For many newly minted, young PR professionals, journalists can feel like intimidating gatekeepers preventing you from getting your client into the news. Don’t fret, MassMedia’s media relations professionals are here with a few simple tips that can help you breakthrough to land that elusive front-page story and even develop a symbiotic relationship with the media.
Do Your Research
No matter how great your story idea is, pitching it to the wrong reporter will surely earn your email a one-way trip to the trash bin. When you perpetually pitch business ideas to a health reporter, you run the risk of that reporter never opening your emails even when you do have a story idea relevant to that beat.
Invest a little bit of time in research before distributing your pitches. Getting your story idea in front of the right person is as easy as watching a news broadcast or perusing a newspaper. Once you find the appropriate person to pitch your ideas to, you’ll have a better chance of getting your client on the news. Although reporters may not use your story ideas all the time, they will begin recognizing you as a resource and reach out to you when they can use your client for a story they are assigned.
When a reporter contacts you, respond immediately, even just to say that you are working on getting them what they need. It takes a lot of effort to get a reporter to call you, but missing an opportunity only takes ignoring a phone call or email.
Make Friends with the Media
In PR, much of your success hangs on whether reporters will publish positive stories on your clients. Many young PR professionals get intimidated by journalists because they can be very short in emails and phone calls. Remind yourself that reporters and editors are usually on deadline and are very busy. Don’t get spooked, try instead to get to know them outside of office hours. Reach out to reporters and set up a lunch or coffee date. If they are too busy, ask about a convenient time to bring over coffee to their office.
Once you are face-to-face with reporters you can get to know them on a personal level, ask them about their interests and most importantly how they prefer to be reached. Maybe they get too many emails and would prefer a text or a tweet instead. Just like with any other relationship, the more reporters get to know you, the more they will call on you. A little effort goes a long way, and before you know it your phone will be ringing off the hook.
Don’t make your relationship one-sided. Provide reporters with quality story ideas. Don’t just request a profile for your client, help them round out their reports by tailoring your pitches to relate to current events. Provide them with the information and opportunities they need to interest their viewers and readers.
When reporters ask for help finding a source to round out their story, try your best to assist them even if you don’t represent the contacts they need. They will surely appreciate your effort and you’ll stack up points for being reliable.
Show Your Gratitude
When you do land the story you’ve been pitching, remember to show your gratitude to the reporter who endeavored to get the idea approved by their editor or news director and worked hard to write it. Go beyond a simple thank you by promoting the story through your personal and company social pages. Not only will you get the word out on your client, the reporter will surely appreciate more publicity for their story. A well thought out thank you message is the easiest step in maintaining your relationships.
If you are in need of a public relations agency or would like to work in the industry, please contact our offices by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are you planning to take an internship this year? Read and share these helpful tips for public relations internships with your friends and remember to practice them while you’re at work. If you are interested in an internship with MassMedia, please send your resume to email@example.com.
- Be punctual. Always be on time or early for your job and any other commitments you have with co-workers.
- Proofread. Always triple check your work before you send it out. Live under the assumption what you are writing will be published on the front page of the newspaper.
- Be social. Be outgoing and go the extra mile to create social interactions and get to know your teammates.
- Keep busy. If you are able to complete all of your work, you should be excited to ask for more work.
- Diversify. One of the best things an intern can do is try to diversify their skills and learn new skills from the agency. Do not let yourself get comfortable doing the same tasks every day and look for opportunities to learn new areas of the agency.
- Assume. Assuming is never a good thing whether you are at work or not. Ask questions if things are not clear.
- Gossip. Be professional in the things you say about yourself and about others.
- Dress down. If you want to get promoted from your internship, then you should always dress for success.
- Talk more than you listen. Keep your ears open two thirds of the time.
- Stop learning. Always take notes during every meeting. Sometimes things may not seem as important during the meeting, but can end up being very useful later.
Do you have any advice to add? Leave a comment on our post or see what others are saying on our Facebook page by clicking here.
By Tyler Hanevold
What an experience it has been! 2013 signature posts included a new realm of social media etiquette, a brief history of MassMedia and the surpassing of the previous year’s canned food drive donations. Also, in 2013, MassMedia won 18 awards at the 2013 Pinnacle Awards and participated in a wide variety of social activities. We are excited to see what the signature posts of 2014 will be!
2013 Signature Posts:
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.