Can’t create original content? Share!

When you lack the time or just can’t decide on creating content topics for your blog or social networks, try sharing material that will be helpful to your audience. With client work consuming my time recently, I’ve got some items to share and start conversations.

Check out some helpful PR, marketing and social media resources I’ve found lately. You can also scroll down the page and see some cool news coverage my colleagues and I have secured for my clients.  Either way, enjoy and leave a comment if you can.

Laura and I sprung into action immediately following this placement and pitched Manny’s Google Glass experience to broadcast and national media, offering his expertise about how shoppers might use Google Glass. As a result of our quick thinking, the client appeared not only in Chicago print, but on radio and nationally online at

  • The Chicago Newsradio interview is here:  

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    Or you can listen to a few short reports that excerpted Manny’s interview here:

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During our outreach, NPR reporter Brenda Salinas had us switch direction, asking about Manny’s retail client experiences with facial recognition technology. Thanks to Manny’s deep level of expertise, he became the focus a valuable national placement, which you’ll find at This enabled our client to continue building momentum for his PR initiative. It also proves once again that if you have a strong and credible expert, and if you target media with precision, every touchpoint you make will matter, as long as you provide reporters with content they need to please editors and meet their deadlines.

Screen Shot 2013-07-21 at 4.17.37 PMHere’s more cool news I’ve secured on behalf of other clients this past month:

I’m the senior communications consultant for Marj Halperin Consulting and her client The Trust for Public Land. TPL is partnering with the City of Chicago’s to build The 606. Here is some recent coverage we’ve secured:





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It’s #FollowFriday — You sharing the love?

It’s February’s First #FollowFriday, which means time to fulfill Twitter’s mission — to be helpful.

Every Friday on Twitter is #FollowFriday — or #FF — whenTweeps recommend others within their networks who have worthwhile things to say and are worth following.

I have many #FF choices and I hope to add more to this list when I can catch some time today. Please don’t be offended if you’re not on this list. You will be!

Here are some of my #FF choices. If you follow them too, tell them I sent you, and don’t forget to use the #FF hashtag.

@SarahSkerik — leads social media initiatives at PR Newswire and included my quotes in her highly respected PR Newswire blog.

@PRSaraHEvans — a leader in the PR social media community and founder of JournChat

@AnnDwyer_Crains — writes about Entrepreneurship and the challenges facing small business people

@PRSoapBox — Colleen Campbell, a former colleague, is brilliant and her observations about digital PR and the industry in general are spot-on.

@ScottKleinberg – 0ne of the most helpful journalists you will ever find on social networks. He writes for the Tribune and assists other Tribune staffers with their social media actvities.

@BernieTafoya – Newsradio 780s veteran street reporter. One of the most creative guys on radio and a class-act pro.

@GiniDietrichSocial media powerhouse, super creative CEO, author and founder of the popular “SpinSucks” blog.

@MarjHalperin — She’s a colleague, and fellow radio news junkie, communications strategy maven, and is all over Chicago‘s cultural and arts scene. She is now heading up Mayor Emanual’s initiative to craft Chicago’s Cultural Plan.

@PointA_PointB — My friend, Catherine Morgan, Brainiac, extremely connected life coach who has an answer to every entrepreneur’s question. She’ll steer ya right!

@MrMediaTraining – one of the most insightful and spot-on interview training coaches, who is so good at finding others’ media blunders and picking them apart with great precision

Keep checking in here, as I plan to do a favorite journalists Tweep list.

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“How do I…?” The entrepreneur’s most common PR question

“How do I use PR to…    

  • Get more customers?
  • Grow my business?
  • Stand out from the competition?
  • Inject new life into my online presence?

Almost every week, small business people and entrepreneurs ask me how can PR build your customer base and grow your business?

It doesn’t happen overnight, unless you’re one of those rare savvy jack-of-all-trades who hits the PR jackpot and has your product or service featured on The Today Show or on the Chicago Tribune front page in your first round of media outreach.

It starts with building relationships with the people who can help you spread word about your business.

Look at your local newspaper or radio station. What stories do you see about your industry? Who is the reporter, how can you contact them, what are his/her interests? Do you have any interests in common?

You can find out a lot about reporters by simply following what they write about. Many media outlets provide online profiles about their writers and editors. Often, they’re buried online under the “About Us” or “Contact Us” sections. For example, many major metro newspapers, such as the Chicago Tribune and the Daily Herald (serving the North and Northwest suburbs), have a very detailed list of their reporters, writers and editors.

These editorial directories can be a bit hard to find. For example, the Daily Herald lists their media contacts under the tab “Services & Info, which isn’t the most intuitive for searchers. Often, media outlets bury their “Contact Us” link at the bottom of their web page in very fine print. Take the time and patience to look for it.

If you’re looking for contacts on a magazine web site, often you’ll find an editor to reach by clicking on their “Advertising” tab and clicking on their “Media Kit” or “Editorial Calendar.”

Trying to reach TV reporters? You’ll often find their contact information online as well, although it seems TV stations make it the hardest to find that info. For example, this NBC5 Chicago contact site has minimal information. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, pick up the phone, call the station or outlet’s general number and ask to be connected to the Newsroom. Someone staffing the news desk will be able to direct you to the appropriate person. Don’t be surprised if you get a reporter’s voicemail.

Use the search tool available on nearly all media outlet web sites to see past stories. If their stories are archived (often for a fee), make a small investment to get copies of their most recent reports.

Consider ways to get their attention by sending them samples of your product, inviting them to visit your business, or sharing a new angle or bit of advice on something they’ve reported on. Better yet, send an email, complimenting their work and offering your expertise for a future story.  Invite them for coffee (most reporters don’t have time for lunch, but you should still extend the invitation.)  Don’t be discouraged if they say they’re too busy for an in-person meeting. They really are busy – their jobs have become more demanding. Besides reporting the news, media reps also are expected to post on social network profiles and/or provide additional content for media-owned blogs (or even their own personal blog).

Are you on Facebook or Twitter (either a personal or professional page)? It’s very likely that reporter is also on social media, so take the time to “Like” their page, follow what they do, and engage. Post items on their wall that are helpful. And I mean helpful - not bragging or advertisements. Show them that you can be a valuable resource.

Establishing media relationships is one way to open the door to possible coverage and demonstrate your expertise and credibility.

Next time we’ll talk about how you can use social networks to spread word of mouth and get your customers and their friends talking about you and providing untapped exposure.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear about your experiences working with reporters. What have you done to get their attention?

Was it fruitful? What could you have done better? Leave a comment and I promise to respond!

 Post happily written by Michelle Damico




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Sweet! Great PR results by simply following a blog

Most business people I know are active on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, but the majority don’t follow blogs or write their own. “There’s no value,” they say, especially since social media already is a time drain.

What if, by subscribing to just ONE blog, and interacting with that blogger you’d get a free ad seen by tens of thousands of Chicago Tribune readers?

It happened to me today and it’s the perfect example of why every business short on PR resources should follow at least one blog. Not just any blog, mind you, but blogs about topics that interest you (that’ll keep you coming back), and that are supported by a local newspaper. Most newspapers have bloggers. Many Chicago Tribune reporters are bloggers, and the Trib also owns the ChicagoNow network of community bloggers. I follow ChicagoNow bloggers Catherine Morgan and Judy Marcus.

Besides loving PR, I also love to eat, cook and create sweet things. So when I heard about Judy’s Sugar Buzz Chicago, I became an instant follower. I subscribe to her blog and receive emails about new blog items. I send her ideas all the time, and after mentioning that  my sister opened Jam ‘n Honey, a new breakfast restaurant  in Chicago’s trendy Lincoln Park, Judy wanted to learn more.

Yes, it was wonderful having Judy blog about the restaurant, which is only weeks old and already has lines of diners waiting for tables. But here’s the icing on my cake: The blog’s parent company — the Chicago Tribune — began sprinkling links to her blog within the online version of the paper. Here is a screen capture of my sister’s restaurant  posted adjacent to a local story that attracted tens of thousands of readers today.

The headlines lured readers to a news story and then drew them to valuable real estate about Jam ‘n Honey Restaurant. How long did that info remain on the news page? Maybe about eight hours today (the ChicagoNow promos interchange regularly online). But hey, eight hours of free PR hours is far better than zero hours of free PR!

By having fun and by staying in touch with people who write about my favorite things, this local restaurant received valuable exposure to thousands of readers!  PR doesn’t get any sweeter than this!

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Great local farms using social media

Farmers are proud of what they do! Photo by Michelle Damico

Today the Chicago Tribune wrote a wonderful story about farmers using social media in northern and northwestern Illinois and mentioned the workshop I presented to encourage other farms to jump on the social media band wagon.  The story is headlined: Farmers plant seeds on social media.

A few of my friends have asked me for links to the Farmer’s pages on Facebook. From FB, you should be able to find their web site as well!

  • Klein’s Farm and Garden Market — they launched their FB page just after  attending my social media workshop. Follow them and spread the word. They are wonderful people.
  • Stade’s Farm – if you live in McHenry County, no doubt you’ve visited Stade’s. Sign up for their newsletter too! And don’t miss their apple cider donuts come harvest time!
  • Heritage Prairie Farm – Their social web properties will knock you out! Just amazing work. These folks know social media. You’ll find them on Flickr, FB, YouTube, etc. Plus they host these all natural farm dinners throughout the summer and fall. You will be so impressed.
  • Woodstock Farmers Market – I love Woodstock’s market for the variety and for the farmers.
  • Chicago Farmer’s Markets – one of the best cities for farmer’s markets anywhere!

Those are just a start. I’ll add more as I think of them.

If you have a favorite that’s not on my list, please share with us by leaving a comment with the link.

Thanks everyone!

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Turning “No, You Can’t” into “Yes, You Can.”

Bachrach speaks to students at Chicago's Julian High School

It’s ironic that I nearly said “No You Can’t” to Lloyd Bachrach, the founder of Yes You Can! Lloyd has an amazing story to tell about his success and personal achievements in spite of a birth defect  that made his legs unusually short. He had approached me in late December, asking to help him get coverage for his speeches before kids in Chicago’s most violent-prone public schools. Through a grant from the CME Group Foundation, Lloyd was going into the schools and encouraging kids to respect themselves and each other and to strive for greatness beyond their imaginations.

I discouraged him from doing PR during the busy Christmas season, initially telling him that getting  reporters out to the schools would be difficult. Plus, I feared administrators wouldn’t allow  for kids faces to appear on camera, plus some principals don’t like camera crews or reporters in their schools. I had an endless list of reasons for “No You Can’t.”

He accepted my advice, and I told him I’d be in touch after the New Year. Luckily I didn’t accept my advice and realized the huge mistake I made! How could I be telling this amazingly optimistic, inspiring human being that his story wasn’t ready to be told.  We started working with each other immediately. Loyd is a great speaker and a great performer. He had these middle school and high school kids in the palm of his hands! Finding ways to curb violence and bullying in Chicago Public Schools is a hot topic, because our schools have been plagued by kid-on-kid violence. So reporters, looking for a fresh angle heading into the New Year, were instantly interested.

Literally within days, I secured the first in a string of  interviews from reporters who wanted to talk to Lloyd by phone or in person at the events. Within a six-week period, Lloyd was featured on WLS Talk Radio, Chicago Tribune (print story and video online), the DeKalb Daily Chronicle, Living Lake Country publications serving Southern Wisconsin and  the Oak Leaves of the Pioneer Press. Other media are also interested in TV interviews or in having Lloyd write an article about how he helps steer kids away from violence.

Lloyd is one of the best clients I’ve ever had. Besides inspiring kids, he inspires me — A LOT!  He is always positive and funny. And he listens to my advice, always seeking constructive criticism. I’m so glad I went with my gut, and told myself Yes You Can to Lloyd. I’m also glad I had the honesty to admit a mistake and to follow my instincts.

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