Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Gaining Control Over Social Media

Tonight I want to address an issue I am seeing on an continued basis. Your personal online content. I read a terrible Facebook rant over the weekend and I’m sickened that a business professional would put her hateful opinions for clients and peers to read on her personal Facebook page.

Now, some of you might say that it is her personal page. Sure it is, it is just archived onto Google’s search engine for the world to read. She is entitled to her hateful opinion but she is going to have business lost to it. Peers will soon catch on and stop referring her too. I will not repeat what she said, only that it is filled with hate and aimed at a certain demographic of sexually orientated people.

I can’t stress enough that nothing you write is personal anymore. Friends can quickly become enemies and take screen shots of your “private” social media accounts for all the world to see. Don’t ever write anything on your personal pages that you wouldn’t want to proudly read- out-loud- in front of a client or potential client.

As a business professional, you don’t have a personal life. Your clients’ lives are your obligation- both personally and professionally when it comes to branding and visibility. Voicing your own opinions online (even via a personal account) will harm your own reputation- right or wrong, this is the culture we live in.

Keep it professional and keep those negative or opinionated posts off of social media!

Twyla Garrett

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Promoting Your Business with PR

Public relations is about managing the media and developing a brand. It isn’t about making someone famous through managing appearances or mingling with celebrities – which is one of the biggest misconceptions to date.

Public relations professionals don’t book work or appearances outside of media interviews, talent or literary agents do this. Public relations professionals book media appearances based on what a client is doing. If you have to do the work yourself (you can’t quite obtain a publicist just yet), please pay attention to my top 3 common PR mistakes listed below.

1. It is two different things entirely to pitch news your clients force you to pitch against your better judgment and pitch something to a reporter without the thought of you believing it is news in the first place.

2. Your timeline isn’t what the press cares about. In fact, you need to care what the media’s timelines are. I recently read this piece of advice and couldn’t agree more. “Let’s say you are sending a Christmas wish list to a monthly magazine. When do you send that pitch? October? August? Try June or July.

3. Know the news. Everyone thinks their clients are special, and they are. However, you will not get your clients picked up by every single news outlet. In fact, for every 500 outlets pitched, expect a 3% return and not right away. Remember, editorial calendars exist!

As you move forward, you will create connections that will make it easier for you to pick up the phone and bump competing press agents and their stories. Until then, follow the rules and don’t make these 3 major mistakes.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Friday, July 24, 2015

How to Engage Anyone....

In business you will have to engage and charm anyone and everyone. You have to know how to speak with people. You have to get employees to follow your vision. The media to pick-up your idea. You have to sell clients your concept or products. There is a lot of work to be done in the person-to-personal intercommunications realm. So, how do you do this effectively? 3 simple steps.

1. Treat others as they want to be treated. Don’t treat everyone nicely or how YOU want to be treated, treat them how they want to be treated. If someone hates candy, why send a box of candy to all of your clients during a holiday season? Be personal. Call people by name, remember minor details and use them.

2. Say goodbye to your smartphone for two days straight. Yes, two days. Why? It will help you focus on people. When you do this, you will see exactly what I mean. After you do this, and you see the positive results, you will be able to tuck that phone away during meetings and other important events. Showing up is important and you can’t fully do this – or engage anyone- if your head is engaged with your own phone as the primary distraction.

3. Know the difference between a fact and an opinion and use this properly. Don’t talk about people using opinions and don’t talk about business without incorporating facts. Only offer your opinion when you feel it will help someone and never say anything negative about anyone to anyone. It will come back and bite you. Be factual and helpful, not a gossip or a know-it-all.

Until Monday,

Twyla Garrett

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The One Thing To Know Before Starting A Business

Here is the secret to becoming successful before even opening your business.. Pay talent in equity if you can’t afford to pay them right away. It’s very hard to attract talent w to help you grow your business when you’re strapped for cash. I learned, early on that is, that if you pay individuals with a percentage of ownership of the company then they will be actually invested in your company and not simply invested in a paycheck – plus you’re saving money.

Some people like to hire interns. This action could be a win-win for both parties but it also comes with a risk. At some point the intern is going to leave for a paying job or -worst yet- will start his or her own company. You have to be aware that if this happens that the intern can take anything you may have taught him or her… including clients… can move forward with a bigger, better plan and possibly more money than you have. If you are considering getting an intern, understand that you should also have an NDA and other legal documents in place to protect you and your ideas.

Paying talent in equity is one of the best and most affordable options for people seeking to start-up any type of business. They get to buy into a business without coming up with cash and you gain someone who truly cares about the growth of your company without having to pay cash. Sure, you’re giving away a percentage of equity, but isn’t this a good thing if they can make your company grow?

That’s my food for thought tonight!

Twyla Garrett

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

3 PR Tips for Business Owners

Someone asked me recently if I had a super tip that would blast them into PR wonderland. Well, I have 3 tips that everyone should know about PR and practice, but they aren’t going to “blast you into wonderland.” Publicity is a layered approach and it requires practice and the development of relationships. There is no such thing as overnight success- unless you’re only looking for 15 minutes of fame.

So, here are my 3 PR tips;

1. You need to be your own brand. Don’t let an interview, introduction, or any other opportunity go by without telling someone who you are, how you can help, and what your tag line is.

2. Your tag line should be a phrase that explains what you do and why you’re better! For example, Burger Kind’s is “Home of the Whopper”. They sell Whoppers. They are the only company that sells Whoppers. Period. BTW – There was no Whopper until Burger King branded it this way…..

3. Don’t stop selling – it’s not shameless to plug yourself, as long as you do it honorably. If you meet a radio show host, talk yourself up but do so in a way that he or she would see how having you would benefit the audience- not yourself. Remember, you have to solve a problem for someone in order to present media value. Often, this problem solving comes in the way of providing expertise or industry insight.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Monday, July 13, 2015

Media Writing Tips 101

I was thinking about the conference the other day when I came across a poorly composed press release. You see, writing separates the stringers from the professionals. No matter how many connections you have, if you can't write- you will fail. Period!

This said, I wanted to share the top 3 writing mistakes YOU need to avoid. If you don't, your peers will look at you like a stringer and you will not obtain any respect within the media relations field.

1. "At the end of the day" - Do not ever use this. You should be able to write your point without having to point it out. If you have to write a "look at me" tag, the rest of your writing is fluff and journalists will hate it and laugh at it.

2. "I know you're busy" - If you're using this in a pitch or a sales letter, slap yourself on the wrist. Everyone is busy. Writing this phrase just wastes more of the reader's time and it sounds corny. Avoid using this phrase at all costs.

3. "In this day in age" - Ok, first- we all assume that you are writing about the present. If not, why are you writing at all. The goal is to be media savvy and relevant. This phrase is ad copy and doesn't have a place in the PR world.

I hope this info. helps you become a better writer and understand what separates the true professional from the wannabe.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Friday, July 10, 2015

PR and Live Events 101

People often believe that because they host a special event that the media will flock to it and blanket it with coverage. This statement couldn’t be further from the truth. Hosting an event means you have to work harder to obtain pre-press efforts and actually get the media to attend the event.

Here are a few pointers on obtaining actual media coverage for your next event;

1. Promote your keynote speaker. Make sure the press knows who is going to speak, what the overall message is, and then send soundbites after the event is over (within 24 hours).

2. Be clear about a theme. When promoting the event (pre and post production), make sure you explain why it is newsworthy and beneficial to the business industry or community at hand.

3. Don’t have a self-interest. Reporters will see through awards and acknowledgements in exchange for actual media coverage. Instead, invite them for their expertise on a panel and make sure you include social media interaction as part of the event and conversation.

4. Take an outside perspective on the event. Sure, it is important to you, but why would it be important to someone who doesn’t know you? The answer to this question will mean the difference between media attendance and media coverage.

I hope this information helps you secure actual media coverage for your next big event.

Until next time,

Twyla N. Garrett

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Wasting Time, It's Serious Business

Do you know how to NOT waste time? Really think about your answer first. In a culture of social media “pings” and feeling like everything has to be done NOW …. more of us actually waste time versus being productive.

The Eisenhower Box method has been tested again and again. It is the best method to use when preventing time from being wasted while boosting productivity. So, what is the Eisenhower Box method?

Basically, this method states one should separate actions based on four possibilities. The possibilities are:

Urgent and important (tasks you will do immediately).

Important, but not urgent (tasks you will schedule to do later).

Urgent, but not important (tasks you will delegate to someone else).

Neither urgent nor important (tasks that you will eliminate).

If you look at every single item that comes across your desk, iPhone, tablet, etc. and apply one of these four possibilities to it – you will not waste time. The Eisenhower Box method is all about assessing and addressing by making an immediate decision on every potential and actionable item.

For today, start apply this method and notice how much you get done and how quickly it gets done. I promise you the productivity in your life will go up and you still will have more time left at the end of the day.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Does Social Media Have You Overexposed?

Overexposure is a very real thing. Publicists often have to walk a fine line when working with co-PR management (film, music, cross generational brands, etc.) to ensure that messaging and promotion is effective and not so heavy that fans or customers feel sickened by it.

Molly Tullis recently covered overexposure and I feel she captured it perfectly. She said, “In the summer of 2013, the Jennifer Lawrence love affair was at an all-time high. The Hunger Games had come out a year earlier, she won an Oscar for Best Supporting Role in the Silver Linings Playbook, and hit a home-run by saying all the right things about body image and young girls. But by December I was waiting for the imminent backlash. I didn’t have to wait long. Before she could cash her paycheck signed out to Katniss, Jennifer Lawrence was fielding reports that she was obnoxious, ‘everywhere’, and people were incredibly “sick and bored of her.” Ironic that a culture that had obsessively gorged on her girl-next-door charms felt sick soon after. Of course she was everywhere – we put her there. The same phenomenon happened with Reese Witherspoon and Anne Hathaway before her. We loved them, we put them on every cover, we give them sponsorships, and while they’re still walking red carpets, they’re consistently fielding comments such as: “I don’t know why… I just don’t like her.”

Here’s the thing- there is no measurement to predict overexposure. It has to be addressed on a case-by-case basis. If you look at Molly’s comments above, think about Jared Leto. He won the Oscar. He is in a successful band. He has his own streaming company for entertainers. He is practically everywhere and yet- he has no overexposure risk. I think this is because he is collectively evenly spread out (as a brand) across different mediums that cater to different audiences.

My point tonight is this, pay attention to your measurements and what audiences are saying on social media. The moment whispers start to turn south, pull interviews and reevaluate your publicity plan.

Twyla N. Garrett

Monday, July 6, 2015

Increasing Sales.... Write It Down

I’ve been asked time and time again about sales and how to get more of them. Well, there is one sure-fire way to get sales but it is a practiced art and it shouldn’t be the only sales funnel you rely upon. So, what is the one way to actually improve sales?

Notes. Yes, take notes. If you don’t take notes, you likely won’t remember what’s said or what commitments you or the customer made to each other. Plus, when you take detailed notes during a cold call or an initial conversation, you can make your follow-up more personal, which will resonate with the customer and lead to better chances of closing a deal.

I have found that we often spend so much time selling ourselves and pitching our products and services that we fail to listen. We fail to take notes. We fail to solve the problem for the customer vs. selling the customer on solving the problem. Hint: The customer knows they have a problem. They don’t want to hear that you can solve it, they want you to understand how they feel and then have you understand their point of view. Once you can convey that you understand how they feel (again, through detailed follow-up via your notes), then you can ask for their business and start to really close deals and increase sales.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

One Habit Harming Your Business

I’m going to share the most vital of business tip I can – you have a bad habit. In fact, most entrepreneurs do. I had to become aware of this bad habit, which is why I am passing it on to you. Once you become aware of this habit then you can start to work on breaking it.

So, what’s the habit? Living in the past. Yes, the past. You see, dwelling in the past keeps you from moving forward. It is important that you do whatever it takes to bury the past so you can come into the now. You can’t think about mistakes or should’ves. You really have to focus on planning to move forward and think about possibilities.

People who live in the past or judge the present based on how they have experienced the past tend to be dreamers, not do’ers. It is important that you are both. I use to live in the past. I thought about all the money and time wasted learning lessons and thought how impossible it seemed for me to move forward. Then, one day, after realizing that I was frozen by my past , I decided to dive right into my future. I worked on shrugging off irrational fears of what could happen again and made a plan to move forward and prevent these things from happening again. I didn’t become glued to past results, I worked on moving forward because of the past results.

If you can learn to move forward from the past, you will be successful. There is no question in my mind about this strategy. So, I ask you today, what about your past is making you fearful about moving forward today? Whatever it is, address it and then figure out a plan to move beyond it.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett