When I counsel an entrepreneur or wellness professional to go after their own PR, I encounter a lot of resistance.
A lot of people would rather save up to have me do their PR (and wait) then get started with their own program.
This is a real shame, because it often makes more sense to keep PR in-house than to outsource it, and you can also grow faster if you’re making media part of your promo plan from the start.
There is absolutely no reason to hold yourself back or to wait until you’re already well-known to get PR.
So that’s why I’m beyond thrilled to share DaKari (Doc) Williams’ story with you.
Doc first approached me last year to let me know my CreativeLive class completely changed his business (his words, not mine). He went on to tell me a remarkable story of how he turned his business around using PR as a catalyst that created one success after another.
Today, Doc is a paid contributor to ESPN.com, writes for Breaking Muscle and has leveraged his heightened name recognition into a branding agency for athletes.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg — click here to get the full story.
I’m not gonna lie. I teared up a little when Doc first shared his story. In no way am I trying to take credit for his success — it was all his work, his effort — but it feels amazing to know my teaching gave him tools he could use to such effect.
I’m sharing this with you today, because I want you to know:
If you’ve put off PR for “some day”…
If you’re feeling stuck…
If you don’t feel like the status quo is working…
Guest Post by Elizabeth Potts Weinsten
You’ve seen those “As Seen In” logo collections showcasing every media source in which a company, product, or person has been featured.
But every time I saw these collections, I put on my lawyer hat and wondered … is that legal?
There are two major legal issues when you use other people’s logos on your site: trademarks and copyrights.
HOW TRADEMARK AND COPYRIGHT LAW AFFECT HOW YOU CAN USE MEDIA LOGOS ON YOUR SITE
Media logos are trademarks of that particular media company. But there are circumstances where you can use the trademark of another company in your marketing, without illegally violating their trademark rights and subjecting yourself to a claim of infringement.
One fundamental principle to understand is that trademarks are not designed to protect companies. Trademarks are designed to protect customers from confusion.
If you use the logos in a way that won’t confuse customers or the public, then you probably are not infringing the trademark. But you have to remember to think from the perspective of what would confuse *the public* and not what would confuse you, a sophisticated marketer/businessperson.
If the logos’ placement, size or usage imply that you are affiliated with that media company, or that you are being endorsed by them, then you may be violating their trademark rights. It might also be false advertising. So you need to be very careful in how you use the logos.
For that reason, it is a good practice to use a phrase such as “as seen in” or some other language to specify the relationship between you and that media organization.
I also recommend having the logos be smaller than your other logos/graphics, so it correctly shows the proportionate importance of the media trademarks versus your own trademarks. If you make the media logos clickable and go to your “In the News” page on your site, it also helps to provide clarity (and is a great idea to show off your press).
The most conservative choice is to use the media logos only in relationship to those specific media quotes or articles. You can see some examples of that on these sites: “Press Mentions” on Insightly and the logos with quotes on Tim Ferris’ site.
When using logos for a non-media company or an event, you need to be extra careful.
In that case, a customer could reasonably assume that the company or event is affiliated with you, or even employs you. I’d recommend obtaining the company or event’s express permission. Some blogs and events even have specific “Contributor to…” or “Speaker at…” logos they use for that purpose.
One way to get permission is to make that logo linkable back to their website, thereby giving them something back. In some cases, you may need to put in a specific disclosure disclaiming any affiliation.
You can check the legal portion of a company’s website to see if they have specific trademark, logo or brand usage guidelines. I haven’t found such information at the big media companies, but you do find such guidelines on big non-media company websites.
These guides have specific rules about what you can and cannot do to their logo, and may include a “safety space” that’s required to be around their logo (important if you plan to create a big graphical collection of logos). Here are some examples: Twitter & YouTube.
Logos are also protected by copyright law. However, if you are using a small version of the logo, are only using it for the purpose of reporting where you have been featured, and you link back to their site/article, then your use is probably fair use.
WHEN USING MEDIA LOGOS ON YOUR WEBSITE, REMEMBER:
1. Do not be misleading. Makes sure that the way you use the logos does not make it seem like these brands are endorsing you. Use a phrase such as “as seen in” or “in the news” or “press mentions” to be clear.
If you were quoted or mentioned in one sentence, Don’t say that you were “featured” by a media source — featured means something more than mentioned.
2. Check their brand guidelines. Many major companies have brand guidelines where they state how their logos and trademarks may be used without infringing your license. If you use a particular service (such as Twitter) you agreed to their Terms which usually incorporate such guidelines.
If you are not a user of their service, their brand guidelines inform you about where they draw the line (aka what you can do to avoid a cease and desist letter).
3. Watch size and placement. If you’re using a huge high-res media logo at the top of your site, it looks like you are affiliated with them, and it is probably both trademark infringement and copyright infringement. If you use a smaller version of their logo, in combination with other media logos, in a particular “In the News” section of your sidebar or footer, then it is unlikely to be confusing to any visitor to your site.
Elizabeth Potts Weinstein, founder and lead attorney at EPW Small Business Law PC, is a small business attorney who helps entrepreneurs, artists, coaches, and consultants get the legal stuff out of their way so they can get back to helping their clients and changing the world. She works with clients on a flat-fee or retainer basis, helping them with contracts, business formation, trademarks, copyrights, and advice about doing business online. Find her and get simple business law tips on Twitter and on the web.
When I started working with 10ThousandFeet alum Megan Roop, she wanted to get her message out, but she first needed to launch her website and solidify her business model. To say that she had other pressing priorities is an understatement. But Megan knew she had to drive traffic to her new site if she wanted her business not only to survive — but to thrive.
Instead of putting outreach on the back-burner, Megan dove right in using the Content Remix method. Just three weeks after we identified some story options, Megan’s very first guest post went up on MindBodyGreen.
What’s truly amazing about Megan’s story is that she’d only published her first blog post the month before.
I invited Megan to join us today to talk about her experience with MindBodyGreen, so you can learn from — and replicate — her success!
Brigitte: Congratulations on placing not one, but two articles in MindBodyGreen. How did it feel when they accepted your first piece?
Megan: It felt amazing! I was really excited to land two guests posts within a few weeks of launching my site. In all honesty, I was pretty surprised too. I always held the belief that you couldn’t guest post until you were established with a huge list, which is not the case at all!
It also was an uplifting experience to be supporting total strangers in a meaningful way through my writing.
Brigitte: What was the response from your community?
Megan: The response was appreciative. I received a lot of personal messages thanking me for sharing simple, practical advice on how to deal with stress in a different way. I also received a lot of support and congratulations from friends and peers, which meant a lot.
Brigitte: That is so good to hear! One of the big reasons people do guest posts is for traffic, but you never know which sites will send new visitors your way until you test it out. Did you see a spike of traffic after your contributions went live on the site? Were there other results that you saw?
Megan: Most definitely. I received a spike in traffic and new email subscribers, as well as an increase in followers throughout social media. One of my intentions for guest posting was to find the people who need me most and this supported that. I’m really excited to be sharing my message and teachings with people who may not have found me otherwise.
Brigitte: I helped you brainstorm post ideas, but ultimately you pitched MindBodyGreen on your own. Can you share how that went and what you learned?
Megan: Yes, thanks so much for your help, Brigitte! You’ve helped me to feel so much more confident and comfortable with the world of outreach. Because of this, the process went really well. I think the biggest thing I learned is to get to the point and provide value. People are busy, especially in media.
Brigitte: True that! Do you have any advice for other business owners who would like to start guest posting on sites like MindBodyGreen?
Megan: Start now! If you have a message to share don’t put outreach on the back-burner. There are people out there who want and need to hear what you have to say. Also, be of service. I often hear people’s intentions for guest posting to only be around driving traffic and using it as a milestone for success. We’re here to help people and make the world a little better along the way, don’t forget to make it about your reader and the community.
Brigitte: What’s next on your radar? Will you keep writing for the site?
Megan: I’ll absolutely continue writing for Mind Body Green. It’s a wonderful community to be part of; both the readers and editing staff have been wonderful to work with. On my radar? My dream is for a personal essay from my upcoming eBook to land in O Magazine or Yoga Journal. I’d also really love to write a guest post for Darling Magazine, Tiny Buddha or Positively Positive.
Brigitte: Those are great goals! We can’t wait to see where you land next!
To get to know Megan even better, click here.