Paul Krupin’s Trash Proof Marketing and Publicity Blog
February 18th, 2014 by Paul Krupin
Why media say no and what to do about it
There are four primary reasons why media say no.
Media are publishers (or producers) who make their living off of two income streams: subscriptions and advertising. Every decision they make is tied to maintaining or improving these income streams, or protecting them from damage. When they receive a pitch they tend to need to see answers to three key questions:
1. How many people in my audience are going to be interested in this;
2. what’s the value to my audience; and
3. what will it cost me to do my job (time, resources, camera crews, lawyers, whatever).
The answers to 1 & 2 have to be A LOT of People and A LOT of value. The answer to 3. has to be VERY LITTLE (as in cut and paste, or we’ll come to you).
If you don’t meet these requirements, the answer is usually no.
If you get close, then you have to give them more information or the answer stays no.
The fourth issue is this: Running the article or feature or interview must also not result in really pissing off any of the existing major league advertisers. Media will not run an article if it will threaten their existing income streams.
What do you do?
Evaluate existing media coverage and design your pitch to meet readership interests and editorial style.
Make sure you won’t run afoul of the key advertisers.
February 5th, 2014 by Paul Krupin
Content messaging: Broad or narrow - which is better?
What did you say today? What did you sell today?
Look at your messaging. Is it aimed broad or is it aimed at a specific niche. Which sells best depends on where and how the ROI is returned?
If ten broad content posts produces a 0.02 percent ROI (in terms of dollars) and the ROTI (return on time invested) and you can get a 2 percent ROI off ten niche posts at the same ROI, then you get 100 times the ROI from your niche posts.
I personally observe in my clients and have experienced myself that broad content also carries a much higher risk of producing a negative ROI, if it produces “energy vultures”. These are people who simply become a time and money wasting drain which reduces and undermines the ROI you get from real prospects and customers.
Traffic does not always equate with profit. Sometimes, there is an investment required to to turn a cold call or inquiry into a hot prospect and paying client.
This is why I train my clients to go where your people are and learn how to turn them on. Usually that means teaching them something they didn’t know before.
But it’s not always niche content that does the trick. I have many clients who are superb generalists. They can be witty, hilarious, and make all sorts of people laugh, cry, cringe in horror or squeal with delight. Hey a half naked man or woman with six pack abs always gets heads to turn.
But when and if you get up close and personal, they turn you off. Their niche communications are too pushy, too impersonal, too demanding, and don’t deliver on the promise or expectations.
The lesson is that you have to develop whatever messaging you use carefully and test it till it gets the action you want. You have to study, analyze and improve every step in the funnel – every communications touch point and the overall process.
If you fail to track, then you lose the ability to know what is really happening. The trick is to take actions that can be tracked and use metrics that matter, so you can manage what you do effectively.
If you do something that helps, do more of it. If it doesn’t work, stop and do something else.
In fact, if you practice and test and improve your messaging so you do this really well, you will make them realize that hiring you (or buying whatever it is you are selling) is simply the best action they can take.
February 3rd, 2014 by Paul Krupin
Are you ready to publish? Knowing when you are done.
Each year I work with hundreds of authors and publishing companies. Very few of them ask enough strangers to give them feedback as part of their book creation process.
What I recommend people do is go slow. Start with family, friends, colleagues, employees and expand the circle till you reach strangers. Show and tell one on one. It’s possible to learn how to sell. That’s the miracle of the microcosm. If you learn what you need to say to people in your little neck of the woods, chances are you can then say the same thing anywhere and everywhere you go and you’ll be equally successful selling your products wherever you go.
But you need to learn those magic words first.You have to write to sell, and the job of writing isn’t done until the book sells. This is where most self-publishers go astray. They publish their book without verifying it was really ready for market. Many don’t even get the help of an editor!
You have to test your ideas and test your product and test your mar-com (marketing communications) on real live people. STRANGERS! You need to identify your end users and the people who will buy the book for your users. Then you need to learn what to say to get these people to take the action you want.
Write to sell and test, test, test. Do this in small doses till you get the right buy signals. Reliably. Not just once or twice, but repeatedly and reliably.
Do 25 to 50 POD versions and test it with these important people.
You’ll know by their behavior and response whether you are really ready to publish the book.
If you can’t get people to even look at it, then you’re not done.
If they look at it and put it down, then you still have work to do.
If people look at it and grab it, you might be done. It depends what happens when they then pick it up and peruse it. If they put it down, then you’re not done.
If you get good comments that say “OMG you turned me on” – capture it, and do more of it.
If you get negative feedback that says “YUCHHH!”, take it out or fix it. Get rid of it.
Improve with the CACA process. Create — Ask — Create Again — Ask Again.
Yes it can be pretty s****. You may choke on your pride and wake up after a sleepless night. You have to have the guts and fortitude to redesign and re-write it till you know you are done because it sings to people. You have to work with your prospective audience to get real feedback, and you must listen to what people say and address the issues you receive.
This may take a lot of reiterations. But one thing is for certain, there is a point that you will reach when you know that you are done. It’s a wonderful thing when you get to this point and know it.
So this is my bottom line advice: Write to sell. Don’t stop writing and re-writing till you know it sells, and sells easily and continuously.
Prove it with small test POD numbers. Use the technology that is available to all of us wisely. Then move it up through the publishing and promotion chain level by level.
In most cases, the author thinks the book should excite and grab people. But it doesn’t always happen that way.
So to me, they still have work to do. But they can’t speculate about what’s wrong, they need real data.
This is what I tell people to do – get the data. Figure out what you need to say and do to produce action that will satisfy your stated goals and objectives:
Go ask your candidate customers. Ask until you are blue in the face and get the hard difficult data and feedback you need to redesign and redo your project.
January 28th, 2014 by Paul Krupin
What's Wrong With Pay for Play? Why is Pay for Play Unethical?
First, what is the distinction between pay for performance and pay for play?
One of the primary concerns about Pay for Performance and Pay for Play and even with Relationship Based PR has to do with the risk of payment to the journalist or media organization without adequate disclosure. Money is a powerful incentive. If you pay a PR person $15,000 to 25,000 for a five minute interview and placement on a prime time national TV show and half of it goes to a producer who agreed to booked the show then that is a serious issue. It presents something as objective reporting instead of identifying it clearly as advertising. Does everyone disclose their back door payments? Not really.
At least in my experience, most publicists who offer pay for performance are also highly ethical about what they do. The reason is that while success speaks loud, failure speaks much louder indeed, and unethical and illegal behavior fairly screams across the planet. And as in politics, there are, of course, consequences for getting caught.
The higher costs associated with pay for performance are a testament to how difficult it is to be successful. The publicist must take the risk for their time and effort instead of being paid for their time and effort. So yes, publicists do tend to take care when accepting PFP clients. Clearly, it is exceedingly difficult to be successful with poor quality books and inexperienced authors or those who aren’t qualified in the eyes of the media.
The key thing here is to follow the money. If the money gets to the journalist, then the disclosure is required by the FTC. With Pay for Performance, you pay the publicist for success, but the risk is that the media is getting paid, too.
What’s the Problem with Pay for Play?
With pay for play, you pay the media for their time or to cover production or whatever. With relationship based PR, you pay the publicist for the inside connection or referral, or you pay to be at an event where journalists and producers are there, and there is a risk they are receiving payment above ethical guidelines of requirements. With retainer based and task based, you pay the publicist to pitch and there is no payment to the media. It’s the content that is the determining factor.
There is a growing number of media who will charge you a fee and then give you coverage. It’s an ongoing issue in society.
Pay for play poses a growing ethical issue in social media, blogs, paid reviews, media placements in print, and on radio and TV. FTC 16 CFR Part 255 states anyone receiving a product (book, TV, widget) for review is considered to be paid with the product and must be disclosed.
The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)’s code now states that ethical practitioners must “encourage disclosure of any exchange of value that influences how those they represent are covered.” The value exchanged may take the form of cash, travel, gifts or future favors.
You can pitch blogs and receive responses from mommy and techie bloggers (from $5 and $10 to $300) to radio shows and even major network and syndicated TV shows saying they’ll be happy to write about you or do a show, if you only pay for the costs of production ($3,000 to $5,000).
Steve Bennett wrote a column in PR Week and said:
“At The New York Times you can’t even accept a free lunch from a contact. And the AP sets a limit of $10 on the size of any benefit received by a journalist.”
The relationship based poses similar ethically questionable situations. It sounds great to hear a PR firm or publicist say that they are on personal terms with a journalist or a host or producer at a big TV show. What’s the problem?
We rely on media to be impartial and to give everyone fair and honest consideration.
Many see this particular style of doing business as a slippery slope that is very susceptible to corruption that undermines the very core of objective reporting and fairness in journalism. There are public relations firms and service providers who offer to place you in front of a group of journalists for a fee. Is it any different than the payments of lobbyists and political action committees in exchange for a meeting with a lawmaker or a politician?
The gold ol’ “hey I’ll buy you lunch meetings”, with drinks, and even, the payment of transportation and even stays at hotels, and more in exchange for coverage. These can turn into lucrative clandestine long-term arrangements where favorable repeat coverage goes to people, companies, organizations, who can afford to pay for the privilege to speak with journalists. What if the PR firm slips a commission fee to the journalist or a “production cost reimbursement” to the media organization?
Do the journalists and their media organizations disclose all financial and other “gifts” faithfully? Do our politicians disclose all their donations, donors, and payments? OK I’m in dreamland.
The next time you see a TV news magazine show look closely for “FTC Disclosure” with the list of sponsors in the credits at the beginning (“The following is paid by our sponsors”.) and the end of the show (the quickly scrolling list of sponsors). Do you even see it?
January 26th, 2014 by Paul Krupin
Pay for Performance PR - Analysis of Pros and Cons
There are several different types of PR firms and they operate in accordance to one of more models.
Pay for Performance
Pay for play
Task Based Service Providers
Pay & Pray News Release Distribution Services
Do It Yourself PR
If you want to see the whole article, please send me an email at Paul@DirectContactPR.com
I’m excerpting just the first section, which addresses your pay for performance question.
First we have to recognize what a publicist can do for you.
Recognize that a publicist will spend time researching, writing, copywriting, and devoting their experience and expertise on your behalf. They will study what you have created, evaluate your skills and hopefully identify and leverage what you are best at, then craft copy to be used in persuading media to give publish articles, interviews, and reviews, or producers to feature you and do interviews on their shows. They will then contact media, hopefully the right media, on your behalf, and pitch you and see if you can meet the media needs. They will then try to get you the best type of coverage you seek. They may also train you and guide you so that you do the best article or performance and maximize your chances of turning a profit.
When you hire a publicist, you must negotiate the work that the publicist will do for you. It is best if you clearly understand and have a precise definition of the work that will be performed and when it is completed.
Pay for Performance
Very simply, you will pay for the quantity and quality of the coverage you receive based on a rate that is commensurate with perceived and or prior proven value of the coverage, the market size and importance.
If you think that the “pay-for-performance” is a way to produce guaranteed media coverage you might want to think again. You may fall victim to your own success.
Every pay-for-performance PR firm warns and acknowledges that clients are likely to pay way more than they anticipated, particularly when a PR campaign is successful in a big way. You can negotiate and will pay more on a spectrum that goes from pithy or snappy quotes from you as author or expert, to company mentions, to book or product reviews, to feature stories, to short interviews, to long in-depth interviews.
For example, a single placement in on a major national TV show may cost $15 – 25,000, while a mention in a small newspaper might run you $150 – 300, a radio show in small town America might run you $200 – 500, or in a major metropolitan area for $1000 – 1500 or more. Feature stories will go for $300 to $3,000 depending on market, industry and circulation.
If you sign a contract for pay-for-performance, you will be obligated if you get the interview or if the story, large or small is printed.
Here’s the catch: Whether you sell product and break even on the costs of getting the media coverage is up to you and what you make of the golden opportunity.
In other words, if you galvanize people and your interview and story results in sales, yes, you can do very well.
But if you put on a mediocre or boring performance, then you will still be contractually obligated to pay for the coverage whether you make money or not. You are on the hook and yes, you can be sued if you fail to honor those contractual obligations.
Dan Smith owner of Smith Publicity has posted a great reference case study article on his website.
Here are links to the rate sheets for two pay-for-performance companies:
Here is a link to an article on the negatives of pay-for performance in Your Business Arizona
BTW, I operate a task based services provider company. Hope this helps!
January 25th, 2014 by Paul Krupin
Content is King. How do you identify the right content for you?
I’ve studied this intensely as a publicist. My experience is that it depends on how you make your income and what you do and say that turns your people on and gets them to take the action you want them to take (sales, fundraising, votes, participation, whatever). Whatever you do best is where you will shine the most. You have to make light that outshine your competition. and you have to be able to communicate to YOUR people wherever you find them. So what do they read, watch or listen to, particularly when they are receptive to taking action? What can YOU say that fits in those circumstances. Prove the message first, then select the technology and format the message to the culture. For many professionals, the problem solving tips article or Q & A is the best professional branding tactic. For others, it’s a educational photo feature.
So many people struggle to figure out the right words to use to turn people on. I believe you can learn what to say that turns people on one person at a time. You just have to keep talking to people and pay attention to what you said when it happens.
I call this the miracle of the microcosm because I’ve found people can do this anywhere and everywhere. It doesn’t matter where they are at all. And once you do figure out the magic words, then you can apply the numerous outreach technologies as a force multiplier to repeat the results.
Here’s a link that goes to my Magic in a Message slide show presentation.
January 23rd, 2014 by Paul Krupin
Being a force multiplier is where I get my kicks
I read with a pen in my hand at all times. The real trick is to not only underline the good ideas and passages, but open up a notebook and write down the idea and develop an action, identify who else needs to be brought in, identify a completion date and deploy the action plan to turn the idea into a reality with benefits. Even if it is inspirational, fiction or non-business related, identify the good stuff and share it with someone. Sharing and caring someone else’s life’s work can bring joy to the world. Being a force multiplier is where I get my kicks.
December 17th, 2013 by Paul Krupin
Publicity Planner for 2014 - a forward-looking publicity calendar to help identify opportunities for media coverage and publicity
Every year I create a forward-looking publicity calendar to help identify opportunities for people which is available in a free pdf file download.
It contains a lot of unusual holidays so that you can get creative, think ahead, and identify ways to tie-in to calendar events well in advance of the day they occur.
Here’s the links to the Publicity Planner for 2014:
• http://www.directcontactpr.com/files/files/publicitycalendar2014.pdf (full color)
• http://www.directcontactpr.com/files/files/2014PublicitycalendarBW.pdf (light color version for printing)
Share freely. Happy Holidays everyone! Stay safe. Enjoy!
December 15th, 2013 by Paul Krupin
Quick answer to the question "How do you get your name out there?"
Go where your people are. Learn what you need to do to turn them on.
Help the people you can help the most. Undersell and over-deliver.
Do what you do best and do your best at all times.
Create a menu of options with prices and charge reasonably for lots of small deliverables in units of time, service and product.
Create and deliver candy that makes people want more of what you have available.
Create recipes for abundance, happiness and success that are truly worthy of being shared.
Give as much as you can and encourage people to share what you offer.
December 7th, 2013 by Paul Krupin
Slide show shares some of my best professional branding techniques and strategies for creating article and interview proposals and pitches that get the best publicity. Includes the 3 I Technique and the 20 best topics.
Hope everyone is having a safe warm weekend. I’ve just posted a new slide show presentation.
So many people struggle to figure out the right words to use to turn people on. I believe you can learn what to say that turns people on one person at a time. You just have to keep talking to people and pay attention to what you said when it happens! I call this the miracle of the microcosm because people can do this anywhere and everywhere. It doesn’t matter where they are at all.
And once you learn the magic words that turn your people on, you can then you can use all the media and other marcom technologies as a force multiplier to repeat the message and keep reproducing the effect.