Tag Archive: public relations

  1. Leveraging Your Brand With Podcast Interviews

    In 2019, many of us take for granted the fact that we can watch any TV show, movie or YouTube video, or listen to any audiobook, song or podcast at any time of day, 24/7, 365. You might think that if we had been offered the opportunity for this kind of on-demand entertainment 15 years ago, we would have jumped at it, right? Well, we were offered that opportunity in 2005, when Apple first debuted podcasts two years before Netflix began streaming shows.

    Fast forward to 2010, five years after we first had the opportunity to walk around with podcasts on our ipods wherever we wantless than a quarter of Americans reported having ever even listened to one. While it may seem crazy that we did not latch onto podcasts right away, on-demand audio/visual entertainment was simply not a staple of our culture yet. But the last ten years have brought the rise of Netflix, Hulu, Youtube, Spotify, and an army of other streaming services offering on-demand entertainment, creating a wave for podcasts to ride right into the mainstream of American life. As of earlier this year, there are more than 30 million podcasts episodes, and more than 50% of Americans report having listened to at least one in their lifetimes. 

    What do these statistics mean for the media landscape? Well, last year, news podcasts pulled in more ad revenue than any other podcast genre. People are listening to podcasts.

    With this in mind, should pitching clients or company leaders to podcasts be a part of your media relations strategy? 

    I’ll admit it, as a PR professional, podcasts can be a scary proposition. The first time I had a client express interest in one, I was skeptical. Long-form, unstructured, recorded conversations do not necessarily create a breeding ground for tight, concise messaging and talking points. Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s infamous weed-smoking incident on comedian Joe Rogan’s podcast is a stark reminder of what can go wrong when stepping behind the podcast mic. 

    However, despite their risks, podcasts offer tremendous publicity advantages, and I have been pleasantly surprised by the success many of my clients have found in them.

    For those who have found success as podcast guests, I’ve observed a common theme: successful podcast guests know their story and stick to it. 

    As with any media interview, you must know what you are going to say before you say it. Podcasts offer the ultimate opportunity to tell your story in a long-form setting, but conversely, offer ample time to put your proverbial foot in your mouth. Knowing your talking points and not straying too far from them will help protect you from saying something you’ll regret. 

    Once you know your messaging and are confident sticking to it, podcasts will open up a whole new world of targeted messaging.

    One of the biggest goals (and often one of the largest challenges) of any brand is getting their story/product/brand in front of the right demographic. Podcasts offer a unique opportunity to reach a niche group of people who you know are interested in what you have to say, by virtue of the fact they are listening to a specific podcast. For example, a client of mine was recently featured on a show titled “Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever.” Can you guess what industry the client is in and what demographic of people listen to that show? I’m guessing the answer is yes. Not only is a feature on an industry-specific podcast like this a sure-fire way to get your story in front of the right people, but it also builds credibility by proving you’re an expert in your field. For the most part, podcast hosts do their homework and won’t just bring anyone on their shows, so know that if they chose you to bring value to their listeners, it’s a validation of your expertise.

    Now that you have the ear of your target audience, you will have the ability to really tell your story. While traditional media outlets allow for concise soundbites and snippets of information, podcasts allow you to dive deep into your company’s history, culture and goals. While this may be scary, remember that in today’s fast-paced, increasingly digital world, consumers are longing for a human touch. Showing your company’s humanity through in-depth storytelling will go a long way in building trust with your current and future customers, and podcasts are the perfect medium to give them a taste of your story. 

    Because of the depth that they allow for, podcast interviews can be a treasure trove of content. Once your company or client has a few under their belt, use them to gather information for future media opportunities as well as fodder for social media and web content. If you are featured on a podcast, link to it on your company’s website! This cross pollination will help bring your company more publicity and will boost SEO for your website. 

    Another way to extend the life of your podcasts is to transcribe them and post the transcription to your website along with the link to the audio. A transcribed interview will not only double as great web content for your company, it will also help prospective customers find you via keyword searches of the content in your interview. 

    So what are the next steps if you are looking to leverage podcasts to tell your brand story? A simple place to start is to begin listening to podcasts if you don’t already. Ask a trusted colleague or mentor what podcasts they enjoy, and give them a try. Not every podcast will be appropriate for your brand, so you’ll need to do some sifting to find out where you best fit before diving in head first. 

    After you find the right fit, be confident in the story you have to tell and don’t forget to stay on brand. When your interview is over and your podcast is released, share it far and wide!

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Findsome & Winmore Maintains Growth During First Half of 2017

    Findsome & Winmore, the classic digital marketing agency that helps clients “find and win” new customers, had a successful first half of 2017, adding eight new clients across numerous industries during the first two quarters of the year.

    Clients enlisting the services of Findsome & Winmore during the first two quarters of 2017 include Orlando Health, a network of community and specialty hospitals, Tijuana Flats, a national Tex-Mex restaurant chain, onePULSE Foundation, an organization dedicated to honoring those that lost their lives in the Pulse Nightclub tragedy, Westgate Resorts, one of the largest privately-owned timeshare resorts in the world, Kore Alliance, an investment group, National Christian Foundation, a Christian-based non-profit organization, Centurion Business Finance, a financial lender, and D+H, a global payments and lending technology provider. D+H was later acquired by Finastra, the third largest Fintech company in the world.

    In addition to the successful onboarding of each of its new clients, Findsome & Winmore also launched two websites, including Children’s Home Society and Lake Nona. Findsome & Winmore also added four new employees with backgrounds in event planning, social media, and website maintenance to its growing team.

    “We definitely got off to a great start in 2017 and are excited to have new clients from such diverse backgrounds,” said Matt Certo, CEO of Findsome & Winmore. “Having such prominent businesses turn to us for assistance in accomplishing their goals gives us a great feeling. As the year progresses, we look forward to continued growth and expansion of our portfolio.”

    In addition to Findsome & Winmore having a successful first half of 2017, Certo also published a book, Formulaic: How Thriving Companies Market From The Core, in January. Formulaic reveals the ordinary things that even one-person firms can implement to achieve the extraordinary over time and brings to light several key elements that drive brand marketing momentum.

  5. How Do I Build a Strong Media List? Unusual Places to Find Your Best Contacts

    In the PR world, we’re constantly pushed to think outside of the box. We’re asked to tie local pieces to popular interest trends and bring seemingly insignificant things together to create a story. PR practitioners are storytellers. Writing the pitch, however, is only half the battle. What good is the perfect pitch if there’s no one on the other end to catch it?

    No Junk Mail

    A strong media list is tailored, modified slightly and altered along the way to fit the needs of your latest pitch. You wouldn’t want to send your story about the newly appointed president of the local university over to the food editor at The New York Times, would you? If you would, this is why your news isn’t getting picked up. It’s important to send your ideas out to media contacts who care. Hopefully, you can even spark their interests enough to get a “reply” email.

    So, where can you find these contacts? It takes a bit of digging sometimes, but if you know what you’re looking for and carve out a little time, you’re sure to find the ones that matter most.

    Pencils in Holder

    Many PR software tools are built out for this very task, but PR professionals shouldn’t limit themselves to the likes of Cision and Meltwater when conducting media research. That said, here are a few free sources you may not have considered.


    While LinkedIn serves as a powerful business and employment-oriented social networking environment for professionals to communicate and interact within, it can also be used for researching key people. Think about it–there are more than 467 million registered members, with more than two members joining each second. Are you looking for reporters in Miami who cover real estate news stories and exclusive breakthroughs around town? They’re on LinkedIn, and it’s more than likely that their positions reflect what you’re looking for.

    LinkedIn’s search functionality doesn’t only work for professionals’ names. Try searching the phrase “real estate reporter” in the search bar and see who comes up. From there, be sure to use the search filters you see on the left hand side to hone in on location, company, industry, etc. All that’s left to do is to sort through the list that is left, and choose who you think would be a good fit for your pitch.


    Twitter may not seem like a place to easily find professional contacts to pitch your ideas to on a daily basis, but it does help in finding out more about those you’re trying to reach. If you’ve got a name but not an email, Twitter is a great place to start. Say that LinkedIn contact you found doesn’t list his email anywhere. You tried an organic search on Google, but still nothing. Twitter is often an overlooked search tool that allows members to personally express their interests and engage in conversation.

    Try typing your media contact name into the search bar and see if you can find them on Twitter. Quite often, reporters will list their email address right in their bio. They WANT you to reach out to them. They WANT you to send them the next big story. If an email address isn’t listed, many times there’s a link to a personal website. Many writers contribute to multiple sources and want to showcase their work in one, central place. A few clicks and you may just find the reporter who is searching for exactly what you’re selling.

    Newspaper and Laptop

    HARO (Help A Reporter Out)

    If you’re not familiar with HARO, the concept is pretty simple. The service sends out daily emails that allow journalists to connect with expert sources (that’s you!). These emails will list various reporter queries about stories they are covering in the near future, and their name and/or contact information for you to send a relevant pitch to for their review.

    While this makes the pitching process a bit easier by having reporters come to you, what if there are no queries that fit any information you have to share at this time? Save your sources. If you see a query or publication that might be a fit for a future pitch, keep track of the journalist who writes about these topics and then dig a little deeper. If they seem like a good fit for pitches you might have later on, save the name and email address to give you a jumpstart on your next media list build.


    When all else fails, head to good old-fashioned Google. They rule the world, don’t they? Start with the publications you’re aiming to be covered in and run with them. Try searching for “food reporter Orlando Weekly” and see what pops up. You may be taken to the publication website, a specific article, or a longer list of contacts; the search results are endless.

    If you have a name and need an email address, search for it. If it’s out there, Google will help you find it.

    You take the time to build your pitch, strategically position it as a worthwhile topic and draft your communication to the media. This would all be a waste of time unless you send it out to those who will be the most receptive. What you don’t want is for your pitch to be thrown away (no matter how great it is) because it’s simply not what the reporter writes about.

    Building a solid media list takes time and patience, but taking a look into a few unexpected sources will help make your list-building process that much easier. By doing so, you’ll set yourself up for higher chances of finding reporters who are interested in your content and, fingers crossed, will talk about it.

  6. 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. 

  7. Six Steps to Successful Crisis Management

    The evolution of social media has changed the pace at which we receive information. Technology research and analysis firm Gigaom noted that Twitter has turned the 24-hour news cycle into a two-hour news cycle that constantly resets itself. It’s no wonder, then, that news organizations are on a steady quest to be “first” … sometimes at the risk of being right.

    So, what does the news cycle have to do with crisis management? Everything, of course. In a crisis, having the right team in place to share the right information is the difference between brand salvation and brand sabotage.

    Crisis Communications

    That said, here are the steps you need to take when—not if—a crisis lands at your door.

    1. Identify and Assemble Your Team

    In a perfect world, identifying your crisis management team would be as simple as thumbing to the correct page in your crisis manual. In the absence of that, you must quickly assemble a team of key players who will help navigate all aspects of your crisis. This could include your CEO, department heads, a public relations representative, legal advisors and others, depending on the type of crisis you are dealing with.

    2. Information Gathering

    There may not be a more critical step during a crisis than this. It’s imperative to collect information and develop a timeline of what has transpired. What you know will help determine what you do.

    3. Determine the Type of Crisis

    Is there a health or safety issue? Will there be legal or regulatory concerns? Is your organization’s reputation at stake? Will this halt or hamper business operations? Will the media care?

    4. Identify Your Audience(s), Message(s) and Medium(s)

    This is not a one-size-fits-all step. First, identify who your audience is and then craft your messages. Depending on where you are in the information gathering stage, your messaging may need to happen in phases (what you know now vs. what you learn along the way). Determine what medium(s) you will use to deliver your message … it may take time to enable your dark site, so Facebook or Twitter might be the best medium for your initial message dissemination.

    5. Inform and Enlist Stakeholders

    Your employees are your front line. And, though they won’t likely be your media spokesperson, they should still be prepared to deliver consistent, approved messaging that you have provided.

    6. Evaluate and Recalibrate

    As you move through the stages of crisis management, it’s important to take time to evaluate any feedback or new information you’ve received and adjust your messaging, as needed.

    Ticking Clock

    In addition to the steps above, consider these two critical rules of thumb for successfully managing a crisis:

    • Act Fast, but Don’t Be Hasty.
      Even if all you can do is acknowledge there has been an incident, that’s still better than radio silence. And, never, ever say “No Comment.”
    • Be Transparent and Honest.
      Say what you know and when you know it.

    Remember, perception is often reality. How your customers perceive your response to a crisis will play a major role in your brand’s reputation moving forward.

  8. Do I Really Need a Press Release?

    For many companies, “public relations” is synonymous with “press release”. What these companies often fail to realize, however, is that a press release is not a surefire way to garner press for your company; in fact, in some cases, a press release can actually be detrimental to your media relations efforts.

    This isn’t to say, of course, that press releases are never warranted — when utilized correctly, they can be an invaluable tool. So, before these statements send old-school PR advocates into a tailspin, here are a few examples of when your company needs a press release, and a few examples of when a press release isn’t necessary.

    You Need a Press Release If…

    There is a significant company announcement which requires a platform for multiple details and quotes from company executives: We’ve covered this before, but it is always a good idea to step outside of the situation at hand and ask yourself if your news is actually newsworthy.

    The answer is usually only “yes” when there is a significant value-add to a reporter’s readers. It’s great that Bob down the hallway got promoted, but will that change the way the company operates or have any impact on the public’s perception of the company? If Bob is overseeing a new division that will bring dozens of jobs to the local market, then his promotion deserves a press release. If he’s moved to an internal role that is only meaningful to his fellow employees, then a press release isn’t necessary.


    You’re releasing a new product or adding a new service: While it’s completely plausible to promote a new product or service sans press release, a release can be an excellent tool for sending important key points about your launch to multiple outlets and reporters at once, and ensuring that they have all the necessary information upfront.

    You’re reporting on key findings that are relevant to your industry: Press releases are most effective when they are fact-driven and affect others within your industry or region. The more a press release can circle back to an important trend or highlight exactly why the information presented is important, the higher chances it has of receiving significant pick-up.

    For example, conducting a company-issued survey that generates insight into an issue or trend affecting your industry or customer base and publishing the results via a press release is a great way to provide value to reporters and other key influencers. This not only makes you a thought leader; it also makes you a reliable source for future stories.

    You DO NOT Need a Press Release If…

    You’re trying to get a company feature in the press: If your company is doing something innovative or interesting and you want a reporter to do a feature on it, sending them an 800-word press release detailing why you’re great is not the best route to take. Instead, a simple, straight-forward pitch with a catchy headline is the best way to instigate a conversation on why a feature story makes sense for that particular reporter at that particular time (e.g. it’s summer and you design couture pocket fans to keep customers cool). Just make sure you’re following the cardinal rules of pitching when you do this.


    You’re commenting on a current event that is getting media attention: Every so often, a phenomenon like Pokemon Go goes viral and suddenly becomes inescapable. If you are a company that has profited from the game in some way, designed similar interfaces that place you in a position to contribute to the AR/VR rhetoric, etc., there may be an opportunity for you to insert yourself into a conversation that is already happening. This is a publicist’s dream because 1) you can get a lot of easy “wins” with minimal effort and 2) the angle that will “hook” a reporter is laid out for you. In this scenario, an email to a reporter that (briefly) states your credentials, what you can add to their story on the topic and who they can speak with at your company for more insight is more than sufficient and can lead to great press coverage.

    You want to invite a targeted group of people to an event: After helping to plan and execute dozens of grand openings, anniversary parties and events for clients, I can, without a doubt, tell you that the way you invite key influencers to your event is just as important as selecting the hors d’oeuvres and ordering party favors. When it comes to media, the last thing you want to do is bombard them with a press release that details why your company is hosting an event. Instead, send a media alert detailing the “where”, “when”, “who” and “why” in an email. If you really want to get creative, there may be an opportunity to create and hand-deliver a media kit that is representative of the event’s theme and has details on the “where”, “when”, “who” and “why” inside. Either way, it’s important to consult with a trained media specialist before you decide on a definite invite strategy.

    Press releases are a staple in every PR professional’s life; however, in order to get the most out of your public relations efforts, never stop asking yourself the question, “Do I really need a press release?”

  9. 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.

  10. “And The Winner Is…” How Winning Awards Can Impact Your Business

    Win Awards for Your Business

    Recently, Findsome & Winmore was named one of the Best Places to Work in Orlando by The Orlando Business Journal. While winning the award was exciting for all of us at Findsome & Winmore, the real thrill came from the reactions we got from people outside of our company.

    After making the Best Places to Work list, we saw a significant increase in job applications, congratulations from clients and even a few congratulations from people and organizations around town that we normally have little interaction with.

    So, why did winning a simple award impact our company like it did? Because becoming an award-winning organization elevates a company’s status within an industry or community.

    Going From Generic to Preferred

    Do you prefer brand name or generic?If you are shopping for a particular item and are forced to choose between two brands, do you go for the generic or the reputable brand?

    If you’re shopping for quality, selecting the brand with the best reputation or credentials means you can be sure that you won’t be disappointed in the product. That same logic can be applied across any client service-oriented company, within any industry.

    Getting recognized by a prominent local or national publication or organization can take your company from a generic product to the preferred brand.

    Which Awards Should I Go After?

    Start by thinking about the things that are most important to your company. Does it make sense for you to shoot for an award that recognizes your city’s healthiest employers? If you’re looking to appeal to prospective employees who would take notice of this award, the answer is yes. If your goal is to establish yourself as a leader within a certain industry, this award wouldn’t necessarily be a means to that end.

    From there, consider which publications or organizations are important to your company or your fellow industry leaders. A quick online search for open award nominations associated with the ones you select will provide you with information on award deadlines, application requirements and more.

    Awards can go beyond just your company, too. Many awards focus on recognizing outstanding individuals within an organization. Seek these opportunities out as much as you can. There’s no better way to show off what your company can do than to have an outside party praise the team you’ve put together. Not to mention, having individuals recognized for their work both in and out of the office is a great employee morale booster.

    How Do I Get Nominated?

    Awards Can Boost Your Company's ReputationSimple – fill out the nomination form! These forms are typically very user-friendly, and  nominations can take as little as 30 minutes; however, while nominating your business or an employee may be simple, how your nomination is written can affect your chances of winning.

    If writing isn’t your strong suit or you feel unsure about how to answer questions, enlist the help of a professional who has the ability to paint your company in the best possible light, and who will include all the necessary information in order for you to be considered as a winner.

    Winning an award is a sign that your company is doing something right. From a marketing prospective, this can be an invaluable tool. Take advantage of it!