Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Using Video & Great Photos for your PR

There is little doubt that a well thought out story is what makes most assignment editors' lips chop at breaking a new angle. However, in the years that I have been in the industry of PR and marketing communications, I have seen many potentially great client stories passed up for one simple reason:

The story was not backed up with great visuals. Unless you are looking to pitch your story to radio, this is often the forgotten and second most important aspect to consider.

Let's take the example of newspapers or magazines (or even many online publications). If your organization has a pressing story to tell about its product or a crying issue that needs the public's attention, do you have any professionally developed photos? Providing a professionalphoto of the CEO may be one option. If you're using a current affairs angle to launch your issue into greater publicity, can you suggest a great photo angle that in itself tells a story? More often than not, journalists will be either accompanied by a photographer or send one to your location after interviewing you over the phone.

In the case of television, this point is even more important. Because television stints need to be compacted into such short periods of time, assignment editors are looking for video cuts that stimulate the eyes and ears of the viewer. For example, would a television news cut on a local car accident be the same without a camera crew on site filming? Of course not!

In developing your press releases and especially your media kits, be cogniscent of these important aspects. A little attention to these forgotten details can score you some big coverage of television and in the major written publications.

Mark Buzan is the owner of Action Strategies, a public affairs & marketing communications consultancy. You can subscribe now to his monthly PR & marketing tips newsletter by visiting www.action-strategies.ca and dropping down the “newsletter” menu.

Using Craigslist in your Internet Marketing

Cold calling is not only one of the most difficult things to do, it also takes too much of your time, time which can be better spent in front of prospects.

So what do you do? There is still a need for cold calling, but it should only be part of your overall prospecting equation. Until you make business contacts and connections and have a wide business network, try some free online resources which can help you. The following is my list of online marketing methods which you can try. None of these on its own will generate enough business for you, but taken together it could give you a good start. Best of all, all these suggestions are free. So take a half day and try these:

1. Post a free classifieds ad on craigslist.org. Craigslist is ranked the 41st biggest website in the world (by alexa.com). What this means is that millions of people visit the site every month; that is, millions of potential clients. So if you’re a lawyer, a financial consultant, an insurance broker, a real estate broker, a contractor, or you sell anything at all, there is category for you to post a free classifieds ad. Classifieds ads posted on craigslist.org stay there for 45 days, so you only need to post once every month and a half. But even better is that these classifieds ads find there way into Google search results. So, even people that are not specifically searching for your product or service on the actual Craigslist site may be coming across your ad through search engines.

2. Create a free profile on trade-pals.com. TradePals is a directory of business professionals, entrepreneurs, sales people, and trades people across the U.S. and Canada. It is categorized by city and business category. The website provides sales leads to its members. Basically, you create a profile and place it in the proper city and category. So let’s say that you are an engineering consultant in Miami. You create a profile and place it in the engineering category in that city. If someone from Miami is searching for an engineering consultant and sees your profile they can contact you by filling in a contact form and you will be notified by email that someone wants to do business with you. TradePals allows you to post a photo of yourself. Take advantage of this option as profiles with photos are viewed more often.

3. Create a free profile on MySpace.com and join in on the discussions in some of the business groups on that website. Myspace is populated mostly by teens and younger adults, so the audience may not be your target market, but there are some mature people using the site too so it’s worth a shot. The good thing is that this website is ranked #28 in the world (by alexa.com) so a lot of people find there way to this site.

4. Create a free profile on ziggs.com. Ziggs allows for a comprehensive profile and also places it into categories. But instead of a directory style approach, it uses a search option. For example, you can search a keyword “lawyer” in New York, and you’ll be shown all the results of lawyers in New York that have created a profile.

5. Create a profile in business discussion forums and join in on the discussions. By adding your 2 cents into these discussions people will see you as an expert in your given field. Include you business phone number in your profile so that people that want to contact you can easily do so. Two of the best online forums that I have found are small-business-forum.com and smallbizgeeks.com.

These five suggestions can get you started and get your name out there as a business professional. Together, these websites receive millions of visitors a day. Each of these visitors is a potential client. Building your own website costs money and advertising it will cost even more. Take advantage of websites that are already there for you to use. In addition to these, there are dozens of other websites that offer free advertising, from press release websites, like pr.com, to business networking websites, like linkedin.com. See what works best for you and use the services that they offer. So, while you are cold calling and prospecting in the traditional sense, these websites will be working for you and advertising your services 24 hours a day.

Tino Buntic's B2B sales career ranges from selling copiers to selling insurance. Currently, he is running his newly launched website, http://www.trade-pals.com

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Using the Senate in Your Lobbying

One of the great ways to cover all your government relations 'bases' is considering the Senate. With a current minority parliament in place, not every piece of legislation passed in the House of Commons is guaranteed the safe passage it may have had in the past.

With pressure coming from the Prime Minister to reform the Upper Chamber and limit the stays of the Senior House, some senators are saying that the reforms may make the institution more powerful.

Here's an exert from a recent article in the Hill Times:

The Hill Times, June 5th, 2006
By Simon Doyle

Harper could create 'the most powerful Senate in the world': Joyal

PM Stephen Harper hopes to see Senatorial ballots in the next election, but Senators warn they'd be far more powerful than the MPs.
In a week when Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he hopes to move ahead quickly with Senatorial elections, Senators warn that the plan would overturn the Red Chamber's delicate balance with the House of Commons, creating a radically different Upper Chamber that would be partisan, more powerful than the House of Commons and over-represented by central Canada.

"We would be the most powerful Senate, probably, in the world," Liberal Quebec Sen. Serge Joyal told The Hill Times in an interview. "You have to see the overall operation of the institution and its full powers before you say, 'Oh, we'll just elect the Senators and it's going to function smoothly. As I mention to you, it's the law of unintended consequences. You do something that may seem small but you trigger a whole chain reaction in the system."

Last week, Prime Minister Harper (Calgary Southwest, Alta.) made a first step toward Senate reform, introducing a bill in the Senate to limit Senators' terms to eight years. Senators are currently appointed by the Prime Minister and serve until age 75.

Mr. Harper's move toward reform follows on the Conservatives' 2006 election platform, which promised to create a process by which the Prime Minister would appoint Senators elected in the provinces or territories. The campaign platform also promised to "propose further reforms to make the Senate an effective, independent, and democratically elected body" that equitably represents all regions of Canada.

But after the government tabled its bill for eight-year Senate terms, critics quickly pointed out that Mr. Harper was holding back on the comprehensive Senate reform promised in the campaign, but in an interview last week with CTV, Mr. Harper committed to moving ahead with the 'consultative' Senatorial elections as early as the next federal election...


Mark Buzan is the owner of Action Strategies, a public affairs & marketing communications consultancy. You can subscribe now to his monthly public affairs newsletter by visiting www.action-strategies.ca and dropping down the newsletter menu.

What's Hot in IT Services? New Procurement Opportunties!

Government IT managers and department heads have made it certain in no 'uncertain' terms that they are looking for means of simplifying the process of shared services. With so many different protocols (over 2400 mentioned in Treasury Board alone), the time to integrate them has come. Treasury Board officials responsible for purchasing IT services want to bring their current 64 servers down into the single digits.

They recognize that in a world more centred around service, service managers and service management will be more valued than ever. To reach these objectives, the Treasury Board of Canada is seeking out five requirements from the private sector:

  • Open development models
  • Open Standards
  • Real IM
  • IT Security
  • AND...Reference models

If your firm feels up to the challenge of delivering on this, the time to strike is now while the iron is hot! The Treasury Board is actively seeking input from the private sector and comments are welcome. Remember however, that this isn't just a sales opportunity. Selling to government requires an understanding of the political environment. Make certain to lay out your government relations plan in conjunction with a solid solution to your targeted department's needs.

Mark Buzan is the owner of Action Strategies, a public affairs & marketing communications consultancy. You can subscribe now to his monthly public affairs newsletter by visiting www.action-strategies.ca and dropping down the newsletter menu.