Posts Tagged ‘trends’


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?

6 PR and Marketing Trends for 2013

Friday, November 30th, 2012

Annual Trends

November 2012

At the 2012 PRSA International Conference BurrellesLuce asked for “Your Ideas.” Professionals and students from across the industry wrote their insights on the BurrellesLuce backdrop. They shared their thoughts about ways to improve PR, what they see on the horizon, and directions PR might take to stay ahead of the media relations curve.

This got us thinking about the coming year and what we see as the most likely trends for 2013.

Read the BurrellesLuce newsletter, “6 PR and Marketing Trends for 2013” here.

Marketing Trend Insights from the Mid-Atlantic Marketing Summit

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

This post first appeared on the Capitol Communicator blog 10.21.12 and is cross-posted with permission.

Mid-Atlantic Marketing Summit Baltimore 2012

Consumers read and interact with content in many different ways and on many different platforms. Marketers need to measure across the various platforms and realize consumers are frequently opting-out of tracking. These trends and many others were discussed at the Oct. 18 Mid-Atlantic Marketing Summit in Baltimore, which was attended by more than 300 marketers and communicators.

Engagement rules:
It is the twilight of the fan. If they aren’t engaging, it doesn’t matter if they are your fan, said Leigh George, R2integrated.

George gave the following take-aways:

1. Plan with the end goal in mind;
2. Don’t mistake a fan for a business metric;
3. Go to where the conversations are;
4. Respect the dark social; and,
5. Create content engineered to be consumed and shared.

Be true to the brand message:
Keynote Steve Sommers, Under Armour (UA), discussed brand messaging. As UA discusses new messages, they ask themselves, is the message true? Do consumers care? Does it make sense coming from your brand?  You need to talk with, not talk at consumers said Sommers. UA started a “What is beautiful?” contest to encourage female fans and customers. They discovered the female participants found community and were less interested in the competition.

Dormify lesson:
Karen Zuckerman, HZDG, found sending her daughter to college led to an idea for a new business, Dormify, an online design store for dorm rooms. She outlined their steps for creating a brand and business:

1. Create a brand – find a strong voice needed to connect with the personality;
2. Build a community – find evangelists to generate content;
3. Open an online store;
4. Market and promote it- they were beta testers for a Google catalogue;
5. Figure it out as you go: Since back to school is their Christmas, they created their own holiday – Cyber Monday;
6. Gain earned media – Dormify was often asked to partner with them;
7. Become the niche of our niche – 80% of their designers are in sororities, so they licensed sorority wear.

Consumers pay attention to content relevant to them.
Discussing campaign examples, Fred Jorgenson, Crosby Marketing, detailed how they used a hospital’s website to show emergency wait times. He added the caveat that checking the website is not always the best idea (dial 911, if needed), but it added a new level of interaction, which patients did not expect.

Throughout all the presentations, the speakers encouraged participants to experiment with new platforms and ideas, and always consider the overall business goals.

You can read some of the top tweets from the summit on Storify.

Discovery – Using Social Media to Drive Social TV Experiences

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

Today’s TV now needs to be “social TV,” where the online experience allows viewers to share their experiences with other viewers and the world. Fans no longer have to wait to discuss the latest episode at the water cooler the next day; they are doing it in real-time and all the time.  

Discovery Communications’ main social media strategy is engagement says Gayle Weiswasser, vice president, social media communications, during an American Marketing Association’s Washington, DC (AMADC) chapter program in January. Additionally, Discovery looks to build community, drive fans to tune-in, increase website page-views, and gather insights.

Most social media strategies contain the big three platforms, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, but not all platforms are right for every organization. For Discovery, YouTube and GetGlue are also essential platforms. It even started a Pinterest page for TLC because TLC shows are very visual and tend to attract a lot of female fans. As quoted from this Desert News article, “If you’re an American and you know about Pinterest, chances are you’re either female or someone who heard about Pinterest from a female – because no fewer than 83 percent of Americans using Pinterest are female.”   

(For tips on adding Pinterest to your integrative communications efforts, check out this BurrellesLuce newsletter: Understanding Pinterest and Your Audience and my BurrellesLuce colleague Tressa Robbins recent post about Pinterest and how companies and the media are using the site.)

Tips for Creating Social Experiences to Enhance TV Fan Bases

  1. Give fans exclusive content. This is a great way to drive engagement, Weiswasser says. Discovery offers additional scenes and other insights as rewards for comments and sharing. The content is usually only available for a limited time and is not available during the broadcast time for the show it promotes.
  2. Use multiple platforms to interact with your audiences. Weiswasser suggested making “co-viewing” apps available on multiple platforms to promote a linear TV experience for user who following the conversation on a number of different social networks.
  3. Think before you post. Weiswasser tells her team to ask, “If I were a viewer/fan, would I really like this post?” If the post is mediocre, she says it’s best not to post.
  4. Be aware of trends and hot topics. A great way to gain some momentum for your organization is to embrace the culture at the moment.  Animal Planet, for its show “Hillbilly Handfishin’” tweeted, “@OldSpice & @FabioOldSpices – Are Either of You Brave Enough to Try Noodlin’? We Triple Dog Dare You!” Both of Old Spice’s spokespeople, Isaiah Masufa and Fabio took the dare for a couple of fun April Fool’s Day jokes on YouTube.
  5. Increase outreach success by having (celebrity) spokespeople interact with your communities. When Clinton Kelly of “What Not to Wear” took over the show’s Facebook page, they had the most activity in eight years.

Some other great takeaways from Weiswasser:

  • Give the social media team authority to make real decisions.
  • Listen and talk to fans.
  • Build on the engagement you’ve made.
  • Accept that not all audiences are alike.

What lessons have you learned from your social media fans? How do you encourage more engagement? Which new social networks are you adding to the mix?

2012 Social Media Trends from IABC DC Metro

Monday, January 30th, 2012

Even though we know digital and online media continues to change, IABC/DC Metro started 2012 with a chapter meeting tackling the latest Social Media Trends.

The panelists included:

Emerging Social Media Trends
Each panelist brought different industry point-of-view to the discussion. Radick took government. Horowitz gave the agency perspective, Steigman reviewed the small business view and Dunham brought insight from publishing and the media.

  1. Government Use: Radick dispelled the myth that the government is behind the curve, but he did see them stalling in advances for 2012 because it is an election year.
  2.  Internal Communications: Radick also thinks there will be more enterprise 2.0 or social media behind the firewall to internal audiences.
  3. Integrated Efforts: Both Radick and Horowitz confirmed they see more integration into all lines of communications.
  4. Influencers: They felt the days of the “social media guru” are dying fast. Horowitz said it’s time to look for persuaders or influencers who can help persuade others to your thinking or agenda.
  5. Small Business: Steigman sees social media platforms as a reliable ecosystem and wonders how they can be used to make it easier to reach customers. She suggested reading Phil Simon’s The Age of the Platform: How Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google Have Redefined Business. She also feels it will be key for business to understand search and the data around it.  
  6. Digital Skills: Dunham is amazed by the use of tablets for tweeting, video, etc. Because many of his colleagues are not digitally inclined, he relies on interns to provide new ideas for using social media to drive more readers to their media properties.  

Social Media Best Practices for 2012
As with all social media discussions, some great best practices come out. Radick reminded us, “Don’t concentrate on social media tools, but concentrate on the principles behind them.

“When asked how to best measure social media, Horwoitz said, “You need to measure based on business goals, don’t measure on tactics.”  

For more helpful social media best practices, you can read Steigman’s highlights of the session on her blog.

What social media trends do you see for 2012? Please share them with the BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas readers.