Category Archives: Public Relations and Writing

8 ideas to use for your business, courtesy of Jerry and the Boys

Love or hate the music of The Grateful Dead, you should know that they were cutting-edge marketers, as detailed in a book called Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead.

Create a new category of business that works for YOU
Most bands of the period focused on selling albums to make their money. The Dead went the opposite way. They decided to make their money on their live show and toured almost all year round. Go against the norm -Carve out your own niche market.    

Cut out your middleman
Rather than selling tickets through Ticketmaster, they simply sold the tickets directly to their fans. Deal direct with your customers.  

Let your customers spread your brand (much easier now using social media)
Decades before Napster, the Dead grasped the value of peer to peer sharing. Unlike other bands at the time, the Dead didn’t try and stop people from bootlegging their live shows. Microphone stands were a regular sight at their concerts.  Encourage your customers to spread your name, and your content.

 Get a cool brand name
The band decided to get away from its original generic name The Warlocks – and renamed themselves the Grateful Dead to be unique and memorable. When you select an uncommon name, it’s unlikely that consumer will confuse your product with something similar. They will remember you. (I bet Jerry would think 95 North is a cool name for a marketing company….don’t you? )

Become a “platform” for other businesses
If you have a very successful product like the Grateful Dead had, it’s easy to open it up to others to build off your success. Case in point, the parking lots at Dead shows became a traveling ecosystem of businesses – from veggie burritos to handmade jewelry to magic mushrooms. Don’t be afraid to partner with businesses and allow them to grow WITH your brand and products. 

Communicate directly with your customers
The Dead were one of the first to have their own nationwide mailing list that connected them directly with their fans. Decades later, they were one of the early adopters of email.  It’s now easier than ever to communicate with customers – so start doing it today!   

Use technology to gain an edge
Rather than rely on what was available, the band built their own concert rig which traveled with them wherever they went. No explanation needed.  

Hire a “community” manager to make your customers love you
In 1968 the Dead hired a fan, Scott Brown, to help them manage their community. Way before Facebook and Twitter, the manager shared small, personal details with their Fan Club. The band also responded directly to personal messages and shared user generated content like artwork with the larger community through their mailing list. Hire social media “fire-starter” or groom an enthusiastic salesperson to spread your company name.  

Almost 50 years after their start, The Dead is still proving that being unique and doing what comes naturally is the best way to build a following for your business. 

Excerpt adapted from article in Business Insider  

Buy the book: Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead:
by David Meerman Scott and Brian Halligan

Perfect Your 3-Minute Pitch

A solid three-minute pitch can help you attract vendors and suppliers, recruit employees, and more. These 3 steps will help you perfect your pitch.

Get their attention…
….with a short opener that tells what your company does, why it’s unique and how it serves your customers. Your goal is to encourage your audience to want to hear more. And organize it into three parts: an opener, an explanation of what your company does, and a very short story or technical detail designed specifically to invite your audience to pick up the conversational ball.

Tell them the right story
Make sure your story is tailored to a specific audience – not same pitch to all audiences. Develop several two-sentence examples of client experiences for different audiences. The first sentence explains what you did for the client; the second provides just one fact about the results the project delivered.

Keep ’em on the hook
Whether you are presenting to investors via a PowerPoint presentation or introducing yourself at a networking event, your goal is to start a relationship. Make the pitch more about the audience and less about you. You have to quickly figure out how your business is relevant to that exact person you are speaking  – It’s not about sharing what’s interesting to you about the company, but what’s interesting to them about it.

Read the full story here:  Entrepreneur Magazine

3 Ways to Generate Positive Press for your Hospital (or your business)

Give them something to talk about: Make a list of the outstanding aspects of your hospital – A list that would help a reporter tell a good story.  Hospitals – and businesses in general -get press because they are doing something newsworthy or they are perceived as the experts on a specific topic.

 Target the right writers: Once you’ve figured out your story, search the web for local or regional journalists who have published or written articles related to the topics you want to see in print. The more targeted your list of writers, the more likely you’ll get a response. Try not to simply send a one size fits all press release to a giant list of journalists. In this sense, a quality list of pre-qualified writers is better than a mass list of general writers.

Think like a collaborator:  Build a working relationship and figure out ways to help journalists – even if your efforts don’t pan out with immediate coverage. The more a writer gets to know you and your staff’s expertise, or gets to understand how that new piece of medical equipment can help your patients, the sooner the writer will work that angle into his or her next story.  And when the time comes, you’ll get the call to gush about your hospital, your doctors, and the newest technology that only your healthcare system has!

 Final Thought: With all press pitches, to get maximum impact, think about how your message will educate the publication’s readers above all!

Adapted from Entrepreneur Magazine (1/15)