We had dinner Monday night at a 4th century ruin in Lima Peru. This type of experience with history is absolutely exciting to me. Take a look. Also, the Huaca (pronounced Wah Kah) has a nice bi-lingual website.
Your PR campaign’s spokesperson is key. Who is it? Do they have credibility? If they don’t have the natural charisma as Santa, then get a new talking head for your PR goals. Your spokesperson must have appeal, credibility and be able to do media interviews. Sometimes it’s as easy as repeating 3-5 great tips to educate the public on your industry, service or product. But don’t be over-promotional. Media hate that. Simply educate the public on a topic and in turn the media will thank you with a plug. In the photo above, free Santa photos were offered in the lobby of a hotel/casino in Lima, Peru. In turn, they took our email addresses (to send the photo) and gave us candy marked with the hotel’s logo. Perfect spokesperson to draw the public (us) in. Merry Christmas!
This Christmas store in Lima Peru gets attention year-round and attracts holiday shoppers even in summer. Many people want holiday coverage now but neglected to think about it during June, July and August when magazines and key media prepare their December issues. Next year, be like this store above … be ready all year for your coveted holiday hits. January-July create your pitches, photos and press releases. July-December should be pitching, pitching, pitching. Then you’ll have all the holiday media hits you covet.
PR is a step by step process, just like the photo above snapped at Larcomar mall in Lima, Peru. So many want “instant success” but let me tell you something. I’ve been doing PR for 20 years now and one thing I know is it takes at least ten years to become an overnight success. I first learned PR in Chicago while I was working my way through undergrad school at DePaul University. Then, we had to write 1-3 pitch letters (a week) on an old Brother typewriter and fax them one by one to the radio stations, TV and newspapers or magazines that could use the news or press release. With the Internet, we can distribute to the entire nation at once with great tools but it’s still the same: one phone call at a time; one interview at a time. Step by step. So if you think you’re getting to your ocean horizon dream quicker than other people, think again. Every one has to take it step by step too.
My husband and I realized it’s Christmas next week and since we’re in Peru unexpectedly this time of year, we had no decorations in our rented apartment. So we bought a nativity scene carved in a gourd pictured above. It’s quite nice and we’ve been having breakfast with Baby Jesus ever since.
Seasons and holidays provide perfect pitching opportunities for the media. They’re always preparing winter, spring, summer and fall seasonal news so if you can create angles and pitches about your news, company, service or product you will have a better chance of being mentioned in their coverage. Keep in mind, however, most work months and weeks in advance. Magazines were preparing holiday issues in summer. And now they’re working on Spring. TV, radio and print work on at least one month to two weeks notice. So be prepared and season your seasonal pitches with plenty of flavor.
Front line peeps. You gotta love ’em to get through to your media contacts. Truly coveted media have plenty of phone bouncers aka gate keepers. How do you get through to them? The same way you deal with bouncers at a bar … or even at this Peruvian Starbucks in the San Isidro Lima neighborhood. The bouncer’s circled in both photos. Yup, Peruvians love their bouncers and almost every building, especially shops, have their gate keepers to make sure their visitors are on track … purchasing not wasting time or begging and bothering others. Keep in mind the media relates to overly-promotional pitches and press releases as “begging” too since it doesn’t move forward any editorial work they’re creating and in the end, they feel like passing you to advertising. Invest your time and others’ time wisely. Phone gate keepers do the same as this Starbucks bouncer in Peru. They exist to ensure the people calling are using the time wisely of the people behind the gates. So, if you want to get through them on to your editors and producers, use time wisely. Have a succinct pitch ready and tell them how you can help their editors and producers versus wasting their time. If you’re calling Oprah you better also have an extension of your intended producers. Not having done your homework tells the gatekeeper you’re not a professional and that you will potentially waste the staff’s time. Don’t have extensions? Buy a list or order a distribution to get their attention. Above all else, be sure you’re not wasting a media person’s time. Or, you too will be bounced instead of booked.
It’s true, as a child when I played house I pretended to be married to Grizzly Adams. My friend, Mike Lewis, saw my post of my real husband, Shannon, who’s gone unshaven since embarking on his motorcycle trip this past Labor Day. Mike has never seen Shannon with so much facial hair and felt the need to jab a joke. In fact, the Peruvian nurses who bathed him after a taxi hit him, joked they were going to shave his beard while he was asleep. In “malo” Spanish (bad Spanish) Shannon explained his wife dreamed of marrying Grizzly Adams and now her dream’s come true.
Just goes to show you, get to know your peeps. Whether it’s your wife, friend or cherished media contact at Oprah, The Today Show or USA Today, find out a little bit about their background so you can capture their attention and flatter them with how much you care. With media contacts (and I guess with friends and family too), they’ll remember you took the time to get to know them. And in turn, they’ll care to get to know you too.
Packaging makes all the difference. Even in media relations. Above, my husband ‘packages’ himself as a burrito in a blanket at sunset in Lima. Below in Peru they don’t put mayo in glass, they put it in bags. How are you packaging your news? In a blanket? Glass? Bags? Online? On hard copies? In the end, the taste of the mayo dictates what you eat over and over again, but the first try depends on how great the package is. So, take care that your package attracts your market and back up your goods with tasty content.
How can you double your pleasure in PR? Double pitches, that is. Imagine my surprise when I cracked the eggs above and two yolks fell into the skillet. I looked at the Peruvian package and sure enough I had bought double-yolked eggs. My husband explained that in the states these double yolks are removed from the general sales system and used for ready-make egg batters instead. I did not know that. But hey, I’m thinking great, I got double the nutrition for the same price … and well double the cholesterol. So don’t over-eat. You can do the same with your PR pitches. When working with reporters and producers, provide them double story ideas. They’re always looking for a good story, so make it worth their time. Give ’em two! But be careful, don’t over-pitch. Then they lose sight of your first pitch. Double your pitch, double your results, but don’t clog the communication arteries.