Category Archives: Russell Trahan

Quit Fishing for Publicity, Reel in the Media

By Russell Trahan

There is an old proverb that goes, “Give a Person a Fish, and You Feed Them for a Day. Teach a Person to Fish, and You Feed Them for a Lifetime.” The same can be said about publicity. If you do publicity once, you’ll only get business for a day. However, if you do publicity with frequency and repetition, you’ll build a business that will feed you for a lifetime.

There are several other ways fishing is similar to publicity, there are a few:If you do publicity once, you’ll only get business for a day. However, if you do publicity with frequency and repetition, you’ll build a business that will feed you for a lifetime. Click To Tweet

Knowing What You’re Fishing For/Knowing Who Your Target Market Is

First, you have to decide what you’re fishing for, then you go where they are. If you’re fishing for trout you would go to a lake. If you’re fishing for salmon you head to a river. And, if you’re fishing for Mahi-mahi you would gas up the boat for some deep sea fishing. The same is true for your target market. Once you decide who your target market is, you go where they are. If you want name recognition in front of business decision makers you would go to trade, industry, or business association publications. If you want the attention of single parents you would go to women’s magazines or mommy blogs. Every market has magazines and blogs they read regularly. Know who your target market is and where they’re located and you’ll get a bite every time.

Having the Right Lures/Position Your Expertise

In a lake you would want a bobber and lures to attract the fish’s attention. In a river or stream you might want to use a fly-fishing pole. On the ocean, of course you’d want to be fully strapped in with a strong line and reel. The same is true to positioning your expertise in a way the reader wants to see it. You may think that since Entrepreneur, Fast Company, and BusinessWeek are all business publications you can send the same press release to all of them. Consider their core reader: Entrepreneur says who they are in the title; Fast Company attracts the reader who wants new, now, next; and BusinessWeek is the old steady blue-chip business person. So, if you tailor your press release to the reader of the publication you want to get into you’ll have them jumping out of the water for you.

Using the Right Bait on Your Hook/Using the Right Content in Your Hook

Whether you use a worm, eggs, or chum depends on the fish you want to catch. The same is true for the content you use to hook the media’s attention. If you don’t get the media’s attention, your target market will never see your content, so you have to present your content in the right way. So many people make the mistake of presenting themselves as the story. What the media cares about is what you can do for their reader; who you are and why they should listen to you comes second. Press releases should not be advertorial or self-promotional; they should be educational, informational, and content-driven. Lead with your unique stance or controversial opinion. Offer the media additional information on a story they’re already running and they’ll be itching to take the bait.

Telling a Fish Story/Using Your Publicity

Every fisher has a whopper of a story about the one that got away, but just as many have trophies mounted on their walls to prove their skills. The same is true with your publicity; you’ve got to tell a good tale about it, otherwise you might as well cut bait and walk away. Start an ‘in the media’ page on your website. Nothing impresses a potential client more than knowing the media considers you the go-to source for information on your expertise. Even if your business is just in the local market, don’t shy away from national press. Showing a local realtor you’ve been in a national real estate magazine will be just as impressive as being in the local newspaper. Use the publicity you receive in your social media as well. If you’re a B2B business you would want to focus on LinkedIn, or if you’re B2C you could use Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, or others.

If you’re hoping to build business name recognition, increase market awareness, or boost sales, you first need to drop your line into the water. Wading in to the mainstream media doesn’t have to be a scary situation. Knowing who you want to hook, and having the right bait in your tackle box will land you publicity without much of a struggle. Regardless if you’re standing on the banks, using a row boat, or in a trawler, it’s about positioning your content in front of your target market in a format they want to hear, then just sit back and reel them in. You’ll have a net full of media placements to use in your marketing for a lifetime.

Russell Trahan is the Owner and President of PR/PR Public Relations and Author of Sell Yourself Without Saying a Word. For twnety years PR/PR has enjoyed a track record of getting 100 percent of their clients placed in front of their target market. For more information, please visit www.prpr.net.

The Importance of Traditional Follow Up in a Non-Traditional Business World

By Russell TrahanRussell Trahan

Bryan walked into his office and flipped on the lights. It had been one month since his presentation and proposal submission to an industry-leading executive team, and that morning was to be the date of their decision on whether to retain his firm. A look to the phone—no blinking light signifying a voicemail. A scroll through his Outlook inbox—nothing. Securing this contract was to be a pivotal moment in his career, and sure to be the determining factor in his upward trajectory in his office.

The minutes turned to hours and no word, and the slight anxiety became increasingly worrisome. Bryan had covered his bases and kept in touch; just last week he engaged in some brief social media banter with the team’s CFO. Simple enough to maintain an air of informality and ensure the lines of communication remained open.

His inbox dinged: it was the company’s CFO.

“Bryan, we appreciate your proposal submission, but we have decided to go in another direction. We require more consistent interaction from our business partners, and while we scheduled today to finalize our decision, we had yet to hear from you in the interim. We wish you the best of luck.”

The email hit him like a freight train. He had avoided a formal follow-up process in fear of seeming overeager or pressuring his prospect, but had maintained casual connections through his LinkedIn and Facebook accounts just to keep his name top-of-mind. While Bryan assumed the company would appreciate his distance while they were in the process of making their decision, it actually became the nail in his corporate coffin. They were awaiting his traditional methods of follow up, and his lack of correspondence instead conveyed that he was not the right man for the job.

In an ever-expanding digital business landscape, Bryan’s story is all too familiar. Many working professionals are exchanging established means of follow up, such as phone calls and face-to-face meetings, for quick messages over social media or email, and it is impacting their business relationships and bottom-lines. They sacrifice professional courtesy in an attempt to appear casual, and regardless of the many ways we can now communicate, when it comes to follow up, the best practices are the traditional practices.

Social Media is for Building Business Connections—Not Maintaining Them: Have you encountered a friend or relative that limits all contact with you to digital convenience? That one person who never fails to have a comment reserved for your timeline or feed, but you cannot recall the last time you actually spoke?

These individuals also exist in the business realm, and they’ve attempted to streamline their communication with an overkill-level reliance on their social media accounts. It’s not just a bad business practice—it’s bad overall form. Social media can prove invaluable when creating connections, but maintaining them—as is the objective when conducting follow-up on a potential deal—should always be reserved for traditional modes of correspondence. Anything less borders on lazy and unprofessional.

Avoid the “Are We There Yet?” Once you’ve curbed your inclination for social media-centric follow up, there are parameters that should be adhered to when following up with leads. The first—and most important—is to establish an agenda when touching base with your prospects, and ensuring that each subsequent call or meeting occurs under the umbrella of providing new information.

There should be a concrete reason for picking up that phone, and a distinct benefit to the individual on the other end of it.

Any parent can describe road-trip trials and tribulations, and many of them will describe the maddening, constant cries of “Are we there yet?” from the back seat. That same irritated feeling occurs with continuous follow-up calls. There is a distinct difference between being attentive and being annoying—learn it, because your potential client is already well-aware.

Two to Tango: Bouncing off of avoiding impulses to flood your prospect with phone calls, you should actually give them the freedom to lead the interactions a bit. Allow them to dictate the follow-up flow by inquiring into their timeline and preference for the next call or meeting, and set a date.

Whether your next meeting is two weeks or two months away, your sales prospect has provided an appropriate date and time for your next meeting to occur. The onus is now on you to stick to the plan and pick-up the phone.

Set Your Calendar and Stick to It: The genesis of the business salesperson always harkens to a time when a man in a pork-pie hat would knock on door after door after door selling vacuums—the quintessential cold-call. There is now a palpable aversion to following up with established sales leads in favor of “keeping things casual.”

This only leads to one thing: missed opportunity. Let your calendar hold you accountable. Prior to the end of a meeting or call, be sure to pencil-in an appropriate time to follow up with your prospect, and stick to the date on the calendar. Keeping things casual may maintain pride, but it does not promote sales.

He was remiss with his follow up practices, and because of that, Bryan lost out on an important deal for his company, and for his professional growth. Lessons are often learned through unintended or unwanted consequences, and his silver lining exists in that going forward, Bryan will make sure to devote a large amount of energy and attention to the manner in which he follows up with prospective clients.

Russell Trahan is President of PR/PR, a boutique public relations agency specializing in positioning clients in front of their target audience in print and online. PR/PR represents experts of all kinds who are seeking national exposure for their business or organization. Russell and PR/PR will raise your business’ awareness in the eyes of your clients and customers. For more information, please visit www.prpr.net or email AdminAgent@prpr.net for a free consultation.

Media Mixology: Crafting the Perfect Publicity Cocktail

By Russell TrahanRussell Trahan

The handcrafted cocktail has skyrocketed in popularity. Thanks in part to period-piece television dramas such as Mad Men that romanticize bar scenes of yore, drinks like the Old Fashioned and the Sazerac have risen from the recesses of the speakeasy to the drink menu of the neighborhood watering hole. With its focus on precision and detail, the art of mixology has effectively taken taps and brass rails by storm.

From the bar room to the board room, a different brand of mixology is taking place: the meticulously designed publicity campaign. All beneficial and lucrative PR strategies are devised like a classic cocktail, with an emphasis on industry-standards, creative execution and an array of unique approaches that parallel the goals—or tastes—of the business or individual. There are many different options to consider when concocting the perfect publicity campaign, but it is paramount to remember that in order to achieve the desire result, the mix of media must be just right.

Local & Community Print: The Base: This is the heart of any publicity campaign. Like an aged, smoky Rye, targeting print media publications forms the base of your PR cocktail—everything builds off of it. Articles placed in local and community magazines helps to establish visibility and lends to credibility in your particular field. When you are looking for the proper starting point, look no further than the printed page.

The diversity of readership and focus in the wide-range of print outlets allows for producing audience-specific content across a variety of industries, and positions you for the best chance of increased name-recognition and profit-margins. While the allure of a television or radio interview can seem enticing—and they do have their place in the publicity mix—your information in local and community print publications offers permanence. A satellite outlet or emergency-broadcast message will not interrupt your expertise.

Broadcast: The Modifier: The purpose of a modifier in a drink, traditionally an additional liqueur such as Vermouth, is to enhance the impact of the base. That brings us to interviews and appearances on the broadcast medium, which works to augment your efforts in the area of print. The modifier will not make your campaign, but it will absolutely enrich it.

A targeted approach with radio and television, promoting events and engagements in a geographic-area, will provide a spike of PR activity that builds from your local and community print base. Your presence in print has brought your thoughts and ideas to your audience; your presence on their televisions and radios will put a face and voice to them.

Interviews & Op-Eds: The Flavor: The flavoring in an artisanal cocktail truly sets it apart from its traditional counterparts. Grenadine, tropical juices, ginger beer—ingenuity in flavors makes your beverage stand out; and the same is true for your publicity campaign.

Interviews that result in quotes in daily newspapers—local and national—and newsstand magazines bring your personality to the forefront. A controversial or distinct idea in the pages of publications with massive readerships puts your views on wide-display, and helps to establish you as a one-of-a-kind expert in your area.

Op-Eds take this a step further. They provide you with a forum to distinguish yourself from your colleagues, imparting a unique opinion or thought-process on your audience can make you a household name for your beliefs. Do not be afraid to push the envelope—professional mixologists take concerted risks to create a name for themselves.

Online Components: The Garnish: The garnish is the icing on the cocktail cake, if you will. You are finishing your creation with a flourish that doubles-down on your established base, modifier and flavors. The PR mix uses print outlets’ online components as a garnish.

Since most—if not all—print media have an associated website, newsletter or blogging arm, many articles or interviews that appear in print will also be featured online. This achieves a dual-impact of your original piece, as it now exists on computer screens as well as in tangible print, which only helps to extend your reach.

With the advent of our social media society, articles online may garner even more mileage, as sharing pieces deemed particularly informative or valuable has become one of the cornerstones of Facebook and Twitter. You’re only ever a few clicks and shares away from going viral.

There are few things as enjoyable as a finely-crafted cocktail. Mixologists behind bars across the globe are using their imaginative brains to create innovations-on-ice; using the classics as foundations to bring about something entirely original. The media mix for a publicity campaign should adhere to the same process: an emphasis on time-honored local and community print placements, a boost with broadcast media and heightened name-recognition with interviews and opposite-editorials. Top off your campaign with online features and exclusives and you have the mixture for the perfect publicity cocktail.

And you just may become the toast of the town.

Russell Trahan is President of PR/PR, a boutique public relations agency specializing in positioning clients in front of their target audience in print and online. PR/PR represents experts of all kinds who are seeking national exposure for their business or organization. Russell and PR/PR will raise your business’ awareness in the eyes of your clients and customers. For more information, please visit www.prpr.net or email mail@prpr.net for a free consultation.

A Crash Course in Convention Networking

By Russell TrahanRussell Trahan

Industry-specific conferences and conventions are a hallmark in business networking. As an attendee or a sponsored vendor, you will be inundated with a who’s who in your field—from the headlining heavyweights delivering keynotes and breakout sessions to the newcomers looking to create a name and garner beneficial connections—the chaos of the convention floor can prove a sensory overload for the experienced and first-timers alike. For that reason, before you pack your bags, you need a crash-course in Event Networking 101 to maximize your potential for expanded company visibility and name-recognition.

It is one thing to work a room at a local industry function, but it’s another animal entirely when working the convention or conference floor, surrounded by hundreds—if not thousands—of likeminded individuals. There are numerous avenues to consider when preparing to attend, but there are a few staples to put into action to certify that your experience is a valuable one and you come home with encouraging leads, a lengthened client-list or an increased customer base.

The Convention Begins Before Takeoff: No one likes plane flights. There are few things more uncomfortable than a cramped cabin, yearning for an extra-inch of legroom, breathing recycled air for an inordinate amount of time. With imminent discomfort on the horizon for a span of several hours, there is a tendency to double-down on the comfort one can control, which usually involves dress and demeanor. There’s no doubt that a loose-fitting outfit and an early-morning mimosa (or two) takes away some of the irritations of travel, but if you’re heading to the airport in shorts and a tee-shirt with a head full of bubbly, you’re already starting your convention experience incorrectly.

The movie cliché involving a manic driver late to a meeting, weaving in-and-out of traffic, directing choice gestures at other drivers, just to arrive on-time and realize the guy he cut-off is the same guy he’s delivering a sales presentation to is exaggerated, but true. When you’re making your way through the airport, the convention is already under way. Every interaction should be treated as potential business, and this means dressing and acting as you would on the convention floor, and ensuring your conduct and attire remain professional—because you don’t know who is who.

Meetings have been scheduled in the airport Starbucks line, so while the inclination may be to travel in a relaxed fashion in comfortable attire, most working professionals will tell you they would trade a few unpleasant hours for a newly minted contract.

Exhibit A: For many companies, a large portion of their annual budget—as well as their time—is dedicated to their annual conference or convention. While investing in a sponsorship that involves a booth setup in the exhibit area can prove costly, it can also prove lucrative when the convention floor closes.

A booth gives your company a physical presence throughout the convention, and exponentially increases your visibility. As opposed to conversations and business card exchanges, you have an area replete with banners, boards detailing your products or services, and of course—your carefully chosen convention representatives.

Curiosity will often bring attendees to your booth to see what you’re all about, and as such, you should guarantee that it is managed by your most customer service savvy staff. Arrive early each day to make sure everything is in working order by the time the convention opens. Create a schedule with time-blocks that corresponds with the daily convention activities so you can plan one-on-one meetings with any potential clients away from the hustle and bustle of the booth.

Augment Your Experience – Deliver a Workshop: A superb way to create some buzz around the convention is to deliver a presentation or workshop. One great aspect of these events is that there is constantly something going on, from quick informational sessions to multi-hour seminars—and often, organizers are looking for individuals to fill out their extensive schedules.

If this opportunity is available, it should be considered a must. Attendees can read about your expertise or services, but there is no better way to get your ideas to stick than delivering a presentation. These workshops should be formatted as content-driven and informational—not as an in-person advertorial. Pique your audience’s interest by offering a solution to their problems or an approach to make their lives easier and your skills will prove impactful—and potentially profitable. Use your platform as an in-person sales-pitch and your efforts will go unnoticed.

The Convention is Over, but Networking Has Just Begun: You return home exhausted from multiple days of non-stop presentations, long-hours working the booth in the exhibit area and networking with your colleagues in the industry—but your work has only just begun.

It seems like a simple concept—follow-up—but it’s astounding how many professionals believe their face-to-face efforts will be enough to immediately lead to a windfall of new business. Your mindset upon returning home should be one of ‘they met me, and they met my competition.’ Separate yourself from the pack. Email your new contacts and convey how much you appreciated their time during such a busy event, and offer dates and times to continue your conversation. Twiddling your thumbs and waiting for the phone to ring often results in a net-zero gain—proactivity is the key to new clientele

Regardless of your industry, or your status within it, your calendar should be highlighted with the dates that you’re attending their annual conference or convention. The potential to recruit new clients and customers or craft longstanding relationships is boundless, and will boost your standing as a company or individual. Networking is a cornerstone of business, and a convention or conference is the premiere medium to make the most of your efforts.

Russell Trahan is President of PR/PR, a boutique public relations agency specializing in positioning clients in front of their target audience in print and online. PR/PR represents experts of all kinds who are seeking national exposure for their business or organization. Russell and PR/PR will raise your business’ awareness in the eyes of your clients and customers. For more information, please visit www.prpr.net or email mail@prpr.net for a free consultation.

Your Staff is Your Best Publicity Asset

By Russell TrahanRussell Trahan

Throughout the business landscape, countless days and hours are spent on the hiring process—rifling through resumes, conducting phone and in-person interviews and vetting potential hires—and for good reason. Company payroll budgets only contain so much flexibility for new employees, and selecting the correct individual to fill an open position involves much more than just ensuring their competence in the role; your new employee is also joining the best weapon in your companywide publicity arsenal: your staff.

Your selection of staff should go beyond just the tangible skills they bring to the office and their ability to complete projects and achieve goals during the workday—it should also include their talent for recruiting and driving business when the day is done, as well. Your salaried or commission-based employees—present and future—should recognize the value of out-of-office networking skills and practices, as even simple interactions after-hours or on the weekends could potentially engage new customers or clients.

It is for that reason that you, as a manager or business owner, should consider the people you employ an essential component to any of your publicity efforts, as they are often your establishment’s first-impression and top recruiting asset once the lights go out for the evening.

There are multiple ‘best practices’ for instilling a sense of off-the-clock commitment in your present and future employees, and utilizing them to foster a sense of organizational pride will work wonders in your efforts to bolster your company image. Online, in-person and over-the-phone, your staff should recognize their value away from the office.

The Social Ovation: Incalculable business relationships are now created and nurtured in The Social Media Stratosphere, and acuity in this area can be an accurate barometer for real-world success. Along with your business’ online-presence and activity, your employees can boost your impact in the social media arena by broadcasting companywide or individual accomplishments from their personal profiles. This can be as simple as a sharing a blog-post that a staff-member is particularly proud of or that garnered an extensive degree of attention, or actively promoting any sponsored events or appearances.

Client or customer-bases can be developed through your employees’ relationships, especially if they are pleased with their individual contributions and the level of work coming out of your offices enough to show it off. Regularly recognize and applaud their performance in-office, and they may be compelled to share it out of the office—chiefly on their social media platforms. A fulfilled employee is an employee that enthusiastically wants to share your achievements.

Word-of-mouth is often the most powerful form of promotion or advertising, and your staff can be the premier vehicle for this type of reputation advancement.

The Business Card is Timeless: There is no action in the business world more common than the time-honored tradition of exchanging business cards. Even with a shift toward Internet-centricity and networking, every executive will always have a business card on-hand—which should also contain their array of online links and contact information.

Employers should encourage their staff to keep a few cards on the ready. Any chance interaction outside of the workplace can quickly shift into a professional conversation, and a casual swap of business cards Saturday night may result in a new product order or contract Monday morning. Many things will change in the business environment, but the business card is a timeless object that will remain a fundamental networking component.

Maintaining a Convention Game Face: Regardless of primary field or industry, chances are you will send out staff representatives to attend a conference or convention on your company’s behalf at some point. Effectively working a booth is an imperative skill that your employees need to possess to ensure that you receive a tangible return on your sponsorship investment.

Part of making an appearance at a corporate convention a fruitful one is the overall demeanor from inside the booth. Your employees should understand the value of simple, conversational engagement with those who stop by—not everyone will want to secure your services, but they should all be treated as such. A smile and a simple acknowledgement greeting to passersby can be the easiest route to increased booth-traffic and solid sales leads at the events’ conclusion.

Email Etiquette Has No Day Off: With the culture of connectedness that was ushered in by the widespread adoption of laptops, tablets and smartphones, your salaried employees are now within reach at all hours of the day, and every day of the week.

When receiving work-related emails or text-correspondence while away from the office, your staff should be remain acutely aware that in-house etiquette still applies, and not allow themselves to slip into casual text-speak or tone they may utilize on their day off. Improper email decorum is an immediate strike against company credibility, so make sure you instill in your workforce the importance of proper electronic communication.

Your product or service is only as good as the people you have onboard. When your employees and associates realize and appreciate their value to your operation and the role they play in actively promoting your business, the more cognizant they become of their actions when they leave the workplace. When you impress upon your staff their importance to the company and their influence on overall accomplishments, you create a workplace culture of collective input and shared success.

When your employees realize their fundamental position in your business, they ardently become an extension of your publicity undertakings, and make a point to contribute even when they are away from the workplace.

Russell Trahan is President of PR/PR, a boutique public relations agency specializing in positioning clients in front of their target audience in print and online. PR/PR represents experts of all kinds who are seeking national exposure for their business or organization. Russell and PR/PR will raise your business’ awareness in the eyes of your clients and customers. For more information, please visit www.prpr.net or email mail@prpr.net for a free consultation.