Thursday, February 23, 2017

Do NOT send your press release as a PDF attachment

It happens every day in every newsroom. Reporters and editors have to take precious time to download and open a PDF with a press release. Not every newsroom has the software to do that.

Public relations firms, governmental agencies, non-profits, businesses - so many people are guilty of sending a press release the wrong way.

If you want your press release considered for use, then you have to send it correctly. It needs to be sent in the body of the email. Photos, graphs and ancillary materials can be sent as a PDF, but NOT the press release.

The reason so many people send it as a PDF is that they don't want the content changed. Well, if you want the release used, it has to be in a format where the text can be accessed. The editor may have to change your words. Just get over it!

MARKETING TIP: If you want your press release to be used, send it in the proper fashion. Otherwise, it may never even be read.

Monday, February 20, 2017

If you want to reach the teens, best of luck. I conducted a survey recently of where they find their music. Most of them find it on You Tube and Pandora. Others found it on 102 JAMZ, a local hip hop radio station.

Still, they're not listening to the radio that much. They're certainly not watching TV. So the best way to reach them is to ask for their help.

"HELP," I cried.

So they did. I'm working on a grant proposal and needed feedback about what kind of music teens like. They gladly told me. They liked being asked for their opinion. Suddenly, my project was very important to them - and so was I.

MARKETING TIP: If you don't have the answer, ask. Reach out to your market segment and reel them in. Ask them for their opinions. You'll be glad you did.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Non-profit future?

Even though this story is specific to one American city, the information given is valuable for all non-profits trying to increase their financial affairs.

Note the number of people who are willing to volunteer.

So how do you get volunteers? You ASK - and give JOB DESCRIPTIONS.

Sometimes an organization's website will have a plea for volunteers, but the page gives no hint of what volunteers are needed to do.

People are typically not going to pick up the phone and call to volunteer unless they have a specific goal in mind.

MARKETING TIP: When you're asking for volunteers, include a list of specific duties you need to have fulfilled. That will help you increase your number of helpers - and your coffers.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Creating a positive from a negative ...

Who knew?

Usually when I hear about a holiday festival shutting its doors, it's because of the lack of funding. Parades can't get sponsors. Light shows can't get sponsors. Attractions don't have funding to pay extra staff to work. The list goes on.

But who ever thought that leaves, that's right, leaves would shudder an event.

Oh, that's an event that has a 50-year history!

So what did the organizers do? They put out a plea for help!  "HELP! HELP!" (Click on the hyperlink for the real story.)

There were too many leaves on the ground and the event could not be held. So organizers put out a public cry for people armed with leave blowers!

What will happen in the future?

I just bet that the community will move more quickly to make sure their Christmas light extravaganza takes place - with no leaves!

MARKETING TIP: Embrace a negative situation and turn it into a positive one. Pull your neighbors, your friends and your industry supporters to help, if need be. They will become your biggest and strongest group of cheerleaders and sales team you ever had!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Courting a TV presence for your story?

Be visual.

TV people don't just like a talking head. They want to be able to tell the story visually. So here's a great example of how to think like a TV videographer and reporter ....

When you send information to  a TV station, let them know that you will have a lot of interesting and fun things to be photographed. You may even want to attach a photo of whatever your story is about, just to show them what will be going on.

Give them a taste, a sample of what your story is about - in a format they understand. A visual.

MARKETING TIP: If you don't know what TV folks find interesting, ask them.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Blog in progress ...

I'm in the process of producing an event. It's an oddball of sorts. It's a spoof on the American election.

As if we needed one.

The event has had a number of different names, but it all boils down to one thing. We're fed up. Tired. Worn out by the election and the only thing we can do is LAUGH!

In 2004 and 2008, we had The Great Heads of Statesville Exit Poll. In 2012, we changed the venue and had a newspaper sponsor The Courier-Tribune Pumpkin Chunking Exit Poll. In 2016, we've kept the name simple: Political Pumpkin Chunking. That way, we can use the site over and over.

We use a blog to show what we're up to -

The challenge now is to increase our viewership, as this has been a last-minute set up.

MARKETING TIP: Oh, just play along with me on this one and visit the link!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Don't wait to promote your festival ... Start early.

Organizers for The  National Cherry Blossom Festival have been busy since last spring. This week, I received my first communication. I received an email with information about how to participate in a singing contest during the Washington, DC event.

This particular festival is the hallmark of all. It is the one to guide you through your own festival promotion.

Dates for  the 2017 festival are March 20-April 16. Organizers have the events in place and are now promoting them.

That's the way it should be. You need to aim to have your festival pretty much set up 6 months out so that you can focus on revenue-building promotion. Attendance + sponsors = money for the following year's event.

MARKETING TIP: Never delay. Get your program together and start promoting it.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Have a festival? Let's examine your budget.

I've worked with a number of festivals in my life - and have produced quite a few. Typically, organizers start work 12-4 months before the event.

I was just in a discussion with an event organizer for an April 2017 festival last week. One of the first things you have to do - after choosing a date, identifying a purpose/theme - is create a budget. Everything costs. Yes, you can get some services donated, but not all. You need seed money up front.

Once you have your expenses figured out, identify which ones need upfront money. Bands, for example, want a deposit. Portable toilet companies want a deposit and will not donate or trade out a service. Sometimes signage can be donated, but the sign maker is in business to make money, too.

So then where is your revenue coming from? Corporate sponsors may be willing to donate some cash. You may find a grant which will pay for a component of your festival. You may also want to establish a fee structure for food, art and craft vendors.

Shop around to nearby festivals to see how much they charge. Flat fee? Percentage of sales? Both?

MARKETING TIP: When you're looking for sponsors, explore opportunities to utilize the company's employees to help on the event day. Have them wear their employee shirts. Put them in high profile places so that your sponsor will be visible - and with a pretty smile. A living person in a company uniform is much more appealing to a corporate sponsor than a sign.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Digital marketing

So what is digital marketing?

Let's start with your phone. Is it a smart phone? Do you use it to surf the web? Communicate? Do research? Buy things? Check the weather? Your stocks? If so, then you're setting the stage to receive information on your phone about places to go, things to do, things to buy ...

Make sense? Sure it does!

You don't see or feel digital marketing. It's all invisible - until it shows up on your phone or computer.

Here's an example ...geo-fencing. Say you own a restaurant and you're not getting the supper hour customers you would like. However, your location is just 6 miles away from a major attraction or hotel. Through geo-fencing, you can surround the attraction or hotel with an invisible, cyber fence. For people who are inside it, and who have their locater turned ON, your restaurant will pop up on their phone screen. Sounds simple... But geniuses have created this possibility ....

MARKETING TIP: If you're a business owner and you want to grow your customer base, find someone in your town who specializes in digital marketing. Make an appointment to learn more about it.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Using Facebook to increase your bottom line

There are a few ways you can use Facebook to increase your bottom line. It's called "working the system."

  • You need a business page.
  • Post 2-3 times a day on your business page to alert Facebook that you have a viable site.
  • Illustrate your posts with photos or videos.
  • Make your page inviting and warm. After all, it is the front door to your cyber store. It doesn't matter if you provide a service or product, you have a store front on the Internet.
  • Post things which have substance and meaning. Make your message pertinent to your customers.
  • Be consistent with your posting.

MARKETING TIP: Spend some time planning your Facebook business page. If you don't know how to do it, hire someone who does. It's that important!

Friday, June 3, 2016

School's open!

I get calls and emails all the time from companies wanting to advertise on this site. I refuse. This is an educational portal only. I use it in my classes, with my clients and with print media.

All along, the purpose of this blog has been to help festival organizers, small business owners and non-profit leaders. When I refer people here, I tell them, "If you like something you find and can use, steal it. That's why this site was designed."

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Update your online presence before recruiting festival vendors

Fall festival organizers are busy this time of year recruiting vendors. A great way to do it is through festival publications, such as Festival News. Keith Robinson is the publisher and a good friend. Many vendors subscribe to his publication to find out about new festivals. Note, his paper targets festivals in the SE portion of the United States. You may have a similar publication where you live.

Another good way is to work through arts councils. They will pass along information to their members about upcoming opportunities for them to make some money.

You need a really good press release to entice vendors. They are a pretty particular group, wanting to ensure they pay money for a festival which will bring them a lot of traffic with money in their pocket to spend, great location and lots of advance press.

Make sure the Internet is full of information about your festival before you send out vendor requests. Media links and photos can help sell your place as a great festival for vendors, particularly those making handmade crafts.

MARKETING TIP: Get your online presence bold and strong before recruiting festival vendors.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Researching and writing grants ... what do those words mean?

I recently had a wonderful conversation with Mandy Pearce, owner of Funding for Good. She is a wiz-bang guru at the art of helping non-profits and municipalities find grant dollars. She also teaches classes. I was quite amazed with her knowledge.

I invite you to watch this video she produced which addresses the question in the title of this post - "researching" and "writing" grants. It helps to know a good deal about both elements, yet they are different. In this video, she also explains about some of the elements which go into a grant request. If you're unfamiliar with the granting process, this is a great video to watch.

One of the things I learned from her is that communication is central between your organization and someone who is trying to find you grant money. A researcher and a writer need to feel your pain, your angst, so they can craft a compelling request. A non-profit needs to be open and honest about the organization, board members, financial statement, and the list goes on.

MARKETING TIP: If you have non-profit organization and are looking to fund a project, share your opportunity with your community. Local residents may be able to provide additional justification to enhance your application packet. The people that your organization helps will appreciate the opportunity to provide you helpful feedback.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Arts councils are seeking information about diverse, minority art efforts

If you're on a non-profit board, you already know that your organization is facing some challenges. You're not alone. A recent study indicated that other non-profits are looking at broad issues, such as diversity, particularly where government funds are concerned.

I recently talked with a few CEOs of arts councils. Most of them provide some type of grant dollars to local artists and groups. However, a challenge is often actually finding diverse populations to receive the funds.

As one CEO told me, you have to really look for minority groups which have qualifying grant programs - and who want and can use the money.

MARKETING TIP: If you are with a diverse population or minority board, reach out to your local arts council and let them know you exist. When you do a fundraiser, make sure you notify your local media - at least two weeks or more in advance. Get your message out there. Your publicity efforts may pay off in the long run with free money to advance your cause.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Fundraising? Here are some basic strategies ...

People often shudder when they hear the word "fundraising." Asking for money is something most people hesitate from offering to do.

Knocking on the doors is one way to do it, but using your noggin and putting some powerful strategies in place is a better way.

And recruiting people who know others is the best way.

I found this article that I want to share with you. Read it. Share it with your board, your executive director, your staff. This works for any organization with a board who dips its toe into that fancy word "development," which really means asking for money.

MARKETING: When people hear that you have a plan in place with the right people, they are more apt to write a check. Publicize your mission and who you have on your team. Get the word out.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Finding the right type of board member ...

Companies, non-profits, towns and cities all have boards and commissions of some kind. For a company, it may be a recreation committee. A non-profit may have a board of directors. A governing body will have planning boards, beautification committees, etc. You get my drift.

Well, sometimes the members aren't exactly productive. They aren't fully on board with the mission. Their position is one of status, so they think.

How do you find board members who are really good? You set up interviews.
I invite you to read this and find out the types of questions to ask. They will help you find the right persons for your needs.

MARKETING TIP: When you bring on the right kind of person for your organization, board, committee, word will get out in a positive way. The perception of what you do will bring good will and good press. 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Bands, do you want to toot your own horn?

Oh, here we go again. I start pulling my hair out this time of year as I write press releases about musical entertainers and bands.

More times than I care to remember, I have had to beg for information, such as hi-res images, the instruments each band member plays, background about the band, ages of the band members, a press kit and the list goes on. I've even had to beg for a phone number, where only an email was available. I've had to beg for interviews with the leader of the band or the sole performer.

I write press releases. I also write articles for print. My releases are used by broadcast and print media, as pre-event publicity.

So, hey you guitar player, you banjo player, you singer - please listen up. If you want people to know your group exists, then spoon feed information to people, like me, who need it.

MARKETING TIP: If you're a member of a band, decide if you want it to be something where you get paid on a regular basis. If you do, then make darned sure that your information on your website or social media site is complete.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Who owns a festival?

I joked one time to a friend who was putting on a public special event that he needed to "own the event." Someone needs to.

Festivals and special events are held in communities, small towns and large cities worldwide. Have you ever thought about who actually owns the event?

Typically there are  scenarios.

1) a local government will create the event and will produce/promote the event with city staff.
2) a local government will create an event and contract with a production company or a non-profit to produce the event
3) an organization or company, not associated with local government, will produce the event, even possibly pulling in other organizations, such as non-profits (church, school, civic). The organization can be a school class, Sunday school group or a neighborhood.

You can't have an event without money. You have to spend some up front, during and then pay bills afterwards. The management of the money should be clearly stated in relationship to the body which created the event and the one which produced it. Something should be in writing as to who owns the event, particularly for insurance and financial liability.

Otherwise, questions about. I've run into these scenarios several times. When questions arise, they tend to put a cloud over the event. That hurts attendance and revenue.

MARKETING TIP: Create a paper trail when you're producing an event. Make sure all the stakeholders know their role, who the decision makers are and who is handling the funds. Once all that is in place, you will move forward with a good event.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Trending - colors, logos, type style

It's a new year! Not only are fashions changing, but so are the looks of advertising - colors, logos, style, fonts and the list goes on.

I find this article particularly fascinating. How many of us consider those things when we're setting forth our corporate look?

Let's look at McDonald's for example. We know the company by the "Golden Arches," but the style of everything keeps changing. It stays new that way.

So I encourage you to read this article and share it with your design team, your advertising agency, your marketing team.

MARKETING TIP: Yes, you do need to be consistent with your look and feel, but you can include some current graphic "fashion," if you will. Remember the ages of your customers. They dictate change.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Why do I post? Where do I get my content?

I receive a lot of questions about why I have this blog and where I find my content material.

For years, I worked in the N.C. tourism industry and saw numerous people attend seminars on working with the media. The sessions were quite informative. One would think that attendees would go back to their respective attractions, hotels, tourism offices, chamber offices, festival offices, etc. and incorporate their newly-learned knowledge into their promotional activities.


Instead, I saw those attendees bitch, moan and complain that they couldn't get media coverage.

Oh hello!!!!!!

Since my background includes a lot of years working in various TV and radio jobs, plus a few stints along the way in print, I felt compelled to start this blog.

Later on, I began teaching small business promotion classes at community colleges and saw a need for basic business education. That crosses over to festivals, events, non-profits and attractions - as all of them should operate as a business. Many don't.

I started working with small towns, helping them not only tell their story, but also tidy up their operations and consider grants to spur economic development and quality of life.

Where do I get my material? I keep my eyes and ears open. Something as simple as ordering a beverage at a drive-through window may spark an entire discussion. Or, I may pick up an idea during a conversation, or by watching the news.

So I appreciate your reading my blog. It's educational - with absolutely no advertising. If you find something you can use, steal it.

Happy Reading!