Cause Marketing (Part 2): Use Public Relations to Increase Visibility for Your Business and Your Cause

In Part 1, I talked about differentiating your business through Cause Marketing. In Part 2, I’ll show you ways to leverage public relations to increase visibility for your business and your cause.

In the Cleaning for a Reason story, Debbie Sardone, a residential cleaning business owner, saw an opportunity to give back to a cause that held a special place in her heart. And she did it in a way that tugs at the heart strings of almost anyone that has been even remotely touched by cancer.

As the foundation grew, Debbie made it her mission to spread the word through the media, as they are always hungry for a high impact, “feel good” story such as this one. It started with a few newspaper articles about what her company was doing to help women with cancer. It didn’t take long for the television stations to pick up the story and run it on the evening news. Now newspapers and television stations all over the U.S. and Canada are telling the story, giving publicity to many of the cleaning companies that have partnered with Cleaning for a Reason.

Cleaning for a Reason on Fox News

One of the challenges however, is helping these cleaning company owners overcome their fear of speaking to reporters and appearing on camera. After all, we want to make sure they are using sound bites that get across the messages that most help the cause, and that helps their company shine too. So the foundation has put together an entire program that helps the business owners learn how to connect with the media, as well as how to get over their fears so they can get the most from the publicity they receive.

If you are seeking publicity for your cause, be sure to follow these tips:

  1. Research each media source to see which reporter would cover causes such as yours.
  2. Remember that reporters must come up with stories for their newspaper or TV station, so when you bring a pertinent topic to the reporter, you’ve helped him get his job done.
  3. When reaching out to the media, you must have a strong message or hook, to get their attention.
  4. The cause has to be universally appealing. Finding homes for abandoned guinea pigs may be a worthy cause, but is probably not going to garner a spot on the evening news.
  5. There has to be both timeliness and relevancy. For example, Cleaning for a Reason stories are relatively easy to get on the news during October’s Breast Cancer Awareness month.

If you are struggling with the fear of speaking on camera, here are some pointers:

  • Don’t be afraid to let your passion for the cause shine through, as it will enhance your authenticity in the eyes of the audience.
  • Practice using “sound bites”. There is nothing worse than finishing the interview, and realizing you forgot to mention a very important detail. So prepare the points you want to make ahead of time, and make them short and concise.
  • Ask the reporter if you can get the questions ahead of time, and then practice with a friend.
  • Sometimes people aren’t sure if they should look at the interviewer or at the camera. Look at the interviewer – it will keep you from looking all around and will help you keep your composure during the interview.
  • Don’t make it about your business, make it about the Cause, and the good feelings you and your employees get through your participation.
  • Send a thank you note to the reporter after the story has aired. It’s a simple gesture but goes a long way with the reporter.

And finally, be sure to stay in touch with every media person you’ve connected with. Follow their reporting and send a note to compliment them on a recent story. Also let them know of other topics you may have for them. In Debbie’s case, since she owns a cleaning company, she’s pitched the idea of demonstrating how to disinfect touch points throughout your home during flu season, which resulted in a prime time newscast story in Dallas. This has continued to increase her status as a cleaning expert, and garnered even more publicity for her business and foundation.

About Jean Hanson

Jean Hanson is a long-time entrepreneur, co-founding two commercial cleaning companies, running a virtual assistant business, and in 2005, launching a business portal for commercial and residential cleaning business owners. She serves on the Board of Directors of Cleaning for a Reason, a non-profit foundation that provides free cleaning for women undergoing cancer treatment. In 2013 Jean became an Authorized Consultant for the world-renowned Duct Tape Marketing System. To learn more about her marketing consultant business and to apply for a free marketing audit, visit

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Five Tips For Making Better Marketing Videos

Video is one of the most powerful and versatile marketing tools available to any business, but like any tool, it needs to be used properly in order to work well and produce quality results.

Apply the following tips to get better results from any type of video.  If you’re already using videos in your marketing, these are all things that can be done very easily with little additional effort on your part.

Keep it short

Unless you have a very specific reason not to, you need to keep your videos under two minutes in length.  Even at two minutes, many people will stop watching before the end of the video.  We have very short attention spans, and unless your content is especially interesting, people simply aren’t going to watch a video for longer than a few minutes.  The one possible exception to this rule would be “how-to” videos, where you are demonstrating a particular product or process.  Even in that case, for videos longer than five minutes, you might consider splitting it into two parts.

Include a call to action

Your videos should always contain a call to action–a “next step” that someone should take if they want to learn more, or get what you’re offering.  A good call to action is specific, can be completed immediately, and involves no risk to the person watching the video.  For example, visiting a website and downloading a free report or e-book would be a good call to action.  Another good, and often-used, call to action, is to start a free trial of a product or service. A bad call to action would be asking someone to buy a product, because that involves a risk on their part.  You haven’t built enough trust yet to make that request.

If possible, you should make the call to action at the beginning and the end of the video.  That way, if someone stops watching the video halfway through, they will still get to hear it, and if they do watch all the way through, it will be the last thing they hear.  At the end of the video, you should never “fade to black”–there should always be a screen with your contact information and the call to action spelled out in words or graphics.

Use the lower third

The term “lower third” refers to the bottom third of the screen in a video.  It’s a great place to use text in the video to introduce the person appearing on camera, or to reinforce your call to action.  For example, you could have the URL of a website appear when the speaker on camera mentions the website.  Any video editing program should be able to do this quite easily.

Use an external microphone

Regardless of what type of camera you are using, you should always use a good external microphone to make your videos more professional.  Never use the built-in microphone on the camera–they’re just not very good, and it’s a dead give-away that the video was produced by an amateur.

Use videos to create additional content

When you plan your video, think about how you could use it to create additional content.  For example, could you take the audio from the video and use it to create a podcast?  Could you have it transcribed and use it to create a blog post?  By thinking strategically, you can really get a much bigger return on the time you invest in producing a video.

Last but not least, don’t forget to have fun producing your video!  Viewers will be able to sense your passion and enthusiasm, and it will help them identify with you as a person and not just a brand or a business.  Once that happens, gaining their like and trust is much easier and you’ll have won half the marketing battle before you even meet them.

About Kevin Jordan

After a short career as an airline pilot, I started my own e-commerce business in 2010. I learned the skills I needed to make that business successful, and in 2012 I began teaching those skills to small business owners. I now offer several comprehensive training and coaching programs for small business owners who are serious about improving their marketing.

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