MassMedia Corporate Communications, a full-service public relations, advertising and marketing firm based in Henderson, Nev., raised 19,684 nonperishable food items during its 15th annual Thanksgiving food drive to benefit Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada. This amount far surpassed the 12,450 items the agency raised last year, which was the largest donation Catholic Charities received in the entire year of 2012.
Leslie Carmine, media and community relations director for Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada, said MassMedia’s donation is one of the largest the nonprofit has received for the approaching Thanksgiving holiday this year. She estimated the agency’s donated items will help feed 1,088 people, based on the fact that every individual who visits the Catholic Charities food pantry takes an average 18 items.
Catholic Charities, along with other local nonprofits serving the homeless, has announced an urgent need for holiday donations to meet growing demand. The nonprofit, which now sees nearly 300 individuals a day, is asking for 1,000 turkeys to provide families-in-need with a Thanksgiving meal.
“We are eternally grateful to MassMedia Corporate Communications for holding its annual holiday food drive,” Carmine said. “It’s so rewarding to see a generous group like MassMedia come together, involve the community and change lives. Their support allows us to provide compassionate service to hundreds of families this holiday and to provide those less fortunate with something special for the dinner table.”
Catholic Charities will utilize MassMedia’s contribution to stock the shelves of its community food pantry, which provides free groceries to families and individuals in need.
Dozens of local businesses, organizations and community members contributed food items and funds to make MassMedia’s three-week, competitive food drive a success. The city of Henderson, Blue Ox Central and B-Fit Training each contributed over 500 items. Remedy’s Tavern, The Fitness Source, Henderson International School and Nevada Health CO-OP were also major contributors.
“We are incredibly thankful for the outpouring of support from our friends and community partners during this year’s Thanksgiving food drive,” said Paula Yakubik, managing partner of MassMedia Corporate Communications. “We are committed to making a difference in our community and look forward to helping organizations like Catholic Charities for years to come.”
For additional information about Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada or to make a contribution, please visit www.catholiccharities.com.
By Reuben Montoya
Tell a Story
When creating a video it’s important to tell a story that has a beginning, middle, and end. The beginning of the video should be something interesting that grasps the attention of the viewer. Just like a hamburger, the middle is what makes the video, and it should deliver the main points of the video to the viewer. Last but not least the ending is where you integrate the final message or call to action to the audience. The ending should include the company’s logo as well as some type of interaction with the audience through social media.
Video that tells a story: “The Scarecrow”
Stick to the Point
One of most important parts of having a compelling video is having one message that delivers a simple and concise point. You don’t want people guessing what your video is about. You want people to know what your video is about so they can act upon it.
Video that sticks to the point: “Subway’s Any 5 Dollar Footlong”
When developing a video make sure the viewer feels some type of emotion. One emotion you never want the viewer to ever feel is bored, so makes sure you target a strong emotion. A strong emotional connection between the audience and the video doesn’t just help the audience remember the video, but also helps increase audience interaction.
Video that shows emotion: “GEICO Hump Day Camel Commercial – Happier than a Camel on Wednesday”
It’s important to make the viewer interact in some way, either by social media or by visiting your website. When you create a good interaction with your audience your video’s message can reach new heights.
Video that generates interactions: “Domino’s Pizza TV Commercial, ‘Phone Orders’”
By Kassi Belz
It’s finally fall, which means cooler weather, football season and holiday festivities. For those of us in the public relations industry, this time of year is also an opportunity to be recognized by our peers for the amazing work we do throughout the year for our clients.
The Pinnacle Awards, held annually by the Public Relations Society of America’s (PRSA) Las Vegas Valley Chapter, honors the best and brightest in public relations strategies, tactics and professionals. The award program is meant to be a friendly competition among the 300+ public relations professionals that live and work in Southern Nevada. Agencies, corporate teams and independent practitioners alike spend countless hours submitting their entries to be judged by accredited PRSA members in neighboring markets.
Every year, the MassMedia team submits its best work and typically receives numerous awards. Over the past five years, the agency has been awarded with top honors including Best of Show, Principal of the Year and Newcomer of the Year. However, recently the MassMedia team has noticed a decline in attendance, award submissions, and enthusiasm for the program. The competition became limited, and very few professionals in town participated in the program.
After years of simply attending the event and collecting awards, the agency decided it was time to give back to the organization whose recognition had allowed the company to brag to new and existing clients about being among the best agencies in town. Our agency leader, Paula Yakubik, contacted the PRSA board and offered to co-chair the awards program with me, MassMedia’s president. We both knew the program needed a fresh look, a new venue and enhanced participation from more public relations agencies.
If you are like most Americans, you’ve attended your fair share of award shows. From kids programs at school to watching The Oscars on TV, each of us can claim we know how awards shows work. However, hosting a successful awards program is not as easy as it appears. Not every organization has the budget or talent available to make the show a hit. With that in mind, Paula rallied her team in March 2013 and asked for volunteers to serve on the PRSA Pinnacle Awards committee. The team at MassMedia was eager to breathe new life into the awards show and several volunteers stepped up to the plate.
The committee developed three key goals to drive its planning:
- Produce an event that is both entertaining and rewarding
- Attract the industry’s top professionals, agencies and organizations to participate
- Increase the number of entry submissions and attendees
The best part about working in public relations in Las Vegas is there are many PRSA members who work within properties throughout the Valley. The team quickly identified a new venue for the program, selecting Red Rock Hotel and Casino’s Rocks Lounge thanks to the help of a fellow PRSA member.
Next, the team determined the look and feel of the event by producing creative that was eye catching and different from the previous years’ collateral.
A new venue and look was only a part of the equation. To be successful, Paula knew we would need to reach out to leaders in the PR community personally. Over the next four weeks, the committee reached out to a list of agencies and professionals asking for their participation. The best chance of attracting hard-to-reach PR-professionals to attend events is to give them a role in producing the event. We asked more than 25 professionals to serve as a presenters, as well as attend the event. We also asked several organizations to sponsor the awards, offering both cash and in-kind opportunities. The outreach efforts yielded more than 15 presenters, an increase in sponsorship dollars year over year and an increase of more than 100 percent in the number of entries.
After the entries were in, we turned our attention to entertainment. As PR professionals, our success is based on the relationships we maintain with the media. We leaned on these relationships and reached out to two of the top media personalities in the market. Stephanie Jay, morning co-anchor with FOX5, and Mackenzie Warren, evening anchor with My News 3, agreed to serve as emcees for the event.
Over the course of the next few weeks, invitations were sent and scripts were created. Our team schedule walk through of the venue and finalized details. To continue engagement from other organizations, the team developed a unique Vine video challenge. All of the organizations that submitted entries are currently encouraged to produce a short (6 seconds) video to be aired the night of the event by submitting them via Vine.
The event is scheduled for November 13, 2013. While we still await the final outcome of the event or of the agency’s awards this year, the team is confident that it will be a success. Check back on November 14, 2013 for update and photos. Visit www.prsalasvegas.com, follow them at @PRSALasVegas or like them on Facebook!
By Carmesha Thompson, Advertising Specialist
When most people think of advertising, they think of eye-catching visuals, a distinctive headline or opening, compelling copy, a unique story line and a clear call to action. It should capture consumers’ attention and be as memorable as possible. Once those are complete, you may think you are ready to move onto the next step. But, not so fast…before you approve the ad and send it to media outlets, go back, and review it. Is there any aspect included in the ad that will allow you to track its success?
Advertising can be extremely effective, but also extremely costly. Creating print and online ads, producing radio spots and TV commercials are expensive enough. It does not account for money that you spend to actually place the ads in newspapers, magazines, on TV, radio stations and online. With all of this money being spent, it is imperative that you take the time to track ROI to ensure your advertising budget is being allocated appropriately.
If sales or brand awareness are up, how can you be certain that the advertising is the direct cause of this increase? How do you know which ads or media outlets are achieving the best results without key performance indicators? This is especially difficult to determine when you are implementing a marketing mix that may include other forms of communications outreach including public relations, direct mail, social media and/or grassroots. How do you know how much of a campaign’s success can be attributed to advertising?
Using various tracking methods in ads can not only assist you in finding out how much of a role advertising plays in the increase of sales and brand awareness, but can also help you ascertain which types of advertising and media outlets are driving results. Below are a few tips to use in your advertising that will help show you how effective your advertising strategy is.
1. Call Tracking
To implement call tracking, you must have several phone lines that are dedicated to tracking the success of your advertising. Each advertisement should have a designated telephone number. If you are placing your ad in different outlet sources, you can also track which source reaches your target audience the best. For example, you can place the same ad in different magazines, the only difference being that each ad has a different telephone number. Assign each line to a different publication and remember to change the phone numbers for each ad. Be sure to note the amount of calls that come in through the lines. The phone line that receives the most calls can be traced back to the magazine that is read the most by your target audience.
2. Tracking Domains
In addition to tracking phone calls to your company, you may also want to track the number of visitors you are receiving to your website as a result of your advertising. This will help you figure out which advertisement is bringing the most online traffic. It can be achieved by creating designated domains and assigning a unique URL for each ad or media outlet. However, you do not need separate sites for each domain, instead, separate identical landing pages. You can track the amount of visitors using the designated domains to determine which domain is being used the most. As a result, you’ll be able to determine which media outlet or ad is driving the most traffic to your site.
3. Offer Coupons or Incentives
In print ads, include a coupon that customers can redeem for a discount or gift with their purchase. Code the coupons so you can determine which ad or publication generates the best results. You may also consider offering an incentive for a response that is a direct result from your advertising. For example, you may include the line, “Mention this ad and receive a 20 percent discount on your first order.” This line can be included on all forms of advertising.
4. Ask Questions
This is something you can do once the ad is running. Anytime someone calls to inquire about your service or product or decides to make a purchase, they should always be asked in person or in a survey, ‘Where specifically did you hear about us?’ Options should include specific radio stations, publications and/or TV stations that are running your advertising.
Monitoring and tracking the effectiveness of your advertising is essential in determining if an ad is having the desired impact on the target audience, or in identifying the best forms of advertising to reach this audience.
By Madeline Tremaine
Before a media planner/buyer can even start the buying process they first need to create a media plan that effectively and efficiently reaches all of their client’s goals.
Time. The number one element to creating a great media buy is time. A two day request for a media plan is about the same as asking a contractor to build a home in two weeks. The product will suffer and the client will ultimately be underwhelmed by the outcome of their campaign. It takes time, energy and a fair amount of research to create an exceptional plan.
Define your clients target demographic. It is extremely important to define and understand the client’s target demographic before beginning a media plan. This is key because the majority of mediums purchased for plans are bought based off of a specific demo, i.e. buying stations and programming that rank the highest for adults 25-54. Having a clearer, more defined demographic is always ideal because it will help to narrow the audience and the budget can be spent more wisely.
Research media consumption of the target demographic. It is important to use all research tools available to hone in on the target demographic. Scarborough is a great source of information that allows for data such as media quintiles (quintiles measure a consumer’s heaviness of use of a specific medium which is traditionally broken into five groups from light users to heavy users) to help and determine what mediums will work best. This type of research tool can also be used to provide insight into the exact publications or stations that a specific group watches or other consumer habits.
Effective evaluation of media types. When evaluating all possible mediums to utilize in a plan it is important to measure their efficiency in reaching the target market segment. The overall goal is to obtain maximum reach and frequency within the constraints of the media budget. If one medium type is not cutting it, then it is important to determine which will.
Know your competitors. Often times knowing where your competitors are spending their advertising dollars can be helpful when creating your media strategy. This information can help you identify what specific mediums to either go head-to-head on and which mediums to possibly avoid. Understanding their total spend in the marketplace can also help assist in creating a media budget. When a media budget has been defined a planner/buyer can determine whether a competitive or dominant presence within a market is needed.
Stay on task and on budget. It is easy to propose the world to a client but it is not realistic. Most clients will know exactly how much they have to spend on their advertising. Once they have expressed their wants and needs it’s important not to run astray and to stay on track. Ultimately, the requirements of the client need to be met and the best plan for what they have spent should be provided.
Once all these items have been met, a buyer/planner can then take the proposed media plan and strategy and execute an efficient and tactical buy.
By Jenn Lewis
Vine is another platform rolled out by Twitter that encourages brands to present information in an interesting way because of the restrictions; only 140 characters on Twitter and only 6 seconds of video on Vine. Brands can use Vine to their advantage by composing useful, creative content/ads in social video form.
How Your Brand Can Use Vine…
- Vine can go hand-in-hand with a television and/or a YouTube spot by showcasing a pre-roll, a sneak-peak or even behind-the-scenes footage of a full length ad campaign.
- 6 second videos are great for contests or sweepstakes content. Upload videos as a series using followers, retweets and viewer numbers as the criteria for revealing the next video in the series. This engages the audience, gets more traffic for your brand and can create word-of-mouth buzz.
- Have user generated content; customers can post Vine videos of them using your product. Encourage user-content by uploading compiled videos onto other social platforms as part of a campaign.
- Are you a new brand or a new product? Use Vine to educate the public with simple education videos of how-tos. Are you an existing brand or product? Use Vine to post videos of using your product or service in an unconventional way.
3 Tips for Success
1. Get your message across in 6 seconds:
Vine is a great tool that forces brands to ditch the mumbo jumbo and get straight to the meat and potatoes of the message. There’s no time for information that does not matter. Use the 6 seconds to your brand’s advantage and give the public something interesting and informative. Six seconds just won’t cut it? Consider making a series to convey the message with a cohesive Vine campaign.
2. Get creative:
Luckily, Vine is only 6 seconds, so you’ll have no problem keeping the attention of your audience. Make videos that are fun, useful and showcase benefits of your brand or service. Soon, customers will appreciate your video aspects and share them on their social feeds for more views.
3. Integrate Vine on other platforms:
Vine has the option to embed videos on Facebook and Twitter which allows your brand to create integrated campaigns across all social platforms. Incorporating hashtags helps create traffic and attention. #vinesuccesstips
By Wes Thurman
A logo is just one aspect of a brand. But it often makes the first impression, so its fonts, colors and imagery that should be immediately recognizable, distinctive from other logos in the same market and be true to the brand’s intended message. For a brand’s logo to be effective and synonymous with the brand’s image, it should follow these guidelines.
An effective logo should resonate with the customer and create an emotion. When someone sees a brand’s logo for the first time, they’ll retain a memory of the logo and will associate it with their experience. When they see the logo again, it triggers the emotion and memory of the first time they saw the logo.
Great logos are timeless. Logo design trends come and go. When logos follow trends they can become dated quickly, requiring a redesign to become relevant again. Consider the Coca-Cola logo that looks much the way it did more than 100 years ago.
A logo needs to work across many print and digital applications, from small social media icons to large billboards and everything in between. It should be recognizable at all scales, in one color such as black and when the color is reversed.
All logos should be compatible with the image of the brand and the market it’s part of. A bank’s logo may project the image of strength and trust while a hospital’s logo provides the emotions of caring and security.
Much of the above comes from a logo being simple. It should immediately portray the brand’s message by being easily recognizable. Well-designed logo icons are recognizable without the brand’s name attached. Using too many colors or fonts confuses the design, making it harder to discern the message. It’s just a simple, yellow “m”, but show a toddler an image of McDonald’s golden arches and they’ll know what it represents before they’ve learned to pronounce it.
By Alecia Warren
A key method of expanding clients’ visibility is pitching their expertise, products and successes to media outlets. Whether a pitch offers clients to provide expert commentary for a news piece or positions them as worthy subjects for a feature story, success in securing media coverage can bolster clients’ credibility and reputation in their communities.
The media relations team at MassMedia takes pride in specifically targeting pitches to play into the news cycle and appeal to reporters’ individual beats. We recognize that reporters are constantly busy with pursuing stories, which is why we focus on providing news-worthy and informative pitches that entices outlets to pursue positive coverage of our clients.
Developing successful pitching strategies takes time and patience, but we have provided a list of 11 tips that can help along the way.
Pitch to outlets that care
Instead of simply distributing pitches in an email blast, identify which outlets and reporters cover related subject matter and are likely to take interest. Even if they don’t jump on a particular pitch, they might remember the client as a useful source down the road.
Distribute real-time pitches – and quickly
If current news items relate to clients directly, or fall into their realms of expertise, that’s a great opportunity to offer clients to comment for news stories. It’s imperative to pitch reporters quickly, though – before they finish their stories and no longer need to find sources.
Pitch a story, not an ad
There’s a fine line between a pitch that offers a juicy story hook and one that is an obvious grab for free advertising. Be sure that a pitch includes a clear story angle that both relates to the client and raises ideas or issues that are interesting to the public.
It’s one thing to say a trend is happening, and another to back it up with hard statistics. It strengthens a pitch to reference a study or report that backs up any claims or issues being discussed, and can provide a news hook, too.
Keep pitches short
Reporters are busy people, and just the sight of a full-page pitch can deter them from reading it at all. Keep pitches concise and easy to read.
Don’t give too much away
A pitch should contain enough information about an issue or topic to intrigue a reporter to learn more and request an interview. Beware of providing so many details that the reporter can write a story with the pitch alone.
Avoid pitching for negative news
Avoid pitching a client to comment on a negative news story, unless it affects the client directly. Chasing after a mention in a disturbing story can appear insensitive, and it isn’t ideal to link a client to a negative issue.
Time pitches according to the news cycle
Be cognizant of breaking news when sending out a pitch, to ensure it doesn’t get ignored during breaking news. News outlets aren’t likely to pay attention to a feature story pitch, for instance, when a serious crime story is unfolding.
Make follow-up calls
Sometimes emails get overlooked or reporters just get distracted. It’s important to call reporters to confirm they received a pitch and offer any additional information that could interest them in a client.
Pitch in person
The best way to get a message heard is to explain it to a reporter face-to-face. Try to schedule regular meetings with reporters to discuss clients and story ideas, as well as why they are good fits for that outlet.
Thank the reporter
It helps bolster relationships with reporters to show their hard work is appreciated. Be sure to thank reporters for interviewing clients and praise them for well reported stories.
By Scott Kerbs
As one of the most common tools for reaching reporters and editors, press releases often play a significant role in most companies’ media relations outreach efforts. If written and distributed correctly, press releases can provide reporters with many of the resources they need to develop thought-provoking stories that highlight a client’s new products, services or announcements. However, an improperly written release can seriously damage a company’s reputation among key media influencers.
At MassMedia, we take pride in conveying our clients’ news through thoughtfully crafted press releases. We recognize the fact that reporters and editors receive a flood of these releases every day from companies seeking positive coverage. This is why we work so hard to deliver eye-catching press releases designed to provide media outlets with accurate, comprehensive and newsworthy content that generates meaningful coverage for our clients.
Honing one’s writing skills takes time and determination, but we have compiled a list of six helpful tips to help you along the way.
1. Start with a strong lead
The first sentence of your release should contain the most important information. Much like journalists, media relations professionals should always use the inverted pyramid style of writing, positioning the most newsworthy information at the top of the release. If you bury key facts in the later paragraphs, most recipients will never see the information. Use the first few paragraphs to tell reporters why they should care about the story.
2. Brush up on your AP Style
If you don’t own an Associated Press Stylebook buy one immediately. Better yet, purchase a subscription to the AP’s online Stylebook, which offers frequent updates and an extremely useful search function. Most journalists have been trained in this style of writing, and they appreciate receiving materials that conform to AP style guidelines.
If your release is well written and follows AP style, it simply makes life easier for reporters. If necessary, they can pull content directly from the release without having to make significant edits. While it may seem overwhelming at first, learning the AP’s writing guidelines will almost certainly bolster the effectiveness of your releases.
3. Avoid generic quotes
Quotes are meant to convey emotion, which serves as a powerful tool in any form of writing. However, many releases contain quotes loaded with boilerplate corporate jargon that does little to underscore the message. Work with your clients to include powerful quotes that will resonate with reporters and editors. Avoid using generic quotes that typically start with the words, “We are proud to announce.”
4. Know your audience
Always keep your audience in mind when crafting a press release. Prior to writing a release, develop a list of potential recipients and identify their assigned coverage topics and interests. In many cases, creating multiple versions of a release to meet the needs of specific media outlets can improve your chances of success. For instance, a release targeting industry trade publications may include more detailed information about a specific product or service, while a release targeting daily news outlets may require a more simplified explanation to reach a broader audience.
5. Edit, edit, edit
There are few things more embarrassing than sending out an important press release that contains a serious error. After giving it two thorough rounds of editing yourself, I would recommend having at least two others read and scrutinize the release. Make sure you’re checking for AP style, typos and grammar. It’s also important to make the release as concise as possible. If a sentence or paragraph does not add anything to the release, it should be omitted.
6. Don’t forget the pitch!
Even the best releases can fall flat without a strong pitch to support the information. Generally sent via email along with a release, the pitch should concisely tell reporters about the story and why it is relevant for their readers, viewers or listeners. This is also an opportunity to offer one-on-one interviews and provide links to content with additional information about the story. It is always best to personalize pitches for individual reporters based on their interests and assigned beats. It’s a small touch, but often makes a huge difference.
By Matt Seltzer
Working at MassMedia means commitment. It’s a commitment to our clients, our craft, and each other, and it’s that commitment that makes the job so addictive.
Work starts at 8am and goes until 5pm, but those are just our primary operating hours. Every day employees start work much earlier and stay into the long hours of the night. We constantly strive for success, and if that means showing up across town for a 4:30am television interview, or ordering a pizza and brainstorming an advertising campaign at 10:30pm, then it’s what we do. At the end of the day, our goal is always to deliver the best possible results, and every employee is committed to that goal.
Long hours and a commitment to excellence may describe our work ethic, but that’s not the whole picture of working at MassMedia. Employee life, in and out of the office, is essential to how we do things. And overall, employee life is great.
Every morning the entire agency comes together for our “What’s Happening” meeting. This meeting allows everyone to discuss world news, life events, the exciting marketing campaigns we’re working on and to celebrate recent press coverage for our clients. Every meeting is filled with positive projects and noteworthy news, and gets everyone in a fantastic mood for the day.
The fun doesn’t end with the morning meetings. Throughout the day laughter can be heard throughout the building, and at any given time the team is collaborating and brainstorming new media pitches, creative concepts and social media ideas. By the end of the work day every employee has had the opportunity to catch up with coworkers and learn about new agency projects, keeping friendships alive, the work exciting and every employee thinking about new ideas they can bring to their clients.
The life of a MassMedia employee isn’t always about work. We make sure to have fun, and this comes through in all of our extra-curricular activities. Whether it’s dressing up for Star Wars Day (May 4th), going a little overboard on National Donut Day (June 7th), or having an agency-wide painting party to add some ambience to the office, we make sure to keep the workweek fresh and our coworkers smiling. And don’t forget our victories – wrapping up a successful commercial shoot or pitch has often resulted in a full-scale dance party in the conference room. And the MassMedia team has some pretty outstanding dancers!
There’s a sense of camaraderie rarely seen at other agencies, or other workplaces in general, that gives MassMedia its core characteristics. We work by our core values, and we live like a team. No matter what the challenge, without a doubt MassMedia’s dedicated staff will come together to find a creative solution, and we’re going to have a blast doing it! This is our life every day, and we wouldn’t have it any other way!