Are You Pitching to Latino News? Four Reasons You Should Be

I was at a breakfast the other day and the featured speaker was the station manager for a prominent Latino television station here in Denver. It was surprising to me how few people were at this breakfast. Why were so many people losing out on this opportunity?

Now we got some great tips and advice that I certainly don’t want to share with you (sorry, should have been there), but I don’t want you to leave here empty-handed. Here are four reasons your public relations should be targeting Latino media.

Pitching Latino media has a higher likelihood of success

First of all, don’t get me wrong. Journalists who work for Latino news outlets like Univision or Telemundo have the same strong journalistic standards as reporters who work for your favorite English-speaking news outlet. In fact, this really has nothing to do with the journalists at all.

It’s about odds.

Think about all the times you’ve pitched news stations. How many times have you pitched the Latino stations as well? Certainly not every time, and most of your competition is the same way. Imagine all those pitches sent out everyday to English language news outlets that Latino stations aren’t getting. Why not? Latino stations have daily newscasts similar to English language stations. They are broadcasting to folks who live in the same city and are affected by the same events you see on English news.  The only difference is that Latino stations not bombarded with hundreds of press releases daily. Because of this, your press release stands a much better chance of getting a fair look from a Latino station than it does from an English language one. Why aren’t you taking advantage of that?

Pitching Latino media does not take any more time or effort than what you’re doing now.

A few months back, I was chatting with a fellow PR professional who said “pitching to Spanish language stations  just adds too much work to be worth it.”

Really?

Here’s a tip.  Every English language news station has a different focus for their news, so it makes sense that every press release should be individually tailored to each station. Are you doing that? If you’re not you should probably start.  And if you are tailoring each press release to each station, then it should be pretty obvious that tailoring one or two more in order to target the Latino news outlets shouldn’t be that big of a deal.  Fifteen more minutes of work just doesn’t seem like it’s “too much to be worth it.”  Do you?

You don’t necessarily need to speak Spanish

I want to be clear here. If at all possible, you should give Spanish language news stations something in Spanish. Really look around to see if there is anyone, who speaks Spanish that can help you.  Really, really try to do this first.

That said, if you have a compelling story that is important to Latinos, Spanish-speaking stations will likely still look at it, even if it can only be done in English.  These stations, after all, understand the realities of working in the United States.  They understand that most people speak English, and they might have to translate the stories themselves.

The Latino market is bigger than you think

Look around you. How many people do you interact with on a daily basis who speak Spanish as either a first or second language, or who might have family who came from Latin America? All these people; teachers, restaurant owners, gardeners, car dealers, leaders with the Latino Chamber of Commerce; most of them watch some Spanish language television on a regular basis.

Here in Colorado the latest census puts the Latino population at 20% and rapidly growing. Nationally, Latinos are among the highest expanding demographic in terms of population, and economics. Why would you ignore 20% of your possible audience? Unfortunately, many of us are doing exactly that.

Incorporating the Latino market into your public relations efforts is, frankly, just plain good business sense. Why wouldn’t any PR firm want to increase the chances of successfully placing stories without much extra effort to a segment of the population which is rapidly expanding?

I don’t know the answer, or as the Latinos might say, “No sé la respuesta.”

*Just a note that I will be speaking at the PRSA Western District Conference March 12th and 13th.  Hope to see you there.

Five Social Media Lessons To Take From Super Bowl Commercials

The Super Bowl is one of the most watched events in the World each year.  About half of those people tuning in are doing so solely of the commercials.  That doesn’t mean that these ads will help their companies.  In fact, many of the companies who create Super Bowl ads won’t get any boost from them.  In order for them to get traction from these ads, they need to follow some simple rules.  The same goes for you and your businesses’ social media practices.  Too many companies aren’t getting the most out of their social media…just like too many big companies aren’t getting anything out of their Super Bowl ads.  Here’s five social media lessons you can learn from Super Bowl commercials.

(Thanks to superbowl-commercials.org for putting these ads together)

LESS IS MORE

Keeping it simple is always a great idea

The thing about Super Bowl Ads is that too many companies think that, because they’ve made such a huge investment, they need to throw everything possible into the commercial regardless of whether it fits their image. Unfortunately, this mostly leads to mashed up ads that aren’t funny, interesting, or relevant. For example, check out this Coke ad, verses this Coke Ad. Which one works better for you? To me, one hot, dusty soldier sharing a coke with his fellow hot, dusty, enemy-compatriot works a heck of a lot better than dragons and ogres and I’m not sure what…maybe puppies, does.

 

The same goes for your social media. It’s very likely that your product does something very well. Highlight that and people will come. You don’t need to jazz it up with needless bells and whistles. They just convolute your message and probably confuse the people you’re trying to reach.

DON’T FORGET YOUR MESSAGE

Probably the biggest problem companies face with Super Bowl Ads is having their message overshadowed by the glitz.  Here’s a test.  Off the top of your head name the ads for these three companies,  Bridgestone, Stella Artois, and Teleflora.  I bet you remembered once you saw them, but the problem was that the product wasn’t the focus of the commercial so these great ads didn’t do anything to help the companies.

Don't let your message get lost in the shuffle

With you social media efforts, it is very easy to do lots of creative stuff.  Just remember that your product must come first.  If it doesn’t, any creative efforts will have been wasted.

GET YOUR FANS INVOLVED

The one thing, perhaps more than any other, that social media has given to companies is the ability to interact with their customers.  This is true, even with Super Bowl ads.  This year, Doritos and Pepsi Max used commercials created by their fans.  Not only did this save them tons of money in production costs, but it gave their customers a vested interest in watching their commercials.

Pepsi and Doritos can teach you how to have your customers help you

You don’t have to be Pepsi or Frito-Lay to take advantage of this.  Use social media to connect with your customers and get their opinions of your product.  Take their suggestions seriously.  This doesn’t mean you have to change everything about your product, but it is likely that your customers have great ideas about your product you may not have thought about.  Connecting with your customers helps you to serve them better in good times and in bad.  And better customer service is always a good thing.

CELEBRITIES ONLY HELP YOU IF THEY HELP YOU

Perhaps the one area where companies fail in regards to Super Bowl Ads is with the celebrity endorsement.  In most cases, one of two things happen.  Either the celebrity outshines the product, or the relationship between the product and celebrity is unbelievable.  Neither is good for the product.  Take for example Groupon’s commercial.  Don’t get me wrong, but Timothy Hutton talking about Tibet, or a restaurant in Tibet, or New York or something doesn’t help Groupon at all. Same with Eminem and Chrysler.  Does anyone think Eminem drives a Chrysler?  Didn’t think so.

Does using celebrities help you sell your products? Best Buy thinks so.

A simple rule of thumb for using celebrities in your social media is this; if they like your product and say something nice about it in public, highlight it.  For instance, Jim Rome who’s a well known sports talk show host, loves Bombay Sapphire.  He talks about it all the time.  That relationship helps Bombay way more than if they hired some movie star who has obviously never had a sip of gin in their lives.  In short, if a celebrity uses your product, let people know.  If they don’t, don’t.

WORTH IS ONLY BASED ON RETURN

When it comes to Super Bowl Ads the bottom line is this, will your ad, which this year cost $3 million dollars, help your company make at least that in sales.  Really, that’s the only way to determine if your ad was a success.  To tell you the truth, I’m not sure that many of these companies will get that kind of bump in sales from their ads.

You should be thinking about this when it comes to your social media efforts.  What will the return on your social media efforts be?  If you’re smart, social media can help you to increase your customer base by large numbers with not a lot of cost.  If you pooh pooh you social media, or if you don’t use it at all, you could be losing a lot.  So make sure you take your social media efforts seriously.

Super Bowl Ads are fun, but they can also help show us how to make our own businesses more successful.  This is particularly true with social media.  Hopefully, by implementing these five tips, you can create a Super Bowl quality social media campaign.

Hopes this helps you out.

 

*(If you’re interested in hiring me you can go here to access my resume.)

Food Truck Follies: 5 Ways To Avoid A Government Caused Issue

The Cupcake Truck is having trouble with the city of Denver. What you can learn.

I love food trucks.  They have cheap, convenient eats that have food that’s often better than most restaurants.  One of my favorites here in Denver is the Cupcake Truck.

Unfortunately they’re having a problem with the City of Denver.  Apparently, the City of Denver doesn’t know how to deal with these food trucks or the temporary traffic that comes with them.

As a result, these food trucks are finding themselves in a crisis situation that may or may not be of their own doing.  Because there is a gray area here, however, no one is sure who is to blame for this problem.

Now, I’m not here to take sides, but this dispute can serve as a lesson to every business on how to minimize the possibility of  a clash with your local government officials.  Here are 5 tips to help you avoid a crisis situation involving city government.

DOT YOUR I’s & CROSS YOUR T’s

If you want to do business in a city, you need to get down to city hall and talk with more than one person about what forms and licences you need to operate legally.   When picking up forms, make sure to ask as many questions as possible. Get a name and number of someone you can contact whenever you have further issues you need to address.  You see, the more informed you are about how city government deals with your profession, the better able you are to handle interactions with government official in a positive manner.

JUMP THROUGH EVERY HOOP NECESSARY

Generally speaking, governments solve problems by making new rules.  These rules may seem frivolous to you, but to other folks they might be essential.  Make sure you follow every rule and regulation.  Anything you ignore, or miss opens you up to getting in trouble with your city.  You don’t want that.

KEEP CURRENT

A judge once told me that “ignorance isn’t an excuse.”  I hated hearing it, but it’s true.  Laws don’t happen overnight.  If you don’t pay attention to how a government is dealing with your industry, you will get burned.  Keeping current on your industry’s regulations will ensure you don’t run afoul of your local government.  Keeping city officials happy will make you happy.

ALWAYS LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE OF LIFE

Look.  No one likes to deal with government bureaucracy.  It is tedious, repetitive, and time consuming.  The problem, however, is that if you want to work in a city, you have to deal with it.  The quicker you understand this, the better off you’ll be.   Make sure you deal with everyone in a positive manner.  If you are in a positive mind frame when dealing with people, even bureaucrats, they will be positive.  And positive people tend to be more helpful, which is nice when your dealing with a government agency.

HAVE A PLAN B

Keep your options open.  You never know what may happen when dealing with local government.  They may have a good reason for shutting you out of operating in their city.  If you have a backup plan, the frustration of running in to that brick wall won’t be as devastating.  Additionally, a good backup plan might give your local officials a reason to rethink their policies toward your type of business.

Now, I’m not saying that the Denver food trucks didn’t follow these steps.  What I’m telling you is you can never do too much to satisfy a bureaucracy.  So follow these 5 tips and avoid those government hassles.

Hope this helps you out.

*(If you’re interested in hiring me you can go here to access my resume.)

Advice for PR Pros and Everyone Else

Andrew Hudson just got back from Argentina and shot this video.

Not only is this fantastic video but it reinforces that lessons can be learned everywhere, we just need look.

 

What is the lesson?  Nothing worth learning is gained easily, Grasshopper.

Continue reading

Slinging Slang: Five Tips To Help You Avoid Social Media Misunderstandings

I know you laughed.

I love my wife.  I really do.  There’s just one problem.

She doesn’t get my jokes.  Ever.

I got millions of ’em and they’re funny,  I swear.  Except to my wife.  I have told jokes that have put entire rooms of people into stitches, but when I tell her I get nothing excepts crickets.

It’s not her fault though.  You see, she is from Venezuela and simply hasn’t had the same experiences that I had growing up in the United States.   So when I tell a joke about “hillbillies” for example, she has no clue as to why we might find it funny.

The same goes for slang.  Everyone uses slang to some degree.  Slang helps form our identity.  I mean imagine

An innocent misstep forced Alicia Machado to close her Twitter account

a Texan not using “y’all,” or a New Yorker not shouting “fuggedaboutit”.  How boring.  On the flip side, you can get pretty lost if you aren’t familiar with the particular slang others are using.

 

It’s something to think about when you’re using social media.

Just ask Former Miss Universe Alicia Machado.   Fox News Latino explains.

The Venezuelan model and actress told a Mexican radio station that her twitter post in which she called for “peace between the Chinas,” referring to North and South Korea was misunderstood.

“I said it in a very colloquial way and people misunderstood me,” E!Latino reports Machado saying. “Obviously, I know there is a bombing going on between North and South Korea. When I said the ‘Chinas,’ I was referring to the Asian continent.”

I feel for Ms. Machado.  She used slang that is very common in Venezuela, but because others didn’t understand, she was thought of as “dumb.”

To make matters worse, Machado had to close her Twitter account because she was being deluged with insults.

Yikes.

This can be a real problem for people and businesses using social media, particularly when you only have 140 characters to make a point, or when you’re posting something from your “Smart” phone.

Just because you know doesn't mean others will

So to save yourself from a that kind of headache, here are five tips to help you avoid those social media misunderstandings.

TONE DOWN THE SLANG

It’s really hard not to use any slang when using social media.  Just make sure you’re not getting to provincial.  The “slangier” you get, the better the chance you will be misunderstood and your real message will be lost.

IF IT LOOKS BAD, IT IS BAD

It’s happened to all of us.  We make one innocent comment that gets taken the wrong way and we end up apologizing for years.  Remember that it’s what you said that matters, not what you meant.  If you see a word or phrase that you’re about to send out and you think it might be misconstrued, it will.  Change it.  You’ll be happy you did.

PROOFREAD YOUR PHONE POSTS

I love my smart phone.  One of the best things about it is the auto-correct.  Unfortunately, one of the worst things about it is, also, the auto-correct.  More people have gotten into trouble by not proof-reading the stuff they send out via phone.  Take a second to make sure your auto-correct hasn’t decided to sabotage you by changing “sink” into “stink” in that post you were sending about plumbers.

DON’T GET CUTE

I have always been of the opinion that everyone is smart, except for the people who try to act smart.  It’s a sure way to get you into trouble.  Stay away from puns or witty phrases unless you’re sure everyone will get them.  Realize the people you think will get it, won’t.

TAKE A BREATH BEFORE SENDING

Don’t immediately hit send after you write something.  Once you post it, it’s in the public forever.  Give yourself a count of five before pushing the send button.  Remember, it’s always better to reflect upon on a post you will send rather than reflecting upon a post you just sent.

Social media is a powerful tool that can help you to amplify your message.  But as Ms. Machado found out, social media can also amplify mistakes and misunderstandings.  Hopefully these tips will help you so that when your using social media you are able to say what you mean, and you mean what you say.

Hope that helps you out.

*(If you’re interested in hiring me you can go here for more information.)

Google May Not Care About Your Reputation But You Should

Reputation should be every businesses social media focus.

It was a jaw-dropping story in the New York Times by David Segal.

SHOPPING online in late July, Clarabelle Rodriguez typed the name of her favorite eyeglass brand into Google’s search bar.

In moments, she found the perfect frames — made by a French company called Lafont — on a Web site that looked snazzy and stood at the top of the search results. Not the tippy-top, where the paid ads are found, but under those, on Google’s version of the gold-medal podium, where the most relevant and popular site is displayed.

Ms. Rodriguez placed an order for both the Lafonts and a set of doctor-prescribed Ciba Vision contact lenses on that site, DecorMyEyes.com. The total cost was $361.97.

It was the start of what Ms. Rodriguez would later describe as one of the most maddening and miserable experiences of her life.

What transpires is a nightmare scenario for any consumer, and frankly, for any business as well.  It becomes even worse when you understand why this is happening.  From the company itself.

“Hello, My name is Stanley with DecorMyEyes.com,” the post began. “I just wanted to let you guys know that the more replies you people post, the more business and the more hits and sales I get. My goal is NEGATIVE advertisement.”

It’s all part of a sales strategy, he said. Online chatter about DecorMyEyes, even furious online chatter, pushed the site higher in Google search results, which led to greater sales. He closed with a sardonic expression of gratitude: “I never had the amount of traffic I have now since my 1st complaint. I am in heaven.”

I understand that this is an extreme example, but any publicity is good publicity right?

SEO is important, but not as much as your reputation

Well no.

Look, I don’t believe that this is the kind of thing that the vast majority of businesses would want to associate themselves with, but it brings up an interesting point.

What are you more interested in as a business, your SEO or your reputation?

You may laugh at that question, but I assure you, too many of you are putting your Google rankings ahead of your businesses good name.  In fact, the only difference between your business and the one above is scale.

Want Proof?  Here are three warning signs that you may be caring more about your SEO rather than your reputation.

  • Your focus on blog posts is toward key words rather than on highlighting your expertise.
  • You post based on what’s popular rather than on where you see solutions to problems.
  • You post about topics that are irrelevant to your business’ strengths.

If you’re doing any of these, you probably want to rethink your social media strategy.  Let me help.

Simply put, most businesses are created because they are able to fill a need.  Your primary goal with social media, really with all public relations, should be to highlight why people should trust you, and ultimately, do business with you.  Everything else is superfluous.

It never ceases to amaze me how many businesses don’t seem to get that.

Here’s a simple solution.

Rather than focusing on popular issues, pick topics with an eye towards highlighting how your business can offer solutions to problems.  If you happen to be able to address a topic that others are talking about, great.  But it shouldn’t be a focus.  Once you have a topic, lay out clearly and concisely what the issue is and how your business is ideally suited to fixing that problem.  Make the case that people should turn to you when they have similar issues.  Only after you have written your post should you worry about how to increase your ranking on Google.

So remember this.  Social media is not a popularity contest.  If it were, then all of us would be acting just like the business above, stooping to any level to rise in the ranks of Google.  This is not to say that you should just ignore SEO words or popular topics, you shouldn’t.  Just understand that your focus should primarily be on what your business can do for others.

Focus on your reputation.  Your future customers will thank you.

*(If you’re interested in my services you can go here for more information.)

Talking Turkey: Five Tips To Make Your Thanksgiving And Your Social Media a Success

Can you spot the real turkey?

Every family has one.  It was the Thanksgiving from Hell.

You remember…as much as you don’t want to, you do.

It was the year that Mom didn’t do turkey.  Instead she tried the Mongolian-Irish-Colombian-Vegan eel recipe she got from the guy handing out fliers at the mall.  The meal was so bad that Uncle Silus got drunk and yelled at Cousin Teddy, who got drunk and took the sledge hammer to Great Grannie Edie’s heirloom crystal cat collection.  By the end of the evening, the men were passed out amongst the crystal chards while Mom, in tears, chased the dogs away from the untouched dinner, not realizing that the animals were the only things that got her cooking.

Ahh the memories.  The terrible, ungodly, please-god-never-ever-let-that-happen-again memories.  I think we can all agree that we never want to go there again.

Amazingly, similar stuff happens when businesses get cute with their social media.

The boss has no clue about social media so he appoints some kid to do it for him.  The kid “totally knows this rad new platform that all the other kids are using” and ends up spending thousands on some site that can only be accessed in South Korea.  Meanwhile, the Twitter page that a former worker set up, is being used as a “why work sucks” discussion between two other employees who had access because the ex-worker sent everyone the password in a email.

Yeah…no.  We don’t want that either.

Never fear.  Here are five tips to ensure that your Thanksgiving, and your social media, will be a success

KEEP IT SIMPLE

Too often, people treat Thanksgiving as a game of “anything you can do, I can do better.”  They try to make the dish that will be the one that the family will talk about for years.  The problem is, it usually is.  No one wants vegan eels for Thanksgiving.  They want turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy.  Just because it’s not unique doesn’t mean it can’t be delicious.   And because you’re comfortable making turkey, it probably will be.

The same goes for your social media.  Here’s a secret, the reason why most businesses stick to Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter is because those are the sites the everyone else is using.   Social media is a tool to let people know about all the great things your business is doing.   I could have the coolest social media set up, but if no one sees it, it won’t do me any good.  Sticking to the social media sites that your familiar with, that other people are familiar with, will give you a better chance of successfully getting your message across.

DON’T PUT TOO MUCH ON YOUR PLATE

Let me tell you what "seconds" means

This is something we all do, and regret it every year.  We see all the food on the Thanksgiving table and want to eat it all.  Now!  Unfortunately, by the time we’re done piling everything on our plate we have mixed everything together into an indistinguishable brown pile of mush.  It might still taste good, but we miss the chance to taste each dish individually. We might find that some of the dishes we liked aren’t as tasty as we thought, while other that we might not have liked turn out to be our favorites.  Knowing this can be helpful when you’re going back for seconds.  Because there will always be seconds.

Too many of us seem to have the same problem when it comes to social media.  There are so many interesting social media tools that we just can’t resist using all of them.  Sadly, when it comes time to use those tools, we don’t have the time or understanding to truly take advantage of each tool’s unique strengths.  By using fewer tools and getting to know them well, you can find which ones really suit your social media needs.

REMEMBER GRANDMA’S THERE

Remember the time Crazy Uncle Silus got really drunk and started telling loud tales about his escapades in the red light district of Amsterdam, using the dog’s favorite toy to explain every graphic detail?  So does your Grandmother, which is why Unky Silly doesn’t seem to make Thanksgiving anymore.  No one wants to feel uncomfortable at Thanksgiving.  Keep it that way.

Same goes for social media.  The last thing you want is people to see your social media and feel uncomfortable.  If they do, you can bet on two things happening.  The first is that they won’t look at your social media anymore.  The second is that they will tell lots of other people who, also, won’t look at your social media anymore.

A good rule of thumb for making sure your social media is appropriate is to ask yourself if your grandmother would be o.k. reading your stuff.  If you can’t say yes, you might want to rethink what you’re writing.

You may remember Thanksgiving but your family will

SCREWS UPS WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN

I don’t mean to keep reminding you about that Thanksgiving nightmare you’ve been trying to forget, but it should serve as a reminder of why everyone should mind their manners over the holidays.  Crazy Uncle Silus wasn’t always “crazy.”  But down a whole bottle of Bailey’s Irish Cream and lay waste to a family heirloom and that’s all anyone will remember.  Don’t be that person.  Don’t talk politics.  Don’t bring up embarrassing stories about yourself or anyone else.  If you do, I can assure you, you’ll be hearing about it for the rest of your life.

Screwing up on social media has the same effect.  You make one unfortunate remark in a blog post, or malign someone’s mother in a tweet and you will never be able to put it behind you.  This is particularly bad if the faux pas happens on your businesses’ social media sites.  Your business will always be associated with that mistake.  Google will make sure of that.  So make sure you proof your work, and please no drunken Twitter posts.  No one wants that.

HAVE A DESIGNATED DRIVER

It is natural at Thanksgiving for the alcohol to flow as much as the food does.  A pre-meal martini, wine with dinner, a beer watching football and pretty soon you’re feeling pretty happy.  Make sure you aren’t driving.  Getting a DUI would definitely fall under the “Screw Up” section above.  Worse would be having a crash that killed you or someone else.  Thanksgiving would never be the same.  Having a designated driver will ensure that your family remembers Thanksgivings past for the right reasons.

Having a designated driver for your social media is essential as well.  Giving multiple people access to your businesses’ social media is just asking for trouble.  The more people who have access, the better the chance of an online train wreck.  Remember the “work sucks” employees?    You just don’t want that.  Make sure you have one person who is in charge of your social media.  It will make your message clearer and there will be a significantly less chance of having any social media “mistakes.”

As you can see, there are a lot of similarities to having a successful Thanksgiving and a successful social media campaign.  If you make sure to keep it simple, don’t put too much on your plate, remember grandma, limit your screw ups and appoint a designated driver, your Thanksgiving and you social media will give you a lot to be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all

*(If you’re interested in my services you can go here for more information.)