Posts by Josh Dare

Marketing Lessons from a Prussian King

That dictum from Frederick the Great, the famed Prussian leader known as one of the great military tacticians of all time, has an indisputable ring of truth, even to us civilians. Spread your armies too thinly, and you’ll not have the critical mass to mount a sufficient defense. Makes sense. The same is true of marketing. If you attempt to market to everyone, you really aren’t marketing to anyone. And for the same reason – you’ll have diluted your resources to the point where you are unable to make adequate inroads to even your most important target markets. And yet, …

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Can print-only news conquer the digital monster?

I’ve been mulling over Farhad Manjoo’s recent “State of the Art” column in The New York Times. The paper’s technology writer has gone cold turkey on digitally delivered news, restricting himself to print versions of two national newspapers, his local daily (S.F. Chronicle) and a weekly newsmagazine. What first sounds like heresy for a tech writer, he has now, months later, eased comfortably into the anachronistic rhythms of morning paper deliveries, describing his metamorphosis this way: “Turning off the buzzing breaking-news machine I carry in my pocket was like unshackling myself from a monster who had me on speed dial, …

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Merchandising Your Media Hit Will Turbocharge It

There was a time when landing a key media relations hit was the be-all end-all of public relations. But today, securing that placement is merely just lighting the flame of its potentially luminous value. It will burn even brighter if you put the right merchandising fire behind it. What do I mean? Media relations works First, let’s acknowledge that there is great power in a media placement. It raises your profile, establishes credibility and provides a third-party, objective endorsement that your company or your products are legit. And it goes a long way toward expanding the scope and breadth of …

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Five Questions to Unlock Your Story

I want to tell you a story…about storytelling. Over the past 16 years, I can’t recall a client who has walked through our door that did not have an interesting story. How they were founded. How they have conceived unique solutions to confounding problems. How they turned imminent failure into great success. How they have devised a better mousetrap. And the ever popular, how they were the best kept secret around. What’s curious is that, more often than not, those stories were not always readily apparent. Only by the dint of our questions and exploration, of prodding them here and …

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Stifling Communication Is Not a Public Relations Tool

Sydney Pollack’s masterful 1981 movie “Absence of Malice” holds for me a memorable scene. Without giving away the plot (cause if you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor and download it on Netflix), a character confides some deeply personal and scandalous information to a reporter, who begins scribbling notes for the next day’s front page. Anxious as to how the story will turn out, the woman spends the night on her front steps, nervously awaiting the dawn’s paper boy. When she retrieves the paper from her dewy lawn and opens it, she is crestfallen. And then she does something …

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10 Reasons Why Your Media Pitch Is Failing

You don’t get it.  You pick up the paper, and there’s an article on a business that you might have a passing interest in, and you think, “Why them?  Why not me? My company is so much more interesting than this firm specializing in inventory management software.” You could be right, but even so, your outreach to the paper over the years has consistently had the same result as those amorous emails to Elle Macpherson so many years ago.  Zippo response. Chances are, you could be making one (or more) of the following pitching mistakes. 1. Wrong publication Make sure …

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What I Know and Don’t Know about 2018

“To be uncertain is to be uncomfortable, but to be certain is to be ridiculous.” Chinese Proverb Seems like every time we see Mariah Carey trying to stay warm, it’s time to not just take stock in the year behind us, but to look toward the horizon to see what may lie ahead. As I contemplate what 2018 holds for Hodges, I see a predictable mix of certainty and uncertainty – from the uncomfortable to the ridiculous. Here’s what I’m sure we can anticipate…or not. Certain. Our clients’ stories are what will propel us through the year. No matter how …

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For 50 million Americans, Facebook is their only source of news. Really?

You might say that I’m an old news guy. I get my news from traditional sources. There’s a Richmond Times-Dispatch in my driveway every morning, and my bathroom and car radios are both set to 88.9, the local NPR station. At work, a copy of The Washington Post waits for me when I get in. And so, by the time I start my day, I’m fairly up-to-speed on what is happening in my hometown and the world in general. That’s pretty much been the history of my news consumption throughout my adult life. But that doesn’t mean that things haven’t …

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Six-Second PR?

A recent piece in Adweek, Why Brands and Agencies Are Preparing for the Era of 6-Second Ads, is predicting that these “snackable” ads – even shorter than the time food takes to get from your mouth to your stomach – will begin to come into their own, if not by the end of this year, then by 2018. And the future may already be here. The NFL started using 6-second spots during this season’s games on Fox. The reason: the bite-sized videos are ideal for attracting Millennials and Gen Z, who, at least stereotypically, have little patience for longer-form formats. …

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Finding a Seat at the (Head) Table for PR

Back in 1998, I was the director of communications for a Circuit City-backed startup that was poised to introduce a new product to the marketplace that we hoped would reinvent the video rental business.  Company management had made the strategic decision to pilot the product rollout in two cities where retail distribution would be strong – Richmond and San Francisco.  And so I went about putting together a media relations strategy designed to engender consumer excitement about the imminent availability of a product that had been years in development. This was going to be fun. But then I was handed …

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