flashissue killer pr

Lisa Calhoun and her team at Write2Market are one of the most progressive tech PR agencies in Atlanta. I loved the seminar Lisa put on yesterday. Here’s what I took away:

Crafting killer PR is all about positioning yourself correctly.

Step 1: Set your Core Value

  • What do we do / what do we want to do better than anyone else?
  • What do you value?
  • What do you care about?

Example for Flashissue … “We make you look better” or “You can make yourself standout” or “Amp up Your Personal Branding”* . Our target is the growing army of solopreneurs, entrepreneurs and small business owners who are looking to promote themselves in a quicker and easier way.

(*I borrowed this from a nice post by Amber Avines at the Huff Post – @wordsdonewrite)

Step 2: Attach Yourself to a Bigger Trend

If you’re like me, you’re probably too small to rely on creating the next big trend yourself, so use good killer PR and attach yourself to a Bigger Trend that already exists.

Relate this back to your Core Value from step 1.

Examples for Flashissue:

  • Rise of entrepreneurship – growth in the soloprenueur, entrepreneurs and small business owners.
  • Cult of thought leadership – tools are needed by people to position themselves as thought leaders
  • The proliferation of online marketing tools for DIY marketers.
  • Content curation is the new buzz in online marketing.

Step 3: Craft Case Studies

I know that Case Studies are meant to be good for generating PR but the trap I’d been falling into was over thinking the whole thing.

A good case study for killer PR is simple. Just take one of your standout customers and tell their story. It’s better if you attach it to your Core Value and a Bigger Trend.

The case study can be used to send to a media person to get you a story.

Example for Flashissue :

“One of our customers is a commercial real agent called Dave. Dave wanted to amp up his personal brand with the 200 or so people he personally knows. He wanted to stay front of mind and been seen as someone who really knows his space. The last thing he wanted to do was bombard people with useless boring real estate information.

Dave took a great approach to promote himself. He creates a monthly email that he sends out with a focus on Cool Office Design. It’s a great fit for him because it’s sort in his space but the content is really interesting even to people who aren’t looking for office space.

The feedback he gets is positive and it keeps him front of mind so when people do need to think about office space they think of him. Only one person has unsubscribed from his monthly email in the nine months he been sending it out. He’s become a big content curator (Big Trend). 

For Dave it’s quick and easy to find 5 or so web articles each month and fire them out as a mini magazine style email (here’s his June edition). What’re more interesting is that Dave has never written a blog post himself in his life all he does is email out the stuff he’s already reading online.

It also interesting that Dave doesn’t have a big company mailing list. He wants to keep it personal and send out something only to the people he knows and keeps in his personal address book.

This highlights an interesting new trend seen with the rise of entrepreneurship: there’s a whole load of people out there who can very easily brand themselves and build business by using some of the new self-serve marketing tools available.”

Note: I threw together this story in 10 minutes without overly thinking it. While I’n no writer and it’s not a finished case study it’s certainly a starting point and with a bit more work hopefully I can use it to promote my Core Value and glue myself to a Bigger Trend or two.

Step 4: Create Research Data

I found it eye opening that most businesses including mine have a wealth of interesting data that can be dug out and used to create killer PR.

Example for Flashissue:

  • Look at Google analytics for trends
  • Look at our own internal reports for high level trends on how people are creating emails to promote themselves. Are social media consultants doing it different to Real Estate agents (and so on)?

Step 5: Start Your Killer PR – NOW

I hate to leave a seminar with a list of really tangible follow up items. Here’s some good tips of how I’m going to apply everything I’ve talked about so far.

  1. Leverage earned media: After getting a write up somewhere (earned media) take the article and do some paid promotion around it, even if it’s a $100 test. Example:  Post the link to the press piece on Linkedin and pay to “boost” the articles reach. I wasn’t aware you could do this, so I need to research Linkedin a bit more. We did get a write up on Inc.com called How To Create An Email In Minute pretty recently, so maybe I can use this.
  2. Target editorial calendars: Find the editorial calendars for your target trade pubs (published every Oct). Highlight the stories that fit your positioning. Craft your own story (e.g. case studies work well) and reach out to the editor – “i’d like to talk to you about about 5 of your stories”. They’ll be open to it. Do your homework and have your case studies ready.
  3. Use twitter to pitch: 59% of journalists are active on Twitter.  Send a tweet to @journalist-name and ask to talk to them: “i have a great story for you on …. can we talk?”. Whether you personally like to use Twitter or not is irrelevant journalists do, so I’ll be using it.
  4. Do a search for what’s hot: This is great for developing stories to pitch (and blog post ideas). Obviously, you don’t want to position a story that has already been written but finding a story that reflects one of your Big Trends gives you a great segue way into something interesting. Watch what is popular in the media. Write a story, develop a case study, reach out to the journalist. Example for Flashissue:  a big article in the WSJ about security issues around Gmail could trigger a story about how entrepreneurs are increasingly turning to Gmail as a self marketing tool. Case in point, we’ve seen a big leap in our users requesting more features around Gmail.
  5. Topsy.com: Use Topsy.com to see how popular a web article is and who and what people are tweeting about it.


Best of luck and have fun.