Long Island PR, Marketing and Advertising Blog

One of the areas of PRMG’s business that is least understood is our public relations and media services. While it takes years to develop media contacts and experience in handling these matters, here are some of our favorite techniques to obtain media coverage as part of our comprehensive PR/marketing strategy. 

METHODS

Press Release v. Press Conference — A press conference is effective for crisis management, and to address an issue affecting your organization. While you hope you never need to address such critical issues, you definitely need a PR agency to help you defuse any explosive situation. 

To ensure more exposure for a press conference, media advisories are used. These are invitations to the media which succinctly describe the “who, what, where, when, why and how” and what photo opportunities (also known as “photo ops”) are available. 

If your announcement is not sufficient enough for a press conference, you can simply use a press release. A press release draws attention to yourself, giving media outlets the “who, what, where, when, why and how.” Press releases can be used for just about anything — announcing a successful merger, a new hire, your organization’s recent accomplishments or the publication of your article in a peer-reviewed journal, to name just a few.

Media Availabilities — This is an effective way to get the added exposure your organization needs. The trick is to keep an eye on the issues of the day and stay “ahead of the curve” so that, by the time the media availability is sent out, it is not a dead issue. Such media availabilities have garnered coverage for our clients in daily and weekly publications and on local TV stations.

Photos and Captions — These highlight the good your organization does, and provide positive publicity. It can be your organization making or receiving a donation in the form of a mock check, a ribbon-cutting ceremony, the celebration of a successful inaugural event or the hosting of a local youth group at your office.

It is always better to have the photo op take place in a location that resonates with what you are doing, and to invite elected officials whenever possible to present certificates of appreciation or proclamations to you. Having elected officials come to photo ops helps in a two-fold manner: it makes the politicians look good, and it gives the impression that your organization has a strong ally in local government.

If your organization has opened up a new office or an additional office, let everyone know! Send out the announcements, and follow up with the media. Invite local elected officials, as they like to be involved in ribbon-cutting ceremonies. After the event, send out photos and releases for added exposure. It can also be posted on your organization’s website.

Op-Ed Pieces and Letters to the Editor — An op-ed piece or a letter to the editor focuses on important issues in the news; it can also be a message to raise people’s awareness about certain issues such as environmental conservation, drunk driving and domestic violence. 

If someone has made allegations against you and/or your organization, sending out a statement via press release may help, but that may not be enough. An op-ed piece or a letter to the editor gives your side of the story, so to speak. Good op-ed pieces address each allegation or argument made against you, and refutes them in a clear, concise manner. It is also advised that you refrain from any ad hominem attacks, and stick to “just the facts, ma’am.”

Columns and Articles — A monthly column could be written by you or someone else in your organization. These could be sent to the media, placed on your organization’s website or newsletter, or used in a blog. This column could be used to address the issues affecting your organization, or give people an update of what your organization has been doing.

Public Service Programs — Public service programs also have a place for you to get the word out on your organization. All TV, cable and radio stations are required to provide various forms of public programming and access. Take advantage of these opportunities. Contact public access program hosts and radio stations to suggest yourself as a guest. 

Posting Releases Online — It’s not enough to just do e-mail blasts and faxes. With news moving at the speed of light as fewer people get their news from newspapers and magazines and more people receive information from online news sites, your name should be out there as soon as possible. 

Distribution sites like MarketWire can get your press release to more nationwide and niche publications, but, depending on how far you want your release to go, it can cost you a few hundred dollars. If your budget is limited, look to websites that offer free press release distribution. PRMG uses free sites such as PRLog and, locally KIOLI.org, to help get our clients’ names out further; however, the reach for such free sites may be limited to Google News, Yahoo! and MSN. In any case, using these distribution sites provides that needed additional reach.

If your organization has its own website, then your press release can be posted in the “News and Events” section. That same press release can also be incorporated into upcoming editions of your e-newsletter. 

Social Networking Sites — Teenagers aren’t the only ones turning to Twitter, Facebook and MySpace to keep in touch. Many professionals are using these sites to give themselves more visibility on the Internet. If you have a professional Facebook or MySpace page, you can post a notice stating you have a press release out there, and you can post the press release on your page. Your press release can also be picked up through postings on Digg, Del.icio.us, Reddit and other sites. Word of your organization will spread fast.

TIPS

Press Events — Client events always need publicity. A press event is good for getting media coverage. First, send out a calendar of events release, which describes in one paragraph what the event entails. This should only go out to the “Calendar of Events” sections of newspapers, TV and radio stations.

Later, send out a press release publicizing the event — who, what, where, when, why, how (and how much); a media advisory should be sent out the day before the event. At the event, distribute media kits containing additional copies of the press release to members of the media to help them supplement their stories. And, as always, hand out business cards, and let them know they can call you for further information.

Anniversaries, Milestones and Recognition — An organization’s anniversary or milestone always gets attention. See if a local elected official can come down to issue a proclamation. 

Promotions and new hires make for good news and get your organization recognized. Add a quote from the organization’s director or president, and the new hire to liven up the release. These types of announcements are ideal for business magazines which dedicate a section of their publication to these announcements. Always send a head shot to the papers along with the release.

Awards and Competitions — Local newspapers, civic and charitable organizations, chambers of commerce and municipal governments seek “Man of the Year” or “Woman of the Year” nominees for their awards. Some also look for the “Business of the Year” as well. Check with local media outlets, chambers of commerce and governments to see which contests they are running.

Tying Events into Holidays and Awareness Campaigns — See how local governments celebrate Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day. Get your organization involved in a local Memorial Day or 4th of July parade as a sponsor and/or a participant. What special events are taking place for Earth Day? Clients love to be seen as a good neighbor in being “green.” (Getting the media to cover this in today’s day and age is a big plus.)

Thanksgiving and Christmas are major holidays in which the events usually consist of food donations, or toy and clothing drives. These are tricky for getting post-event coverage, especially for Christmas, as most weeklies close down for that holiday. Try to set it 2 weeks before the holiday; if you wait any later, many media outlets will have covered enough food and toy drives to consider your event irrelevant. Remember: For the holidays, timing is everything.

But if everyone else is doing toy drives, food drives or clothing drives, maybe your organization can think “out of the box.” Animal shelters could do animal adoption drives; local anti-DWI groups could do a “Drive Sober for the Holidays” campaign. Doing events that are off the beaten path will become more newsworthy.

Tying an event into a campaign always helps. For example, May is National Youth Traffic Safety Month; if your non-profit specializes in promoting safe teen driving, create an event around that. Environmental groups can create events in the month of May, which is also Clean Air Month.

The list may seem quite lengthy, and this might seem like a lot of information to absorb. But this information will be helpful in getting your organization the necessary coverage. This will keep you happy, and in the papers.

If you have an event or an announcement you need help in publicizing, please contact PRMG for a free consultation at (631) 207-1057, or email: johnzaher@theprmg.com.


 

Love it or hate it, television has revolutionized the business world. Many of PRMG’s television production clients are small businesses, non-profits or law firms with big dreams. Our clients have come to us to produce commercials, documentaries, direct marketing videos and web content to help achieve those dreams.

Television advertising is the cost-effective way to reach the most potential customers in the shortest time. The cost of production and airtime for a commercial is a wise investment and is surprisingly affordable, even for small businesses. Television advertising brings the message into customers’ homes and instantly brands the company as a leader in its field.

Direct marketing is another powerful use of PRMG’s Television Production service. A DVD illustrates all the lifestyle benefits the product or service provides, with more effectiveness than another brochure. Unlike most junk mail which ends up unread, people will watch a marketing DVD.

Many organizations have come to PRMG for a boost in fundraising efforts. An historical or issue-based documentary showing the organization’s goals and achievements can secure grants, donations and media attention more efficiently than traditional methods, at a lower cost.

Just as the web has revolutionized business, it has revolutionized how video is used to promote business or to gain attention to a cause.

 

Marketing Online with Video

Online video is one of the best venues to engage an audience — don’t even think about excluding it! This new medium allows the video creator to communicate a message on multiple levels — via visual imagery, the spoken word, music and visual text. It may sound like a commercial for a Montessori school, but this is the way people learn, and consequently, the way legendary brands are created. As a case in point, think of traditional Internet marketing; when was the last time that a paid search listing or banner ad raised your blood pressure or induced you to forward something to a friend? Get the point?

With online video, you can also reach a huge audience for a minimal investment, thus the ROI of online video marketing can be astounding. Consider that, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, more than 50% of the US population will watch video online next year. That’s 155.2 million people, and we’re just talking the US! Increasingly, people are watching a lot of video as well. According to comScore, Americans watched 9 billion online videos just in the month of July.

Like everything else, there is no “free lunch” — the video-sharing sites don’t charge to host your content, but getting your target audience to watch and forward your video is no easy feat. That’s where we come in.

“Secret Formula” — .50C + .15M + .20T + .15P = Success

Alright, we admit that an exact formula may be a bit over simplistic, but when it comes to deciding how to allocate time and resources on a video intended on marketing something virally, the weighting of these four components should follow closely to something like this: That’s it.  Write down the formula above on a cocktail napkin and you have the code cracker for getting people to watch and forward your video.  The formula above says that creating a video is a weighted function of four components:

 

50% C = Content and Production — this is storyline, style, lighting, production, etc.

15% M = Metadata — the text title, keywords, descriptions, and categories that help people find your video

20% T = Thumbnail — the packaging which draws people in when displayed on the page

15% P = Promotion — just good old fashioned marketing

 

These aspects help communicate your message far and wide in a way that makes an emotional connection with the viewers in a way that motivates them to pass it along to others.

Consider submitting your videos to other “Web 2.0” websites that employ voting systems to promote content. Some of the most popular sites are Digg, Reddit, Del.icio.us and StumbleUpon. As your video or article gains more votes, the video will attract even more attention and may even end up in a featured or “top 10” type category which can generate hundreds of thousands of views in a day.

Generally, deploying videos to multiple sites makes sense as different sites have different content niches and audiences. Essentially, each site represents a community opportunity that you can tap into. TubeMogul “Load and Track” is an easy tool to deploy to multiple sites at once. Here is a handy grid that provides some information on a few of the top video-sharing sites:

Description Demographics Registration Upload Notes
YouTube No intro needed here Evenly female/male audience, even age distribution, U.S. East and West coasts. Easy Fast review process, mainly automated Experimenting with ad sharing
Yahoo! Video An original video destination, but late to the game Slightly more male viewers, slightly older, even US geographic distribution Medium Relatively slow and unpredictable review process  
MySpace Primarily a social networking site, but video is still huge High percentage of female and under-18 viewers Easy No review process. Videos go live immediately Being rebranded as MySpaceTV
Metacafe Popular worldwide, prides itself on community votes driving featured content sharing Skews towards older, more educated, male viewers Easy Fast human review process Offers ad sharing
Google Video Increasingly becoming more of a video search engine Slightly more male viewers, disproportionately more Hispanic audience Medium Limited review process. Unlimited content length and size Integrates with other Google apps like Web Albums and Picasa
Revver One of the first video sites to offer ad revenue sharing Slightly older, white male crowd Easy Discriminating human review process Ads inserted into all videos
DailyMotion The YouTube of Europe Overwhelmingly white male. Higher age and income than most Easy Fast and easy Growing in the US
Blip.tv Publisher-friendly video sharing and distribution site Slightly more male, slightly higher income level than most video sites, even ethnic distribution Easy Easy Publisher can choose to insert ads
Brightcove Trying to bring TV to the Internet Even split male and female. Few under-18 viewers Easy Easy Ad share options available
Crackle Focused on making people stars Largely male, disproportionately African-American audience Easy Slick Flash upload tool allows many videos in one shot Owned by Sony
Veoh Focused on full-screen video programming for anyone with a broadband connection Slightly more male viewers, predominantly Asian, distributed across all age categories Medium Easy Investors include Michael Eisner and Time Warner

Contact PRMG to learn how our digital video production and web design and promotion services can help expand your business or organization. For more information and a free consultation, fill out this form or contact our offices at (631) 207-1057.


Just 2 weeks from opening day, and with the promise that both New York major league teams will be competitive (hopefully playoff bound), it is a good time to look at advertising opportunities.

The Met games will appear on WPIX on Sundays and mostly on SNY. The Yankees will appear on YES, while ESPN will carry its Sunday game of the week. SNY and YES can both be purchased for the entire network, or by cable system, locally through Time Warner, Cablevision, and FIOS.

Baseball is one of the hottest products on cable, with inventory already tight for the 2009 season. This is for good reason as the Mets and Yankees are certain to post the highest ratings on cable during the summer months, and in many cases, will beat broadcast network programming seen on Fox, ABC, NBC and CBS.

With such high ratings, the networks aren’t cheap and neither are the cable systems. However, you can purchase Mets or Yankees throughout LI for about $700 for an evening, primetime game. Fios for $75. For a single system you can purchase Cablevision Huntington for as little as $60 per spot.

One cost-effective option may be daytime baseball games. These games are discounted, but are excellent for targeting a daytime male viewing audience. For example, Cablevision rates are about 25% cheaper. PRMG clients have successfully advertised on sports, especially during the summer months. If you are going to be on tv during the summer, baseball and its loyal viewers is the place to be. For more information, contact johnzaher@theprmg.com.


Newsday’s recent decision to discontinue its monthly publication Long Island Parents & Children, as part of its decision to eliminate its magazine publications, briefly created a marketing void, since the publication was one of the more popular and effective means of reaching parents of young children. This market is especially important for many businesses, but even more so considering that parents will be more inclined to cut personal spending, but less inclined to let their kids go without services, especially those that provide educational and social enhancement.

Perhaps recognizing the business opportunity and considering that the publication was flush with advertisements, two new publications moved in, including Long Island Parent Magazine, a locally grown magazine and Nassau/Suffolk Parent, part of a national organization. They join Parent Guide and Long Island Kids Directory.

Television advertising is one of the more cost-effective alternatives to Long Island Parents & Children. News 12 in the morning (6-9 am) can be purchased for $325-$375 island-wide per :30 spot. Not cheap, but the strongest ratings on cable for this time frame. However, News 12 can be purchased in each cable system. You can purchase the Riverhead system (covering Riverhead township as well as the North and South Forks) for about $80 per spot. You can supplement this with News 12 Traffic & Weather. Cablevision is currently running a winter special featuring News 12 and News 12 Traffic & Weather.

As the weather improves, traditional radio may also help you reach parents with young children. Younger parents can be reached using WBLI. Fresh 102.7 and WALK can be used to reach older parents. However, radio is not cheap compared to cable. Consider broad rotations and advertising on the weekends to reach families.

The web provides a number of opportunities for free and low-cost advertising. However, few of these sites are branded sufficiently to drive a significant amount of web traffic. A strong web presence with an emphasis on search engine optimization may be the best alternative.

See a list of local children’s related web sites »

Also, I will rarely forego an opportunity to point out that the phone book will be a complete waste of money, even more so considering that most parents are younger and may not have opened one in years, if ever.

It should also be noted that Newsday is continuing its Explore Long Island (Funbook) publication that will come out in May. Although a 1/4 page ad with a full run will cost about $2,800 it is a must-do for summer entertainment and destination venues.


Just because we are in the middle of a recession, it doesn’t mean your business has to be in one. In fact, I have never been more optimistic than I am about 2009 and the prospects of growing my business and that of our clients.

At PRMG, we continue to grow our business. Like many businesses, we’ve had a few losses and a few gains, but our clients realize that we provide them with value for our services and continue to provide them with the opportunity to grow in good times and in bad.

First, it is important to take an historical perspective which tells me that things are never as good or as bad as they seem. Yes, retail sales reports for November and December showed a 2% decline, but that means that sales were 98% of what they were the year before and higher than what they were in 2006. A number of retailers had their best years yet. Nationally, unemployment is up about 2% from its average during the past decade of about 5% (economists consider employment full at about a 4% unemployment rate to account for persons leaving jobs for non-economic reasons). In other words, 93% of Americans are employed and our unemployment rate remains 3 percentage points better than what many Western European countries see during good economic times. Locally (Suffolk/Nassau, New York), for November, unemployment stood at 5.2%.

With lower costs, including the cost of advertising, labor and greater availability of qualified personnel, recessions are often the best time for businesses to expand. In recessions, new industries and opportunities are created. Effective marketing can help you tap into these new opportunities and expand your business, despite the poor economy.

Here are PRMG’s tips for marketing in a recession:

  1. Focus on your Current Clients.
  2. Expand Business from Current Clients.
  3. Grow by Concentrating on Prospects.
  4. Solicit New Business using Low-Cost Methods.
  5. Gain Earned Media.
  6. Build your Web Traffic.
  7. Pay for Results.
  8. Get out of the Office or Store.
  9. Create Events to Increase Traffic.
  10. Advertise, Advertise, Advertise!

Click below to download the full list with details.

Top 10 Tips



Just because we are in the middle of a recession, it doesn’t mean your business has to be in one. In fact, I have never been more optimistic than I am about 2009 and the prospects of growing my business and that of our clients.

At PRMG, we continue to grow our business. Like many businesses, we’ve had a few losses and a few gains, but our clients realize that we provide them with value for our services and continue to provide them with the opportunity to grow in good times and in bad.

First, it is important to take an historical perspective which tells me that things are never as good or as bad as they seem. Yes, retail sales reports for November and December showed a 2% decline, but that means that sales were 98% of what they were the year before and higher than what they were in 2006. A number of retailers had their best years yet. Nationally, unemployment is up about 2% from its average during the past decade of about 5% (economists consider employment full at about a 4% unemployment rate to account for persons leaving jobs for non-economic reasons). In other words, 93% of Americans are employed and our unemployment rate remains 3 percentage points better than what many Western European countries see during good economic times. Locally (Suffolk/Nassau, New York), for November, unemployment stood at 5.2%. With lower costs, including the cost of advertising, labor and greater availability of qualified personnel, recessions are often the best time for businesses to expand. In recessions, new industries and opportunities are created. Effective marketing can help you tap into these new opportunities and expand your business, despite the poor economy.

Here are PRMG’s tips for marketing in a recession:

Focus on your Current Clients. Hold on to your current clients with an iron fist. Increase your client contact and continue to provide value. Put in any extra time you may have into nurturing your client base. Make sure that you are on the bottom of their list to cut back on. Now that you’ve put up a client firewall, you can take advantage of market conditions and expand your business.

Expand Business from Current Clients. Increase the amount of business that you are getting from your current clients. For retailers and restaurants, market to your client database. If you don’t have a client database, it’s never too late to start. Restaurants can use comment cards. Leave e-mail lists at the register. Ask customers to drop off business cards to participate in a raffle. Increase the number of e-newsletters you send them. Provide coupons and value to increase traffic, especially during slow times of the week. Get them in and sell them more. Send printed newsletters to your customers and clients.

Grow by Concentrating on Prospects. To expand your business, concentrate your direct mail and e-mail marketing to current and past prospects. Follow up with phone calls. These are the lowest hanging fruit and provide the best potential return on investment.

Solicit New Business using Low-Cost Methods. Use e-marketing. Develop databases to include e-mails. Send out regular customized e-mails to solicit new business. Track and place follow-up phone calls to prospects.

Gain Earned Media. Write press releases and contact television, radio, print and Internet media regarding your products and services. Submit press releases to web sites. If you can interest the media to write a story about your business, it won’t cost you anything. Especially if you advertise, many weekly newspapers will run editorial stories for you.

Build your Web Traffic. Use search engine optimization techniques to increase web traffic. Start a blog. Post content and links to your site on web sites. Increase one-way links to your site.

Pay for Results. Use pay-per-click and pay-per-phone calls to increase traffic to landing pages on your site. Once on your site, capture contact information by providing a call to action download. With these campaigns, you are ensured that you are only paying for increased traffic and phone calls, and can control your budget to minimize advertising costs.

Get out of the Office or Store. Professionals and service businesses should go door to door. Drop off marketing materials and samples. This is especially good for restaurants. Attend networking events and pay at the door. No need to increase your marketing costs by joining a multitude of groups and associations. Attend what you can and pay the extra amount for non-members.

Create Events to Increase Traffic. Professionals can develop lectures and market them to prospects and others using the techniques above. Restaurants and retailers can hold product demonstrations and again market to current clients and promote to the public using press releases and advertising.

Advertise, Advertise, Advertise! I left this one last, only because it involves the greatest outlay of funds, not because it is the least effective. The opposite is true. There is no better time than during a recession to advertise. Advertising space and inventories are up, leading to rate and production discounts. On television and radio, use broad rotations rather than fixed positions. With greater inventory, you’ll get the times/programs you want anyway, as well as more bonuses and auto-fill as inventory is unsold. Take advantage of gift certificate programs on radio to advertise for free and increase traffic, especially during slow periods. Use specialty publications to hit targets. (See our upcoming report on Advertising in a Recession for more information.)


As Hollywood studios and producers negotiate with the Writers Guild of America, primetime programming on the major networks has turned to endless reruns. A recent article in the NY Post stated “A survey from ad-buying firm Carat found that just 16 percent of primetime viewers said they would continue to watch their favorite TV shows in repeats. The other 84 percent said they either “would not” or “may not” watch shows in repeats. Of those, 54 percent said they would go online instead, followed by those who said they would channel surf until they found something interesting.” This could be a great opportunity to reach new clients with cable advertising.

With more viewers searching for entertainment, cable ratings will be on the rise. Many cable networks are debuting new reality programs, or offering classic episodes of popular series. In short, cable is going to benefit from the major network’s misfortune. This allows advertisers to reach more people for the same advertising rates. If you aren’t advertising this month, it’s not too late to get on the air and take advantage of this opportunity. If you are advertising, you may want to consider adding specific networks or programs that are generating a buzz.

If you’d like to explore your options, call my office to discover the most effective course of action. We can review schedules and networks that will help you attract new clients and maximize your budget.


For 2008, businesses should resolve to do better. The Public Relations and Marketing Group has the tools to help you reach your goals.

  1. Make More Money-Do you want to make more money? Sure, we all do. A comprehensive marketing plan is the most effective way to increase sales. For most business owners, the day-to-day duties of running a business keep them from focusing on marketing, or worse, they may feel that the costs of marketing and advertising are out of reach. However, marketing and advertising can be affordable and effective with careful planning. Is this the year you give your website an overhaul and make search engine optimization a priority? Do you announce big sales with television commercials? PRMG can help you design a marketing plan for a more profitable 2008.
  2. Get New Clients-Networking is one way to meet referral sources and potential clients, but it can be time consuming and is hit-or-miss. Try sending a monthly e-newsletter to people you’ve met at meetings or people in related industries. It’s inexpensive and with the right design, it will set you apart from the competition. You can offer helpful hints about your industry and current trends. PRMG can craft cutting edge E-newsletters, sales slicks or promotional giveaways to help you turn leads into clients.
  3. Keep Your Current Clients Happy-Keeping in regular contact with all your clients can be tough. Some clients demand more of your time than others. Some are low maintenance. Some get lost in the shuffle. Give your clients another reason to rely on you by sending them a newsletter that highlights trends or comments on news reports in your industry. For the personal touch, send an email to a client with a link to an article you think would be interesting to them. Even if you don’t have an active project with the client, it shows that you value their business and haven’t forgotten them. It’s cheaper than a cookie basket and easier on the waistline too.
  4. Get Name Recognition-It never hurts to be active in your community and letting people know what you’re doing may increase business too. Every business has something to offer the community. You may sponsor a little league team, a school career day or blood drive. Employees may raise money for a charity. A press release or photograph sent to a local paper could turn into a story, which could lead to more customers. A car wash to benefit needy children could attract news crews from a television station. Chances are you’re already doing something in your community. A press release is a simple way to get your business into the paper for doing something good. PRMG can help you write a press release, media advisory, take photos and videos of your events, as well as contact the media on your behalf.

At the PRMG, our goal is your success.