A Degree Used to Mean Career Success, Higher Earnings and Was Highly Valued by Employers
Today it is possible to get on to a Graduate Entry Scheme without a degree! And the Vice Chancellor of one university has written about the demise of exams, lecture theatres and asks if universities are redundant.
For those readers running a small business this article once again demonstrates the value of PR. Any one of us can get our voice heard with coverage in the market leading publications and websites in our sector. Let me know if you need help writing an article or in putting together a PR strategy
One of the Best Free Marketing & Promotion Opportunities a Business Can Get is to be Invited to Speak on Radio or TV About Their Field of Expertise
You often see experts on TV, hear them on radio or read their comments in the paper. But where do the media find them? Where, at short notice, can the media find an authority to speak about a breaking story? And how can potential interviewees prepare?
The media actually need countless numbers of experts to interview every day. And this morning it was my turn to be interviewed by Stephen Jardine on BBC Radio Scotland. Stephen wanted my views on the Build a Bear promotion. This was a promo that promised a bear that could be purchased for a price equivalent to the child’s age. So a £3 bear could be bought for a three year old. The result was long queues outside stores, people having to wait hours and the police being called in some cases.
How to Get Media Interview Invites
So, how did I get an invite to appear on the show to discuss this issue? In fact why was I invited back for an interview just weeks after previously being on BBC Radio Scotland?
All businesses suffer setbacks, problems and disasters. It is how we deal with them that can make us the villain or victor.
Here’s an example from a large airline. But similar things can happen to your business, so read on to learn the PR lessons this example provides.
There was recently a mishap on an EasyJet flight. A passenger was taken ill and a retired doctor offered his services and helped her. He spent an hour caring for her and the flight was able to continue to its destination. As the crew are only trained in First Aid this incident may have resulted in the plane having to divert to the nearest airport had the doctor not given reassurances. A diversion would have cost thousands in emergency landing fees, with a late arrival arrival meaning the plane would have been ready to make the return flight.
The crew were grateful for the doctors help and on returning to his seat he was asked if he wanted anything. He asked for a cup of coffee and a KitKat. He was given a free cup of coffee but was then charged for the KitKat .. which was worth about £1.
The media somehow got hold of the story and EasyJet were portrayed in a less than favourable light.
But there was a way to turn this situation to advantage ……
The situation was compounded by EasyJet’s response when they claimed the plane was unlikely to have needed to divert. Being that they had no medically trained staff on board they couldn’t know this except in hindsight. And of course part of the reason the passenger wasn’t as seriously ill as she might have been was because a highly qualified doctor attended her.
This would have been a non story had EasyJet given the doctor a KitKat. The media wouldn’t have been interested.
Turning a Mishap In To a PR Success
But there would have been an opportunity to get the media interested if EasyJet had behaved differently.
If instead of refusing to give the doctor a KitKat Easy Jet had publicly thanked him the PR situation would have been reversed. An announcement from the captain would have been easily given at the time. And then had EasyJet sent a positive story to the media, plus used PR agencies, social media etc., with some positive caring comments, Easy Jet would have been seen entirely differently.
If they had held a ceremony, invited the media and given the doctor some free flights that would have shown them in a positive caring light.
In fact there are hundreds of things they could have done to shine. A visit to the flight deck, an all expenses paid weekend in Paris or New York … the options go on for ever. All would have cost less than a diversion and “bought” them some great PR and free publicity, even if the media didn’t cover it. The PR value on their website and on social media would have been worth a significant amount. Certainly getting it on the doctor’s local radio and TV station would have been a cinch. And social media is so easy to ensure coverage .. a short video can be boosted on Facebook for fractions of a penny a view.
The thing is these things don’t just happen. You have to have a positive mindset and grasp opportunities. But PR opportunities abound without your businessmen even suffering a problem.
The thing is that if you get this sort of thing right people will see you positively and choose you above your competitors. That automatically means more busienss and more profit. Get it wrong and they look elsewhere.
Over recent years PR, in its various forms, has brought me in a lot of work at nil cost except a bit of thought and time to write a media release, a blog post or a social media post.
Have you ever wondered how to get your message in the media without paying a fortune for advertising?
The accepted wisdom is that you can't. But my experience is that it is easy if you understand how to use PR.
I'm frequently quoted in the national media and 90% of the time it is the journalists that makes the first approach.
The great thing about PR in that it is free and can help you reach huge numbers of people very quickly. It is also available to you 24/7, requires no special equipment and can go worldwide in minutes.
PR is An Underrated Marketing Channel & Can Make You Huge Profits
In a few days I'm being flown to Scotland to work with a new client. They contacted me after reading one of my PR stories. We'd had no previous contact until then.
Over the last years I've netted £thousands of new business solely due to PR.
How can I use PR to market my business?
People often ask me this. They think it is complicated and requires big budgets. It is actually simple, costs next to nothing (often nothing at all) and you don't even need a story to tell (or at least not in the first instance).
In fact I've often found it harder to get my own stories in the media than to comment on breaking stories. You see the media are wary of people trying to use them to get free advertising. They will cover stories you put forward but you need to write a media release that is impartial, tells a good story and matters to their readers.
Local papers will sometimes cover these stories and, if written well enough, will sometimes print them verbatim. But larger publications tend to dig a bit deeper and put their own slant on a story. They'll interview a few people and get some quotes. To get the quotes they want they will often lead the interviewee to say something they want to cover. Those that say the "wrong" things will not make the article.
There is a skill in handling these interviews if you don't want your integrity compromised. But over time it gets easier and I often give the pros and cons of a situation in my interviews. The knack is in not being quoted one sided. The way to handle this is in the way you phrase your answers.
Of course some reporters will twist what you say or take it out of context. For this reason there are some publications I will not talk to and some individual reports I refuse. Integrity is all.
Being the person that the media phones for an interview or to help with research take time to achieve, but isn't beyond 99% of readers of this post.
Getting the media to chase you
I previously said you don't need a story of your own. Let me explain how this works. There are PR opportunities when a story breaks and the media phone you as the authority on a particular topic. An example of this occurred for me a few days ago when The Sun phoned me for my views on a JK Rowling / Harry Potter story they were researching. And within 48 hours my views were plastered across a red top newspaper. But even if it hadn't been published, I now have a contact on a tabloid and that is worth having if you want to pitch a story.
Over the last few years I've been published by most of the quality press in the UK and have been on most of the BBC local radio stations. Plus I've been featured in major publications in papers as diverse as the Harare times and Sydney Chronicle. Add in appearances on TV in at least eight countries. In addition a good number of major businesses have featured me on their websites. So you can see that PR has its place in my marketing.
It isn't that I'm doing something here that you can't do. I'm just adopting the right mindset and beat my competitors hands down.
More importantly you can also achieve exactly the same by adopting the same mindset.
NewsJack Your Next Story
There are ways in which, even if the media don't phone you, you can get your views out there and published. The process is called newsjacking.
Essentially when a story breaks you don't wait until someone phones you, you write or record your comments on audio or video and send them to publications.
This saves the reporter looking for an expert. Being busy, if your views strike the right note, your'e an answer to a prayer.
I've previously written about newsjacking with posts on
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