- What is my message? You need to first ask yourself why are you creating a website. Is it just to have one? What do you want that website to communicate?
- Who cares? My news editor asked me that question when we talked about what news stories should go on the air. You need to know your own audience. Who are you trying to reach? What do you want them to do? What do they care about?
- How will I keep the site current? Nothing is worse than a static website. You must keep the content fluid and updated. This is where a blog page comes in handy. You can also add vlogs and podcasts. This helps with SEO’s and other marketing campaigns.
- How can I re-purpose my content? At DMG, we are always talking to clients about re-purposing content. There are many platforms to send messages, including social media, which should be used to drive traffic to your site. You can also use the content in digital marketing campaigns. Your web content should be the main content that you create and from there you can re-purpose it for other uses.
- What am I offering my clients/customers or potential ones? Many of us are offering services or products that solve problems. Does your website content convey that message?
- What is my story? You need to know your own story before others will care about your business or service. What sets you apart? Why are you in the business?
- What images help tell my story? People love photos and these photos can be repurposed on social media sites. Images can include graphics, charts and other images.
- Who are my competitors? Any time I work with clients on websites, we go to websites of their competitors and evaluate what they like and don’t like about each one. This is like getting three bids when hiring someone. You should look at three different website that are in your industry.
- How many tabs do I want on the home page? You need to know what are your main offerings and main messages. What will be tabs and what will be sub-tabs. I have run into this issue numerous times when clients don’t know what they want as main tabs.
- What images and content do I want on my home page? This is imperative. They say don’t judge a book by its cover? Your entire website could be judged by its homepage. You have seconds to grabs someone’s attention. Your homepage sends an important message that will either entice someone to click on tabs or click off your website.
I get it. It’s your story and perhaps you even pitched it but don’t try to take over what the reporter is writing. I realize the importance of controlling your message. I consult clients on this all the time. It can be done without irritating the reporter doing the story.
This is most important when a media outlet reaches out to you. If someone calls to use you in the article or news story or even write an entire story about you or your company, first be grateful; that’s assuming it’s a positive story. If you are battling a crisis, that is another issue entirely.
For the purpose of this article, let’s assume it’s a positive piece. As a journalist, I have reached out to numerous people over the years to write about them or include them in a story. Nothing irritates me more than when that person or their PR person tries to hijack my story. I am all for offering ideas or angles and often when I interview people, I learn things that make the story that much better but don’t try to control the story. Not only will the reporter ditch it, he or she may never contact you again.
If you are about to be interviewed, remember some important rules.
- Don’t ever ask a reporter to read the story before it goes to print. Another PR person I was working with on a joint story that I happened to have pitched, asked that of a veteran writer from a prominent publication and he emailed back, basically calling her out on her ignorance. I privately apologized for her, mainly because I was the one who pitched the story idea.
- Don’t insist on meeting in person. Reporters are extremely busy and are doing much more than they ever have done in the past. They have little time. If they ask for a phone interview or want to email questions, comply with their request. Don’t insist on the reporter coming to your office or you to them.
- Offer suggestions, don’t demand. Reporters appreciate ideas or suggestions but don’t start telling him how to write his story or report the story. Most reporters know what they are doing; they don’t need you to explain their job to them. Often, what you may think is story, no one else does.
- Support your information with facts. If you make a claim, support it with data and facts. Don’t just make a statement and assume a reporter will believe you. You can offer opinions but don’t state fact without backing it up. Don’t make the story about your opinion. The reporter already has an idea of how he or she wants to tell the story. Your opinions will be included but they won’t be the entire story.
- If you don’t write, don’t correct. I have had various people over the years who think they can write, correct my work. They don’t know AP style writing and sometimes don’t even have a firm grasp on basic grammar. Unless you are finding a typo or correcting inaccurate information, don’t demand a rewrite or correct the reporter’s style of writing. You should know their style before you agreed to the interview. Writing is a skill. There is a reason people major in journalism. Respect the profession and the writer.
Mackinac Policy Conference recap written by Vanessa Denha-Garmo can be found in the Chaldean News.
What messages are you delivering to your potential customers and clients?
Depending on the size, print ads can include content and images that market your service or product.
Billboards and Buttons
Whether it is a drive-by message or a pass-out piece or give-a-way, there are various ways to market yourself and this includes campaigns, communities and people.
You can pose one question or make one sound statement that prompts people to react or take action. Who doesn’t know the “Got Milk?” question? You can play off of notable campaigns for your own projects. Years ago, a client did just that when he purchased three billboards in northern Michigan where drivers would see on their way to the annual Mackinac Policy Conference hosted by the Detroit Regional Chamber. member of the media even took photos and tweeted about it. One billboard said “Got Vision?” The second billboard said “Got Leadership?” and the third said “Got Regional Cooperation?”
Telling your story should be part of your advertising and marketing campaign. people want to know who you are and what you do.
We told a lot of stories this past month but unlike something children would say, they were all true.
There are many ways to tell a story and various platforms to deliver that story. One of the first things we do in strategy is to identify the story.
What makes a story?
Is there an event or opening of some kind? This past month our client, the Chaldean Cultural Center Museum opened to the public. It had been more than a decade in the making and today people can visit the museum inside Shenandoah Country Club. More than a dozen media outlets covered the opening of the Cultural Center and Museum. Below are links to some of the media coverage.
Some clients deliver speeches like the State of a City. Denha Media Group helped produce a behind the scenes video of the event that will air on the show In the W on WLND. Also, we helped pitch the delivery of the speech and contents of the speech to the media. Each part can be broken down into its own story.
We helped tell three distinct stories in videos for the Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards dinner. They bestowed awards for the Business Person of the Year, the Humanitarian of the Year and a Special Recognition Piece. All three videos can be seen on the Denha Media TV channel on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/user/DENHAMEDIA
Each month we produce Catholic programs that air around the globe. These programs are commissioned by Mar Toma Productions and can be seen on YouTube on the Mar Toma Productions Channel. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCC2Ecg_ZK1-uKPBC6ie9ubA/featured
A News Event
The Michigan Liquor Control Commission was going to rescind the half mile rule for liquor licenses. Our client the AFPD, fought back and took the story to the media. The MLCC reconsidered and the half mile rule is still in place. They are now following proper protocols to get a rule changed. Below is some media coverage about the story.
A Town Hall Meeting
Hosting Town Hall meetings for some groups is an effective way to engage a targeted audience. The Michigan Statewide Independent Living Council (MiSILC) has been doing just that these past several weeks. They are traveling around the state meeting with people with disabilities on a fact gathering and listening tour. They are learning much about the needs of the constituency and the media is taking notice. http://www.miningjournal.net/news/front-page-news/2017/04/state-agency-collects-input-for-policy-plan/
The Detroit Skating Club is a premier skating club that has churned out many champion skaters including Olympic medalists. They host a top notch Ice Show every year. We help them use social media to share what’s happening at DSC and to promote the annual Ice Show. This year it is called Skating in Color. https://www.facebook.com/detroitSkatingClub/?ref=bookmarks
These are just a few samples of how to tell and deliver a story. There are many platforms you can use. It’s all about whom you are trying to reach and what you want them to know! We are also tell our own stories. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram. It is Denha Media Group!