By-Lines and Leadership
I had an opportunity to be of service to some entrepreneurs in the South Arlington Lead Share Association (I'm a member, too), and talk a little about PR. I suggested by-line articles as a great way to get easy coverage. My comments from Friday are below Monday's quotes.
I love being in real office space. To me, it's such a relief. I guess there are only so many hours you can spend in a basement before it starts wearing on you, no matter how brightly you paint it. Further, this will contribute to better life/work balance, and give us an air of legitimacy.
It's an interesting time for the company, one that's requiring me to demonstrate some leadership and direction. In someways, I find that leadership is defined by doing what you think is right, not necessarily what makes those around you happy. If my goal was to make everyone happy, I'd be some two-bit player in a podunk, mediocre agency with a miserable role grinding my teeth while others benefited from my efforts. Hmmm, no thanks.
Leadership is not a popularity contest, instead it's a task that requires big picture thinking, good instincts, and the moxy to see things through, regardless of the push back you receive. It takes guts. In that vein, here are Monday's quotes:
"To put up with. . . distortions and to stick to one's guns come what may — this is the. . . gift of leadership." - Mohandis Ghandi
"Never mistake a clear view for a short distance." - Paul Saffo
"Fortune sides with he who dares." - Virgil
By-lines: A Beginner’s How To
Presented to SALSA on January 5, 2007 by Geoff Livingston
By line articles are one of the easiest ways to get public relations coverage. They are time intensive, which makes them prohibitive to some, but in the end they are great ways to build subject matter expertise. Further, you can control the message, and you can use the piece later on as marketing collateral.
How to do it:
1) Read the masthead of your targeted newspaper or industry publication(s): This is critical. You may think you know what the publication is about, but you probably could use a refresher. Further, your interpretation of the mission must match theirs. Then read the publication to reinforce your understanding of the mission.
2) Check to see if they have editorial guidelines. If so, good news. That means they 1) accept by-line submissions, 2) have told you how they like to receive pitches. It’s always good when someone tells you the rules of engagement in advance.
3) Create an abstract, which consists of one to two paragraphs with a supporting outline. In essence, the abstract is the plot of your story. This abstract needs to tie into the publication’s mission so it will appeal to the readership. It’s important that the article not be overtly promotional, but instead related to your company’s mission and value proposition. Your knowledge and commentary about industry trends will work to establish the expertise and credibility you seek.
4) Pitch the abstract to the managing editor. Follow up with one call a week until you get an answer. If it’s a no, find a competing publication and pitch it to them.
5) Upon acceptance, write and deliver. Don’t overtly promote your company in the actual writing. Use your by-line and bio description to promote the company, including a web site address. With your submission, it’s good to include interesting imagery and quotes from third parties.
Enjoy coverage in a publication that’s normally out of your reach. Reprints make for great marketing collateral, too