by Dustin Siggins
Marie Miller began performing at age 12, playing local music gigs in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. It was highly stressful, she told Zenger — sometimes hundreds of people watching she and her sister on stage.
Fast-forward 20 years and Miller has played in front of not hundreds of people, but hundreds of thousands, live on CNN and Fox. She’s shared the stage with legacy acts like Aretha Franklin and Five for Fighting. And her songs have been streamed 8 million times, and featured on CMT, VH1 and “Dancing With The Stars.”
It’s a far cry from Miller’s humble start, and from the vast majority of musicians who the federal government reports have “long periods of unemployment” and who have “permanent…jobs in other occupations.” Even during the pandemic, Miller was able to continue growing her business, expanding her target markets from ticket buyers and festivals to corporate event planners.
Miller attributes much of her success to media coverage that puts her above the competition. “Anyone can send a YouTube video with a few hundred views,” she told Zenger. “I send my videos with a HuffPost article where I was called ‘the next Taylor Swift’ and several Billboard 100 articles about my singles. This creates tremendous brand value which secures more shows, earns more money per show, and creates long-term passive revenue from streaming.”
Creating more sales and bigger profits
For Miller, there is a linear relationship between media coverage and improved sales. More festivals and venues want to hire her, which creates core revenue on which she can rely week to week and month to month. And when corporate opportunities arrive, she can charge big bucks which are highly profitable.
The sales cycle for your business may be more complex, so media coverage will likely act less as a direct lead generator and more as a lead accelerant as part of a larger strategy.
An article or opinion piece can be used to create more trust with existing prospects through your newsletter and social media, and as a blog post on the company website. Cold calls will become warmer because new prospects want to know more about the solutions you provided in an interview or essay. And when all prospects look you up before meetings, your insights will be given more credibility because their trusted media sources trusted you.
“In a global market where most products are commodities, individuals make deals happen — and buyers will speak to the most credible and visible salesperson first,” said sales trainer and Salesman Podcast host Will Barron. “Our podcast drives 17,000 monthly leads and half of our revenue, and was the key to our recent HubSpot partnership, which led to a prominent speaking opportunity, more press and more visibility.”
Long-term growth opportunities
Media coverage that creates more revenue and more profits today can also create long-term revenue opportunities by positioning one’s brand in front of new — and sometimes bigger — clients. Miller’s core audience is the casual music listener. But her strategy is “to reach anyone who likes my genre of pop-country.”
“I have purposely created a brand which engages my core audience while opening new doors to” customers of all kinds, she told Zenger, “from concert ticket-buyers to corporate event organizers to people who stream from their homes.” Miller reaches these diverse markets by earning great press in local outlets which directly lead to more ticket sales per show.
“Without shows, I have no business,” said Miller. “Without concert venues and corporate events, I have little profit. And without streaming, I have no long-term passive revenue. Each of these income sources reaches a different target market, and each one is critical to my success.”
“We hired Marie to play in 2019 because she’s so well-known to our core audience through her performances and media coverage,” said Appaloosa Festival Artist Liaison Brian Lohmann. “We rely on media for many of the artists we hire, because we can’t see every applicant play in person before the festival. Coverage in outlets like Relix, Bluegress Today, and Rolling Stone give us confidence that up-and-coming talent will resonate with attendees in the same way as Marie and our Grammy award-winning performers.”
What about negative media?
It may not all be positive media coverage. What do you do if you get negative press?
Bill Greene, a veteran strategic communicator in the Washington, D.C. political scene, observed that “speed is essential in responding to bad press. Use your press contacts, social media, or outside validators to respond respectfully and forcefully – and preferably in the same news cycle. And when you do hit PR turbulence, keep track of how you respond, so you’re always prepared to give your side of the story”
He added, “In whatever field you are in, always remember the wisdom of pitcher Catfish Hunter, who said, ‘The sun doesn’t shine on the same dog’s a** every day.’ What that means for anyone in the public eye, even in less controversial business settings, is you can fully expect a little bad press now and then. If you are honest and hard-working and people like you, or you’ve carved out a niche, people will like you even more when they see you defending your honor or overcoming a challenge.”
Steve Susens, a veteran communications director who specializes in crises communications, agrees that rebuttal speed is critical. “Addressing the situation immediately is best, even if it means providing a more general statement that the company or individual is aware of the situation and looking into it and will provide a more detailed response once all the information is available,” he said.
“In the meantime, working with a trusted media connection to give your side of the story is always advantageous. This will provide a better forum to get the right messages out in a fair and non-combative manner to help address the situation,” said Susens, who has served in numerous conflict areas, including Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen.
Supercharge sales today and tomorrow
Miller has been on a steady climb for two decades because of her hard work and unique brand positioning. Along the way, great media coverage has convinced her target markets to hire her more often and pay her more money than the competition. Business owners can take her success and make it their own by having a media strategy which:
- Makes you stand out from the competition – like Miller’s endorsements from HuffPost and Billboard.
- Uses press to create greater following and engagement for newsletters and social media content, and quality content on the company website.
- Reaches your target markets directly – like Miller’s songs which aired live on CNN and Fox – to turn cold calls into warm conversations.
All companies want better leads, faster sales, and bigger profits. The right media strategy can help you do all three today, tomorrow, and – as Marie Miller has proven— for years in the future.
Hashtag Trending Nov. 29 – Lush leaves social media; Apple warns prosecutor of iPhone hack; man receives 3D-printed eye – IT World Canada
Lush deletes all of its social media profiles, Apple warns a Polish prosecutor that her iPhone is under attack, and a British man receives the world’s first 3D-printed prosthetic eye.
That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now, welcome to Hashtag Trending! It’s Monday, November 29th, and I’m your host, Tom Li.
Cosmetic giant Lush went on a social media cleansing routine on Friday by closing its accounts on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat, citing worries of the harms caused by social media. The announcement was made on the Black Friday weekend, one of the busiest shopping periods of the year. According to Lush CEO Mark Constantine, the company could lose 10 million euros by shutting down the accounts, but he’s happy to embrace the loss. This isn’t Lush’s first attempt to leave social media. In 2019, the company left Instagram and Facebook, but ultimately returned. The scale of its second departure seems to be much larger, and it looks more permanent than before.
Apple has alerted a Polish prosecutor that her iPhone has been compromised by the NSO spyware group. According to 9to5Mac, the NSO group was responsible for creating the Pegasus spyware, which has been used to spy on journalists and politicians. Apple is currently in the process of suing NSO for attacking iOS users and is monitoring signs of Pegasus-related attacks.
Finally, a British man became the first person to receive a 3D-printed eye. The prosthetic isn’t a functioning organ but was described to be highly realistic with a clearer definition and more depth to the pupil. Moreover, the procedure was less invasive; Whereas traditional eye prosthetics require a physical mould of the eye socket, the 3D printed one scans the socket digitally, bypassing an invasive step. Moreover, the 3D printed eye was matched against the patient’s other eye, which was also digitally scanned.
Now for something a bit different. The estate of JRR Tolkien, the creator of the Lord of the Rings series, has successfully blocked a crypto-currency called JRR Token. According to the lawyers representing the estate, the token’s name invoked copyright infringement laws. It’s clear that the coin’s creators were trying to capitalize on the success of the author’s name, but this is a common occurrence. In October, the creators of Squid, a coin based on the popular Korean TV show Squid Game, duped their investors out of more than $3 million.
That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now. Hashtag Trending is a part of the ITWC Podcast network. Add us to your Alexa Flash Briefing or your Google Home daily briefing. Make sure to sign up for our Daily IT Wire Newsletter to get all the news that matters directly in your inbox every day. If you have a suggestion or tip, please drop us a line in the comments or via email. Thanks for listening, I’m Tom Li.
Ethiopian gov’t forces in control of Chifra: State media – Aljazeera.com
Dead bodies seen ‘everywhere on the streets’ of town in Afar region as Al Jazeera gains exclusive access to front line of escalating conflict.
Ethiopia’s state-run broadcaster has said government forces were in control of the town of Chifra in Afar region, their first major seizure since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said earlier this week he would head to the front lines to lead federal troops against fighters from the northern Tigray region.
Tens of thousands of people have died and millions displaced since the war between Ethiopian federal and allied troops, and the Tigrayan forces, broke out in November 2020. The conflict has also caused a massive humanitarian crisis, with hundreds of thousands of people facing famine.
The Tigrayan forces captured Chifra, on the border between the northern Afar and Amhara regions, after fighting intensified last month.
“Ethiopian Defense Forces and Afar Special Forces have controlled Chifra,” the Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation said on its Twitter account on Sunday, without providing further details.
There was no immediate comment by the Tigrayan forces.
‘Dead bodies everywhere’
Much of northern Ethiopia is under a communications blackout and access for journalists is heavily restricted, making battlefield claims difficult to corroborate. Al Jazeera, however, was able to gain exclusive access to Chifra, the first international news organisation to do so.
Reporting from “the heart” of the town, Al Jazeera Arabic’s correspondent Mohammed Taha Tewekel said the Tigrayan forces “were driven out of this strategic area” by pro-government militia from the Afar region, but also noted “gunfire could be heard from all directions” for hours.
“It [Chifra] has been the epicentre of military operations during the past 40 days,” Tewekel said during a live broadcast, with gunfire ringing in the background.
“The scenes we witnessed are very appalling. Dead bodies everywhere on the streets. It is living proof of the ferociousness of the fighting. There are clear signs of the lack of humanity in this conflict. The town’s commercial shops were totally destroyed, even the mosques were not spared. All the residents have fled for their lives and the town has turned into military barracks for the Afari fighters,” he added.
The Afari fighters “have seized the city” and are now advancing towards the towns of Bati and Kombolcha, the correspondent said.
Chifra is west of the town of Mille, which Tigrayan forces have been trying to capture for weeks, because it lies along the highway linking landlocked Ethiopia to Djibouti, the Horn of Africa’s main port.
State-affiliated Fana Broadcasting reported on Friday that Abiy was on the front line with the army fighting the Tigrayan forces in Afar.
“The morale of the army is very exciting,” he said in the remarks broadcast on Friday, promising to capture Chifra “today”.
After months of tension, Abiy in November 2020 sent troops to Tigray to remove the region’s governing party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in response to what the government said was an attack on federal army camps. The TPLF, which dominated the federal government for nearly three decades until Abiy took office in 2018, said federal forces and its allies launched a “coordinated attack” against it.
The prime minister promised a swift victory and government forces seized Tigray’s capital, Mekelle, in late November. By June, however, the Tigrayan forces had retaken most of the region and pushed into the neighbouring Amhara and Afar regions.
The Tigrayan forces recently reported major territorial gains, claiming this week to have seized a town just 220km (135 miles) from the capital, Addis Ababa.
International alarm about the escalating conflict has deepened, with several foreign countries urging their citizens to leave as mediation attempts by the United Nations and the United States have so far failed to yield any results.
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