Jan 20th Workshop on Publicity & Promotion to Grow Your Business

Joy

There will be a fire dance or two, as we celebrate your success!

So what’s in it for me? That’s the question you ask yourself when spending money on anything having to do with growing your business; you look for answers and want to make sure the expense fits the need you have. I get it. I ask the same questions when I learn about events that I want to attend, or feel I need to even if I don’t want to. It is hard to step out of your comfort zone for anyone, when it comes to learning something we are not real familiar with, like publicity and promotion for your business growth.

When you don’t know what you don’t know, but you do know attending a particular event may just solve that and make your business more prosperous, you think twice. The real crunch comes when you can’t seem to get enough information. Several other people say, “…oh, yes, I want to go, Lynette, or Sue, or Jan is great and you should go too.” The only problem is this does not answer the question lingering in your mind–what’s in it for me?

Public relations is uncharted water for most marketers who are seasoned, let along those entrepreneurs out there that have met different people saying different things about the topic. For Firetalker PR, under the public relations umbrella, we focus on publicity and promotion. This workshop (being held on Tuesday, January 20, 2015 at Verity Credit Union at Northgate in Seattle from 5:30pm to 8:00pm) is designed to help you learn how to handle some of the publicity and promotion on your own that you are not aware of (or don’t know a lot about) that can help you grow your business.

You will walk away with tools you can use now through elements of social media that help you reach your end user (your customer) in a way that is not direct selling, but engaging that uses publicity on its own, through your efforts. You will learn how to create promotions you can leverage for publicity. Just as there are many ways to light a fire (match, lighter, flint and steel, lighting, rubbing two sticks together–you get the idea) there are many ways to manage your publicity and promotional efforts. If it is not done creatively for your personal business needs (with an open mind, being effective, efficient and consistent), you will more than likely not see results. In this workshop you are going to learn how to manage your expectations.

You will walk away knowing how to create what you need to attract the media. And this does not happen right away. However, it does set the stage for you to be chosen out of several people that are being considered. Why? You make the media’s job easier. You will learn how to research on your own, and what takes for you to get results on your own.

AND you will learn when you need to hire a PR pro, and how to budget for them through these actions as well.

The workbook you will be using during the workshop you will also take home with you to continue what we begin to get PR ready for 2015. There will be no PowerPoint, but interactive hands-on fun and engagement! The Firetalker PR team will be prepared with good cheer–champagne to toast to your success, wonderful appetizers provided by Kringle’s Bakery out of Redmond, and our host Verity Credit Union will take a bit of time to tell you about what they have going on to help you too. Swag bags will be there for everyone too, (and if you want to include anything in the swag, let me know!)

We are limiting the workshop to 45 people, as we want everyone to get as much attention as possible, including lots of  Q & A. The event will be videotaped and you are welcome to use your phone to record audio. This way when you are feeling overwhelmed, you will feel better knowing you have something to listen to again later! Be prepared to have fun, because there are things we are going to teach you to engage your creativity that are, well, different.

Can’t wait till January 20th! I really love giving workshops and I have never had anything but positive results. I look forward to providing you with useful information that you can use and share with others so you lift as you climb. I am here for you! This is a workshop you will be talking about all year. Our plan is to continue to possibly have this workshop every quarter, and you will need to come to the event and learn how that will work! It is an opportunity to build on what you are doing, and possibly even have a live check-in to see how you are doing…

Our blog next week will focus on FAQ; I encourage you to go our Facebook event page and post your questions there too.  Here again is the registration page, with the timeline and link to our Eventbrite page.

Till next time! If you need questions answered right away, please reach out to me personally at lynette@firetalkerpr.com, or call me directly on my cell at 415-694-3004 or call the firehouse at 206-455-9366.

 

Why a PR Plan Should be Part of your Business Plan

In August I gave a talk for the eWomenNetwork Accelerated Network Luncheon. I spoke about a few things that stood out in a survey taken with the group here in Seattle, Washington. The last topic addressed was on how to budget for working with a public relations professional (which will be addressed in a following blog, and I mention this primarily for the eWomen Seattle group). During the speech, I promised to blog about the topics I spoke on in more depth, as well as answer questions individually to those that asked. My plan ongoing, is to also to write about the questions in more detail. This post is the beginning of that journey, which should take us through the next several weeks. It will be a learning experience not only for the eWomenNetwork Seattle group, but for all interested in this topic. Here I will discuss why a public relations plan should be a part of the overall business plan. Strategic public relations planning is not just for large companies, and it does not require hiring a full on agency if your small business does not warrant it.

In my 20+ years, I have learned time and again that it all starts with learning about what public relations is, and for our purposes here I will be addressing publicity and promotion under the public relations umbrella and why a crisis management plan is important. From my survey taken with the eWomen Seattle group, getting the word out about what they do, who they are, why it matters and who benefits is critical. This is important to all entrepreneurs, whether they are in a service profession and work out of their home, work independently with a larger firm, have an online business, or a small-to-medium sized business with a storefront. It is easy to get confused, depending on who you listen to and the books you read. Here are three things you can sink your teeth into to start with, on the journey of understanding why you need public relations:

1.  Put your marketing plan in motion first, because your PR plan should ignite it. The marketing plan is built from the marketing mix, something most people know about from going to business college – if that was your path. It you did not, then pay close attention, as this will be a great help to you. The marketing mix is made up of four parts: your product (or service), the price you set for that product (s) or service (s), the place or location you choose to have your business–online, store front, home office (this also includes distribution), and promotion. How are you going to promote your business? There are a number of things you can do, including direct mail, in-store or online parties, partnering with non-profits, or as David Meerman Scott proposes in his book, The New Rules of Marketing and PR–do something brilliant that gets the attention of your customer and the media.

Publicity lights a fire and works with your overall marketing strategy to keep it burning

Publicity lights a fire and works with your overall marketing strategy to keep it burning

2.  Make a list of creative promotional ideas. Promotional campaigns, which are also called PR campaigns (because promotions are leveraged for publicity)  should be fun, relevant, and attract attention. This is the buzz effect. If your product or service is not necessarily exciting you have to create something exciting, or get involved with the latest craze to get noticed, like the current ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. You can either get on board and create your own (it is about over though, they have raised about 100 million) or take another route like these people Mashable wrote about “8 Bucket Challenges That Don’t Involve Any Ice“. You can make it funny, or more serious depending on the message you are trying to convey. The key is to consistently live outside your comfort zone brainstorming ideas. Using the latest craze can get you media attention and the attention of your customer. What sets good PR apart, is the approach taken to create buzz that gets you noticed instead of your competition.

3.  Decide who will take care of your clients in an emergency. Crisis management is a practice area under the public relations umbrella. We will touch on it briefly here, as it should be a part of your overall public relations plan which makes for a healthy business plan that not only makes it more attractive to loan institutions, (if you are thinking about going for a small-to-medium sized business loan) but it’s good business. Just over two years ago I had a health emergency that landed me in the emergency room (thinking I had food poisoning) and following emergency surgery, I was in the hospital for almost two weeks. I had no plan in motion to care for my clients, no one to call that could either jump in and make phone calls, or manage my clients in my absence. The lesson here, is even if you are a sole proprietor, it is your responsibility to make sure that someone knows who your clients are, what is in motion, and has all their contact information. The best plan has someone on call that you collaborate with that is familiar with your clients, and knows who to call to put the plan in action. From there, your emergency partner can either manage these clients with your direction until you can step back into your business, or find them someone else to work with in the event of your death. When my emergency happened, I lost two clients. It was my responsibility to make sure there was someone to call them and keep them informed and give them options. I did not have this plan in action. I do now! It is the right thing to do, and it shows your commitment and integrity to those you serve, in case of an emergency. Make sure your clients are aware of your plan, they will respect you for it.

The three things talked about here are great to get your mental engine going–getting a strong marketing plan in place so you can ignite it with public relations, brainstorm your promotional ideas and make sure to get that crisis management plan in place. I look forward to hearing your questions and comments here. Jump in! Let’s engage and have a conversation. There will be many blog posts to follow, and I look forward to giving you great content to continue to sink your teeth into!

Make it Up and Shout it Out for Great Publicity

Steaklet Chip22824In our New Economy, we can make up whatever name we want for anything, and turn it into something real. The key is to shout it out to the world and don’t stop. The tech industry is leading the way. For example, there have been several take-offs on the applet. From what I have researched, Apple does not own, nor has it trademarked this term used for plug-ins, (I may be wrong, if so I welcome the correction) but applet has opened the floodgates for others to capitalize on the ‘let’ portion of the name.

Take Shoutlet, Incorporated for example. On Wikipedia, here is their information: Shoutlet, Inc. is a leading provider of a software-as-a-service (SaaS), enterprise-level social media marketing platform that enables marketers to publish, engage, and measure social marketing campaigns and activities on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter,LinkedIn, and YouTube. (For more information, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoutlet).

Shoutlet has branded themselves against something that is in almost everyone’s knowledge base—the applet. Simply brilliant. There is just something about the name that screams great publicity and recognition. If people are compelled to look up your company, that is great branding. I looked them up.

There is great publicity hidden in these gems, as a story is always there that can be generated to get attention. The fact that I am blogging about it is your proof in the pudding. Here are a few others: Piglet Pie—because someday she’s going to want to know why (a blog I found, and there is indeed a story there http://pigletpie.typepad.com/), Figlet or FIGlet which is a program for making large letters out of ordinary text (http://www.figlet.org/). I do not know how big the story may be here; just the fact that I thought it up, typed it into a search engine and it popped up is great! Perhaps the owner is fond of figs? Actually, they are listed on Wikipedia and you can find out more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FIGlet. And no, nothing there about anyone liking figs. Here is the last one—steaklet. Now my question matches @pennyb: Is a steaklet like a washlet? (not my shopping) pic.twitter.com/FBAGEfNG. I agree with Penny, not my shopping either. Here is the definition of a washlet, according to Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washlet. Wow.

There are stories everywhere. This is one of the ways I get my imagination going to create stories for my clients, as well as using their personal stories. It is a way of beating that creative block. Start with rhyming, looking up words that make absolutely no sense that you are curious about, or that rhyme with your brand. You will be amazed at how fast you start laughing and enjoying your creative process. Suddenly the story you tell the world that gets you noticed is right in front of you!