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5 Tips on using Video to Market your Business

Video marketing is the new social media. If you are not using it, you are being left behind. It’s not only naturally engaging, but it tells a much better story than words or still pictures. (It’s why I was a TV reporter for 10 years and LOVED shooting and editing my stories!) Your business needs this! So take a stab at doing it yourself or hire a professional (like me) to tell your brands story.

Here are five tips on using video to market your business:

Consider your audience. You need to make sure the promotion is relevant to your audience. If it’s not, you’re wasting your time. Tell a story. This is a big one, because so many brands want to promote instead of telling a meaningful story. A great story will get you further and will make for an even better commercial. Take a look at this video I did for Doral Buick GMC. It was so much fun and I think it comes across onscreen. Promote it. It should hit your website first, then, social media! This is where social media is key. It’s the best platform to share your work with current and potential future customers. Depending on the outlet, you may get :15, :30, etc., so keep that in mind when posting. I’ve even created a series of videos just for those outlets because of time constraints. On Facebook, I posted this video to my fan page and pinned it to the top. That ensures a wider reach. (Click here to read more on the importance of social media.) free-media Keep it short. I don’t think anyone has the attention span to watch something longer than two to three minutes. There is just too much for us to see online. We are at the hands of information overload, so we need to tell stories with emotion while entertaining and educating fast. (It’s why video is the best!) Here is another video I did that includes all of those things in just 30 seconds. Sidenote: The only time a video entertained me for a long period of time recently (13 minutes) was this one. Watch it. It’s too funny.

Create a call to action. Someone just watched the recording you created, now what? Make sure your website, phone number, email address, coupon code, whatever is accessible when the video ends. If not, what was the point? In my online course, Master Your PR, there is an entire module on video creation. If you want to learn more, I hope to see you there.
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6 Ways to Increase Productivity

Let’s be honest, we all waste a lot of time. I’m sure many of you reading this hate meetings for this reason. If it’s an hour long, I’d bet about 10 minutes of it was productive. Then, there is the meeting to talk about the meeting. I could go on. If you haven’t noticed by now, I love finding ways to be more productive. be-more-productive Here are my top six ways to increase productivity:

I stopped commuting.

To me, it makes no sense to spend time sitting in rush hour traffic, twice, to sit in front of a computer at work all day. Obviously, this pertains to me working at a public relations firm. When I was a TV reporter, commuting was essential. That’s not a job that can be done from home. But many jobs can be done from home in front of a computer. When I didn’t spend time getting presentable for public and commuting to work, I gained an additional 2-3 hours a day. Now, that’s productive! Want even more details? Click here to read my article in Fast Company.

I have a to-do list.

And it is detailed. I am very organized, so I actually have two to-do lists – one in general with no deadlines, and one more immediate with deadlines. I make sure it’s ready to go before I start working, so when I’m ready to begin no time is wasted. (Yes, that means you have to work a little bit on Sunday night, but it’s worth it Monday morning!)

I eliminate distractions.

I used to leave all the tabs on my computer open. When I would see an email flashing in one, I would stop what I was doing, open that email, and deal with it. It may have taken two minutes of my time, 20 minutes, or even more. Then, I would go back to what I was originally doing. Not only is this inefficient, but it’s also a great way to get off track. Instead, I give myself a task to do – with those tabs closed and my phone face down. I don’t want to see it light up with a notification! Unless it’s a life saving emergency, which I’m sure it’s not, it can wait.

I work when it works.

For some reason, I’m more productive at night. Some people are great in the morning. I’m good in the morning, but great at night. Around 3pm-7pm, I’m distracted and just in need of a break, so I work when it’s best for me. But some days, I’m great at that time. It really just depends on what’s going on in my life that day personally and professionally. I am a firm believer that not everyone needs 40 hours a week to do their job and not everyone needs to do it between the hours of 9am-5pm. If that were the case, what a coincidence that would be! productivity

I schedule everything.

Like, ev-er-y-thing. And I set reminders. This helps me plan out my day, week, and month. If you know what is happening, you will be more productive because you have a plan to follow. Use working out for example: If you say, “I’m going to the gym this week” you probably won’t go or you’ll put if off. If you say, “I’m going to the gym Tuesday morning at 9:30” you will probably go because it is a scheduled plan.

I get to the point.

I don’t want someone to take up my time by sugar coating and beating around the bush… and I’m impatient. I’d much rather prefer someone just get to the point, so that’s what I do. It’s also a great way to get rid of any confusion! When people know you are a straight shooter, they are more trust worthy and you know you won’t be playing a guessing game. In business, that is a must! free-media Finally, since I brought it up, my advice on getting out of a meeting: Take that list of things to do and devote the meeting time to getting it done. Tell your boss and ask someone to brief you on what was discussed. That = productivity! Do you want to promote your brand? You can! Sign up for my online course to learn how you can promote your brand by doing PR yourself. Click here to master your PR. Want to try a bit for free? E-mail me at Christina@MediaMavenAndMore.com.
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5 Ways to Earn TV Time as an Expert

When I was working in news, so many people would ask me, “How do you get to be on TV?” First, I would explain to them it’s not as glamorous as it looks. Then, I’d explain the process I went through of school, internships, making a tape, sending it out (hundreds of times), making a new tape, sending it out (hundreds of more times), then bouncing from market to market. It took a lot, but many can bypass all of that. If you are an expert in your field and you think you’re good enough to be a panelist on TV – you can do it too. I work as a coach to both media train and put together a reel for experts who want to do this exact thing! tv-time Here are five ways to earn TV time as an expert in your industry:
  1. If you are a doctor, attorney, computer programmer, etc. – pretend you’re talking to 5th graders. These types of experts have a tendency to try to sound smart and they go on too long. Keep it short and simple and speak in normal language.
  2. You have to practice being on TV before you can get on TV. You can do that with your phone. Pretend you are having a normal conversation. Also, a reel doesn’t hurt. Before anyone puts you on the tube, they want to know you can do the job!
  3. Stand for one thing. Have an opinion about issues… if not, what are you there for?!
  4. Hire a publicist (like me!) until you make your own relationships with assignment desks, reporters, bookers, etc. (I think I have a leg up on working in PR for this reason… I used to be the media!)
  5. ALWAYS send out an email the minute you hear a story breaking you could be an expert on. It can be as simple as, “I am an expert if you guys are doing a story on such-and-such.” That’s it!
free-media Do you want to promote your brand? You can! Sign up for my FREE e-course to learn how you can by doing PR yourself. Click here to master your PR. For more, email me at Christina@MediaMavenAndMore.com.
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5 Reasons your Business needs Social Media

If you are a business owner, the inventor of a product, or have a brand – maybe you are your brand, you must be on social media. I recently explained to one of my social media clients, a personal account compared to a business account is like night and day. You really can’t compare the two, so don’t compare apples to oranges if you’re on the fence about getting your business on Facebook.

Social Media Marketing for Small Business

What started as social networking has turned into social media marketing for small business. It is a necessity.

Social media is a powerful tool that allows you to promote your brand and communicate with customers while bringing in new ones in real time. It’s an amazing customer service tool… if used correctly. If not, it has the potential to break your business.

Click here for more on why it’s important to choose your social media manager wisely.

Your business needs social media for a lot of reasons, but here are my top five:

Communication.

You need to be able to communicate with your current and potential customers. This is the best way because it’s so accessible. It’s also great because others can see that communication, unlike in an email or on a phone call. Show off your skills as a business that cares about communicating with customers.

Accessibility.

When Facebook launched, it was only accessible to college students. That’s when I joined. Now, everyone is on it, so your business should be on it too. Every generation is represented. Name a demographic and you can target them and reach them through social media.

Customer Service.

In my opinion, great customer service is the most important thing any business can offer. If I loved a product but found the customer service to be bad, I’m not going to be a repeat customer. It’s that important! With social media, you can respond quickly to customers questions, concerns, and needs. You’re not only building a relationship with customers, but others are seeing that as well.

Transparency.

In my opinion, this is the best part and why social media works so well. It’s also when things can get ugly… so again, choose your social media manager wisely. If you see a company responding quickly to customers concerns online, then you see a company who ignores customers concerns… which one are you likely to choose? Every time I go out to eat, I tweet or instagram a shout out to the restaurant. Some respond right away. Others never do. (Bad move.)

Relevant.

In 2016, it’s expected your business has two things: a website and at least one social media account (depending on your business.) It shows you are active, you are busy, you are engaging… and you are relevant because you are online and you are online where it matters. social-media Remember when I said your business account is not like your personal account? This is exactly why you don’t want to hire your niece to post on your behalf while she is on summer vacation. If you are going to spend the time and money (yes, time and money) to market your business on social media, you need to have a strategy that will give you a return on your investment. Do not hire someone to post once a day and call it a day. Again, it’s not a personal account. It’s a business account for social media… something that should be making you money! free-media Today, social media marketing for small business is one of the most important pieces of marketing you need to pay attention to. Do you want to promote your brand? You can! Sign up for my online course to learn how you can by doing PR yourself. Click here to master your PR. For more, or try a bit out for free, e-mail me at Christina@MediaMavenAndMore.com.
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Getting the most out of your LinkedIn page

If you care about your career or you want to grow your business, chances are you are on LinkedIn. If not, you should get an account. Here, you will create and grow relationships with people in your industry, build your credibility by creating and sharing professional content, and expand your reach when it comes to earning new and more business. using-linkedin-to-grow-my-business There is no better place to promote yourself and what you do! Here are five tips on getting the most out of your LinkedIn page, whether it be your personal page or your company page:

Complete your Profile.

First things first. Fill in as much of your profile as you can. You want to be found, and when you are found, you want to blow people away! So, don’t use a picture of yourself at a bar as your profile picture. This isn’t Instagram. Keep it professional. Go back as far in your work history as you can and share as much of your expertise as you can. This is your resume!

Blog on LinkedIn.

On LinkedIn, it’s called “posts” not “blogs”, but it’s basically the same thing. I believe blogging is important for any business to do on its website. (Hello! That’s why you’re reading this here!) The same goes for a person on LinkedIn. Use these posts to show your network you are an expert in your industry and to further promote your brands message. Educate and entertain. Don’t forget to include a nice picture to go along with the post and to include three tags at the bottom of your post. These tags will help your post be found by professionals searching that topic. free-media

Ask for Recommendations.

You can talk about how great you are all day, every day, but when someone else does it, it means so much more. That’s the power of public relations! You need to be part of this “word of mouth” marketing strategy to get a referral. LinkedIn makes it easy to ask people in your network for these referrals. Once someone says something nice about you and how you operate professionally, it’ll be on your page for all to see!

Show your Work.

On Facebook, people share pictures of their kids and their dinner. On LinkedIn, people share pictures of their successes. Post a link, a short paragraph, or a video. Don’t be afraid to promote yourself. That’s exactly what this is for!

Make Connections.

Take time to look for people you want to connect with. LinkedIn makes it easy by giving you recommendations based on your work history and common connections, but it’s also easy to search for people as well. Don’t be shy! You can search for people based on the industry they work in, college they graduated from, and so much more. Find those people and “connect.” social-media-and-linkedin Using LinkedIn to grow your business? Using LinkedIn to find a job? Use LinkedIn as a marketing strategy for both! It works! What to connect with me? Personally, I’m right here and you can click here to follow Media Maven. Do you want to promote your brand? You can! Sign up for my online course to learn how you can by doing PR yourself. Click here to master your PR. For a free tester, email me at Christina@MediaMavenAndMore.com.
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6 Reasons I Hate Press Releases

Yes, I own a public relations firm… and I hate press releases. Sounds crazy, right? Well, I spent almost a decade deleting them, so there’s that. When I was looking to leave the TV business and start working at a public relations firm, so many wouldn’t hire me because I didn’t have any PR agency experience. I would say, “No, I don’t, but I do have experience deleting just about everything you’ve ever sent me. Would you like to know why?” Honestly, not one of them wanted to know why… but they still continued to send me terrible press releases in an attempt to earn their clients publicity. So, here are 6 reasons I hate press releases: bad-press-releases

No one was putting themselves in my shoes.

I’m the reporter. I’m the one you want to cover the story, so put yourself in my shoes. Is it what I usually cover? No. Does it pertain to the area I cover? No. So you’re sending it to me why? Because it’s what you should do?

It wasn’t newsworthy.

Most press releases I received basically screamed, “Please, give my client a free commercial! There is nothing really newsworthy here, but I need to get this on TV!” Unless the news day is so, so, so very slow… local TV news doesn’t do free commercials. Instead, educate me. Entertain me. At least attempt to make it newsworthy! There’s gotta be a story in there somewhere. In addition, why should I do your story when I’m one of dozens, if not hundreds getting this exact same press release?

They are just too long.

Do you know how many press releases news outlets and journalists get in a single day?! It’s a lot. You’d be shocked! If you don’t keep it short and sweet and get to the point, all your time and energy writing that press release was wasted.

It said “Press Release” in the subject line.

That = automatic deletion. Seriously, you could have the solution to all of the worlds problems in that press release. With that subject line, no one will read it.

It said “Breaking News” in the subject line…

and was about an art show… the same day a mass shooting occurred. This not only gets you deleted, but shamed and embarrassed in the newsroom and in online industry groups. I’ve seen it. As a journalist, I laughed. As someone in the PR industry, please stop. You are embarrassing me.

It didn’t give me what I needed, when I needed it.

If I’m in TV, what would I do with high resolution pictures or quotes? Nothing. I need an interview… and not a Skype interview. An in person interview… and that person better be available from the second you send me that press release. If I ever responded to a press release, this was a follow up problem. In TV, we do things the day of. Unless it’s a special report, the story is started and finished within hours, so don’t send me something to cover, then tell me to wait because you aren’t ready. You just lost your chance. With that said, I don’t think all press releases are pointless. I bet everyone jumps at the chance to read one from Apple. I would. They put out some pretty good stuff. I still write press releases for clients. I definitely think they have a time and a place, but I do not believe press releases should be a go-to thing each and every time you want to reach out to the media. Many PR pros do. In my opinion, #1-#6 is how not to write a press release. free-media For more on how I can help you grow your business, whether it be through a strategic press release or pitch, please e-mail me at Christina@MediaMavenAndMore.com… or you can check this out! Sign up for my online course to learn how you can by doing PR yourself. Click here to master your PR.
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3 Reasons your Business needs a Blog

If you have a business, you need a website… and your website should have a blog! blogging-for-businesses Blogging is one of the most valuable tools businesses have to engage with customers, make their lives easier, and promote themselves as experts in their industry. If you’re not blogging, it’s time to get started or get left behind. Here are 3 reasons your business needs a blog:

Visibility

Having a blog on your business website helps your search engine optimization, or SEO. If someone is searching for something related to a topic you’ve blogged about it, that person may stumble upon your website in a search. Let yourself be discovered!

Credibility

It makes you credible as an expert in your industry. It shows you don’t only know your industry, but are also familiar with the ins and outs of it. So many topics can be discussed! Take my blog on this website for example. I don’t only post about public relations in general, but I go into specifics and even discuss different current events and how they relate to my business. Credibility strengthens the image of your brand.

Social Media

A blog is a form of social media, and it is vital for businesses to be on social media. You don’t have to be on all forms of social media, just the ones that help your business and brand… and a blog is a must! It’s also a great way to interact with present and potential customers through likes, comments, and shares. free-media Is it time consuming, yes. Is it worth it, yes. When it comes to blogs for businesses, just say YES! Nothing in this world is guaranteed, so it’s hard to say whether or not you will get a ROI, but it’s something that is too useful and popular to pass up. Do you want to promote your brand? You can! Sign up for my online course to learn how you can by doing PR yourself. Click here to master your PR. For a free, mini-version, email me at Christina@MediaMavenAndMore.com.
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Steve Harvey and the Miss Universe Pageant

Besides declaring the wrong woman Miss Universe, I don’t put the blame on Steve Harvey, even though he takes it. From a professional stand point, this is why.

Live TV isn’t easy.

No matter how used to it you are, things happen. It’s why a lot of things are taped. I’ve done live TV hundreds of times. Once, I forgot my name. Another time, I forgot my sig out – the thing you say at the end of EVERY SINGLE live shot. We all have brain farts. We all make mistakes at work. For most people, they don’t happen in front of millions. For a few, they do… and then people attack. “How hard is it to read a card?” Well, sometimes it is hard. You’ve never misspoke while reading something? steve-harvey-and-miss-universe

It’s not a solo act.

Yes, he was the only host, but where was the Miss Universe organization? Hosting a live event with changing elements, like a beauty pageant, can’t be easy. Instead of just handing him a card, he should have been told who won. He should have been handed the card and told, this is the second runner up… this is the first runner up… this is Miss Universe. I do not think he was prepped, just handed a card… with very small font.

His social media team.

After the universal mistake, thousands (if not millions) took to Twitter. I think Steve Harvey broke Twitter that Sunday night. His first apology tweet had a couple of spelling mistakes. It was not a good time for this, considering what was misspelled. But I’m willing to bet Steve Harvey did not tweet this. Tweets were posted from his account all night. I don’t think he was hosting live and tweeting at the same time. He has a social media team… and I bet someone on that team was rushing to put something out in the Twitterverse ASAP and got lazy. I’ve said it before… this is why you cannot hire an intern to manage your social media accounts! Then, that tweet was deleted. (Note: DO NOT delete social media posts after tens of thousands of people share it.) steve-harvey

Voting.

Remember, Steve Harvey didn’t single handedly pick the winner and change his mind. Other people voted. He was the messenger. He didn’t take the crown from Miss Colombia. Miss Philippines had it all along (and rightfully so, in my opinion.) The saying “don’t kill the messenger” rings true in this circumstance. 100%.

Bigger fish to fry.

I’m not going to say “it’s just a beauty pageant” because some women work their entire lives for this one night. But, let’s remember what some of these women talked about during their final question… gun violence, terrorism, etc. So yes, while it is an important night for many women, there are bigger fish to fry. Miss Colombia shouldn’t be upset this happened. She should be thrilled! If Steve would’ve announced the correct winner as planned, no one would be talking about Miss Colombia today. They may have said, oh that contestant looked like Sofia Vergara… and that’s it. It’s like the girl from Miss Teen USA who thought we needed more maps in the world. She was better known than the girl who won Miss Teen USA! No one will forget the runner up this year! Plus, I bet Miss Philippines appreciates her win a little more now, after being a runner up first. free-media Do I think this is publicity stunt? No way! Whenever something big or unexpected happens, people who don’t know any better scream publicity stunt. I don’t think Steve Harvey wants this kind of publicity. In addition, I don’t think he needs it with a radio show, daytime TV show, Family Feud, best selling books, etc. If you want to see him explain what happened himself, click here. How can you not love a man like that?!
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Twitter 101: Six Tips on How to Make it Work for You

Like all forms of social media, making it work on Twitter goes way beyond posting. Posting is great, but it will only get you so far. I think the best piece of advice I’ve received that has helped me continuously grow my Twitter following is to…

Be engaging.

Before I cared about growing my fan base, I never responded to people who would follow me or tweet me. Now, I respond. I am engaging. I RT and favorite too. That’s my #1 tip. free-media Some other advice:

Participate in Twitter chats.

When you start following people in your niche, you will notice when these chats take place. Join in and make new friends.

Tweet.

When it comes to posting, remember the average tweet lives for about 20 minutes. If you are posting every 20 minutes, no, you are not tweeting too much. For the reason above, I schedule most of my tweets. Instead of logging on to post something numerous times a day for weeks, I spend 10 minutes scheduling the posts that last days, weeks, or even months long.

Use hashtags.

Don’t go overboard and has tag everything under the sun, just keep it relevant to what you are talking about. Many people get on only to search hashtags, so take a look at what is trending. (This is also a great way to find people in your niche you want to follow… search that hashtag!)

Keep it short and sweet.

You get 140 characters, so it’s hard to make it that long, but if you use up all of those 140 characters, it’ll be difficult for others to RT or RT with an added comment.

Tweet good content.

Tweet something that gives people a reason to click your link, retweet you, respond to you, or favorite your tweet. If your content isn’t there, then what’s the point of tweeting in the first place?

Tell me who you are.

Get rid of that egg picture and give yourself a nice headshot or logo. Also, put something in that cover photo spot. Don’t leave it empty. Also, use that bio space to the fullest extent you can. Who are you? What do you do? Think about your goals and reasons for being on Twitter and put it out right there so when people read your bio, they will want to follow you. Are you on Twitter? Follow me! I’m @MediaMaven_CN.
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Three Things to Keep in Mind BEFORE Hiring a Publicist

Thinking of hiring a public relations agency like Media Maven or a publicist like myself? Any business or brand wants exposure. If people aren’t aware of you, how are they going to find you and become a client or customer?! They won’t, but still, there is one big thing that holds people back from hiring a publicist: Knowledge of the business. Many people don’t understand how the business works and once you hire a firm or publicist, it can be a learning experience. Before you shell out any money, please keep these things in mind before hiring a publicist: free-media

1. Find out how they work.

When I say “they” I mean the person working on your account. The actual person. At many PR firms, the person selling you on hiring their firm, isn’t the person who will be working on your account. Make sure you know who you will be working with and what their experience and connections are. Don’t fall for the person making the sale. I once worked for a man who would over promise on the deliverables, then hand over the account to a new employee and say, “It’s my job to get them, now it’s your job to keep them.” You don’t want that.

2. Know your goals.

As a media specialist, that is what I base my work on – what the clients goals are. Why do you want publicity and where do you want it? The more specific you are, the better. Chances are, you want to be where your audience is. That’s a great starting point when deciding what your goals are. Also, have realistic expectations. That leads me to a red flag…

3. Have realistic expectations.

If it was easy to get you on Good Morning America or in Entrepreneur Magazine, then every PR firm would have bragging rights until the cows come home. You’re not going to get national media coverage every week. That’s just not the way it works. We wish it did just as much as you do. So listen, when someone at a PR firm starts talking like, “I can get you covered in this magazine or an appearance on that show,” make them put it in writing because chances are they are just selling you with great hopes and dreams. In the world of PR, we cannot control writers, producers, bookers, etc. We cannot guarantee coverage in anything just like a doctor can’t guarantee to cure your sickness, but like a doctor, we will use our time, experience, and expertise. If any PR firm starts making promises like this, either get it in writing… or run. Like any business, you want to vet who you hire. Hopefully these three things will help you when you’re shopping around the very saturated world of PR. There’s a lot of firms and there’s a lot of soloPReneurs. You have a lot to choose from… and now, you have homework before you make your decision.
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