Friday, December 18, 2009

Swamped in information, how do you get your message across

People used to see 10,000 pieces of information daily.

That number has risen exponentially. Now we “consume” 100,000 words outside work daily, according to a recent report by the University of California, San Diego. *

That’s like reading 2/3 of a hardback novel every single day.

In 1960, we spent 7.4 hours of our free time daily on media. Today, we spend nearly 11.8 hours.**

Most of our time, 45 percent, is spent watching television.

Contrary to stereotypes, teens spend less hours a day (4) watching TV than people age 60-65 (7).

Although we talk about the decline of reading (books, newspapers and magazines), that is not the case. When reading on a computer (Internet browsing, reading online papers, texts from friends, etc.) is counted, reading has actually increased.

But, the medium has changed. Who does business with first-class mail or fax now? Very few people.

What does this mean? It means the competition is fierce. Your message must be informative and interesting—or it’ll get lost in the deluge.

For more information, please call Dell Richards Publicity at 916. 455.4790 or visit us at

* "How Much Information? 2009 Report on American Consumers" by Roger E. Bohn and James E. Short.

** By including weekends, work is calculated at only 3 hours a day. When multi-tasking, each medium is counted, doubling the amount of data and hours consumed.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Public relations works because...

Because story ideas go through an editor, reporter or producer before they are used, those news and feature stories become more objective than advertising or marketing.

As a result, people still trust the media. Despite the hoopla about bias and negativity, media publicity is the most credible type of exposure available today.

Because of this, public relations can:

* Gain recognition for you and your firm as an expert in the field—or the best choice in a crowded world of products.

* Introduce, educate and inform people about your experience, your company’s services or products in a more believable manner than other marketing.

* Reinforce relationships with customers, clients and patients through the media’s third-party endorsement.

* Create word-of-mouth. People talk about what they see and hear through the media.

* Maximize your marketing and other networking.

For more information, please call Dell Richards Publicity at 916. 455.4790 or visit our website at

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Use active verbs and simple words in content

You can make your content more effective by following a few simple rules.

Use active verbs. Get rid of the “to be” ones: is, was, will be.

Don’t tell me what is, show me. With specific details. In the simplest language and no jargon.

Let’s see what we can do with a typical mission statement:

“The mission of such-and-such is to foster adult employment development by teaching cooperation in the career environment, necessary efficiency skills, giving leadership-building experiences while ….”

To pare it down, cut the first few words. Don’t bother saying what you’re going to do. Just do it:

“Such-and-such helps adults become productive citizens by teaching them practical career skills such as working in a team, meeting deadlines, learning how to take charge while …. "

To paraphrase the French mathematician and philosopher, Blaise Pascal, “If I’d had more time, I’d have made it shorter.”

For more information, contact Dell Richards Publicity at 916. 455.4790 or visit our website at

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Using "personality" in your PR

I’ve been using “personality PR” for male clients for years because:
• We tend to think men are good at what they do, but we don’t trust them.
• You can only get so many stories on the same practice and services.

At the same time, I tend to push women’s expertise, whenever possible. We trust them, but we aren’t sure they're good what they do.

Unfortunately, women still have to prove themselves. By telling their story, the audience also gets to know them better.

I wasn’t sure about using personality PR for myself until recently. Once I tried it—and got a job from someone I hadn’t worked with in 10 years—I knew it worked.

Publicity has changed. With viral marketing and social networking, we no longer sell or even educate. We connect, create relationships—and invite people into our world.

To do so, we have to make that world as interesting as possible and be willing to share it.

It’s a huge change for professionals who are using to being their expertise. But, even hospitals have created ad campaigns about doctors’ hobbies and interests.

It’s a whole new world—one with less privacy, but a whole lot more fun.

For more information, check out our website at or call us at
916. 455.4790.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Using viral marketing to create a buzz

A new client, Paul Watts of Graffiti Renewal Services, is going to be on Shark Tank—the prime time ABC TV show at 9 p.m. August 30th.

An entrepreneur who wants financing from the show’s venture capitalists, he is willing to swim in their shark tank to get it

We’re going to handle the local media—the daily newspaper, weekly business journal, radio and TV stations.

We’re also working with him on the viral marketing: emails, blogs, facebook, twitter.

An example: He sent out an email about being on the show to his friends, family, clients and acquaintances—and the vendor who did his audition video for Shark Tank.

Seeing an opportunity, that vendor sent out the info about his appearance on the show—and his audition video—to her list of clients and potential clients who forwarded it to….

We created an event and shared it with everyone in our facebook groups, who can re-post it to their friends on facebook, who can….

We’ll also post and email out media hits as we get them.

Which is how viral marketing can be used to create a buzz from a few people—to hundreds and thousands—in seconds.

For more information, please contact Dell Richards at 916. 455.4790 or visit our website at

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Honesty is the best policy

Authentic is the new buzzword.

Sales people always have known that spending a few minutes in chit-chat pays off in closings.

The rub comes when being honest and authentic loses a gig.

I recently told a client we do event publicity for every year their event was interesting enough they could do it themselves—and save money—since they were feeling the pinch.

I did not tell them how to pitch it or give them proprietary information such as my contact’s names, phone numbers, email addresses, best time to call, etc., but they were able to get press on their own—as I knew they could, given their familiarity with the media.

A reporter recently called about a client press release. I told her that her station had done a short news story the day before even though it meant losing the second media hit—an in-depth piece she’d been planning.

I hope they remember my honesty if they have a chance to return the favor.

If not, it’s good karma, the kind that makes you hold your head high because you know you’ve done the right thing and you’ve been “real”. Most importantly, you can respect yourself.

For more information, contact Dell Richards Publicity at 916. 455.4790 or visit our website at

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Those who post can be seen and heard

It doesn’t matter what Internet media you use. Writing something—from a blog to a facebook post, even to a tweet—gets your name, face or logo out there.

Recent research by Bill Heil and Mikolaj Piskorski on Conversation Starter of the Harvard Business Publishing website partially titled “…Nobody Tweets” found that:
· 80 percent of twitter content is generated by 10 percent of users.
· the lifetime tweets of the average user is one. This would probably mean that people open accounts not to tweet, but to follow others.
· On Wikipedia, top 15 percent of the users generate 90 percent of the content.
· Social networks only expand a little more broadly with the top 10 percent creating 30 percent of use.

My experience on facebook bears this out. Most of the daily postings on my personal page are generated by 5 percent of my friends. Only 15-20 percent of the friends post, though more comment.

I don’t know what blog stats are, but I’d bet they’re similar.

Which means that if you generate information and send it out through the various available channels—as well as your email group lists—you will not only be seen, but heard.

In this day and age, that often means business.

For more information, contact Dell Richards Publicity at 916. 455.4790 or visit us at

Friday, May 22, 2009

Websites need to tell your story

In a recent update of a law firm’s website, they wanted to capture the essence of who they are.

Most of the personal injury attorneys had pulled themselves up by their bootstraps and identified with their clients as a result.

The website did not tell that story—and it was written in a language that appealed to lawyers, not to people who had been injured.

While the attorneys were now educated—and erudite—they also were street-smart.

Because they had come up through the trenches, they knew their industry inside-and-out, especially the delays the other side would use to force the injured person to settle cheap.

The attorneys also understood the hardships the clients faced on-the-job. This empathy gave them a compassion that went beyond the usual lawyer-client relationship.

During in-depth interviews we were able to get the details of why the attorneys were so passionate about their work. This showed the fighting spirit that separated them from other law firms.

Using simple, direct language that appealed to potential clients, we were able to target the website copy to the audience.

In the process, we created a unique website that told their story and spoke to clients in an effective way.

For more information, contact Dell Richards Publicity at 916. 455.4790 or visit us at

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Content is still king

Despite the proliferation of the new media—from Facebook to Twitter, LinkedIn to blogs—and traditional, content is still king.

No matter what you are doing for your marketing, you need to make it useful to your audience.

They will trust you because you become a resource to them.

No matter what field you’re in, give them tips from your field, tips they can use.

Even with Twitter, all you need is one succinct sentence.

Give specific details. Use facts, statistics, studies.

The study, “In E-Commerce, More is More,” showed that the top 25 e-commerce website companies that gave consumers content, information on products and services that interested them did better than the rest of the industry.

Click-throughs are fine, but loyal clients and customers are the bottom line.

And loyalty comes from content that the audience actually wants.

For more information on content, contact Dell Richards Publicity at 916. 455.4790 or visit our website at .

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

How to Create a Referral Network

We all know it’s easier to get sales from a satisfied customer than bagging a new one.

It used to take 12 contacts—calls or meetings—to turn a cold call into a sale. It’s probably more in today’s economy.

There are easier ways to raise the bottom line...without raising prices.

Ask for referrals. Ask clients directly. Don’t expect them to bring them to you by asking in writing.

Ask at the time of service or as part of a two-second "customer survey".

Capture names, emails and phone numbers. Put former and current customers as well as potential ones in a database. Create a group in Outlook if you have to. It's easy.

Once you have a contact schedule, stick to it.

Send out advice, coupons, whatever. Send something of value that answers the question “What’s in it for them?”

Always have a call to action, a phone number, email or website address.

For more information, contact Dell Richards Publicity at 916. 455.4790 or go to our website .

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

As media became personalized, “People Like Us” changed

We often hear the term “people like us” for word-of-mouth referrals and other sources of business.

When there were three TV channels that meant the people in our own country or community.

Except in dire straits such as war or political manipulation, however, a category that broad doesn’t cut it anymore.

Today, people only use attributes of birth such as nationality to start their identity—people of the same race, language, gender, sexual orientation, age. Then, they take it further.

As always, being in the same economic bracket or type of employment counts—as read through clues such as dress, mannerisms, accent.

With the personalization of the media and the resulting information explosion, people today identify with others who share their passions—their political, spiritual or cultural values.

In other words, we identify most with people who have the same feelings we do about the same things, the people we enjoy doing things with and spending time with.

Interacting with people in these numerous, sometimes cross-linked, affinity groups often is our major source of information and even opinions.

For many, these groups have become more important than the family that does not share the same values and emotions.

For more information, check out our website at and use our online form.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

People like ourselves are the most credible source

There are many ways to create credibility.

Being quoted by the media as an expert is one.

White papers on websites is another as is blogs—at least if they have useful information.

Publishing books is more difficult, articles and columns less so.

One of the easiest and most effective ways of creating credibility on websites, brochures and other advertising is by weaving well-chosen testimonials into the material.

McDonald’s recently created a marketing campaign of Quality Correspondents—mothers who can speak to other moms about the healthy aspect of their fast food.

Businesses can have focus groups of clients and customers to get their opinion on what the company does right—and wrong.

By listening to them—and letting them know what has been done to right the wrongs—you can motivate them to become a sales force.

Because today, the most credible sources are “people like ourselves.”

For more information, check out our website at To contact us, please use our online form.