Posts Tagged ‘contacts’


A Letter From a Press Release

Monday, November 1st, 2010

Dear PR Professional,

Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated. “I am not dead and I have an app to prove it.” Ok, maybe I don’t. But granted, I am more than 100 years old and am still holding up fairly well, if I must say so myself.

Our relationship has seen its ups and downs. You’ve shared me in many ways, including, but not limited to mail (long before it was called “snail mail”) and fax – I really burnt up some data lines in my time. Let us not forget email; you’ve emailed me so often and to so many erroneous contacts I sometimes get called “SPAM” or “junk” now – no respect for your elders. And this newfangled “tweeted.” (That’s right, I’m “hip” to it all.)

Now I spend most of my time in online press rooms as a reference link for reporters to “come and get me if they want me.”

A few tips I’ve heard over the years:

ARCHIVE: Even if you focus on social media ALWAYS have a place for traditional releases in your newsroom. This will allow journalists a resource for quotes if someone is not readily available. Your website should have an archive of news stories and I still prove to be a concise summary of events and/or activities important to your business.

IDENTIFY CORRECT RECIPIENTS: Never blindly email me. If you must do this, and I can’t think of a good reason why, at least make sure I’m relevant to the recipient. (I have a positive reputation to maintain after all.)

BE SENSITIVE TO MY SIZE: At least embed me in the email. People hate it when I’m “attached” and frankly just hanging out there is a little scary.

WRITE A GOOD SUBJECT LINE: If you MUST email me, even if the recipient is expecting me, please write a good subject line. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone unopened because nobody really knew what I was so they ignored me.

GIVE THEM WHAT THEY WANT: If someone says they don’t want a press release, but just the who, what, when, where and why, please give it to them. Also prepare that same information in my form or at a minimum a fact sheet for your archive. Remember once I’m on your website you can still maximize me for SEO purposes.

I still have some gas in the tank so don’t count me out just yet. I know some say our relationship is a bit dysfunctional at best. Sure, I’m traditional, you know – AP Style – but I still have a place in your plan and tactics if you use me wisely. And I really think we can make this work.

Lovingly,
Press Release*

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*Bio: Press Release is a 100+ year veteran of the PR and media relations industry, where it helps professionals connect and engage with relevant journalists and bloggers. In its spare time, Press Release enjoys finding innovative ways to stay curtain in the ever-changing media landscape and maximize its results. Web: BurrellesLuce Media Outreach; Facebook: BurrellesLuce; LinkedIn: BurrellesLuce; Twitter: BurrellesLuce

Relationships and Referrals: Making the Most of Your Two Most Important Business Assets

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

Valerie Simon

Early on in my career I received a phone call from a client who began the conversation with, “Hey Valerie, I want to introduce you to a friend of mine…”

I very much enjoyed and respected this client and was thrilled that he wanted to introduce me to his friend. In my mind I fantasized about his intentions. Perhaps we would all go out for dinner, or maybe he was setting me up on a date… my thoughts were interrupted by the words “director of corporate communications” and “in charge of media monitoring.” My heart began to pound as I realized what was happening. I was getting my first referral!

Today I regularly receive such phone calls, but the thrill has yet to go away. While Relationships and Referralsreferrals add up to quantitative results of your efforts to build relationships, they also offer bona fide proof that your relationship is one of trust and confidence (Cue Sally Fields, “They like me, they really like me!!!)

In order to earn new business, you’ll need to invest both time and resources and maximize your opportunities in the most efficient manner. Below are 5 steps to help you become more strategic in your relationship building and increase the number of referrals you receive:

1. Perform a SWOT analysis. Identify your own strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and then clearly identify the organizations you are targeting. As you consider different prospects and prospect categories, evaluate the customer needs against your analysis. Brad Douglas, vice president of sales and marketing with Shipley Associates, offers some excellent considerations to help you better assess your opportunities for targeting the right customers.

2. Determine the influencers you need to reach. As mentioned in this post from the Harvard Business Review, you may think you know the decision maker, “the one that is described in the RFP or articulated by those who actively participate in the formal decision-making process.” However, there are often key influencers within the organization who carry informal power as it relates to your opportunity. Take the time to uncover and develop those relationships.

3. Utilize ALL of your current relationships. While most organizations have a sales team or business development group, I am a firm believer that everyone in an organization, regardless of title or department, should consider themselves a member of the sales team. If you are proud of your organization and even if you are not (though you may want to ask yourself why are you working there?), it is your responsibility to help your company grow. Communication and collaboration between the sales team and other departments is essential. Beyond your organization, consider your vendors, partners and affiliates, clients, industry contacts, and even personal networks. If you aren’t actively using LinkedIn it is a great place to start organizing and expanding your network.

4. Ask for the referral! It is interesting that many people shy away from asking for a referral when they need/want it. Consider what’s stopping you. Are you afraid of creating an uncomfortable or potentially annoying situation? If yes, then that is good because it means you are thinking about and potentially being considerate of the person you wish to ask. And that is what distinguishes a “pushy salesman” from a friend you want to help. So be professional to and respectful of the person you are asking, their relationship, and their reputation. But don’t let that stop you from asking. After all, if you have real relationships, qualified targets, and a product/service you believe in, the person you’re asking should have no issue referring you and the person you’re introduced to will soon be thanking your friend for making the introduction.

5. Beyond ABC’s… ABH. While I certainly understand and appreciate the need to “Always Be Closing,” my personal philosophy is to “Always Be Helping.” In sales, and perhaps maybe in life, your reputation is everything. So be the person you want to be perceived to be – whether or not it meets an immediate business goal. In this case, that person is one who is helpful and informative and acutely aware of the needs and goals of his/her clients, prospects, colleagues, friends and family. In other words, take every opportunity to add real value and help them achieve their goals.

How are you making the most of one of your most precious resources – your relationship with others? Do you find it easy to ask for referrals and network when needed? What tips would you add to the list? If you are having trouble, what do you think is holding you back? Please share your thoughts with me and the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.