By MikeI recently wrote
about the pitfalls of PR drawn from the principles of FUD—fear, uncertainty and doubt. As Facebook can attest
, launching a smear campaign can land you in hot water with the media, but this is not the only reason why avoiding FUD benefits you and your clients.
Smear campaigns are likely to start trash-talk wars between you and competitors. Nobody wins in those situations. These attacks also belie any claims your client might make about the quality of its offering. Is the company’s product not good enough? Must it focus instead on the faults of competitors? Extol the virtues of your client and its product; that is more likely to resonate with customers, anyway. Remember, all that time you spend talking about other companies is time you are not spending publicizing your own company or client.
Journalists are also more likely to respond to authentic customer feedback than to negative reports from competitors or unnamed sources. Focus on your client and what customers have to say
about its product. This will give you a better chance of editorial coverage.
On a moral basis, smear campaigns violate PR ethics. The Public Relations Society of America’s Code of Ethics
requires PR pros to be, “truthful and honest in all communications.” Using FUD tactics break that code.
And while smear campaigns take place daily in the world of PR, this doesn’t mean you have to participate. It is much more rewarding to take the high road and focus on the virtues of your own client -- and how the company is helping customers, rather than on the faults of its competitors.
Those in the PR industry often discuss what works and what doesn’t when it comes to building a startup. But really, what do we know? Half is luck; the other half is the idea, right? Well, according to these really smart dudes from Silicon Valley, Bjoern Lasse Herrmann and Max Marmer, the world of entrepreneurship can be turned into a science.
They recently released “Startup Genome Report
,” which aims to lay the foundation for a new paradigm of assessing startups and understanding the drivers of entrepreneurial performance. The pair interviewed and surveyed more than 1,000 startups and concluded -- well, a lot -- but here are some of the key takeaways I found interesting.
- Learning makes you successful. Startups that turned to mentors, tracked metrics and learned from other startups raised 7 times more money and have 3.5 times better user growth.
- Change is a good thing. Startups that pivot once or twice raise 2.5 times more money than those that don’t.
- Success requires balance. Teams with a technical and business founder raise 30 percent more money and have 2.9 times more user growth.
- Avoid common mistakes. Premature scaling is the most common reason for failure.
- Beware over-estimation. Startups that haven’t raised money over-estimate their market size by 100 times and often misinterpret their market as new.
- Team work can be lucrative. Solo founders take 3.6 times longer to reach scale stage than startups that have two or more founders.
- Invest in the idea. Investors are 3 times more likely to invest in startups that haven’t yet reach a solution fit.
Before you play the startup game, read the directions
. It takes more than a great idea, money and connections. What elements do you see in successful startups
Metis has recently had the pleasure of working with the Coastal Wine Trail to promote its summer kickoff event taking place on June 26th from 1 to 4 p.m. at Sakonnet Vineyards in Little Compton, Rhode Island. This Festival is right up our alley, so you can probably imagine the enjoyment we have had in sharing it with local newspapers, summer event calendars and social media channels.
The Coastal Wine Trail winds through the heart of the Southeastern New England Wine Growing Appellation, stretching from Cape Cod and the Islands through the South Coast of Massachusetts, Coastal Rhode Island and Coastal Connecticut (the nine wineries of the Coastal Wine Trail include Coastal Vineyards, Greenvale Vineyards, Langworthy Farm, Newport Vineyards, Running Brook Vineyards, Travessia Winery, Truro Vineyards, Westport Rivers Winery and Sakonnet Vineyards). The common thread throughout this region is the close proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and the southeast-facing coastline, which captures the warm Gulf Stream waters in the summer and fall.
The best part about the Coastal Wine Trail is that these nine wineries can generally be visited within two to three days. For groups that are looking for an enjoyable and picturesque staycation, you will be pleasantly surprised to find a taste of Napa in New England.
The Festival has something for everyone – from Cape Cod Original Chowder to Narragansett Creamery to Sweetberry Farm to Smoke & Pickles and much more. If you are interested in purchasing tickets, please call 401-635-8486 x116. Space is limited, so call today to get a preview of the celebrated Coastal Wine Trail appellation.
There is no better PR than the kind that comes from happy customers.
Consider the way you might choose a vendor for a major personal purchase. Say you want to buy a washing machine. Or a car. You might read some websites or marketing materials. You might talk to some salespeople. But the most compelling input you’re likely to get will come from other consumers; online reviews will sway your opinion at least as much as a salesperson’s pitch. Feedback from friends and colleagues will have far more influence than any advertising campaign.
For these reasons, a customer delight program is one of the most effective PR components a company can develop to support lead generation. When we talk with our clients’ customers, we outline numerous types of opportunities in which they can participate. These include:
- Serving as a reference for a journalist or blogger
- Engaging with the client on social media, including Twitter, Facebook and blogs
- Providing a quote for a press release
- Giving a testimonial for the website or other marketing materials
- Producing a video testimonial
- Sharing experiences via a case study
- Submitting the deployment for award or speaking opportunities
Customer delight programs clearly benefit businesses. They get third-party, real-life validation that is essential to future sales. But what do their customers get?
They get the three F’s:
- Fame: Find out what publications the customer contact reads. Where would he like to see his technology story covered? Make that a priority target. This principle applies equally to speaking and awards opportunities. Which of these will prove attractive not only to the client, but to the customer?
- Fortune: Which magazines and websites do the user’s customers read? Make sure those are high on your list, too. When the customer sees PR participation as a lead-generating opportunity for his business and not just for your client’s, he is more likely to participate.
- Fabulous SEO: It doesn’t hurt anybody to get another link on a reputable website. For customers who value the influence of search engine optimization, tout the benefits of hyperlinks in online articles and press releases, link backs from the client’s blog, and tweets and retweets regarding PR results.
By Mike Campbell
For PR pros, interacting with bloggers can be tricky business. Blogs are a great way for companies to engage online and share ideas, and they are generally curated by intelligent, well-informed members of the industry. But often, PR practitioners recoil when they see incidents like a blogger posting and ridiculing a pitch, or even personally criticizing another practitioner in a blog.
But fear not; the likelihood of something similar happening to skillful PR pros is minimal — especially with the help of these tips:
Rely on your PR roots.
Just because you are speaking to a blogger doesn't mean you have the license to be informal, condescending or careless. Apply the same thorough, respectful and professional behavior you would if you were speaking with the New York Times.
Read, read, read for relevancy.
Do your research. See what the blogger has written about in the past, and make sure your pitch is relevant. Demonstrating knowledge of previous blogs will enhance your chances of the blogger noticing your information -- in a positive way.
Reflect on your subject matter.
Take a look at past situations in which bloggers have burned PR pros. Usually, the PR reps were out of line, or a blogger took exception to the cause they were promoting. Before you contact a blogger, think about what you are sending. Or, as in the case of Facebook’s exposed smear campaign, does your pitch rely on fear, uncertainty and doubt to garner coverage?
Have you dealt with bloggers in the past? What approaches have brought success?
By Rachel Sullivan
Thousands of years ago in Greece and Rome, thought leaders debated what made an ideal orator. Protagoras, Aristotle and Cicero were a few of the many who weighed in on how to best persuade an audience.
In PR, we spend the better part of our day persuading people – editors, awards committees, conference managers.
The teachings of ancient orators still apply to these efforts.
Here are some timeless lessons we apply to the practice of public relations writing and pitching:
Everyday, better: Greek teacher Protagoras coined the motto “everyday better.” He taught orators to react and capitalize on opportune moments, or as the Greeks called them, kairos. In PR, we recognize and create kairos for clients, celebrating successes and building on them so that every day’s work is better than the last.
Clarity and correctness: Aristotle’s “On Rhetoric” includes teachings on style and persuasion. He declared the first virtue of style to be clarity and the second to be grammatical correctness. Both are incredibly important in writing modern-day pitches, articles and speeches, which represent the expertise not only of the PR professional who promotes them, but also of the clients who trust her to do so.
Eloquence and wisdom: Cicero emphasized the relationship between eloquence and wisdom: one without the other is useless, he said. He believed it is more important to be wise in many areas in contrast to having deep knowledge in just one subject. PR professionals achieve this through conversation, research and constant consumption of industry news.
We celebrated World Environment Day on June 5, remembering that we are a global community responsible for preserving the world in which we all live. To that tune, each member of the Metis team chose one of the strategies for eco-friendly living provided by the United Nation Environmental Program. Especially on June 5, but also in our daily routines from now on, we pledged to do our part to conserve and protect the world around us. Personally, I’m trying to cut down on the car use; if it’s too far to walk, I’ll dust the cobwebs off the bike. Here’s a sample of some other things our team has chosen to do:
- Start a compost pile to use as fertilizer for a veggie garden
- Plant a tree
- Cut down on driving by using public transportation or biking or walking
- Carry a reusable water bottle instead of purchasing a new water bottle every day
- Hand-wash dishes while trying to use minimal water, rather than use the dishwasher
- Optimize the use of the washing machine – use the cold-wash option and significantly save energy and reduce daily carbon emissions
- Exercise outside more, rather than using the treadmill
- Eat locally-grown foods
- Print double-sided and only when absolutely necessary
So, take a look at the strategies above, and pick one for yourself. Maybe go nuts; pick two. Tell your friends. Your responsibilities could be as easy as turning the water off while you’re brushing your teeth or flipping the light switch off on the way out the door. And while these actions might seem insignificant, keep in mind that if enough people take part, our efforts add up.
What are your plans for going green in your daily routine?