Op-Eds: Yours Can Mean Business, Explains Image Marketing Consultants

Opinion-editorials (op-eds) are a standard way organizations, private sector and nonprofits,  inform the public about issues.  That’s done as a service to society.

For example, a family restaurant presents research about what kinds of dinner conversations develop children’s confidence and public speaking skills.  However, this exposure in the media can simultaneously enhance the restaurant’s brandname, bring in new business, and confirm in the minds of the regulars that they have selected the right place to dine.

At one time, op-eds, which are really commentaries, were only published in mainstream media.  Those include local and national newspapers and magazines, public service announcements on radio and television, and trade publications.  To get that placement, back then you had to pitch to the editor or producer that the topic and point of view are something the public needs to know about.  The same thing applies now, only that there is more competition to be heard.

That means that your pitch must be custom-made to stand out from all the others approaching particular editors and producers.  And that must be done on an exclusive basis.  Ask that media property to get back to you in 10 days so that you can then try somewhere else.  If rejected, then finetune the pitch for another member of the media.  Some media outlets want to see the completed op-ed, not the pitch.  Find that out.  Often the media provides submission guidelines or contact them about preferences.

The good news today is this: Because of social media, you can also publish them on your own blogs, online videos for YouTube, and as a guest commentary on others’ blogs.  Yes, you can do both.  You can have your point of view on safe driving for teenagers published in THE HARTFORD COURANT and on your own and others’ sites.  But each has to have a different angle.

The challenge is to attract readers or viewers and have them share the op-eds with others.  Here are 5  tips from Image Marketing Consultants on how to make your commentary “sticky”

Be topical.  Tie in your op-ed on safe streets with a holiday like Halloween.

Have a provocative headline, first sentence, and first paragraph.  This provides incentive to busy readers and viewers to check out the commentary.

Present in the public interest.   Frame everything to be useful to the public, not to promote your organization.

Include enough information.  From all your data and arguments select out the most persuasive.  Too much will overwhelm.

Create new value.  This might take the form of a survey you have done that has surprising results.  To do that survey you might partner with a business school or professional services firm which would welcome publicity.

Once your op-ed is published or is broadcasted, repurpose or recycle it for pitching to other media for interviews, emailing to prospects and clients/customers, embedding in your media center on your website, posting on your Facebook page, and creating a shortened URL for tweets.

Kate Sirignano, founder of Image Marketing Consultants, invites you to a complimentary consultation on Media Relations, Marketing, Partnerships, Special Events, and Social Media kate@imagemarketingconsultants.com, 203-404-4868.


Your “Special Events” – Tweet Them, Says Image Marketing Consultants

Your special event might be as simple as a meatloaf dinner to raise funds for your church or your nonprofit which provides tutoring to at-risk children.  The odds are that you can enhance the outcomes of that event by tweeting the activity.  Those tweets would chronicle what goes on from the time folks are parking their cars to when volunteers are cleaning up in the kitchen.  Regarding the latter, there are few bonding experiences more central to sharing and healing than being in the kitchen together.  Call that “sink therapy.”

At the Democratic National Convention, Michelle Obama’s speech was judged as a homerun, partly on the basis of how many tweets-per-minute.  Because there were way more tweets for her address than for Ann Romney’s the media and political watchers gave her the higher grade.

The beauty of tweeting is that it can be done right from a smartphone.  Simultaneously, of course, you can also live-blog the event.  Because blogging is long form versus the short form of tweets, you probably want to do that from a laptop or tablet.

Kate Sirignano, founder of Image Marketing Consultants, provides complimentary consultations for Social Media, Marketing including Advertising, Partnerships, Public Relations, and Special Events kate@imagemarketingconsultants.com, 203-404-4868.


You Are The Media, Explains Image Marketing Consultants

Many press experts, including Dan Gillmor who published “We The Media,” told small businesses, large businesses, and even lone entrepreneurs that they could be the media.   Thanks to digital technology, you could have the reach of a multi-national corporation with a promotional budget of billions.

For some of you who have been early adopters of websites, webinars, blogs, podcasts, videos for YouTube, photo-sharing, setting up a Facebook fanpage, and tweeting, that has worked out well.  Your outreach converted into actions such as more guests at your restaurant and more emails to your state senator to lobby for or against such and such a regulation.  In addition, since attention gets attention, the external media started coming to you, particularly your special events.

For those of you who haven’t taken that digital leap into being the media, there’s urgency.  More constitutencies, ranging from prospects and current customers/clients to elected officials and local and regional media, are coming to your website.  There they now expect you to have a “Media Center.”  For some that is their first stop instead of “About Us.” In addition, if there is a crisis, your own Media Center provides one of the platforms from which you will handle it.

What should be in your Media Center?  Everything which tells your story.  That includes videos you put on YouTube, external coverage by the press, press releases, announcements, case studies, clips of ads, white papers, podcasts, webinars, speeches, earnings reports, blog posts which have gone viral, live-tweeting, and photos.  The beauty of the Media Center is that you tell your story in your own voice, on your schedule.

Kate Sirignano, founder of Image Marketing Consultants, provides complimentary consultants on Public Relations, Social Media, Marketing, Partnerships, Advertising, and Special Events kate@imagemarketingconsultants.com, 203-404-4868.