Posts Tagged ‘Heather Whaling’


Blogger Relations Misconceptions

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

As traditional media continue to downsize and the boundaries between social and traditional media continue to blur, communications professionals are increasingly turning to blogs for exposure. For those that are in PR or marketing  and pitch the media on a regular baDecisionsis, this may come as no surprise; however, I’ve read, seen and heard more than a few bad pieces of advice recently, regarding pitching bloggers. Here are a few of the demands that I’ve responded to or heard lately and my thoughts on them:

We need a list of the top blogs so we can send them a press release. 
There are so many things wrong with this request! First, if the blogger is not a member of the press, then why would you send a press release? Second, what defines “top” blogs to you may not be the same as the requestor. Third, this assumes that blogger outreach, as a tactic, supports your overall PR strategy.    

Back in 2007, Jeremiah Owyang wrote, “Consider not pitching a press release or announcement at all; why not point me to relevant blog posts from the client (non marketing ones) that I’d be willing to add to my blog. Always remember that I’m thinking of my readers first, so if the content is not going to help them, I’m not going to point to it – think backwards.” Even though he wrote it more than three years ago, it’s still sage advice. 

We want to send a blast email to the (blogger) list.
Really? A “blast” email of the same pitch to multiple bloggers? No. You really don’t. Bloggers are unlike the media in that they do not have a “beat,” their “outlet” doesn’t necessarily dictate they write on certain topics, and, often, they are not bound by geographic limitations. You need to research each and every target and customize the pitch accordingly. (BurrellesLuce Media ContactsPlus is one solution that can help you connect and engage with bloggers individually.) If possible, find a connection with the blogger (e.g. boating enthusiast, horse lover, same alma mater, etc.) and leverage it. Follow but don’t stalk.

Case in point: Heather Whaling (aka @prtini) received this reply from a blogger after receiving her pitch not long ago: “I really appreciate you taking the time to know a little bit about me before you emailed me. You have no idea what a difference that personalization makes. Or, maybe you do. But in case you don’t hear it enough, good job!” 

PRBC co-founder Marie Baker, recently coined the term “blogger bombardment” to describe this paradigm shift. And Last week, an AmericanExpress OPEN Forum post replied to the argument, “But that means I can’t send out a mass email to hundreds of BCC’d recipients.” With this analogy…Exactly. It’s like getting a hand-written envelope via snail-mail; the recipient is much more likely to act on it if it’s personal and relevant to her blog.

I don’t want us / you to spend a lot of time on this.
<Sigh> I can’t say it any better than the guys over at The Bad Pitch Blog did: “Does this read like a lot of work? Well as the definition of a media outlet morphs, so must our approach to engaging with them. And as more and more bloggers extend the olive branch, the price of a bad pitch is increasing — less coverage, whiny bloggers, angry clients and amused competitors.”

Bottom line?  If your news doesn’t warrant this caliber of effort, then you shouldn’t be pitching it at all!

Sales + Everyone = Success

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

Valerie Simon

How do you get everyone – from your maintenance team to your CEO – participating in the sales process? During a special Twitter chat last Wednesday evening, Heather Whaling and Justin Goldsborough, co-moderators of Twitter’s #PR20Chat, and Beth Harte and Anna Barcelos, leaders of #imcchat asked this question to more than 100 participants. 

Here are a few takeaways every business should consider.Teamwork

Top down and bottom up, goals must be aligned.

AdamSuffolkU:  First step, make sure goals are aligned and input is asked/received from all-bottom on up

SuperDu:  It starts w/ CEO creating top-line strategic plan. ALL divisional plans & emp. objectives feed into that one plan

 jeffespo:  It should be the trickle up effect. Everyone knows the brand and wants to sell it and make more money.

Create a customer-centric team environment

BethHarte: If all employees understand the customer is #1, they will all work to make sure they work hard from top to bottom

LoisMarketing:  Communicate successes and celebrate at all levels. Make all staff aware of “wins,” new clients. Sincere appreciation. 

Transform employees into evangelists

kimbrater:  It’s more than the sales process, everyone has to internalize +evangelize the brand in order to sell it.

CASUDI:  everyone has to be in love with, believe in the product ~ everyone will have the desire to sell

IABCDetroit: Engage employees thru educational, relevant communications so they’re empowered to relay company message, align w/ company goals

Everyone can have an impact on sales

BethHarte: Sales starts the minute someone walks through the front door. Better hope the receptionist isn’t cranky/mean

rpulvino:  Everyone in the company is involved in sales in some way. Employees are the most important spokespeople for an organization.

And my respond: ValerieSimon: Education. When you take pride in, and understand your organizations strengths, you’re compelled to share the story!

Beyond 140 characters, I’d also emphasize that a strong and positive corporate culture is an investment that will not only pay off in increased productivity but sales. As I’ve mentioned before, I am a firm believer that everyone in an organization, regardless of title or department, should consider themselves a part of the sales team. Here are some ways organization can provides the training and follow-through to make the most of this extended sales force:

  • Make certain that ALL employees are educated on your products or services and the benefits of these services to your clients and customers.
  • Keep employees updated with a daily report of news for and about your organization, the competitors and the marketplace.
  • Create a simple process whereby all employees can easily submit referrals through to the sales team to close.
  • Share success stories. Recognize and reward those who are referring business, as well as the teamwork with sales that helped to win the new business.

Do you consider yourself a part of your organization’s sales efforts? What does your company do to harness the sales power of all your employees? Please share your thought with me and the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.

5 Changes in Journalism and What They Mean for Public Relations

Friday, July 30th, 2010

PR Tips

Valerie Simon

1. Long is now shorter. Rand Morrison commented that “Long is shorter than it used to be,” at the Bulldog Reporter 2010 Media Relations Summit.

PR Takeaway: Be succinct. Understand your message and be able to share it in a compelling manner with a few key bullet points.

2. Slow is now faster. Stories break on Twitter live as events unfold. Getting a story right is challenged by an increase pressure to get it out. 

PR Takeaway: Anticipate journalists’  needs and serve as a valuable resource. Maintain an accurate, up-to-date, and comprehensive online newsroom or press center.  A quick responses and immediate follow up is essential.

3. There is a need to be more resourceful with resources. Cuts in newsroom operations means that journalists are working longer hours, with heavier workloads and a heightened sense of concern regarding job security.

PR Takeaway: Passing along tips and information that will benefit the journalist (publication and readers), whether or not it is for a specific client, will be appreciated and help to build a strong relationship. Likewise, those who are able to help journalists save time by bringing together multiple resources have a distinct advantage. For this reason I am very intrigued with the concept behind Heather Whaling’s Pitch with me!

4. The brand of a journalist is not always limited to the publication. Many journalists now have Twitter handles, Facebook pages, and personal blogs.

PR Takeaway: There are now numerous opportunities to listen, engage, and build stronger relationships with influential journalists. 

5. Competition is more competitive. Social media has also increased the challenge of being the first to break a story or add a new and unique angle.

PR Takeaway: Exclusives are more valuable than ever. When you can’t offer an exclusive, consider whether you have a special angle or resource to pitch. What value can you offer the journalist to help him or her provide unique value to readers?

What other changes have you noticed in the field of journalism and how do they impact those who practice PR?

Emerging PR Leaders, Who Is The Next Person To Watch?

Friday, April 23rd, 2010
Flickr Image: ecstaticist

Flickr Image: ecstaticist

Who are the current leaders in the PR industry? You may know of them or you follow their Twitter feeds or ask to connect with them on LinkedIn and Facebook. Perhaps you may even know them in “real-life.” But do you know who will be the up-and-coming, new PR leaders? Who will be the next “person to follow” in the PR industry?

When you mentor students, you have an opportunity to meet these new leaders. Arik Hanson recently wrote about going back to his alma mater, Winona State University, for Pro Am Day. It’s a way for PR professionals to share their experiences and offer advice to students. My colleague, Tressa Robins, also attended St. Louis PRSA Pro Am Day, and discussed the event here on BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.

Twitter discussions are another great way for PR folks of different levels to discuss issues and find who’s fast becoming a rising star. Heather Whaling, @prTini, leads the #PR20 conversation on Tuesday nights. She recently blogged about pros you might not know, but should.

And she isn’t the only one drawing attention to emerging PR leaders. For the past 20 years, Washington Women in Public Relations (WWPR) has honored a female leader in the Washington PR industry. This year, the organization is looking to honor three emerging leaders on June 15, 2010. Although there are several criteria, in a recent informal poll, respondents felt the main quality of an emerging leader was “innovation.” It will be interesting to see how the honorees exhibit this quality.

“In today’s industry, there are many emerging leaders in the field – intelligent, budding PR leaders and creative practitioners. It is important to recognize these innovative communications professionals as knowledge experts and up-and-coming leaders in their chosen fields,” says Lauren Lawson, media relations manager at Goodwill International and past president, WWPR. “By motivating and inspiring these young leaders, you will help to grow and hone the skills of these communications professionals.”

Do you know an innovative young PR professional? How will you help promote them?