Tagged: media relations

Media Relations Guide

Media Relations Etiquette

A Publicists Ultimate Guide to Strategic Media Relations 101

How can I use this media relations guide for my public relations campaign?

As a public relations strategist, I have handled media relations campaigns for companies for over a decade.

I wrote this expert guide for publicists looking to increase best practices and for clients looking to understand how the media really works to form better relationships with their PR firms.  The one thing I see time and time again is the onboarding period and steep curve with people who are working with a PR firm for the first time.

“PR is SO much work. You never told me how much time this was going to take when I hired you!”

The goal of this guide is to help you navigate media relations so that you better understand how the media works. We believe that there should be no surprises when it comes to PR.

When there is transparency in the process of how the media really operates, PR clients can develop more realistic campaign expectations, and it can benefit your company by saving you hours of wasted time spinning your wheels trying to figure out why you spent time answering queries that no one is answering.

Plus, when you are more educated about how public relations works, you will have a better relationship with your PR agency.  Too many clients/agencies have strained relationships and we believe it stems from the central problem of people not really understanding how the media works.

Too often, PR firms are blamed for things outside of their control.

In The Ultimate Guide to Media Relations, I am going to teach you:

  • How the media works
  • What the role of a PR firm is
  • Client responsibilities when a PR firm is retained
  • How to work with your PR firm so you get the best traction
  • Media relations best practices
  • Media Relations etiquette

PLUS learn how to answer questions from a reporter.

What is Media Relations?

Media relations is the specific practice of handling media requests with the press, while public relations refers to the management of a company’s relationship with the public and all external stakeholders. A Director Of Media Relations is responsible for all contact with the press on any earned media opportunities.

What is the difference between public relations and media relations?

Media relations is a subset of public relations.

For a long time, media relations was the largest component of PR because traditionally, the media were the primary, trusted gatekeepers to information. It took insider connections to get the media’s attention. All of that is still true today, but parts of it are very different.

The State of the PR Industry

Newsrooms are shrinking and social media has democratized the publishing of information. There are far more PR practitioners in the U.S. than journalists.  According to Bloomberg, Public Relations jobs have exceeded those of reporters by more than a six-to-one ratio, significantly up from last year. According to data from the U.S. Census, the ratio was two-to-one 20 years ago.

PR professionals outnumber journalists by 6:1

This represents a 2x increase in 10 years.

PR Industry Stats

While media relations is still part of the mix, it is usually a smaller component of most public relations plans. It is also significantly more challenging to get the attention of journalists than it ever has been before! That is why learning how to pitch the media and what makes a story newsworthy is so critical in today’s media landscape.

Journalists report receiving anywhere from 20-300 pitches from PR professionals per day. Many of these journalists also report only writing one article per day. See the discrepancy and why this is such a problem?

Technology has also had a significant impact on the field of media relations. As a result of social media and the rise of direct to consumer PR query services, you now have the ability to speak directly with the media. On the one hand this is a good thing. On the other, it further inundates journalists inboxes with pitches that are off base and go straight to their spam folder.

Journalism & PR employment statistics

What is the job outlook for Public Relations?

As newsrooms shrink, the PR industry grows.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics by the U.S. Department of Labor, “Employment of public relations specialists is projected to grow 6 percent from 2018 to 2028, about as fast as the average for all occupations. The need for organizations to maintain their public image will continue to drive employment growth.”

According to Harvard Business Review, the average worker receives 12,000 emails a year, while writers at top-tier publications receive 38,000 emails. Wow! Can you imagine being a journalist today and being bombarded with so many pitches?

According to Bloomberg, “Employment for public relations specialists will expand to 282,600 in 2026, up 9 percent from 2016, according to projections from the Labor Department. Meanwhile, jobs for reporters, correspondents and broadcast news analysts are forecast to decline 9 percent to 45,900 over the same period.  For the news business, that would extend already sizable declines. Newsroom employment fell 23 percent to 88,000 from 2008 to 2017, with the number of newspapers dropping 45 percent to 39,000, according to a Pew Research Center study.”

This is a serious problem for your media relations efforts, especially if you are trying to do this yourself. Journalists are increasingly frustrated with their inboxes being blown up by PR professionals, and PR professionals are finding it harder to land their clients digital ink.

WHY YOU NEED MEDIA RELATIONS

Media relations is the most critical part of a PR campaign. Other public relations activities such as community outreach can be mastered without intricate knowledge of how the media works. However, media relations is the most specialized component of public relations. In order to understand why you need media relations, you first need to understand how publicists and journalists work together on stories and segments.

Digital Media Landscape

 

How do publicists and journalists work together?

Journalists and publicists work closely together on interviews, articles, and broadcast segments.  Good publicists can make journalists lives easier when they are on deadline by providing access to interview opportunities with subject matter experts and key opinion leaders that may otherwise be hard to reach.  Additionally, PR firms have access to media contacts that many people do not have. While you certainly could try to foster these relationships on your own, it would take a considerable amount of time, effort and media savviness to navigate the changing landscape.

MEDIA RELATIONS JOB DESCRIPTION

What does a media relations agency do?

A media relations agency is responsible for handling all interview coordination between the source and the media.

So, what does a media relations specialist do and what does the job entail?

A media relations specialist is responsible for handling all incoming media inquiries for a corporation. There are several variations of the job title, which can often appear as:

  • Press contact
  • Media contact
  • Director of PR
  • Director of Media Relations

A media relations specialist makes sure a journalist receives requested high-resolution images or a sources executive biography.  They are also responsible for making sure your PR efforts aren’t sabotaged to ensure your best chance of coverage in the media. Ideally, a trusted media relations specialist provides authoritative sources to journalists and producers who are on quick turnaround times or tight deadlines.  Publicists and media relations specialists understand the sense of urgency that comes with deadlines and filing stories and are able to give the media what they need fast.

THE IMPORTANCE OF MEDIA RELATIONS 

Why is media relations important for strategic public relations?

Journalists and producers are working on several different stories and segments at any given time and your client is not always their top priority.

If you don’t understand media relations and PR etiquette, you run the risk of never being quoted in that media outlet again. If a journalist has a bad experience with a source, they may be likely to share that negative experience with other journalists. Is that really how you want to be perceived simply because you didn’t take the time to understand the language of the media or how things work?

There are so many intricacies that go into Public Relations. PR is an art. It is a craft. This is often why I do not recommend DIY Public Relations. When pitching is handled through a Media Relations Agency, the communication is often clearer, and the ball doesn’t get dropped. Often times, a PR firm may go back and forth with a journalist up to 20 times fact-checking a one line quote in an article. After the fourth or fifth email, people who attempt the DIY PR route usually stop replying to the journalist and risk getting cut from the story entirely. PR firms don’t let that happen.

NYC PR FIRM OFFICE

 

Why is media coverage important?

Media coverage is important because if you do great things in your career, and no one hears about them, then it sort of defeats the entire purpose of what you are trying to achieve, right?

Media coverage enables the masses to hear about all of the great things you are doing in the world. It gives you an opportunity to control the narrative and share your story (and reach!). It also gives you an opportunity to reach larger and wider audiences beyond the people/ clients/ patients your business services daily.

Without media coverage, many brands never would have been built. Media coverage can snowball to other opportunities including speaking engagements, conference keynotes and social media brand endorsement deals.

MEDIA TRACKING IN PUBLIC RELATIONS

What is media tracking in public relations?

There are many ways to track media placements and PR placements, but first, let us explain what a media placement is!

What is a media placement?

A media placement is earned coverage through public relations tactics in a variety of digital and traditional channels including but not limited to digital media, print magazines, newspapers, radio, television, podcasts and more.

What is a PR placement?

Similar to a media placement, a PR placement or ‘hit’ is the definitional term public relations practitioners use to share secured media coverage with their clients. For example, when our agency secures press coverage for a client, we will email them a link to the coverage, which can include a quote from the client with a link back to their web site. We typically say, “attached please find a link to the press coverage secured on your behalf.”

A PR ‘placement’ means that the clients quote ran in a media outlet and the journalist used their quote and the story is now live. Publicists are responsible for placing these quotes and stories when they act as the liaison between the media and expert sources.

How are Media Placements shared?

There are several ways to share PR placements with clients: email, texting screenshots, press clipping reports or by sharing editor feedback they received with the client on why they were such a great source!

MEDIA RELATIONS ETIQUETTE

One of the biggest mistakes companies make with media relations is they do not follow basic etiquette rules when communicating with the media.

Follow these media relations etiquette rules when working with reporters

3 media relations etiquette rules to follow when publicists work with journalists to ensure success

  • Thank the reporter for media exposure. It is incredible how many publicists skip this simple step. Too often, publicists look at an article from the perspective of how their client will see it and forget to look at it from a perspective of gratitude to the journalist who included their client in the first place. Journalists work hard on stories. If a journalist is giving your client editorial space or digital ink, say thank you for the coverage instead of complaining that the link wasn’t right or the quote was cut short.
  • Act as a Media Gatekeeper. Media Relations Strategists must act as the gatekeeper between the client and the media at all times. The best public relations professionals value their relationships with the media first and foremost. They believe clients come and go, but the media stays. If you burn through those relationships with the media for a client who may or may not keep you retained, you ultimately will damage your reputation as a publicist. However, if you know and respect the rules and filter PR requests, journalists will want to keep working with you, and clients will learn over time that you know what you are doing. Hopefully, they will begin to understand why you say no to certain requests and will begin to trust your strategic media guidance on topics such as how to stay relevant to the media.  If you are continually being pushed by a client to pitch stories you know are not newsworthy, it may be time to reevaluate the engagement.
  • Market Your Media Coverage. Promoting your earned media exposure and press mentions on social media is critical to amplify the value of the press placements for your business. Do not forget to share the media coverage on social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and your blog. Journalists want to drive traffic to their articles. If they included your client in a story, return the favor by tweeting a link to the article and directing eyeballs to it. This small social media act of gratitude can go a long way in ensuring your client is used again as a source. Always extend the value of your media coverage through a strategic cross-channel digital marketing strategy. Being featured in the media is irrelevant if no one knows about it!

IMPROVING MEDIA RELATIONS BEST PRACTICES 

Buzzstream conducted a study with over 500 journalists on their preferred PR pitching preferences. Here is what they found:

  • 39% of reporters stated they would like to receive exclusive research in a pitch
  • Only 15% said that want to receive “emotional stories”
  • Only 5% of reporters said they want to be contact by phone
  • 81% of reporters said they want to be contacted through email
  • 69% of reporters preferred to be pitched in the morning and only 9% wanted to be pitched in the evening
  • 88% of writers prefer to be pitched less than 200 words
  • Reporters said they wanted subject lines that are direct, concise, descriptive and include keywords relevant to their beat
  • 33% of reporters said they are very likely to delete a pitch if it has bad grammar

PITCHING JOURNALISTS: HOW TO GET YOUR PITCH NOTICED

How to Answer Questions From a Reporter

  • Do not provide one-word answers. Provide the journalist with thorough interview answers.  I won’t send a journalist interview answers from a client that are one line replies, and neither should you. I will go back to my client and ask them to re-do the answers because I know what a journalist is expecting and want to give them lengthier answers that they can pull good quotes from. Additionally, if the answers are missing the mark on the question the journalist asked, I will also ask them to re-do the answers before submitting. A good publicist knows what a journalist needs and can anticipate the needs of their editor as well. They may even have worked in journalism prior to becoming a publicist, which further helps them to understand what is truly newsworthy.
  • Watch the clock. Do not say you will provide interview answers by a certain time and then provide them after the journalist’s deadline. If your client bails on the answers, let the reporter know ASAP and, if possible, provide the reporter with another source. Do not leave them hanging. Additionally, when you are replying to queries from reporters, time is of the essence. For every one press query posted, reporters receive hundreds of responses. You want to be one of the first to reply.  If clients are asking you to submit queries hours later or after a journalists deadline has expired, don’t do it.  It reeks of PR amateur hour.

How Do Journalists Conduct Interviews?

Reporters have different methods of conducting interviews. Some journalists want to speak by phone, while others want to send questions to sources by email. Publicists are responsible for figuring out the journalists preferred interview format and coordinating interview times, answers, and any additional information a reporter needs from a source. Often, the journalists preferred interview format may conflict with the clients preferred interview format.  This is always a challenging and volatile situation to navigate through.  It never gets easier.

How do you approach a journalist?

Media 101: How to follow up with editors

Freelancer Writer Lindsay Tiger recently shared 6 helpful tips for PR’s to know when working with the media in my PR group. This should be mandatory reading for all PR firm clients to read, seriously! She gave me permission to share the below 6 tips with readers.

What journalists want in PR pitches and what reporters really want from PR specialists (and their clients!)

Don’t ask when the story will be live. I don’t know when the story is publishing. You will probably find out before I do. I wish I knew!

I can’t promise coverage, ever, for any reason, no matter what. Even if I stay at a hotel for two nights. Even if you send me something. Even if it’s expensive. It’s not an exchange, it’s a review. It’s unethical for me to guarantee anything, and final edits are always out of my hands. I wish more people understood the difference between paid influencers and journalists.

Don’t ask for quick edits. I don’t have access to the CMS system, and I want to make a change as badly as you do, but I can’t make it happen. It’s up to my editor. I wish I could make a quick edit — my bylines would be better!

An expert can have one title — not 20. It’s cool they’re a career expert, a botanist, a yoga therapist, an author, a podcast speaker and a certified life coach… but I only have so much space in my word count.

If an editor makes me link to an affiliate, I have to. I can’t not, it’s part of my story assignment. I’ll always try to tell you if that’s the case. If they change the link to an affiliate, I probably can’t change it back. I wish I could.

I can’t change internal processes. I know your clients are pressuring you and you have deliverables and I totally understand. Your job is hard, just like mine.

STRATEGIC MEDIA RELATIONS

A successful media relations strategist knows how to walk the tightrope of the client’s needs and the medias needs on a daily basis. The goal is to mitigate the level of stress and try to strike a balance.  You must be able to work in a high-stress environment daily to succeed in media relations. Even though clients hire you to get press coverage, they may get perturbed by the daily disruption of media requests. Remind them of why they hired you, and that this is all part of the process of getting earned media coverage. Yes, PR is a lot of work from the client side and from the agency side. PR isn’t for the faint of heart. There is a reason why Pubic Relations is continuously listed year after year as one of the most stressful jobs in America.

Ready to increase media exposure for your business? We can help with media training, media relations consulting, media relations strategy guidance and execution of ongoing media relations work with national media outlets on behalf of your company. Contact us today to discuss how we can help get you more interviews and get you booked, fast!

The importance of having an internal communication media relations process  

It is critical to have a media relations strategy and a media relations communications process internally to handle media inquiries. If you hire a PR firm, you should make sure your staff knows to direct any and all incoming media requests to the PR firm. Make sure not to sabotage your own PR efforts. Training your staff on best practices of working with your PR firm is an absolute must. For example, if your PR firm is pitching you and a reporter calls up your practice manager but the manager takes a message and doesn’t relay the message to you until ten hours later, the reporter will most likely move on to another source. Train your staff on how to work with the PR firm and the proper protocol on handling time sensitive requests from the media.

Remember, being quoted in the media or mentioned in an article is not your right. It is a privilege and an opportunity to be featured in media outlets. It is called earned media for a reason. Earn it!

Media Relations Checklist 

  • Help them help you
  • Respond to press queries in a timely manner
  • Provide thought-leadership content to your PR firm
  • Do not give one-word answers
  • Let your PR firm know newsworthy topics you can comment on
  • Dedicate at least 1 hour per day to working with your PR firm
  • Do not flake out on media commitments
  • Do not reschedule interviews with the media
  • Do not add PR firm contacts on your personal social media (unless you want to royally irritate the PR firm)

Media Pitching 101 Checklist (BONUS!)

Before pitching the media, also make sure you have the proper media assets and collateral ready to go.  Here is a Media Pitching 101 checklist we created for you. Use this before your first pitch goes out!

Media Pitching 101 Checklist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PR Agency Pricing Structure

Media Relations/PR Costs

 “If I was down to my last dollar, I would spend it on public relations.” -Bill Gates

How much should I pay for PR or media relations and how much do publicists cost?

People often ask, “How much do you get paid in PR?”  Media relations agencies work on a fixed retainer model. Prices can start at $5k monthly to $25k monthly up to even $60k monthly depending on scope of services and desired press coverage goals. For example, are you interested in local coverage, trade coverage or national press coverage? That will determine the cost of media relations. Additionally, the cost of the service will depend on if you are hiring a freelancer or a large agency.

Public Relations Pricing

Can I afford a PR campaign? How much does Public Relations cost?

People often ask, “Can I really afford a PR campaign?” It is important to understand there are two costs involved in a PR campaign: the cost of the PR firm, and the cost of your time. Most people allocate a budget for the firm, but they do not properly allocate the time to work with the firm they hired. Look at what your billable time is worth by the hour, multiply that by at least one hour a day for every day of the month, and factor that number into your cost.

Do you have to pay for PR?

Yes, unfortunately, you have to pay for PR! Like many things in life, PR is not free.

There is an article that ran in Forbes called, “Why you should almost never pay for PR.” Many articles like this have zero validity to them and are highly questionable. PR is NOT a waste of money as the article asserts. Why? Let’s dissect the claims..

But for those of us outside the Fortune 100, a simple bit of effort from your marketing lead, founders and other executives is really all that’s required.”

This seriously makes me laugh. If that was all that was required in PR, we wouldn’t be in business! You should see my inbox.. to place one quote from an expert could require 30 emails back and forth! It is massive time suck with most executives DON’T have the time to do. That is one of the main reasons having a publicist handle the manual labor for you in addition to the strategic PR is so critical!

The author also asserts, “Note that most paid-for PR firms have a so-called “media blast list.” As part of your $10k/month service all they simply do is put together a boilerplate press release and “blast” it to their 1000-strong contact list of “schedulers” at various media outlets.”

Again, laughable. We do not have a media blast list! Who would ever blast the media in a blanket blast? Gross.

That is not in line with best practices, and also, sending out press releases is so 1990 unless you are putting out a major announcement like a company acquisition through a traditional news wire service. Anyone who is blasting 1000 contacts at media outlets will be blacklisted for spam from every journalist.

“Knowing this, why pay for what you can and should be doing on your own?”

Again, faulty logic here. I certainly can do my taxes on my own if I invested enough time in learning how to do them, but does that mean I should? NO.

As a business owner, you can do many things on your own. That isn’t the question. The question is where should your precious hours be spent, and what percentage of every other tactical activity should be outsourced to external service providers.

Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should. It is better to be a specialist than a generalist.

“But overall, my recommendation is: keep control of your PR by keeping most/all of it in-house.”

What a terrible recommendation. Unless you have hired in- house employees who specialize in public relations, this is a disaster waiting to happen. Just because your new employee knows how to write a press release, does not mean they are qualified to handle crisis communications for your company!

“After all, no one knows and can tell your own story better than you and the people who live it every day.”

Sure, no one can tell your story better than you can. This is why we interview all clients to extract their story and craft the story in the best possible light. Of course no one knows YOUR story better than YOU.

However, just because you know your own story (not that big of an achievement- I would hope so!) doesn’t mean you know how to tell it, or who to tell it to, or how to craft it, or what channels to distribute it through.

Even though know ones knows your story better than you do does not mean mean you are the best one to tell it to reporters.

That is the equivalent of saying – no one knows your story better than you do, so why would you need a lawyer? You may as well make your own case in front of a judge in a court of law because you know your story best, right? No, wrong!

Pay for placement PR firms and Guaranteed PR

Should PR firms guarantee media coverage?

Pay for performance PR or PR retainers? Which is better?

Retainers are the industry standard when you are working with a PR firm. Pay for performance PR options are still very looked down upon by traditional PR practitioners. In fact, a Tech Crunch declared a war on a pay for placement PR firm for offering a la carte pricing for press placements.

pay per placement pr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PRICING PR

The PR industry is really in trouble right now. You have so many people who are selling editorial coverage and offering guaranteed placements. This is not real journalism. This is not PR.

I urge you to watch the video How to Spot a Fake PR Firm.  It contains a solid ten minutes of truth about the PR industry right now.

There is no possible way any Publicist can guarantee press coverage.  There are a million factors and variables on any given day such as:

  • Will there be breaking news?
  • Will the story get bumped?
  • Will the story get cut because an editor went in a different direction?
  • Did someone else give better interview answers than the ones your source provided?

These are only some of the factors that go into getting a story placed. As more people tout guaranteed PR placement coverage, the industry becomes diluted as well as the value of PR in general. It also dilutes value in the client’s eyes because they are only attributing value to actual placements secured, and not the labor that goes into pitching and getting a story placed and all the other work involved from a tactical perspective. Additionally, press placements and media relations are only one component of a solid integrated PR campaign.

So, even if someone can guarantee you pay for placement PR, they aren’t offering you any real strategic insight, which is a critical component of a media relations campaign.

Should you hire a media relations specialist?

reasons not to hire a pr firm

If you cannot spend at least one hour per day working with a media relations agency or PR firm, you should not hire a PR firm.  Here is a list of 10 reasons why you shouldn’t hire a PR firm in addition to not having the time to work with an agency. Retaining a publicist is a massive amount of work. You must be willing to put in the time to give the firm what they need on a consistent basis so they can do the job you retained them to do. Please think about this before you hire a PR firm. We see way too many people hiring PR firms and then ghosting the firms when they need to give them the necessary material to do the job they hired them to do.

If you are going to hire a media relations specialist, you may want to consider hiring someone who has former experience as a journalist or producer. Many former producers and journalists have made the leap to PR because there are more job opportunities in the PR industry today. Their newsroom experience can prove invaluable for your media relations campaign efforts.

TAKEAWAYS

MEDIA RELATIONS TIPS

  • Publicists and media relations strategists provide access to expert sources.
  • Journalists write the articles that the public relies on.
  • Publicists and journalists must work together and respect each other’s skillsets in the process of story creation or disaster can follow.
  • Always have a media relations strategy before reaching out to the media.
  • Do your research and know the publication you are pitching.
  • Be relevant and make your pitch newsworthy.
  • Understand the beat you are pitching.  If it doesn’t fit their beat, then don’t send.
  • Don’t send giant attachments that can blow up a journalists inbox.
  • Don’t pitch through social media.
  • Check your grammar and don’t use all caps.
  • Be personal and don’t misspell a reporters name.
  • Email instead of call.
  • If a reporter is interested they will let you know. Do not incessantly follow up.
  • Pitch solutions to problems.
  • If you have unique interview opportunities, make that the lead.
  • Include high-quality graphics or infographics to share data.

As a result of reading this media relations guide, you have hopefully developed a better understanding of the time requirement it takes for PR, and have gained new ideas on how to write press worthy content that will actually get picked up by the media and has a chance of turning into national media coverage success!  Good media relations practices can be achieved by understanding how the media works.

Most companies who retain a PR firm receive no formal training on how to actually work with the firm or how to write content that will get picked up. We hope this guide will better serve you in getting the maximum ROI out of your Public Relations firm. If you have tried all of our tips and still aren’t seeing PR results, contact us to boost your media relations campaign.

BONUS MATERIAL

Still have questions about PR? Curious to know why you need a publicist?

Watch our new video “What Does a Public Relations Agency do?” to learn:

1) What is the role of a publicist for my company? What does a PR firm actually do?

2) What are the essential functions of a Public Relations agency?

3) What is earned PR and how is earned awareness built in public relations?

4) How are media placements in top-tier publications achieved?

5) How do publicists get paid? What do fee structures look like by service in public relations?

MEDIA RELATIONS RESOURCES

The Ultimate Guide to Prepping for Media Interviews 

Insider’s Secrets to Crafting The Perfect Pitch 

10 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Chance of Media Coverage 

PR Don’ts: 11 Ways to Annoy A Journalist 

How To Stay Relevant To The Media 

How To Maximize National Media Exposure 

Pitch Perfect: How To Pitch The Media 

MEDIA RELATIONS AGENCY SERVICES

There are still things a great media hit can do that nothing else can! One feature interview in the national media could result in thousands of earned media impressions for your business.  Ruby Media Group is primarily a media relations driven agency. Other components of public relations are important, but we believe media relations should be at the top of any strategic public relations campaign, first and foremost. If you have tried PR, but can’t garner results from the media on your own, it may be time to call a media relations specialist. Our media relations firm has secured hundreds of impressions for clients over the past 12 years in national media outlets.

Contact us today to discuss a media relations plan for your business. There are many PR firms who focus more on community engagement, and do not deliver when it comes to media relations results (despite promising to!). We are not one of them. Our numerous PR case studies can show you a sneak peek at the massive earned media wins for clients.

RESEARCH SOURCES

Census: 6 PR pros for every journalist

Adweek The PR Industry has a big problem

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Public Relations Specialists

PR quotes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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5 Misconceptions About Publicists & Public Relations

What does a PR firm do?

A publicist is responsible for generating exposure for your company and brand. Publicists help define your corporate public “persona” by crafting story angles, pitching stories to the media, coordinating interviews with journalists, writing fact sheets and electronic press kits, keeping updated media lists and monitoring your public image. Additionally, publicists help to craft that image and pitch strategic messages and storylines on behalf of you and your company to the media.

However, there are many misconceptions about what publicists do and how they do it.  Plus, there are misconceptions floating around about why you should hire a PR firm in the first place. My favorite one is, “You only need to hire a PR firm during a crisis.” That couldn’t be further from the truth!

PUBLIC RELATIONS MISCONCEPTIONS

Here are the top 5 misconceptions you need to understand about PR professionals:

PR MISCONCEPTION  # 1

Publicists have a….

MAGIC ROLODEX.  Clients believe that their publicists have a magic rolodex that they scroll through. While the traditional rolodex has been replaced with email lists and texting, the theory still remains the same. Publicists cannot email, call or text an editor and automatically get a story placed. That isn’t how real PR or journalism work. The publicist may have a very close relationship with a journalist, but if the story has no legs, there is breaking news, or the journalist simply doesn’t like the story idea, it’s not getting placed, and it doesn’t matter if you hired a Park Avenue PR firm or if you pitched the story on your own. The newsworthiness value of the story is all that matters. Breaking news dictates the storylines, and publicists pitch stories that tie into the news cycle. It is not the other way around. The media dictates what is covered- publicists do not.

PR MISCONCEPTION # 2

Publicists live a….

‘SEX & THE CITY’ LIFESTYLE. Another misconception is that publicists go out every night to events and are surrounded by glitterati and a Sex and the City lifestyle. As a publicist, I spend the majority of time in front of my computer writing, editing, pitching and communicating with clients and the media. Every time I am at a networking event, I could be missing an important email from a journalist who may be requesting an interview with my client or needs answers to their questions within the hour. This public perception of publicists going to glamorous events every night is outdated and unrealistic. Perhaps it is true in entertainment PR where red carpet events still reign supreme. But corporate and healthcare PR? Not so much.

PR MISCONCEPTION #3

Publicists… 

CONTROL THE STORY.  After you are interviewed by a journalist from a print outlet, the interview is done. Sometimes the media will have follow up questions and you can go back and forth several times. However, you cannot take back what you said, so be sure to think carefully before you shoot off a quick email or provide a sound bite.  As a general media relations rule of thumb to live by, when in doubt, keep it out!  Publicists can’t take your quotes off the record.   If you say something to a reporter that should have been off the record (or not said at all), we can’t fix it unless we are close with a reporter and even then there’s no guarantee. If you don’t want something in print — don’t say it. This is why media training is so important. Additionally, please don’t ask your publicist to ask the reporter to see a copy of your quote before it runs. This is not standard practice and the answer is most likely a resounding no. Earned media is not the same as paid media. You have to earn it for a reason.  When you pay for media, you control the narrative. When you earn media, you do not control the narrative, and neither does your publicist. They can certainly pitch an angle, but after you speak to a reporter, it is up to the journalists discretion on what the story is. Remember, it is their story, not yours! You are a source that adds subject matter expertise to something they are reporting on.

PR MISCONCEPTION #4

Publicists can…

FIX  REPORTING ERRORS. Occasionally, articles are published with a source’s name spelled wrong or some other minor error. You may think, “If my publicist was any good, they could get the reporter to fix the spelling of my name!” That’s not always the case. Sometimes yes, sometimes no.  If the print edition has already gone to press, nothing can be done except for a correction that will run in a future issue. Any time I have asked a reporter to fix the spelling of a client’s name in a digital article, the request ends up annoying the reporter. In the old days of journalism, everything was fact-checked several times before it was published. Today that is unfortunately no longer the case with the rapid pace of digital journalism and the increased demand for content. So yes, while some publicists may be able to get the spelling of your name corrected, it is not guaranteed. It depends on the outlet and their editorial policy with corrections, not on your publicist’s ability.

PR MISCONCEPTION #5

Publicists can…

CONTROL GOOGLE SEARCH RESULTS. People often ask if we can change Google search results for their company or personal brand. Perhaps one bad story or review tanked their corporate reputation, and they now want a publicist to fix it. A public relations program that incorporates organic earned media coverage does have the ability to alter search results. However, this is a long-term effort, and it is never guaranteed because it depends on so many outside factors including the domain authority of the sites that new coverage is secured on, and most importantly, the domain authority of the sites that the bad press is written on. Often, if those sites are ranked high, it becomes very difficult to lower the results, regardless of how many earned media placements you secure. Additionally, a digital advertising campaign and paid media would have to complement the PR efforts as part of the long term reputation management campaign to alter search results. Publicists can make a valiant effort at getting more positive coverage for you, but the one surefire way to change search results is through Google directly (or with the help of a good attorney that specializes in defamation).

Why is the practice of Public Relations misunderstood by the public?

Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation put out there by PR firms trying to close new clients on the power of PR. Yes, PR *is* powerful and can do wonders for your brand, but you need to understand what is in a publicist’s control, and what is far out of their control. It does everyone a great disservice to make claims that cannot be supported. Some of these claims include PR firms who are promising to guarantee press coverage.

If a PR firm guarantees a set amount of press placements per month, run! That is not how real journalism or PR works!

So the real answer to this question is that the practice of PR is understood by the public because the media shows an overly glamorized portrayal of what we do and because publicists guarantee all sorts of things they shouldn’t and are not held to a standard of ethics that virtually every other field is held to.

Can you imagine going to a doctor that promised to cure cancer?

Or a lawyer that promised to win your case?

So why would you ever believe a PR firm who promised to get you a set amount of placements or bookings per month?

You pay a publicist for their time, strategic insights and work deployed on your behalf.

Results are an outcome of that time, but PR firms cannot guarantee those results simply because the stories they pitch are in the hands of editors/ producers. The only person can control results when it comes to PR output is the media, NOT a PR firm! If you understand this, your expectations will be more realistic and you will be happier with the results of your campaign.

PUBLIC RELATIONS MYTHS

Myth #1: PR is no longer relevant to my business because traditional media is dead.

Fact: Traditional media is still relevant, and digital PR is a burgeoning area that not only helps your business and credibility, but is also a critical ranking factor for Google’s EAT quality guidelines for building authority.

Myth #2: PR firms are too expensive. We can do it ourselves.

Fact: You know what is even more expensive? Trying to do PR yourself and getting sued. Plus, Your time is limited. Why waste it pitching yourself when a PR pro could do it for you?

Myth #3: My last PR firm was terrible so all PR is worthless. 

Fact: Maybe your last PR firm actually was terrible. But does that mean every other PR firm in perpetuity will also be terrible? No. Stop judging an entire industry because you had a bad experience.

Myth #4: We don’t have a good PR story to tell, so our results will be terrible if we hire a PR firm.

Fact: Leave that up to the magicians to determine to see if you have a good story to tell before you take yourself out of the race entirely. Your story may be better than you think if someone could properly package, pitch and promote it for you! Hint, that is what we specialize in!

Myth #5: PR will drive thousands of sales, clicks and leads overnight. PR will make me rich overnight!

Fact: PR is better for brand awareness.  In certain circumstances, direct marketing may be better for driving new leads than PR is. Yes, I said that as a PR firm agency owner. Why? Because I want you to be an informed consumer before purchasing PR services. Also, PR will not make you rich overnight.

press worthy AF

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PR Key Takeaways:

PR is ideal for keeping your brand top of mind with peers and prospective clients. However, if a business relies solely on PR and media relations to generate sales, they are setting themselves up for failure.

PR is not about hiring a firm and handing them a pile of cash to push a narrative you want told to the media. It is about hiring a practitioner who you trust to tell the narrative that they believe will get the best traction in the media.

The Truth About Public Relations

20 things I want you to know about how public relations really works.

I have secured hundreds of thousands of media impressions for clients in local media, national media, broadcast media and trade publications. After 12 years in the PR industry and hundreds of emails with reporters, and handling PR for clients in a number of different verticals, here is what I want you to know.

  1. Publicists act as the buffer between the media and clients. This is for good reason.
  2. We know how to deal with reporters. You don’t.
  3. Yes, we got a client on Rock Center with Ann Curry once. Just because that happened, doesn’t mean we can get you the exact same thing. Ann Curry no longer even works at NBC. Comparing press coverage between clients is comparing apples to oranges. No two press placements are the same.
  4. Stop demanding the press coverage you think you deserve. The media and market dictate what coverage you deserve. You don’t. And your PR firm doesn’t either. We can get your story to the media, but we don’t control what the media finds interesting or newsworthy.
  5. If you genuinely want to get more media coverage, that starts with you. Most PR firms will kill me for saying this, but the onus is on you to be more interesting. Are you publishing research studies with data the media would want to use? Do you have a robust content marketing program? Are you putting out rich content the media would want to use? Instead of asking your PR firm, “Why is the media not covering me?” Ask yourself, “How can I be more interesting to the media by being a more interesting human being and doing more in my field?”
  6. Have confidence in the firm you hired. If you don’t trust them to do the job, don’t work with them.
  7. Tell your PR firm what you want. Adequately set expectations from the get-go instead of being disappointed you didn’t get what you want. No one knows what you want unless you vocalize it at the start of the engagement, not at the end, after you fire your PR firm!
  8. Start local and build to national. Not the other way around.
  9. Provide access to your top executives. What is the point of hiring a PR firm if everything you say “that is off the record,” or if your CEO refuses to speak to reporters? Don’t ask to be on INC. 5000 but then not publicly disclose your earnings report. We must have access to key leadership to do our jobs properly. That includes you giving us all pertinent details, not only the glowing details that make you look good, or that you want to share. If you want to be in the media, you lose the choice of what gets disclosed.
  10. Your marketing timeline has nothing to do with your PR timeline. Stop trying to make it happen. Reporters work on their own time table. Not on your CMO’s timeline around your product launch.
  11. Stop with your pretend deadlines. Just because you want the story to run before you leave for Mar-A-Lago, doesn’t mean it actually will!
  12. Do not ask us when the story is coming out.
  13. Public relations takes time. If you want results in 30 days, consider paid advertising or direct marketing instead.

Publicist of the week Kris RubyLooking for a publicist who understands how the industry really works? Skip the line or trial and error by working with a publicist who has 12+ years of securing earned media impressions and major PR wins for clients. Plus, Ruby Media Group’s CEO was recently named “Publicist of The Week” by Women in PR. We know how to place major media impressions that convert to real results for your business. Contact us to today to turn your PR dreams into reality. 

 

 

 

PR FIRM MISCONCEPTION RESOURCES

How to spot a Fake PR Firm (VIDEO)

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How To Pitch The Media Taught by Kris Ruby

Ruby Media Group Founder Kris Ruby recently taught the CSU Long Beach Department of Public Relations & Journalism students Media Relations Fundamentals. During the interactive Facebook Live teaching, students learned how to create a newsworthy pitch, how to secure press coverage and how to break into the Public Relations industry. Click here to watch the full media relations training. 

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10 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Chance Of Media Coverage

PR pitching mistakes

How to Get Media Coverage For Your Business

Securing press coverage for your business is a continual process.  Pitching the media can take months before a journalist is interested in picking up your story.

DIY public relations guides teach business owners how to get their pitch picked up.

But that is only half of the equation!

Business owners are often caught off guard when the media replies to a pitch they sent out and is finally interested in writing about them.

If you don’t have the proper assets to give to the media when they are ready to interview you, you may be sabotaging your golden opportunity for earned media coverage.

In this article, you will learn:

  • How to prepare for media interviews
  • How to pitch the media & press
  • 10 pitching mistakes to avoid

10 PR & Media Pitching Mistakes 

As a seasoned Public Relations specialist for over a decade, I have seen Executives sabotage themselves when they try to pitch the media. They routinely make the same mistakes which hurt their media relations efforts and can kill a story. But luckily for you, you can learn from their mistakes and from my industry knowledge to get more traction for your PR campaign.

Avoid these PR mistakes!

1. Not having high-resolution photos: It perplexes me how many entrepreneurs pitch the media and do not have a simple high-resolution photo or headshot. This is an absolute must if you are pitching a personal branding angle to a journalist or if you are trying to secure a column in a trade publication as a contributor. If you don’t have a high-res photo, you can delay the entire process. You also need to have branded lifestyle photography for feature articles or human interest stories. If you are pitching an entrepreneurial angle, an editor will want to see you in action, meeting with clients or doing what you say you do best. Newsrooms are severely understaffed, so don’t expect a reporter to send a photographer to your office for a photo shoot.

2. Wearing clothing that clashes on camera:  If a producer wants to book you for a national television segment, they will want you in the studio within a few hours. Finding television friendly attire that looks good on camera can be time-consuming. Start looking for outfits well before you are ever booked for a TV segment. For men, this can be as simple as a nice suit. For women, bright-colored dresses with short sleeves or three-quarter sleeves work well. To avoid any on-camera surprises, make sure you have tried on the dress sitting down to see how long it will appear on screen.

3. Using an outdated executive bio: Do you have a recently updated executive bio that can accompany all of your outbound pitches to the media? If not, start working on this now. You should have a few different variations of your bio: one for trade publications, one for consumer pitching and a different version for bylines.

4. Missing contact information:  This sounds simple, yet so many people skip this obvious step. They pitch the media and do not include an email address or a cell phone number to reach them on their website. Journalists don’t want to spend time submitting lengthy contact forms to reach you. Make your contact information visible in the footer of your site to increase your chances of visibility. If you are going to provide a phone number, make sure it is a direct line, and not a spammy 1-800 number.

5. Missing media collateral:  If you are pitching a human interest story to the media, journalists will want to see some basic information. This makes their lives significantly easier so they can review these pertinent details working on the story. It may also spark new story angles they may not have thought of.  Include FAQs about the “why” of your business. Try to answer all of the questions you think they may have so they can pull in relevant details from the Q&A or fact sheet. Always send this in Microsoft Word and avoid sending a PDF.

6. Including photos without image names:  Journalists work on several different stories at a time and speak with different sources. If a journalist requests photos, make sure each photo has a file name instead of the regular “DSC2019.” Naming the image file will also give you an added SEO boost if they decide to run the images with the story. Think about the search terms you want to rank for when considering what to name each file.

7. Not having additional sources on file: If you are a doctor who is pitching a broadcast segment about a new health epidemic, make sure you have other sources lined up to support the claim. You sitting alone in a dark room discussing the story is not a complete segment. The media may want to speak with someone who was impacted by the epidemic, a professor on the epidemic and also have you provide your medical expertise on the story. They are also going to want b-roll footage as part of the package. Make sure you have all of this lined up before you pitch the media.

8. Using expired Dropbox links:  Set up a Dropbox account before pitching the media. There is nothing more frustrating to a journalist than emailing a source numerous times and waiting to get the story assets they need, especially because of something like an expired Dropbox link.

9. Missing major newsworthy talking points:  If you are pitching yourself as an expert, you must be frequently consuming the news. A journalist doesn’t want to hear that you have never heard of the story they are working on that is trending in your industry. If they call you for a quote about a story and you have no idea what they are talking about, they will seriously question your credibility. I set up Google alerts for my industry so that I am always well-versed to comment on breaking news.

10. Lacking knowledge of what the media likes:  If you want to be quoted in the media as a subject matter expert and thought-leader, educate yourself on what journalists are looking for in expert sources. You can search on Twitter under the #PRFail hashtag to see what journalists hate. If a journalist asks your opinion, they aren’t looking for a one-line response. If you give them a one-liner, they are less likely to quote you. It is better to give more substantial content to a journalist that they can pull quotes from then to give less.

Not following these public relations tips could reduce the likelihood of being included in a story.

How do I get the media’s attention?

Start by following this list!

Media Pitching 101 Checklist:

  • High-resolution headshots
  • Lifestyle Photos (horizontal)
  • TV-ready attire at the office (in case the media calls!)
  • Updated executive bio
  • Contact information is easily accessible
  • Updated media collateral
  • FAQ document in Word
  • All photos are properly named
  • Additional sources are ready to comment
  • Dropbox links are active (not expired!)
  • Google Alerts set up for your industry

How do you approach a journalist?

Give journalists what they want, how they want it, when they want it and in the preferred format they want it in.

How to get major media coverage for your business 

Sick of sabotaging your chances at media coverage through failed DIY PR attempts that lead nowhere? Contact us today to start increasing exposure and visibility for your business.

Media Interview Preparation Resources

Media Interview Checklist

Media Training Guide

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kris Ruby has over 12 years of experience pitching the media. As a seasoned public relations specialist, Kris Ruby has secured thousands of media impressions and press placements for clients in national publications. Ruby Media Group is an award-winning NY Public Relations Firm and NYC Social Media Marketing Agency.  The New York PR Firm specializes in healthcare marketing, healthcare PR and medical practice marketing.  Ruby Media Group helps companies increase their exposure through leveraging social media and digital PR. RMG conducts a thorough deep dive into an organizations brand identity, and then creates a digital footprint and comprehensive strategy to execute against. Specialties include content creation, strategic planning, social media management, and digital public relations. RMG helps clients shine in the digital space by extracting their strengths, developing story ideas, and crafting compelling news angles to ensure journalists go to their clients first as story sources and thought leaders. Ruby Media Group creates strategic, creative, measurable targeted campaigns to achieve your organizations strategic business growth objectives.

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How to Get Your Business Featured in Westchester Magazines

PR Tips to Gain Exposure in Print

Westchester PR firm shares how to get published in westchester magazines

Wondering how to get published in print publications, but not sure how to go about it without insider advice and connections? Then be sure to follow RMG’s top 12 tips on how to create media magic inside the pages of your favorite print publications.

As experts in public relations, we have secured numerous editorial placements for clients. Below, we boiled down years of pitching and securing print placements to give you our top advice on how to get your story told and featured in the print magazines you love most.

12 Tips on How to Get Published in Print

1. Create a spectacular image-driven website. Lifestyle journalists and editors will go to your website first when considering covering your business in the pages of their glossy magazine. Not only are they looking to vet you as a credible business, but they are also looking with an art director’s eye at your corporate imagery. Does your company have at least a handful of drop dead gorgeous high-res images ready to go that are fresh and on trend? Be certain you use the “show, don’t tell” motto when it comes to brand imagery. Luckily, there are simple programs available to you today, so you don’t need to understand code to design an attractive site.

2. Produce your own media. A common mistake that entrepreneurs make is forgetting to create their own media before, during and after a client engagement. Capturing multimedia (images, videos, memes and even livestreams) is more important than ever when it comes to digital marketing. All of these assets can provide valuable social proof to an editor from a third party perspective on why you are the best at what you do. So, make certain to discuss the possibility of “capturing media” with your clients before you start your next project so you can leverage it in the pitching process.

3. Hire a photographer. Want to woo a magazine editor with your images? Look inside the publication you most covet and check out the photo credits. Is there an award-winning photographer the magazine uses over and over? Hire the photographer for your next post-project photo shoot. Then, leverage the images and share them with the media the next time they are considering covering you.

4. Send images in the correct format: Jpeg? Tiff file? High res? Low res? No, this isn’t a foreign language; just standard formats for sending images. High-resolution images are required for print publication, but the huge files can clog—or crash—an editor’s inbox, so consider sending images via Dropbox or other cloud sharing sites.

5. Do your media research and pitch accordingly. Targeting media correctly is an art. And it takes a lot of time and pinpointed research. Conduct detailed background research of other local, regional and blog outlets that you want your business to appear in. Remember to focus on your niche market and find the publication that best covers your areas of expertise.

6. Determine the correct editor and use email. Score! You have the list of publications you want to appear in ready to go. Next, it is time to determine which writers and editors at each magazine would cover your story. The goal is to find the golden egg: their email address. While this may sound easy, editors are especially adept at keeping their email addresses private. This is why PR firms pay big bucks to have instant access to media research and aggregation services (such as Cision). Plus, editors are notoriously busy and don’t have time to read every press release and pitch that comes their way. Publicists are great at crafting detailed, yet short email subject lines that get the attention of the top editors.

7. What about exclusivity? It’s an unwritten media ‘no-no’ to pitch the same story to multiple outlets. Two competing magazines don’t want to showcase your business using the same story angle. So, offer your story idea and accompanying media gallery as an exclusive first. If you get a polite ‘no thank you,’ then move onto the next publication’s editorial team while continuing to refine your pitch each time.

8. Don’t skip entering contests. While entering a professional contest may seem time- consuming and trivial, don’t pass on the opportunity. Design awards and professional award opportunities come with the bonus of free publicity if you win. And, even if you don’t win the award, editors keep a list of up-and-coming professionals on their minds for future story considerations.

9. Separation of church and state. Don’t confuse advertising with editorial. Most of the time (except when it comes to advertorial), advertising and editorial are complexly different departments within each publication.

10. Social media and content integration. Use the multimedia you create with your projects for a consistent pipeline of brand messaging and consumer engagement via your social media channels, blogs and web site. Regional editors are constantly viewing what’s happening on social media, so be certain to always include locally-used hashtags and engage in online conversations with other local business people, influencers and media outlets.

11. What about Westchester? Remember, editors cover “beats” or locations. If your business is outside the greater Westchester region, then you may be wasting the editor’s time if you pitch them a story that is way outside of their coverage area. Be certain the editor immediately knows that your business is located within the publication’s editorial “map.” You can get a better idea of a publication’s coverage area by requesting a “media kit” from their advertising department. Usually found buried inside a publication’s website (and downloadable as a PDF), a magazine’s media kit includes eye-opening information on readership demographics, advertising space details and the all-important editorial calendar.

12. Ask for the publication’s editorial calendar. Every year, magazines release a new upcoming editorial calendar, which highlights the specific features they will be covering in editorial as well as specific advertising features. Be sure to time your pitch to something they are already covering if you want an editor to feature your business. This calendar describes the theme of each issue and is a good way to strategize your brand campaigns and pitches.

For more advice on PR, contact kruby@rubymediagroup.com to secure a copy of our new e-book How to Strategically Increase Media Exposure.

Follow us on Twitter @rubymediagroup and @sparklingruby

©Ruby Media Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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How to Stay Relevant to the Media

westchester PR firm ruby media group

PR Tips: Insider Secrets for Securing Earned Media Coverage

Making The News: How to Get Press Attention

As a publicist for over 12 years, I know how to secure massive media coverage. Here are some of my top PR secrets and tips to scoring big earned media wins with journalists.

How do I get national press coverage?

Everyone wants to be featured in national media. But it is not always the best approach when it comes to PR. Why?

If you are a regional outlet, you may want to get more press coverage in local media outlets that can convert readers to new customers/ patients/ clients.

My PR secret for clients? The power of trade publications.

Trade publications are more likely to run a full feature story than national media or local media. Never underestimate the power of trade outlets when putting together a PR strategy.

How can I increase my media coverage?

Step 1: Identify Target Media Outlets 

What magazines and newspapers do you want to write about your business? Do you want to see your business featured in Forbes or Wired, or is your local newspaper the best place to reach your audience? Do you dream of being on The View or hope that, one day, your restaurant will be profiled on The Food Network? Before you can audit your PR campaign, you need to decide who your target media outlets are and, then, how to stay relevant and get their attention.

Step 2: Identify Your Target Audience

You daydream of being on the cover of Dr. Oz Magazine, but is that the best publication to reach your target audience? Does it establish you as a leader in your industry? To determine this, you first need to know who your target audience is. For example, your ideal customer is male 20-somethings, so ideally you want to be featured in a magazine such as Men’s Health, but if you are trying to reach a more upscale gentleman, your target audience would be more along the lines of Esquire.

Step 3: Pitch the media 

Now that you have identified target outlets, start pitching the media! Identify relevant story angles and timely topics that tie into the news cycle. We are not fans of DIY PR, so we suggest hiring a NY PR Firm to assist with the pitching process. Pitching the media involves a lot of details, short deadlines and superb writing skills.

How do I get sustained press coverage after I have already been interviewed?

Stay Relevant

In order for your business to succeed, you need steady media exposure. To do this, it’s important to stay relevant. One hit wonders in PR do nothing for your long-term brand equity. This is why we only work with people for a minimum of 6-month or 1 year agreements. PR is a commitment from the agencies side and the client side as well. It is important to stay in touch with what is currently going on in the media and utilize that to create new, timely angles and ideas to pitch to journalists and producers.

Conduct a PR Audit 

One of the biggest challenges people face with their long-term PR firms is that they struggle to come up with new pitch worthy ideas, or their creative ideas may go stale. You hear about businesses conducting accounting audits and even SEO audits, but you never hear about a business conducting a PR audit. We think that should change. When we start working with clients who have engaged numerous PR firms, the first thing we do is to conduct a PR audit. We look at all of the previous press placements they have received, and look for new opportunities for earned media coverage. It’s best to review and update your media campaign to make sure it is not outdated. A PR audit will help to secure more press placements in the media and, ultimately, achieve your goal of increasing business exposure.

Public Relations Audit Checklist

Use these 7 tips and strategies to conduct a thorough PR audit of your media relations campaign 

1.    Measure PR Results.  What have your PR results accomplished? Has your business been featured before? If so, why was the media interested and what angles resonated best? What media success have you already had? In publicity, history can repeat itself, because if a publication was interested in your business once, chances are that with a more current angle, they may be interested in featuring you again.

2.    Personal Branding PR. Are you establishing yourself as a thought leader? Do you have a blog and are you consistently providing content for your customers? Journalists and producers often scroll through blogs for ideas and to look for expert interview sources, so providing valuable content can draw media attention fast.

3.    Meet The Media. Have you met the media? Do you know the local business editor at a regional newspaper? Have you been in contact with the local news producers? Do local bloggers know about your business? If possible, arrange a media event at your business to meet the media. For example, a restaurant can open the doors for a media dinner to promote the launch of a new head chef. A winery can offer media wine tasting days, while a country club can offer the media passes to try out the new golf course and learn about what’s new at the club.

4.    Consider Sponsorship/advertising opportunities. In today’s publishing world, sponsors are important. Many local outlets have become pay-to-play. What does that mean? To secure earned media, you need to be a paid advertiser. Sure, every publications will say its not true, but anyone who has worked in the trenches from both sides of PR and Advertising, knows it is very true indeed! Once you commit to a sponsorship, your company could receive perks including advertorials and article placements. Yes, you’re paying for a feature, but it does open doors, and sponsored content provides targeted metrics to measure against.

5.    Influencer Marketing. Not only can you leverage influencers to attract your target customers, but other bloggers can draw attention to your business too. For example, if you are a fashion business, reach out to fashion bloggers to talk about your new product or clothing line. If you’re the author of a young adult book, there are a wide variety of young adult book bloggers with tens of thousands of followers. Approach them in a respectable, professional manner and pitch them the same way you would pitch to the editor of O or Esquire. Make sure your target audience matches the readership of the blog.

6.    PR Monthly Meetings. Every month, evaluate where your target market is and what topic you need to write about to secure earned media attention (and results!). For example, if you are a lawyer and are pitching an article idea to a journalist about the legal ramifications of deflategate on the NFL, it’s best to either tie it into the Super Bowl’s anniversary or when another similar incident happens. Any other time and the pitch just isn’t relevant.

7.    Spread the word. Once you secure earned media coverage, make sure you spread the word on social media so that other publications, bloggers and producers hear about it. If your subject is timely, stop posting about it when it looks like it might be out of date.

Finally, keep at it. To stay relevant, you have to stay on top of media trends as well as trends in your business and your competitor’s business. By doing so, you’ll be able to spot the right time to pitch the media about a timely topic, and you just might score the most successful media placement possible.

Have you hit a wall with PR results? You’re not alone! Contact Us for a Public Relations Audit of your press placements to date. Clients see an immediate revitalization of stale PR campaigns after PR Audits with our Agency. Call today to start increasing exposure for your business with fresh, creative PR ideas!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Kris Ruby is a trusted media source and on-air contributor and frequently appears on Fox News to discuss digital trends and breaking news. Having appeared on 100+ national TV segments, she knows what is newsworthy enough to make it on air. By leveraging her media experience, Ruby crafts pitches that garner media coverage and establish personal brand authority in the market.

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Pitch Perfect: Pitching the Media

How to get Media Coverage: Media Pitching Tips from a PR Pro!

How do I get the media’s attention?

pitching the media

Think like a reporter. Journalists write about stories that will be helpful to their readers. Producers create segments that are interesting to their viewers. Podcasters create content that is of interest to their listeners. If you want to be covered by any of these media outlets, the key is to think about what is most interesting to their audience.  Develop pitch angles from a journalists perspective, not from your own. It’s not about what is interesting to you, it is about what is interesting to them and their audience.

Solve Problems.  Reporters are always interested in uncovering new solutions to current problems that their readers may be facing. For example, maybe you have a unique take on vaping that hasn’t been covered. Propose a solution instead of saying what the problem is. Anyone can share the problem. Your unique perspective as a practitioner and expert source is what is of interest to a reporter. Journalists want to write about topics that will help their readers. Your pitch should be a solution, instead of a way to brag about your company.

Time your pitch with the news cycle.  Be able to answer the question: Why should a reporter write about this today? For example, if you are pitching a story about boating safety, it is unlikely that a reporter will be interested in covering this in the middle of a hurricane warning. Use common sense!

PR Tips & Tricks:

How do you pitch to the press?

The #1 way to pitch the press is by answering the 4 W’s first! So, what are the 4 w’s?

Before pitching a story idea, always be sure to address the following:

  • Why this?
  • Why now?
  • Why should they care?
  • Why should this be covered in the media?

How do you effectively pitch the media?

Making connections with broadcast and print media is vital to the success of your public relations campaign, but as the old saying goes, “You only have one chance to make a first impression.” Just because you think you have a great pitch idea doesn’t mean you’re ready to start pitching the media. Before you hit send, here are several steps to ensure that you maximize your chances at scoring national earned media coverage.

HOW TO PITCH THE MEDIA

10 tips to maximize your chance of scoring top-tier press coverage.

Write the story you want told. Create a package that journalists can pull directly from complete with high-resolution photos, a bio and a fact sheet.  Reporters want you to write the outline of the story for them so they can pitch it to their editor to see if it would be a good fit. Of course they will rewrite everything you are sending and further flesh out the details, but it helps if you can paint the picture for them of the story you want told.  Use numbers and statistics to strengthen credibility. Most importantly, always provide accurate, factual information. Don’t get blacklisted for providing inaccurate information to a reporter.

PR Tip: Be disruptive. Is your business disrupting the status quo in a specific industry? If so, point that out and show how! 

Pitch the right editor. It sounds simple, but editors and producers move around frequently, and you could be pitching an editor who moved on to another publication six months ago. Take a few minutes to research the newspaper or TV station to make sure that the journalist is still on staff and that you have the right spelling of their name. For example, you’re about to pitch a media outlet a great segment idea about your newest product, but the contact name on your media list is actually the name of the entertainment editor. Make sure that you have the right person for your pitch and their correct email address. Also, don’t assume that the entertainment editor will send the pitch to the correct editor for you.

PR Tip: Sending a blanket pitch to everyone on staff is always a bad idea. Make sure your pitch is targeted to the right editor. 

Watch and read the news. Are you pitching The View? Make sure you’ve watched a few episodes. Are you pitching The New York Times travel editor? Read the section before pitching. Refer back to previous articles the journalist has written to make sure your pitch is focused on what they currently cover. Oddly enough, most people who pitch the media make the mistake of never researching them first. Consume the media like it is your full time job. Study the publications that competitors are mentioned in and contact those media outlets first. Your story must have “breaking news” value to it. Evergreen content is great for your web site, but not so great if you are pitching the media.

PR Tip: Watch the news. Read the publications that you want to get coverage in.

Time your pitch. Confine your pitching to the media on the days your pitch is most likely to be opened. The best days for pitching journalists are Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. Emails sent on Friday will get pushed down by all the other emails coming in on the weekend.

PR Tip: A recent study showed that most journalists prefer to receive pitches in the morning vs. in the evening.

Include a news peg: Make sure that you actually have a newsworthy pitch. Sending an email to a producer asking if they want to do a story about your company with no compelling news peg will land your pitch in their trash folder. Your pitch should include a specific idea and everything the producer will need, including quotes, photos, background information, etc.

PR Tip: Craft an electronic press kit (EPK) well before you pitch the media so that if an editor or producer reaches out, you can easily send it!

Don’t oversell: When pitching the media, leave out the jargon and, whatever you do, do not tell a journalist that you’re the first company to ever do so-and-so unless you can back it up. Also avoid using industry jargon including popular phrases like cutting edge, breakthrough, top, leading, and any over words that will immediately be cut.

PR Tip: Fact check your own fluff and hype!

Write a great headline: Editors won’t click on emails unless the subject line interests them, so make sure you create a compelling one. Oprah Winfrey reportedly received 15,000 emails a day from people pitching various products and ideas. Make sure your story idea stands out.

PR Tip: Ask yourself, “How can I make sure my pitch is read when someone is receiving 15k emails daily?”

Don’t pitch through social media. Facebook and Twitter are great tools to promote earned media coverage, but they shouldn’t be used to pitch editors. Mikal Belicove of Forbes says that pitching him through Twitter isn’t “cool.” Instead, he says in this article, pitch him privately.

PR Tip: Pitch through e-mail instead of via direct messaging on Twitter.

Give Ample Lead time: A Mother’s Day story idea shouldn’t be pitched the week before the big day if you are pitching a traditional publication. Newspapers need a few weeks of lead time while magazines work even further ahead. However, if you are pitching a broadcast outlet, the segment may be put together the day of with only a few hours’ notice from start to finish. Plan your pitch calendar accordingly.

PR Tip: Learn when newspaper deadlines are. Don’t pitch a story an hour before a reporters deadline. Insider tip- Request an editorial calendar through the advertising department to get a look at what stories will be covered for the year ahead.

Do not call reporters. In the past, public relations professionals were encouraged to follow up with a phone call to the media see if their pitch garnered any interest from reporters. However, today, thanks to technology, editors are so bombarded with calls and emails that the protocol has changed. It’s okay to send one follow-up email, but if you don’t hear from the journalist after that, assume they aren’t interested.  The majority of reporters would prefer to be pitched through email. If they want to move forward, they will either email you or call you back to flesh out booking details.

PR Tip: Pick up the phone to pitch reporters after they have expressed interest in your pitch, not before!

What should a media pitch include?

  • Read the last few months of content the reporter has written (search on Muckrack).
  • Check out the reporters Twitter to see what they are currently covering and tweeting about.
  • Understand what the reporter covers, how they cover it and the format they cover it in. For example, don’t pitch a profile piece if they typically write round-up articles.
  • Craft a pitch that mentions their previous work and what your idea is.
  • Tell them why they should cover this idea and how it ties into what they currently write about.
  • Answer the 4 W’s mentioned above.
  • Explain why your pitch is perfect for the publication and why they have to cover it now.
  • Is your pitch time sensitive? Does it to into a breaking news story? Is this an exclusive? Let the media know!
nyc media relations

 

HOW TO GET FREE PR FOR YOUR BUSINESS

Our article on how to pitch the media would not be complete if we left out HARO!

How can I get free publicity for my business?

If you choose not to hire a PR firm, one of the best ways to get free PR for your business is through utilizing HARO.

What is Help A Reporter Out (HARO)?

HARO is a free publicity tool that connects sources with journalists who are working on stories looking for experts to quote.

HARO is ideal for:

  • Brand building
  • Increasing earned media coverage & awareness
  • Link building
  • Forging new relationships with journalists

 How do you use HARO effectively?

Yes, HARO does enable business owners to essentially act as their own PR firm, but that is really an over simplification of what PR agencies do. There are many intricacies that go into writing a pitch and getting it placed.

So, even though technology has made the tools available for free to connect with journalists, it doesn’t mean that every business owner has the skill set to write and craft pitches at a higher level and in a way that will resonate with reporters (and that follows best practices).

In order to use HARO effectively, you need to know how to give the reporter what they are looking for.

After responding to thousands of HARO queries and getting hundreds of media placements through HARO, here are my top tips for writing a successful HARO pitch to gain earned media coverage.

How do you write a successful HARO pitch?

1.  Provide substantive details pertaining to the story

2.  Do not ask reporters if they want to see more information

3.  Give reporters what they are asking for

4.  Provide contact details

5.  Answer the questions in a timely fashion

6.  Include relevant bullets to break up your pitch

How to use HARO to get publicity

Ideally, you want to make sure web site visitors from HARO query mentions convert to new leads and customers. The best way to do this is to make sure you are spending time answering the right types of HARO queries versus every query in your feed.

How do you respond to HARO queries?

Before replying to a HARO query, ask:

  • Is the query relevant to your industry?
  • Is the query from a high profile site? Hint: Skip anonymous queries.
  • Do you meet all of the writers credential requirements to answer the query?

WANT MORE PR SECRETS?

DOWNLOAD: THE BEST WAYS TO GET FREE PR FOR YOUR BUSINESS

How To Pitch Journalists

Still curious about how to pitch the media like a pro? We understand! PR can be overwhelming and staying up with breaking news is a full time job! Our PR firm is constantly monitoring the news cycles to look for opportunities to tie our clients into the news so they can just show up and provide quotes! We do the hard work for you. You supply us with the answers to reporters queries and let us work our PR magic and do the rest! Contact us today to learn more about how we can craft successful and engaging media pitches for you to score you massive earned media coverage in regional, national and trade publications.

How to Pitch the Media Resources:

Make sure your story gets picked up with these additional resources on pitching the media! 

Media Pitching 101 Webinar

Media Relations Guide

Media Relations Guide

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How to Maximize National Media Exposure

Maximizing Your Media Coverage

How can I get more media exposure for my company?

There is one very simple way to get more media exposure for your company and it starts with using the media you already have! Media tends to have a snowball effect. Let me explain..

The ultimate goal of a media appearance is not the media appearance in and of itself. The goal is what you do with it afterwards.

If you conduct an interview, and no one hears about it, then was the interview valuable with long-term PR ROI for your business? No.

This is the #1 mistake most business owners make when it comes to public relations. For example, they land a TV appearance and assume people will watch the TV segment live. Those days are long gone. You have to think about how your future customers will see the TV appearance, and how it can shape your brand for evergreen PR opportunities.

The goal is to use the interview to get the most PR traction long-term by building a brand with it. That starts with you showcasing your earned media coverage in a highly strategic way.

How to use Social Media as a PR tool

The truth is, public relations professionals know how to use social media as a powerful PR tool to extend the life of all earned media exposure. This separates the amateurs from the PR pros. Social Media is one of the most powerful PR hacking tools, but the majority of people rarely use it! They are so excited about securing the TV appearance that they focus on the appearance, instead of promoting the appearance! This is a total missed opportunity for long-term personal brand equity.

HOW TO LEVERAGE EARNED MEDIA EXPOSURE TO BUILD YOUR BRAND

Score! You just landed a press placement on a national TV show. But now you may be wondering, how do I maximize the TV appearance? The most important part of the publicity isn’t the actual segment. It is what you do with the segment before, during, and after. To make the most of a national TV appearance to build your brand, you have to ramp up your social media marketing efforts and create engaging content.

Don’t wait until after the interview is over to start promoting it!

Get your social media followers involved before, during and after the segment!  Here’s how:

Tips for Promoting Your Upcoming TV Appearance on Social Media

Create promotional social media graphics. Start promoting your TV appearance before you even set foot in front of the camera. Leading up to your national TV appearance, create a compelling graphic to let fans know you’ll be appearing on-air. Relevant details should include the time, date, show name and station channel. This is a great way to let all of your Facebook friends and Instagram followers know about your upcoming TV appearance. Be sure to tag the show’s social media handles in the graphic after you post it. You can also “check in” at the studio on social media on the day of the appearance to let your followers know you are about to go live!

social tv best practices

Live tweet. Encourage your social media fans to live tweet with you before the show. For example, one tweet might be, “Have any questions for @yourname on @Nameofshow? Tweet them to me before @nameofshow at 8 p.m.” Many shows also use customized hashtags such as #betterwithfriends on Fox News, so be sure to incorporate those into your tweets as well.

Tag the TV network. Tag the media outlet and handles of any interviewers and TV anchors in all tweets and Facebook posts mentioning the show. This will show the outlet that you are socially engaged and interested in getting eyes on their network.

Ask questions to increase engagement. Questions require answers, which can lead to direct interaction and increase of followers. Leading up to the TV appearance, ask fans their opinion on the topic you will be discussing on-air to create a two-way dialogue. You can also ask your followers their opinions on the segment topic. For example, you could ask, “Do you agree that this bill should be passed?”

PROMOTE YOUR LIVE TV APPEARANCE DURING THE SHOW

socialtv

Strategically hashtag. If your TV appearance is on a hot news item, be sure to include the hashtags that are trending on Twitter as they pertain to your segment. Sometimes variations of a hashtag will be used to discuss a news story, so be sure to search by volume to see which hashtag has been used the most.

Tag brands. Part of a TV appearance includes wardrobe coordination, so be sure to leverage this for extra social media mileage. Look up the handles of the brands you will be wearing and direct message them prior to the appearance to let them know. Most likely, they will favorite the tweet or even retweet it.

AFTER THE TV APPEARANCE

social tv stats

Post behind-the-scenes content. Fans and followers want more than what they see on television, so while you are in the green room, tweet a photo or post a video of the studio set on your Instagram story. If there are other guests in the greenroom, take photos and share them, but make sure you get permission first. Not every TV network is okay with guests taking photos.

Search for brand mentions. If you want to see what everyone is saying about you on Twitter after the TV appearance, search all tweets, mentions about the show, mentions with your handle, and any related replies. Sometimes people will post their thoughts on the TV segment with the handle of the show, without mentioning your handle. If you are a frequent on-air commentator, you may want to purchase a monitoring app, such as Mention, which will aggregate all of the social mentions for you. You can also set up a Google Alert for your name to get real time updates.

Think before responding. Social media builds relationships with your audience, but one negative response to an angry fan can ruin it. Stay positive and be aware of what you are posting. If something goes wrong, try to take a digital detox. For example, if your segment offended a core part of your audience, think carefully before responding. Remember, there are many layers that go into a successful television appearance.

Don’t engage with Internet trolls. A core part of social media includes responding after you open up 2-way communication. However, replying to every negative tweet you receive can be a big mistake. Not everyone will like your TV segment. In fact, assume at least ten people will hate what you have to say before you ever even tape it. Cyber bullies get a secret thrill out of regularly attacking just about anyone who appears on television. This comes with the territory.  Focus on how to be a good TV guest instead of focusing on replying to everyone who disagrees with your opinion.

Marketing Your Press Coverage: How to Maximize National Media Exposure on Social Media

If you learn how to strategically leverage your press coverage, your three minute TV segment can generate years of credibility, brand awareness and long-term ROI!

Did you know that most of the PR work related to television appearances actually takes place after the segment? Sure, it is VERY difficult to get booked on national TV. But most publicists and self-proclaimed DIY PR pros make the mistake at stopping after getting the segment. If you hire a PR firm to get you booked on TV, it isn’t their job to publicize your TV bookings on social media. It is yours. They won’t do the leg work for you.

Maximize your press coverage 

You must learn how to use social media marketing to turn one-off TV segments into a larger media firestorm for your brand to catapult yourself into the national spotlight. If you don’t, you will just be throwing money down the drain for random TV appearances that do not build a brand and that no one ever sees, except for the people who watch you live on air.

Those returns are diminishing. Most people aren’t watching you live at 6 am. In fact, this is why I have personally stopped telling people to watch me when I will be on-air, because I realize most people will only watch you when it is convenient for them and when you bring the media appearance to them on social media, not the other way around! Make it easy for them to watch!

How turn a national TV appearance into *PR magic* to catapult your personal brand

It still amazes me when people will hire a PR firm to get them booked on TV, and won’t spare the extra few dollars to pay a third party service to buy the video of the TV segment.

Never rely on the network links. I have seen so many people make this critical mistake. The network posts a link to your TV segment, and you share that link. But then a few years later, you have a 404 error, and you have no copy of the actual link because you never purchased it. Do not rely on TV channels for copies of your TV segments! Invest in a video clipping service to purchase all of your segments or else if you don’t they will disappear and it will be like it never happened!

PUBLICIZING TV APPEARANCES CHECKLIST

Publicizing your TV appearance is more important than the actual appearance itself!

PR tactics to increase media exposure

How do you promote media appearances?

Follow this PR checklist to maximize exposure from your TV appearances!

  • Post the TV appearance on your website.
  • Keep a running list of all TV appearances in a word document in case media wants to see clips to other appearances.
  • Purchase a copy of the TV segment from a third-party.
  • Keep all of your TV segments in Dropbox so you can create a sizzle reel with them after you have at least 10 clips.
  • Upload the TV segment to YouTube.

PR TIPS KEY TAKEAWAYS: MAKING THE MOST OF A MEDIA APPEARANCE

  • The majority of PR work on TV segments takes place after the hit is over.. not before!
  • Remember, media likes other media, so the more you promote your appearances, the greater the likelihood is of getting asked back.
  • Once the television appearance is over, continue tweeting links and clips, posting photos on Instagram Stories and promoting the clips from the green room.
  • The goal is to convey the message that your company is everywhere. Use social media and PR as a tool to help you achieve that objective!

TV BOOKING RESOURCES

Six Steps to Get Booked on National Television 

six steps to get booked on tv

 

 

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How to Leverage a Press Hit

So you recently secured a major press hit. Now what? Here are RMG’s top tips to maximize the buzz into long term exposure and more hits.

  1. Share the press link on your company’s social media networks
  2. Thank the writer and outlet and include both handles in your social media posts
  3. Create a clipping of the press hit and include in your electronic media kit
  4. Add the press hit to your company’s web site
  5. Order a plaque of the press hit (if it is a feature article) and prominently display in your office
  6. Share the press hit with clients that may benefit from the content shared in the article
  7. Send the article to other outlets that may want to do a follow up story
  8. Pull out the best quotes written about your company by the writer and share in your media kit.
Leverage a Press hit
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Meet The Media of Westchester, NY – PR Pitching Tips

Last night, Ruby Media Group had the pleasure of attending the Meet the Media event hosted by The Professional Women of Westchester at The newly renovated Crowne Plaza Hotel in White Plains. Panelists included Kate Walsh of Westchester Magazine, Faith Ann Butcher of Hudson Valley Reporter, Kacey Morabito Grean of 100.7 WHUD and Janet Hasson of LoHud. The panel was moderated by Lisa Kaslyn of Prosper Communications.

For those that missed the event, here are some PR nuggets of wisdom for how to land great ink for your clients in local Westchester press!

Event Submission

Be sure to post your local event on all relevant event calendars (Patch, Daily Voice, Lohud, WestchesterMagazine, Westfair, etc.)

Pitching Background Research

Find out who it is that covers what you are pitching and pitch accordingly. For example, are you pitching a hard news story, metro crime or lifestyle?

If you want to break in as a subject matter expert or source, read the bi lines of articles and see who is covering what you want to be quoted on.

Add value to a reporter.

Every reporter is looking for leads and new story ideas. If you have a truly relevant story that would be of value to a publications readers; pitch it. Always pitch the actual news or the human-interest story, do not pitch ‘puff pieces.’ 

E-mail pitching 101

Do not send emails with attachments and no body text.

Put the date in the subject line

Come up with a witty subject line

Always answer- who, what, where, when and why

Be mindful of reporter’s deadlines and planning. For example, if it is a monthly publication, don’t pitch a story for October when they are already planning their January issue. Be mindful of editorial calendars.

How to get Ink

If you want a reporter to cover your restaurant or new fitness class, invite them in to try it! They can’t write about what they don’t know.

Meet the medis in Westchester, NY - flyer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ruby Media Group is a full service Public Relations Agency in Westchester, Fairfield and Manhattan. For more information on how RMG can generate national media exposure for your business, contact us at kruby @ rubymediagroup.com 

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