Public Relations: Use Your Networks to Build Buzz | Peter Shankman | Skillshare

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Public Relations: Use Your Networks to Build Buzz

teacher avatar Peter Shankman, angel investor, marketer, HARO Founder

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Defining Your Networks


    • 3.

      Networks, Best Practices


    • 4.

      Public Relations


    • 5.

      Audience Interaction


    • 6.

      Social Media & Reporters


    • 7.

      Media, Trends and Outlets


    • 8.

      Missed Opportunities


    • 9.

      News Jacking


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About This Class

Public Relations for your business isn't always easy, but it is a crucial part of any successful business. When you do it right, it can be a cheap and effective way to spread awareness of your business, create loyal and satisfied customers, and drive sales. 

In this class, entrepreneur and writer Peter Shankman teaches you everything you need to create a PR plan for you and your business that works! 

What You'll Learn

  • Networks. How to craft the best message for the right channels.
  • PR and Audience Interaction. Where your potential customers live, online and offline. And how to use humor and action to amplify your reach.
  • Media. The best media outlets for your business. How to identify the best reporters for your story, and how to get them to write about you and your business.
  • News Jacking. How to leverage current events to spread awareness about your business.

What You'll Make

By the end of this class, you'll be able to craft a PR and media strategy for your business that  will be able to tie directly to increased sales. Plus, you'll learn the crucial things that 99% of businesses don't do, which will put your marketing strategy ahead of the curve.

This class is for anyone looking to grow their brand and business in cheap and effective ways. PR is more than tweets, follows, and blogging; learn how to best leverage all the outlets that are available to you to grow your business. 

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Peter Shankman

angel investor, marketer, HARO Founder


Author, entrepreneur, speaker and worldwide connector, Peter is recognized worldwide for radically new ways of thinking about Customer Service, Social Media, PR, marketing and advertising.

Currently a principal at the consultancy Shankman|Honig, Peter is best known for founding Help a Reporter Out and The Geek Factory.

Peter is a frequent keynote speaker and presenter at conferences worldwide, and the author of three books, including bestseller Nice Companies Finish First: Why Cutthroat Management is Over and Collaboration is in. Learn more about Peter at

See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Trailer: Hi, guys, welcome. My name is Peter Shankman and you are sitting in the beginning of a class called Using Your Networks to Build Your Buzz. Over the course of this class, you're going to learn three things. You're going to learn how to use your networks to create buzz. Where your network is, what people want to know, what they want to hear, different types of networks you have. You're going to learn what your sales network is, what your audience is, where they come from, how to gain information that they're going to give you to market to them the best way possible in a way they don't find creepy, in a way they actually want to receive. You're going to learn how to approach the media. You're going to learn how what media covers, what stories, how to find them, how to reach out to them, how to talk to the them, how not to annoy them, and how to get the media to cover your stories, and what happens if they missed your stories, how to get them to cover you again. You're going to learn how to become reporters best friend or a reporter's allies. They'll come to you when they have a story they need to fill. We're also going to devote some time the concept of newsjacking. Newsjacking is essentially when a great story comes out there, how can you tie your brand into that story? Stick around and it'll be fine. 2. Defining Your Networks: So, let's talk about defining your networks. What are your networks? Well, your networks are anywhere that you, your friends, your colleagues, your clients, your customers, anywhere they hang out. Anywhere you're all together, anywhere you communicate with each other, those are your networks. So, do not not just limit it to what you usually think of as Facebook, or Twitter, or LinkedIn, your networks are anywhere. Your networks could be the friends that you connect with every Thursday night for bowling. Your networks could be Facebook, they could be online, they could be offline. First thing you have to do is really understand where your networks are. The best way to do that, is talk to your customers. Find out where they hang out. If you're spending all your money on Twitter advertisements, and then your customers aren't on Twitter, that's a problem. So, you want to find out where your customers are, and the best way to do that, talk to them. Ask them questions. Don't send out surveys, actually talk to them. "Hey, where do you spend most your time online?" "Hey, what are you using most?" You'd be surprised at some of the numbers you'd find. Like the fastest growing segment of Skype is grandparents. For a while, the fast growing segment Facebook was moms. So, you want to really talk to your users, find out where they are, talk to your customers. Teach your employees to talk to your customers, they are point of sale. "Hey, thanks so much for shopping with us. Just curious, where do you spend most your time online?" You're not prying for personal information, you're asking them for stuff that can help them, and help you communicate with them. As an added bonus, when they feel that you're taking an interest in them, they're much more likely to give you true information, and to return as customers. That's key. What's the best use of each network? Well, you got to ask yourself, what do your customers doing online? Do you have a company that's very highly graphical? Good friend of mine has a bakery and every cake she makes, every cookie she produces is literally a work of art. So, she uses Pinterest, because Pinterest is really all about photos. Twitter's all about short bursts, perhaps links to websites and articles. Facebook is about everything else. Facebook can be pictures, Facebook can be videos. Linkedin is geared more towards professional. So, if you're running a professional company, maybe you want to be more on Linkedin. Again, you want to talk to your audience, find out where they are and ask yourself, what are they doing online? Where are they spending most of their time? Most importantly, what does my business do that fits on what network? So, the best thing to do is spend some time on your networks, and really look at them. See what companies are doing online. There companies like yours, companies that could be your competitors. See what they're doing online and see what they're looking at. Specifically, where are they going? What are they posting? What's getting the most interaction? Are companies posting things that no one cares about? Are companies posting things that get thousands of retweets, or thousands of pickups or shares? Ask yourself that, and then emulate that. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right? Ask yourself, where your customers are? What they are doing that generates the most interaction? Remember, it's not about follower numbers, likes, or fans, it's about interaction. How can you interact with the company to do the best work with your fans, with your customers, with your clients. How can you interact best with them so that you can generate that, and turn that into sales. A lot of times as you work with your audience, you start to notice patterns. You'll start to see that your audience is primarily on one channel, or primarily on another channel. This is easy to find out simply by looking around, seeing where they are, and asking where they are. But more importantly, this is critical information. If you know where your audience is, you can target them directly. If your audience is on one channel and you're not, then you're missing out. If they're somewhere else and you're advertising in another space, that's a waste of money. So, you really want to focus on where your audience is, and once you know that, engage them, ask them questions. There's a woman who runs a style site. Her name is Bridgette Reyes, and every morning she starts off her Facebook posting with the question, what's your favorite piece of clothing today? What's the one piece of clothing you can't live without in this rainstorm? What are you wearing today because it's warmer out? She gets tons of interaction. That let's your frame the rest of her interactions for the day, and also gives her ideas as to how she can publish content that will be picked up by the media, that will be picked up by her networks, or be shared. Remember, we like information that reminds us of us. We're very self-centric society. So, the more information you can give out that customers like, and can relate to, the better chance you have of them sharing your content, and giving it to other people. Keep in mind we love to be finders. We're a society that loves to find things, and share them. Ninety percent of Facebook is built on us finding stuff that we think is funny, or important, or informational, and sharing that with our audiences. If you can create content that your audience thinks is funny, informational, or useful, they will share it and that's the key to starting to get them to do your PR for you. 3. Networks, Best Practices: Let's talk for a second about what your favorite networks are and why they're best used. Facebook as we know, is the granddaddy of all. Facebook is used for any kind of content that you find interesting that you want to share. But keep in mind something, as great as it is to share content, it's much much better to get engagement. So, when you're sharing content, try to ask a question with it. Look at this great article, what do you think about it? The easiest way to get people to respond is simply asking, what do you think? People love to share their opinions. Twitter, much more short form, you can get a quick post. Wow can't believe this article about mittens. Check it out. Send it your network. Let them tweet it for you. You can also ask questions on Twitter. Did anyone see this article on mittens? I think they're totally wrong, what are your thoughts? Again, what are your thoughts? Great way to communicate. Instagram is mostly photos. What fun photos can you share on Instagram. Instagram is also more timely. Look at where I am, look at what I'm doing, look at what we have. These are the articles we have, these are the things we're showing, these are the pictures we have. Get people to really engage with those. Do you like this cake? We just made it, what do you think? Let them comment. Tumblr. Tumblr is all the above. The nice thing about Tumblr is it's a quick read however, your audience might not be there. Before you get on the Tumblr you really want to confirm that your audience is there. It's a great way to post information. It's a great way to post those inspirational quotes where you have the guy running through the mountains, with the fog behind him and something stupid layered over his head. Be careful about that. Make sure your audience is on Tumblr when you start to use it. It's great site but it's very niche, you want to make sure that your audience is there. Pinterest. Pinterest is a great way to show content if it's photogenic. So, if you're making cakes, if you have items that are great to be photographed, cars, cakes, cookies, lots of things that start with C. Pictures of anything good that you can take, make sure you have the ability to take good photos before you go on Pinterest. There's nothing worse on Pinterest than a great item, poorly photographed. Be very aware of it. Finally mobile. Keep in mind that the majority of the audience is probably on mobile. Be very aware of how you reach them whether it's via email, whether it's online. You want to give a link to mobile friendly sites. You want to make sure your photos aren't too big so people can download them. You want to make sure they're viewable. Be very careful with your email. You don't want to send them emails that are very photo heavy or dark graphical heavy because they probably are going to be read on a mobile device. Just keep in mind, how do you like to read your stuff? If the answer is mobile, chances are your audience is the same way. So make sure you're aware of their preferences, and again, you can find those preferences simply by asking them. It's the first rule of any level of content, where to put it, ask your audience how they like to get it. When you look at something like Twitter, Twitter is a great way to track what people are doing in real-time and respond accordingly. We all know this. There is a restaurant in Seattle for instance. What this restaurant does is, it tracks the word landed and the term SCEA which is short for SeaTac Airport in Seattle. When it finds the two of those, it sees if the person has ever been to their restaurant before. If it has or if it hasn't, they send out a very interesting tweet that says, "Hey, XYZ, noticed you just landed in Seattle. Come to our restaurant, first drink is on us." Or if the person has been there before, "Hey, welcome back to Seattle. Come hang out at our restaurant tonight, first appetizer is free." They've gotten tremendous business, they've seen growth. What can you do to reach that same audience? It takes five seconds out of your day. How can you do that? Instagram is great for really showcasing inspirational stories. So, let's say you make fitness clothing. Well, put some of your models in fitness clothing, take great pictures of them doing great things and post those photos on Instagram. There are some fitness models out there with hundreds of thousands of followers. Reach out to them, maybe you can partner with them, maybe you can exchange some of your free clothing for some of their photos. It's a great way to grow your brand, show the world what you're doing. 4. Public Relations: There's good PR and there's bad PR. Just like real life. What's good PR? The best PR you can get is when someone else talks about how awesome you are. Bad PR is when you have to do it yourself. Imagine you're at a bar and you see a guy across the room and he comes up to you and goes, "You don't know me, but I'm awesome. I'm the greatest thing, you should finish your drink right now and come home with me. " Well, you're probably gonna throw your drink in that guy's face. I've done a lot of homework, I had once been that guy, that's exactly what's going to happen. So, you're going to throw your drink in the guy's face and go back to talking to your friend. But here's good PR. If you're sitting there with your friend, and your friend says, "Oh my god, see that guy over there? I know him, I know somebody used to date him, he's amazing, he's single, he's rich, he drives a Porsche, he is a nice catch, you should go talk to him. I have a feeling you guys will get along really well. I'm going to introduce you." That's good PR. Someone you trust has given you value information that you want to take and use to your advantage. How can you create good PR for your brands just like that? Well, it starts with customer service. The best PR in the world is when another customer talks about how awesome you are to a first customer. So what can you do to get that? Treat your customers one level above crap. Let's face it, we expect to be treated like crap on a regular basis. We expect the fast-food place to screw up our order, we expect the dry cleaners not to have our clothing ready. If we can treat our customers well, just one level above crap. So, the point where it's good, they will tell friends. Go out of your way and do something special for a customer. They will share that with the world. They will go out of their way to share that with the world. That is the best PR out there because that's not you saying how awesome you are, that's them saying how awesome you are. When a customer tells the world how awesome you are, people are 10 times more likely to believe it. So let's face it, who you believe me? Shouting, "Hey, I'm awesome", or someone else shouting, "Hey guys, you trust me? Trust me on this, he is awesome." That's what you want. That's the best PR. Touching on bad PR for a second, bad PR is anything you really sort of have to do yourself. Bad PR sounds desperate. Bad PR sounds like people saying, "Hey, you should really talk to me, I'm the best thing in the world." Bad PR is the bar at 3:00 AM, when you're desperately looking to take someone home and no one's left. You want to be the one who other people are coming up to, and again that comes down to customer service. Bad PR is forced, bad PR is you telling people how awesome you are. Good PR is other people telling you how awesome you are. If you can treat your customers one level above crap, that point where they're good, and they start talking about you. That will also help doll any pain you might get when you do have a bad experience. So, when you're in that social network and people are saying how great you are, respond, say thank you so much, stay humble, we really appreciate it, next time you come into the store, find us we'll give you a free whatever. You want customers to love you, because at some point you're going to screw up. Let's face it, that's not an if, that's a when. You're going to screw up at some point, and when you do, you want to know that you have that loyal customer base that you've been grooming for months if not years, who will come to your support, who will say, you know what, everyone's screws up, you are not so bad. The easiest way to do that, is to create great customer service with the current customers you have so they believe that when you do screw up, it was a one time thing, you're sorry and it won't happen again. The worst thing in the world is to screw up and every customer says, "Yeah, we knew they sucked." You don't want to be that brand, focus on great customer service and your PR will be done for you. You can help grow that engagement. We're going to talk about that next. 5. Audience Interaction: So, if a tree falls in the forest, it probably does make a sound, but then again, there's no one there. If you post a message online, and no one interacts with it, what's the point of the message? If you look at all the Facebook fan sites out there, all the Facebook Fan Pages, see people posting and posting and posting, 99.9 percent of them have absolutely no interaction. Why? Because they're not posting stuff that people care about. They're posting stuff so they can hear themselves talk. That's the worst thing you can do in a social sphere. You never want to post stuff to hear yourself talk, you want to post stuff that other people want to get involved in, that they find interesting, they want to share. So, how do you do that? Well, first of all, focus on humor, people love to be amused. What can you say that's funny? What can you say that people like to hear? What can you say that people want to share? I saw something just the other day. It was a great, I belong to an ADHD group because I've had ADHD for years, and it was the classic, what do we want? A cure for ADHD. When do we want it? Squirrel. Posted that online and 400 people shared that within five minutes. It's a very, very funny bit. What can you share that makes people laugh, and brings positive attention back to your brand? Look around, there are tons of interesting sites, there are tons of things that have levels of humor that still relate to what you are doing. Bringing humor into your business is one of the best ways to grow your brand and create positive engagement. There's a cemetery in Fort Lauderdale, Florida who has a Twitter account, and not only do they post really interesting information but the people who have pass on who are buried there, but they also post jokes, that are kind of funny, ghost jokes. On Halloween, they have a great time, and people love to read them. It makes them think positively of their lost loved ones, they love sharing. So, what can you do to get people in a good mood? Let's face it. If a cemetery can make you laugh, there's no reason why your business can't make your customers laugh as well. Laughing and humor leads to engagement, almost every single time. What's your call to action? When you're posting something online, what are you asking your customers to do? Well, first off, you're asking them to listen to you. You're asking them to take time out of their day, which was probably busy to focus on what you posted. Considering the average attention span is anywhere between 2.7 seconds to four seconds. That's a lot you're asking. We get hit with requests for information18,000 times a day. With requests for our attention, 18,000 times a day, why should we give it to your business? Well, what are you posting there? You're asking for them to do something. You're asking them to look at you, so you better be interesting. You're asking them to share it or comment on it. So, it better be vibrant, it better be funny, it better have value. What can you offer that has a value to your customers? The call to action could be anything. It could be, "Share this." It could be, "Come into our store and buy something." Whatever it is, there has to be a call to action, because they just look at it and go away, that's done nothing for your brand. You want your customers to interact with your brand at every step possible because interaction leads to sales. Let's face it. You could be doing all this stuff, if you're not generating revenue with what you're building, you're wasting your time. So, what is your call to action? What is your interaction? The best way to do that, give them something to share, give them something to talk about, give them something they find funny, give them a way to comment: what do you think about this? Is a great way. There are restaurants all over Arizona right now talking about the proposed legislation that would allow people to ban anyone they wanted from their stores, and restaurants are saying, "Hey, your money is good here, come in anytime you want." What do you think about that, and they're generally, a lot of content online, and some of the best restaurants out there are posting photos of signs that say, "Anyone here is welcome except Arizona legislators." They're getting a tremendous amount of positive pushback from that. What can you do to help promote and grow your business by offering people the ability to share, or offering customers a call to action that you can use? They say the hardest thing for a comedian ever master is timing. So, let's talk about timing for a second. The problem with timing is that, if you post something at the wrong time, no one sees it. If you post something at the right time, everyone sees it, and it goes away to quickly. How do you make sure that your timing is on? Again, follow the trends of where your audience is. Focus on when you're getting the best results. There are tons of free tools out there to use there. Facebook offers Analytics, Google offers Analytics, hell, even Cloud offers analytics. Find out when the best time to post your information is, and try different things. You might think that 9:00 am in the East Coast is a great time to push your information, but what about the West Coast? That's only 6.00 am there. That's 9:00 pm in Asia. Where is your audience? Think globally, not locally. Unless you have an audience that only counters three streets in Lower Manhattan, you really want to focus on a global market. Where is your audience? And what are they doing? If your audience is global, if you're selling online, find the best times to post, by asking people, by saying, "hey, when are you most using this? " By looking at when your customers are most posting online and when they're most getting involved with you. Ask yourself how you can find that information and when you can do that. So, look around, see what your customers are doing and focus on the timing. Timing is key to a successful campaign that people will interact with and use. Are you focusing on the morning, and getting most results then. Keep it going. But start to see if the afternoon might work as well. Focus on your audience, and where they are. This applies to any medium, whether it's Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, where you're getting the most interaction, the most retweets, and the most engagement. Once you find that, alter it a little bit. Do testings so you can see what works better, 10:30 or 11:30? 10:45 or 11:45? The beauty of this is you have tons of content to share, and you could share it anytime you want. You don't have to spend a penny on it. Once you find out what works, then you can put it towards advertising marketing through Google Ad Words or Facebook ads. Whatever it is, that works for your audience. But find out where they are, and the times that they're best online. That's how you want to best engage. 6. Social Media & Reporters: Let's talk about using social media to identify the perfect reporter for your story. Before we even do that, you should know about Help A Reporter Out. If you don't, you're missing out. Help A Reporter Out is a company that I started several years ago. I have since sold it, so I make no money from this, but I offer to you as a benefit. lets you signup, get three emails a day from journalists all over the world looking for experts on everything under the sun. If you can answer the questions they have, you reply directly, you get quoted in the media. It's the easiest way to get free exposure for you and your business in the world and it is entirely free. Signup at, you'll thank me for that. So, let's talk about using social media to get the reporter you want. Well, the beauty of doing this today is that, back in the day, you start to read 30 newspapers today. There was no online, you had to go to the store and buy all the newspapers and buy the magazines and listen to the radio and watch TV, and hope that you could find the reporter that was covering your story. It was not easy. Then you had to send them a letter in the mail with a stamp and say, "Hey, please cover me." That's changed. You can set up alerts on any topic you want through Google, through News, or whatever you want to create different ways to find out what reporters are covering what you are talking about. So, let's say you run a bakery. You can set up alerts on the business side of the bakery. So, you can set up alerts on flour prices or sugar prices or anything on the real estate of bakeries, whatever it is. You can set up alerts on those, you can set up alerts on the consumer side, best cakes, best cookies, best whatever's, taste tests, things like that, all over the city, all over the world. You can set those alerts and as those alerts come in, we will file them and make a note of what reporters covering it. Once you start to see a trend this reporter covers bakeries all over the world with an emphasis on chocolate, you can tailor a pitch specifically to that reporter, where you focus on exactly what they want to hear, its kind like shooting fish in a barrel and it's really easy. Once you know what the reporter wants, you can lace your pitch with those kind of keywords and reel them right on. It's not unethical, you're helping them do their job and you are beating 99.9 percent of the companies who don't bother to do this. It takes a little bit of homework each day, but you can find out which reporter is covering exactly what your business does, and you can email them directly, follow up with them and get a response. The biggest problem with journalists is they get thousands of emails a day from PR people all over the world, if you can target your email to be specific to what they're covering, the more specific the better chance you have of getting your story told by that journalist. Let's understand the different types of media out there. There's print, there's online, there's purely digital, what's the difference? There's radio, there's magazines, there's everything in the world out there. Well, print is the granddaddy of all. Everyone says, "Oh, newspapers are dying." Some of them are, but the big ones New York Times, Wall Street Journal, they're not going away and they do an online component. The biggest difference between the print component and the online component, the print component has a very specific deadline, the online component is 24 hours a day. So, if you have breaking news and you want to give it to someone don't worry about the deadline, call the reporter your interested in and let them break the story online first, then follow it up with a print edition. If it's that big of a story they will do exactly that. Print is also really good for specific columns. The New York Daily News, for instance, has reporters that write specific columns, small business columns, education columns, food columns. Find out what reporter is covering the column that closely fits into what you're doing for a living and make friends with them, you know, send a little package, talk to them about what you're creating, offer them away to see something differently in your industry that they've never seen before. That's a huge benefit and they will become your friend. Your goal to help any reporter is just that, to help them. If you can help make a reporter's job easier, they will love you. Remember, reporters are doing 10 times more with 10 times less. Nowadays, they have to write the story, they have to edit it, they have to fact check it. Back in the 50s, they had five different reporters who would do the job for you. In fact, they would have fact-checkers, copy editors, they're doing all this on their own now and they need a lot more help. So, the more information you can give the reporter, the better it is. The more you can give them about the state of your industry, about trends, the more you can help them write their story, the better chance you have of your story being reported and that's really what you're looking for. So, print is key to that. Online is entirely different beast altogether. There are thousands upon thousands of websites that cover everything you could ever conceivably do in your business and will do so for the next million years. What matters the most to you, is that the amount of coverage? Is it the biggest audience? Or is it a niche audience? Keep in mind, the huge websites with huge audiences aren't necessarily the audiences you want. Just because TMZ gets five million people reading their magazine or reading their online website, doesn't necessarily mean those five million people would end up shopping at your store. But if you want to model airplane story, and there's a site out there devoted exclusively to model airplane enthusiasts, you've a much better shot of getting some sales from that story. So, you want to focus in terms of where your audience is, what they're doing, and what they're reading. Ask them again, focus on the audience find out where online they're reading and how to reach out to them. Once you've found out where they're reading online, find the editors of those websites instead of an email, "Hey, I was doing some homework and noticed that a lot of my customers love your website. Just to introduce myself, here's what my business does if I can ever be of help to you or a source feel free to reach out." Remember, help is not self-promotion, help is beneficial. If you can help the reporter, help the editor, help the website owner get more content, that's a great way to do it. Additionally, one of the nice things about being an online site is that a lot of online sites are always hunting for good content. If you have half a brain in your head and you know how to write, why not write a couple of articles for them and ask to submit them. They'll enjoy the content, you as long as it's not too salesy, they'll print it and you can track that right back to your website for sales. So, think about that as well, think about providing content to a smaller site that's entirely focused on your industry. Purely digital is fun. Purely digital is really just anything that's online exclusive, only online, that could be a website, that could be something as simple as someone who has a popular Tumblr blog. Whatever it is, purely digital is looking for content 24 hours a day. If you can offer them content when they need it, they will use your content. The best way to work with purely digital editors or reporters is to understand their deadline is now and now and now. Their deadline is 24 hours a day, what can you give them, when they need it as they need it. Your best bet, reach out to them and say, "Hey, when you're on deadline and have content to fill, I'm a source. Give me a call, I'll gladly answer any question I can anytime, feel free." What you're doing there is you're providing them an outlet and you're giving them a little bit of a break you're saying, "Hey, I know that you're on deadline a lot and I know that sometimes it's really hard to fill content, I'll make sure you have some." Then, make sure you do. Nothing is worse than giving reporter your phone and having him call and then you have nothing to offer him. Always have something to offer him, and if you can give the purely digital editors information that they need when they need it, they will come back to you and as they move on to different sites and different companies, they will keep you in their rolodex. Any of the Gopher Properties is great examples of this, they are looking for content 24 hours a day because their editors get paid by the clicks that they generate. So, the more content you can create, the more info you can give them, the better shot you have getting your stuff in the press. So, let's say you have a cupcake shop and you want to give something to digital reporter. Well, maybe you do a photo shoot, maybe you do an amazingly gooey, sticky, wonderful, sugary sweet photo shoot of the top 20 cupcakes you've had in the past week, offer them all to the reporter of purely digital site as a package and say, "Hey, I thought you might want this as a Friday treat to your readers or whatever you want to call it, maybe they'll enjoy this." Great exposure for you, it makes it a lot easier for them, that's a whole article editors have right now, everyone wins. You could do the same thing for anything, a shoe company, digital, online, print, anything is a great way to showcase what you have, giving it to the reporter and saying, "Hey, I've done you a favor." Reporters like favors. 7. Media, Trends and Outlets: Let's talk for a second about what's media and what's not media. There's so much stuff out there that you just might think that everything you see is good media. It's not necessarily the case. You ever see those websites that you scroll down to the bottom of an article and there's this "News from our partners," and it's like "There's one weird trick that cuts belly fat." You go and it's an Ad, they want you to pay 50 bucks for the acai berry or whatever it is, that's not media. That's advertising, and it's horrible, and it's gross, and it makes you feel terrible, and it'll give you chickenpox. Don't use it. The best news, that's actual real news, is when you have a story to tell and someone's willing to report it. That's real media. Fake media, bought media, purchased media, are advertisements. No one believes those. You want to focus on real media. Focus on journalists, focus on websites that have real content, that have real information, that aren't being paid, that have a good ethical policy that they post clearly, that's real content. Focus on those journalists, don't focus on journalists that say, "Yes, just give us $10,000 and we'll write your article." That's not real journalism. Real journalism is when they have an interest in your story because you've crafted a phenomenal story and that's what you want to tell. That's real journalism and that's real media. Stay away from the fake media or any one who asks you to pay for it, that's not real and that won't get you any buys. In terms of non-media, let's talk for a second about Google Advertisements, Facebook advertisements. As you're building your site and as you're building your business and you're going online, you're expanding. There might come a time where it's worth paying for SEO or it's worth paying for advertisements. Where it's worthy even paying for someone else to ghost write an article that could be placed somewhere. Be very careful when you do it though, make sure you're not wasting your money. The beauty of public relations and the beauty of marketing is that majority but can be done for free and it doesn't cost a lot and can get you tremendous results if you know what you're doing. So be very careful about who you give money to. There are times when it might be very beneficial to buy an Ad. If you're doing a very time-specific stunt or time-specific event or something like that where you can make a lot of money selling something in a short amount of time, sure it might be worth it to make it to buy an Ad or take out an article. But be very careful about who you're paying and what you're doing. A lot of times you'll put out a lot of money and nothing will come back from it and that's press that you could've used on your own for free to get a much better return, so just be aware of that. So here's the question, where does your story fit? What kind of story is it and who would cover it? If you have a story all about how your little company is all of a sudden making millions of dollars, that's a business story. Who do you want to focus on? Business press. If you have a great new recipe for a great new donut or a great new thing [inaudible] , it's probably a consumer story. Understand the differences between consumer, trade, and business. It can save you a lot of hassle along and a lot of wasted time too. If you have a consumer story, you want to go after traditional consumer press, that could be a regular newspaper in the lifestyle section something like that. Make sure you're crafting your story so it reads for a consumer. Consumers don't necessarily care about the numbers, they just want to know where they can buy the product, why it's a cool product and what it does. Business press, all about the numbers. Business press wants to know how much it costs you to make it, how much you sold it for, what the profit margin was, what the other margins were, and how are you going to do tomorrow. If you're crafting a business story, make sure the business story has all the numbers possible, and more importantly, why you're doing better than your competitors, which brings you to trade media. If you're targeting media in your specific industry, they want to know about trends. So what are you doing, why are you doing differently, and why is that a trend starting within your industry? If you can go to a trade reporter and say, "Hey we're doing this and we're seeing three other companies do this too but we're doing it best," well that's a trend story, and you can use that trend story to get a great result for your media exposure. So, focus on the kind of media you want to get and go after it specifically. Consumer media is typical, "Hey, this is something fun that we're doing and selling. You can buy it here. You might like it. Your dog will love it." Business press, "We're doing this. It's netting us this much money. We're making a huge profit and we're going to go public." Trade press, "We're doing this. Three other companies are doing this. That's a trend story. We want to be talked about." That's your different types of media. So where does your story fit? If your story has lots of interesting visuals and lots of people that can be interviewed and lots of fun things like clowns or roller-coasters or something that people can really show, that's a video story. That's TV, and that's fun to print it. If you're just doing a product that only exists online that you can't really show, that might not be TV. How many reporters really want to focus on just a screen, right? It's one thing if it's breaking news, but to try to get a feature story about just a product online, not going to be that easy, but it might work for an online magazine. Perhaps online who can link to you and talk about why it's great and show screenshots, that might be a better example. Print, could be anything with photos, anything that you want to follow up with pictures, and text, and talking about. You can go after print for regular consumer articles. You can go after print for business articles. Like we said earlier, different newspapers have different sections; Entertainment, lifestyle, health, fitness, travel. New York Times has the travel section every week and that's one of the best reporting in the world. Do you have a resort that you want featured? Figure out a way to get into the travel section of The New York Times. Where can you focus on getting your audience to pay attention to you? Focus on the right media outlet and you'll have much more success when you're pitching that story. A reporter who covers travel is much more interested in great photos and great video of your wonderful resort, or ski chalets, or whatever it is, then he is knowing about the numbers and a hard copy spreadsheet. So make sure you're giving the reporter the assets they need to cover the story from their perspective for the media outlet they have. If you have the kind of business that lends itself to great video, say a skydiving operation or a trapeze school, invest in some really good quality video equipment and post that stuff in a site that hosts it in full HD like com. Then let the reporters know, "Hey, guys, if you want background, if you want images, if you want video, we have it." Nothing makes a reporter happier than being able to show a video on their site where they get the Ad traffic for it. You get the exposure, they get the traffic, everyone wins. 8. Missed Opportunities: One of the worst things to happen is when you wake up and you open the newspaper, you open up a website and there's a story about your industry featuring every single one of your competitors and you're not in it. It's happened to me, it's happened to everyone, you got to set it up and you have to figure out what to do. The one thing you don't want to do is call or email the reporter angry. First thing I advise, when you see that article, take an hour off, go for a swim, go for a run, get your endorphins out of your system. As you come back, you may be miserable but you're not going to be angry, and nothing good ever comes out of emailing reporter or anyone, for that matter, when you're angry. Send a note to the reporter, "Hey, saw your story on XYZ. Just want to let you know, we do that same thing, we're one of the leaders in the industry. Happy to talk the next time you're doing a piece on. Or if you just need background information, here's everything we do, here's how you can reach me. Thanks again. Hope to hear from you some point in the future." You missed the story, accept it, move on, you're not going to get him to write a correction. They're are not going to say, "Oh, we forgot to mention this company." That just doesn't happen. Give the reporter information about who you are, make sure they know who you are, and then focus on moving on. They'll get back in touch with you the next time they do the story. You have to chalk it up to the fact that you missed this one. What you can do, though, is target every other reporter in the industry and say, "Hey, here's what I have to offer, here's the trends that's going on in my industry, here's the new stuff we're doing, happy to give you anything you want exclusively, just reach out." When you miss a story opportunity, the one thing it does do is it allows you to redouble your efforts and really focus harder on getting that press. You missed one, time to get back in the game and go for the others. Remember, for every one reporter that didn't write about you, there's 50 out there who want to write about you. Make sure you find them. 9. News Jacking: So let's talk about news jacking. What is news jacking? It's a lot less scary than it sounds. The concept of news jacking is very simple. You find the story out there that your business somehow relates to and you tie it in. It's really that easy. It's a lot of stuff that goes into doing it but it's actually incredibly simple concept. One of my favorite examples of news jacking happened when a couple of years ago when Lindsay Lohan was accused of stealing some jewelry. A jewelry store in Manhattan immediately contacted the press and announced they were having a brand new sale called the Lindsay Lohan five-finger discount. If you showed up at the store before her trial and bought any jewelry, you would get anywhere from five to 50 percent off that piece of jewelry based on number of fingers that you are holding. So, if you were holding the jewelry with two fingers, you'd get 20 percent off, five fingers, 50 percent off. People came in from all over the place to take advantage of the Lindsay Lohan five-finger discount. They got tremendous exposure. They sold a ton of jewelry. So, news jacking in a nutshell is finding a way to merge your story with current or breaking news. It's a tremendous opportunity if you do it right. If you do it wrong, it makes you look really stupid. So, we're going to talk about the best ways to news jack correctly. So, let's talk about what news jacking is. New jacking, as we said, is the ability to take a story that's currently breaking in the press and attach your spin to it. There's good news jacking and there's bad news jacking. So, what's good news jacking? Great news jacking is when you take a news story out there, add something that brings value to it and helps it promote. Several years ago, Taco Bell floated a one mile wide target in the ocean, I believe it was the Indian Ocean, and they said if the mirror space station, which is currently crashed in the ground, hits any part of this target, Taco Bell will give a free taco to every person in America. It got so much coverage and so much exposure. Of course, didn't come anywhere close to hitting the target. But everyone remembered Taco Bell for doing that. What did Taco Bell do? They found an interesting story that everyone was focusing on, specifically the falling of the mirror space station back to Earth, and they saw a way to take advantage of it. They news jacked that story and they got great exposure out of it. That's an example of good news jacking. It makes people smile. It makes people laugh. It has a potential tangible payoff. This past Superbowl, there was a jeweler who said if the first play is a safety, everyone gets a free whatever. He had insurance for it, but sure enough, the first play was a safety. Everyone got a fringe. Everyone got a free ring or something like that. So, you really want to focus on what's going on in the world and how can you tie your business into it, and that's positive news jacking. Let's talk about negative news jacking for a second. This is stuff you never want to do. Any story that involves death, any story that involves terrorism, any story that involves something that people would turn negatively to should not be news jacked. Back in 2001 after 9/11, there was a soup company that to get an ad or wrote article or an editorial the next day it's what the world really needs now is the good comfort of soup. Terrible, terrible, terrible idea. You don't want to do that. If it is a bad story or a story that makes people cringe or hurts them, don't get involved. As a matter of fact, suspend your marketing based on the severity of that story. The only exception is when it's something stupid that happens to a celebrity. For whatever reason, we love doing that. Lindsay Lohan is a great example. Anything that ever happened to Anthony Weiner is fair game to news jack because that's just fine. We love news jacking stories that are amusing. We love news jacking stories that make people laugh. I remember there was a strip club when Eliot Spitzer got busted for being involved with prostitutes. There was a strip club that had the Eliot Spitzer special night. You get a free dinner. I think there was a free dinner and a couple of lap dances and a claim of plausible deniability. So, there's a lot of stuff out there you can do that makes it a lot of fun. But again, know your audience know your target and stay away from stories that are actually negative. Some are finding the tie-in. What's the tie-in for your story? It depends on what your business does. If your business is involved with food, obviously look for stories that are breaking about food. When, I think it was McDonald's or Burger King, I think when McDonald's was being accused of the pink slime, which was the stuff that made chicken nuggets, there was this company out there that had all natural free range organic chicken and they compared the pink slime to the organic chicken. They made a very very funny infographic that said something like "Pink slime, not very edible. Chicken, friendly.", and it was back and forth and back and forth, and that got a ton pick up. People were really interested in that. Infographics are a great way to promote your brand and a great way to tie-in with news jacking if you can find the appropriate tie-in. What does your business do that either does something better than the news that just happened, does something different than the news just happened or has that potential tie-in? Again, going back to the Lindsay Lohan thing, this was perfect. She was a celebrity who got busted. We love making fun of that. She got busted with jewelry, we love making fun of that. So, the jewelry store moved quickly to get the right point. Keep in mind also the speed at which you do this is imperative. You need to be able to move immediately to get this done. Right now in Arizona, as most people are fighting the law that allows businesses to discriminate, people are news jacking the heck out of that and posting signs all around on Facebook saying, "We allow anyone to eat here except legislators from Arizona." So, they're really taking a hard look and using that to their advantage. There is a animal humane society out there or an animal rights group that said, "We don't care whether you are gay, straight, black, or white, or any color, or any preference. Cats will love you." They're showing pictures of the cats hugging people, and it's a great way to get people to adopt the cats and a great way to promote their adoption facility. So, what can you do to make people smile that make you go, "Ah!", and to really turn in? Your goal at the end of the day is you want to get something retweeted by the most powerful voices out there. The best way to do that from a news jack story is create something that people really like that has that tie-in. Added bonus is, once people really enjoy that tie-in and they like it, if it's a good enough story, the actual mainstream media will start commenting on as well, again, getting you even more exposure. What can you do to tie it in? How can you benefit your story to theirs and turn it to a bigger story? What's the obvious tie-in for a news jacking story? Well, if they're talking about something specific, jewelry for instance, new on the jewelry store, that's pretty much a given. But a lot of times don't necessarily have to be that. For instance, when the miners were rescued from the mine a couple of years ago, and I think it was an Chile, the New York City marathon reached out and offered any of the miners, because they were saying they read a story that said miners were staying in shape by running from one side of the mine the other while they were trapped there. New York City Marathon reached out and offered every single miner a free entry in the New York City Marathon. One of them actually took them up on it. They came to New York and they ran the marathon. They got tons of exposure. The New York City Marathon got tons of exposure. It cost them almost nothing to do, just the cost of a race entry. So, where's the target? Read deeper into the news stories. As you see these stories start to unfold, read deeper into them. What are people doing behind the scenes? What's really making the story worthy of news? Sometimes the headline is not the part you want a new jack but rather a small little paragraph on page four. So, what can you find, one little aspect of that story that resonates with you and says "Hey, that's what we do. " or "Hey, this works for us."? For New York roadrunners, it was the fact the guys were running back and forth to stay in shape. For others, it can be something as if it's a story about a senator who's retiring or who's stepping down or whatever and he's always had a cup of coffee on his desk. Whenever he's been photographed, he's got a cup of coffee on his desk. Send them a couple of pounds of coffee. Happy retirement. What can you do to news jack that story to your advantage? Look for the little details. The little details are usually the things that create the best news jack stories. One of the key things that's the hardest to do in news jacking is making the connection between your story and the actual media story that's currently breaking. Best way to do that is to understand what journalists are covering the story and can you make the connection between the journalists you know and who trust you to those journalists? It's kind of like the Kevin Bacon game. Kevin Bacon was in this with this actor that led to this actress that led to this movie. So, what can you do to focus on the reporters you do know? If you have a good idea for a news jacking story, reach out to the reporters you do know and say, "Hey, I had this idea. I know the story is in you're breaking desk but I thought you might find it funny, and if you do, could you possibly share it with them?" That's number 1 way to start. Don't abuse the privilege though. Make sure it's a worthy news jacking story. Make sure it's a story that you've thought through and it actually is funny. We get so tied into what we're building we sometimes stop and don't think, "Hey, would anyone else actually like this?" So, you want to focus on what you're building. Will other people enjoy it? Will they like it? Will they be able to to benefit from it? If that's the case, reach out to your contacts. Remember, when you're reaching out to your contacts and asking them to pass something along, you're asking them to put their reputation on the line. Make sure it's beneficial to them, too. Make sure everyone wins. If it's a good enough story, then you'll pass it along, they'll pass it along, everyone will look to doing it.