Posts Tagged ‘tips & tricks’

How your pitch can make noise- even amongst jingle bells

December 11, 2014
By Kevin Dooley

Photo: Kevin Dooley

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, or at least that’s what every holiday song leads us to believe. But in PR, the holidays can be a difficult time of the year to capture the media’s attention. Getting a reporter to bite is never an easy task, but this time of year, normal pitching challenges are on overdrive due to the magnitude of holiday angle pitches they must receive.

Contrary to popular belief, reporters do have a life when they’re not on the clock. They visit their families during the holidays, they take vacations, and they may even write “light and fluffy” stories to maintain their beats. And while a PR professional (like you) may have found the perfect reporter for your story, there’s no guarantees that they’re available and willing to take your call or email. At EZG, we like to continue our follow up longer than we normally would to ensure we’re covering our bases.

To stay relevant, and increase your chances of having your pitch be received, the material you send should be short and simple. The end of the year proves to be a time when reporters are rushed, or regularly unavailable, so make your pitch count. Media will not dig through your pitch to find the main points. Present the most newsworthy information at the forefront instead of bogging down an email pitch with flowery language and unnecessary detail.

Additionally, remember that a holiday hook isn’t a guarantee for a press placement. If you are using the holidays as the hook, just remember you’re not alone. Reporters, especially retail and consumer reporters, must receive hundreds of holiday angle pitches a day. Make sure that what you are pitching is actually relevant to the holidays; reporters want stories that fit in with the theme of the holiday season.

No matter what time of year, it’s always a challenge for PR folks to determine what the media is looking for. However, it’s important to embrace the holiday season with finesse, creativity and brevity. With a compelling angle, whether it ties into the holidays or not, your story has a chance of being covered. With a little hard work, the holidays can truly become a wonderland for pitches.

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3 Key Elements for a Successful PR Campaign

November 25, 2013

The Marist College (my Alma Mater) PRSSA chapter recently entered the Bateman Case Study Competition and asked me to serve as a Professional Adviser.  The competition tests students’ skills, knowledge and creativity when it comes to public relations.  Students are required to produce a full-fledged PR campaign for an innovative personal payment system—which is an exciting and cutting-edge opportunity for any young person ready to embark on a career in PR.

Based on my experience, successful campaigns exceed client expectations, deliver results, and reach intended goals.  As the Professional Adviser, the students have already come to me with several questions and I’d like to pass along the tips I shared with them:

  1. Ask Yourself: Who is the client? When you begin to work on a new project or campaign, due diligence is key. With any project in public relations, research is the foundation for success, so it is important to take the time to become immersed into researching the client’s history, industry and products/services.  This will help you to understand who they are and how to create an appropriate campaign. To take this step a bit further, getting to know the client’s competitors will shed light on industry trends as a whole.
  2. Manage Goals and Expectations: Asking the client what their goals and expectations are is vital to understanding their overall needs. This is where you set the bar for realistic outcomes and identify your professional limits. Be as specific as you can when sketching out goals, and ensure that there are no questions left unanswered or ambiguity. Additionally, it is wise to establish deadlines in order to stay on track and make the client feel at ease with the strategy.
  3. Strategize: Last but certainly not least, creating and implementing a detailed strategy will effectively lead you toward the goal-line.  Strategizing will help you to identify which media platforms and outlets you will use in order to get your client’s message in front of their target audience. You can’t expect to hit your marks and gain media attention unless an effective strategy is in place. In PR, the term “toolkit” is used often–and for good reason! Our team at EZG has various skills and we provide customized PR plans for each client based on which tactics will be most valuable for their brand.  It is important to remember that there isn’t a one size fits all strategy for PR; each campaign is unique.

Developing a creative PR campaign is a project within a project. And although each client’s goals are different, I can guarantee that the above tips will apply to every engagement. You can always count on research and strategic initiatives to guide you in the right direction.

What other steps do you think are important to take when developing a PR campaign? Let us know @ebben_zall.

The PR Rookie Tool Kit- Tips & Tricks For Your First PR Job

August 27, 2013

As the new kid to the public relations school, I entered my first full-time position here at Ebben Zall Group with starry eyes, and five internships under my belt. Coming into this position as an Account Coordinator straight from graduate school has been quite an experience. What I didn’t realize was that a PR professional has more responsibilities than ever in today’s digital and fast-paced world.

For my first contribution to our EZG Blog, I have decided to provide other Millennials some tips for surviving their first role in public relations.  Even though I did learn a lot from internships, nothing beats real world experience.

1.      Arm Yourself with Answers.

Always anticipate questions from a client. When speaking with clients, I have learned that it is important to leave no stone unturned. By demonstrating preparedness, clients become well informed and the PR team becomes trusted. When all potential bases are covered, your client will feel comfortable placing their success in your hands— and that can lead to a long and successful relationship.

2.      Trust your Social Media Instincts.

Chances are you are going to be spending much of your time interacting on social media. As a millennial, I have used social media in my daily routine for quite some time, but it is a different ballgame when it is used professionally. If a tweet or post does not sound quite right, don’t post it. If you sense controversy, follow your gut and save yourself the trouble. Don’t be afraid to get a second opinion from a co-worker if you are on the fence.  Look at what happened to Dr. Phil this past week: a careless tweet landed him in some hot water with the media.

3.      Create Multiple To-Do Lists to Remain Organized

PR professionals need to be thorough and well-organized when relaying information internally and externally. If you work at an agency, you are most likely bouncing around different projects with multiple clients throughout the day. Keep multiple “To Do” lists for urgent tasks and a separate list for long-term items. I personally have a table with items under four different categories marked urgent, tomorrow, next week, and ongoing. I update this every day to stay on top of my work and committed to organization. Tip: color-coding your tasks can also be a big help as well.

To my friends who have decided to embark on a career in public relations: this may be your first “real world” experience.  The territory may seem daunting at first, but remember that your co-workers were once in your shoes. Don’t be afraid to ask them for their own tips and tricks – they want to help you learn. Use their knowledge to your advantage, because one of the best benefit of a team is the shared experiences that can be gained.

Millennials are a new generation looking to find a voice, and what better way to do it than working in PR?  I hope these tips were useful, and if you have a trick or tip to share send me a tweet @ShawnaLMarks. I’m always happy to trade ideas with fellow millennials and communication professionals. Good luck and don’t forget to keep calm, after all, you’re in PR! 😉

Shawna w/ PR sign


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