press, media, wire service, marketing, manufacturers, prweb, prenewswire, advertising,

To get the attention of the media, think like them. Where their hat for a while

Are you resigned to just sit back and wait for the onslaught of reporters, eager to speak with you?

Here’s what most reporters will tell you: “If we’re interested, we’ll call you.” Here’s what they have told me off the record. “Seriously, I get hundreds of emails a day. If I don’t expect the email, I may not read it. If the subject is boring or off topic, I may delete it. If you really want my attention, you better follow up via phone.”

So, editor and reporter generalizations aside, simply posting your release to an online service is not enough. Yes, you may get search engine optimization (SEO) benefit from the online services. They do a great job with their website affiliates. They report several website postings within the first hour. But, if there is no one looking at that forest when your tree falls, you are out of luck. Like website traffic, it’s all about conversion. Campaign effectiveness can and should, ultimately be measured by conversion. Conversion is anything from inbound phone calls, requests for information, actually sales, etc. The measurements are the same for tradeshows, SEO, direct mail marketing and yes, even sales calls in person.

Let’s rewind and discuss goals. If you are trying to influence a target market and you have identified the publications they read, visit and engage with, then you are 25% there. Start with the publication’s media kit, editorial calendar and audit statement. Study the research and see if your news, product or story fits their editorial guidelines. Each publication has a certain style, editorial direction and differentiating factors. Not sure what they are? Call the editor and they will be happy to explain. See, no one takes the time to ask them. This alone will separate you from the pack. We’ll dive deeper into publication research in a subsequent post. You are closer now, 50% of the way there.

But, you now need to present that news in a way that they will both understand its importance AND see a fit with their readers. This is a tough hurdle but will get you 75% of the way to your goal. You’ve studied the editorial direction. Look closely at the stories the magazine has run over the last two years. Make special note of specific writers and their style and try to align your story with one that is closest to your topic. Not every writer covers the same beat. Consider using graphics, videos, social media infographics; anything that will simply and succinctly convey your message.

What’s the final push needed to move your project to 100% acceptance? It’s the relationship. If the editor has never heard of your company, met anyone at a trade conference or even received news in the past, you have a tough final step. Not insurmountably, just tough. Like sales, the media/company interaction is all about relationships. Remember the professional call asking about their editorial guidelines? That is the step in the right direction. Be a resource and selfless supporter first.

In my next post, I’ll discuss the top five ways to build closer media relations and become their go-to person.



micro molding, Makuta, Felber PR, marketing, publicity, manufacturing

Stu Kaplan (Makuta) and Michelle Willmott (Felber PR) enjoy hands on learning

We need to be reminded, from time to time, that we’re humans. Every one of our five senses is important. As one of our favorite clients, Makuta Technics reminds us, there is nothing like “eyes on.” Michelle and I just returned from a two day trip to visit with them in their Indiana factory. When you meet in person, there is a tremendous benefit.

Skype and conference calls are great, but think about what you are missing. Your sense of hearing and sight is much more in tune when you sit across the table, face to face. Add sharing a meal or actually touching product and your firsthand knowledge of how your client manufactures their product is dramatically improved. Now, you are well on your way to deeper relationships through better understanding.

Admittedly, I have been at this for a while, but here’s a short bit of advice:

Next time you start to send an e-mail, reach for the phone.

When reaching for the phone, consider setting up a meeting in person.

Technology is great, but we’re too easily distracted during conference calls, “windshield time” chats to save precious time and video meetings that can be sabotaged by one errant glance away from the camera….connect in person. You will be rewarded.

Rob Felber (Call me and let’s do lunch!)

The Facebook Background Check: Using Social Media to Vet Candidates

Jonathan T. Hyman, Esq.
Kohrman Jackson & Krantz P.L.L.

Would you believe that an astonishing 91 percent of employers use social media to aid in their decisions of who, and who not, to hire? Indeed, there exists myriad information an employer can learn about a prospective employee from information that is publicly available via social media and other websites. For example, an employer can learn that a candidate lied about his or her qualifications, posted inappropriate comments, trashed a former employer, divulges corporate confidential information, or demonstrates poor communications skills, any one of which could legitimately disqualify a candidate from further consideration. Conversely, an employer can discover that a candidate is creative, demonstrates solid communication skills, received awards or accolades, or is well regarded or recommended by his or her peers.

Despite the legitimate information an employer can discover, these informal background checks are subject to much debate. For one, there is a justified fear that information on the Internet is unreliable and unverifiable. Yet, there exists a deeper problem with employers “willy-nilly” performing Internet searches on job applicants—a genuine risk that such a search will disclose protected information such as age, sex, race, religion, or medical information.

Consider the following example. Jane Doe submits a job application to ABC Corp. The hiring manager types her name into the Facebook search bar. What happens if the search reveals that Ms. Doe belongs to a breast-cancer-survivor group? If ABC declines to interview Ms. Doe, or hires another candidate, it is opening itself up to a claim that it failed to hire her because it regarded her as disabled or because of her genetic information. Now the company is placed in the unenviable position of having to defend its decision not to hire Ms. Doe despite its discovery of her medical information.

Even worse, some are reporting on the apparent trend of employers requiring job applicants to turn over their Facebook passwords as part of the hiring process. Media coverage of this issue has been so thick and the outrage so great that United States Senators are calling for action to outlaw this supposed practice. Maryland became first state that has banned this practice. Illinois and California have followed suit. Many others (Ohio included) are considering similar legislative prohibitions. Indeed, Facebook itself officially weighed in on this issue via blog post by its Chief Privacy Officer:

“If you are a Facebook user, you should never have to share your password, let anyone access your account, or do anything that might jeopardize the security of your account or violate the privacy of your friends…. That’s why we’ve made it a violation of Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities to share or solicit a Facebook password. We don’t think employers should be asking prospective employees to provide their passwords….”

If you believe all of this coverage, you would think that this practice is rampant. In reality, I would be surprised if one-percent of all employers have even considered asking a job applicant for access to his or her Facebook account, let alone carried on the thought by making it a hiring requirement. Simply, this problem does not need fixing.

These issues raise another, more fundamental, question—what type of employer do you want to be? Do you want to be viewed as Big Brother? Do you want a paranoid workforce? Do you want your employees to feel invaded and victimized as soon as they walk in the door with no sense of personal space or privacy? Or do you value transparency? Do you want HR practices that engender honesty and openness, and recognize that employees are entitled to a life outside of work?

Despite all of these risks, Internet searches on job candidates hold real value for employers. Here are some tips with certain built-in protections that employers may follow:

  1. Consult with your employment attorney to develop policies, procedures, and guidelines for the gathering and use of Internet-based information without conflicting with discrimination and other laws.
  2. Print a clear disclaimer on the job application that you may conduct an Internet search, including sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, and general searches using search engines such as Google and Bing.
  3. Only conduct the search after you have made the candidate a conditional job offer.
  4. Consider using a third party to do the searching, with instructions that any sensitive, protected, or EEO information not be disclosed back to you. This third party can either be a trained employee insulated from the hiring process, or an outside vendor specializing in these types of background searches.
  5. Do not limit yourself to Internet searches as the only form of background screening. Use this information as part of a larger, more comprehensive background-screening program.

Following these simple steps will enable you to search for useful information on candidates, while limiting your risk.

Jonathan Hyman, a partner at Cleveland’s Kohrman Jackson & Krantz, provides proactive and results-driven solutions to employers’ workforce problems. Hyman concentrates in the representation of companies in employment disputes. He is the author of the nationally recognized and award winning Ohio Employer’s Law Blog (, which the ABA Journal nominated as one of the top 100 legal blogs for 2010 and 2011, and which LexisNexis named as one of the top 25 Labor & Employment Blogs for 2011. He has also shared his experience as an early adopter of social media in his book: Think Before You Click: Strategies for Managing Social Media in the Workplace. Hyman is also a Super Lawyers Ohio Rising Star in Employment Law five out of the last six years. For further information or questions, contact Hyman directly at or by phone at 216.408.4455.

How to Get the Media to Pay Attention and What to Do Once They Do

I recently got the opportunity to see president Rob Felber speak at the Urban League of Greater Cleveland on how to get the media to pay attention and what to do once they do.

Every business should be transparent and showcase any newsworthy content to its key publics. But deciding what is newsworthy can be hard to determine, as well as deciding whether or not you need PR help.

So, ask yourself. Does your business need PR help? Felber makes some points and tips that can help your business make a wise decision.

Recognizing the need for PR

Recognizing the need for PR should always be the first step for anyone looking into getting his or her business out to the public. Needs include, but are not limited to:

  • Being transparent
  • Removing any rumors that might exist
  • How your product is unique/different

Felber defines PR as “a company announcement, an attempt to mitigate a problem (crisis), activities to improve an image, a recruitment tool, a method to drive sales inquiries, etc.”  PR is also the best tool to keep long-term relationships with clients and potentially gaining more.


What is considered newsworthy for your audience? Some things you should think about are “why should the editors care” and “what do I want to happen when the public reads our news?” In the following entries, decide which are newsworthy content:

  1. Company A nominated as 2013 top Fortune 500 company
  2. Company A revamps website into modern look
  3. Company A gives back to the community
  4. Company A President and CEO steps down after 55 years

Hopefully you did not pick the second headline. Why? Here are some of my explanations for each one of them:

  1. When a business is nominated as a Fortune 500 company, that’s good PR. What business does not want to be ranked as one of the top 500 corporations in America? Not only should your company be proud of that, but also the employees and consumers will feel special and continue to support your business.
  2. It’s not news when your company revamps its website. It could have been just a basic HTML format turned into this modern sleek look, but no one else will care for it as much as you and maybe some of your employees. It’s cool, sure, but when it comes to catering news to your key publics, make sure you consider what all of your stakeholders want to know.
  3. When a company gives back to the community, the community acknowledges your transparency and sincerity. This is the type of news that will touch people’s hearts and can influence them to respect your company.
  4. In August 2011, Steve Jobs stepped down from his CEO position due to health complications. He was always transparent before and after his health issues and still managed to do as much as he could. Besides the fact that he has a long legacy with Apple, he was the face of Apple and everyone – both stakeholders and shareholders – was updated on a regular basis.

And sometimes even the smallest news, such as a spotlight on an employee, may be much bigger than you think. Ellen Burts-Cooper, Senior Managing Partner of Improve, said she never would have thought the media, specifically by the Cleveland Plain Dealer, would pick up a story about a high school girl, whose book is sold on Amazon. She began to think about what else may be newsworthy for her organization.

Think about it. What news do you have for your audience that they will care about?

What to do now?

What’s nice about PR is that there are many ways to grab the media’s attention. Your business could pitch letters, send out make media alerts and/or hold a press conference. Although press releases seem to be the most popular tool, Felber likes to describe it as the “least sexiest way” because the format does not allow for “colorful language” and sticks more to the facts.

And when the media is ready to listen, make sure you’re confident and ready to pitch your story. Michael Obi, president & CEO of Spectrum Global Solutions, said to always keep up with what is going on in the news because one story that you may have on file could be significant around an event that may be happening.

Felber added to make sure your company has something ready to go for when the media is looking for some content. Have some of your staff seek media training in order to have graphics or video on file, as well as keeping your internal communications up to date about the story.

There are many things that PR can offer to help your business reach out to your key publics. So, ask yourself again. Does your business need PR help?

Cindy Deng is a PR & marketing intern at Felber PR & Marketing and a public relations student at Kent State University. She is also the Intercampus Liaison for the Public Relations Student Society of America, KSU chapter and a mentor for the Provost’s Leadership Academy.

Tradeshows for Manufacturers: the Good, the Bad and, the Ugly

Tradeshows for Manufacturers: the Good, the Bad and, the Ugly
Thursday, September 13, 2012
8:00 to 10:00 AM
Networking begins at 7:30 AMWHERE
Polaris Career Center
7285 Old Oak Boulevard
Middleburg Heights, OH 44130


September 6, 2012
$25 WIRE-Net Members
$35 Non Members

After September 6th
$30 WIRE-Net Members
$40 Non Members

Rick Dawson


RegisterCourse Level 1: Introductory – Designed for people with little or no knowledge of the topic. We will present basic concepts and define terminology.

The goals you set and how you prepare will ultimately determine the success of your tradeshow plan. Which tradeshows you add to your inventory will be critical to your preparation.
  • Do you attend shows out of habit?
  • Do you dread standing for hours on end, wondering if you will get a single lead?
  • Are you just too busy and do not want to waste valuable sales time at a tradeshow?
This workshop with provide a strong framework for three critical areas of your plan: pre-show, during the show and post show. If you attend and are responsible for your manufacturing company’s tradeshow investment, this is the program for you!About Our Presenter

As president of Felber PR & Marketing, Rob Felber brings more than 25 years of experience to bear for a diverse range of clients including Crain’s Communications, Hitachi Medical, SSP, The Sika Corporation, Soprema USA, Saint-Gobain Flight Structures and Thogus Products Company.

In addition, he is active throughout the community and has held numerous leadership positions within marketing associations. As an “ambassador” for The Promotional Products Association International, Rob has appeared as a guest speaker on college campuses including Kent State, John Carroll, Cleveland State and Akron Universities and before a variety of business organizations.

Before You Can Prepare For an Interview You Must Know The Story

In the previous post we discussed what most manufacturers often miss at trade conference; they miss the opportunity to impact their brand and expand company name recognition with their target audience. Now, you know that coordinated research and efforts to engage with the media covering a show is beneficial. So, now what?

You may think you have the most interesting story in the world, but if it does not resonate (fit) with what an editor “believes” his readers are thirsting for, you will come up empty when you start contacting the media (before the show of course). Your research of the publications’ website and its editorial calendar was a great place to start. The editorial calendar provided the large building blocks. Researching past stories and a targeted reporter’s style is critical into providing insight.

When you research an editor, first see if your story or something similar has ever been covered. Nothing stings more than pitching a story that was done last quarter. You now have revealed that you have no interest in actually reading the publication and what/who they have written about in the past. If the story idea you has been covered previously, is the story due for an update? What is the reporter’s style? Are they positive towards your field or sector? Have they been negative or antagonistic? This is a cold-war style battle and you must know your competition; in this case, competition is not only other companies, but the reporters own attention span and limited time.

So, what can you talk about? Do you have a new product or service? Did your company experience recent growth? Have you identified a trend in the industry? Perhaps you or someone on your staff has a unique expertise? These are all great places to start.

If you get their attention, ask them how they want to proceed. One end of the spectrum is that you get to provide your written content, photos and captions. The other end of the scale is that they decide to interview you. While the first scenario allows you to carefully craft your message (they can still edit it), the latter requires even more preparation. There is no harm in asking them their thoughts on the story and its direction. They may even generously provide a few starter questions for you to review prior to the actual interview. If you have a complicated topic, make sure you have good art (graphs, photos, videos, etc.) to help you tell their story. Sometimes, just having “good art” can help you win over a competing story. Note, your contact may even be up against other reporters to their story published due to limited space.

In our next post we will expand on the various opportunities just beyond the tradeshow booth.

Get Your Nonprofit Noticed, Now! – Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Join NEXT For Nonprofits, LLC and Susan Krantz, partner, Zinner & Co. LLP, for an insightful conversation about how to energize your nonprofit.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012
8:30 am to 10:30 am
Corporate College East
Warrensville Heights, OH

See Event Flyer (PDF) or Online RSVP now!

What Most Manufacturers Miss at Trade Shows

The show traffic was heavy. You made many appointments and even a few sales. Months of pre-show planning, training, traffic building promotions and creative booth design seems to have created success. So, what could you possibly have missed? You sponsored the cocktail party, hosted client dinners; you even held a demonstration on the show floor.
What you’re missing is exposure. In most sales calls and even inside your tradeshow booth, you can expect to speak to, at the most, 2-3 people at a time. So, how could you bring more exposure to your company? The answer is media.

Media – the one to 50,000 principle.

At most national and international shows, there can be as many as 20 or more independent trade media publications covering the conference. Not only are they looking for new advertisers, but they are also looking for news. Content is king and if they do not have it, they do not have a publication. When they speak, many, many more listen.
Over the next several posts, we will discuss how to establish, maintain and cultivate relationships with those that buy ink and megabytes, buy the barrel.

The first tip we have is find out if the show you are attending credentials media. If they do, the show organizers will most often maintain an up-to-date media list. Like confirmed attendees, these are media representatives that have requested passes and are attending the conference. The good lists may even indicate what types of stories they are looking to cover while at the show.

Research th

Download Your Free Trade Shows For Manufacturers eBook

e publications represented, and see if they cover topics that include your products and services. You can review their editorial calendars for detailed information on the subjects they plan to write about all year. If you see a connection, start with a simple get together. The myth is that you always have to offer a story. You don’t. Simply telling them you want to learn about their publication shows you are professional and courteous. Offer to meet at your booth, for coffee or even breakfast. Hey, they have to eat too. Ask a lot of questions on how their publication is different, their editorial direction and what they want to see at the show.

This is the first step to more exposure. Getting to know the media, understanding how they do their job and becoming a trusted resource.
In the next post, we will discuss preparing for interviews.

>Earth Day is April 22, 2011


Yes the official Earth Day is almost here, but every day should be celebrated as earth day. As a society that is the world’s largest producer and consumer we have a responsibility to help sustain out natural resources and our planet.

Sustainability is more than just a word in our corporate culture but a way of doing things right. People don’t stop consuming and promotional marketing is still one of the most cost-effective ways to tell your story and get your brand out there. Not only that but promotional campaigns yield some of the highest ROI in marketing. Since the promotional media has the ability to touch on every emotional and price level we too are striving to do this with our planet in mind.

Special biodegradable papers with seeds embedded not only provide long-term branding appeal but it is good for our environment. Call us for ideas and choices to fit any direct mailing or event budget.

Also ask about our complete line of products made from 100% USA Grown Corn. These products look great, are useful, do not use traditional petroleum-based plastics and are biodegradable naturally. From mugs, letter openers, health-care items and more the choice is easy. New this year we also have products made from natural wheat and potato.

Think of us for all your promotions that are good for you, your client and our home.

Contact Bruce Felber 330-963-3664 x 2 for all the details.