5 ways to issue your news

image of airplane folded newspaper Issuing regular, professionally written news releases will open doors to the media and can have positive outcome on your business. But before putting pen to paper, think about how you want to issue your news. 

News releases are often lumped together as one single PR tool, however, there are different types of news releases with subtle differences in how they convey your message to the media. Continue reading

getting engaged

Public Relations, by definition, includes ongoing activities to ensure your company has a strong public image. Just as media is finding its way with a new online business model, so must business. Social media has re-defined PR and helped shape how companies can leverage their online reputation. It’s all about is creating content that captures media and target audiences while addressing your business goals. There are many elements of PR that can help you do this with the net effect of increasing website traffic, optimizing search engine rankings, and ultimately creating new business. Here are few… Continue reading

the joke’s on who, exactly?

I’m all for companies who issue releases that provide a little humour for the entertainment value on April Fool’s Day – as long as it is obvious and all good and all in fun. In fact, some organizations have been pretty clever this year…

Yesterday, LinkedIn listed under “People You May Know” the likes of Albert Einstein, J.R.R. Tolkien, Sherlock Holmes and Robin Hood. Google was having a little fun too. If you typed “Helvetica” in the Google search box, your font would change to Comic Sans. They went as far to announce a new technological advance in its popular Gmail application, motion-controlled email.

Some companies went a little further (and over the top in my humble opinion).  Virgin announced its company founder Richard Branson had bought Pluto in order to reinstate it as a planet. Ikea released its ‘newest product’ via YouTube video: The Hundstol, or dog high chair, which confused consumers who asked about availability.

There’s a belief that all publicity is good publicity… but is it really?

I believe that ‘news’ should be exactly that… Continue reading

add a little Google juice to your PR

One of the most effective ways to tap into news about your industry is through Google Alerts. Not only is it free, but also provides you with some valuable insight and enhances your PR efforts.

Using Google Alerts will help you…

  • Know what media coverage your competitors are getting.
  • Monitor a developing news story about your products and services.
  • Find out what news angles are of interest to journalists for your industry.
  • Target reporters and editors who are interested in your space.

Here’s how it works:

  1. You enter a query that you’re interested in.
  2. Google Alerts checks regularly to see if there are new results for your query.
  3. If there are new results, Google Alerts sends them to you in an email.

I recommend to all clients who want to stay abreast of what’s happening in the news to set up several alerts. Continue reading

read, watch and follow.

Media, journalists, and publishers are leveraging social media such as facebook and twitter to distribute news content and engage their communities.  In the past, it was important to read a vast array of newspapers and magazines, to watch the major television outlets, and listen to local radio news programs in order to keep track of the amount of news coverage about the issues your organization is promoting.
The same is true today, but it can now be done online from social media platforms giving “read, watch and follow” a whole new meaning. There are very few media outlets who don’t use social media and some use it more effectively than others. From a PR perspective, the best advice I can give is this…
  • Read the tweets and facebook updates from media outlets.
  • Watch the conversations being created around the news that is being reported.  Become a fan of the media outlets facebook page and follow their twitter feeds. Be an observer.
  • Follow the source of the news. Find the names of the journalists who cover your specific topic and search for articles by those journalists and start following them on twitter. Their twitter profiles usually indicate the topics they cover… for example:

image of twitter profileimage of twitter profile

I have created a list of Ottawa-based media outlets on both twitter and facebook.  If you would like to add to the list of media outlets or want to report a broken link, please do so by leaving a comment.

paying for news content

Newspapers have been struggling trying to find a business model they can use in the online world and a few have adapted a subscription model which only allows readers to see a portion of a story before paying. But even if the paywall pays off in the short term, isn’t the longterm price of a weaker readership base too high? Times in the UK were one of the early adopters who have been Continue reading

the truth about the newsroom – straight-up!

WARNING: What follows is a harsh reality that may offend some readers.  Viewer discretion is advised.

Ask reporters what they want from pitch to coverage – their top-ten list might look something like this:

  1. Do your homework. Know exactly what I do and do not cover. Don’t waste my time and I won’t waste yours.
  2. When you pitch, show me you have taken the time to find out what I’m interested in and compose a note meant to appeal to me.
  3. Please be accessible once you pitch your story. Your marketing manager is not a suitable substitute.
  4. Return my phone call – even if you’re just calling to tell me you don’t know the answers to my questions! I work to a deadline.
  5. Make it easy for me to cover your story – send me multimedia that will add to your news.
  6. “Speak my language.” Don’t talk in jargon or industry-speak. I know you’re smart – that’s why I’m interviewing you. If I don’t understand you, then I can’t explain it to my readers, (listeners / viewers)
  7. Give me a quote to punch up my story. And remember, nothing is off the record – so please don’t tell me what I can and cannot use.
  8. It’s OK to follow up – but please don’t call to ask me if I received the press release you just sent. I have them by the hundreds in my inbox… and yours was which one exactly? When you do follow up, pitch your idea in 30 seconds or less and add some value to the contents of the release. Oh, and please don’t call me when I’m filing my stories. One word… “Deadline”
  9. I get that you want coverage, otherwise you wouldn’t be contacting me, but don’t send your news release to three other reporters I work with too! What’s worse is if I find out you pitched the same story to every media outlet in the city – I’ll kill the story.
  10. Don’t ask me why I’m not running with your story. I’m answerable only to my editor. It’s likely because it lacked real substance and news value. I report news. Period.

What reporters really want is usually pretty simple. They want their calls returned, a quote for their story and they want to do their job and go home.   Read more…

share your news!

Are you an Ottawa based business who has had recent news coverage? If so, I invite you to share your news.

Post your media coverage on our facebook page! Share your links to print articles and upload your broadcast video & audio clips to facebook.com/storylinePRnews

I also invite you to start a conversation on our discussion board and be sure to visit our wall for updates on PR trends and best practices for connecting to Ottawa media.

I welcome and look forward to your comments and feedback.

crisis leadership

As we have witnessed in recent news, how a person or organization responds to crisis has a direct impact on brand.  There is a lesson to be learned here. While there is a risk of responding too soon to a PR crisis and making a problem even bigger than it should be, just staying back from the issue allows others to step up and fill the informational void.  Strategy and communication are both key to taking a leadership position.  Be it traditional or social media, here is a quick list of practical tips should you ever find yourself responding to a PR crisis, which I like to refer to as – crisis leadership. Continue reading

valuable tips for integrated PR

I’ve been blogging a lot about the changing media landscape and how journalists, bloggers and other media influences play an important role in integrated PR channels for SEO, building credibility, shaping perceptions and influencing opinions about your news.

I came across a great article “How to Get an Influencer’s Attention“ by Tamar Weinberg , author of The New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social Web.  The article highlights some valuable tips from some of my favourite content creators such as Seth Godin, Pete Cashmore, Chris Brogan, Steve Rubel, Brian Solis and many more.   They give some frank and common sense advice for PR pros and marketers on engagement.   The common theme?  Be brief, connect and add value. Here is what they had to say in answering Tamar’s question… “how do you recommend people grab your attention?”