Gay Pinder

There’s a lot more to media relations than having a great story. You may know what you want to say, but if you don’t know how to say it or who to say it to, then your pitch will turn into a swing and a miss.

Like all communication tactics, media relations requires strategy. No matter how much the industry continues to evolve, these 5 fundamentals will always remain the same.

  1. Keep the audience front of mind

Whether pitching about a product or person, an innovation or an accomplishment, think about the pitch from the audience’s perspective. You have to consider media outlets and the readers, listeners or viewers of those outlets as your audiences. The pitch must deliver exciting, useful information or a unique story for media outlets to share with their audiences. If the product or story doesn’t appeal to the outlet’s audience, it’s not going to appeal to the outlet.

  1. Spend time reading, listening and watching

Spend the time to read, listen to and watch your targeted media outlets. Know who they talk to and how to create a pitch customized for their target audience. The time spent researching on the front-end will save you from wasting time sending pitches to the wrong outlets and contacts. Better your chances of breaking through the clutter by sending a pitch that’s spot on.

82% of journalists say PR professionals can improve by researching and understanding their media outlet.

  1. Pitch with a purpose

A pitch should answer two questions — why would the media have interest in this story and why is this story better than the other 500 pitches the outlet received that week? Until you can confidently answer both questions, the pitch is not ready. Before you begin crafting your pitch, ask yourself — how will/can the news or product you’re pitching affect the audience? How will they benefit? If the story has no legs, media reps will not only delete your email, but will more than likely also delete future emails you send.

  1. Build, then foster, relationships

It’s all about connections and relationships. In order for media reps (writers, reporters, producers) to want to share your story, they must first like, respect and trust you. Securing and strengthening these relationships will come from pitching newsworthy stories and only newsworthy stories. If an outlet is looking for a particular story or expert that you can’t provide, but you know someone who can, let the reporter know. Not only will the reporter remember you, but the person you recommend may return the favor the next time.

58% percent of influencers and journalists said displaying knowledge of past work, interests and beats drove them to pursue a story.

  1. Be realistic. Be patient.

Timing is everything. You have to consider the timing for the outlet and the reporter, but you also need to have a keen awareness of the trending news cycle. The topic du jour could help or hurt your pitch efforts. Stay the course and wait for your opportunity. Your story must stand out and be relevant to stick. Of course, if no one bites on your first attempt, that’s normal. A reporter you pitched today may call you back months later because the time is finally right.

Looking for more tips on successful media relations? Ask us your questions by tagging us on Facebook and Twitter.

Shawn Nesaw

Today, social media is a critical component of the marketing strategy for most businesses. This phenomenon shouldn’t be surprising, as more than 50 million active small business pages exist (Brandwatch.com) on Facebook alone. While there is nothing our social media experts love more than to see businesses grasp the powerful nature of a social media presence, balance is key. When overindulging, it’s easy to spread your content thin across several channels.

The saying “jack of all trades, master of none,” accurately describes this craze. Many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) create four to five social media accounts with the thought, “If I’m on these social media platforms, I’ll have more opportunity to communicate to our audience.” While a presence on more social channels does provide SMBs increased audience exposure opportunities, maintaining a legitimate presence on each platform is a two-way street. If SMBs publish content frequently but fall short when it comes time to respond and engage audiences past the initial post, audiences will look elsewhere for content.

All too often when a new social media platform hits the market, the first thought is to immediately engage. It’s the “shiny new toy” effect of which Snapchat illustrates best. Many SMB’s who target younger audiences thought Snapchat would be the right channel and for some it was, but for most, it wasn’t. Snapchat takes time to learn, produce content and grow an audience. Yes, Snapchat is great for targeting a younger demographic, but if the SMB doesn’t have a Snapchat strategic plan in place, Snapchat isn’t going to necessarily work.

Whether it’s Snapchat, Instagram or even Facebook, SMBs should look at their goals and think strategically. Consider the following criteria when selecting the appropriate channel:

  • Does the channel help meet communication goals?
  • Does your business have the capacity to produce the necessary content to effectively reach the audience?
  • Will you be able to reach and engage your audience on this channel?
  • Do you have a real reason for being part of that social community?

If you answered “yes” to the above criteria, then the social channel in question might be a good fit for your business.

The last thing you want to do is make a semi-enthusiastic commitment to a channel, which ultimately becomes just a waste of time and resources, two things no business can afford. The truth of the matter is, it’s not necessary to be on every social channel.

Before diving in, here’s what you need to know about each social channel.

 

After considering those two channels, we recommend the following social channels after careful consideration of the target audience, brand goals and ability to maintain the channel. Use the descriptions below to help guide you towards the social channels that work best.

Social media shouldn’t be a struggle; it should be fun. It’s where you get an opportunity to talk about your brand, show people who you are and engage audiences you may have otherwise missed. Building your brand on social media is crucial for success in today’s marketplace so choose the social channels that meet your business goals.

Tell us how you engage your audiences through social media by commenting below or engage with us on social media. Let’s start the conversation.

Sources: Social Media Today and Hootsuite

View article in Spanish

yohabloesIf you were not a Spanish-speaker, what would you assume the following Spanish word meant in English: “Embarazada?”

It sounds a lot like “embarrassed”, doesn’t it? This would be a false cognate since the actual meaning is “pregnant.” Imagine how truly embarrassed you would be if you accidentally used this word when trying to convey your feelings, but now the confused gentleman who you ran into is suspiciously looking at your stomach.

The Baltimore Public Relations Council (BPRC) used this example at its recent Multilingual Communications event, which focused on adapting communications to Spanish audiences in the Mid-Atlantic.

As a way to always keep our clients in front of changing market trends, A. Bright Idea consistently recognizes new ways to reach out to more audiences. The Hispanic/Latino communities are fast growing in the United States, especially in areas on the west coast and in the northeast.

What does this mean for businesses trying to reach this market? Well, truthfully this large and growing population may not respond to traditional marketing techniques. Businesses need to be receptive to alternative marketing strategies to tap into this growing demographic, including incorporating translated versions of campaigns or considering bi-lingual campaigns.

This brings us back around to the importance of translation. The BPRC referenced the Mortgage Disclosure Act in their recent seminar, in which officials filed the documents in a plain English-to-Spanish translation. One field asked for the individual’s verification of residence, meaning his/her address. Translated as “verificación de residencia”, many people thought the form was asking for information on their Green Cards, intimidating them from completing the form. “Verificación de residencia de su domicilio” would have conveyed the true intent.

It’s important for businesses to recognize the changing demographics of the country and how they may affect their target audience. If you haven’t done your research and you refer to your audience as Hispanics, this may confuse them as the United States government actually created the term, making it insignificant in Spain and Latin America. On the other hand, referring to your audience as Latinos would exclude everyone from Spain.

For businesses interested in embracing a broader cultural audience, accurate translation is a must. Be sure you work with your agency to complete accurate and in-depth research on your audience to validate whom you are reaching and that your message is as you intend.

Perdido en traducción

A veces personas en los Estados Unidos que no hablan español oyen algunas palabras y piensan que tienen significados incorrectos. Por ejemplo, muchas personas que no estudian español piensan que la palabra, “embarazada” significa “avergonzada” porque suena como la palabra en inglés. “Embarazada” es un cognado falso para esta razón.

Ellos están avergonzados de verdad cuando usan “embarazada” y luego aprenden que la palabra no tiene relación con los sentimientos; en realidad, ¡la persona con quien habló piensa que tendrá un bebe!

El Consejo de Relaciones Públicas en Baltimore (BPRC) usó este ejemplo en su evento recién, “Comunicaciones Políglotos,” que enfocó en adaptarse comunicaciones a las audiencias españoles en el Atlántico medio.

Para siempre exponer nuestros clientes a las tendencias cambiantes del campo, A. Bright Idea sistemáticamente reconoce maneras nuevas para llegar a nuevos públicos. Reconocemos que los Hispánico/Latino comunidades están creciendo muy rápido en los Estados Unidos, especialmente en áreas en la costa oeste y el noreste.

¿Qué significa tiene esta información para las empresas que quieren llegar a este mercado? Pues, con sinceridad, este grande y creciendo populación tal vez no responda a técnicas tradicionales de la comercialización. Las empresas tienen que estar receptivas a estrategias alternas de la comercialización para aprovechar este demográfico creciendo, incluyendo incorporar versiones traducidos de las campañas.

Esta cuestión nos trae a la importancia de la traducción. El BPRC citó un documento en su evento en que los oficiales escribieron en una traducción sencilla de español. Una pregunta fue para la verificación de residencia, que muchas personas hispánicas pensaron fue para información de sus tarjetas verdes. En actualidad, el documento solamente quiso la verificación de residencia de su domicilio.

Es importante para las impresas reconocer los demográficos cambiantes de este país y como pueden afectar sus públicos objetivos. No siempre pueden llamar los grupos que hablan español hispánicos porque esta palabra no tiene significado en sus países; el gobierno de los Estados Unidos creó esta palabra. Sin embargo, la clasificación de latino excluye todos que son de España.

Para las empresas que están interesadas en aprovechar un grande público cultural, la traducción fiel es muy importante. Tienen que trabajar con sus agencias de publicidad para completar la investigación a fondo en sus públicos para que validen a quien están hablando y que el mensaje es como la intención.

A goal for many PR pros is to get the message out about their client or organization by landing a segment with Brian Williams or Diane Sawyer. Realistically speaking, the story would have to be not only timely, but also timeless, national and heartfelt in order to gain such high recognition in the media circuit. It’s also important to remember the power of local news, especially in considering small, local businesses and the impact they are making in our communities.

We recently attended a Baltimore Public Relations Council event hosted at WMAR (ABC 2) studios in Baltimore. The event included a panel of the WMAR news crew sharing tips to always consider for TV news coverage. Whether national or local, these tips along with our own experience demonstrating the importance of being strategic and prepared.

Think about the audience

Yes, it’s always important to think about your audience, but when pitching a news station it is equally, if not more, important to consider the station’s audience. Make sure your story relates to their viewers and don’t be afraid to do some research first to see who their key audiences are – what’s the age group, do they skew more male or female, what is the average household income, where is the audience geographically, etc. If your story proves to reach their core demographic the producers and news editors will be more inclined to pay attention.

Visuals are key

When pitching a news story it’s important to consider what viewers will actually see when watching your segment. This is usually the first question a producer will ask you – what visuals do you have? If you don’t have any thing to show the audience then you’ll likely lose their attention fast! In developing visuals, also consider the time of day, weather, lighting, season, etc. A segment on environmental protection at the scene of a toxic waste dump is a great visual, however, sharing the same story in a conference room is boring for the camera and the audience.

Have sound bites ready

Producers and multimedia journalists love when you can make their job easier by having the right people available and ready with ideal sound bits on cue. A sound bite is a simple piece of audio the camera can pick up to run with the segment or over b-roll footage. This should always be something memorable, including an important fact, statistic, offer or breaking news. Having these sound bites ready for the station allows them to film and edit the segment faster and more efficiently, so they can cover more news in one day.

Be flexible

With a news station it’s essential to remain flexible and ready to adjust at any moment. You may be scheduled for a live or recorded segment but the station needs to push because of breaking news that is taking their team to another location. If you’re able to be flexible and reschedule at a moments notice, without complication or hesitation, the station and crew will be more apt to work with you and come back to capture the segment at another time. Don’t forget, it’s their job to share the news with their viewers and breaking news is the most important and timely!