Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Tylenol Test

Dateline: Illinois. In 1982, the makers of Tylenol spent $100 million to rehab the brand when seven people died in Chicagoland after tampering. Despite the tragedy, Tylenol survived and the incident is a case study for public relations students. The spin doctors, Hill & Knowlton offered this advice: "Tell the truth. Tell it all. Tell it now." It's terrific advice for any person or corporation facing a crisis. Think of the newsmakers who would have not gone to court or prison if they had told the truth early on in a scandal.

Now, the governor of Illinois is facing impeachment. He's also a master manipulator of the media. In America, he's innocent until proven guilty. But in the jury of the press, if I were his Soundbite Coach, I'd ask him to quit creating news diversions and learn the lesson from the event that happened in his neighborhood 27 years ago: tell the truth.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Cool Way to Send a Press Release

One of the public relations companies that routinely pitches guests to me for my daily talk show has started doing something that's definitely different--important with the dozens of books, emails and letters I get each day.

This company is sending its pitch on a thumb drive. To make the pitch even more solid, the logo of the guest's book or product is on the drive, and a video report is included with a press release and photos. I'm impressed. It undoubtedly costs more to make and send these drives than it would to just send a letter or email, but when you consider the cost of advertising or mailing preview books, the investment may be smart.

The drive alone doesn't sell me; the content still has to be right for our program. But in a world where catching attention is the first biggest hurdle, this works.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy 2009 - Media Savvy Resolutions

Happy New Year! I'm excited that this begins the 9th year I've been sending out my montly e-newsletter, called Media Savvy eTips. I always put different advice in the eTip than the suggestions or observations I share in this blog. But I've had such terrific reaction to the latest edition, that I wanted you to benefit from it, too. The eTip urged readers to set Media Savvy goals for each month of the new year. Here are the first five resolutions:

For January, I resolve to create a media contact sheet. It will include names, emails, addresses and phone numbers of local, regional, national and trade reporters and editors.

For February, I resolve to introduce myself as an expert resource to each person on my media contact sheet.

For March, I resolve to raise my profile on social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Tweeter, etc.

For April, I resolve to submit myself as a source on

For May, I resolve to improve my ability to speak in soundbites in one of the following ways: getting coaching, joining Toastmasters or recording myself answering questions on a home camera.

If you are not already a subscriber to Media Savvy eTips, please consider signing up. You can do so by going to my website and clicking on the portion on the upper right that mentions the free newsletter. Or you can send me an email with "etips subscribe" in the subject line. And if you'd like the other seven resolutions, just ask.

In the meantime, have a happy, productive new year!