Saturday, March 10, 2007

Creating A Buzz For Your Business

Value of Public Relations

Promoting Your Business and Clients

By George McQuade

Corporate and nonprofit groups misunderstand the media, which can help you or hurt you. The media is in the business of telling stories, not promoting companies, products or nonprofits. When you help the media gather information, interview experts, provide images and whatever it takes to get the story done you strike gold. If you're quoted, then you'll get promoted.

There are only so many hot new products or breakthrough trends and achievements with which a business or nonprofit can capture a journalist's attention. Don't wait until a crisis or the unexpected happens near your company, because it takes a long time to rebuild your CEO, company or client image. Exxon learned the hard way. It waited a week to talk to the media. Former Police Chief Daryl Gates waited several days after KTLA aired the most riveting videotaped beating by LAPD of Rodney King before commenting on police conduct. That officer's trial verdict later led to the Los Angeles Riots.

I have experienced crisis on both sides of the media line covering everything from the LA Riots, wildfires, floods, earthquakes to the Beverly Hills cop-slapping trial of Actress, Zsa Zsa Gabor.

There are five simple steps to help you create a buzz or market your organization:

1.The Internet - one of the most under utilized communications is your website, search engines, blogs, directories and there are a lot of free services for websites, directories, large and small business.

2.Newsletters/ezines (electronic newsletters) help announce business developments and activities

3.Public Speaking - When you speak on current issues or "hot button" topics at a business luncheon or event you're making your company and yourself newsworthy.

4.News releases and a calendar of events about your company or activities alert editors about your company and you become a future resource.

5.Word of Mouth - mixers, meetings, Toastmasters, Rotary clubs, fundraisers and other business events you're invited to are great places to create a buzz about your business and activities."

To make PR work for your CEO or your business, you need to help a reporters create a story that not only fits your business, but fulfills their assignment. For example, when a breaking story on a new product or crisis is reported, editors search for people who can talk about them from prevention to just to simplifying how a process or product works. When former President Ronald Reagan died journalists scrambled for experts or doctors who could talk about Alzheimer's disease.

If you have a great invention like a new, stronger window wiper blade that last longer, you certainly wouldn't announce it on a sunny day. Why not announce it on a rainy day?

Exposing your company to the media is one of the most valuable things your company can do. You educate customers, stakeholders, prospects and other important audiences on your company, your product, service and, and you get them to start talking about them.

I can count on my fingers the number of corporate and government CEO's and managers who really believe that the media is out to get them. Journalists are really out to get their story. Most reporters have no interest in making you look bad, but they do look for controversy, which often stems from misinformation from people with their own agenda or the company's competition. This is one more reason to return media phone calls so you can set the record straight. Reporters who earn reputations as being too unfair will find it increasingly difficult to get those great interviews, and therefore, the good stories. Building a solid media relationship is critical to surviving any company crisis, too.

Reporters do look for controversy or the unusual angles. "An editor will tell you that controversy makes for more interesting stories; however reporters who research one side of an issue without seeking an opposing view aren't doing their jobs. In any credible newsroom, a story without of balance won't make it past the editor.

The media is literally the last concern that nonprofits, new business startups and big corporations think about when planning events, and until it is too late. And when a crisis strikes or when the media is interested investigating a CEO or company, they're not prepared. You never know when a shooting or major fire happens right outside your business, and then media arrive. I've had CBS 60 Minutes show up on a boring day, boring meeting, but on a controversial story. By downplaying the story and offering a bigger or better one, sometimes you can dissuade them from doing a hit piece on your agency. SSE

George McQuade is vice president of MAYO Communications, Los Angeles, and the West Coast Bureau correspondent for Jack O'Dwyer Publications ( and board member of the Entertainment Publicists Professional Society (EPPS) (
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MAYO Communications & MAYO PR
Phone: 818-340-5300

This article will also be published in a national management magazine.

MAYO PR - "We don't guarantee media, we just get it!"