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This business coaching session explores the art of public relations.

Results-Focused Training, Tools, and Workshops from Expert Business Coaches.

Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 1
  • Lesson Nugget: Do research to find the local reporter who covers stories relating to the story you are pitching.
  • Lesson Nugget: When pitching a story to the local media, always emphasize the benefits that you are providing them. Make their job as easy as possible.
  • What Your Pitch Should Include: 1. Local Story, 2. Quick Turn, 3. Story is Newsworthy, 4. Story is Within Their Beat
  • How To Contact The Press: 1. Write the Press Release
  • How To Contact The Press: 2. Call the Reporter
  • How To Contact The Press: 3. Send an E-mail
  • How To Contact The Press: 4. Call the Assignment Desk

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-Who am I actually pitching to? I mean, who am I pitching to?

DEEDRA DETERMAN: So if you were sending this to the local paper, or the news crew, is they want to be out that day, if he's going to be at the school doing the donation with the big check, the big visual. And we can get the principal on to comment on it, and the dentist is there. We're doing the whole story for them.

-So walk me through. Boop, boop. That's how I dial a phone number. Boop, boop. I dial, who do I ask for? I'm calling.

-So if you're calling the news desk, and this is going to happen at two o'clock, I would call and find out the reporter the covers education because this is scholarships.

-OK now we do have again, by Googling the name of the city, they name of the publication in education. Find the reporter.

-Find her name, and then call and ask for them specifically.

-So you say, hi, is Deedra Determan there? And they're like, yeah who's this? Do they say that?

-They send you straight to the voicemail. And if they're not there, leave them a voicemail, hopefully you can catch them on the phone.

-What do you saw on that voicemail, Deedra?

-I have a great local story for you today that you can turn really quick. I've got all the information, it's a local dentist that's giving $5,000 scholarships to needy kids. It's over here at the local school, I'll have the dentist there, I'll have the principal that can actually comment. And we're available any time you are.

-You're give me so much goodness here, I just want to make sure the folks at home have time to just jot this down. Because you're saying, I've got a quick, local story for you.

DEEDRA DETERMAN: Local story, quick turn.

-Quick turn, what does that mean?

-You can turn the story quick. You can cover me, and you can go to other places, because I'm going to have everybody lined up when you get there.


-I'm doing her job.

-OK so you say, I have a great local story. Quick turn for you, what else?

-It's about donating scholarships to needy children, the heartstrings that we talked about. So local, they're looking for local, needy children, they cover education, and this is a scholarship story. So it fits right in their beat. It's going to be an easy turn.

-Now here's one thing that an unnamed former client of mine used to do. Hey, such and such, this is such and such up here with this business, and we're doing a special this Thursday. Oh my gosh, we've got some great items coming in. We've got this unbelievable item. Now I pipe this up at market, lot of people don't know about it. And he's just like boop, just delete that beast. Boop, just delete that beast. I think a lot of people think they have to leave a huge voicemail.

-No, they're going to delete it, they don't have time. So I would get your thoughts together. Who, what, when, why, and where. Have it right in front of you. So I always call first to have a great local story. Have you gone into your meeting yet? No, here's the story. I'm going to email the information right now.

-All the voicemail.

-On the voicemail, if you have it, I would email as well and go ahead and send it over. And then I would call the assignment desk.

-I want to make sure we're getting in here. We're taking all this, we're writing the press release first. So step one is we're going to write that press release. Step two is we're going to call. Step two is call. Step three--

DEEDRA DETERMAN: That's how I personally do it.

-By the way, that's out every PR person I've ever met who has a functional brain does it, but I know other people don't have functional brains, who also do well with this. You write it first, then you call. The reason why they do is because email is so easy to delete. Because you're so busy, right?

-You may not see the email. If you can catch them on the phone, right when they get in the work, they have to turn a story in and come into that story meeting with an idea. You're giving them the idea.

-So you write it, you call, then email.

-Then email. And then I would, if it was a TV station, I would take it one step further. If the reporter didn't answer, I'd call the assignment desk. Because the assignment desk also comes in with ideas. And they don't have a voicemail, they have 24/7, someone answers the call.

-So you're going to first write it, then we call the reporter, then?

DEEDRA DETERMAN: Email it out so I know they've got it.

-Then we call the assignment desk.

-Call the assignment desk. And make sure that they at least have got it.

CLAY CLARK: OK so, if you call, and you pitch and say, I have this format done right, and you call and you send out 10, how many are going to actually turn into news stories?

-Maybe one, maybe two. I mean, it's a numbers game, it's like sales. They're all out there, and you might get one back, and you might get none that week, depending on how big your story is. And then you might get the yes from them, and then breaking news happens and there's a school building that just burned down. Everyone scratches your story and goes to the breaking news.

-Now here's the thing I like about Miss Deedra Determan. It's that you are a hustler. And a lot of people would say I would rather just pay somebody to do this process. But the great thing is, if you don't have a lot of money, you can do this.

DEEDRA DETERMAN: You can do this. You can pick up the phone and call just like I can pick up the phone and call.

-OK, so this is something you can do? But really, I mean if you pitch 10 you might get one.



Watch addtional trainings on small business ideas with mentors like Clay Clark

Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 2
  • Lesson Nugget: Follow your local reporters on social media and send them quick ideas when they are in need of a story.
  • Lesson Nugget: It is far more effective to speak with a reporter when pitching a story. Present your pitch and include one or two quick facts to see if they are interested.
  • Lesson Nugget: Pitch your story the day before when trying to get on the morning news and in the afternoon when trying to get on the evening news.
  • Lesson Nugget: To be successful in PR you cannot allow rejection to discourage you. Stay positive! If you have a good story someone will eventually pick it up. It's a numbers game.
  • Lesson Nugget: Pitch your story the day before when trying to get on the morning news and in the afternoon when trying to get on the evening news.

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-Now why do I need to talk to someone versus just emailing? Why can't I just fax? Come on, why can't I just fax?

-Just like a sales call, would rather be in front of someone? You want to get in front of them with a quick story. What you're going to do, the quick facts, two or three things they need to see if you're interested. If they're interested, you can give them more information.

-I know of a person who faxes press releases, has result and swears. They have results and they swear that the media is biased.


-You're saying the fax machine just isn't--

-Right, no. I don't even own one, so I don't know that.

-Emailing's probably not much better, though, really.

-Right. Social media is a new form. You have reporters a lot of times out on Twitter that will say, hey, looking for a local story, health related. And will throw something out there. So if you follow them on social media, you can send a quick idea to them and hopefully get a reaction.

CLAY CLARK: I want to give a little tip here, and if you don't agree with me, you're the boss. But we call the reporter, and I always ask him when I'm on the phone. I always say, hey, are you up against a deadline?


CLAY CLARK: And the reason why I always ask that is because my original PR consultant told me. He said, if you tell them that, they now know that you know the game.


-And that you are probably worth talking to.


-But he was like, we get Yahoos calling us all the time and they're like, we're opening a new bowling alley. It's going to be awesome. It's gonna be hot. There's going to be a lot of beer. It's going to be huge foam party. And they're like, sir, we're not a club promotion service. We're a news.


-Or somebody calls and they're like, we have a special on diamonds this week. That's the advertisement. So by letting them know that you know what you're talking about.

-And you're respecting their time.

CLAY CLARK: OK. Now why do I want to. When I pitch this thing, do I want to have rehearsed it before I call? Do I want to maybe practiced a little to fix my mind.

-Yes, I say you quickly need to know the story and what you're going after. What's the user benefit? How will the viewers benefit from that?

-How do we want the person receiving the information to perceive this? I mean, do you want them to perceive it like you're giving them a tip or like you're an expert? Do you want them to know that you're with the company you're promoting? How does that work?

-I mean, I always call on behalf of my client, which I think is better. So they know I'm a PR firm. I'm calling giving them concise information.

CLAY CLARK: So what kind of stuff do you say?

-Definitely asking them is now a good time for a pitch. I have great local story ideas, is now a good time? And I've had them say, no, actually, I'm on my deadline. I'm getting ready to rock something. We're running out the door. When's a good time for me call you back? Calling me back at two o'clock.

CLAY CLARK: Are your feelings hurt when they say no?

-Not at all. Not at all. And I may call back at two o'clock and they may not be there, so I might send them a quick email on it as a reminder. And it just wasn't a good time. And I move on to the next and pitch someone else.

-Now I know we're not having a trading today on mindset necessarily we're talking about PR. But I can tell you the amount of rejection that you deal with, it's amazing.


-But you still stay positive.

-Yeah, because someone's going to cover your story. If you've crafted something that's good, someone will cover it. And if they don't cover it that time, they'll cover it the next time.

CLAY CLARK: So when am I pitching? What's a good time to pitch? You said right when the reporters get to work?

-Right. Not close to news deadline. So right before 5 o'clock is the worst time to call. Don't call before they're getting ready to go home.

CLAY CLARK: Let's look, can we? I'm going to use my new smart board technology here that Abraham Lincoln and I coinvented. Look at that. It's going to work. OK. So if I'm calling TV, what's the best time to pitch?

-You know, if it's a morning show, I'll call right when they get in.

CLAY CLARK: What time is that?

-Or I'll send an email a lot of times before I go to bed, because I know they're getting in at 3:00, 4:00, 5:00 in the morning.


-And they'll see it first. And then I'll give them call maybe six o'clock.

CLAY CLARK: So for morning, you'll often call when?

-I'll email at night, so when they get in at 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning, they'll get it. And then I'll give them a call depending on, I mean, if they're live, if they're on at 6:0, I need to call at 5:00. Before they go.

CLAY CLARK: So for the nighttime news, what time are you gonna call these guys?

-Nighttime news, when they get in. So if they get in at noon or 1:00, that's when I'm going to call.

CLAY CLARK: OK. So this is more of a nooner sort of deal. And then this right here is more of like a, you called them at 3:00 in the morning?

DEEDRA DETERMAN: Early in the morning or the day before.

-Hey, man.

-You can do it the day before for the next day turn.

CLAY CLARK: OK, it's the day before. OK, now that's pretty cool. What about print, though?

DEEDRA DETERMAN: Print is often three months in advance.


DEEDRA DETERMAN: If you're talking magazines. So magazines, right now, all the magazines I'm talking to, it's February, they're looking at Mother's Day, May.

-Are you kidding me?


-Three months out.

DEEDRA DETERMAN: So don't pitch them on anything that's happening today, tomorrow, in a month. They don't care. They're done and that's in the can. They're looking three to six months out... small business ideas.

CLAY CLARK: What about newspapers?

DEEDRA DETERMAN: Newspaper is a daily turn. So they are looking for stories now.

-When do I pitch that? Now?

-You know, newspaper, a lot of them are 8:00 to 5:00, so let them get in in the morning. It's not as a quick of a turn, so it could be like 10 o'clock. 10:00 AM is a good time.

CLAY CLARK: 10 o'clock? 10:00 AM is a good time?

Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 3
  • Lesson Nugget: Only pitch to the media when you have a story. If you pitch a story every day you will hurt your credibility.
  • Lesson Nugget: Once you have reached out to the media you must always be ready to answer their call. Keep all the necessary information with you so you never have to call them back.
  • 14 Steps To PR Mastery: 6. Mom! We're Going To Be On The News
  • Lesson Nugget: While being interviewed for the news, it is important to be as concise as possible. Reporters are looking for short sound bites that they can easily quote.
  • Lesson Nugget: You need to practice giving a short elevator pitch for your story and your business

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-Cool. Any other outlets you can think of it's a good time or bad time to pitch?

-Bloggers are good, which you can always-- they don't usually have phone numbers out there, so you just go online, go to their blog, and send a message to their blog.

-Now, I want to say this. Jim Stovall, who's perhaps one of the most successful guys I know. He's a multimillionaire, he's a blind guy. He's a blind multimillionaire. He builds his fortune after going blind. He's a best selling author. He writes movies and he's blind, it's unbelievable. He puts his phone number in books.

I know a lot of celebrities that are surprisingly accessible, and then I know some that are heavily guarded. But I know that you're not going to reach anybody unless you call. And so I think it's big that we all just call, and you'll be surprised sometimes what happens.

-Right. Especially today, because people are so used to texting and going online. A phone call-- it works.

-How many times a day should I pitch my outlet to the media outlet? Times I pitch my story?

-So a times a day I would go after more when you have a story to tell. Pitch when you have a story to tell. Don't pitch every day to pitch. You don't have a story every day, so pitch when you have something to tell.

-Where should I be pitching from? If My kids are like,


You know, I have parrot kids. I have five kids, and for some reason they're always


as soon as I pick up the phone.


Like, are you a parrot? No, I'm a three-year-old. Where do you pitch from?

-I'm in my car a lot of times, because I'm driving around, meeting with clients and all that. So I'll stop and say, I'm going to call these three people. And make sure that you have all the information right there. You don't want to have to call them back. You don't have in front of you? So I carry my stuff-- if I'm a soccer, and I have somebody calling-- a reporter, I go to my car. I've got all my stuff right there, and I'm giving them all the information they need.

-You're going to want to pitch from a place where you have all your stuff, though?

-I just carry my stuff, or it's in my phone, my computer, at all times.

-You don't want to be pitching from a weird spot where you don't have your stuff.

-If you have to call them back, they're moving on.

-Because it's that fast. 24-hour news cycle.


-There was the old school-- it used be when the news was on at 6:00, it's on in the morning, and that's it. Now there's a 24-hour cycle, and it seems like that actually helps for PR, when we can get on the news more often. But, at the same time, we got to be prepared?

-Right. Be prepared, and be available when they call your Tulsa PR Firm.

-Step number six-- we're moving on here. Mom! We're Going To Be On The News. So if we're going to be on the news, let's just say that I'm going to actually be on the news. When I'm on the news, what do I do? So if I'm on the news, how should I speak? Do I want to speak in kind of a countrified, funky fresh kind of a-- do I want to sound like I'm going through a-- do I want to sound eloquent, do I want to sound angry?

What do I need to sound like? Because you hear so many people say, be yourself. Some people say don't be yourself. How do you want to be?

-I think crafting that message of what you want to say, what you want to get across, you don't have 30 minutes to tell it. So really getting it down to that quick sound bite, if it's television. Someone's coming to interview you, you've got to quickly give your point, because they're grabbing those for the news. They're not grabbing the long, drawn out story.

-When you're in an elevator, you're going down a bunch of floors? I call it the elevator pitch, but the idea is in a few seconds you want to be able to share your idea. I'm not going to quote you with a specific number, but you want to have it in maybe two sentences or less, what you're all about? Three sentences or less?

-Yeah, two sentences, I would say. Just keep it short. Exactly to the point of who you are and how customers benefit from you.

-Example of what you don't want to. Years ago-- years ago-- in a galaxy far, far away. I had a client I worked with, and get gets on the news. They're like, tell us what your promotion's all about. And he's like, well, really I don't like to call it a promotion. To me it's more of a movement, and when I think about the movement and where-- and at no point did he get to a point, and they're like, all right, and then they go on. And he was like, I didn't even get to share my story. That's how the news works, though.

-You're got to be quick and concise. They want you to answer with exactly what you're doing, how does it benefit us, when, where.

-You have to practice.

-Practice, practice, practice. Even if it's in front of the mirror by yourself.

-We had a client that you and I were working on together, and he practiced my living room over, and over, and over, and over. And he went from horrible to moderate to I hope you're practicing some more in the morning, to wow, in maybe an hour of practicing. But it's just most people don't ask you, tell about your business, two sentences or less. It doesn't happen... small business ideas.

-And people want to tell the whole story, because they've worked on it for years. You really got to coin it down to those two sentences.



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