Posts Tagged ‘Media Outreach’


When Marketing Tactics Mean Missed Media Mentions

Monday, December 9th, 2013

When Marketing Tactics Mean Missed Media Mentions Beijing Air Purifiers Ellis Friedman BurrellesLuce Fresh IdeasThe toxic air in Beijing and other cities in China is an environmental and public health disaster, but it’s an enormous opportunity for air purifier providers – Beijing alone has an estimated population of 20.6 million people. The US Embassy in Beijing recently placed a massive order for “more than a couple thousand” but “under five thousand” air purifiers. They ordered from the US provider of Blueair, a Swedish company, but the article also mentioned Blueair’s competitor, IQAir.

I lived in China for four years, and for almost a year before becoming a magazine editor, I managed the Beijing branch of a China-based company with exclusive dealer rights to an American air purifier brand. The most notable thing in the New York Times article: The brand I sold wasn’t even mentioned, and they’ve been in China for years. What happened?

I learned a lot about marketing from watching what happened at this provider. Here are a few things I noticed when I was there that caused the brand to miss out on what could have been a very valuable media mention.

Disregarding market differences. The dealer I worked for is headquartered in Shanghai, but expanded to Beijing when I arrived at the company. Their advertising and marketing efforts had modest success in Shanghai, and it was decided that Beijing would employ the same strategy and tactics as Shanghai.

Both Blueair and IQAir enjoyed far stronger brand recognition in Beijing than they did in Shanghai. Our retailer didn’t need to advertise and market aggressively in Shanghai, so declined to do so in Beijing. As a result, even years after I left the company, there still wasn’t widespread brand recognition.

Lesson: Be willing to go through a trial-and-error process when targeting a new market or segment, and adjust your strategy to the actual market.

Marketing with tunnel vision. The company relied on print ads in one magazine and attending international school fairs. Unlike the Shanghai market, the Beijing target market has more niches and is geographically more spread out, and between the ads and the fairs, we reached a very small slice of the target market and saw little return on those tactics. We concentrated more on that small return than on long-term growth.

Lesson: Continually assess ROI from all your efforts, and diversify marketing strategies; you can’t expect different  results from doing the same thing. Don’t mistake making progress for getting results.

Not engaging the most influential media outlets. In Beijing, there are maybe half a dozen English-language magazines competing for the expat market, so advertising in these magazines is the best way to build recognition in the international community. Our brand spent almost all the marketing budget advertising in first one, then another, of the least-read of these publications.

The head office wouldn’t even talk to sales reps from the most-read publications in Beijing. They not only lost eyeballs on what could have been valuable advertising, but they also shut off any form of communication, meaning they couldn’t become experts or resources by providing comments or information in articles.

Whenever the big magazines wrote about air quality or air purifiers (which was fairly frequently, since it’s a prominent problem), our competitors, IQAir and Blueair, were mentioned and experts from their company quoted. The brand I worked for was never mentioned, which is exactly what happened in this New York Times article.

Lesson: Advertising doesn’t equal coverage, but don’t shut your organization off by refusing all calls. You can’t become a resource if you won’t talk to anyone. And if you’re going to advertise at all, make sure that outlet fits your strategic goals as well as your budget.

Old Truths and New Ideas for Pitching the Media

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

Old Truths and New Ideas for Pitching the Media BurrellesLuce Fresh IdeasThe opportunity to meet a reporter or blogger you need to pitch and interacting personally is hard to pass up. For this reason, media panels draw PR folks like flies to honey. I attended two such panels this past month. One was hosted by Business Wire and the National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI) Twin Cities Chapter, and the other by Minnesota chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (MNPRSA). The NIRI panel focused on business media editors and engaging them in a digital and social world. The MNPRSA focused on blurred media lines and included a non-traditional media panel. Here are some of the key points from each of the panels.

The truths in pitching

  • Use email as your first resource and keep the subject short and to the point.
  • Yes, journalists are all on social media, but it is probably not the best place to pitch them. They are using social media to find story ideas and share their work.
  • Be professional.
  • Don’t send automated emails with “Dear (wrong name or no name).” It’s obvious it’s not a personal email.
  • Find a way to tell them what is different. Give them the story behind the story.
  • Photos can differentiate your pitch, but don’t make them look like an ad.
  • Bullets and lists in your email pitch make it easy to digest.
  • Follow-up calls are annoying, but they often work.

The new and interesting

  • Consider differentiating your pitch to a web publication with a professional video that is not sales oriented.
  • Social media buzz around an ad can lead to media coverage.
  • Missy Berggren, Marketing Mama, says a Tweet to follow-up with her on a pitch is OK with her.
  • Reporters often go around the PR person and use social media to confirm stories. Dirk DeYoung, editor at the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, used LinkedIn to confirm layoffs at Target.
  • Most of the bloggers are more open to having you reach out to the editor and various contributors than traditional outlets, because there are fewer full-time staff at the blogs.

David Fondler, business news editor at St. Paul Pioneer Press, reminds folks to own their negative stories, because any employee can confirm it to an editor on Twitter at any time.

Creating good quality content on your corporate or personal blog is a great way to get your message to consumers. Smaller specialty blog posts can lead to attention by larger blogs or mainstream media. MinnPost has the Minnesota Blog Cabin, where they highlight one Minnesota blog with good writing each day.

Need More?

I created a Storify of the NIRI event. Missy Berggen wrote a great post with tips for working with bloggers on her blog.  Plus, check out tips for pitching broadcast media and smart tips for media pitching success.

Debbie Friez BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas Blog Debbie Friez serves as tech editor for the Capitol Communicator and is also a consultant. Previously, she worked as Vice President, Major Accounts for BurrellesLuce. She originally joined BurrellesLuce at their Minnesota Clipping Service affiliate.

Friez was a senior account director for West Glen Communications, a broadcast PR services company. While at West Glen Communications, she was a frequent contributor to the DC Communicator newsletter.

She has a broad understanding of the technologies that are transforming the marketing and communications profession. She serves on the advisory board for the Capitol Communicator, the membership committee for the Minnesota chapter of the Public Relations Society of America, the national marketing committee for the Association of Women in Communications, and is a member and past president of Washington Women in Public Relations (WWPR).

Friez is a graduate of the University of North Dakota. She lives in Minneapolis, MN with her husband Paul Croteau, their two cats, Smokey and the Bandit, and Gus, the dog.

LinkedIn: dfriez Twitter: @dfriez

Smart Tactics for Media Pitching Success

Monday, November 11th, 2013
by Flickr user Keith Allison

by Flickr user Keith Allison

We’re all pretty familiar with the changes the digital age has wrought on media, but successfully pitching stories to journalists and reporters is still seemingly a fraught game of luck. At the PRSA International Conference in Philadelphia last month, I attend the session “New Secrets of Media Pitching Success” presented by Michael Smart. Smart offered concrete tips to reduce pitching-related anxiety and frustration.

He admits that it’s harder than ever to reach media influencers, but on an encouraging note, says it’s easier than ever to land big coverage once you break through. Here are some of Smart’s tips for effective pitching.

Create newsworthy angles: Tie your pitch into the media’s agenda – what current event, holiday, season, or fad does it relate to? [Avoid, however, tying your product into National (insert item here) Day. Smart says the only National ___ Day that ever gets coverage is National Talk Like a Pirate Day (September 19).]

He offers the example of a dull scientific paper about satiation from sensory stimulation. On it’s own, didn’t sound newsworthy, but it was spun into the extensively-covered story, Instagram will ruin your dinner, linking it to a hot social media trend as well as the ever-trending subject of health and weight loss.

Link to a trend: Or even better, alert the journalist to the presence of a new trend. Smart’s real-life example: In a pitch to a journalist, a PR rep for Sweet Leaf Iced Tea linked their raspberry iced tea with the trend of raspberry ketones, which supposedly aid in burning fat and spurring weight loss. The PR pro made sure to include other raspberry products (even those she didn’t rep) and plenty of information about ketones, effectively “writing everything but the byline,” says Smart.

Seek great visuals: Smart’s example was about a student who won a small state competition building nanotubes 20 atoms wide, a microscopic size and unenticing visual, and therefore tough to publicize. But by creating the world’s smallest Cupid just in time for Valentine’s Day and circulating an image, the school was able to publicize the student and garner worldwide coverage.

Sometimes content is the story: Smart tells of Brigham Young University, which had the top math student in the country, but faced the challenge of getting the greater public to care about math. So instead of pitching a tough-to-sell math story, the school developed their own story by creating a new piece of content: a rap about mathletes, which now has over 100,000 views on YouTube.

Grab the reporter’s attention in the first 10 seconds: That’s how long you have, so construct your pitch to draw them in immediately. Smart suggests referencing the journalist’s previous work in the beginning of the pitch, but cautions that so many PR reps now use this tactic that journalists are cynical about receiving strategically-doled praise for their most recent headline. To mitigate this, keep your references to their past work specific and sincere.

Follow up without being annoying: Smart advocates following up when you know you’ve got the right journalist or producer, when you’re sure it’s relevant, know you have a good story, or the journalist/producer already expressed initial interest. He suggests this pattern: Send the initial pitch, email again, and if you don’t hear back within a reasonable amount of time, pick up the phone and call.

Whatever you do, don’t ask if they got your email – producers will think that if they didn’t respond, it wasn’t worth the time. Instead, just pitch them again like they never saw the email. Acknowledge  their time pressure and end on the softest of soft sells.

When to pitch: Smart suggests finding out when story meetings are for key outlets and pitching right before that meeting. While conventional wisdom has all but forbidden pitching on Fridays and the week between Christmas and New Year’s, Smart recounts hearing that people who are brave enough to pitch during these times are seeing a lot of success. Remember, the media need topics even on Fridays and holidays.

Finally, he recommends calling TV stations during the first weeks of each semester, as interns there haven’t been trained on how to be rude yet, and will tell you the names of segment producers.

Smart’s tips seem reasonable, useful, and real-world applicable. He suggests that with time, pitching gets easier and more successful, and that successful pitching has positive consequences that reverberate through work and personal life.

Do you use any of these tactics? How do you successfully pitch to producers or journalists?

BurrellesLuce Product Demonstration: Social Media Managment With BurrellesLuce WorkFlow

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

BurrellesLuce Product Demonstration Registration: Social Media Management With BurrellesLuce WorkFlowBurrellesLuce Product Demonstration: Social Media Management With BurrellesLuce WorkFlow.

When: Thursday, October 18, 2012

Time: 2:00 p.m. EDT

Register Now!

Connecting and engaging with your social communities of interest can be a challenge. But it doesn’t have to be with the BurrellesLuce Social Media Monitoring software solution*. Whether you are an existing Engage121 user or looking to leverage a social media monitoring tool for the first time, you’ll learn to use all the features and benefits of Engage121 and more effectively take control of your social media efforts.

Join Tressa Robbins, vice president of Media Outreach and Social Media Solutions at BurrellesLuce and Jack Monson, vice president at Engage121, for this instructional product demonstration, “Social Media Management with BurrellesLuce WorkFlow.”

Register Now!

During this live product demonstration you will learn how to:

  • Listen and provide basic reporting on your social efforts.
  • Upload, track, and engage friends and followers on Twitter and Facebook — or another service.
  • Create a one-to-one relationship with your customers.
  • Influence key business metrics using SocialFlow and Traackr, increase traffic to outlets, and build sales.
  • Promote real-time social media campaigns and interactive content to your audience, including messages, and realize the power of fanlets, polls, and contests.

And more…

Space is limited. Sign up now for this free product webinar, “Social Media Management with BurrellesLuce WorkFlow.If we are unable to accept your registration, an on-demand presentation will be available for review after the event by contacting your account manager.

*Powered by Engage121. Engage121 provides marketing and communications professionals with social media software solutions. 

Pinterest: The newest ‘pin thing’ in social media?

Friday, January 20th, 2012
Flickr Image: Nate Hofer

Flickr Image: Nate Hofer

Just in case you have been out of commission and haven’t heard of Pinterest, according to its About Page, “Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web […] Browsing pinboards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.” 

The site was (soft) launched less than two years ago and is still by-invitation-only, but has exploded in popularity in the past few months. According to ZDNet, Pinterest received nearly 11 million total visits in the week ending December 1, 2011. That’s 4,000 percent growth on visits during a single week in just six months, points out CNET, bumping it into the top 10 social sites among the more than 6,000 properties that Hitwise tracks.

In fact, for the first time Pinterest made the new BurrellesLuce 2012 Top Media Outlets: Newspapers, Blogs, Consumer Magazines, Websites and Social Networks. The site comes in at number 9 on the top social networks (with 0.41 percent market share) according to Hitwise rankings for the week ending December 17, 2011 – beating out newcomer Google+ which rounds out the number 10 spot with 0.36 percent market share.

We all see cool stuff online that we’d like to share or save (aka “pin”) – I have some Facebook friends that I wish would use Pinterest instead of filling my stream with kitten images and quotation graphics, but that’s for another post. Snark aside, it is no surprise that people are finding use for this online pinboard. Friends and colleagues that are engaged are pinning wedding themed items, foodie friends are pinning recipes, fashion junkies are pinning wish-list items, etc.

So, I get the individual use, but what, if anything, can this do for companies or organizations? (more…)