Posts Tagged ‘ComPRhension!’

Everyone’s a Journalist: Beyond the Beat

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

This post first appeared on PRSA’s ComPRehension blog 11.10.10 and is cross-posted with permission.

This year’s PRSA 2010 International Conference was my 11th in the past 12 years. As the date approached, I found myself wondering if it was going to be worth it. Would I really learn something new?  Now that the Conference is over, I can report a resounding, “Yes!”

One of the sessions I attended was led by my BurrellesLuce colleague, Johna Burke (@gojohnab). She offered so many great tidbits of social media/media relations-related information that it would be impossible to include them all in this blog post. However, there’s one point that stood out the most to me.

Burke began by discussing the changing media landscape. For example, according to the Pew Research Center, some 44 percent of online news users get news at least a few times a week through e-mails, automatic updates or posts from social networking sites. You must decide where social media fits into the strategy, and how to take advantage of it.

She advises:

  • Participate in the dialogue, but don’t broadcast.
  • Messages need to work in tandem and support other messages. In other words, consistency is key.
  • Communicate to the whole organization, not just the media. Who are your other audiences? Who are our stakeholders?
  • Be where your audiences hang out online. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are the “big three.”

So what about pitching via social media? Burke prefaced these best practices with her PR101 golden rule: everything is on the record!  She says, at the bare minimum, know what sort of journalist they are — print, online or “MOJO” (mobile journalist). You should also:

  • Know what they are writing about.
  • Think about how to build a relationship with them. Comment first, pitch later.
  • Find a way to provide information without giving away the scoop.
  • Tell them why they should care.
  • Do NOT send multiple requests to one reporter/blogger on multiple platforms. (You don’t want to stalk them!)

Obviously, not all of the tips are necessarily “new,” but there were new applications of old principles, and some were simply solid media relations refreshers.

Tressa Robbins, vice president, Media Contacts, BurrellesLuce, is a regular contributor to BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas blog, a member of the St. Louis PRSA Chapter and a PRSSA mentor.  She recently served as a panelist for PRSSA’s National Conference and speaks at the local and regional level. Connect with Tressa on LinkedIn and follow Tressa on Twitter @tressalynne.

For more coverage on the PRSA 2010 International Conference: Powering PRogress, visit PRSA Intelligence, follow #prsa_ic and the Conference blog.

PR Needs YouTube

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

Note: This blog post first appeared on ComPRhension!, PRSA’s blog, November 17, 2009.

GregJarboeSES4Did you know that Americans conducted 3.5 billion (yes, billion) searches on YouTube in September of 2009? You should, according to Greg Jarboe and Laura Sturaitis in their “What’s the ROI on Your Press Release” workshop. 

Multimedia is one of the biggest trends in public relations today. One reason is that your press release no longer goes just to the media, but now directly to consumer as well. 

Three ways to build ROI with every communication was shared in a pre-conference post by Jarboe and Sturaitis. In his presentation at the PRSA International Conference, of which BurrellesLuce was a sponsor, Jarboe offered some additional key points for optimizing your release:

  • Conduct keyword research to find relevant terms (synonyms) that your stakeholders are likely to use.
  • Edit your press release to include those terms — particularly in the headline and first few sentences.
  • Add links so readers can easily locate related content.
  • Measure your results — not only in brand awareness and Web site traffic, but also in qualified leads and online sales.

Keep in mind, different people want different formats. Some may only want text. Some may need hi-res photos, video and/or audio. While others may just want to link (so be sure to include your URL). Sturaitis advises to use social media buzz, Twitter, blogs, Web sites, link love, etc., to garner as much “Google real estate” as you possibly can.

Not convinced you need to utilize multimedia in your press release?  Here are some eye-opening statistics via comScore Video Metrix. During September 2009:

  • 168 million Americans watched 26 billion videos.
  • 125.5 million viewers watched 10.3 billion videos on YouTube.
  • 45.6 million viewers watched 424 million videos on MySpace.

Jarboe shared three ways you can help ensure your videos get discovered in search results and related videos:

  1. Think of the title as your 120 character headline, but Google only displays the first 61-65 characters so the brand name (if in the title) should go last.
  2. Be as detailed as possible within your 1,000 characters, and include URLs.
  3. You have 120 characters to tag brand, city, topics, etc.

Finally, Jarboe advises, “PR needs YouTube. Do it offensively, do it defensively, just do it!”

Persuasive Media Relations: The Key to Reaching All Your Publics

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

Note: This blog post first appeared on ComPRhension!, PRSA’s blog, November 10, 2009.

This PRSA International Conference Workshop was led by Rebecca Rose-Markarian, APR, and my BurrellesLuce colleague, Johna Burke

The session began with Markarian demonstrating a real-life example of a successful media relations campaign — for the 2007 Jaguar XK. Rebecca discussed the details behind the public relations strategy and why it was successful. The takeaways include some of the same items I included in a recent blog post, along with some great additions:

  • Do your homework; research the outlet and the journalist.
  • Role-play your pitch.
  • Give the journalist an angle; offer multiple exclusives if you can, each with a different slant.
  • Be human — respectful, courteous, professional.
  • Make the media’s job easy.
  • Don’t take rejection personally.
  • Use social media to keep in touch.

Johna BurkeBurke began her portion by talking about some tips for protecting your brand’s name in cyberspace, advising everyone to check their companies’ names on and (You can view her presentation slides here.)

She explained that most of us “get” the concept of social media but don’t really know how to apply it. We should ask ourselves, “Where is my audience,” and “How am I engaging?” In the case of Twitter, we should keep in mind that it’s not just what we see, but what we don’t see that matters.

She went on to talk about the impact of social media on everything from printed publications, web content vs. premium web content, and byliners to bloggers. One takeaway that really stuck out in my mind was that you must write for communication first and optimization second. We all want traffic and to be read; however, being misleading to get it will only backfire.

Finally, she touched on a point that Markarian mentioned — that we should engage journalists via social media (IF that’s where they hang out and how they want to receive communication/pitches). Read their articles and blogs and comment. 

What would you add?