Tag Archive: media relations

  1. 4 Steps to Planning A Successful Influencer Event for Your Brand

    Influencer marketing is fast becoming a “must do” for all consumer-based companies. Whether a local coffee shop, a national toy company, or a global automaker, marketing departments are spending more and more money on influencers—and for good reason.

    • 80% of marketers say influencer marketing is effective, and 89% say it works just as well (if not better) than other marketing channels.
    • 71% of marketers say the quality of customers and traffic from influencer marketing is better than other sources.
    • Tomoson has found that influencer marketing has been able to proffer yields of $6.50 ROI for every dollar spent.

    So now that we understand why influencers are important to your marketing, let’s talk about a way to scale their impact—hosting an influencer event. This is a great idea if you’re opening a new location or rolling out a new product. An influencer event is often less costly than a traditional marketing campaign, and they can be quite effective. Events can also be used in conjunction with a traditional marketing campaign (See #4 below!).


    While the details of each influencer event will look different, depending on the industry and product, there are a few best practices to ensure marketing success—and ultimately increased revenue. To help us out, we talked with two Orlando food influencers, Michelle (@MadeinOrlando) and Lisa (@TasteCookSip), both of whom recently attended one of our influencer events (a new store opening for Tijuana Flats).

    1. Create a Guest List:  Similar to building traditional media lists, finding the right influencers for your event means doing your research. Find people who are a good fit for your brand. For Lisa, a little research can go a long way in getting an influencer to attend an event.

    “I often get hit up to partner with products completely out of my purview, like make-up or watches,” she said. “The form email says, ‘We love your feed and think you’d be a great fit!’ … No, you don’t. If you knew my feed, you’d know I talk about food.” Lisa’s advice is to seek out influencers that work in your space, then start to interact with them. Start by liking their page or commenting on some posts.

    Think of your influencer list like a media list. You should update it regularly and build relationships with the people on it. This will pay off for your upcoming events and ones you throw in the future.


    2. Set Clear (Reasonable) Expectations: Whether you’re looking for a full blog article, 2-3 social posts, or video content, be honest from the start. Then be prepared to pay for that content. For Michelle, clear communication can make or break her decision to attend your event. 

    “I don’t like it when people beat around the bush about what they’re looking for. It can be tedious to go back and forth a bunch,” she said.

    Another key thing is to understand both the workload and value of influencer posts. As fellow content creators, we know it takes more than 30 seconds to set up, take and edit a beautiful photo, then craft a clever, effective post. When making an offer, think about how much time you’re asking the influencer to take give you. For example, are you asking them to drive an hour, try out a variety of products/menu items, then write a 500-word blog post with a slideshow of pictures? That’s worth a lot more than $50 or some free product samples.

    3. Create a Hashtag: Social media is all about momentum—we know this. Multiply your influencers’ effectiveness by creating a hashtag. A hashtag for your blogger event should be creative, related to your brand or product, and relatively short. Interested followers will use it to search and find additional content and reviews. The more time someone spends engaging with content that promotes your product, the more invested they are in your brand.

    4. Follow Up and See it Through: Sending invitations is just the first step. Treat this event like you would a press release—follow up! Remember, each influencer is unique, and it may take several emails and some negotiating to confirm their attendance at your event. We communicated with bloggers before, during and after our event, ensuring they had everything they needed.

    Lisa encourages marketers to remember that the post is not where things end. Social media is just that—social! “Brands should be engaging with posts, sharing posts, commenting on posts and participating in the conversations they wanted in the first place,” she said.

    With these four steps in mind, any brand—large or small—can throw an effective, engaging influencer event.

  2. Getting It Right, and Sometimes Wrong: Four PR Lessons Every Company Can Learn from Amazon’s HQ2 Search

    “The best laid plans of mice and men, often go awry.” That quote by Robert Burns can have particular meaning in today’s public relations culture, where so many things are uncontrollable. Even the biggest PR machines can’t always predict people’s reactions — but they should be able to adjust to the changing conditions. Whether you’re doing PR for a business that employs 4 people, or 40,000, we can all learn from the hits and misses of Amazon’s HQ2 Search.

    The Background. 

    In September of 2017, online retail giant Amazon announced a high-profile and extensive search for its next new headquarters outside of Seattle. Executives cleverly dubbed it HQ2, and they encouraged cities across North America to submit proposals. At stake? $1.5 billion in construction contracts for a new office complex and 50,000 new six-figure jobs.

    The scheme was a public relations gravy train! Amazon received media coverage at every level: national, local, television, radio, print, and social media. The following January, Amazon announced 20 finalists from an initial pool of 238 proposals. Ten months later, the company split the prize and awarded two HQ2s: one in northern Virginia, and one in New York City.

    In the first three months of 2019 the tide of public opinion turned. The company received criticism for the amount of incentives (read: taxpayer money) it was negotiating. The company’s public statements were seen as tone-deaf and insensitive. After a public resistance from New York politicians and activists, Amazon pulled out of the New York deal. Several investigative reporters published articles claiming insight into Amazon’s selection process and all painted Amazon and CEO Jeff Bezos in a negative light.


    The Lessons.


    1. Publicity Stunts Work to Create Buzz

    Rather than quietly requesting certain cities submit proposals. Jeff Bezos directed his team to launch a massive, reality-show-style contest. According to Apex Marketing, the buzz related to the HQ2 search was worth at least $42 million in media placement. During just the first two weeks of November 2017, HQ2-related social media discussions generated more than $8.6 million worth of attention.

    Additionally, cities began splashy and creative efforts to catch Amazon executives’ attention. For example, Birmingham, Ala. made headlines when it installed massive Amazon delivery boxes around the city. Kansas City’s mayor purchased and wrote five-star reviews for 1,000 items on Amazon’s website. Each review touted something positive about Kansas City, and the items were given to local charities. A local economic development group from Tucson, Ariz. delivered a 21-foot-tall cactus to Amazon’s Seattle headquarters.

    No matter the size of your business, start thinking outside the box. How can you incorporate a publicity stunt into your next campaign, new location ribbon cutting, new product rollout, etc.? Our agency placed goody-filled piñatas in highly populated locations around Richmond, Virginia to introduce our client, Tex-Mex restaurant Tijuana Flats, to the new market. This effort grabbed headlines and created a buzz with those who encountered them around the city.


    2. People First. Don’t Forget Your #1 Audience: Your Customers.

    At the time, Bezos made no secret of his intention to start a bidding war using public incentives. “Why does the richest man in the world need billions of dollars in tax breaks?” asked one newspaper. Politicians and activists supported grassroots movements against Amazon in Queens. When responding to the criticism in New York, news outlets claimed Amazon’s Vice President of Public Policy came off as tone-deaf. Critics said he fell back on job figures and dollar signs, rather than understanding residents’ concerns.

    In this scenario, Amazon seemingly lost sight of its target market—the citizens of New York City and northern Virginia. Before making any significant move (or at least before announcing it)

    • View the change through your target audience’s eyes. How will they react and respond?
    • Anticipate criticism and create understanding, empathic responses th
    • Show your customers that you care for them—you have no business without them.

    Interestingly, Amazon’s economic development team previously employed a successful strategy when expanding into a new area. Internally dubbed “The Welcome Wagon,” executives traveled to the new locations and hosted meetings to answer residents’ questions. A Connecticut mayor described the process. “The public perception was a big company like Amazon will come in and steamroll our little town, but nothing could have been further from the truth. Their outreach was very impressive. They took the hard questions and jumped right in front of everything.”

    So why did Amazon execs choose to deviate from their successful playbook, setting aside the concerns of their target market? We’ll never know, and hopefully we’ll never make the same mistake.


    3. Transparency is Key — Especially in the 21st Century

    Amazon gets both an “A” and an “F” on this principle. While parts of its HQ2 search were very public and open, later in the 14-month-long process, the company was heavily criticized for its secrecy and lack of transparency. A Bloomberg News investigation revealed that, prior to the contest, Amazon executives had formulated a list of 25 potential cities for the HQ2. Officials from cities not chosen privately said they felt slighted. They felt they were manipulated into believing they might have a shot, and so they put tens of thousands of dollars into proposals and publicity stunts, when there were likely only a few real candidates. To make matters worse, Amazon remained tight-lipped about why certain cities were not selected as finalists.

    Transparency has become a key tenant of trust in today’s world. This can be especially important in the COVID-19 era. When creating a marketing strategy for the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard, our team developed transparent messaging around health and safety guidelines to ensure attendees knew what to expect well in advance. API also built trust by showing how organizers were keeping attendees safe.


    4. Cross-purpose Your Assets

    Let’s just be honest, most marketing and public relations departments are under-resourced. You’re tasked with creating brilliant strategies and campaigns with not enough money, manpower or time. So let’s take a page from Amazon’s playbook; cross-purpose your assets.

    • Hiring a videographer to shoot a commercial? Edit and reuse the footage for social media posts.
    • That press release you just wrote… turn it into a blog post, then share it on your social media channels.
    • Solicit user-generated content (UGC) on your website and social channels and re-use it in upcoming campaigns.

    There are dozens of ways to repurpose content and assets you already have.

    In its search for a new HQ2, Amazon became queen of crowd-sourced data. More than 200 cities willingly offered up information on population, mass transportation, real estate and more. HQ2 spectators have long maintained the contest wasn’t really about picking one location for Amazon’s second headquarters. Rather, it was an ingenious strategy to get cities to hand over reams of data that could inform Amazon’s growth throughout North America. For example, don’t be surprised if Amazon announces a major artificial intelligence operation in Pittsburg, or an expansion of their Austin, Tex. Tech Hub in the future.

    Amazon, like your company, can pool its resources, using material (perhaps discarded) for one project, as the foundation of a new project.

    Key Takeaways

    Amazon’s HQ2 search serves as an example for businesses of all sizes, in all markets. By creating a buzz, focusing on your core customer, being transparent, and cross-purposing your assets, you can deliver big wins for your business — even if you don’t have a Prime account.


  3. Four PR Lessons Every Company Can Learn from the Amazon HQ2 Search

    Amazon HQ2

    There were many who came out of 2018 with big wins but Amazon can easily be counted among the winningest – especially in the realm of public relations. News coverage surrounding the tech giant’s quest for another North American location for its second headquarters kept them in the spotlight for most of the year. According to APex Marketing, the media coverage surrounding Amazon’s HQ2 search was worth $42 million. Its “Biggest Delivery Ever” stunt, involving a 16,000 pound Amazon box with a Jurassic World logo, giant air holes and presumably containing a dinosaur, earned it a nod as one of the best-branded stunts of the year. Beyond headline-grabbing PR stunts, Amazon made shrewd business decisions that included timely campaigns for its Echo products and Amazon Fashion brand.

    But behind all of these business successes was a keen PR strategy that is worth examining. There’s no time like the beginning of the year to reflect, so let’s take a look at exactly how Amazon’s 2018 PR strategy paid off and how any company can learn from them.  

    Four PR Lessons Every Company Can Learn from the Amazon HQ2 Search  

    Engage the Public

    The Amazon HQ2 search was announced in late 2017 with a formal request for proposal (RFP) sent to metro regions across North America. While the HQ2 RFP’s intended audiences were city and state governments, by publicly announcing the search and releasing the RFP’s details, they were able to cast a wider net and gain a range of attention from private citizens to Capitol Hill. Plus, the RFP didn’t just initiate one of 2018’s biggest contests, it provided Amazon with valuable research from every city that dared to play.  

    Engaging the public isn’t just a smart PR move for a massive entity like Amazon – collaborating and consulting with the public can be a winning tactic for a company of any size. When it comes to supporting your company’s next big announcement, take some time to devise a strategy that engages with your target audiences as well as piques the interest of influencers. This can generate buzz, potentially gaining you brand awareness and new prospects in the process.

    Know Your Audience

    You don’t have to be a billion-dollar company to catch the media’s eye. Get creative about the way you describe your new product (in their case, a new headquarters for 50,000 tech workers). Amazon coined the phrase “HQ2” and it stuck with the media and resonated with everyone from corporate tycoons to your local acronym-loving millennial.

    Even after Amazon had selected winners for its HQ2 and HQ3, they still kept the media in the loop, sharing a press release announcing the selected cities, along with their reasoning, an FAQ and their agreements with each city.

    What is the lesson here? Well, one of the most important first steps to any successful PR campaign is identifying your target audiences – a fact that’s as true for Amazon as it is for any company. This seems obvious, but it is often an important step that is overlooked when developing a strategy. As the saying goes, if you don’t know who you’re writing for, you may be writing for no one at all. Once you know who your target audience is and what you want to share, crafting a message that resonates with them is an easy PR win.

    Largest “delivery” in Amazon history (PRNewsfoto/Universal Pictures)

    Use Publicity Stunts To Create a Buzz

    PR-drumming can still make some noise, especially when a stunt focuses on digital awareness. Amazon’s “Biggest Delivery Ever” plopped a building-sized box in the middle of Los Angeles and featured a QR code for passersby to scan and learn more, only after they tweeted about it or posted on their Instagram stories (a feature that lets users post photos and videos that vanish after 24 hours), of course. The real-time buzz boosted awareness on social media first followed by traditional media coverage.

    Even without Amazon’s event marketing budget, finding a creative way to get your audience engaging online can have a huge publicity pay-off. Try something new with your strategy. Though your business may not be able to afford to ship a dinosaur-sized package, you can develop smaller-scale stunts to turn heads strategically and effectively. For instance, our agency placed goody-filled piñatas in highly populated locations around Richmond, Virginia to introduce our client, Tex-Mex restaurant Tijuana Flats, to a new market. This effort grabbed headlines and created a buzz with those who encountered them in the wild.


    Influencer Marketing Still Has Impact

    Few people will forget Cardi B., Gordon Ramsay and Rebel Wilson temporarily quitting their day jobs to use their own voices to replace Amazon’s virtual assistant Alexa’s during last year’s Super Bowl. The cameo-filled spot was the most watched Super Bowl commercial on YouTube and, while Amazon did not report on any impact the well-received ad had on sales, the number of articles and online mentions of Alexa increased 129% following the big game, according to Amobee, Inc.

    Throughout the year, Amazon also ramped up its influencer program. Influencers can each create their own Amazon page, highlight their favorite picks and earn money directly from items bought through their Amazon page or affiliate link. While celebrities like Mark Cuban and Felicia Day have utilized the program, 2018 saw the rise of a niche market for influencers via Amazon Fashion. Fashion micro-influencers like Collete Prime, have risen to fame with the program while capitalizing on Instagram Shopping Tags.

    The key takeaway for making influencer marketing work for your brand is partnering with the right influencers, whether they have 1,000 or 1,000,000 followers. For the most beneficial partnership, choose an influencer with a niche that directly aligns with your brand’s industry or products. Partnerships are powerful.

    Lessons Learned

    Amazon HQ2 is a fantastic example for businesses of all sizes, in all markets. By engaging with the public, working with the media, creating a buzz and considering influencer marketing, your 2019 can deliver big wins for your business – even if you don’t have a Prime account.  


  4. Media Relations Missteps: 4 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Relationships with Reporters



    As a PR professional, perhaps the most important lesson of your career is: relationships are key when working with the media. While this may appear to be a simple and to-the-point concept, PR pros and clients alike sabotage relationships with reporters all the time–usually without even realizing it.

    To help professionals identify toxic behavior before it’s too late, here are four ways you might be unintentionally sabotaging your relationship with media:

    1. You’re unresponsive to requests or take too long to confirm interview times: It is no small feat to capture a reporter’s attention with your news, so when they show interest in what you’re pitching, the last thing you should do is ignore requests for additional information or interviews. Time and again, I have seen clients and fellow PR pros wait days to respond to a reporter with a time that works for an interview, or flat-out ignore a reporter’s request for more information. Regardless of the reasoning behind this behavior, it is both detrimental to your success and is debilitating to a reporter who is trying to gather information for a story.
    2. You expect media to cater to your schedule: While promptly responding to interview requests is crucial to maintaining relationships with media, it is also important to be flexible when scheduling an interview. A surefire way to frustrate someone who is writing multiple articles and meeting dozens of deadlines a week is to refuse to work with him or her on finding a time to talk that works well with both of your schedules–not just yours. Remember, a reporter is not obligated to publish a story on your company or initiative, and you should be doing everything in your power to make sure he or she has all the information that is needed.
    3. You can’t (or won’t) deliver on your promises: As someone who speaks with the media on a daily basis, I can say from experience that there is nothing more uncomfortable than having to cancel an interview, retract a statement, or not deliver previously promised information to a reporter. Not only is this extremely uncomfortable, it is also unprofessional and can give the impression that you are not a reliable source for future stories and opportunities. Every interaction you have with a reporter is your chance to make a statement about the kind of company and/or PR professional you are–don’t sabotage yourself by failing to hold up your end of a pitch.
    4. You spam reporters with too many announcements or story ideas that are not newsworthy: While every company update feels (and is) important to someone within your organization, it is vital that the person in charge of your media relations asks if your announcement is actually important to media and other outside parties. If you constantly spam reporters with information that is unlikely to make it into the news cycle, you run the risk of appearing incapable of delivering real stories of interest.

    Maintaining relationships with reporters is similar to maintaining any other relationship in your life–it takes a certain amount of mutual respect, honesty and effort to keep the relationship healthy and beneficial for both parties. If you strive to do this with every one of your media contacts, you will never have to worry about sabotaging your professional relationships.

  5. How to Plan a Blogger Event

    Whether you’re a clothing company looking to spread the word about a new line or a restaurant debuting a seasonal menu item, garnering attention for your brand often involves looking beyond traditional media outlets and reaching out to another group of influencers: bloggers.

    Unlike traditional media, bloggers have a niche following that is hyper-specific to a certain region or topic (e.g. food), and they typically boast large social media audiences that consist of followers who have a vested interest in said topic. For these reasons and more, blogger events are an excellent tactic for shedding light on a product or service.

    So, how do you plan one?

    While it is always a good idea to enlist the help of an expert when planning and executing your next blogger event, here are a few key elements for creating the perfect event.

    • Create a Targeted Blogger List: Similar to building traditional media lists, finding the right bloggers for your event means spending a good deal of time scouring Google and browsing social media. While this step may seem straightforward, it is essential to remember that not all bloggers in your city – or even all bloggers covering a particular topic – are a good fit for your event. When searching, always take the time to read recent blog posts, check a blogger’s social media credentials, and review how often a blogger posts before adding them to your list. The last thing you want is to give a spot away to someone who won’t move the needle for your brand!

      For the popular Tex-Mex restaurant, Tijuana Flats, we were tasked with drumming up attention for their exciting, new “Flat Outrageous” menu. Considering that they have a substantial presence in multiple markets across the Southeast, we created a vetted blogger list of foodies, mommy bloggers and around-the-town bloggers in Raleigh, Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa, North Miami, Charleston, Savannah, Charlotte, Columbia and Winston-Salem (all cities home to Tijuana Flats restaurants).
    • Decide on a Theme: This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to transform your event space with thousands of dollars worth of decorations, but it might! The theme of your event is an important aspect in getting bloggers to show. For example, hosting a tasting at your restaurant to showcase a new menu item is great, but hosting a “Summer Menu Preview” with wine pairings from a local vineyard is even more enticing. Planning blogger events around seasons, holidays, or even brand-specific initiatives establishes a theme and gives event attendees something to talk (and blog) about.

      Following our Tijuana Flats example, we crafted the theming for this event largely around the brand’s strong, highly playful persona that is all about embodying an attitude as bold as their flavors.
    • Create a Hashtag: Optimizing your blogger event to the fullest means reaching a blogger’s audiences across all platforms, including social media. The goal of a blogger event should never just be a one-time write-up from attendees; instead, create a hashtag so attendees can share their experiences in real-time on social media, and so your own social media audience can follow along.
      There are many strategies involved with hashtag creation and implementation, but a hashtag for your blogger event should be creative, related to your theme or company, and relatively short (you don’t want bloggers using up all 140 characters on the hashtag and leaving no room to talk about the event itself). According to SproutSocial, tweets with hashtags receive 55% more retweets and twice as much engagement as tweets without, meaning most any professional blogger is utilizing them. Make sure your official hashtag is in their mix.

      For our Tijuana Flats blogger event, we promoted the brands’ #FlatOutrageous hashtag to ensure all media attention, and fan interaction, could be easily followed and built around the new menu items.
    • Offer an Incentive: Events surrounding food or free experiences typically offer enough of an incentive to get bloggers to attend, but other initiatives may be trickier. Depending on your end goal and what you’re promoting, incentivizing attendees is the best way to receive a high number of RSVPs and glowing post-event reviews.

      As you may expect, Tijuana Flats’ incentives came in the form of delicious dishes straight off of the Flat Outrageous menu, available to sample at the guests’ leisure. Ensuring all of the offerings were top-notch was extremely important, as this first impression was definitely one that counted.
    • Communicate, Communicate, Communicate!: Sending an initial invitation doesn’t mean you’ve done all you can do to get a blogger to your event. Following up with those who have not RSVP’d, in addition to those who have RSVP’d, is an important step in ensuring that all your targeted bloggers attend your event.

      We communicated with bloggers before, during and after the event, ensuring they had everything they needed to accurately write their articles and share their experiences on social media.

    While planning a blogger event can seem overwhelming, following this criteria can help alleviate the anxiety surrounding RSVPs and event plans, while also resulting in targeted, positive coverage for your brand or initiative.

  6. What is a Media Kit and Why Does It Matter?

    media kit

    The most important thing you need to know about effective public relations is that its purpose is to build a mutually beneficial relationship between an organization and their publics. Textbook definitions aside, it always helps when the public is accurately informed. While there are multiple ways to do this, one surefire method to help control your own message is with a media kit.

    A media kit, or press kit, can be a company’s best friend when it comes to conveying precise information to an influencer, blogger, reporter, or member of the media. It is essentially a pre-packaged set of promotional materials that provides any information about a cause, company, organization or person that can be distributed for promotional use. Most of the time, reporters are the ones who receive these kits, and boy, do they find them helpful. You see, a media kit is different from a marketing brochure or website because it has such targeted information. Some company websites tend to have information about everything pertaining to the company as opposed to a singular focus, as they are trying to appeal to such a broad audience; the same can be said about marketing brochures. Media kits typically convey the information that is most pertinent – the exact information that companies want to see printed in a news story or feature.

    The media kit varies depending on the company. For example, at Findsome & Winmore, one of our clients is Orlando’s popular entertainment district, Old Town. The media kit we designed for this particular client is filled with colorful images of the property, along with a map of the district, and an overview of its shops and restaurants.

    media kit

    Another of our clients is Fountainhead Commercial Capital, a non-bank commercial lender. To contrast, their media kit gives an overview of the company’s founder, Chris Hurn, along with his headshot, company statistics, frequently asked questions and previous media placements.

    media kit

    When deciding what to include in a media kit, it would be wise to ask yourself what you want reporters to know about your company and/or products. Speaking from experience, reporters are very busy people. Anything you can do to make their jobs a little easier will be appreciated and potentially rewarded with some attention. A media kit is one way to do just that, giving reporters a valuable source of information that helps them build their stories. But what are the specific benefits to media kits? Let me count the ways.

    A media kits help with:

    • Making a first impression: Think of a media kit like an eye-catching resume. It helps grab media and investor attention and wraps everything into one neat package for a particular target audience. It is a collection of product information and articles assembled to address questions and provide everything needed to engage with your firm.
    • Hyper-targeting your company’s messaging: A media kit should be focused and share the precise messaging that you want to communicate. In short, it should effectively and efficiently tell people what to think.
    • Keeping things affordable: Printing can be costly for companies, so it’s OK to make your media kits available online. Companies often share their media kits on their websites. It is also common practice to make media kits password protected for media members. Either way, this can be much less expensive than reprinting media kits every time there is a change in your product information.
    • Providing assets for influencers: Speaking of downloads, having a media kit available online can also give you a place to share additional assets that media may need. For example, you can make your company logo available for download in the kit, along with approved high-resolution photos of your company, products and employees.

    So, can you get by without having a media kit? The answer is yes, but why make it harder for yourself to score more media coverage and/or investor interest? If getting more attention and responses from members of the press interests you, then creating an effective media kit is public relations 101.

    Be sure to remember that reporters and bloggers do not necessarily have to adhere to the material in your media kit and, sometimes, may not use everything that you give them. However, you can be sure that they have your company’s accurate, endorsed and approved information on hand and ready to use.

  7. 5 Tips for Navigating Trade Show Press

    Participating in an industry trade show can be an excellent tactic for getting your company, product or service in front of a targeted group of key influencers. While trade show participants most certainly understand the importance of having a presence on the show floor, many feel at a loss when it comes to interacting with the dozens of industry media who attend these shows.


    To ensure that your company is a hit with media at your next trade show event, try following these five tips for navigating trade show press.

    1. Ask the event organizer for a list of confirmed media one month prior to the trade show: When reporters attend a trade show, they are tasked with squeezing in dozens of interviews, events, and other related activities into a span of just a few days. Needless to say, their trade show schedules tend to fill up rather quickly. In order to make sure your event or announcement gets on a reporter’s radar before it’s too late, start reaching out to them with details one month prior to the trade show. This will not only ensure that you get on their calendar, but it also gives you an idea of which media outlets are interested in your product/service/event before the trade show even starts.
    2. Spend time researching the attending media you are not familiar with: An important factor in navigating trade show press is understanding which reporters are actually interested in your announcement or product. Trade shows can draw media from a variety of industries and locations, so be conscious of who you are sending an invitation to, and whether or not it makes sense to do so.
    3. Consider hosting a media Q&A session: While the success of this tactic is dependent upon your reason for being at the trade show (e.g. you have an important company announcement to make), hosting a media Q&A session with your company’s spokesperson(s) is an excellent way to get multiple media outlets to your trade show booth at one time, and to provide them with the opportunity to ask any questions they might have about your announcement.
    4. Consider NOT hosting a media Q&A session: If you are at a trade show because it is an important event in your industry but you don’t actually have a new product to unveil or an announcement to make, do not host a media Q&A session. Instead, try scheduling one-on-one interviews with reporters while they are at the trade show to get them some face time with your CEO or update them on what’s to come from your company. This also applies to larger trade shows, such as CES and SXSW, which draw hundreds of members of the media who are usually swamped with appointments. Finding a time to speak with reporters that works best for their schedule, rather than allotting a specific time for a Q&A session, is the best way to ensure coverage at these large-scale events.
    5. Remember to follow up: Just like any form of media pitching, never let one announcement at a trade show be the end of your communication with a reporter. Following up via email with extra media materials (e.g. press release, photos, etc.) and a quick ‘thank you’ note is the key securing placements following your trade show event.

    Preparing for trade shows can be stressful, but with these tips (and some help from a professional media relations specialist), navigating trade show press doesn’t have to be. 

  8. How Do I Get Mentioned in a National Publication?

    national placement

    As a media relations specialist, one of the most common questions I receive from clients is, “How do I get mentioned in a national publication?” While securing national placements may seem like a difficult task, anything is possible with the right approach.

    From Forbes, to Mashable, to CNN, to the Today Show, all outlets that my clients have been featured in/on (not-so-humble brag), here are some tips for getting mentioned in a national publication:

    • Do Some Real Digging: I can’t tell you how many times I have been in the deepest, most obscure corners of a publication’s website when I’ve found a reporter who was perfect for a story I was pitching. While there have been some instances when clients have received national pick-up from a simple search on a media database like Cision, nine times out of 10, national placements are the result of hours of organic research and thorough digging into a journalist’s expertise.

    • Read What the Journalist You’re Pitching Has Written Before: This means not stopping at the headline of an article and assuming you’ve found the right media contact. If you specialize in energy, for example, don’t assume that a reporter who recently published a story on “Oil Tycoons in the Middle East” is the best person to send a pitch to. While it may seem like the right fit, the reporter could cover topics ranging from the world’s richest people, to the evils of the oil industry, to the state of the economy in the Middle East. Unless you know that a reporter is absolutely right for your story, and you’re prepared to explain why they’re right for it, don’t send him or her your pitch.

    • Don’t Focus on Yourself: I know it seems counter-intuitive, but unless you’re Coca-Cola or Apple (or another Fortune 500 company), reporters at national publications probably aren’t going to care about your latest announcement. Instead, they want to know how your announcement fits into a popular trend, if other companies have similar announcements, or how your announcements specifically impact your industry or region. To get the best coverage, try leveraging your “so what?” factor by connecting it to a broader theme or interest.

    • Put Less Emphasis on Your Press Release and More Emphasis on Your Story Angle: Spamming press releases out to a bunch of reporters at national publications with a note that says “here’s my news” will get you zero pick-up. Instead of devoting hours to writing a perfectly crafted press release, approach reporters with a story angle in mind. This way, the reporter can see why your news matters and how they will transform it into an article.

    • Keep It Simple: At the risk of sounding like a broken record (see my blog post on pitching media here), always keep your pitch to national media simple and to-the-point. These are people who are being solicited on new stories dozens, probably hundreds, of times every day. Factor in the pieces they are already working on and you have one very busy journalist. Don’t waste their time (or yours) by adding unnecessary detail to a pitch. Outline your angle and offer to send them more information if they are interested. Not only does this tactic keep your pitch simple, it also opens a line of communication with the reporter.

    Securing national placements can take a lot of time and tons of effort, but hiring a media relations professional that is well trained to handle your outreach will save you the headache in the end. Take it from someone who has had a lot of trial and error with national media – you’ll be grateful for the experience a publicist brings to the table.