Credibility and Visibility are Key for Publicity

Marketing advice, Public Relations No Comments

Back in September, thanks to Krishna De, I got a ticket to a workshop run by Jill Lublin, the PR guru who “has put millions of dollars in free publicity in the hands of thousands of people just like” me!

Always one to learn more, I thought, at best, I’d learn something new and at worst, it would be an interesting evening. Well, it was very much both. Although I’ve done PR work for clients before, you can never know enough about the PR game. Jill certainly entertained while she teaching her PR tips.

When Jill came out, she reminded me so much of Ruby Wax - I hope she doesn’t mind me saying that but her quirkyness and energy had me and the audience enthralled.

One of the first things she said about publicity was:

“In advertising, you pay for it.

In PR, you pray for it.”

How apt can 12 words be!

She teaches that everything about publicity comes down to building credibility and visibility. Thereafter, the sales come, but it isn’t the premise of a press release or a photo shoot or PR stunt.

It’s quite a simple message and really applies to marketing as well as PR - you need a great story. Often it’s the simple ideas that make the most sense, isn’t it?

She likes to personalise stories and the best PR coverage she has gotten for her clients is not necessarily about their product or service or company. It’s the story behind the company and it’s founders.

Just as UK Dragons on Dragons Den love to hear the story behind the entrepreneur, JIll advises everyone to think about somthing that you haven’t talked about before.

She gave a wonderful example of a client of hers, based in the US that was importing food stuff from France. While interesting enough, it wasn’t exactly riveting. Jill had a discussion with her and got to know a bit more about this lady. The client shared that her daughter was a recovering teenage alcoholic. That then became the story behind the client. It opened up doors for her to share her experience about her daughter and coincidentally about her business.

She got coverage in Parenting magazines, Teenage magazines, Womens magazines as well as the business press. This came when she shared her coverage in other magazines.

Some people may not like this approach but it is a different approach than the standard press release advertising a product, competing for interest. You’re hitting journalists with heart and soul and helping build name recognition.

By the end of the evening, we were doing PR exercises that pushed us to think outside the box. I’ve still homework to do from it! I wonder if procrastination is an interesting topic for journalists?!!!

Three PR take-aways from my interpretation of JIll Lublins workshop:

1. Build crediblity and visibility through your publicity initiatives; sales come later

2. Think of something that you haven’t talked about before; Add it to your potential PR talking-points.

3. Share your publicity when you get it; it could lead to lots more.

Do you have anyother PR tips to share?

Extra Information:

Jill Lublin came to Dublin courtesy of Horizon Speakers. Sign up to their newsletter to find when other speakers are in town.

Jill Lublin is hosting a three-part webinar series starting October 22nd. Each part is scheduled two weeks apart from the previous one.  (If you cannot make one session, you can roll forward into another webinar)

She is doing a special series for Ireland participants. Special webinar offer of 2 for the price of 1 @ 187euro.    Info and bookings: or 086 1221359/01 2463033.

How to get (more) space in a newspaper

Public Relations No Comments

Twitter is a great tool. I love it for the interesting, relevant and useful information that others provide.  Adrian Weckler is one such fellow that provides useful and valuable information. It all started with a tweet from Adrian advising corporates not to submit head-shots for feature articles. I asked for more information and he gave me the link to this blog  posting - How to get (more) space in a newspaper.

What a fantastic article. I was so impressed by the practical, straightforward advice and I’m using it verbatim here.

Here it is - Thanks Adrian for the use of it.

How to get (more) space in a newspaper

I was impressed with Damien giving away some of his marketing stuff online the other day. In a similar spirit, I thought the following advice might be of some use to Irish companies, especially start-ups.

If there is one element that increases your company’s chance of getting space in a newspaper, it is the supply of a good picture. I don’t mean an amazing picture or a novelty picture (like Richard Branson, Michael O’Leary or Brody Sweeney), but just a competent image. It is amazing:

a) how few competent (supplied) images newspapers have to deal with

b) how few of the images sent in by PR companies — that are ultimately billed to their client — are of decent publishable quality

Many PR companies seem to send in the same, tired corporate shots: the headshot, the arms-crossed pose, the looking-up-from-the-bottom-of-the-stairs pose. In a situation where there is a choice of photography available to the editor, these will always be pushed down to the bottom of the pile. And that is a shame for you, the company: it was a good chance of getting some decent, prominent, publicity.

So what kind of shots will push you up the list?

As editor of an IT magazine and a consumer tech section in the SBP, here are the photos that automatically hit the bin (unless I’m desperate):

– Shots where you’re receiving an award from some dipshit Minister of State

– Shots in black-tie (unless you own a casino)

– Shots where you’re looking up into the camera with your arms folded

– Shots where you’re looking sideways toward the camera with your arms folded

– Any shot with your arms folded

– A studio headshot

– An amateur headshot

– Any headshot

– Any picture at all taken with your compact digital camera or digital SLR you got for Christmas. (It doesn’t matter how many megapixels it has — you take crap pictures, that’s the point. And they’re usually indoors, with a big shadow behind you.)

– Shots with your entire management team in them

– Shots with you, your customer and your head of operations in them

– Any shot with more than two people in it (it’s almost always better to have just one person per shot)

– Shots that are really low-resolution (under 150k of a jpeg, in our case)

– Images that have been cut and scanned from some publication — the quality is usually brutal

– Shots where the logo or branding overshadows the person in the shot: it doesn’t matter if the logo is simply visible somewhere

– Shots where you’re a speck in the landscape, such as shots attempting to show off how big your facility is

And the shots that are considered ‘competent’? They are:

–Full or half body shots that avoid the faux-pas listed above

– Shots on location (provided you are a good visible size in them and not a million miles away in at the bottom of some quarry)

– Shots in context: if the interview or article is about what your company does, have a selection of shots with your equipment.

– Multiple shots. Always, always, commission (and provide) a selection of shots. Sending one in because YOU have decided it is ‘the nicest’ lessens your chances

– Shots which show the subject to be fairly relaxed: photo editors see thousands of shots weekly and look carefully at the humans in them. This is generalising — and there are exceptions — but a relaxed-looking pose generally beats a stiff one

— Shots with proper lighting. If it’s an indoor shot, it’s vital that the lighting is correct. It’s the biggest issue with ‘home-made’ PR shots

To sum up, in a recession, when cutbacks will result in papers trying to restrict the amount of photography they commission, there is a real opportunity for companies to get easy coverage by simply producing a competent photograph. So why not take advantage of it? I guarantee you’ll steal a march on your competitors.

(Note that Adrian deals mostly in photos for feature articles: there can be slightly different rules for news articles. For example, headshots can be sometimes acceptable for news pieces.)