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Author Archive for Russell Trahan

Holiday Season Myths, and prayers for The Bahamas

Below is the blog post I wrote last week to post today.  Since then, thousands of lives have been changed forever and millions more are awaiting the (hopeful) news that their lives won’t change.  I’m talking about, of course, Hurricane Dorian that stalled over The Bahamas this weekend as the largest storm in recorded history.  We at PR/PR pray for those who lost their lives and their loved ones remaining to rebuild.

 

Now, back to our regularly scheduled blog:

As we enter into the holiday season there are many myths which persist in our culture.  None of them particularly harmful, but they should be brought into the light so your actions for the next couple of months can be determined by the truth not just what ‘they’ think or ‘everyone’ believes.

  1. Candy Corn was originally not a Halloween candy

Invented by George Renninger, a candy maker at the Wunderle Candy Company of Philadelphia in the 1880s, Candy Corn was originally called “butter cream candies” and “chicken feed” since back then, corn was commonly used as food for livestock (they even had a rooster on the candy boxes).

It had no association with Halloween or fall, and was sold seasonally from March to November. After World War II, advertisers began marketing it as a special Halloween treat due to its colors and ties to the fall harvest.

  1. Holiday season is a slow time for publicity

Many people think that publicity during the holiday season, particularly November and December, is as less effective as other times of the year.  Yet, trade, industry, and association publications still produce issues in November and December, looking to fill those column inches with valuable content for their readers.

The most common ‘skipped’ months of publications is July or August.  However, this is not due to a lack of readership, but more due to the increased workload of the association’s annual convention making the issue for the event often the highest read of the year. 

  1. The Pilgrims Landed on Plymouth Rock

According to historian George Willison the story about the rock is all malarkey, a public relations stunt pulled off by townsfolk to attract attention. The Pilgrims first made landfall at Provincetown. 

The Plymouth Rock legend rests entirely on dubious testimony told more than a century after the Mayflower landed. So, we’ve all just gone merrily along repeating the same old story as if it’s true when it’s not. Of course, the people of Plymouth stick by hoary tradition. Tour guides insist that Plymouth Rock is THE rock.

  1. Santa Claus Originally Wore a Green Suit

Santa Claus comes from St. Nicholas, a Christian bishop in the fourth century AD. St. Nicholas had inherited a great deal of wealth and was known for giving it away to help the needy. St. Nick’s name became Sint-Nicolaas in Dutch, or Sinter Klaas for short. Which is only a hop, skip, and jump to Santa Claus.

Though Santa Claus has worn blue and white and green in the past, his traditional red suit came from a 1930s ad by Coca Cola.   

  1. After New Year’s is the best time to start a publicity campaign

Getting publicity for your speaking and/or consulting business is one resolution that should not wait until after New Year’s!  Most trade, industry, and association publications work 60-90 days out.  This means an article pitched out in January won’t be in-print until March or April.  Why not get the jump on the competition, start your campaign in October or November and be first in front of your target market in the first issue of the year?

Of course, online placements can come much sooner than in-print one, but even when getting online placements there is always a ramp-up time at the beginning of a campaign where themes are chosen, articles drafted, call to actions honed, etc.  Starting your campaign in December will ensure online placements in early January, weeks before the competition who waiting until after the ball dropped.

We hope you enjoyed these myths and facts about the holiday season.  May the next couple of months bring you happiness and all the holidays entail.

Happy Holidays!

Russell Trahan,

President, PR/PR Public Relations

                     407-895-8800

Author, Sell Yourself Without Saying A Word

 

Everyone Else, Back Up A Step

I find it fascinating that people are fascinated with the British Royal Family.  I mean, didn’t we fight two wars so we don’t have to be concerned with what the Queen thinks or feels?  That being said, there are many facts I found interesting about the latest branch on the Mountbatten-Windsor family tree.

1.  He’s the first Royal born into the family that’s eligible for U.S. citizenship.  Because his mother is an American who’s lived stateside in the past five years, he can have dual passports.  BTW:  she’s the first American to marry into the Royal family since 1937, and the last time it happened the Royal himself had to abdicate to get married. Fortunately, we’ve advanced far enough Harry can stay inline. 

2.  He will not be a prince.  The rule was changed by his great-great-great-grandfather in 1917.  Being seventh in line, he’s out of the HRH succession which gives him a lot more freedom.  The birth of his third cousin knocked his father down to sixth, which opened up the opportunity for Harry to marry Meghan without much fuss.  The new Royal actually has a chance at a pretty normal, albeit very privileged, life.

3.  Exactly when and where he was born was kept a secret.  All of his older cousins were born in London, in the same hospital as their father and the new father, their uncle.  He may not have even been born in a hospital; it could have been a home birth.  And, as of this writing, he hasn’t appeared in public.  His grandmother started the tradition of appearing on the hospital steps within hours of giving birth.  His aunt continued the tradition with all three cousins, but we haven’t seen hide nor hair of him, yet.

4.  His birth was announced first on Instagram.  This shows how quickly tradition can change.  A new (?) tradition was started with the younger two of his cousins when their births were announced via Twitter.  For centuries before, birth announcements were made via official statement.  The Royals are not only keeping up, they’re surpassing each other.

It Doesn’t Have to Be New, It Just Has To Be Unique!

Although I’ve seen the commercial several times since the game in February, when I saw it and heard that trill again this morning a couple of new thoughts occurred to me.

Maybe it’s because I recently read that Cardi B has applied for trademark of her famous “Okurrr.” Or, maybe it’s because Carter is galivanting around Europe and I’m left to come up with a blog topic every Tuesday. Boy, he makes this look effortless.  But I really do think it’s because Cardi B’s application reminded me of a couple of aspects of article writing.

One aspect is to not reinvent the wheel, just put new rims on it.  In other words, use what’s you’ve already got:  a blog post, a key note, a book chapter; all of these make great article topics.  You may need to edit the content a bit for the style editors prefer.  Cardi B didn’t come up with the phrase O.K., she just made it her own with a little reformatting. 

Another way Miss B has reminded me of article writing is in what she’s applied for.  You need to protect your content.  When you pitch out your article never, I mean never, give away or sell the rights to it.  You want to be able to use the content of the article again and again.  You also don’t want to give exclusivity of the article.  Let the editor know up front you’re pitching it out on a non-exclusive basis and it will appear in other industry and association publications.  An exception, and we do this on occasion, is to give exclusivity within an industry.  It’s alright to let one construction association know it won’t be in any other construction association publications, but it still will be in the restaurant or insurance or auto industry publications. 

Saving the best aspect for last – the application made by Cardi B “…mostly covers merchandise, with separate filings made for paper goods.”  Which shows even a Millennial rapper recognized the on-going power of print! 

If I haven’t seen 1-21, will I follow 22?

There’s a movie opening this weekend, maybe you’ve heard of it, or maybe you’ve heard of the first 21 movies that led up to this one. 

For more than a decade, movie goers have been following the Marvel Universe characters through their individual adventures.  These films have introduced the background and special skill of each hero leading up to this final combined battle.

Personally, I never read many comic books as a kid (or adult) and I will confess I’ve never seen any of the movies in this saga, even the one (1) nominated for Best Picture last year.  However, it struck me as I read about the first 21 movies how much they reminded me of an important part of article writing for trade, industry, and association publications. 

Like each previous movie can be viewed independently, writing a series of articles works, and works well, if each one can stand on its own.  You want to give editors the option of running the series, or running individual articles as they see fit for their readership. 

An editor may decide that article 1 is good, they like article 2, and begin to run the series.  Then you could consider yourself a regular columnist!  Or, an editor may like article 1, but decide article 2 isn’t right for their industry right now, but they like 3 and 4 and so on.   Of course, an editor may like article 3, run it, get a good reaction, then decide to go back and run articles 1 and 2.  The point is, you want to optimize the articles for placement at the editors’ discretion. 

The same is true for characters in a series of articles.  You may introduce Barbara, a SVP of Sales in a mid-west manufacturing company in article 1, and carry her adventures into articles 2, 3, or 4, but still make sure each piece of advice Barbara gives stands on its own for the readers advantage.

So, if you’re so inclined, step away from the keyboard this weekend and go see a movie.  I hear some cineplexes are staying open 24-hours for opening weekend.  That’s 96 consecutive hours of opportunities to see the movie.  The first 21 movies combined are 59 hours, leaving you 37 hours to catch the last(?) one! 

Spring Flings …

… I mean Flights!

As I’m writing this, the northern parts of the country are experiencing bone chilling cold and blizzard conditions. Having lived in Delaware, I remember all too well having to push my car out of the snow three times on the 12-mile drive home from work. That was the winter before I decided to move south.

Even though much of our country can see their breath while outside, we are looking forward to some travels coming up this spring.

The first event on the calendar is 18 miles from our offices. The NSA Winter Conference is in our hometown of Orlando! Stop by the PR/PR Public Relations booth and chat.

In early March we’re headed out to San Diego for the Indie Friends and Family Forum. This is a great event open to you if you are “indie” –an independent professional, consultant, coach, or business owner – you are a “family member or friend” – which means a current or past client of Indie Books International, Mark LeBlanc, Henry DeVries, or one of our select speakers – you are open to participating in a “forum” – which means exchanging your wisdom and knowledge about marketing with a book and speech, and possibly being interviewed on a panel.

And, really, why wouldn’t you be a family member or friend of Indie Books International? When they published my book, Sell Yourself Without Saying A Word, they were so great to work with I never considered anyone else and neither should you.

To round out the month of March, we’ll be going back to Las Vegas for the 1st annual Stage Time LIVE!  You’ve known it as Lady & The Champs, so you know you’ll be getting quality from Darren LaCroix & Company to build your business.

Hopefully by the time we get home the weather will be warmer and spring will be in bloom as much as your business will be, having been fertilized by all the great ideas you’ll receive at these events.