PR for Client Acquisition

What is the ROI of PR
What is the ROI of PR
By Mark Macias

 

What’s the secret sauce to PR? It’s one of the most popular questions I hear from tech startups and business owners who want to understand the process or formula for media placements.

 

That’s like asking a defense attorney, how do you get your clients out of jail, but for simplicity sake, every PR campaign must be unique and tailored to the client for it to succeed with media placements. There is no such thing as one size fits all when it comes to getting a story placed with the Wall Street Journal, USA Today or CNBC.

 

Earlier this week, I spoke with the CMO of a private equity firm who asked me about the process of PR. After I explained how PR works, I turned the question back to her and asked about her firm’s “process” for finding new clients. She said it involved emails, press releases and conferences.

 

Let me compare those three processes – email, press releases and conferences – to PR, as a form of client acquisition.

 

Emails – An email marketing blast is only as good as its list, but what is your personal response to spam? Do you view it in a favorable light? My PR firm has sent out invites to hedge fund/private equity forums, using email services like Chimp Mail. We weren’t selling our services – only inviting people to a free forum that discussed emerging trends in alternative assets. Less than 3 percent of the respondants even opened their email from Chimp Mail. This approach didn’t even give us a chance to introduce the forum because spam filters kept the message out. When I asked that CMO about their ROI from email, she admitted, it didn’t perform too well. This marketing approach will become even less influential as cyber hackers attempt to penetrate more emails via spam.

 

Press Releases – The term Press releases are thrown around randomly in the world of business. For clarity, a press release is not a method for getting a story on the news – contrary to what most people believe. A press release is posted on a PR newswire and no journalist, reporter or producer will go to the PR newswires to look for a story idea. However, a press release can help you with SEO when it is written correctly with key SEO terms. Ask yourself, what is the purpose of my press release before you send it out. A press release can be especially effective for tech startups that need to establish an online presence or put a milestone on the record, but if you’re hoping it will lead to a story in the Wall Street Journal, it’s a waste of money.

 

Conferences/Networking – We all need to network and conferences provide intimate opportunities to meet potential business partners in a less threatening environment. I’m actually speaking on a panel this week at a hedge fund conference in Las Vegas. If 100 people hear me speak and I meet another 100 new people, I will consider it a succeess. But it’s hard to introduce your services on a larger scale at conferences. Even if you bring a large team to the conference, most of us can’t associate a face with a business card after 15. And with some conferences now costing upwards of $8k, that is money that could be invested in a multi-month PR campaign that better spreads your message.

 

PR – I’m partial because I own a PR firm, but I’ve seen how a story in the news can lead to new clients. Mobile apps are one of the best ways to quantify the value of a PR campaign. Earlier this summer, Macias PR launched a communications app, Blush No More, to help position our top-rated firm in the news. One story in the Daily Mail UK led to more than 900 downloads. That Daily Mail story led to interest by Channel 11 in NYC, which ran a TV story on our mobile app. Another 800 new app downloads followed that Channel 11 story. But you don’t need to be in the B2C space to take advantage of PR. Media campaigns can target trade publications, giving your business an opportunity to find new business. Next month, our B2B client will be in Wall Street Lawyer -a prominent B2B Reuters publication. That story will introduce this company to new potential clients that can use their services.

 

Online advertising is another new business approach and for tech startups it can be their first thought for publicity, but a recent Google report showed that roughly 50 percent of all online ad views are seen by robots. You know what that means? Advertisers are getting cheated from their ad buys because companies are paying for a certain number of page views and only half of those are legitimate. Keep in mind, the source of that report is Google – an online advertiser.

 

So the next time  your CMO wants to measure the ROI of the different marketing approaches, think about why we actively solicit news articles and actively avoid viewing ads.

 

Macias PR was named the 2015 “PR Consultant Firm of the Year – USA” by Finance Monthly. The firm was founded by Mark Macias – a former Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York. Macias is a weekly contributor with CNBC.com and author of the communications book, Beat the Press: Your Guide to Managing the Media, which has been featured in the NY Times, Fox Business, NY Post and others. Macias PR has run media campaigns for tech startups, financial groups, service providers, nonprofits and politicians.

 

Is PR the next Disruption to Finance?

By Mark Macias

Technology has sent the giants falling like dominoes.

Blockbuster Video, Tower Records and others – destroyed after they failed to adapt to technology.

Asset management has remained primarily immune to any major disruptions from technology but that could change soon.

In September 2015, Macias PR hosted a hedge fund and private equity forum where we brought together industry leaders to discuss some of the emerging trends and threats they are seeing in alternative assets. One of the panelists detailed how cyber security is a potential tech disruption to fund managers and predicted it will hit the small and medium sized funds hardest.

But there is another potential disruption that could hit the alternative asset industry. It’s a legislative disruption, called the JOBS Act, which drastically changes the way fund managers find new investors.

I meet hedge fund managers all the time who say they don’t need publicity. But when I ask them: would you want your fund to appear in a Wall Street Journal story? All of them say yes.

One-on-one introductions with investors won’t go away, but now that the JOBS Act allows funds to market themselves to investors via the media, suddenly smart fund managers can reach thousands and even millions of targeted investors with only one news story.

Keep in mind, I’m not talking about advertisements. I’m talking about news stories that appear inside the influential financial publications, like the Financial Times, Wall Street Journal and Institutional Investor Magazine.

Here’s an infographic that takes a closer look at why PR is positioned to disrupt the financial industry.

infographic on benefits of financial pr

 

How to create a media narrative

SxgvBL9zdbQkBrFv13anliGDAsGk5cdpMs7OHcPi_0NX_2VmUzghPlbKHrHlqnLqT8YT=w300-1By Mark Macias

I like to give PR tips on our Facebook page. Earlier this month, a tech startup entrepreneur inspired a post after she said she spent 30 minutes on the phone with a New York Times reporter, but her business was never mentioned in the final story. She never identified a media narrative. It led to this post:

PR Tip of the Day: A great narrative is important when dealing with reporters, but your pitch must always include enough intrigue that the media can’t do the story without you as the expert.

On a macro level, this is similar to what we are seeing right now with VP Joe Biden’s potential entry into the race. Will he run or won’t he run? The suspense is putting Biden in the center of the narrative, which if he decides to run, will give him an advantage with his media campaign.

How can intrigue work to your favor with the media?

Click here to read the media analysis I gave to CNBC and how VP Joe Biden is using it to his advantage.

Macias PR was named the 2015 “PR Consultant Firm of the Year – USA” by Finance Monthly. The firm was founded by Mark Macias – a former Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York. Macias is a weekly contributor with CNBC.com and author of the communications book, Beat the Press: Your Guide to Managing the Media, which has been featured in the NY Times, Fox Business, NY Post and others. Macias PR has run media campaigns for tech startups, financial groups, service providers, nonprofits and politicians.

Selling PR like a Magician

By Mark Macias

Sometimes you just get lucky.

As a business owner, I am extremely lucky to work closely with the CEO of one of the country’s oldest lending organization. Every time we speak, I learn how to become a better business owner, entrepreneur, publicist and person.

Earlier this week, this CEO led an inspiring speaking series where he explained how he uses “magic” to sell in his boardroom. Not the kind of magic that deceives people, but the kind of magic that allows people to believe in you and your product.

We may not realize it, but if we want to grow our businesses, we must inspire others to believe in our products or services. Tech startups, young entrepreneurs and even experienced business owners must continually prove to potential customers or clients why our expertise will take their business to a higher level. We must also convince journalists to believe in our tech startup or business if we are going to succeed with media placements.

As a former Executive Producer with NBC in New York, I needed to believe in a story before I approved it. Now, as the owner of a PR firm, I need to get other journalists to believe in our clients if we are going to succeed in our media campaigns. And after listening to this inspiring speech, I am going to sprinkle a little “magic” as we try to sell our stories to reporters.

So what is this magic that this CEO shared with his audience made up of business owners, entrepreneurs and sales people? Click here to read that story I wrote for Digital Journal and to watch a video excerpt from his speech.

Macias PR was named the 2015 “PR Consultant Firm of the Year – USA” by Finance Monthly. The firm was founded by Mark Macias – a former Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York. Macias is a weekly contributor with CNBC.com and author of the communications book, Beat the Press: Your Guide to Managing the Media, which has been featured in the NY Times, Fox Business, NY Post and others. Macias PR has run media campaigns for tech startups, financial groups, service providers, nonprofits and politicians.

ROI of PR vs. Advertising – Infographic Analysis

By Mark Macias

I converse with business owners on a daily basis and the conversations inevitably lead to the various marketing strategies/trends, along with the ROI they bring. Surprisingly, there are many misconceptions of PR in the business community, including you can’t quantitatively measure the ROI of PR.

Our team put together this infographic that compares the ROI of two of the most popular marketing strategies: PR and Advertising. Everything is sourced for your own analysis.

PR VS Advertising - An ROI Comparison of Marketing Strategies

Mark Macias is a former Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York. He’s also a weekly contributor with CNBC.com and author of the communications book, Beat the Press: Your Guide to Managing the Media, which has been featured in the NY Times, Fox Business, NY Post and others. Macias consults small and large businesses on how to get publicity. You can read more on his firm at MaciasPR.

How to Sell Your Story to the Media

Macias PR - How to sell your storyBy Mark Macias

Identifying a great narrative is the most important element behind any successful media campaign, but selling your story to the media can’t be overlooked.

You can have the best idea, but if you sell it the wrong way, your story will never be pitched in any morning news meeting. More relevant, you typically only get one chance to make a first impression in business, and in journalism, it lasts only a few seconds.

During my time as an Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York, tech startups, business owners and publicists pitched me all kinds of stories on topics ranging from consumer tech to medical, health to features.

At the same time, I had to pitch stories on a daily basis to a room full of jaded, experienced journalists who had heard every news idea possible. It’s very hard to reinvent the wheel or spin a square idea with that group.

So how do you sell a story idea to journalists?

Don’t try to tell any reporter that this is a great story, or revolutionary or why everyone loves your product or service. They will read right through it. Instead, take an objective approach and back it up with words that aren’t opinionated.

For example, take a look at that truck in the photo above. It has a story just like you and I have a story to tell. What has that truck seen, or why is it still running years after others have failed? How did it accumulate that rust? What are the stories that took place inside of that truck? Any scandalous cross-country ventures that took place inside the cabin?

That is how you sell a story to the media. And please, don’t use those words or phrases that are on the left box. Every journalist hears those phrases several times a day, so that is the quickest way to get your story rejected before it is even pitched.

Macias PR was named the 2015 top “PR Consultant Firm of the Year – USA” by Finance Monthly. The firm was founded by Mark Macias – a former Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York. Macias is a weekly contributor with CNBC.com and author of the communications book, Beat the Press: Your Guide to Managing the Media, which has been featured in the NY Times, Fox Business, NY Post and others. Macias PR has run media campaigns for tech startups, financial groups, service providers, nonprofits and politicians.

How to Lose Twitter Followers

By: Mark Macias

Imagine the pain of learning you lost 3200 Twitter followers overnight. It was a painful reality for a popular morning TV personality in Phoenix.

Tara Hitchcock was the morning show anchor for Good Morning Arizona in Phoenix a few years ago. The TV industry is a transient field, so I didn’t read too much into her departure when I heard the news until I read this in an article:

“She has started up a new Twitter account -@taratv- in place of her old one, which is owned by Channel 3.”

Tara spent her TV career in Phoenix, promoting that Twitter handle, but she lost control of it because she didn’t own the handle.

Own Your Twitter Handle

Tara Hitchcock is unfortunately not alone.

I have many close friends in the TV business and many of them associate their Twitter accounts with their current employer. It’s great to drink the Kool-Aid and drop ABC or CBS in your handle, but what happens when you switch employers. These reporters and anchors are harming their ability to brand themselves by giving away their influential Twitter power to the networks.

This doesn’t just apply to TV personalities.

There are many companies that will create a Twitter or Facebook account for any small businesses and for free. They even will help grow your fan base for a small fee, but when you read the fine print, you will see that you don’t own the Facebook page or the Twitter handle.

You don’t need to be a calculus major to see what will happen when  you take your business to another social media provider: you will lose your account.

So before you go identifying your entire brand with one employer, or even one industry on Twitter and Facebook, think of what could happen if four years down the road, you decide to take a different path.

Use a Facebook and Twitter name that you can take with you. I’m glad I did that during my time with NBC and CBS, which is why you can follow me on Twitter/MarkMacias or on Facebook.com/maciaspr.

Mark Macias is a former Executive Producer with WNBC, Senior Producer with WCBS and Special Projects Producer with NBC. He’s also the author of the communications book, Beat the Press: Your Guide to Managing the Media. Macias now consults small and large businesses on how to get publicity. You can read more on his firm at MaciasPR.

Why the Media Says No

By: Mark Macias

How do the news producers and newspaper editors decide what to print and broadcast on TV? Conspiracy theorists love this question because it gives them a chance to point out how most national news organizations always cover the same stories.

Yes – that happens, but is it a coincidence or has the media been indoctrinated to all chase the same news stories?

Here’s an insider view on the media from someone who spent time as an Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York — the places where these conspiracies all allegedly begin.

Every news outlet wants to run enterprise and original stories, but the open secret inside every newsroom is most editors, news managers and producers are afraid of failure.

That’s right – they’re afraid of pitching a bad story idea that no one will like.

If the public doesn’t buy, read or watch their stories, those reporters and reporters who pitched the story know they will lose credibility in the newsroom.

And once a journalist loses credibility, he has an uphill battle, especially in competitive New York newsrooms where the flavor of the month usually melts before the end of the day.

How to Improve Your Chances for News Coverage

If you want a story written about your business, you need to cite a reason why people will want to watch. You need to explain why the newspaper readers will benefit from your story.

You can improve your chances for coverage by understanding how viewers and readers think. And in just in case you’re wondering, how do viewers and readers think?

Pretty much just like you and me. That’s why I still believe the best journalists and story tellers understand themselves first. The more you understand human behavior, the better you are at driving news coverage for your business.

Mark Macias is a former Executive Producer with WNBC and Senior Producer with WCBS. He’s also the author of the communications book, Beat the Press: Your Guide to Managing the Media. Macias now consults small and large businesses on how to get publicity. You can read more on his firm at MaciasPR.

How to Reach Hispanic Consumers

By Mark Macias

The mainstream media, politicians and advertisers are catching onto what most Latinos knew 20+ years ago. Hispanics are a huge consumer market and if you can tap into their families, you will have a growing business.

The CMO of Coca-Cola recently told an influential crowd of advertising executives that Hispanics are a key part of Coke’s growth strategy through 2020.

We kind of all know that, but what the CEO of Nielson – David Calhoun – said was even more intriguing: He predicted Hispanics would be the biggest source of growth for all US companies. He then challenged all business owners to spend 65% of their time “figuring out this Hispanic opportunity.”

Hispanic Market Pizza Post

The Growing Hispanic Consumer Population

When I was an Executive Producer with NBC, I co-founded the NBC/Telemundo Hispanic Forum, which brought Latino journalists from the English and Spanish news divisions together for networking and mentoring sessions.

You would think with my media experience and culture, I would have thought of targeting Hispanics when it came to finding new business.

But guess what: I learned the hard way like many entrepreneurs.

It took meetings with three different clients (who are not Hispanic) before I realized I was missing out on reaching a key growth opportunity. They all wanted to know how they could market to my culture via the media.

Spanish Media Outlets

After the light went on in my head, I pitched my law firm client to CNN en Español.

Roughly 5-minutes later, I heard back from a CNN producer, saying she loved my story. That segment ended up running on the program, Dinero, which airs at 8pm on CNN en Español.

For nearly 4-minutes, my client was an expert on legal issues in prime time.

So what does this mean to you?

If you speak Spanish, start pitching the Spanish media because they need experts for their news stories too. Lawyers, accountants, financial consultants, nutritionists, doctors– they’re easy to find anywhere, but Spanish journalists need to look harder to find their equivalents for their audience.

I don’t speak for all Hispanics, but I can tell you everyone in my family spends a lot of money to make sure we stay healthy and young looking. My vain family is a marketer’s dream. Loreal wants to reach my sisters. Banana Republic wants to reach my Dad.

That’s why I’m now looking in the mirror and going after potential clients who are just like me. If you want to reach more consumers like me, give us a shout. We’ll show you what we delivered for other clients in the Spanish market.

Mark Macias is a former Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York. He’s also the author of the communications book, Beat the Press: Your Guide to Managing the Media. Macias now consults small and large businesses on how to get publicity. You can read more on his firm at MaciasPR.

Friends in High Places (Media)

By Mark Macias

Everyone wants to help a friend and members of the media are no different.

If you’re cozy with certain journalists, you might get a call returned faster or your story idea forwarded to the right person.

I spent over a decade working side-by-side with journalists at NBC and CBS, but you don’t need to be inside the media to curry favor. You can also develop relationships by seeking outside interests.

Look for Networking Opportunites

First off, you need to be genuine about what I’m going to say. Journalists are smart and can read through a fake quickly so if this is not something you’re interested in, don’t show up for the sake of meeting media people. However, if you do love these types of networking events, they can easily work to your advantage.

Affinity organizations like the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, National Association of Asian Journalists and the National Association of Black Journalists provide many personal opportunities to network with journalists.

Those summer conferences allow journalists to socialize and network together while their nighttime events are filled with booze and parties. You don’t need to hold a press card to attend one of these conferences. If you pay the fees, you are welcomed inside.

Many cities also have their own local media mixers.

When I worked for a TV station in Phoenix, I belonged to an organization called the Arizona Latino Media Association or ALMA. The group frequently held social events at bars and restaurants where Hispanic journalists and PR executives mingled. Mediabistro also hosts networking events where journalists hang out together.

Just don’t be fake with your agenda. If you are there to network with people – or even to sell your business – be transparent because no one wants to hang out with the guy who is holding a secret. And don’t forget, these professionals are paid to uncover secrets, so you won’t last very long if you take that approach.

Mark Macias is a former Executive Producer with WNBC, Senior Producer with WCBS and Special Projects Producer with NBC. He’s also the author of the communications book, Beat the Press: Your Guide to Managing the Media. Macias now consults small and large businesses on how to get publicity. You can read more on his firm at MaciasPR.