Tag Archives: Publicity

Charities in Need of Media Attention

By: MJ Pedone

When I first founded Indra Public Relations, I listened to the needs of my clients and heard them loud and clear on why they wanted to hire a firm that offers everything needed to grow a business and that is why we offer a wide variety of in house services that includes, PR, nonprofit management, event planning and production, branding and celebrity integration.
Early on, I had many of my nonprofit clients come to me who were misinformed about earning press and didn’t understand why other organizations were front and center in the media. I had to explain that those other organizations have outstanding PR and marketing firms, but the ones that don’t, aren’t in the running for growing their funds as competitively as others that do.

Here are 3 reasons why your charity DOES NOT wins press coverage:

1. Those who benefit from your charity’s work are not in front of media enough. Most of the media opportunities you get should feature people your work helps. The best stories and those that drive donations to a charity, are the ones that tugs at people’s heartstrings. You need to bring a human element to the story to impact your charity’s work.

2. Your charity does too few public events. From a PR perspective, events are a key way to build relationships with the media and broader public. People (including media) like events, and there is no doubt that charity events generally have a feel-good vibe and are a nice counterpoint for journalists, because “news” is usually bad news.

3. Your leadership is not committed to raising the organization’s profile in the media. Like anything in business, very little is going to happen without real commitment from senior leaders. If your charity wants to take PR to the next level, you better have a leader at the top that understands the relationship between earned media and the bottom line.

If you want to let the world know about your amazing mission, then you need to have an experienced team of experts get the word out there for you. At Indra Public Relations, we are available to grow your business and meet your goals. http://www.indrapr.com

As always, I welcome all comments and if you like what you read, be social and share.

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Public Display of Publicity Featuring Jay-Z and Beyoncé

By: Eliza Borish

In the last two weeks, Jay-Z and Beyoncé have starred in two now infamous online videos. The first video, mainly starring Beyoncé’s younger sister, Solange, was leaked out and took place in the elevator of the Standard Hotel at a Met Gala after party. Solange appears to be attacking Jay-Z in the elevator as Queen B watches from the middle and tries to intervene. Without audio, it is hard to decipher what the actual reasons for this argument were, but the video does reveal a violent undertone and seriously aggressive altercation. I have heard different rumors and theories from all sorts of people on why Solange went on the attack: Was Solange drunk? Is Jay-Z cheating? Did fashion designer Rachel Roy provoke Solange earlier that evening? Could it be all three? Well, definitely; but I’d like to believe that the King and Queen of R&B are perfectly fine in their marital bliss and so from my mind, I have eliminated that option of infidelity altogether.

The second video released this week was a music video for Jay-Z’s song “Part II: On the Run” and was made to resemble a feature film trailer. “Run” as the video is being called, includes many celebrity appearances (No Solange!) from Blake Lively to Rashida Jones to Don Cheadle. Car chases and explosions aside, the music video promotes the couples upcoming 16-city tour. Who wants to go with me?

These two different videos span the spectrum of publicity: one offers insight into the personal (and not perfect) private life of the couple, while the other provides a glimpse of what to expect in their next joint professional venture. It seems to me that the couple has gone from negative publicity to positive publicity right in front of our eyes. At the end of the day, all press is good press (does this count when you are that famous?), but this shift in spectrum occurred so fast, it’s hard to remember that Solange attacking Jay-Z only occurred only a week earlier.

I have to ask myself, was “Run” released on purpose at this time to distract the elevator video or is it merely a coincidence that this star-studded action packed music video in which Jay-Z and Beyoncé are aligned as bad guys comes out right after a devastating video that shows a family argument?

At the end of the day, this overlapping in timing is probably just luck: a music video that intense takes time to produce and their tour does begin June 25th, so it highly unlikely that “Run” would not be released within the month. If anything, my guess is that they moved the release up a bit earlier to combat the bad publicity of their family relations with the good publicity of a music video and an impending tour. If that is the case, then their publicist made a great decision. People are no longer talking or thinking about the family drama, but rather singing along in anticipation of Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s tour. When it comes to Solange and her attack on Jay-Z, it’s no longer a point of conversation; with this music video on the forefront, all I think of is what elevator video?

While we may never know what exactly happened, we can take a few things away from this. In the aftermath of a viral public incident:

1)    Don’t dig deeper: after the elevator fight, Solange deleted all but one photo of her and Beyoncé on her Instagram account. This only added fuel to the fire and allowed fans to further speculate on what really went down.

2)    Let it go: family drama is normal, as in any type of drama. Sure, it is tougher to do in the public eye and with social media, but don’t prolong drama. Once it’s done, talk it out, release a statement, and move on.

3)    Deter: just like with their music video, get people taking about something else. Don’t make it feel forced, but if you have something else to offer, like “Run”, showcase that.

4)    Keep it professional: often people are more interested in what is going on behind the scenes, but remember, unless you are a Kardashian, you are famous for a talent, so always focus on that and the negative stuff will eventually simmer down.

5)    Publicist: lastly, if you do not have a good publicist, get one! Your publicist is an appendage of your brand, so their words and their ideas maintain the image you wish to perceive. In times of crisis, it’s their duty to think creatively and strategically.

Publicity can make or break you; it’s all about how the public perceives you. Jay-Z and Beyoncé are lucky to fall back on a devoted fan base, but for them it’s more than luck: they built their image rightfully so and thus, earn the respect that comes with a loyal fan base. With their talent, marketing, and overall, personas, an incident like an elevator fight won’t change much for their image. Their past good publicity allows them to prevail on, even in the wake of negativity. I mean, I still love you, Beyoncé, Jay-Z, and even you Solange, with your flailing arms.

Coincidence or not, people are now talking about a music video, not an elevator fight and once again, in just a short amount of time, Beyoncé and Jay-Z are on the right (and positive) spectrum of publicity.

What tips do you offer when consulting a public crisis? If you disagree with mine, let me know! Comments and feedback are always welcomed and if you like what you read, be social and share.

Interview with Today’s Movers & Shakers – Christina Hamlett Interviews MJ Pedone, CEO & President of Indra Public Relations

Whether your product is mousetraps, cupcakes or novels, however, getting the world to actually discover its existence takes more than random luck and word-of-mouth. Specifically, it takes a PR professional with tireless energy, exceptional communication skills, and passion for a multiplicity of challenges. MJ Pedone, CEO and Publicist of Indra Public Relations in the heart of New York City (http://www.indrapr.com), shares a glimpse of what this demanding career field is really all about.

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CH: What inspired you to launch Indra Public Relations?

MJ: The inspiration to launch Indra Public Relations originated when I first launched my sports firm, Pro Players Sports Marketing Group. After several years, my partner and I parted ways and I continued in the business and kept growing my contacts and relationships and working in the business while being a fit model. After I gave birth to my son Adam 3 ½ years ago, I decided to retire completely from modeling and launch Indra Public Relations full-time after I had clients begging me to work with them on a full-time basis since they had a hard time finding qualified people who they were happy working with. Needless to say, I haven’t stopped or slept much since!

CH: Tell us about the company name you chose and what it means.

MJ: The name of my company, Indra Public Relations, comes from a Buddhist word meaning the king of the gods – controller of the senses and the beauty and splendor of heaven. I chose that word based on my spiritual beliefs as well as wanting the name to relate to my beautiful father who watches me from Heaven.

CH: Over the years I’ve met no shortage of job-seeking individuals who are drawn to the “glam” of public relations like moths to a flame. Many of them also say, “I think I’d be good at this because I’m a ‘people person’.” Why is this attribute only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to attracting clients and managing successful campaigns?

MJ: Being a “people person” certainly helps in this business since you are working so closely with your clients in relaying their message to the public as well as producing some of their biggest events. With that said, you need to be able to conceptualize a successful PR strategy, pitch it to the appropriate media channels as well as juggle all requests, deadlines and manage expectations –  all of which is a 24/7 job in itself! Experience, knowledge and relationships are key in this business in order to succeed.

CH: Who – or what – in your own background best prepared you for the responsibilities of this highly demanding career choice?

MJ: I don’t know if there is any one person per se who can prepare you for this type of highly demanding profession. I did adhere to the advice of a senior publicist many years ago that said to put your best effort forward with every client and if you go unappreciated for your diligent effort and hard work, cut them loose and let somebody else have the headache. How right on she was but, fortunately, I have been blessed with many great clients and have signed a few more amazing ones just recently who I have to keep anonymous for now!

CH: What do you feel strongly distinguishes Indra Public Relations from the competition?

MJ: I believe what distinguishes us from the competition is the personal service that we give our clients, our relationships and the experience of our team members.  I also think we are quite unique because we really focus on the charitable work of our celebrity clients and bring it to the forefront.

CH: There’s no question that the effects of social media are being felt throughout the world and, further, that there’s a correlation to the number of people who are eschewing traditional channels of hiring a PR professional and going the do-it-yourself route. Is this cost-cutting strategy necessarily a good idea?

MJ: I think most individuals don’t understand that social media is just a slice of the communication pie in communicating your message. You still need professionals to package and deliver your message to the public and you still need the media to bring your message to the forefront of the world.

CH: Tell us about the Indra PR team and some of the unique talents and perspectives they bring to your agency.

MJ: Our team consists of attorneys, digital and social media specialists, publicists, event planners, sports agents and a fabulous ghostwriter all of whom have been in the field for almost two decades. Each member of my talented team brings a different perspective and they are all specialized in their area of practice which makes Indra Public Relations successful.

CH: Your clients are primarily celebrities that come from the sports and entertainment industries. What types of challenges does this level of prestige present in scheduling appearances and planning fundraising events?

MJ: The type of challenges working with celebrities are always based upon their playing, filming, recording and traveling schedules.  I do have the schedules for each of my clients and make sure when planning their fundraising events, that they don’t have anything going on a day or two prior or post event in order to get them on the air or to meet with the major sponsors prior to their event. As far as booking appearances, it is much more challenging as the celebrities keep such a hectic schedule to begin with, add to their calendar at any given moment and then need downtime for their family. Some organizations don’t understand the life of these stars or how their schedules can change instantly and then they have to cancel. It definitely presents a challenge and then it looks like it is our fault because they don’t understand that side of the business. I have learned to deal with it and I don’t let it get to me. It is the true business professionals who understand this business.

CH: You have a demonstrated passion for “giving back” to both your community and to the world. What are some of the charitable projects that are especially dear to your heart (and why)?

MJ: All of my charitable projects are especially dear to my heart because whatever I get involved in, I give 100%. Without being specific because of all the charitable clients that retain us, I will say that I love working with the educational and pediatric foundations as well as the disaster relief programs. It is such a great feeling to be able to work with many great foundations and causes that serve millions of people all over the world.

 

CH: Long before the popularity of Mad Men, there were a number of television shows in which the main characters either worked for an advertising/PR agency or were the owners of their own firm (Thirtysomething, Trust Me, Bosom Buddies, Who’s the Boss, Bewitched, Melrose Place). The episodes, however, rarely showed the characters during working hours, focusing instead on their personal lives – and, thus, fueling the misconception that PR is a 9-5-weekday job with long lunches, fabulous offices, and lots of downtime. From a real-life view, what is a work day typically like for you?

MJ: My clients have access to me 24/7 so the typical workday of 9:00-5:00 doesn’t really exist in my case.  My typical workday begins when everybody else is still asleep.  I do my best creative writing in the middle of the night and will write for three or four hours before I head to the gym, get myself ready for work and then get my son ready for school. Once I get to work, I begin answering emails, conference calls, meeting with clients, potential clients, pitching clients and, of course, we can’t forget doing crisis management which is an integral part of our business. After 5:00, I’m usually off to an opening of a restaurant, art gallery, movie premiere, charity event, gala or something else that is happening. When I do get home, I have to bathe my son, read books to him, check for monsters under the bed and tell him a make-believe story before he falls asleep. I’m then answering emails for an hour or two before I unwind and go to sleep for two or three hours and start all over again.

CH: What do you enjoy the most about the PR biz?

MJ: What I enjoy the most about the PR biz is when I get my clients national and international media coverage.  It is still just as exciting as it was the first time I experienced the media hit and, of course, all my relationships that I have built over the years in which I have created some very real friendships.

CH: What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you about being your own boss?

MJ: The best advice I received about being my own boss was to treat your employees with respect, gratitude and reward them for their hard work and efforts.  Thus far, I have a very happy staff.

CH: What’s the best advice you’d give to a young person who wanted to break into this competitive field?

MJ: PROOFREAD! PROOFREAD! PROOFREAD! Then I would tell them to become a doctor.  They would get more sleep.  Lol.

If you have a question or would like more information on Indra Public Relations, please feel free to contact us. http://www.indrapr.com

 

Media Magnetism – 21st Century Publicity Foreword Written by MJ Pedone

About

About    Inspiration often arrives at unexpected moments and in diverse forms. Media Magnetism, for instance, owes its origins to a pack of Crest Glide dental floss.I had been sent by the local newspaper to do a feature story on the latest charity project of a prominent philanthropist. He graciously invited me to his office, pointed me to a comfortable chair and listened with interest to my prep-talk on how the interview would proceed as I set up my audio recording equipment on his desk.Within the first minute of my starting the tape, he casually reached into his shirt pocket and withdrew a white plastic container. I initially thought that it contained breath mints and was, thus, perplexed when he unspooled a long strand of dental floss. Having interviewed former smokers who occasionally rely on “props” to give their hands something to do, I assumed this was just one of the quirkier choices.

You can imagine my reaction when he began using it for its actual purpose. If you’ve ever tried to decipher what someone is saying when they’re in a cavernous mid-yawn, try doing it when they’re aggressively going after mystery particles on their back molars. Over the course of 20 minutes – although it seemed much longer – he not only executed an intensely methodical cleaning worthy of a dental hygienist but also deposited all of his floss shrapnel in a messy, discolored mound right next to my microphone. No matter how scintillating or insightful the takeaway value of the feature story which was subsequently published, I can no longer see this man’s name or hear about the good deeds of his organization without recalling that unflattering image and feeling instantly repulsed.

I’m guessing that’s probably not the message he was going for.

What possesses an otherwise articulate, intelligent and well groomed person to perform personal hygiene tasks in front of a total stranger?  Were his actions a purposeful show of disdain for media intrusions on his life? Did he have someplace else he had to be immediately after our appointment and was just multi-tasking to save a trip to the bathroom? Had I inadvertently donned my cloak of invisibility and caused him to think he was talking to himself?

You’re right. There is neither an acceptable excuse for the full-frontal floss fest nor a rewind button to pretend it didn’t happen.

Although he currently holds the unofficial record for bizarre interview behavior, he’s also by no means an isolated case when it comes to putting the wrong foot forward. Interactions with media professionals sometimes have a funny way of making people say too much, say too little, or fall victim to the conversational equivalent of a wardrobe malfunction. No matter how accomplished they are at running a business, raising money or engaging in creative endeavors such as writing or art, these talents may not be evident to the reading/watching/listening public if they’re predisposed to view every reporter as (1) their new best friend or (2) their worst enemy. In truth, reporters are neither one: they are just there to help you deliver the best possible story to your target audience.

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FOREWORD Written By: MJ Pedone

There has always been a certain stigma attached to “dream jobs” – acting, modeling, sports, advertising –  the type of professions that a lot of people wish they could have and, more often than not, mistakenly perceive as being more “fun” than actual “work.” Who wouldn’t, for instance, want to play exciting roles, be photographed in top designer clothes, play the same sport they’ve loved ever since they were kids, or schmooze with celebrity clients at the hippest restaurants and night clubs?

What you have to take into consideration, however, is that the general public usually only sees the finished product – the blockbuster movie at the Cineplex, the gorgeous spread in a fashion magazine or the success of a charity or red carpet event that raises big money and brings out the A-list stars. The fact that it looks like such a flawless presentation is a testament to how much time, effort and creativity took place behind the scenes, much more than most can even imagine.

This is the reason why I always say that people will never really know how long it takes you to do something; they will only know whether it has been done well. If you have ever opened a new business, you’ve probably already discovered that you can’t just send out one generic press release and wait for the world to beat a path to your door. In today’s competitive marketplace – and given the challenging economy – it requires a more aggressive approach if you want to make your brand a household name that stands out from the competition. What I call “backstage readiness” is not only the ability to understand how 21st century media really works but also how to deliver what it wants from you in a way that projects confidence, credibility and professionalism.

Like Christina Hamlett and the team of industry experts she has brought together to create Media Magnetism, I’m no stranger to the bounty of elements that contribute to a successful marketing/PR campaign. Yes, it’s exciting for me to do a job that I love all hours of the day and night and work with my A-list clientele in the entertainment and sports industry. My effectiveness, however  –  and, in fact, the effectiveness of anyone involved in media relations – is only as good as the clarity of the client’s message and our mutual understanding of the target demographic that particular message is intended to inspire.

Whether you’re a small business owner, a nonprofit organization or an artist with a new project to promote, understanding how to maximize the media resources available to you is the first step in moving your PR campaign forward, and that is whyMedia Magnetism is a must-read for all who are involved in any aspect of public relations. This book will be the reason why you earn the exposure and return-on-investment you seek for your clients. It will be the reason that members of the media will be excited to shine a spotlight on you and your company’s accomplishments. It will be the reason you succeed.

In closing, I’m humbled to have written this foreword and hope you enjoy what I consider to be one of the most informative communications books available to date.

MJ Pedone CEO & Publicist

Indra Public Relations – New York, NY