Category Archives: Media Relations

Storytelling: How to find and tell your company’s story

Experienced marketers know the best way to talk about a company is by telling stories.  I’m not talking about the Dr. Seuss kind; I’m talking about your one-of-kind corporate story that infuses a human element and establishes a true connection with your audiences.

The kind of story that persuades, inspires and influences others. The type that digs deep into your company’s ethos and reveals who you are, where you’re from, how you got started and what you stand for.

storytellingStorytelling connects us in an emotional way and brings us closer to the storyteller. It grabs peoples’ attention. Telling your story to a stakeholder – whether it be an employee, an investor or a customer – will help you to get them on your side.

Effective corporate storytelling is relevant, interesting and informative. It is authentic and encourages your audience to start conversations with each other and even with your brand directly.

So how do you find your story? Every business has dozens of stories to tell.  Here are some examples: Continue reading

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Filed under Media Relations, PR Planning & Strategy, Public Relations General, Social Media

Optimized Press Releases: Press Releases on Steroids

In this era of online media, PR and social marketing pros are providing value in new ways.

The gold standard for a brilliant press release today extends beyond mainstream press coverage and includes well-thought out SEO that generates direct traffic to an organization’s website and provides self-published news directly to the customer. The reporter or editor is no longer the middleman.

Third party endorsements from news media and bloggers are still valuable but a well written, keyword rich press release can generate thousands links and help “bury” bad news, poor product reviews and customer comments that show up in Google. Continue reading

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Filed under Digital PR, Media Relations, PR Planning & Strategy, Social Media

Media relations: What to do when the media get it wrong

Sooner or later, despite your best  intentions, a news story will contain errors that put you or your company in a bad light.

The media wrongdoing might entail getting the facts wrong, omitting relevant facts that create the wrong impression, or using certain words that convey a negative or unfair representation of your organization.

The error(s) of fact or emphasis may have simply been the result of an honest miscommunication by the reporter working on the story. Or it may have been the expression of an unconscious bias, or perhaps even a deliberate twist of the truth.

Either way, what do you do when the media get it wrong?

First, be sure you have a legitimate gripe. You’re likely too close to the story to have enough perspective so show the article to a neutral party and ask him to provide objective feedback. Does the story actually contain errors, omissions or harmful biases? Often you’ll be surprised to find that the message you hoped would get through to the audience, in fact, did. Continue reading

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Keep press release headlines short to get Google SEO love

While both Google News and Google Search both reward brevity, what many people don’t realize is that Google News is a very different beast than Google Search, and has different SEO requirements.

The two most important elements for optimizing a news release headline are keyword inclusion and length. There are many other factors that go into whether a release will show up in Google News, but keeping the headline short but full of keywords is essential.

In terms of length, a full release headline must be 65 characters or fewer to be displayed in Google, yet only 18% of press release headlines meet this requirement.  For a news release to show up on Google News, it must have fewer than 23 words in the headline (subhead not included).

A study conducted by Schwartz Research Group in Boston last fall revealed that the average headline length is 123 characters. The firm analyzed over 1,600 press releases over a one month period and found that 22% of online press releases were completely ignored by Google News because the headlines were 24 words or more.

Clearly the lesson here is that while the content of releases should be the primary focus, overlooking headline length could mean limited exposure for a well-crafted release. If you want to avoid slamming the door on Google News, you might want to consider brief, keyword rich headlines for your news releases. – Maria Loscerbo

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Filed under Digital PR, Media Relations

Infographics: A PR secret weapon

In a recent issue of the Globe and Mail, I learned about a cool new, web-based app called visualize.me, which takes user data from LinkedIn and turns it into a customizable infographic résumé like this one I quickly created for myself here: visualize.me – Maria Loscerbo.

Some people believe conventional text-based resumes are too linear to describe information that is often non-linear. This software tool allows you to market yourself visually with a creative and interactive résumé that you can construct in less than 5 minutes.

With visualize.me, prospective employers can read about your work history in a dynamic and colourful flowchart complete with stylized sections that include skills, interests, testimonials and relevant career statistics. The creator of this app was originally inspired by the infographic resume of writer Chris Spurlock. This resume (shown above) garnered high profile media coverage around the world and, eventually, a journalism job at Huffington Post.

I am a huge advocate of infographics for PR purposes! Not only are they a quick way to graphically convey key information but they are a helpful visual aid for time-crunched people who want the top line facts in about 10 seconds.

Continue reading

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Filed under Marketing Communications, Media Relations, PR Planning & Strategy, Product Launches, Public Relations General, Social Media

An insider reveals 7 secrets to PR success

I really enjoyed reading this post on why the media isn’t telling your company’s story.  Here, PROFIT editor Ian Portsmouth reveals seven keys to getting the coverage you crave.  Ian says it’s likely because your company, like the vast majority of businesses, doesn’t know how to get its story told. I concur.

Too often I work with clients that want me to pursue media profile when it is really just a thinly veiled attempt at advertising a product or service. No one wants to read a blatantly self-serving story filled with promotional marketing messages.  That’s what ads are for and you can buy ad space.

To secure a news story, the media pitch has to be newsworthy.  It must be timely, relevant, informative and interesting.  Ian uses the acronym TRII and it’s a formula that he uses to decide (in 10 to 15 seconds) whether or not a press release or media pitch is worth pursuing.  Relevance is key and often the one criterion that many companies and PR folks don’t nail.  By this Ian means that the story has to matter in some aspect of his reader’s life.

The real key is simple: his readers (and ultimately your target audiences) want to know, “what’s in it for me?” Tell them. If you don’t do that, no amount of pitching pizazz and dazzling marketing material matters.  Ian provides several good tips and I encourage you to read his post.

I would also add one more tip:  it’s important to be personable, meaning that you should talk like a real person, rather than blather on in corporate speak.  Who wants to sound like an institution?   You know what I’m talking about.  A press release that includes gobbledygook like, “ABC company, a leading provider of best-in-class widgets, launches a robust, end to end, customer-centric, mission critical software platform for the SMB market”.   Huh?    Maria Loscerbo

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Filed under Media Relations, PR - What Not To Do!

Why media exclusives are a bad idea

Recently I worked on a client project where the executive I was working with wanted to grant an exclusive to the Globe and Mail. He thought it would be a good idea to give the G&M the scoop first to secure a story in a high-circulation national newspaper; the exclusive story would be timed to come out the same morning we issued the news release to the rest of the media across the country. His thinking was that it would compel other media outlets to follow suit with their own stories the next day, and that his company would benefit from this approach because it would receive more news momentum and media coverage.

Should you give exclusives to journalists? My advice on this has always been ‘no’. Exclusives are a risky business – they make one friend at the expense of making a lot of enemies. In the long run, they are a bad deal for your business and make no difference to the audience you’re trying to reach.

Journalists are competitive and they care about who gets information first. They will not be happy campers if they know that you gave the scoop to their competitor first. Continue reading

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Filed under Media Relations, PR - What Not To Do!, Public Relations General