Friday, December 28, 2012

Why marketing relates to string theory

Clients mainly come from publicity, referrals, networking and Internet searches.   

Because we’ve cast our net so wide over the years, it sometimes feels like they come out of nowhere.  

We’ve had clients save a column on public relations and call us years later.

Or a decade later, the cousin of a consultant we did a radio show for calls and wants PR.

So much so, we say it’s energy that brings in clients, not marketing.

“You put out energy, you get back energy” may sound New Age, but not if string theory is true.   

In string theory, everything is a vibrating possibility until transformed into  reality.

While we have the present moment, the future is filled with possibilities that come from the past and the present.  

Publicity and marketing all keep those strings vibrating. 

For more information, contact Dell Richards Publicity at (916) 455-4790 or visit our website at

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

What do you do when referrals backfire?

I recently offered a referral to a colleague who informed me she wasn’t impressed by “that person”.  

Rather than argue about my experience, I asked why she felt that way.

Was the person incompetent, bad at communication, slow to respond?

Did the person not do what they said they were going to do? Did they do it 

Did they do something untrustworthy or unethical?

Hearing the answers, I realized there weren’t any tangible problems, just a bad fit.

The person’s style simply didn’t suit my colleague.

While I hadn’t done anything wrong, I still felt I had to redeem myself, to make-good.

I sent the colleague’s name, bio and contact to a couple reporters—and copied her on the emails-- introducing her to people who could do more for her than a single referral ever could. 

For more information, contact us at (916) 455-4790 or

Friday, October 26, 2012

How can I get in the Wall Street Journal?

Businesses often ask how to get in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times or another “big fish” paper. 

I’m tempted to say “Move to New York and hire a New York public relations firms at $20,000-plus a month.”

But I don’t. I say that unless you have a national presence it’s very difficult to get into national publications.  

In journalism terms, that translates into proximity and impact, which means close and large.

That said, you can build credibility by tracking reporters’ interests and pitching unique, well-researched story ideas exclusively to them.

You need incredibly concise releases with enough interesting detail to make them realize there’s a story they want to write. But that's it.  

Public relations is like a fishing. Sending out well-written, newsworthy information is your bait and hook.  

When reporters respond, it’s because you’ve given them what they need.

By doing that, you actually get that “big fish” to bite.  

For more information, contact Dell Richards Publicity at (916) 455-4790 or visit our website at

Monday, September 24, 2012

How to get a story in the media

People sometimes ask us to “write a release and send it out.”
When we tell them there's more to it than that, they’re surprised.

Before we send anything out, we collect the facts--the “who, what, where, when and why”.   

We also research statistics and other hard-core specifics that show why the story is important, unique and newsworthy.  

We may need more nitty-gritty for background.

Then, we draft a release, put together a list of sources for quotes and a media list.

After we call a reporter who covers the field to pitch the idea, we send the release and make another call to see if the reporter wants to set up interviews.   

Had the first reporter not been interested, we would have moved on to others.   

After we got one story, we would have revised the release for other reporters.

As the last step, we would email the release to anyone not already targeted.

For more information, call us at (916) 455-4790 or go to Dell Richards Publicity at

Thursday, August 16, 2012

What's the biggest PR mistake?

We recently ran across one of the biggest mistakes businesses make in their public relations: Letting a partner do publicity.

No one would ever have an engineer work as a lawyer, yet this happens all the time in public relations.

Invariably, the person chosen to do the PR says “Why don’t journalists ever write anything good?”

This immediately shows they know nothing about newsworthiness—the basis of journalism.

Journalism thrives on conflict. But, journalists also use the following criteria to decide what to run:
·         Impact (how many people are affected);
·         Timeliness (how recent);
·         Prominence (how important the players are);
·         Proximity (how close);
·         Bizarre-factor (how unique, i.e., man bites dog);
·         Currency (how topical).

Choosing someone with no journalism experience just shows how little firm executives value their credibility with the media.

If you want the media to know you’re a player, if you want press, hire someone who knows what they’re doing.  

For more information, call us at (916) 455-4790 or go to Dell Richards Publicity at

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

PR people can help plan your event

So often people come to us wanting publicity for an event that’s a month away.

Although we still can help them, it is too late to get as much publicity as we could. 

If a company gets us involved in the planning stages, we can actually use our expertise to make choices that fit the media’s needs.

If someone wants an anchor from a local TV station as a celebrity speaker, we can help them get a sponsorship to go with it. 

We also can stop them from getting celebrities from competing stations, which makes it hard to book either.

If we have enough notice, we can get nonprofit events into spots reserved for charities.  

We can also steer them away from ratings sweep time when getting press is more difficult. 

We also can advise them on website changes and collateral for the event.   

And we can set up a publicity schedule for traditional and social media.  

For more information, call us at (916) 455-4790 or go to Dell Richards Publicity at

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

How to talk to the media

Speak slowly. Tap your foot as you speak to slow yourself 

Pause between phrases. Wait for the reporter to catch up.

Speak in sound bites. The shorter the sentence, the better.

Use short words. Two syllables are better than three.  

Do not use jargon. If you have to explain a word, you will 
lose your audience—and your reporter.  

Use the "child" test. In your mind, explain it to a child.

Avoid complex sentences. If half got lost, would it mean 
what you want?

Never say anything you wouldn't want your boss, your 
mother or everyone you've ever met to know.

If you must say something you don't want to admit, go  
"Off the Record." Never do this unless you absolutely 
have to. The reporter may respect it, but an editor may 

If you don't know something, say you're not sure, but 
you’ll find out. Then, get back ASAP.

If a reporter calls and you can’t talk, find out their 
deadline. Tell them when you’ll get back to them.  

The media usually only calls once on a story. If you don’t 
get back to them—and you are not absolutely crucial to 
the story—you will never hear from them again. 

For more information on Dell Richards Publicity, call us 
at 916.455.4790 or visit