Zip Your Way to Media Coverage

May 24, 2014

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I just became a Costco member this month. Did you know they have organic items in bulk? I am stoked about that. A nutritionist I hired to coach me told me to drive the 40 minute distance to stock up. Luckily, I had a client in the May issue of their magazine Costco Connection, so when I arrived at the store for the first time, I got to hold and relish the article. You can see it here. I loved walking up to the customer service desk and seeing stacks of the magazine, which by the way, reaches more than 8 million people across the country. It’s known in the industry for its wide reach in a time when many magazines are failing. So, how did we secure coverage in this coveted magazine? I contacted the editor. I zipped my pitch straight to the top line of decision makers there. Shocked? Wanted something more in-depth? Nope, that’s the tip. When The Gorge Zipline became a client of Wasabi Publicity‘s in 2013, the owners shared in our client intake calls that they advertised with Costco. So I pitched the editor. He liked the pitch and told me to stay in touch. So, I did. Even after the client’s campaign ended in the fall of last year, I sent out emails about every 3 months to the editor. Repetition is key. In sports or in PR, you simply have to keep the pitches flowing and momentum growing. Then you too might walk into a big box store and see your story covered as well. Don’t let fear of heights grip you. Zip your best line to the top line of decision makers at your choice media venues.


Print Power

April 11, 2014
Reprinted with permission from London's "The Mayfair Magazine"

Reprinted with permission from London’s “The Mayfair Magazine”

In today’s digital on-demand world, a question is often asked: “Does print have power today?” My answer: “You betcha.” Call me old-school, but I don’t care. As you know, I always say I’ve seen PR transition from typewriters to Twitter; and it’s true, I’m 44 … “So old,” says my teen-age nephew. I’m not dead. Yet. So, I’m here to tell you, print pubs still have the power. Glossy print pubs, especially. From my perspective and from what I see turning the dial (and pages, as it were), we are still reading magazines.  Even with all the social media portals we love to update, there is nothing we love more than curling up with our favorite magazines and reading about how to eat, dress, make money, and fundamentally to be inspired to live the best life we can. Case and point: The Mayfair Magazine, based in London. Recently, my client Landmark was featured in an April 2014 article. “Be Inspired” the magazine promises in the headline. It delivers. See, with traditional glossy print magazines, not only is there the “ink” of the actual article, but also the cover, the table of contents, the letter from the editor, the breathtaking photographs and, above all else, the ability to be touched. Yes, okay, I mean touch the heart too, but you know what I mean, touch it by hand. With glossy magazines, we can still feel the article in our hands and turn pages. So, while marketing professionals today focus on new school ways, don’t forget the tried and true: print pubs. Glossy print pubs. I’m told even in London you can find people on the streets, in the subways, and at the supermarket all holding in their hot little hands what they choose to read today. Hard copy, baby. Glossy magazines. News you can use. Take that smart phone. You may be smart, but you can’t “touch this.” (You think my 16 year old nephew will get that ’80s reference? Nah, I didn’t think so either.)


Winter Do’s

March 20, 2014

Sirius XM US News and World ReportCold winter it’s been, right? Most say one of the hardest winters ever. That didn’t stop my team from heating up credible PR buzz for notable clients. Let me highlight a few so you can see what I’ve been doing with my cold winter months. Our team scored a coupon expert the Today Show; helped launch a financial literacy author to achieve her second New York Times bestselling author status (you can see her U.S. News and World Report mention that I’m sure didn’t hurt the release of her second book and subsequent status); finalized an interview for  America’s steepest zipline with Costco Connection (circulation: 8,489,821 see their spring 2014 issue for story); and hosted a very successful press breakfast for the Nelson Mandela Foundation at the Clinton Foundation on Valentines Day. You can hear one of the interviews on Sirius XM. Personally, two weeks ago I completed my first Spartan Race and plan to complete two more this year achieving the status of Spartan Trifecta Athlete, an elite group of athletes.

Michelle Tennant Nicholson Fire Jump Spartan Race

Michelle Tennant Nicholson Fire Jump Spartan Race

So, you can see why my blog storytelling’s been light. I have oh so much to share with you the rest of 2014, though. Tips, tools, techniques and more. I’ll even have media leads and how-to videos over at the newly launched PitchRate, speedy media matchmaking. So now that spring has sprung, what are you going to do? Tell me! So I can help.Today Show Logo Costco Connection


Hunting for PR.. and Houses!

October 15, 2013

House Hunters International

Media relations is a lot like looking for a house. Ask my business partner, Drew Gerber who will be featured on the very popular TV show House Hunters International tonight. He’s been abroad the past year and has purchased homes in Budapest and Serbia. Think about it. When you look for a house, you research the geographic region where potential property is located. You answer questions like: City? Country? Urban? Rural? In media relations, it’s smart to research the demographic reach of the media venue and answer targets like: Young adults? Baby boomers? Business professionals? Working moms? When you start to look for property, you want assistance from a real estate expert to avoid any pitfalls. In tonight’s show, Robert Weiner assists Drew. As you begin to embark on your PR Pitching, you’ll also want media and publicity experts to keep you from committing fatal media pitching flaws. Speaking of flaws and needing experts (notice the segue — hint, hint, nudge, nudge), did you catch my last webinar with Entrepreneur’s Mikal Belicove? If not, get caught up here and join us for the next round of media pitching flaws this Thursday at 3:30 pm eastern. It’s free so sign up here and let media experts guide you throw the hustle and bustle of strategy … PR strategy that is. If you’re looking to hunt a house, better call Robert Weiner! See him in action tonight. Whatever you do … media relations or purchasing a home abroad, don’t do it alone. You’ll need help researching your strategy and the specifics of what you’re out to accomplish. You wouldn’t just buy a house on a whim, so never pitch on a whim. Have a strategy in place and you’ll find yourself mentioned in media. Then you can really frame that clip … in your home sweet home. Like I did. With my mention in More Magazine. It hangs in my kitchen. You can see Drew and me with our loving significant others at Drew’s home in Saluda NC below. It was the “set” of House Hunters that day. (Maybe I made the editing cut — check it out and see the episode tonight.) Happy pitching to you today! Write to us and let us know what you’re hunting: PR, houses or ?  House Hunters International Set


CBS Los Angeles

August 30, 2013

CBS Los Angeles

CBS Los Angeles

I love working with CBS Los Angeles. I’ve placed several segments with them and here’s the latest one with my client Landmark  and their spokesperson, Josselyne Herman Saccio. See the clip. So, is this blog post all about CBS LA or what? Nope. It’s about intimacy. That’s right. I wrote intimacy. The actual segment is about intimacy between spouses, but what about sweet talkin’ those media contacts of yours? How do you do it? Well, just like a spouse, you listen. See, most people pitch their media contacts ideas and forget to ask, “What do you need?” In this segment you’ll see our Wasabi Publicity client deliver three points: 1) Be willing to be surprised. 2) Throw away the script. 3) Risk something. Well, in PR you can actually use these same tips. Joss discusses an analogy of lovers in a movie. Well, how can you get ‘intimate’ with your media contacts? First, be willing to be surprised. What I mean, is they often want your call and don’t be surprised if they ask you for help on a completely different topic than what you’re calling about. They’ve got a job to do you and you’re low hanging fruit to a solution on the other end of the phone line! Secondly, forget your script. Listen to what your media friend is saying and honestly take a look to see if you can be or provide a source for what they’re researching, covering or investigating. Finally, if you’re not risking something every day, you’re simply not living. For more people than not, just picking up the phone or mailing a pretty card is risky business with media they love. Risk it. Send them love. That’s why they’re in business! They want to hear from their loyal readers, viewers and listeners. Let them know you’re alive and happy they’re alive too. And, that goes for you as well. I’m glad you’re there in cyberspace. Happy pitching!


Getting Ink with Inc for Your Inc

July 1, 2013

Inc Magazine Logo

“Thanks to Michelle Tennant’s PR tenacity, I’m now an Inc.com regular contributor.” Ari Zoldan, CEO, Quantum Media Holdings, LLC (New York).

I scored Ari a regular gig with Inc. and in this post, I’m going to reveal the hottest PR secret ever so you can score yourself a regular blog, column, or job with your favorite media as well. Want to know what it is? Wait for it. I know you’re sitting on the edge of your seat … it’s …. “persistence.” Note I didn’t say, “PEST assistant” which the media often complain about. LOL. That’s someone who thinks being a pest assists them in getting any job done. Let’s look at persistence and break it down so you can see how it works with PR.

per·sist·ence

noun

1. the act or fact of persisting: to continue steadfastly or firmly in some state, purpose, etc
2. the quality of being persistent: constantly repeated; continued.
3. continued existence or occurrence.
4. the continuance of an effect after its cause is removed.
Truly the only difference between those who get regular gigs and those who don’t is persistence. So, evaluate your organizational skills. Does your calendar have followup reminders in it? Do you followup your phone calls with emails so it’s easy on the person you’re pitching to get in touch with you? Do you give up after 1 or 2 contacts? Studies show the average “pitch” cycle on any sales/enrollment endeavor takes 7 contacts. That means a media person needs to hear of you 7 ways before even paying attention to you once.
So when you’re evaluating whether or not your PR is working, ask yourself if you’ve even been persistent enough? Avoid being a pest, too. The way to do this is to add value to each connection. Provide a new piece of news, statistic, report, research or source each time you followup. Listen to your media friends. They’ll tell you what they want, how they want followup and what type of information they can use. If you listen, build a relationship with your media friends and actually make their jobs easier (not harder) you’ll land a regular gig too. If you need to write reminders in an old-school calendar using an old fashioned pen, then so be it. Getting ink for your Inc. couldn’t be easier even if you do have to use ink printed in ink. Organize how it’s comfortable for you and do the same for your contacts. Soon, you’ll have credible ink all over the place for your Inc. Maybe you’ll even be lucky to score Inc. Any coverage is good. I mean credible. Incredible. I mean INC credible; that’s what you get then. And that’s what I got Ari. Let me know how it goes and I might even give you some more ink on your Inc. (You say you feel you’re watching a Three Stooges movie? You can thank me later for the extra value.) :-)

Do You Bully Media Contacts?

June 10, 2013

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E-Bullying is in the news and it made me think. Do you bully media friends? How do I know e-bullying is a hot news topic? We got the topic and our client (an adult bullying expert) in USA Today last Friday. Read the article. So do you? I’m sure you’ll say, “I never bully my media friends?!?!” Well, let’s take a look and see. We’ve been doing media relations for more than two decades. I still get clients who say, “Find out from that reporter when that story is going to run. Geez, we’ve only sent them tons of pitches and angles. Why the heck aren’t they writing about me? I’m so tired of waiting.” What’s wrong with that, you ask? After all, they have been waiting. Well, let’s look at another common stance business people take with the media. “This is the most important piece of information ever. You (media people) are stupid if you don’t cover this with your viewers, readers and listeners.” And my favorite through the years, “I have no competition. That’s why that TV host would want to have me on her show. There’s no one like me. Tell her that when you pitch me as an expert source.”

What’s the common thread? I’m sure many of you are reading this, thinking, well, that’s all true for me. Is it? See, the media is not in business to talk about you. I know, I know. It’s the hard truth and you may not want to hear that. I mean, after all your book was published just six months ago — that’s still news, right? Wrong. To think their job is to cover you, your news and if you think you have no competition, then you might be a media bully. I say this because if you begin your media relations with your communications being “all about you” you’re actually “powering on” the media. Work with the media – not like you’re entitled to be covered. That’s just dominating the media relationship. Like a bully “powers on” his or her victims online or in person, the same dynamic can exist with media friends. They already have assignments from their bosses. Their readers, viewers and listeners impact what they write, broadcast and talk about. Not you. Not your news. Not your book — whenever it was, is or will be published.

Now, you might be lucky enough to reach them at the perfect time they’re seeking an expert on a topic they’re currently researching. This is the only reason to do media relations — so when they are seeking an expert in your industry, they think of you first! That’s what happened when I pitched Carol-Anne Steringa, adult bully expert, to this columnist. That’s why she was mentioned in the column. It’s all about timing and service. The columnist was already writing about work-place issues and thought, yes, I could use Carol-Anne’s insights on bullying; I was already thinking of doing that topic. We didn’t “bully” Andrea Kay into covering Carol-
Anne because of her expertise, tips, special reports and new website. We were polite in our emails and through the process, Andrea had many questions and requests for in-depth explanations. We were always happy to serve, be friendly and give her more no matter what. At no time did we ever get rude or expect her to cover or not cover our agenda. The relationship was mutually beneficial and a “win-win.” Never a power-on or dominating — making the other person wrong. In my 20+ years of doing PR, I’ve seen so many experts and sources get mad or angry with a media person for what or what they don’t do. Or, what they ask or don’t ask. Remember, with media it’s all about THEM not all about YOU. So, ask yourself. Did you lose your last earned editorial mention because you “powered-on” your media friend? If you’ve ever emailed something like, “Why didn’t you quote me this way or that?” Or, “Hey, why didn’t you get back to me — it’s been over three weeks.” Or, “I already answered that before, why are you asking me that again?” That’s being a bit of a media bully.

So, relax. The media doesn’t work for you. You serve them. Bullying won’t get you anywhere. So, have fun with your media friends and you might just be surprised you’re mentioned at all. Good luck. Good relations!

PS: One last thought: If you simply want to control your message, go purchase advertising. Don’t do earned media relations. Bullies can control their messages in advertising; never with editorial coverage. But you’re not a bully, now are you?