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TJ Tedesco

View from Mount Olympus

By TJ Tedesco

About TJ

T.J. is team leader of Grow Sales, Inc., a marketing and social media services company operating at the intersection of compelling content, clear vision and quality communication practices. In this blog, fire is a metaphor for print. Hang on, this ride will be weird...

Prometheus crept into Mt. Olympus, stole fire, returned to the lowlands, ran from house to house distributing it, got caught, was chained to a rock, lost his liver to a huge ugly bird and was rescued by Hercules. Leveraging his fame, Prometheus started Fire Enterprises Inc.  (FEI). Since fire was the hottest technology of the time, company success came fast and furious. Two generations later, fire isn't such an easy sale. Now led by Prometheus' grandson Org, FEI's growth is non-existent, competitors are pounding and prices are in the toilet.

The Tribe Discovers...Ghostwritten Trade Articles

Last week, the Fire Enterprises, Inc. (FEI) tribe introduced the idea of a public relations strategy for businesses in the fire (and other) industries. This week, the tribe delves further into PR strategy with a discussion of the importance of ghostwritten trade articles to boost a company’s industry profile. Remember, fire = print.

Despite Marka’s enthusiasm, Org wasn’t sure he wanted to be a star. “We’ve discussed this, Marka. I shouldn’t be the media’s focal point. FEI is about quality fire products and services, not me.”

“Like it or not, you are the face of the company,” Marka said. “The public needs to hear our battle cry, and you have the best voice.”

“Voice for what, exactly?” Org asked.

“Remember that Flintstone sales rep Johnny Flamethrower?” Marka asked. “He recently left Flintstone and started a ‘trade’ magazine called Fire Trade.”

“Let me guess,” Org said. “Johnny Flamethrower wants me to write for Fire Trade.”

“How perceptive!” Marka replied gleefully. “Now that you’re the face of the FEI brand, Org, your appearance in local or trade media will imbue FEI itself with an added authority.”

“There’s one problem,” Org said. “In case you’ve forgotten, I’m trying to manage a profitable fire business. I don’t have time to sit down and pen a 1,000 word article. Also, I’m not even a good writer!”

“I can write it,” Marka volunteered. “But my name won’t be anywhere near the piece. It’ll be like a ghost wrote it for you!”

“In other words, a ghostwriter,” Org suggested.

“Yep,” Marka said.

“No offense to ‘Fire Trade,’ but I doubt all of our customers and prospects read it regularly,” Zoot noted. “How can a trade article display our brand to the same magnitude as, say, a press release?”

Marka had anticipated this objection. “The best use of these trade articles won’t even be seeing them published. We’ll make copies of every article and give them to our customers and prospects—during sales calls, at trade shows and, best of all, enclosed within marketing materials.”

“It’ll give them the impression that we’re an important company filled to the brim with fire expertise,” Org observerd.

“Like I said, public relations is believable in a way that marketing isn’t,” Marka continued. “Marketing can create brand awareness, but these published ‘expert articles’ construct an image of industry leadership that’s hard to duplicate elsewhere.”

 “Well, enough talk!” Org was revved up from his third grogaccino of the day. “Write that article, Marka!”

“You got it,” Marka said. “But Org, your stint as a brand ambassador is just beginning. I have more planned for you.”

Org gulped. “Like what?”

Marka winked. “I’ll let you know tomorrow. Here’s a hint: don’t scream too loud during tonight’s Olympus Devils game. You’ll be needing those vocal chords.”

Today’s FIRE! Point:
People want to do business with industry leaders and knowledge experts. What happens when your customers and key prospects start seeing your articles and columns popping up in various trade publications? Their opinion of you will change and your company will improve. Your industry prominence will increase. You will become an industry “ambassador.”

FIRE! in Action
“Trade blogs” can drive results too

Ted Leonsis, owner of the NBA’s Wizards and NHL’s Washington Capitals, manages a frequently updated blog. Leonsis’ well-considered musings on sports, business and life have helped him further his own brand while driving sales for both sports teams.

Next week: A discussion on the importance of industry speeches for a company’s public relations presence.

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