Renee Prejean-Motanky

Archive for the ‘Public Relations’ Category

The Six Questions You Should Ask to Get a Powerful Testimonial Are:

In Business Strategies, Communications, Integrated Marketing Strategy, marketing, marketing campaign, Public Relations, Tips You Can Use on August 13, 2013 at 3:44 pm


1. What was the obstacle that would have prevented you from buying this product/service?
2. What did you find as a result of buying this product/service?
3. What specific feature did you like most about this product/service?
4. What would be three other benefits about this product/service?
5. Would you recommend this product/service? If so, why?
6. Is there anything you’d like to add?


In Communications, Media Relations, Public Relations, Tips You Can Use on July 4, 2013 at 3:21 pm

Media Coverage

First, know the goals and direction of the interview. Is it for the reporter’s background or on the record? Even if it’s a background interview, it can still be a good use of time, as journalists and bloggers tend to return to good sources. If it’s for attribution, assume you aren’t the only one being interviewed and remember what your competitive edge is.

Be prompt. Sometimes even great interviews don’t make it into the story because they blow the editorial deadline. Make sure you know what that deadline is and adhere to it. Journalists work in a dynamic environment, so being included in a story often comes down to being the first to return a reporter’s call.

Be accessible. Don’t speak in buzzwords, acronyms, or technical jargon and, if you must, then explain any terms used succinctly. If you’re being recorded for radio or TV, speak in sound bites, and “headline” your responses by leading with the important information first, then add details and supporting points.

Be contrarian. Don’t feel you have to tow a straight line. Carve out what makes you different, and deliver your point of view in a bold and confident way.

Coin a phrase. Catch phrases and analogies can break through and ensure a successful quote. For example, if you can be the first to call derivatives “financial weapons of mass destruction” (as Warren Buffet did) or dub a self-imposed Twitter crisis a “Twimmolation” (ref: TIME Magazine; James Poniewozik), then you’ll probably own the pull quote.

Be colorful. Consider visual metaphors to make your point. Instead of saying your product launch is successful, maybe say it’s a hit of “Beyoncé proportions.” A training program isn’t just the best, it’s the “Show Me the Money” of the category. A competitor’s mission isn’t merely difficult, it’s “changing tires while driving on two wheels.”  You get my drift…

Use statistics. A single, compelling statistic, piece of research, or fact can make a big difference in an interview, because it adds credibility. Pull out your big guns, but use them sparingly.

Go deeper. Spend an extra 10 minutes thinking a level beyond your most logical comment to a topical question or issue. If you can be prepared to share the reasons behind a development, an emerging trend, or a prediction for the future, your quote will stand out.

Reference your own authority. Because your remarks are often subject to editing, it’s a good idea to reference your credentials and to mention your company at least once during the first three responses. But don’t overdo it or you’ll sound like an advertisement rather than an authority.

10 Skills PR Pros Will Need in 2020

In Communications, Integrated Marketing Strategy, marketing, Public Relations, Tips You Can Use on June 27, 2013 at 12:58 am

Media Coverage

A year ago on June 12th, Arik Hanson Keynoted  the Puget Sound PSRA Pro Conference. The topic he spoke on — What skills does tomorrow’s PR pro need to be successful? — a topic he knows a thing or two about. Through his business in Minnesota; Help a PR Pro Out (HAPPO), he talks, at length, to a number of people about the skills required in today’s marketplace.

That’s not to say that traditional PR skills are dead. On the contrary, they’re more important than ever. But these emerging skills are also critical. And in most cases, they’re simply a layer on top of the traditional skills we’re all so familiar with.

This list is based on conversations Arik has had with recruiters, agency owners, and colleagues over a period of a few years. These are skills many employers are not just looking for—they’re demanding them. More and more, we’ll see this become a trend.
For now, let’s roll through Arik’s list of the 10 skills tomorrow’s PR pro must have to succeed (along with resources and tips):

1. Advertising copywriting

“Tactics I’ve seen include social media management, e-newsletters, Facebook advertising, Google Adwords, and more, and I expect that to increase. Because online advertising is often rooted in messaging rather than creative, it makes sense for PR agencies to drive a lot of it.” – Rachel Kay, owner, RKPR

Resources:Social Fresh Facebook Ad Report

2. Video editing/production

“I predict a large portion of our client budgets will be devoted to creating, editing, and distributing unique company content (blog posts, video interviews, photo albums, etc.). PR professionals will be expected to be savvy with several tools, from social networks to editing software (like Final Cut Pro and PhotoShop) to monitoring and analytics tools (like SM2, Sysomos and Radian6). ” – Anne Buchanan, owner, Buchanan PR

“iMovie should be a standard skill that PR pros should be familiar with. Apple offers some great easy tutorials and, of course, free workshops at their stores for Mac owners. Baseline knowledge of Final Cut and even sound editing using Garage Band [is] even better.” – Scott Meis, director, digital strategy, Weber Shandwick.

Tom Martin’s 28 ways to use an iPhone for blog content:

3. Mobile

“In the next few years, PR professionals will (hopefully) embrace and start leveraging mobile as part of recommended strategy and daily work. To date, I see too many poor examples of leveraging the medium (lazy slapping on QR codes, for example), and our PR peers not understanding the important nuance that mobile can add to campaigns today.

“Mobile should be a business driver, not a one-off add-on or neutered experience. Unfortunately, much like social media years back, it’s my assumption the PR industry won’t place importance on this channel until our clients start specifically asking for it.” – Greg Swan, vice president of digital strategy, Weber Shandwick

Mall of America uses QR code event to drive awareness, sales on Black Friday.

Follow @aaronstrout and @schneidermike, both of whom are great location-based marketing experts. Or, if that’s too hard, just buy their book, “Location Based Marketing for Dummies.”

4. Social content creation/curation

“I think we’ll begin to own the content piece of digital marketing. Right now, too many executives, marketers, and sales people own it, which creates more sales-y content that doesn’t go anywhere. PR pros, by nature, are storytellers and the content will begin to shift to those who know how to write engaging and valuable content.” – Gini Dietrich, owner, Arment Dietrich

Check out Joe Pulizzi’s blog, which is full of great content ideas and strategies. I also think Shel Holtz has some interesting ideas around content curation; he’s a big fan of Storify (which I love as a tool for brands).

5. Analytics

“The PR professional of tomorrow is faced with an unlimited source of data about their key audiences. It will be critical for the PR pro to be able to analyze large amounts of data pertaining to search behaviors, engagement patterns on Facebook and other social platforms and, most importantly, understand how to measure their contribution to the impact of a communications program and business objective(s).

“The time has long since passed where the PR pro can claim ignorance on how to gather, analyze, and develop insights from data. There isn’t an expectation that he/she will be a data analyst, but if he/she isn’t comfortable working with a data analyst then they will be left behind.” – Chuck Hemann, director of analytics, WCG

The Google Analytics blog and KD Paine’s Measurement blog are must-reads for those looking to learn more about analytics.

6. Search engine optimization (SEO)

“Unless they’re trying to hide, PR pros must accelerate content discovery & distribution with social & SEO skills.” – Lee Odden, blogger, author, owner, TopRankMarketing

Don’t let SEO take over your content.

Lee Odden’s Online Marketing blog and SEOMoz are great resources if you’re looking to learn more about SEO.

7. Speed to information

“It’s a lot easier to anticipate opportunities and challenges when you’re aware of them before your competition or detractors.” – Len Kendall, Golin Harris

Tools for content discovery:
Diigo, Google Reader, Evernote, Instapaper

8. Programming skills

“The PR pro of the future (quite frankly, today) will definitely need to have a firm grasp of all the necessary tools to create, manage, and analyze digital content. For example, the ability to manipulate code in a WordPress site or a content management system such as Buddy Media has quickly become a basic requirement.” – Alex Tan, director, digital, Golin Harris

Resources: is a great resource for the average PR pro looking to learn more about coding. You can get a lesson a week send to you each week for a year to get you started.

9. Managing virtual teams

As more companies allow their employees to work remotely (in fact, some businesses are entirely virtual), the challenge of managing a remote workforce will come to the forefront. How will managers motivate, monitor, discipline, and inspire workers spread across the country, even the world? Not to mention foster engagement among them.

Focus on results, not time in the office

Check out for some great posts and tools to help you better manage virtual teams.

10. Blogger outreach

“In PR, one of our core roles is to help brands deliver the right message to the right audience. Media relations is one effective tool. But a number of bloggers are also building strong readership in niche subject areas. If you’re ignoring bloggers, I think you’re doing a disservice to your clients. Pitching bloggers isn’t the same as pitching other kinds of media; however, PR people need to understand how to innovate media-relations best practices and incorporate blogger outreach into their strategies. “ – Heather Whaling, owner, Geben Communication

Resist the urge to sell right away

Heather Whaling’s PRTini is one of the better and more forward-thinking blogs when it comes to blogger outreach strategies. Subscribe now.

Twelve Things We Think We Know About Marketing…but don’t

In marketing, Public Relations on June 15, 2009 at 3:25 am
Ultimate Marketing System from Duct Tape Marketing
Image by ducttapemarketingvia Flickr

Marketing is one of those practices that looks easy from the outside… kind of like tightrope walking.   To anyone who hasn’t done it successfully, it is viewed through a lens of myths rather than by the reality.  And these are the myths that impede effective marketing.

1.  We know what business we’re in

Maybe in the past, but not today!  Today we’re in the marketing business (practicing whatever it is we do to for our customers.

2.  Marketing is Marketing.  What works for marketing products, works for marketing services.

Though there may be a hundred folks behind the manufacture of a widget, the only connection between that widget and the consumer is the widget.  If your product is a professional service then your connection to the consumer is the individual who provides the service.  There’s a big difference in marketing services and products.

3.  The marketing director can do it.

The marketing director, depending on his/her training, might be able to create a great marketing campaign for a product that could motivate people to try it, but consultants are never hired because of marketing programs.  The marketing director can lend support by doing the things that afford a professional the context and opportunity to sell a prospective client.

4.  Marketing is selling.

Too many make this mistake.  Marketing is the PROCESS  that utilizes a broad spectrum of tools to position, educate and sell a product or service to prospective customers.  Sales is the result of the marketing process.

5.  We need a brochure and a newsletter.

A brochure is good only if you don’t expect it to do your selling for you and only if it truly makes you stand out from all the others out there.  It’s a small (and can be very expensive) tool in a total marketing program.  The same is true for a newsletter–but add to that; you only need it if you have something valuable to say to its readers. 

6.  PR is free advertising

It is not! You do pay for advertising while you don’t pay for PR… but there is a difference between the two.  As an advertiser you can pretty much say what you want (as long as it’s the truth) and it’s possible to use”edgy”, eye-dazzlingly techniques to grab attention because you’re paying for the space, but PR must comply with numerous standards that you don’t get to determine because you’re not paying for it.  PR requires subtlety. It’s purpose is to educate your consumer.  Then someone else tells your story in their words! 

7.  Our budget for marketing should be a percentage of sales

That formula only works for products… for more reasons that I can list here.  It doesn’t work for professional servicesfor almost as many reasons.  But one important reason is that the nature of professional service firm marketing is such that return on investment occurs over a much longer time frame.  What does work is to budget by the project.

8.  Be nice to the media

You don’t have to be nice to anyone you feel is dishonest, has questionable integrity or ability.  Fortunately most media aren’t like that, but don’t be naive.  Understand that life and the press are not always fair!  So watch what you say and know that nothing is ever “off the record.”

9.  Quality is a good marketing tool

One of the key definitions of professionalism is quality performance and service.  Not to supply quality service is a tool for self destruction.  Quality is never a good marketing tool — you get no credit for it.  If you’re a professional, it should be a given.  Assume quality as a basic concept and it will pay off in client relationships and repeat business.

10.  Reputation sells

While a good reputation is a plus, no one buys a service or profession based on reputation alone.  Remember also that reputation is fragile… like a bicyle, as long as yo keep peddling it keeps moving, but the minute you stop… kablam!  Down you go.  You have to keep peddling.

11.  Image matters

Image may be the original marketing myth!  Only reality matters.  If you want to change the perception of your firm, change your firm — the perception will follow.

12.  Marketing is a science

While the rules of marketing are predicated on a large body of experience ( like science), that same experience tells us that marketing is ultmately an art form and that the rules can be thoughtfully broken.  Marketing is taking basic tools and techniques and exercising them artfully. 

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