A picture of Palin is worth 1,000 books

Sarah PalinI love Sarah Palin. Actually, let me be clearer – I love Sarah Palin’s public relations team.

Her glamour shot center cover of USA Today on Friday, Dec. 11 was stunningly good. For a losing vice-presidential candidate who quit her day job – Palin is as hot as it gets. (And no, I’m not talking about her looks.)

Just ask the millions who have purchased her book. Going Rouge has rocketed to the top of best-seller lists. Palin’s publisher, HarperCollins, is on its 13th printing, even though the book hit store shelves Nov. 17.

Palin’s public relations team is doing a marvelous job of keeping her in the news and keeping her at the top of minds. Love her or hate her, there is no denying she is getting great advice from her communications team.

Her whirlwind book tour of 33 cities, 25 states and 19,000 miles played to rousing crowds. It silenced some publicists and even top-selling authors who say book tours are dead or a waste of time. Whether riding a bus, or traveling on a private jet to get more business done, Sarah Palin has loyal fans wherever she stops.

Not sure where to send the note of congratulations on the fine PR work. Maybe it is Palin’s personal team or the marketing arm at HarperCollins. Either way – Bravo!

From the interview on Oprah before the book launched, to the coverage of the tour in major media across the country, the public relations buzz has been Going Rogue.

Ashton Kutcher, King of Social Media

As co-CEO of Katalyst Media, Ashton Kutcher is on the cutting edge of all things related to making money and extending brand reach with social media.

Ashton Kutcher  photoKutcher’s rise as a business visionary is quite an accomplishment, considering he is best known as the pretty-boy lunkhead from “That 70s Show.” Fast Company this month featured Kutcher in its cover story. It’s an insightful look inside Kutcher’s team.

Ashton’s Katalyst Media provides good insight for small businesses that might be struggling with What do I do with Social Media?

Ashton’s team is experimenting daily with Facebook, Twitter and blogging. Katalyst Media understands that this media needs to have a return on investment.

Great content, they’ve discovered, drives eyeballs.

What is great content? Stories, photos, video, links — anything that gets people talking and wanting to pass it along to a friend.

Great content fuels return on investment.

Great content is not a new concept. But making money from it these days requires a new way of doing business. As Ashton points out, some of the brightest minds in Silicon Valley still haven’t figured out how to make great content pay for itself.

But innovators are figuring it out. Small businesses need to think like Ashton and experiment with social media as a way of getting great content to your target audience.

Ripley Believe It or Not scores positive press in National Enquirer

Yes, the headline is true. Ripley’s top-selling Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Seeing is Believing secured a wonderful feature in the recent issue of the National Enquirer on newsstands now. (Wow, I never thought I would use that line!)

But kudos to the Enquirer for a very colorful and well-crafted photo montage on how Ripley’s, in its annual Believe It or Not! collectable, scoured the world to find artists that took a unique approach to create familiar celebrity faces.

If you want to see, you better hustle to the grocery store. We have a feeling this issue could go fast. The coverage is on page 18 – just ahead of the Tiger Woods Cheating Scandal – Believe It or Not!

Tiger Woods shoots at least a double bogey in Crisis PR

Tiger Woods
Tiger Wood has shown the world he knows how to hit a golf ball.
But he has also shown the world that he – and all of his likely well-paid advisors – knows very little about crisis PR.

Did Tiger really think the recent crash and cover-up story would just go away? That the national media and the tabloids would turn a blind eye to his transgressions?

This race out the driveway in the family Cadillac and slam into a fire hydrant and tree was much more than one bad drive off the fairway. There was no escaping this fiasco. There were a ton of things that just did not add up, and even the most rookie reporter could smell a very hot story.

This crisis was completely of Tiger’s making. His team did not blast what is left of his reputation out of the sand trap fast enough.
Yes, it was a very sticky situation. But what crisis is not a very sticky situation?

Instead of getting out in front of the storm and admitting he was human and had made some mistakes, he and his advisors waited for this whole thing to blow into a gargantuan PR mess. They should have taken the appropriate steps and admitted between carefully crafted lines that the Tiger had roared in places where he should have been very quiet.

In the celebrity world of crisis PR, Tiger just shot at least a double bogey. The real score will not be known for days.

Florio Flourishes in NFL: Even though he never played a down

NY Giants

Want a great blog? Be sure and order a huge dose of passion.

The best blogs are passionate about their subject. And often they are relentless in their dedication to their subject matter.

Take Mike Florio. He was a lawyer from Bridgeport, West Virginia. He started a blog about the NFL, as a sidelight to his law business.

Today he is one of the most trusted bloggers about the NFL. He has Super Bowl credentials. He has a spot on national television.

Why? Because he is absolutely unyielding about his coverage of the NFL, all issues NFL, and all issues pro football.

His blog, ProFootballTalk.com, is a compendium of short articles from leading sources in the NFL.

Florio was interviewed recently in the Saturday New York Times. He told the Times “I’m always on duty. My wife tells me I work harder now than I did when I was practicing law full time and doing this on the side. But that’s the nature of it. It’s grown, it’s successful, we expand, and expectations are higher.”

Certainly expectations are higher. Mike Florio has signed a deal with NBC, and ProFootballTalk.com holds a prominent position on NBC’s sports web site. The unique visitors to the site were 2.9 million in October, tripling from the same month a year ago.

A spokesman for the NFL called Florio a must-read. Why? – Because he works tirelessly to get information and new content to his blog. He knows his blog and his business better than anyone.

What is the correlation for your business? Same thing.

Who knows your business better than you? Who can describe what is important better than you? Maybe you can’t work 24/7 on your blog, but your knowledge and your desire to succeed is what will make any business blog the best it can be.

Barnie’s Coffee & Tea Celebrates Green Friday

Barnies logo 2008

Barnie’s Coffee & Tea Celebrates Green Friday

Some retailers prepare for Black Friday by stocking their shelves and putting a little extra in the back room.
At Barnie’s Coffee & Tea this year they’ve prepared for Black Friday by opening a series of new stores in malls and lifestyle shopping centers across Central Florida and the Tampa Bay area.

Barnie’s Founder Phil Jones has shown an amazing commitment to Central Florida and to rebuilding the Barnie’s brand. He is definitely putting his money where his mouth is, with new stores in Altamonte Springs and new franchise operations in Orlando’s Fashion Square as well as well as Lakeland and Tampa.

The Barnie’s brand has brought holiday memories to many with its scrumptious Santa’s White Christmas. And we’re not just saying this because we occasionally put out a press release for Barnie’s.

We’ve been huge Barnie’s fans for more than 20 years and we are happy to see Phil succeed in his efforts to rebuild the brand and bring Barnie’s good taste to more people.

If you happen to be going to a Magic game, Barnie’s Coffee is now the exclusive coffee provider for the Orlando Arena — not only at Magic games, but for all special events and concerts, as well.

Best of luck to Phil as he moves forward into 2010.

As for this Friday?

Phil says: “It’s not Black Friday, it’s Green Friday. Because that’s the time retailers like Barnie’s Coffee & Tea.”

Would girls of Sex in the City tweet?


Sex in the City was a huge cultural phenomenon just a few years ago. I was awoken by the show this week when one of my kids left the TV on one night.

As I was watching Carrie and her savvy, city-wise girlfriends, it dawned on me that the show was created before Facebook and Twitter and Social Media.

You have to wonder how show writers would now incorporate those elements into storylines.

Instead of Carrie, Miranda, Samantha and Charlotte discussing Mr. Big over Cosmopolitans, would they now write about him on each other’s Walls?

Instead of leaving long messages on each other’s answering machines, surely now they’d be Tweeting like mad about every conquest or Manolo Blahnik sale.

It makes one pause. To think how much things have changed in just a few years.

Communication is faster and in different modes and people have to adjust.

Being online has certainly allowed us to reach out to folks farther than we ever could, and in ways we never dreamt possible.

But Sex in the City also reminds me that friendship is the stuff that truly sustains us, and that the finest communications are still those done face to face.

Social media makeovers – are you ready for one?

Estee Lauder announced today that it is gearing up a social media program where it will give away free makeovers and photographic shoots at its department stores across the country starting on October 16th.

Kudos to Esteee Lauder for this PR makeover.

They understand that when pushing their product it’s not about Estee Lauder, it’s about the people they are trying to reach. Those people all have egos, they all want makeovers, they all like to see themselves in photos.
This new promotion will be interesting to watch because it combines the needs of the customer well ahead of the needs of Estee Lauder.
Estee Lauder is famous for giving away free cosmetic bags and other little trinkets that almost every girl or woman has somewhere in their closet. It will be interesting to see if this new social media program designed to provide more push on things like Facebook will get them better sales.

The key point for any company to remember; it’s not about you, it’s about your customers. For that, Estee Lauder deserves congratulations.

Crisis Communications: preparing to deal with Swine Flu

We’ve all heard the swine flu warnings, but what have you done to prepare your business to deal with a possible outbreak of swine flu? Do you have a public relations plan in place? Take this simple quiz to measure your readiness. Are you:

A. Crossing your fingers and hoping that you won’t be affected?
B. Buying some of these anti-swine flu suits from Japan? (looks great, kills germs!)
C. Coming up with a comprehensive plan to deal with a worst-case scenario?

We developed a comprehensive public relations and employee relations plan for a client who wants to be ready. Their crisis communications plan includes:

• Paying for flu shots for their employees
• Educating employees on symptoms to look for
• Implementing CDC guidelines on dealing with sick employees
• Coordinating an operating plan in case of a major outbreak
• Preparing to deal with media inquiries

So far the impacts of swine flu have been isolated, but major outbreaks are a real possibility.

What will you do if one of your employees is diagnosed with swine flu? If you don’t deal with the public, your only responsibility is to your employees. Will you tell them “Bob’s under the weather,” or will you be up front and tell your employees what they need to know? Do you have a business continuity plan in place? Are you ready to stagger shifts or allow people to work from home?

If you deal with the public, you have another set of concerns. Do you let them know that some of your employees have swine flu? Do you close for a few days for disinfecting? Sure, you’ll lose some revenue, but you have to weigh that against the implications of infecting some of your customers?

What will you tell the media? There’s the phone call you dread. Or worse – the TV station live truck parks out front at 4:30 pm.

There’s no one-plan-fits-for-everyone solution. What everyone has in common is that they need a plan in place – before it’s too late.

Besides, those Japanese suits cost $650 and they don’t even make them for women.