Government Relations or Issues Advocacy.
Both formal terms for “Lobbying”, the process of trying to communicate with lawmakers to affect the outcome of legislation.
It’s portrayed in the media, and in popular culture as a devious operation. Shady meetings in poorly lighted areas between lawmakers and lobbyists who are conducting business that will almost certainly result in a deal that’s bad for the average citizen.
It’s nothing like that. If fact, it’s pretty boring and with lobbying ordinances, it’s a lot like going to any other kind of meeting at an office, and it’s all being monitored and tracked, there are very little surprises.
No, lobbying is not evil, in fact if done properly it can open doors in your field of expertise, and in certain situations, it can save your business. It’s all about using the proper channels of communication and the correct lobbying techniques.
In some cases it might save your business.
The legislation passed at all levels of Government, from Capitol Hill all the way down to your City council, effect the way we live our lives everyday. It’s important to have an ally to stand by your side to make sure you get your voice heard. And we’re talking about multiple resources and avenues of approach, using all of the resources at your disposal to ensure the right legislation passes to ensure the survival of your livelihood.
It’s not just about your efforts either, it’s about building a partnership with those who will also be effected by the laws passed at the various levels of Government and bringing them aboard as well. You’d be surprised how many business owners out there aren’t even aware of the action being taken by elected officials. You could have a whole network of partners who feel the same way you do!
Government relations sounds complicated and some of the psychology and procedures can be but with the right guidance, resources, and access, you can have your voice heard and always ensure your elected officials are doing what they can to protect you and the community.
***Frank, I want to know how to have our business heard! Can you help me?***
Graphics play a huge part in Publicity efforts. Why? A logo or trademark allow your target market to instantly identify your brand’s presence in an environment. Let’s play a quick game.
Even without words or clues you should be able to identify the following products.
Did that last one get you? That is the logo for Acura. A fine, fine automobile.
You see the point I’m getting at right.
A logo or symbol of your brand should be one of the first cosmetic creations of your publicity efforts. It grows along with your business.
We’re all about savings and budgets around here and while graphic designers should be consulted for complex projects, you can find affordable programs that will allow you to tinker with the functions and draw up an early draft.
This should also be fun! You are essentially creating an identity for your passion! Sketch it, show it to your friends, make sure it feels personal! Don’t rush it. You should be so excited about your graphic that you can’t wait to see it in print or on the television.
Here is my logo. I chose the shield because, I want my clients to feel secure, comfortable, and know there is someone out there looking out for their interests. My company’s initials are on that shield because I want them to know that if they don’t succeed the accountability is right there in front of them. The colors? Well, I just like those colors.
Learn about graphics not just for a logo but for your other projects. They can really take your work to the next level!
*** Frank, I’m all about building a brand! Let’s do this!****
It’s a fine question, isn’t it?
There are a lot of publicity tools, most of it centered around communication. Computers, phones, tablets, and hot spots all have a place in an effective publicity campaign but, if I had to advise a client to buy one premium piece of equipment, I would tell them to buy….
A DSLR Camera.
I’m talking about a premium Digital Single Lens Reflex Camera, preferably Canon or Nikon (I use Nikon but both are superb).
Recent, studies indicate that the most valuable part of a Newsroom in the future will be photographers. You see apps and tweets about the media asking for submissions from it’s audience, why? Because the phrase “A picture says 1000 words” is 100% percent true. I once heard a gifted photojournalist say that a well taken photograph with the perfect timing attached is a component of the a report that can stand by itself. It’s demonstrates ability, provides proof of events, and can capture the attention of an unengaged viewer. It accentuates the “Wow Factor”.
What about the camera on my phone? I don’t have to invest hundreds into a DSLR when I’ve got my phone do I?
Phones cameras have gotten better but you be an easier victim of the circumstances your photo is taken in. Bad lighting? A fast moving subject? Multiple shots? Camera phones can’t do this. If you’re serious about promoting your work, go the extra mile. The presentation of your work is the most important part of your publicity push.
Is it expensive? Yes. It will cost a few hundred dollars and the lenses and additional equipment will set you back even further.
Is it worth it? Will it eventually pay for itself? It can. Mine did.
Your DSLR also isn’t confined to just a “work tool” it will make it easy to collaborate with others in your field and you can use it for the the same things other casual photogs use them for, vacations, portraits etc…
That’s my answer. A DSLR camera. Next a Publicist, it will be your most valuable ally in Publicity.
*FRANK, THANKS FOR THE INFO! LET’S TALK*
Is this legal?
It’s a question asked my millions everyday in a thousand different scenarios. Knowing our rights and operating within the capacity of the law is in the best interests of everyone. Still, the legal world is so complex, so difficult to decipher for the average person, we need Lawyers or Attorneys to explain it to us and in some cases represent us to make sure we’re able to get a fair shake when it comes to the letter of the law.
It’s also the profession that is most ripe for Publicity. The easiest profession in American Society that is the easiest to find media appearances for. There is no comparison. Why? I’ll explain.
1. Legal Battles are Controversial. Controversy is always News: Whether it’s a hard crime story like the Casey Anthony Trial, or something more administrative like a high profile divorce case, audiences need a guide to answer questions that might appear simple to us but much more complicated during legal proceedings
2. Attorneys are often gifted presenters: True, all of them aren’t trial lawyers but they are use to breaking down a complicated legal procedure in layman’s terms that can be animated when there hammering home a point. They’re also good at adjusting their talking points to time. They can say it in a minute or they can say it in an hour. This is exactly what media contacts want from their sources.
3 Advertising is favorable for Name ID: Unlike other professions that use networking and Social Media to find business, Attorneys are still very much active in traditional, high profile, advertising. Billboards, TV Commercials, Phone books, these are all scene by thousands every day and when their face pops up on a Television or in a Newspaper Article, the audience recognizes a familiar face right away.
4. Flexibility and Availability: Attorneys can switch and swap appointments to make that media appearance happen. We’ve talked about availability before. If your contacts know you’re dependable and can work with them on that interview, you’re going to be their “go to guy” at times like these.
And I could go on about how easy Attorneys make the Vetting process easier for media, or how they tend to recycle their coverage to pickup business, and also how useful they for referring colleagues in different areas of the law.
This is why their the “Most Bookable Profession” in Publicity.
I hope you enjoyed this series. It’s back to helpful hints next week!
*I’m an Attorney! Let’s work together Frank!*
This is the first “hard” occupation we’ve covered so far in our series and the other “most bookable” professions in Publicity will be as well.
When I use “hard” occupations, I mean that from the Publicity angle this is knowledge that people seek out or respond to because it’s serious business where the value you’re offering can have important ramifications on your audiences actions.
Today, we’re talking about Accountants and Financial Planners and that means we’re talking about money. A subject where people generally have little tolerance for mixed messages and confusion. You’ve got no room for error but this should be nothing new for you, I can only imagine what putting the decimal in the wrong place means for your business!
If you can capitalize and establish trust in such an important field, the Publicity opportunities are endless.
First you’ve got Tax Time. If you’re a qualified Tax Professional, then everyone is going to want to talk to you at the beginning of the year! You’re going to be the one to escort them through the complicated and confusing process of filing an efficient and legal return.
There is the “Dads and Grads” period where around Father’s day you’ll possibly get the chance to talk about retirement preparation and what an audience will need to make sure they’ve got enough in the bank to enjoy their golden years.
You’ve also got that graduation period where thousands of high school graduates will head to College for the next chapters in their life. What kind of financial challenges can they expect? What can they do to prevent a constant diet of rahmen noodles?
You’ve got the holidays. What can a family do to prepare for that stressful period? Thanksgiving, Christmas, financial resolutions for the New Year. They need to hear from you!
And as usual any breaking news developments that could effect everyone’s paycheck. Like the tax changes that occurred in the beginning of the year that saw some lose a few dollars from there paychecks.
These are just a few ideas on a blog post but decision has financial consequences and rewards. You could be plugged into any relevant News Story. An Evergreen Profession that everyone wants to hear from.
The weight of their wallets depend on it.
*Frank! Let’s talk about it!*
We’re continuing our series this week about the most “Bookable” professions for Publicity. We’ve already talked about what kind of value an Nutritionist can offer an audience and today we’re going to talk about two more careers that work against each other but both are easily placeable and make for strong content in the Publicity world.
Depending on how old you are, you probably have different memories of cooking programs. Some of my pre-cable/satellite readers probably remember Julia Child and other celebrity chefs that had syndicated programs that aired throughout the day.
Now, we’ve got 24 hour networks dedicated to preparing food. Chefs like Guy Fieri, Rachel Ray, and Giada De Laurentiis are mainstream celebrities that lead million dollar operations. But, the focus has always remained the same, a chef, in the kitchen, cooking.
It’s a friendly, non-controversial topic that eats (pun intended) up minutes on morning shows and fills magazine articles, and blog posts with recipes. It a very visual subject, it’s not your typical talking heads subject and whether it’s video of preparation or bright pictures on a web page, it’s causes a psychological response that makes people hungry!
Of course, where do we go after we’ve acted on that response. The gym!
Personal Trainers are our guide to the often intimidating world of fitness and the gym, they teach us proper technique that prevents injury, effective routines, and explain what all of those complicated machines and exercises do. Once again this is a controversial free topic. Have you ever met a doctor that says that exercise is bad for you? Yeah, me neither.
Once again, this is a subject that looks good on television or on the printed page. Proper demonstrated technique, a routine listed out in order, diagrams and pictures. It looks good, and it provides undisputed value in an entertaining fashion.
Both of these professions can provide terrific opportunities for Publicity and are some of my favorite kinds of clients. It’s great to be able to include them in this group of easily “bookable” jobs.
*Frank! I’m a Chef or Personal Trainer! Let’s work together!*
Today, we’re starting our “Most Bookable Professions for Publicity” Series. These are the fields in which I’ve found are the easiest to springboard into Publicity campaign. I think the common bond you’ll find between all of these fields of expertise are that they all effect important parts of lives. Subjects like health, money, personal freedom, and quality of life all have a posts coming up in this series. These are the things that people want to hear about and are the easiest to craft an effective pitch around. Let’s get started.
There is so much going on in the health field right now and so much of that is tied to what we put into our bodies. This is where the our first profession comes from. A Nutritionist offers so much value with the information they can provide about our diets and how it can effect our lifestyle. Americans are notorious for health problems tied to what we’re eating. Our obesity rate gets higher each year and heart disease is still the number one killer in the country. A Nutritionist is a resource everyone should have access to because everyone can use their knowledge. We’ve all got to eat right?
Fast Five Pitches for a Nutritionist:
1. The Truth behind (insert latest diet fad here) and health risks/benefits
2. Healthy Thanksgiving eating
3. Healthy Halloween alternatives for children
4. Any published work you have that goes against the grain of what a person might believe.
5. “Pitch to the Niche” if you’re talking to an show about Athletes, find an angle of approach i.e Marathon or Weight Lifting diets.
And of course like all of the professions in this series, it’s easy to place a Nutritionist with breaking news like recalls, restaurant incidents etc..
And because a of the education requirements to become a Nutritionist they easily pass the vetting process. Their are some really great Publicity opportunities for someone in this field.
We’re just getting started! Check back soon for the next part of our series!
*Frank, I’ve got a profession that people should hear about! Let’s talk!*
One of the media’s biggest complaints when finding sources or looking for stories? Getting 100 email pitches from Publicists and other PR pros about a topic their not even covering.
One of the most clumsy but best selling automated publicity products. A service that shoots out those emails using outdated databases that land in the inboxes of these media contacts.
A needle in a pile of needles. Most pitches are sent out in a spam like fashion but because there are occasionally real tips or pitches involved the writer/reporter/blogger still has to read the subject line of each one.
How do you avoid going directly to the spam folder each time?
Establish Your Relationships: If it seems like I mention this every post it’s because I do but, there is a real point to be made here. If you’ve established your relationship with who you’re pitching, then it eliminates the possibility of pitching them the right way. You know what this contact’s specific topic is and an extra bonus, they might actually open your email! Here is my relationship post here.
Do your research: Read or watch as much as you can find about your potential contact’s work. Make sure it’s recent, in case they’ve switched assignments. Try to find connections between what they’ve done in the past and what you’re trying to pitch right now.
Look at your pitch from the outside: One conflict I always come across when talking to clients is the argument over whether a topic is newsworthy. Are you offering real value to your contact and their audience or is it a puff piece? We’re all passionate about what we do but not every movement of your operation is going to get picked up by the media.
Taking these extra steps will make your Publicity efforts much more effective and it will show. It will also spare your contacts the headache of looking through off-topic pitches and that will really make them happy!
It’s going to happen. When it does it’s unpleasant, but it’s inevitable. It’s happen to me and my client plenty of times and it’s just part of the game.
You’ve been booked to give your perspective on an issue or to showcase whatever it is to the media’s audience. You’ve thought out what you’re going to say and how you’re going to present it. Maybe, you’ve shuffled things around your day to accommodate the journalist to make things easier for them. You get in your car and drive down to the station or maybe it’s a print interview that they’ll need a photo for and you’re meeting them in person.
You arrive at your destination, your contact meets you in the lobby and horrible news. There’s been breaking news or the circumstances regarding the story your involved in have changed.
They won’t be needing you. They’re really sorry and promise to call you again.
You do enough appearances, it WILL happen. So what do you do?
Be Cool!: You’ve been inconvenienced but seldom is it the Contact’s fault. You can’t control the world around and blowing a gasket and being a Diva is a sure way to hurt your relationship with your contact and not get invited back.
Let them know your open to rescheduling: There is a constant need for content and if you’re there for an “Evergreen” topic with not stiff timetable than there is a chance you can come back and do the interview another time.
If you’re quote didn’t make it into the final article, let it go: Interviews for print and web publications are tricky because you don’t know what’s going to get used, and in what context your words will presented. There is a chance the writer might use any of your contributions. It happens. Don’t call the writer back asking what happened. Let it go and revisit number 1 if you must.
Announce on Social Media Late: Don’t Tweet or Facbook your audience 3 days before your appearance. A few hours is plenty. If you get canceled, your audience doesn’t have to know and if you’ve already told everyone and you get bumped follow up with a short explanation and thank everyone for reading your post.
Dealing with a canceled appearance is part of the Publicity game. When clients thank me for getting them booked I always say “Thank me after the interview airs” or “after the article is printed”. These things happen and it’s always best to be cautiously optimistic and prepared.
*Frank! Forget getting canceled, I need help getting booked! Can you help me?*
There are professionals, all over the country and right here in Orlando that do a terrific job promoting themselves and managing their reputations. They work hard elevating their credentials, promoting their work, and establishing relationships.
They’re so good, they don’t need me. The publicity opportunities come to them!
How did they do it? How did these experts figure out the Publicity puzzle and get the phone ringing.
I’ll tell you.
They’re Easy to Find and Easily Accessible: This is done through good SEO, and networking, and previous efforts to gain publicity. If the media can’t find you, they’re going to find one of your colleagues and they’re going to get your Pub. Much like competing for business, you’re also competing for Publicity.
They started local and grew: You don’t have to start local and the internet makes it easy to get Opps from anywhere but the majority of your first few media hits will come at the local level with the local media and these are often the most rewarding. They’ll also be happy to refer you as a source with the colleagues.
A Diversified Publicity Profile: I’m talking about a clipbook with some of everything. A blog similar to this one, some Youtube hits of TV and Speaking appearances, a podcast from a radio segment, some links to articles with some strong quotes. This diversification alerts media on all platforms that you’re interested
Remember everyone you meet is a potential contact: Media Professionals turnover like any other job. They get promoted, their duties change, they relocate to other cities. It’s important to remember that just because there is turnover doesn’t mean that those contacts disappear, they’re actually growing and if you’re a good source in Orlando, you can be a good source anywhere. Those relocated contacts will call for your expertise in different cities and can actually introduce you to a brand new audience!
All of this does of course take time but if you keep at it, you’ll get the Publicity to come to you and join that special group of renowned talent that’s always got another media hit lined up!
*THAT SOUNDS GREAT FRANK BUT I NEED SOME HELP GETTING STARTED*