- Let go of the past
- Consume less
- Say no, when you mean it
- Let go of perfectionism
- Turn off the phone
- Sever unhealthy relationships
- Have an alter-ego (to deal with complicated things)
- Purge your belongings
- Wear minimalist clothes
- Move closer to where you want to be
- Walk more
- Run slowly, and you will get there faster
If a photo is posted to Instagram without a hashtag, does it make a sound? Barely. And not even your own followers may see it, thanks to Instagram changing their algorithm to not show you pictures chronologically anymore. It mingles with other photos when you include a hashtag into your photo caption. Like #yummy or #nomnomnom for really good food, or #bighairdontcare for a big hairstyle.
People navigate Instagram by clicking on hashtags of things they are interested in. People make up unique hashtags all the time, and sometimes those hashtags take off.
The digital team at Tin Shingle collects these hashtags and adds them to Tin Shingle's Exclusive Instagram Hashtag Cheat Sheet. Each hashtag is checked to make sure it contains a collection of good photos and then is added to the list as a recommended hashtag to use. The Instagram Hashtag Cheat Sheet is available to Tin Shingle members only, and are grouped by industry. It's a living guide, so we add to it on an ongoing basis. It's one of many buzz-building tools that come with membership, so check out what you've been missing if you're not a member yet.
If you want to contribute to this Instagram Hashtag Cheat Sheet Guide, you can email your suggestion to email@example.com. This is good for people who:
- Are having great luck and getting big reach from certain hashtags.
- Are trying to create a movement with a hashtag they made up and want to connect with others on it.
To help you get the most out of Instagram right now, listen to this TuneUp with the Senior Social Media Manager of Marvel, Adri Cowan, who also helps select clients in her social media agency, Rogue Social.
Coming clean in this blog post because our confession is the only way we know how to feel better after making such an avoidable mistake. And we don't want you making the same mistake, because just one wrongly published photo could be costly.
This week, we were served with a packet of paper from the Legal Department of Getty Images, stating that we'd wrongly used an image, the rights of which are managed by Getty Images. Because we'd not paid for the rights to use this image, our usage of it on this website constituted as stealing. This letter is otherwise known as the Getty Images Unauthorized Use Notification letter, and plenty of people have gotten one. It's also known as a cease-and-desist letter.
SEE ALSO: Copyright and Website Image Selection
Getty had taken a screenshot of the photo in question that was used on this blog. It was true. We had used the image. But the image we found had no watermark. It came up in a Google Images Search. We'd never touched Getty's website while searching for it. Sure, it was a great photo, staged well, perfect lighting, but....yeah, there it was in Google Images, so we could use it, right? No one would notice, right?
Wrong. And honestly, we knew this. Long ago I'd pinned the article on Photo Copyright Tips for Bloggers from IFB. I've purchased the rights to use photos in designated spots for clients. But somehow, I'd turned a blind eye for our own blog [hand slap!!!]. If you are getting sloppy with how you collect images from the web to post to your website or Facebook business page, just stop and read this article.
If you've posted images that you are not 100% about their origin, or if you didn't contact the owner to ask permission, then delete them right now from your website, Facebook business page, Twitter, and wherever else you've posted them. And for the very paranoid, remove your website from Archive.org as well, that can visually list pages from months or years ago.
HERE'S THE DEAL:
Getty Images, Corbis, and any big photo rights management company has software that can dig deep into websites all over the Internet, including Facebook pages, and find images that are posted without proper payment. Photo rights management companies represent artists like this guy who make a living making the photos, illustrations or other forms of graphic art. They need to be compensated for the art, and a big company like Getty will make sure they get it. And Getty makes sure that Getty gets its own share too.
So it's quite lucrative to go out and identify a photo being used on another website, send the company a letter with the proof of the unauthorized use, and demand payment. Even if you didn't mean to use a rights protected image. Should you wish to contest their financial demand, you'd need a lawyer, and the lawyer would probably cost more than the settlement you will probably need to pay anyway.
We did email our lawyer to make sure this wasn't a hoax, and that he thought it a good idea that we pay the settlement fee, which was basically a fee to use the image on a type of page in our website. It wasn't the home page and it didn't have very prominent placement, all of which is taken into account when negotiating rights to place an image. We paid the fee.
"BUT THE PHOTO DIDN'T HAVE A WATERMARK!"
Know this: you should not do image searches in Google and pull an image, even if there is no watermark on it. If someone bought the rights to use an image on their website, then they have a legitimate copy of the photo with no watermark on it. However, Google Images currently is able to pull that image and display it in a collection of image results to show you. If you suck down that image, or take a screenshot of it, you're using a photo that you didn't pay for.
There could be entire websites that post stolen images without watermarks that exist simply to attract you to search images on them. Such a website owner may have put Google Ads onto the site, and is making a pretty penny off of people like you clicking around on ads for a sunset image, finding it on their website, thinking it's safe, clicking on more Google Ads on their site, and it goes on and on.
Note: It's not Google making a killing on that type of website (well...indirectly they are), it's a scam artist who built a website with stolen images on it, attracting folks looking for pretty pictures to put on their website.
NO-NO TO POSTING PROTECTED IMAGES ON FACEBOOK OR TWITTER
Read the License Agreement over at Getty Images. See how far reaching their protection is over the art they represent. See the clause on Facebook and other third-party social sharing sites:
"2.11 Unless otherwise specified in the Rights and Restrictions, Licensee may not, directly or indirectly, Reproduce the Licensee Work in any secondary Reproductions, such as compilations, screenshots, in-context promotions or on file-sharing or social networking websites such as YouTube, Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, etc."
CREATE YOUR OWN ARTWORK
You don't want to get mixed up in this. If you don't have a photo budget to buy stock photography at Getty or Corbis, then you are much better off taking your own photos and creating your own artwork in many of the free photo editing software out there, like PicMonkey, Hipstamatic, Hipstogram, and even your iPhone or Android has filters to make pictures stand out and look cool.
See this photo below? It's part of our new mission to build our own stock photography collection. This green ornament is one that hangs on my front porch. Then Jackie did some PicMonkey magic to it to make it more framed!
Photo credit on the camera above, which we applied the red art to: "Font Awesome by Dave Gandy - http://fontawesome.io".
This morning, I was watching the Today Show at my sister-in-law's house while on a family visit. I watched a few segments that featured some products and organizational ideas (that possibly were sourced by organization experts in other small business communities like In Good Company), and I thought about Hope Lawrence at Hudson Henry Baking Co., and how her dream (as stated even on her packaging) is to have her "Good News Granola" featured on the Today Show. She's been working towards that dream and it's actually how she found Tin Shingle: she wanted to get on the Today Show, and discovered that our business membership program had the components to make that dream a reality.
After making my children's breakfast, I'd actually turned off the Today Show so that I could focus on getting them dressed and getting out the door. Moments later, Sabina, Tin Shingle's co-founder and my business partner, emailed me saying: "It happened!!"
"What happened?", I wondered. I dove into the email to learn that Kathie Lee and Hoda just aired a feature of Good News Granola as one of their Favorite Things. (It's also my favorite granola snack that is always stocked in my cupboards...)
What a glorious way to start a Monday! Now here's something you should know: Tin Shingle is all about empowering entrepreneurs like Hope to build buzz - that's what we do, day in and day out. We demystify PR, social and online marketing via education, motivation tools and tips so that you can be sure people hear, see and read about your business.
The founder of this granola company that was featured on the Today Show, Hope Lawrence, is a member of Tin Shingle and is especially inspiring to me because she is a mother of two boys who started her granola business so that she could build a business and raise a family. Every decision she makes is made around her family. She doesn't move as quickly as other entrepreneurs because she's on a family vacation, or picking up her son, or is baking granola. But she does it at her own pace. Sabina and I call that a "holistic business" approach, and it's one we try to live by as well. Very often, entrepreneurs in our field don't have families, and they have many more hours in the day and night to grow their business. But the pace of an entrepreneur with a family is slower, and that pace just paid off for Hope.
Hope landed this segment with persistence, patience and by following Tin Shingle's Membership Program. She used several Tin Shingle membership tools to help her get featured on the Today Show. Here is how Hope got featured on the Today Show with Kathie Lee and Hoda:
- Hope read our (free) articles in the Ask the Expert section to learn how to pitch the Today Show and Kathie Lee & Hoda 4th Hour.
- She attended our #PRTuneUps including the virtual classes about how to land a spot on a morning show.
- Hope used our community and resources to check and get feedback on her pitch to strengthen it before she sent in to the show's producers. This helped ensure her pitch was in tip top Today Show shape.
- Hope used our Media Contacts to pitch her product to the right producers.
- Hope then used strategic emails to follow up with the producers and then waited when she needed to. When she had questions she took them to our Community Forum to get thoughts from others who'd been in her position.
And really, Hope had hope for her product, created fantastic packaging, has a darn cute website, and has enough spunk and "wow factor" that her brand was a fit for the show.
We are so thrilled!
See her packaging here, which truly illustrates her belief in the power of good messages. She states her mantras, one of which is to "Ask for what you want". See the first sentence in the packaging "My dream is that this little granola company will allow me to spend my days with my boys and land a spot on the Today Show":
Done. Mission accomplished thanks to Tin Shingle's Membership Program. Play the clip below:
I recently popped into one of my favorite boutiques in Brooklyn and noticed a stack of beautifully designed postcards on counter that they were handing out with every purchase. Upon closer examination I saw that it was an offer for 25% off purchases at two neighboring shops (a gift shop and shoe store) along with a free baked good with purchase of a drink at the coffee shop around the corner. With deals like those I couldn't resist at least checking out the participating stores (I mean, it couldn't hurt to peek into them I told myself...) and before I knew it I had snagged a new pair of summer sandals (25% off!) and discovered somewhere to enjoy "latte and laptop time" in the future.
This retail experience was pleasant for me as a customer (I discovered new businesses, I scored great deals), as well as for all three of the participating businesses! In fact, even though I didn't purchase anything at the gift shop featured on the postcard, I have now been in the store and can visit it when I need something in the future (as well as refer it to friends). Beyond the experience, it was a fantastic, real-life example of small businesses acting on cross-promotional ideas, and the positive results that can be achieved from such an undertaking.
Cross-promoting with companies that may not be the exact same type of business, but most likely share similar customers, messaging or even are part of the same "world" (we'll talk about this more later) can be one of the most cost-effective and powerful strategies you can employ to increase your visibility and customer base. I personally love it when small businesses and entrepreneurs find organic and well-matched partner companies to cross-promote with. Why?
- Low to no cost: Cross-promoting can be free in some instances (social media) and most other times it allows you to use the tools and systems you already have in place or are already paying for (newsletters, your website, sales), thus not requiring you to increase your costs significantly. Cross-promotional opportunities like the one I outlined above with postcards are also effective and again, are fairly low cost. They also allow you to...
- Split the cost and the work: You're no longer alone when you cross-promote, which means you have another business (or two or three) to sharing cost and the workload. You know what we always say here at Tin Shingle: why do it yourself when you can do it with others? Half the work and cost along with double the visibility and sales opportunities is an equation I can definitely get behind!
- They're fun: Yes, I said it! Sometimes it's just fun and re-energizing to do something new and fresh with your business and brand, and to have some outside energy present. When you're a small business owner you tend to love what you do (after all, you created it), but it still doesn't hurt to have new ways of sharing it and getting the word out about it!
- The possibilities are endless: Cross-promoting opportunities are endless because there are countless ways you can combine yourself with other companies and countless companies you can match up with! You just have to think get your brain in the right place! You have to start thinking of obvious (and not so obvious) companies you can partner with and ideas that work for both of you! The goal is that both of you enjoy it, benefit from it and the workload is fairly weighted, if not identical.
To kick your cross-promotional brain into high gear we've come up with a few concepts for you below!
Before you begin, remember that when choosing a business to partner with, you don't have to choose the exact same kind (in fact you probably don't want to do that). Instead, think of companies that are "playing in the same world" as you. For example: the athletic/fitness world, new moms and babies world, items for road trips world, fashion lovers world, food lovers world, small business products world, tips and products to make your home prettier world, and so forth!
Now bring on the ideas!
- Shared newsletters: While I don't recommend swapping contact lists and emailing each other's followers blindly (they'll quickly wonder who gave up their contacts) you can create a co-branded newsletter tying yourselves together (in an organic and strategic way) and offering mutual discounts. Perhaps you introduce another company as a favorite of yours, or in an overview of products perfect for road trips/mini-home makeovers, etc.
- Create paper or virtual frequent buyer cards: These can offer discounts and other goodies at all the participating shops, which can be brick-and-mortar or virtual.
- Social Media Promotions: There are countless ways you can bring a cross-promotional partner into your company's blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and more! Best of all, they're all free! Even a simple mutually shared discount code for your online followers can reap big benefits!
- Hold a Contest: Contests can be in person or virtual, can include applicants sharing business cards or email addresses with you and can include prizes based on the goods or services all participating businesses sell. A great way to spread your brand and get in front of new eyeballs!
- Use Those Sales Receipts & Deliveries to Spread the Word: Every time a customer receives a product or receipt from you (real or virutal) or attends a class or event hosted by you, they should walk out with a promotion code for future shopping/working with you. You can expand this sales and marketing tactic exponentially by partnering with other companies and including each other in these opportunities. This especially works when you're partnering with brands "in your world" as you know their customers will most likely enjoy what you sell as well!
Want more? Here are a few more ideas:
- Co-host a seminar or class together
- Throw a summer party together
- Share pop-up retail space!
- Share a referral program
Get creative, get strategic! As you can see the opportunities are there, and I'm sure your partners are as well! If you're a member of Tin Shingle just pop into the business directory and find a fellow small business owner there that feels like a good match. Sales are often slower in the summer, and cross-promotional marketing is a fantastic and low cost cure to the "summer slump". Happy planning!
Wendy Williams. How can you miss her? This one time NYC radio DJ has taken her eponymous show to the top of the television ratings, meaning that if you're an expert or brand featured on the program, you're going to get major, instant exposure. It it possible? Heck yes! In fact, one of our Tin Shinglers did and you can read her story here, showing us once again that small businesses do have a chance to be profiled on the "small screen". In the article below we'll outline HOW to get on and we have also included a link to the producer contacts for you to get to piching. But first: master the art of pitching Wendy Williams!
There are two things to ask yourself when daydreaming about being on The Wendy Williams Show. First: are you even a fit for the Wendy Show and Second: how do you get yourself on the show?
Never fear, we're hear to answer these questions and give you tips on making the process so easy that you'll figure it out faster than you perfect your classic, Wendy "How You Doin"!
FIRST: DO I BELONG ON THE WENDY WILLIAM SHOW:
Let's be honest, not everyone is meant for Wendy. You know who is certainly not ready for Wendy? Anyone who has never watched the show. If you simply want to be on it because you hear it's a big show and you want press, stop here. You aren't allowed to read any further until you have watched some clips of the show. I'll make it easy, you can find them HERE. If you've read any of my DIY PR posts you know that I'm a big believer that you must study the press you're pitching. I mean you Google the names of people you go on a date with, you'd never hire a babysitter without checking references, you check Yelp when you are considering restaurant choices...Important things take research. Getting press for your business is important. Don't take it lightly. Even in regards to shows that take, well, everything lightly.
How will you know how and what to pitch if you have never seen the program? How will you know what types of guests and segments they do? How will you know what types of products they love? How will you discover clever ways to spin your product in? Do your homework.
The WW Show isn't like the Today Show...That said they follow standard procedures most days. They have celebrity guests, cover hot topics, gossip, celebrity news and from time to time they have on experts with tips or products that are great for Wendy's audience.
The show itself describes the program as follows:
Entertainment talk show, hosted by New York DJ, syndicated radio host, TV personality and best-selling author Wendy Williams. Show features advice during the "Ask Wendy" segments, "Hot Topics" commentary on news headlines, and interviews with celebrities and everyday people.
What do Wendy & her audience love?
Before you get to part two below (the How to get on) first be sure you or your product could be reasonably spun into the context of the show. Wendy loves bling, Wendy loves fabulous, Wendy loves cool and fresh tips and tricks, Wendy loves celebrity attachment, Wendy loves beef jerky (okay irrelevant but true). At the same time, Wendy's viewers like value, they like getting product giveaways, they like tips that will help them save money and be fabulous, they love product segments that won't break the bank....Can you provide these things?
Okay I PROMISE I Belong on the Show, How Do I Get On...
There are so many ways to "get on" a show and connect with producers. From calling the station to finding them on Twitter (yes they're there). It's an internet world, it's a networked world (both on and offline) and the contacts are the easy part here...A call to the show describing what/who you are and asking for the best producer for your topic can even net you a contact, but that's only half the battle...See below for a useful set of tips all under the "how" category:
If you are a potential expert who will be sharing tips and tricks, create a quick and to the point pitch that introduces you, links to your website/reel, gives a few sentences max about what you do and why you're qualified and good for Wendy, and then bullet out 5 or so segment ideas that you could demonstrate. Make sure segments are highly visual and fit with Wendy's demographic.
Introduce the option of giveaways. Whether you are a product or service, The Wendy Show loves giveaways, and if you can give to her audience (you will need to provide approx. 225 products or gift certificates) it could help you. If you are an expert, find one of the products in your segment that will offer a giveaway. It's a great "cherry on top" of your pitch.
Court the experts who go on the show! If you are a product based business they are unlikely to do a segment all about you alone, unless you're really newsworthy and you are a Hot Topic...So, track the experts who make regular TV appearances and share your product with them, for future segments they'll be doing. This will not only help get you on Wendy, but on several other shows as well!
ASK to send a sample. Don't blindly send them (hello waste of time and money). But if you can find a great person to send them to, you have a better chance in showing your stuff!
Pitch yourself into a Hot Topic! You may not be worthy of a whole segment, but you could tie yourself to a Hot Topic. Be cool, newsworthy, find a celeb attachment to your product and you could be well on your way!
Be Fun! Have you seen this show? It's not serious! It's not NBC Nightly News, it's a blast! You must bring the blast - if you are up tight and not bringing the energy and you're an expert, this isn't the show for you! Get your Wendy Shoes on (tall and fabulous) and bring it!
Be timely: Valentine's Day, Spring, St. Patrick's Day....That's what we're looking at on deck - get creative, make a seasonal segment up that is fresh and fun.
Don't give up and think it will be easy! If it took one try (or two) to get on a national TV show everyone would be doing it! Pitch a lot, pitch patiently and politely and await their feedback.
Open up your net! Your network that is! You'd be surprised how many people are separated by only a few people from their media goal. You know where you won't find them? In a silent bubble of disconnect? Put it out there, look on social media, network, ask around...If you are a good fit you're bound to have people who can help connect you!
Last but not least! Acces the Contacts via Tin Shingle:
How do you get your product on the Today Show? Practice, practice, practice! And then, replace the word "practice" with the word "pitch," and you should be good to go!
That said, the Today Show fourth hour has become quite a showcase for interesting, unique or must-have products. Nearly daily, Kathie Lee & Hoda place different products from both indie brands to creations from international corporations on their table, and during their hour long segment they periodically pick one up, show it off, talk about what it is and where to buy it. This, my friends, is often product placement gold! The Today Show has a large, loyal audience and getting a plug by either of these two women can bring you instant validation (not to mention a spike in sales).
So how do you get your product on the Today Show? As with everything in public relations, nothing is ever guaranteed. However, after placing products on the 4th hour myself, as well as talking to the producer of the 4th hour segment, we have a few tips that will make the road to Today Show fame a little less bumpy for you.
How do I get my product on Good Morning America? How do I ethically leverage celebrity pictures wearing my apparel? Should I send samples or not?
Knowing the inside scoop on pitching outlets - whether they are parenting, cooking, fashion, business - you name it - is often the key to faster, more powerful success. Today's inside scoop discusses pitching mom and baby products to the parenting press, but before we dish, I wanted to remind you that the lessons Adrienne Dorsey, founder of Magnolia PR, shares with you can be applied across categories - so whether you work with mom and baby products or men's swimwear, read, take notes and apply it to your own press outreach!
Now let's dish! Moms are one of the most powerful demographics small businesses can go after - they're buying for their kids, their husbands, themselves, their parents and more. That said, there is a sea of products out there for them to choose from, so how do you make sure yours stands out? How can you land that coveted press in the hottest blog or magazine? How do you get you score a spot on a top morning show featuring your brand? We consulted with Magnolia PR, a leading boutique agency in Los Angeles that specializes in just this area to give us her thoughts on ten questions we hear the most when talking about this hot category.
If there were two or three things you think are golden rules when pitching the parenting press what would those be?
-Know the media outlet you are pitching and what they cover—be sure to read their publication and get a feel for what type of stories they do—and don’t—cover.
-Make sure you have a newsworthy angle—such as a new spring collection you are launching.
-Keep it short and sweet with all of the information editors need—forget the fluff. Editors don’t have time to read long press releases, so try to highlight your main points and relevant information- what’s new, price points, where to buy, and links for more information. Try to include one strong image.
How important are product lookbooks and line sheets when you’re pitching your mom and children’s products?
It’s important because editors are able to look at these for reference and quickly request the items they would like—rather than having to navigate around your website or blindly asking if you have items that fit their criteria—it saves editors time and hassle to have line sheets and lookbooks readily available.
How do you wade through the many “mommy blogs” and find those that are legitimate and worthwhile to pitch?
I check out their media kits and readership levels, and also see if they fit specific niches that would be appropriate for my clients. There are a ton of mommy blogs, so I prefer to focus on ones with original concepts and content.
Do you always send samples out when they are requested?
Unfortunately samples aren’t always available for many reasons (items may be out of stock, production isn’t quite ready, smaller companies may not have the budget to send to every media outlet, etc.), but if this is the case I try to have high resolution images ready that I can send editors/bloggers in place of samples.
What would you say are some of the most powerful outlets to get products for moms and kids into these days?
Definitely blogs! Celebrity Baby Blog by People.com has a huge readership and my clients report having a great response from being featured, Babble.com is another widely read parents site, and Daily Candy Kids of course. Many of the traditional print magazines also have blogs too, including Parents.com’s Goody Blog and Parenting.com, that have featured our clients with awesome results.
How often do you send out correspondences with editors and bloggers?
It varies depending on what is going on and what new information we have to report, but typically every week we have something to communicate! We also regularly keep editors and news outlets informed via Twitter and Facebook.
What’s the best way to leverage celebrity press (like photos of your product with a celebrity) without offending anyone?
I think it’s important to present the information in a classy, truthful way. Most likely, an awkward shot of a C-list celebrity at a gifting suite with your product won’t go very far, but candid shots of celebrities out and about with your product will be more authentic and press-worthy. I actually started working with Right Bank Babies when their reversible print dress was photographed on Heidi Klum’s daughter, and we were able to leverage the cute photographs with press coverage in Child magazine and Good Morning America for celebrity children style stories. The reversible dress sold out in no time, and this style was later named for her daughter.
What do you think makes you so good at pitching mom & baby products?
Thank you! I think it helps that I have worked with Right Bank Babies for almost four years now, since I launched my company in 2006, and editors/bloggers I’ve worked with trust the brands I represent and that I will do my best to provide them with what they need to do their job. Being reliable, making the editor’s job as easy as possible, and providing them with quality brands is key.
How do you use social media to promote your clients brands, and what would you say are the most vital parts of your social media campaign?
I regularly update our Twitter account (@magnoliapr) and Facebook with the latest information, promotions, and press tears. It’s important to engage your followers and keep up with trends and techniques on these sites, whether it’s replying to an editor’s request for eco-friendly baby brands or using the hashtag to Tweet about the trade show you are attending. I recently did this for the ENK Children’s Club show, meeting up with editors and exhibitors who follow me on Twitter. It’s great for building relationships!
What do you think are some of the most important lessons you’ve learned about PR in general that you can pass on to our readers?
I’ve learned that PR is a marathon, not a sprint. Clients who have a clear understanding that it takes time to establish and build their brand benefit the most from ongoing PR. I have worked with Right Bank Babies and Livie & Luca for a few years, and they have been featured in every major media outlet, opened hundreds of store accounts, and continue to be popular brands with the media and public due to their clear grasp of PR. Red flags for potential clients: simply wanting immediate results without sustainability, micromanaging, and not understanding the value of ongoing PR efforts.
I think it’s important for brands to be PR-friendly—having all of the materials editors need (high-resolution product images, line sheets, where to buy information, etc.) and understand lead times. For example, it’s March and editors are requesting June/July issue samples from me, I even got a request for a December cover! This means it will take a few months to truly see results and be able to gauge how your PR campaign is going. Be ready to invest a minimum of 6 months to launch an effective PR campaign.
Thanks Adrienne! To our readers: print these rules out, revisit them and be sure everyone on your team is in tune with these great guidelines, and before you know it you too will be pitching like, and landing hits with the pros!
Part of every PR campaign will inevitably mean reaching out to local press. This could mean telling your success story to your hometown press, or it could also mean that you're planning to visit cities other than your own and you need to figure out what outlets there need to be pitched. Publicists do the same thing, if we have a client doing a media tour in a city we aren't familiar with we need to quickly figure out the press outlets that are located there, determine which ones are relevant to our campaign/client/pitches and begin outreach.
Here's another time you should begin to think about media outlets in diferent cities: anytime you are visiting one. If you are an expert or entrepreneur with a story or tips to share, and you find yourself in another city for a few days, why aren't you trying to reach out to the news media there and tell them your story? There is no reason you shouldn't be spending a little bit of time allocated for PR outreach to see if you can do a segment while you're in town. Okay scractch that, there is a reason: if you have nothing relevant to share with them, don't reach out to them. If you're in Dallas and you run a company that does NYC bus tours, this may not be your scene. That said, if you are a home organizer and you can take your tips on the road, it's worth a try!
Often the first step here is the hardest - which outlets do I reach out to? Well long story short, that's the point of this blog entry. Even though publicists have access to great databases filled with names of outlets that span from newspapers to radio shows for nearly every geographic location in the country (which we pay for), we still need to start somewhere. I personally often struggle with hunting down the tv stations for different cities - in New York City local NBC is WNBC - what is it in other parts of the country, like Columbus, Ohio? Detroit, Michigan? Atlanta? Sure I can seach within databases but I want a quick lay out of all the tv stations in a city at once and I want it fast. Sometimes I want to see every newspaper in Miami, or another time recently I wanted to find every Home Decorating & Design media outlet that was a national outlet.
Where do I go for these things? I go to the Mondo Times website. It houses over 27,670 outlets in over 212 countries! Now it's not going to specify which reporter you should call or their contact info but it will tell you things like what it covers, a description, how often it comes out etc. It's the best place to start, especially if you don't have access to a fancy media database. Several entries even take you to the outlet's website where you can find more contact information.
Keep this website in your back pocket, it's worth it whenver you need to find outlets locally, nationally and even internationally! Sure you can pay for fancy contact lists but wait for the time when you can really spend your overhead on that. For now, use tools like this to get the job done!
Deskside appointments. You may or may not have heard of them, but chances are if you are a product based company whether it's food or baby toys or fashion-based or a beauty product, you'll need to conduct them at some point during your quarterly pr outreach. This article provides you with an overview of the Desk side. Then, we've written another article on how to land a desk side appointment, and what your desk side appointment will be like.
At its most basic, a deskside is when you make an appointment and visit an editor or journalist at their office (and often times in the lobby of their publishing house) and have a short amount of time to share your products, give your pitch, and as I always recommend, begin creating a relationship with someone who could impact your brand for years to come.
So why would you want to take the time to conduct a deskside? For anyone, and especially those who don't have a showroom to take appointments in, it allows you to get to know the editor or writer covering your beat or product category, you go to them (rarely does a media person have time these days to come to your office or a coffee shop to meet), and if done well and for the right reasons (with the right people) it can create lasting relationships. Remember, at its most basic, public relations should consist of great stories and products and experts (all of you) going to people (the media) who will then share it with an appropriate audience (their readers/viewers/listeners). Because of the nature and fast pace of media, desksides tend to me more rare in television or blogs, but magazines still conduct these meetings regularly.
Though pr firms often conduct desksides for clients, and often take in a few brands at a time in some cases, there is no reason why you as a business owner can't schedule and execute them yourself. And don't just take our word for it - Tin Shingle member Stefany DiManno of DiManno Designs recently followed some tips and combined them with her own growing public relations DIY skills and booked appointments with editors from Lucky Magazine to Redbook that she found in our member-only Media Contact Lists. Again, though nothing is guaranteed at a deskside appointment, what is guaranteed is human interaction, and these days when we communicate so much via email, phone and text, a little face to face time can be just what your pr plan needs. With that in mind, let's first talk about how to know if you should go on a deskside, how to land one, and what you need in order to execute a successful meeting that is worth both your and your media contact's time.
DO I NEED A DESKSIDE:
Though the temptation of meeting with an editor can be strong and exciting, don't schedule these appointments unless you have samples and products available not only to bring in, but that will be available to sell and for readers to access in the time frame for which the editors are pulling. In other words, if you are going to a monthly magazine, remember that they are working 3-6 months ahead, so you should be bringing in products that will be available on that timeline. If you are going to a shorter lead (a weekly magazine, newspaper, television, or blog) keep in mind the product must be available immediately.
Is your collection organized and ready to be viewed? In other words, whether you are creating a line of brownies or a series of finance tutorials, is the product line totally thought out, the packaging and pricing done and organized, sales set up (or at least online)? Don't ever take editors "works in progress". Value their time. They are on a massive time crunch to execute issue after issue, and many are short staffed. This means every second of their time counts, and that deskside better mean something.
HOW DO I LAND A DESKSIDE:
In my experience and the experience of several publicists & Tin Shingle members , the fastest way to land a deskside is to reach out to the correct editor at the magazine you are reaching out to via email. Don't know who this may be? Use the Media Contact Lists at Tin Shingle to help do your research! Once you find an editor that would be a good fit for your story, follow this step-by-step guide to getting that Desk side appointment, and what to expect while you're there.