Wednesday, March 27, 2013

An Informercial Life ....You're 'In'... No Way Out!

Reissued and updated today....  

Happy to see The New York Times agrees with an interesting article on this subject too! 
"Sponsors Now Pay for Online Articles, Not Just Ads" by Tanzina Vega (4/8/13) 

From #7). 12-step relief detailed in 'Welcome to'....public relations / advertising shift -in- REAL content for magazines and programming  has occurred in places you would never imagine ... slowly..... and sometimes not so blatant - but most are right under your nose. 

For me, an "spirit,  this was also another hard concept to fathom........funny too, discovering at a time when the new 'buzz' word 'transparency' has become a trendy term thanks to unethical practices of our elected officials.

This thought hasn't been fully revealed (I wish, though, I had known) it's when a small business with a unique brand (as in a small  entrepreneurial business) decides to connect with a printed magazine (as one example).  Yes, I know..... there still are a few of them left! 
Anyway, this is what communication looks like today in publishing;

1).  Find unique publication with an audience which matches to your customer or  ... if you're really smart you will get waaay ahead of the schedule by resourcefully looking up their official  'editorial schedule' for the upcoming year (it's usually hidden - but you'll find it!) ..... there just might be a theme planned that absolutely matches to what you are selling - and your contribution would add something worthwhile to the section so it's worth the trouble.

2). Identify that 'theme' with plenty of lead time to subtly work 'in' your product or service.  (after all, they are not going to blatantly promote for you and frankly that was never an expectation)  

It's nice when you have an item which compliments what they are doing in the magazine editorial.

3). Then, research editors who make the most sense for your brand or service in this context.

4). Begin writing to that editor to get on their radar and hope that your concise note will be forwarded on to someone who cares. (or better yet, the freelancer who may be assigned to this topic)

5). You will then begin the arduous task of follow-up and more follow-up.  First 'emails' and more emails (short, sweet and nice) then unanswered phone messages.  It's quite a process!    After months of this you will then write out of frustration to the 'Editor-in-Chief' (Big Editor) to expose the difficulty you are having in breaking through to the Editor you need to reach (in a nice way)....

6).  'Big Editor' will likely become irritated that they have read a note which requires follow- up and (knowing now that the consumer is in charge with the web they don't want you to write
anything bad about them personally) .... they sometimes will write you back -  but usually not without a trail of effort on your part.

7).  The recommendation from 'Big Editor' will be to speak to the 'lead' very special Editor-of-record (the one you have been trying to reach) - that person may even promptly call you -- and kindly offer to 'test' your product.  (oh, WOW 'please'.....and 'thank you' is your response w/ excitement as you happily package and express ship)

8).  After 'testing' (err, I mean 'gifting them) you will hear nothing .... and more nothing, follow up again..... to then find because you are a persistent squeaky wheel- (in a nice way) that you are being relegated to their website for a mini-paragraph which will have ZERO impact on your business.   Not even a mini blip in your back-end monitored traffic.  Code here: 'Go away!...see .... we helped you! You're done.... here's your bone...woof! woof!  and oh, have a nice day!

IMPORTANT note:  and here is something juicy you should know....the unspoken - behind-the-curtain stuff........

"We are not communicating OR mentioning your product OR service in our magazine (no matter how unique, different and special it is) UNLESS YOU PURCHASE AN Advertisement in our PUBLICATION. (PERIOD)" - THIS I might add .... ALSO INCLUDES FRIENDLY 'GIFT GUIDES' TOO! ---  yup, that's the God's truth.  But (sigh)  they really can't publicly 'say' that because they are national journalists and the idea that product placement and advertising fees are blending in the context of these pages is kinda smelly.

Back in the old days - which is where I proudly learned .....there was a clear division of what we called 'church and state' in advertising vs. new content (PR) in stories which is never 'purchased'
.... in the simplest of terms; that's called 'c-r-e-d-i-b-i-l-i-t-y'.  and places who 'sell' the space for $ immediately sacrifice credibility.

It used to be 'advertising' departments in one building and  'editorial content' in another building --- now thanks to our rotten economy and the hideous nature of publishing today, they've become the same thing! (wink, wink)  :)

It's also now in other places too;

Unbeknownst to me, I was recently a guest on a radio show which I presumed was a legitimate program.  Turns out, 'they' (the very talkative hosts) - I later learned,  are purchasing air time to promote their books & seminars on this particular AM radio station.  As a guest, I was adding to their 'rich content' ....but make no mistake.... the
reason for this programming smells like an infomercial (only on radio).... I was at first surprised by this revelation...but then again,  to reiterate from a previous post.....things are never as they seem In this business, it's the 'fun' house (EVERYDAY!)  :) 

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About Me- I'm everywhere!

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anywhere and everywhere, USA, Illinois, United States
I'm a sassy, very distracted older mom...with lots of wild stories (and rants) about my family and life...Daughter 20, college student, sassy, unpredictable, violin playing, animal enthusiast...Son, 17 video addict, Chess playing-star / trombone player...husband (old, tired, chronically stressed and impatient, but a good sport nonetheless) The underbelly of life for me; I’m a bright eyed ‘entrepreneur’ – just now completing Kool-aid Rehab a frightening 12 step process to figure out what I am doing with my life. On the home front, we have a gang of animals that keep the place lively too! 'Emma', dirty ungroomed Sheepdog, 'Lollipop' a smart Border Collie/Chow Chow also referred to as 'Daddy's Little Fatty', 2 cats; one eyed 'Winky' and emotionally disturbed- beyond crabby ....'Babycakes' (it's complicated,) 1 bird 'Tutu', and finally 'Templeton' (a.k.a. Little Shit)- a teeny dog who loves to 'run' .... more trouble than all put together and dumb as a stick. but we love him! :)