Paramount PR Tips from Weinstein PR

May 4, 2012

I consult with the leaders of small and mid size businesses who are often peripherally wondering how they should best be publicizing their story to the public.  The media landscape has shifted dramatically in the last few years with the influx of social media and the crumbling of traditional print media sources.  No one can afford to not engage with their customers today, rather it has become an imperative.  Here is a crystal clear list of tips from Portland’s own Weinstein PR, who together have more than 284 collective years working in PR, communications and design, for your PR considerations:

  •  The best PR efforts start with the brand. PR should nurture and nourish your brand, and ring true to your audience.
  • Human beings love great stories. Find your most compelling stories, and tell them strategically.
  • Consider your audience. Reach them where their interests intersect yours.
  • Hone your messages. Simplicity. Clarity. Focus on just 3 or 4 messages, and perfect them with great writing.
  • Provide great visuals. Compelling graphic design and iconic imagery make your message stick.
  • Prepare and rehearse. Anticipate questions. Practice answers. Be sure the people who will deliver your message are equipped to succeed with proper social/media training.
  • Control your own media, and frame the conversation for others. Tell your stories directly and engage your audience with blogs, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Tumblr and eNewsletters.
  • Boutique PR firms like ours offer great creative chops, are cost effective and have experienced people. The people you initially meet should be the ones who work on your account.
  • Build authentic relationships. Meet face-to-face with the media whenever possible, and share your stories with confidence and transparency.
  • Engage your employees, friends and vendors. Expand your inner circle to include everyone who can spread the word and feed the energy. Trust them with the truth.
  • Define what success looks like. Always articulate what you are trying to achieve with a PR campaign – so that everyone will know when you’ve done it!

What has your most successful PR initiative been and what did you learn along the way?

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How to Unlock Your Storytelling Genius

April 18, 2012

Last night I had the high honor of hearing Michaela Murphy speak at my favorite place to connect with like minded professional women, Cindy Tortorici’s The Link for Women’s monthly event.  Michaela is a master storyteller whose work has been featured on NPR, Off-Broadway, The Moth Mainstage, and the Clinton White House and in The New Yorker, while her talents as a digital storyteller and social media guide have produced both happy clients and measurable results.

What I found the most fascinating from all the juicy tips that I am about to share from her was her observation that we often dismiss the part of ourselves that we are most gifted. This is a lesson she learned when she first began her career. She believes that what impedes many of us from being more vocal and forthcoming about this one particular ‘gift’ is our fear of being dismissed and as a result being ‘crushed’ by this rejection (because we know it is our core strength). Michaela went on to explain that as she has matured and developed a stronger ‘ego’, she is now very comfortable sharing her gifts and not being wounded by potential rejection or dismissal, etc.  What do you think?  Do you think that you refrain from deeper and more revealing storytelling in order to protect and cover parts of yourself that you are perhaps ashamed of, don’t understand or are protective of?  Well, read on…..

Here are some of the key takeaways that I learned from her:

Every story should have a CONFLICT, CLIMAX and REUNION

Begin with a hook-and establish it and the tone of your story in the first three sentences.  After delivering the first three lines, pause, let the audience ‘come in’

SHOW rather than TELL-tell a descriptive story rather than give an example.

Keep it ACTIVE

Make every word COUNT

Communicate from within to my audience WHY I do what I do, what the work I do DOES for me on an emotional level. What’s the tipping point of my work-where people get what I do?

Every story should have a beginning, middle and an end. The beginning is the set up and hook (only share what the audience needs to know, which may mean omitting characters and condensing time). The middle is where you spend the bulk of your story-delivering the action and the climax.  The end is the climax and the denouement.

When you tell YOUR STORY, start with what scares you. Where is the resistance? What is something you have done that you can’t understand? Share something risky for you.

Thank you Michaela, Cindy and Natalie Molina Nino for making this event happen!


Tips for Becoming More Persuasive

September 27, 2011

A universal desire for people in business or even in their personal life is to become more persuasive. The obvious benefit of doing so is that we get more of what we really want whether that means money, caliber of work or an improved quality of life. However, a secondary gain is that we also gain more credibility or authority and that contributes to our strength as a leader.  Here are five steps that you can take to become more persuasive today:

Develop expert knowledge and solutions for your target market’s universal issues

The first step is getting very clear on what your intentions are by carving out a niche or a particular target market that you want to establish as your clientele.  No one person, particularly early on, can be the solution for everybody or everybody’s problems, so get clear on who and what you really want to go after and then learn everything you can about their needs.  The second part of this equation is to then figure out a solution to your niche’s issues so that you are clear where your value lies for others.

So, to highlight this advice, I can tell you about a past client named Nancy who had started her own business as a Financial Advisor.  She wasn’t sure early on what her target market would be as she wanted to be open to a diverse roster of clientele.  As a result she was never clear in her marketing and advertising efforts what value she was bringing to her clients that was any different from her much larger and more established competitors.  She and I worked on identifying her ideal target market which was 30 something newlyweds.  Next, I made sure that she was focusing her own learning and development around becoming an expert advisor around some of the universal issues that arise for newlyweds as it relates to their financial management.  The next step was having Nancy work on creating products and services that would easily and efficiently meet the needs of these ideal clients.  Within a year, Nancy was enjoying a 60% increase in her revenues as a result of these actions.

When pitching, communicate crisp and evocative messages around Your “WHY”

Thought leader Simon Sinek has written a book entitled, ‘Start with Why’ which  explains that the most salient way to differentiate yourself from your competitors and rise to the top is to communicate your, “What, How and Why” when pitching your business.   Sinek explains that our “What” is merely the title on our business card, so in my case, Leadership Coach and Consultant.  Our “How” explains how we accomplish our overall work intention. So in my case again, my “How” is that I listen and respond dynamically to my clients based on my experience as a psychotherapist, a corporate sales management trainer and now as an entrepreneur.  But most important, Sinek explains, is to crisply and evocatively express your “Why” when pitching yourself or your business. One’s ‘Why’ is our highest intention driving the work that we do and explains to others our core motivation.  So for example, my why is to alleviate pain by igniting and emboldening women to become more inspired, effective business leaders.

Once you are clear on “Your What, your How and Your Why”, begin your conversations with these messages rather than a contrived and uncomfortable sales pitch. I guarantee that as a result you will spark intrigue in the right parties and the business will follow.

Ask & Close for Their Business/Commitment based on their social style.

Throughout your interactions with a potential client, be sure to ask the right questions that will shed light on their decision making process, their value system as well as their social style. The 4 universal social styles are analytical, driver, amiable and expressive.  Be sure to adapt your approach and focus with each person based on their social style.  So for example, if you are dealing with someone who is ‘analytical’, you want to be sure to have data proving your ROI or contextual information that you can present to them so that they can make their own informed decision as to whether or not they want to work with you or not.  If they are a ‘driver’, then focus your pitch on how you will help them achieve their goals in the most efficient manner and be forthright with asking them for their business.  However, if they are ‘amiable’ , you want to be purely relationship focused and let the business follow from there. With ‘expressives’, sit back and let them  talk and be sure to listen to what they are telling you they need and use more of a soft close with both the’ amiables’ and the ‘expressives’.

Deliver 110% on your commitment and follow-up with evaluation

It should go without saying, but your success rate in persuading others will only be as good as the work that you are producing elsewhere.  Particularly when you are embarking on a new niche or a new target market, I urge you to deliver 110% on the small windows of opportunity that you are given and to follow-up with an evaluation process so that you can perfect your work.  This is even more critical if you live in a small city like Portland where there seems to always be six degrees of separation amongst your colleagues.

Leverage all your early wins to build your expert status

Throughout this process that I am describing, you are developing your expert status that will over time build your credibility and authority and in turn lead to a very high rate of persuasion. However, keep in mind that this journey takes time in order to build your reputation properly.  That being said, you want to be sure to start slow and small and begin to take on larger projects and/or complexity of clientele’s issues gradually. With each win, meaning successful work relationships, figure out a way to share that success with your larger community and network as well as potential new clients.  Some examples of this would be to write an article or a blog about your success with your client (not disclosing their identity unless you received permission from them of course), sharing your lessons learned on social media or seeking out opportunities to speak publicly or on a panel to your target market.

 

 


Sizzling Strategic Thinking Tips for Your Business

March 25, 2011

Ever get the feeling you have seen and heard it all when it comes to ‘Business 101’? It all just starts to sounds the same?  Me too! Here’s the great news, I attended a seminar last week as part of The Link’s ‘A Seat At The Table’ Executive Development Program around ‘Strategic Thinking’ and the facilitator, Doug Mendenhall of Get Spark!, knocked it out of the park for me.

Here’s what I walked away thinking more deeply about:

1)      People hate to be sold to, but they love to buy ….a compelling story about your particular service or product. What’s compelling about your offerings? The more compelling you are to be bought; the easier it is to sell.

 

2)      To be compelling means that people believe that you are trusting. Thus, the key is establishing authority in their minds. Find something that is compelling that you can become an authority on.

 

3)      The key to thinking strategically about your business, is to begin the start of each day with no agenda other than thinking through what you have learned to date and applying those lessons to creating your next iteration.

 

4)      An iteration is a plan for an intended outcome, whether that means getting the buy in from your executive team or moving product off a shelf.  Your goal should be to identify the key variables that determine your sales effectiveness and continually experiment with refining an iteration that can be measured and result in you reaching your sales goals.

 

5)      The key is to ditch the experimented iteration as soon as you have given it sufficient time to be tested and find that the results are not sufficient and move on to your next more disciplined and evolved iteration.

 

6)      If I were to ask you what 1 thing you could do each day that makes the largest impact in your business, what would it be? If you don’t know, send me an email at katie@legacybuildercoaching.com and we will arrange a complimentary consultation to uncover your one thing.

 

7)      Are people running to you or from you in your business? If they are running, you should focus on your presence because you can create who you want to be in a minute by simply deciding who you want to be, creating that presence, committing to it and practicing it.

 

8)      In order to create momentum for your strategic focus, keep in mind this simple and universal formula.  Build 5 positives, i.e. things that are happening today that are contributing to your forward momentum, with 1 critique, i.e. a driving variable that could shift your progress ahead.

 

9)      Rather than being your business’s ‘Chief Doing Officer’, work on becoming your own ‘Chief Thinking Officer’

 

10)   Don’t focus on CHANGING, think about CREATING a new way of achieving your intended outcomes. It’s so much easier that way!

 

Thank you Doug Mendenhall of Get Spark! and Cindy Tortorici of The Link’s ‘A Seat At The Table’ Executive Development Program.

 


Savvy Sales Swagger

July 28, 2010

Does it surprise you to learn that 80% of sales are made after the 5th contact with a new client?  The common denominator for small business owners and entrepreneurs is the challenge of how to close on sales more often and with greater ease and confidence.  I have found this to be the most common missing piece of the entrepreneurial puzzle for new business owners as well as for tenured business people as the marketplace has changed so dramatically in our ‘challenged’ economy.  For example, approximately 20 other people are competing for your potential client’s money, so how can you best rise above the chatter in this  buyers market? Here are some savvy sales tips from Jan Hart and Lisa Hart, of  Back 2 Our Roots:

1) The new emerging sales rules abide by the 4 R’s: Reach, Relevance, Relationships, and Resilience. Key takeaways: You need to be in more places than ever before (networking, social media, industry events, etc), potential prospects want more value, results and proven ROI than ever before, you have to be reliable, consistent and trustworthy, you need to plan on everything taking longer (sales cycles are now being drawn out even longer), you must aggressively network and golden rule: you must follow-up with your prospects throughout and after the sales cycle.

2) Always be prospecting. Seize every opportunity and situation you find yourself in both personally and professionally as an opportunity to identify a prospect/potential new client/referral. Be creative-think outside the box to find and create leads. Tap into your sphere of influence. Follow-up on leads. Be persistent, not pushy.

3) Analyze your customers. Understand their key needs and challenges, discover their hot buttons and determine their intentions upfront so you do not waste time with prospects who don’t have the need or budget for your service/product.

4) Make sales presentations: Find any opportunity that you can to address a group of potential clients/ i.e. your target market and make your value proposition come alive, tailor it to your audience, communicate your key benefit.

5) Be prepared to overcome objections: Objections means that your prospect is interested and is merely trying to alleviate risk. The most common objections are regarding time, value, money, location, quality, trust-so be prepared to provide alternative solutions to all of those aspects of your business.

6) Close the deal! This is the most critical part of the sales process–remembering to ask for the business.  Know when it is time to stop selling (typically after the prospect has said a series of ‘Yes’s’ to your open-ended questions) and start test closing (offering ‘if/then’ trial closes) and then be ready to close for a written commitment for your services and products: “Which package of services would you like to sign up for today”, “When would the best day be for me to deliver you your purchases today?”

7) Follow through. Ask for testimonials, referrals, arrange a reunion, thank them with a handwritten note and a gift.

In closing-remember that people buy from people they like and who they trust.  Become a trusted advisor to your prospects and focus single-handedly on helping your clients solve their problems–and in time, they will have solved all of yours!


Blogger Basics

January 29, 2010

Hollis Gillespie, author and expert writing instructor, has imparted her ‘must-do’s’ to help you blog you way  to financial freedom as well as position yourself as a blogger.  Here’s what she has to say:

1. Focus your content: Decide what is your ONE thing that you are going to write about…it doesn’t have to be BIG, it just has to be big to YOU.  Connect with your voice and your unique narrative-do not obsess about grammatical perfection.

2. Best sites to help you monetize your blog: Problogger.net & Copyblogger.com

3. Killer Blogs=Traffic=Income

4. Six characteristics of killer blogs: Post often, forget perfection, write like you speak, specific subject matter, know your audience, keep it short.

5. Migrate your blog content to your own domain: Reserve your own domain name on GoDaddy.com and then employ the services of http://www.techadvocatesolutions.com to integrate all of your blog/website needs.

6. Explore sites you like, take a ‘news’ post and write an opinion piece on it.

Check out Google.com/trends

-Set up Google Alerts for your subject matter (www.google.com/alerts)

-See what is popular in the blogosphere: Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit

7.Investigate options for affiliate marketing on your blog(Amazon.com has a program)

8. Create a PayPal Merchant account that allows you to accept credit card purchases on your site

9. Research top blogs in your category (www.technorati.com) and guest blog on them

10. Advertise your blogs on your Twitter account and Facebook Fan Page


Tips for a Successful Launch

June 21, 2009
Heidi's Heavenly Cookies

Heidi's Heavenly Cookies

Heidi Nel, owner of Heidi’s Heavenly Cookies, suggests the following ‘tried and true’ tips for a successful launch since beginning a cookie business out of her home in 2001:

BE GENEROUS

In addition to sending her product to her immediate network of friends and family, she also sent them to business leaders and the media.  Assuming you have a great product coupled with beautiful packaging, garnering media acclaim will quickly move your business into the spotlight.

BE PATIENT

Building a brand takes time, hard work, sacrifice and long hours.

TIMING IS EVERYTHING

Think strategically and practically as opportunities arise for your business.  Some public relation/advertising invitations may not always be well-time for your business’ developmental time-line.

PRIORITIZE

First, get clear on your priorities (both professionally and personally).  Then, be sure that you are always able to gage whether your current goal meets your larger priorities.

CULTIVATE YOUR PERSONAL RESERVES

If you don’t take the time out to build up your personal reserves (i.e. engaging in your hobbies, recharging), your business and your family life will suffer.  Be sure to schedule time to unwind, get away from your business and do things that make you happy.

LEARN HOW TO LEAD

Don’t get stuck down in the trenches. You will never be effective if you don’t take the time to plan for the future of your business. It is critical that you delegate out your original roles and focus on the higher aspects of running your company.

UNDERSTAND THAT CHANGE IS GOOD

In order to move forward, you must grow and let go. Every transition moves you into a new dynamic that you must embrace.