After two years of using our honestly priced menu of PR services, we know which items sell better than others. Reading this recent Washington Post story about restaurant menus made us realize it was time to overhaul our offerings and narrow the menu down to what clients are actually buying. Because choice is awesome, but too many choices can be oppressive. From the WaPo piece:
“We overcomplicated the restaurants and didn’t give restaurants an opportunity to breathe,” Tim Fenton, McDonald’s chief operating officer, said in an earnings call earlier this year. “We need to do fewer products with better execution.”
Our situation is a little different: We tried to package every possible option and put it on the menu. The result was overwhelming and, in certain cases, distracting.
When we first got started, for example, putting a crisis communications plan priced at $10,000 on the menu seemed like a good idea. But the figure was daunting for the kind of clients we work with, and a few folks mentioned that it didn’t really seem to fit with the model.
Like everyone else in America yesterday, I watched Gatorade’s cleverly disguised advertising tribute to Derek Jeter. I’m not a Yankees fan. I’m not really even a baseball fan unless I get to go to the game, sit in the sun, drink beer and eat nachos.
But it still brought a tear to my eye.
That’s because that 90-second spot was about so much more than baseball, the Yankees and Derek Jeter’s retirement. It was about moving on. And that’s something we’ve all done.
You’ve left a job, ended a relationship, moved to a new city, graduated from school, watched a kid walk into her first day of kindergarten. You know nothing will ever be the same, and even though you promise yourself that you’ll never look back, you totally sneak a peek.
And let’s be completely honest: We’ve all thought about how it would feel to have those moments of our life set to Frank Sinatra’s “My Way.”
Over at Inc., Steve Cody posts four pretty basic tips for startup companies looking to do their own public relations launch:
- Identify your problem/solution model. In other words, what’s your story?
- Write a press release.
- Send the press release to media outlets.
- Put the press release on your website.
He’s not wrong. That’s the essence of a launch. What he fails to take into consideration, though, is that people starting up businesses don’t always have time for this stuff. Often, they also don’t have the skill set to boil their big idea into something a reporter can quickly digest.
That’s where our flat pricing model can be a huge asset.
A good friend who also works in the PR business recently asked me how I’ve dealt with the constant churn of reporters in our local Indianapolis media market. (For those tuning in from outside the market, we’ve experienced a lot of turnover and layoffs at the state’s largest paper, and our TV market has been similarly disrupted.)
Like all flacks, I have developed relationships with many of the beat reporters who cover my clients. Unlike all flacks, though, I really like reporters because I used to be one, and I know it’s a tough job made increasingly tougher by shrinking profits and soaring corporate expectations. Because of that past experience, I’ve never been one to leverage a personal friendship to get something covered. It’s just not my style. I’ll pass along tips and story ideas, but I’m not going to call someone up and say, “Hey, we’re pals, and I need a favor.”
I’ve always believed a good pitch will connect no matter who’s up at bat.
A few months ago, I decided to return to full-time employment as Communications Director for a member of Congress. It was a wonderful experience save for one thing: our two amazing kids who kept guilt-tripping me when I left for the office or had to miss dinner with them on a weekend to attend an event with my boss.
See, the reality of owning your own business is that you work more hours than you do in an office job, but you get to work those hours into the rest of your life.
Back when I had no life, I didn’t mind the nine-to-five grind.