert, author or other business professional, you have a great “story to tell.” That is, you offer something special – whether it’s advice, a service, a product or perhaps all of these – that helps people solve a problem and achieve a goal.

However, unless you can stand out and get noticed for all of the right reasons, you’ll wind up being “the best kept secret in your marketplace.” And even worse, that’s a designation with a short shelf life, since it’s only a matter of time before it’s replaced by an even more dreaded label: “out of business.”

Fortunately, standing out in your marketplace is not costly or confusing — provided that your efforts align with these 7 key principles:

1.    Be True to Yourself  

Clients and prospects recognize when someone is putting on an act – it makes them feel uncomfortable and uneasy. Ultimately, that undermines likeability and trust, and it’s an axiom of any business relationship that people only buy from those that they like and trust. By staying true to yourself, you attract the right people – and avoid the wrong ones.

2.    Stop the Negative Thinking. 

Forget multitasking: It’s impossible to do two things at once, much less do them well.  And that means you can’t focus on doing what you do well, if you’re constantly being “cut off at the knees” by obsessive, repetitive negative thinking. Choose to focus on the positive and make optimism a habit.

3.    Be Your Brand…ALWAYS! 

Every step you take in public is another chance to market yourself and your company.  “Invest in your dress” so you are always ready to initiate conversations that might lead to new business.

4.    Bring Joy Into the Room.

Your attention and positive attitude will make people feel good – and, in turn, they’ll associate that good feeling with you. And while that will lead to more business from better clients, there’s an even greater achievement in store: you’ll bring joy into every room you enter.

5.    Project the Right Image. 

Use a professional photo across all of your marketing materials and in all of your social media profiles. This inspires a personal connection and trustworthiness – even before you meet and talk.

6.    Be Your Own Best Advocate. 

Know what you do inside and out, especially as it relates to adding value to people’s lives and helping them achieve a goal. Remember: people don’t buy advice, products or services. They buy solutions to their problems. Be aware of what problem(s) you solve, and then promote this in the context of helping people.

7.    Be the Center of Influence.

Obtain and keep the coveted “Center of Influence” status by staying up-to-date on industry trends, and surround yourself with people you admire, who are experts in their fields, and who know other people of equal caliber.

It’s All About Love

Ultimately, the thread that connects all of these strategies is one thing: passion. Love for what you do – and delegate the rest. When you do this, your creative force will empower you to work wonders, and you’ll take your career to a whole new level…and your bank account will soon follow.

PR expert Robin Samora’s new article highlights 7 principles that experts, entrepreneurs, authors and other business professionals should align themselves with if they want to stand out in the marketplace and surge ahead of the competition. The full article is available on the Robin Samora Inc. website at www.robinsamorainc.com.

PR Expert Robin Samora, the principal and founder of Boston-based PR Firm Robin Samora Inc., has crafted a new article that identifies the 7 principles that experts, entrepreneurs, authors and other business professionals can align themselves with to get noticed in a competitive marketplace – and surge ahead of the competition.

“I’ve worked closely with numerous business professionals over the years, and most of them have a compelling and worthwhile story to share,” commented Robin Samora, who regularly writes about public relations, communications, branding and other business topics on her firm’s blog at http://www.robinsamorainc.com/category/pr-blog/. “However, unless they know how to stand out for all of the right reasons, they’re often relegated to being the best kept secret in their marketplace. My latest article helps them avoid that distinction, and elevates them above the crowd, which is where they deserve to be.”

According to Samora, experts, entrepreneurs, authors and other business professionals who want to stand out should align their efforts with these 7 principles:

  • Be True to Oneself: Clients and prospects recognize when someone is putting on an act – it makes them feel uncomfortable and uneasy. Attracting the right people and avoiding the wrong ones begins with staying true to oneself.
  • Stop the Negative Thinking: It’s critical to stay focused on what one does well vs. dwelling on lack, flaws and repetitive negative thinking. Optimism is a choice that can quickly become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
  • Always “be” the Brand:  Be ready to initiate conversations that might lead to new business, and remember that you’re always representing the brand.
  • Spread Joy: A positive attitude makes people feel good, which leads to more business, better clients, and most importantly: more joy in a world that often desperately needs it.
  • Project the Right Image: Use a professional photo across all marketing materials and in all of your social media profiles.
  • Be Your Best Advocate: People don’t buy advice, products or services. They buy solutions to their problems. Be aware of what problem(s) you solve, and then promote this in the context of helping people.
  • Be the Center of Influence: Stay up-to-date on industry trends, and stay connected with people worthy of admiration and esteem.

Added Samora: “Ultimately, the thread that connects all of these strategies is one thing: passion. Love for what you do – and delegate the rest. When you do this, your creative force will empower you to work wonders, and you’ll take your career to a whole new level…and your bank account will soon follow.”

The complete version of Samora’s new article “7 Principles to Help You Stand Out in the Marketplace,” which includes an expanded discussion of each of the above-noted tips, is available at: http://www.robinsamorainc.com/2013/06/7-principles-to-help-you-stand-out-in-the-marketplace/

For more information or media inquiries, contact Robin Samora at (617) 921-3448 or Robin(at)RobinSamoraInc(dot)com.

About Robin Samora Inc.

Telling a story is personal. Sharing it is an art. Technology makes it global. Robin Samora Inc., a Boston based PR, branding and promotions firm blends all three to take its clients’ businesses and brands to the next level. With clients like Comcast, WBZ-TV and Blue Man Group, and a roster of authors, entrepreneurs and experts nationwide, the firm prides itself on being a “Promotional GPS” that takes its clients’ brands where they want to go to be seen, heard, engaged and remembered. With over two decades of experience, the firm is as comfortable on major media highways as it is on out-of-the-way niche back roads.

 

Learn more at http://www.RobinSamoraInc.com.

Robin Samora Inc., a Boston-based branding, promotions and PR firm, is offering an aspiring female student or recent graduate (within the past one year) the opportunity to attend the upcoming “Demand Success 2013” conference presented by Vocus, which will be held in Washington D.C. on June 20 and 21.

 

Robin Samora Inc., a Boston-based branding, promotions and PR firm that works with experts, entrepreneurs and authors, announced today that it is offering a scholarship that will enable an aspiring female student or recent graduate the chance to attend the upcoming “Demand Success 2013” conference presented by Vocus, a leading solutions provider that helps businesses reach and influence customers via social networks, online and media.

Designed to “make results happen in marketing,” the conference, which will be held in Washington D.C. on June 20 and 21, features keynotes by Arianna Huffington, Rohit Bhargava, Jeremiah Owyang and a host of other thought leaders who will share must-have insights and advice on lead generation, online marketing, brand building in the information economy, and more.

While the fee to attend the conference for a non-Vocus customer is $1095, the recipient of Robin Samora Inc.’s scholarship will receive a complimentary ticket — and a remarkable opportunity to connect with experts and influencers, witness the future of marketing and PR, and glean insights and information to advance their career. They will also have the chance to build invaluable relationships that will last for decades.

“Giving back and paying it forward are at the very heart of success, both professionally and personally,” commented Robin Samora, the principal and founder of Robin Samora Inc. “It’s my hope that the deserving woman who receives the scholarship will use this as a springboard to make positive impact in our world, and ultimately, inspire others to do the same.”

Aspiring female students or recent graduates (within the past one year) who are interested in competing for the scholarship are asked to submit an approximately 300 word essay that captures the essence of their professional vision with respect to the following:

• how it will support or in some way benefit other women
• how it will foster a legacy of giving back and paying it forward
• how they envision themselves turning their vision into reality

All essays can be emailed to Robin (at) RobinSamoraInc (dot) com. The application deadline is June 3 at 11:59pm EDT, and the winner will be notified by 5:00pm EDT on June 8.

Selected essays will also be published (either whole or edited) on the Robin Samora Inc., website, and in other digital and print communication material.

For more information or media inquiries, contact Robin Samora at (617) 921-3448 or Robin (at) RobinSamoraInc (dot) com.

About Robin Samora Inc.
Telling a story is personal. Sharing it is an art. Technology makes it global. Robin Samora Inc., a Boston based PR, branding and promotions firm blends all three to take its clients’ businesses and brands to the next level. With clients like Comcast, WBZ-TV and Blue Man Group, and a roster of authors, entrepreneurs and experts nationwide, the firm prides itself on being a “Promotional GPS” that takes its clients’ brands where they want to go to be seen, heard, engaged and remembered. With over two decades of experience, the firm is as comfortable on major media highways as it is on out-of-the-way niche back roads.

Secret #1: Thoughts from the Dressing Room

Become  “media  ready”  by  looking,  feeling,  thinking  and  acting  like  a desirable multi-million dollar brand — even on a shoestring budget

Action Items:   You are your brand, wherever you go. Do you give off an energy of certainty and impression of increase so people will want to know you? Make someone’s life better in some small way, every day. Live life fully. Step into your greatness and your brand.

Secret #2:  Get Your Brand On

Cultivate and position a winning brand image that includes bio, photos, signatures, media kits and more.

Look professional, branded, together and ready for business. The press will feel more confident that you’re a player. You are your brand, so act like one that’s in a successful business.

Action Items: Look at your photo – does it look like you now or your high school picture? Can a prospect recognize you in a crowded room? Do you have a signature on your email? Does it give a description of who you are and what you do? Do you have a bio that includes some fun facts, or a cause you really believe in?  Look at your website with fresh eyes. Is there a headline on your home page with a call to action? Are all the links working?

Secret #3 –  Learn the Lessons Momma never taught you about being social

Are there misspellings? What does your branding say about you as an expert? What does it say to the media?

Leverage the power of social media to reach and impress media partners.

The thought of social media can be daunting if you don’t understand it. You don’t have to be everywhere, and do everything. Which social media tools do you like? Whether it’s Facebook , Twitter or LinkedIn (or others), pick what you’ll use and start engaging your audience. Stop worrying about being perfect. Make an effort every day to promote your business. You can make an impact with 15 minutes twice a day.

Action Item: Every day in some small way take an active role in being an expert, or noted in your field. Need content? Set up a Google alert on your ‘topic’ or ‘expertise’ and collect articles to share. Comment on what’s going on in the news. It’s OK to be a contrarian and have a voice.

Use social media to share your expert opinion so the press, as well as your prospects and clients, can notice you. Share content. Compliment others. Be a part of a caring community. Consistency and frequency count.

Secret #4 – Get on the Inside Track

Be a Publicity Insider — Take advantage of free publicity opportunities from HARO – Help a Reporter Out  www.HelpAReporterOut.com. Help A Reporter out offers quality leads for people in all kinds of industries to get noticed in the media – radio, TV , blogs and articles. It’s published 3 times a day, and it’s easy and free to sign up and get emails in your inbox. Journalists, editors, reporters and producers will post their queries on HARO and you can respond to them and get recognized as an expert.

Take the initiative and put yourself out there.

Action Item: Sign up for a free HelpAReporter account and take the time to respond to their emails. Create a one page template to answer press requests. Don’t be annoyed by the press inquiries, think of them as your assistant sending you opportunities to build your business and your brand.

Secret #5 – Be a media magnet, first. Darling next.

Tell your story often and clearly to gain media attention. Practice makes perfect.

Create and launch media releases that tell a powerful, memorable story that demands attention and generates results. Look at what you’re doing in your business. What’s press worthy? Are you speaking? Have a new product or service? Create a media release and send to industry publications, local media, and established contacts. It’s the who, what, when and why of what you’re doing – and can be as simple as a new office location, workshop, product or service, or being featured as a guest expert. Be clear and brief in all interviews and press opportunities and offer ‘soundbite’ quotes. Reporters have limited time – so make sure you grab their attention.

Make it easy for the press to find you and keep your PR engine going. When journalists and bloggers begin to see you showing up in the news, they’ll be more apt to follow you.

Action Items: Make a list of 5 things that you or your company could write a media release about. Have video footage? Even better! You don’t have to win the Nobel Peace prize to be recognized.

Secret # 6 –  Pitch Don’t Bitch

Stop complaining about the lack of press and do something about it. Pitch your story idea to newspapers, radio and TV stations, industry magazines, niche newsletters and blogs. They’re always in need of material. It can be an idea you have tied to a holiday or special event, tips on how a new product or service is helping customers, a community service project you’re involved with or a local event.

When pitching the media, be brief, concise and to the point. Make your headline interesting. You never know who’ll pick up your story and where it may go. Even if it’s controversial, it’s still news! And news fades fast, so keep the momentum going. Be mindfully persistent, not a pest.

Action Items: Create a bucket of ideas to pitch. Make them short and sweet. Are you a newly published author? (Hint, an e-book counts). Are you a guest panelist at a prestigious event? Do you have a new way of doing XYZ that will make a difference to more than just you? Learn to pitch with perfection.

Secret #7 –  The Press are friends you haven’ t  met  yet

Relationships that matter take time. Identify key press contacts and build mutually rewarding relationships that last.

Make it a point to do your homework and keep your eyes and ears open to top reporters in your region or area of expertise. Press contacts move around a bit, so try to stay connected via social media and keep email addresses current. A savvy admin can help with this task, but ultimately, you’ll be the one to decide who you’d like to watch and follow.

Action Items: A stranger is a stranger till the first hello. Make friends with reporters you find interesting. Follow them on Twitter, and learn the fine art of retweeting. Introduce yourself at industry functions. Send a note that you liked their article and you’re a fan, even if you disagreed with their view point. Send a lead their way. Start the process of ‘getting yourself known’.

Getting noticed by the press is a journey not a destination, and every step and mention gets your name out there. You’ll get recognized as an expert if you promote your brand often enough, everywhere you’ll go. It all starts with a decision to confidently stand out from the crowd.

 

Traveling across the country as a consultant, mentor, student and friend, has taught me to be a great observer and naturally notice fellow business warriors (or angels) who have a certain air about them — call it their personal brand or executive presence. You might think first class travelers always have it — but that’s not necessarily so. It’s a confident aura or energy that can be spotted across a crowded room.

Studies show that executive presence plays a key role in career advancement – how you present yourself to the world that you’re leadership material. Typically it’s based on how you look, how you speak, and how you behave.

Want to know if you’ve got it?

Here are 7 Signs of Executive Presence:

  • Look attractive, but not sexy. Sexy is a feeling and attitude. Save sexy for after work, and out of your business inner circle.
  • Learn the rules of engagement. Speak with intention, make your messages brief and to the point. Pay attention in meetings– texting and checking emails is often disrespectful.
  • Develop grace under fire. Stay calm and be less reactive. Be honest with yourself. What pushes your buttons?
  • Be able to size up a room, quickly. Who are the people you need to meet and connect with?
  • How’s your Emotional IQ? Are you sensitive to what others need? Do you take time to listen, really listen those you interact with, in business and in the community?
  • Are you a visionary? A leader needs to see a bigger picture, and have a plan so others will follow.
  • Does your reputation help you, or hinder your personal brand. Everything you and others see or hear about you — reflects your reputation. You’ve just got one, so protect it.

Of course, being a tad sophisticated, confident, polished and having a sense of humor would also be included in the bucket of ‘executive presence’. Add to that being authentic, having charisma and being physically fit — not ripped, just healthy.

Like sexiness, executive presence is an attitude. A way that you hold and respect yourself.

You’ve worked so hard to get where you are. Flaunt it, in your own special way.

In her latest article, PR, branding and prootions expert Robin Samora shares proven and practical tips that can help entrepreneurs and other professionals get free publicity on HARO — which can in turn boost their credibility, generate leads and create sales.

Entrepreneurs, business owners, experts, gurus and authors who want to benefit from the best kind of good publicity there is – i.e. the kind that doesn’t cost a cent – can now read Boston-based PR expert Robin Samora’s latest article, and discover proven and practical tips for getting free publicity on HARO (Help a Reporter Out).

“Being picked up by HARO is a huge win that could lead to increased credibility, mind share, competitive advantage, website traffic, quality leads and, of course, sales, sales and more sales,” commented Samora, who is Principal of Robin Samora Inc., a Boston PR, branding and promotions firm that works with corporations, authors, entrepreneurs and experts nationwide.

Samora, who is featured in a success story on Blogging PRWeb‘s website, advises entrepreneurs and others who want to reap the rewards of free publicity to have an action plan that consists of five pieces:

1. Start with a strong media response that lists name, position, website address and company description in the first paragraph. Don’t bury this down below.

2. Keep the pitch short and to the point, and answer questions directly. Reporters, journalists and producers are looking for substance – not fluff.

3. Provide a link to important material and don’t include attachments. Due to malware and virus threats, they won’t be opened and the pitch won’t be read.

4. Use a standard press response template for every media inquiry — but be sure to customize the main message for each query.

5. Use the word HARO in the subject line and include the query title.

Samora also lays out her ‘rules of the road,’ which consists of essential Do’s and Don’ts regarding media etiquette. Some of these include:
* Communicate politely and professionally at all times
* Offer great content
* Be clear and concise
* Move quickly – time is of the essence.
* Stay on message
* Offer a strong, authoritative opinion

Samora further advises that over-delivering in an interview is a wise strategy, and that building a database of reporters is a must. She also emphasizes that respecting the relationship with reporters, journalists, producers and the other professionals who are on the other side of HARO is vital.

“No matter what,” concludes Samora, “respect the connection and the relationship as you would with a trusted colleague or your very best customer.”

Samora’s full article, which features a deeper look at her free publicity action plan and HARO `rules of the road,’ is available her firm’s website at: http://www.robinsamorainc.com/2013/03/proven-tips-for-getting-free-publicity-on-haro-help-a-reporter-out/

For more information or media inquiries, contact Robin Samora at (617) 921-3448 or Robin (at) RobinSamoraInc (dot) com.

About Robin Samora Inc.
Telling a story is personal. Sharing it is an art. Technology makes it global. Robin Samora Inc., a Boston based PR, branding and promotions firm blends all three to take its clients’ businesses and brands to the next level. With clients like Comcast, WBZ-TV and Blue Man Group, and a roster of authors, entrepreneurs and experts nationwide, the firm prides itself on being a “Promotional GPS” that takes its clients’ brands where they want to go to be seen, heard, engaged and remembered. With over two decades of experience, the firm is as comfortable on major media highways as it is on out-of-the-way niche back roads.

Publicity is good. Free publicity is even better. And it’s also easier to get than you think, provided that you know where to start, have an action plan, and grasp the “rules of the road.”

Where to Start

This part is simple. Start at HARO (Help a Reporter Out) at www.helpareporter.com. Three times a day, HARO sends its subscribers no-cost media opportunities in selected fields, such as healthcare, business and finance, education, entertainment and media.  It’s an essential PR resource every entrepreneur, business owner, expert and author should know about.

HARO is one of my favorite sources — and not because I’ll be featured on their website in an upcoming success story. It’s because HARO provides a media-rich collection of publicity opportunities for experts across the world, as well as a fast-paced forum for journalists looking for source experts (a.k.a. you).

Without question, for an entrepreneur, author or guru of any kind, being “picked up by HARO” is a huge win. It could easily lead to being quoted in an article or report, or featured in a story, blog or book. It could also lead to radio and TV interviews – which means more credibility, mind share, competitive advantage, a rush of traffic to your website, your phone ringing off the hook, your email bursting with inquiries, and most importantly: sales, sales and more sales.

Your Action Plan

There are five pieces of a successful HARO action plan:

  1. Start your media response strong. List your name, position, website address and company description in the first paragraph.
  2. Keep your pitch short and sweet, and answer questions directly. If a journalist or producer is interested in your story, he/she will email you back.
  3. Provide a link to important material in your email – don’t include attachments (more on this below).
  4. Create a standard Press Response template that you can use for every media inquiry. Use the same intro and conclusion/call to action for most responses, and customize the main message for each query.
  5. In the subject line, use the word HARO and include the query title (e.g. HARO: Why HARO users have a PR Advantage).

“Rules of the Road”

Knowing the “rules of the road” will make or break your HARO efforts. There’s a fairly strict code of media etiquette, and playing by the rules is important.  Here’s a snapshot of what to do – and what not to do.

Do’s:

  • Do communicate in a polite, respectful and focused manner. Reporters will respond in-kind.
  • Do provide great content. Reporters get hundreds of pitches daily. Make it easy for them to say “yes.”
  • Do ensure that the body of your copy is clear, concise and concentrated.
  • Do move quickly if a reporter wants your help. Time is of the essence.
  • Do stay on-message. As with any marketing, this is the only way to go to reach your audience.

Don’ts:

  • Don’t include an attachment, because of malware and virus threats.
  • Don’t beat around the bush. State your opinion (more on this below).
  • Don’t bother with a “catchy” headline. Save that for your media releases.
  • Don’t try and negotiate deadlines – they’re firm at HARO and there’s no wiggle room.

Standing Out in the HARO Crowd

Once you get the hang of HARO and follow the “rules of the road,” interest from reporters should follow. But then you’re faced with another challenge: how do you stand out in the HARO crowd, and become a sought-after source? Here are some bonus tips that can truly put you over the top:

  • Without going off-message, over-deliver in your interview. You’re being consulted for your expertise and experiences. This is the time to share what you know.
  • Reporters need and want sound bites and opinion. So while it’s fine to be reflective and fair, you aren’t being asked to describe an issue or a trend. Reporters can figure that part out themselves. They want your opinion. So have one, and be prepared to share it.
  • Build a database of reporters by being friendly, helpful and to the point.

And most importantly…

  • No matter what, respect the connection and the relationship, as you would with a trusted colleague or your very best customer.