Has your biggest competitor just been highlighted in the daily paper? Or perhaps the upstart funeral home was just interviewed by the town’s radio station for a local perspective on a national news story about funerals. Either way, don’t you wish the media had contacted your firm rather than the “other guy”?
Working with the media is not the equivalent of throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing if it sticks. You need to put in the time to get the results you want. Like so many things in life, good communication with the media requires a great deal of planning as well as developing connections with those involved.
It’s never too late to start. Maybe you’ve had media coverage of your funeral home in the past and were unsatisfied with how it turned out and you’re looking for positive exposure in the future. It helps to think of your connection with the media like any kind of relationship. You have to invest in it.
The following ideas are a few ways you can build and improve your media relations: Read the rest of this entry »
Thanks to Joshua Slocum and the Funeral Consumers Alliance, the media have jumped all over the “funeral-prices-are-so-hard-to-find” bandwagon. From there it’s a short ride to believing that mandatory posting of prices on funeral home websites is an easy solution for simplifying funeral options and costs. Can it really be that easy? Do funeral professionals want to make access to information difficult? Read the rest of this entry »
In many people’s minds, 2016 will be remembered as the year celebrities dropped like flies. According to Legacy.com, the number of celebrity deaths was comparable to previous years, but three factors made it appear that celebrities were dying in droves: 1) a higher-than-average number of those who died were either A-list or legendary stars; 2) many musicians died who had extremely loyal fan bases; and 3) the average age of celebrities who died this year was about 10 years younger than usual.
Aside from celebrity deaths, growing pains continued to reach every aspect of funeral service. During the last 12 months we saw some outrageous trends, some of which have already used up their 15 minutes of fame. Other news stories highlighted shifts in public preferences that merit our continued attention, even if these changes seem undignified to some traditionalists.
Part I of this blog will examine five topics which drew national, and sometimes international, attention to funeral service in ways that are relevant to serving families in the near future. Next week, Part II will examine five more topics. Read the rest of this entry »
In today’s world of social networking and associated technologies, it’s easy to conduct business from behind the desk or mobile device. As a society, are we forgetting the importance of face-to-face interaction? While funeral service professionals interact with families face-to-face on a daily basis, it is easy during slow periods to stay inside and behind screens. To expand your business and your network of relationships, it is imperative that you take the time to enrich yourself and your businesses by participating in varied networking opportunities outside the funeral home.
In-person relationships and events are where we learn more about the people we do business with, meet potential customers, and expand our business knowledge. We must commit to taking advantage of these opportunities and learn some things that we just couldn’t learn the same way online.
Try these easy tips for making networking personal and learn something new. Read the rest of this entry »
Are families ready to make funeral arrangements online? Funeral professionals often look at me like I’m crazy when I ask that question. They say, “Families will never forego personal connections when they plan something as important and as sensitive as making funeral arrangements.” Just like the national cremation rate would never exceed 50 percent, right? Read the rest of this entry »
Late last year Jessica A. Smith of the Order of the Golden Rule (OGR) asked me to be a course leader for a 2016 OGR-sponsored webinar about writing obituaries. The webinar, titled “How to Write an Obituary Worth Reading,” is slated for mid-June, and “will look at the factors which make a good obituary” as well as “provide a forum where funeral professionals can share their obituary-writing experiences and learn from one another.”
The topic was prompted, in part, by the recent rise of the “viral” obituary, where the story (or the personal agenda of the writer) resonates so deeply with readers that the obituary is shared — using popular social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter — by millions of Internet users.
You know the ones I’m talking about. Think back to 2013 when the obituary of Marianne Theresa Johnson-Reddick was published. This scathing “tribute,” written by her surviving adult children, included sentences like these: “Everyone she met, adult or child, was tortured by her cruelty and exposure to violence, criminal activity, vulgarity, and hatred of the gentle or kind human spirit,” and “We celebrate her passing from this earth and hope she lives in the after-life reliving each gesture of violence, cruelty and shame that she delivered on her children.” It also featured a call for “a national movement and dedicated war against child abuse in the United States of America.” This lurid story, combined with the expression of vengeful desire and the direct “call-to-action,” made this obituary an overnight global sensation. Read the rest of this entry »