Tag Archives: marketing to horse owners

Monday Morning Quickie – Talking With Media: You’re Never Too Big, Too Small, or Too Prepared

In addition to marketing and PR for the horse world, I also write articles for equine publications such as The Horse and Equine Journal. In doing so, I often talk with people who are at the top of their game when it comes to their careers and ability to be subject matter experts.

I’ve often found that the bigger the ‘name,’ the more likely that person is to be prepared with their responses, generous with their time, and available for follow-up or additional questions. This makes everything proceed more smoothly, and is a big help to the person trying to tell your story, who is often doing so under deadline and other pressures.

Past interviews I’ve done have included top veterinarians (even an incoming president of AAEP), large-scale equine business owners, international equine researchers, and world-class equestrians, including Olympic medal winners. Despite busy schedules, they’ll carve out time for a phone or in-person interview, give me private contact information such as their personal mobile number or email address for any additional questions or clarifications, and have high-resolution images that can be used. While they might have had coaching by a public relations pro, they’ve also likely had some past media experience that’s helped them learn the ropes.

Preparing For Your Spotlight Moment

For your own horsebiz, journalists, bloggers, and photographers are the conduits to your audiences; they’re the ones who can help you tell your story and get your name into the media. You can never be too prepared for these media moments.

If you’ve never thought about media interaction as part of your marketing strategy, it’s worth spending some time to review, and to practice. Have a friend pretend to ‘interview’ you and see how you do.

  • Are you prepared and articulate in your answers, or do you stumble on words or concepts?
  • How do you come across on audio (I use a digital voice recorder, as do many journalists) or video?
  • Do you say ‘ah,’ ‘um,’ or ‘like’ a lot? Or have other vocal habits that don’t come across well?
  • Are you able to be calm, comfortable, and engaging?

I’ve coached clients for interviews; sometimes helping them identify the topics and reminding them they know more than they think they do is enough to help them feel confident for speaking to the media, but a little practice never hurt anyone! It’s like preparing for the showring…all the hard work happens back home during schooling, so you can really shine when the spotlight, and all eyes, are upon you.

I’ve found some excellent Media Interview Guidelines from the California Association of Realtors, and I’d also add in the following horsebiz tips:

  • If you can, research either the interviewer and/or the media outlet before the interview. Knowing the interviewer helps you feel prepared for questions they might ask; knowing the outlet helps you understand their audience.
  • Ask the interviewer about the story angle and focus of the article, so your answers can be targeted and concise. For example, if they’re interviewing you about newborn foals, you shouldn’t give answers that are about mature horses.
  • If you’re being interviewed by a ‘mainstream’ journalist rather than an equine-industry one, be aware they’ll likely know very little about horses, so it’s your job to help them understand important details that are second nature for you.
  • Have high-resolution (300 dpi) images ready to send in digital format, with appropriate photo releases signed and on file, and photo credits listed. Be sure you have permission from the photographer or copyright owner to use the image, and remember to include your own metadata in the image files! And, because of the seasonality of the horse world, think ahead for photo opportunities; take images in all seasons, of all aspects of your horsebiz throughout the year.
  • If it’s a print article, ask the interviewer if you can review a draft for fact & quote accuracy before the story. I always ask my sources to do a review to be sure I’ve captured information correctly, since it helps everyone. But you also have to be available to review a draft and turn it around quickly.

Media opportunities can come up suddenly and when you least expect them, so taking time to be prepared will let you take advantage when they do arise.

Have you been interviewed and/or photographed for the media? What worked well, and what didn’t? Share your media stories via the Leave a Comment link below.

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Filed under Equine Industry Marketing, Monday Morning Quickie, Uncategorized

52 Fridays – #11 To See Where You’re Going, Map Out Your Website Architecture

52 Fridays is a year-long series for equestrian professionals and equine business owners and managers, with marketing and public relations information, ideas, tips, & resources shared here each Friday. New EMAIL blog subscribers receive a ’52 Fridays’ PDF when they sign up; existing subscribers and new RSS FEED & WORDPRESS subscribers can send a request for their own PDF here.

Did you know that approximately 65% of the population are visually-oriented? Or, according to research by 3M Corporation, that the brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than text? When trying to either outline your website structure (called ‘sitemapping‘), or convey that structure from your mind to that of your web designer (oh, if only telepathy were practical!), visuals can provide the roadmap to help you arrive smoothly at your destination.

Let’s say you’re getting ready to design, or redesign, your website; you’ve pulled out your ‘good websites’ file, got yourself settled into a comfy chair with a beverage close at hand, and you’ve got ideas swirling in your head about the kind of information and images you want to put onto your site. This is the point where I’ve found it’s helpful to get out a large newsprint or flipchart pad, plus some colored markers, and let the ‘inner grade-schooler’ take over….

I’m going to say right now – there’s no ‘one’ right way to do this. Do what makes sense for yourself, try a few different approaches. It’s only paper, right? Here are a few options to get you started:

  • Like columns? Write your categories (About & Contact, plus all the topics specific to your enterprise) across one side and start your lists.
  • Prefer circles? That’s OK, too. Use big circles to hold the category titles and all your content and image ideas for each one. If you like circles, you can even use a Venn diagram to map out the relationships (and resulting links) between various categories.
  • Remember flowcharts? I like them as a way to ‘drill down’ into various categories and show how pages can be connected.

If you’d prefer making your sitemap via an online tool, or want to take your freeform diagram and put it into a format to share with others, here are some sites that can help:

  • SlickPlan.com allows you to easily create flowcharts and sitemaps to help organize and communicate a project’s details. It was developed specifically for website designers and developers, but their site says it’s for anyone wanting a quick and professional-looking sitemap for their project. Under the FAQs there are some brief video clips showing how easy it is to generate a PDF of your sitemap, or HTML code or an HTML link for sharing with others (slick!).
  • WriteMaps.com has options to create sitemaps or flowcharts, plus export and share either your sitemap-in-progress or your finished product. Click on the View the Tour tab for a step-by-step diagram on how to use it.

Both of these sites require accounts & logins, but they’re free and supported by donations, so why not give them a try? Each has the ability to save as many versions of your sitemap as you like, so you can track changes as you go, and always return to an earlier version if you get off-track. Ultimately, a well-organized sitemap will help your web design process flow more smoothly, and might reduce your overall web designer expenses since you’ll already have things mapped out.

Have these website ideas and resources given you food for thought? Are you considering a new website, or plotting to redesign your current one? Let us know what you valued about the website ideas in 52 Fridays #5 through #11 by clicking on the Leave A Comment link below. This week is the last in the ‘website’ portion of the series, so see you here next Friday for a brand new topic category and 52 Fridays #12! 

You can read all the 52 Fridays posts by clicking the Sort Posts By Topic dropdown menu and selecting 52 Fridays.

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Filed under 52 Fridays, Equine Industry Marketing, Technology, Uncategorized