Category Archives: Online Influence

MEDIA Moves & News: NBC News, Yahoo!, CNN, USA Today

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PR Newswire’s Audience Research Department makes thousands of updates to the  database of journalists and bloggers that underpins our Agility media targeting and distribution platform.  Below is a sampling of recent media moves and news.  Learn more about Agility media targeting here. 

 NBC News NBC (New York, NY): Geraldine Sealey (@GeraldineSealey) was appointed Enterprise Editor of NBC News Digital (@NBCNews).

Bill Weir CNN (New York, NY): News Anchor Bill Weir (@BillWeirCNN) parts ways with ABC News to join CNN.

USA TODAY USA Today (McLean, VA): Former Roll Call Managing Editor Katie Smith (@aunt_katie) joins the web team at America’s newspaper.

David Pogue YAHOO! (Sunnyvale, CA): Technology Columnist David Pogue (@Pogue) bids farewell to The New York Times and joins YAHOO! (@YAHOO).

Roll Call  Roll Call (Washington, DC): Randy Leonard (@RandyLeonard) is the new Environment & Energy Reporter. And Katy O’Donnell (@KatyODonnell_) takes on the Tax Reporter role.

Forbes Lifestyle Forbes (New York, NY): Michael Solomon (@Mister_Solomon) (msolomon@forbes.com) joins ForbesLife (@ForbesLife) as Editor-in-Chief.

Dan Harris ABC (New York, NY): Dan Harris (@danbharris) will replace Bill Weir (@BillWeirCNN) as Co-Anchor of ABC’s Nightline (@Nightline).

Wall Street Journal The Wall Street Journal (New York, NY): Stock Markets Reporter Dan Strumpf (@danstrumpf) will now cover U.S. Financial Markets and Banking. On November 11, Reporter Mara Gay (@maragay) will join the paper.

Jessica Roy TIME Magazine (New York, NY): Former New York Observer Senior Editor Jessica Roy (@JessicaKRoy) has joined as a Newsfeed Editor.

Associated Press – Richmond Bureau (Richmond, VA): Political Reporter Bob Lewis (@APBobLewis) and Editor Dena Potter (@DenaPotterAP) have both been fired.

InStyle InStyle (New York, NY): Current New York Times (@NYTimes) Fashion Reporter Eric Wilson (@EricWilsonNYT) will part ways with The Times and join as a Fashion News Director.

Closer Weekly Closer Weekly (Englewood Cliffs, NJ): Bauer Publishing launches Closer Weekly (@closerweekly) on October 30th. Lisa Chambers joins as Executive Editor.

Bleacher Report The Bleacher Report (New York, NY): Former New York Times Sports Reporter Howard Beck (@HowardBeck) has joined as the National NBA Reporter.

MORE Magazine More Magazine (New York, NY): Associate Beauty Editor Nikki Ostasiewski parts ways with the magazine.

Jennifer Chancellor Oklahoma Gazette (Oklahoma City, OK): Jennifer Chancellor (@jennpc1) is the new Editor-in-Chief replacing Bill Bacharach.

BuzzFeed Buzzfeed (New York, NY): Chris Geidner (@chrisgeidner) is now Legal Editor.

Prevention Magazine Prevention (New York, NY): Olessa Pindak (olessa.pindak@rodale.com) is the new Beauty and Lifestyle Director.

Alex Weprin Capital New York (@CapitalNewYork): Journalist Alex Weprin (@AlexWeprin) has been hired as a Senior Reporter.

Matt Katz The Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, PA): Political Reporter Matt Katz (@mattkatz00) leaves to join WNYC-FM (@WNYC) to continue covering New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

Rene Sanchez Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN): Rene Sanchez (@StribSanchez) was promoted to Editor and Senior Vice President.

CNN – Washington Bureau (Washington, DC): White House Correspondent Dan Lothian (@DanLothianTV) has left CNN.

Ray Suarez PBS NewsHour (Arlington, VA): Senior Correspondent Ray Suarez (@RaySuarezNews) has left the program for a book tour.

BLOUIN ARTINFO ArtInfo.com (@ArtInfoDotCom) (newseditors@artinfo.com): Tom de Kay is the new Interim Executive Editor for the outlet.

Engadget Engadget (@Engadget): Editor Darren Murph (@DarrenMurph) is no longer at this technology outlet.

Huffington Post (@HuffingtonPost): TV Editors Laura Prudom (@LauInLA), Alex Moaba (@AlexMoaba) & Maggie Furlong (@MaggieFurlong) have left the Post.

The Cut The Cut (@TheCut): The new Beauty Editor for New York Magazine (@NYMag) fashion blog The Cut (@TheCut) is Kathleen Hou (@KathleenHou).

Rose French Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, GA): Rose French (@STactsoffaith) is joining the paper as an Education Reporter starting next week. She was previously with the Minneapolis’ Star Tribune.

NewsOK The Oklahoman – NewsOK.com (Oklahoma City, OK): Erik Horne (@ErikHorneOK) is the new Online Sports Editor after a stint as Sports Writer/Editor at The Daily Ardmoreite in Ardmore, Okla.

Ocala Star-Banner Ocala Star Banner (Ocala, FL): The Ocala Star Banner has named Richard Anguiano as Business Editor.

aily updates on Twitter (twitter.com/PRNmedia).

Detailed outlet and contact information is available at Agility (agility.prnewswire.com).

Media Moves & News

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PR Newswire’s Audience Research team makes thousands of updates to the database of journalists and bloggers that underpins the Agility Influencer Engagement Platform weekly.  Here are some key media moves and updates from the last week.

 

The Atlantic Uri Friedman The Atlantic (Washington, DC): Uri Friedman (@UriLF) is the new Global Editor.

Capital New York Capital New York (New York): Jim Vandehei (@JimVandeHei) (jvandehei@politico.com) takes the reins as Publisher/President of this publication along with Politico.

Fox News Fox News Channel (New York, NY): Retired Pediatric Surgeon Ben Caron and longtime ABC News Columnist George Will (@GeorgeWillRSS) have joined Fox News as Contributors to The Real Story hosted by Gretchen Carlson (@GretchenCarlson).

Wall Street Journal Wall Street Journal (New York, NY): Neal Templin, current Page One Editor for the Wall Street Journal (@WSJ), will now serve as the paper’s Deputy Editor. Tedra Meyer joins the paper as a Real-Time News Editor.

New York Daily News New York Daily News (New York, NY): Co-Anchors of the Today Show on NBC, Kathie Lee Gifford (@KathieLGifford) and Hoda Kotb (@HodaKotb), have joined the New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) as Columnists covering fashion and food.
Adweek Adweek (New York, NY): Technology Reporter Garett Sloane (@GarettSloane) parts ways with the New York Post and joins Adweek (@Adweek) as a Staff Writer.

ESPN Deportes (US) ESPN Deportes (Coral Gables, FL): Rosana Franco (@RosanaFranco10) has joined the crew of Raza Deportiva (@razaespn) as a sportscaster.

Washington Post The Washington Post (Washington, DC): Associated Press Reporter Adam Goldman (@adamgoldmanap) tackles the National Security Reporter role.

Reed Albergotti The Wall Street Journal – San Francisco Bureau (San Francisco, CA): Reporter Reed Albergotti (@reedalbergotti) moves to the West coast to cover Facebook for WSJ.

Restaurant Business Restaurant Business (Chicago, IL): Kelly Killian (@kellykillian) has joined the trade magazine (@RB_magazine) as the new Executive Editor. She will oversee content, which is written for restaurant entrepreneurs, owners and operators of commercial foodservice locations.

Jason Fell Entrepreneur.com (@EntMagazine): Jason Fell (@jwfell) has been promoted to Managing Editor.

Harry R. WeberHouston Chronicle (Houston, TX): Energy Reporter Harry Weber (@HarryRWeber) has left his to join Bloomberg News – Houston Bureau.

ABC News ABC News (New York, NY): Erle Norton is the new Executive Producer of ABC News Digital (@ABC).

The Daily Show The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (New York, NY): Executive Producer/Writer Rory Albanese (@RortAlbanese) has bid farewell to The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow), a replacement has yet to be named.

Cosmopolitan Cosmopolitan (New York, NY): Laura Brounstein joins Cosmopolitan (@Cosmopolitan) as the Special Projects Director.

refinery29 Refinery29 (@Refinery29): Neha Gandhi (@NehaInTown) has been promoted to Executive Editor of Features. Piper Weiss (@MomStyleIcons) has been hired by the blog as Executive Editor of News.

Vogue MagazineVogue (New York, NY): Kelly Connor (@kmcvogue) and Cynthia Smith have been promoted to Market Editors at the publication.

MarthaStewartWedding Martha Stewart Weddings (New York, NY): Eleni Gage (@elenigage) has been named Executive editor. Also, Melissa Foss (@melissadfoss) has joined on as Beauty Director.

Tallahassee Democrat Tallahassee Democrat (Tallahassee, FL): Randi Atwood replaces Soni Greer as Features Editor, covering the religion beat.

Every Day with Rachael Ray (New York, NY): Jennifer Beck (@jenniferrbeck) is now the Lifestyle Editor.

Essence Magazine Essence Magazine (New York, NY): Abby West (@AbbyWestNYC) (awest@essence.com) has joined the publication as Executive Editor. Former Associate Beauty Editor Nicole Marie Melton (@nicolemmelton) is no longer with the magazine.

The FADER The Fader (New York, NY): Jessica Robertson (@jesscribe) has been named Executive Editor.

Fortune (New York, NY): Katie Benner (@ktbenner) is no longer with the publication.
Condé Nast Traveler Conde Nast Traveler (New York, NY): Lindsay Talbot (@lindsay_talbot) has joined on as Senior Editor.

Townhall.com Townhall Magazine (Arlington, VA): Conn Carroll (@ConnCarroll) has recently started as Managing Editor.

CBS MoneyWatch CBS-Moneywatch(@CBSMoneyWatch): Reporter Gigi Stone (@GigiStoneTV) is the new Correspondent for CBS-MoneyWatch.

HuffPost Green Huffington Post (@HuffingtonPost): James Gerken (@J_Gerks) has been promoted to Green Editor(@HuffPostGreen).

Newsweek Newsweek (@Newsweek): Kira Bindrim (@KiraBind) is the new Managing Editor for the outlet.

The New Yorker The New Yorker (@NewYorker): Journalist Jonathan Shainin (@JonathanShainin)  has been named the Online News Editor of http://NewYorker.com.

Popular Science
(@PopSci): Reporter Dan Nosowitz (@DanNosowitz) will no longer be Web Editor at Popular Science.

sarahdwire The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (Little Rock AR): Sarah D. Wire (@sarahdwire) is the new Washington Correspondent.

Carmen Wong Ulrich Marketplace Money (Los Angeles, CA): Carmen Wong Ulrich (@CarmenSense) will join the program next month as a Host.

Angeleno Magazine Angeleno Magazine (Los Angeles, CA): Lesley McKenzie (@lesleymckenzie) steps down from her position of Editor-in-Chief, but will continue with the publication as a Contributing Writer.

Kyle Montgomery Fox Sports West (Los Angeles, CA): Kyle Montgomery (@the_realkylem )joins the program as the Los Angeles Clippers Basketball Reporter.

Orange County Register (Santa Ana, CA): Mark Heisler (@MarkHeisler) and Bill Oram (@bill_oram) join the paper as NBA Beat Writers. Lily Leung (@lilyshumleung) joins as a Reporter covering small business start-ups.

SA Business Journal San Antonio Business Journal (San Antonio,TX): Jimmy Holes (jholmes@bizjournals.com) is the new Publisher for the paper.

New York Post (New York, NY): Andrea Morabito (@andreamorabito) (amorabito@nypost.com) has joined the Post as a Television Reporter.

The Tribune The Tribune (San Luis Obispo, CA): Columnist Bill Morem has retired after 30 years.

Justin Andrews KWWL-TV (Waterloo, IA): Reporter Justin Andrews (@Justin_EAndrews) was hired.


Georgina Gustin Roll Call (Washington, DC): Former St. Louis Post-Dispatch Reporter Georgina Gustin (@georgina_gustin) is covering Food Policy.

Chicago Sun-Times Chicago Sun-Times.com (Chicago, IL): GRID, the Sunday insert for the daily (@Suntimes) will cease its print publication; however it will continue as an online post. Longtime Business Reporter and Columnist David Roeder has left the daily to join the administration of Governor Pat Quinn.

Gameological Society The Onion A.V. Club (Chicago, IL): The Gameological Society (@Gameological) is slated to team up with @TheAVClub and will be re-branded as Gameological. John Teti (@johnteti) is set to relocate to Chicago from Brooklyn, assuming the role of Senior Editor at the outlet.

WTAJ News WTAJ-TV (Altoona, PA): Scott Levy takes the helm as News Director at WTAJ-TV (@WTAJnews).

PR Newswire’s Audience Research Department provides daily updates on Twitter (http://twitter.com/PRNmedia).

October Media Moves and News

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MEDIAware, PR Newswire’s Audience Research Department newsletter, features recent media news and job changes in the industry. Here is a sampling of this month’s edition:

Ratings giant Nielsen (http://www.nielsen.com) purchased its competitor Arbitron for more than a billion dollars. The $1.26 billion deal was approved by the Federal Trade Commission. Nielsen gets Arbitron’s state of the art people meter technology which captures data of what its users are receiving on TV, Internet, tablets, radio and phones. Part of the approved deal allows ESPN to continue its contract with Arbitron for this technology.

TIME Magazine Editor Rick Stengel departs TIME magazine (https://twitter.com/TIME) to join the State Department. Stengel will serve as Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. Deputy Managing Editor Nancy Gibbs has been appointed Rick Stengel’s successor.

Tribune Company (http://www.tribune.com), the parent company of the Chicago Tribune, has plans to make additional cuts as they prepare to spin off the publishing side of the business into a separate entity. The cuts are likely to affect all areas of operation, including the newsrooms that will take effect the end of this year.

A Las Vegas zoo owner has been charged with battery after allegedly attacking KSNV-TV Reporter Amber Dixon while she was asking for an interview. In the video of the incident Dixon and Photographer Justin Michel go to the door of Pat Dingle, the owner of a local zoo that had recently been closed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Dixon knocks on Dingle’s door. He opens it and shuts it. The anchor who voiced the track said Dingle didn’t tell the crew to go away. But adds,”13 seconds pass in the dark until the door finally opens and Dingle’s fists are suddenly flying.” In the video you can hear Dingle tell the crew from the Las Vegas NBC affiliate to get out of his house after the scuffle. Police spokeswoman Laura Meltzer told the Las Vegas Sun, Dingle has been charged with misdemeanor battery. http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2013/sep/26/nv-zoo-owner-battery-reporter/

Hollywood news site TheWrap.com (https://twitter.com/TheWrap) has recently hired two Reporters. Sara Morrison ( sara.morrison@thewrap.com) will cover media & Anthony Maglio (Tony.Maglio@thewrap.com) will cover television.

Missouri media company News-Press & Gazette (http://www.npgco.com) purchased CBS and Telemundo stations KION-TV and KMUV-TV along with Fox affiliate KKFX-TV. The stations were previously owned by Cowles California Media Co.

The Orange County Register (http://www.ocregister.com) teams up with the Orange County Department of Education and the Fourth District Parent Teacher Association to launch a school laptop program.

Journalist Darryl Isherwood (https://twitter.com/DarrylIsherwood) has been hired by NJ.com (https://twitter.com/NJDotCom) as its Senior Political Reporter. He was the previously the Editor of PolitickerNJ.com. He begins on October 14.

New Co-Host Jenny McCarthy (https://twitter.com/JennyMcCarthy) made her debut on ABC’s The View (http://abc.go.com/shows/the-view) earlier this month. McCarthy previously Hosted her own talk show, “The Jenny McCarthy Show”. She will serve as a replacement for former Co-Host Elisabeth Hasselbeck, who departed from the show on July 10, 2013.

The Wall Street Journal (http://online.wsj.com) made several changes to its Real-Time News editorial team this month. Margaret de Streel joined the team as an Editor of Real-Time World News. While Geoffrey Rogow (https://twitter.com/GRogow) joined Real-Time Finance News as an Editor, and former Dow Jones Deputy Managing Editor George Stahl joined Real-Time Business News as an Editor.

Nexstar Broadcasting  (http://www.nexstar.tv) and Mission Broadcasting have acquired WOI-TV, WHBF-TV, KCAU-TV, WICZ-TV and WBNP-LP.

WVEE-FM (http://v103.cbslocal.com) of Atlanta was one of the big winners at the 2013 National Association of Broadcasters’ Marconi Radio Awards this year. The Urban Contemporary station won the Urban Station of the Year category. The awards were held in Orlando at the annual NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner & Show. The station located at 103.3 on the FM dial was chosen by a panel of broadcasters with the votes being confirmed by an independent auditor. This year’s awards banquet was hosted by Tom Kelly of KRTH-FM, a CBS station in Los Angeles. A list of this year’s winners can be found at http://www.radioshowweb.com/2013/newsroom/newsRelease.asp?id=3228. Next year’s awards show will be held in Indianapolis.

Dayton Parent Magazine is the latest parenting magazine launched by Midwest Parenting Publications. The current Editor of Indy’s Child and Hamilton County Family, Susan Bryant, will serve as Editor. You may reach her at susan@daytonparentmagazine.com or visit http://www.daytonparentmagazine.com for additional information.

Long-time Chicago Host Don Wade has passed away after battling brain cancer. He served WLS-AM for 27 years as Host of the morning drive show with his wife, Roma. Our condolences go out to his family.

WNPT-TV (http://www.wnpt.org) in Nashville has launched a new music program. Music City Roots (http://www.twitter.com/musiccityroots) debuted on the PBS affiliate last month. The show features Americana music from artists from or passing through Nashville but the show is scheduled to go national. To see the list of performers, visit http://www. musiccityroots.com. The show airs weekly on Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m. CST. The Host is Jim Lauderdale. Lauderdale can be followed on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/jimlauderdale1 while WNPT-TV can be followed at http://www.twitter.com/npt8.

Active Interest Media (http://www.aimmedia.com) purchased Clean Eating, Oxygen and MuscleMag Internation, three Canadian enthusiast publications.

You can view the entire October Issue of MEDIAware here: www.prnewswire.com/knowledge-center/medi… and the Regional Changes here: http://www.prnewswire.com/knowledge-center/mediaware/October2013UpdatesByRegion.html

You can also follow all of the latest media moves and news from PR Newswire’s Audience Research Department on Twitter at: twitter.com/PRNmedia

8 Blogger Relations Tips from a Blogger

Photo by Jhayne/flickr, used under Creative Commons license

Photo by Jhayne/flickr, used under Creative Commons license

I dread checking my email sometimes. Outside of my job as a media relations manager at PR Newswire, I’m a local interest blogger. Like most bloggers, my inbox fills up with its fair share of pitches.

Some pitches are fantastic: To the point, clearly familiar with my blog, pitching me something my readers and I care about. Others, not so much.

I read every single one of them, though; all the way through. Even the ones addressed to “Andrea”.

The only reason I don’t hit delete on the bad pitches is because I want to learn from their mistakes. I look at what makes me happy as a blogger, as well as what doesn’t. Then I think about how I can incorporate that into my own blogger outreach.

Here are a few lessons I learned:

1) Start your research on the blogger’s About, Disclosure, and PR pages. These pages are a quick way to discover what the blog is about, whether the blogger accepts pitches, and how to reach them. Many of them also have guidelines on the topics they do and don’t blog about.

2) Then do even more research. In addition to looking at the About page, read blog posts. Dig back a month or so. If the blogger doesn’t write about your topic, post giveaways, or review products, your time is better spent pitching someone who does. Check out their blogroll for ideas on other bloggers you can reach out to.

3) Build the relationship before you pitch. Some pitches have caught my attention solely because I recognized the person’s name. That’s because the pitcher had previously reached out to me either by email or with a comment on my blog.

Next time you’re interested in pitching a blogger, try reading their blog and leaving a comment – not as the brand you represent, but as yourself (no pitching in this initial outreach).  A pitch later on may be more likely to catch a blogger’s attention if they recognize your name. Plus, when your pitch says you enjoy reading my blog, I know you’re being honest.

4) Provide advance notice. If you’re pitching an event or have a specific timeline for when you need coverage, don’t wait until the week of. Many bloggers plan their posts in advance. A blogger may make an exception if they have a previous relationship with you (see tip 3), or it’s such an incredible opportunity from a major player in their niche.

However, there is not always time to squeeze in a last minute post. Even if you don’t have all of the details ready for a blog post, pitch the basics with a heads up of when you’re looking for a post. Then ask if the blogger would like the rest of the specifics once they’re finalized.

5) Be clear, but realistic in your ask. If you expect a certain level of commitment from a blogger, communicate that in your conversation, but plan some flexibility to accommodate different bloggers’ availability. For instance, I may not be able to schedule two posts, but I could commit to one post and more social media pushes.

Consider the blogger’s short and long-term value and then decide what you’re ok with in return for the compensation you’re offering.

6) Think beyond the blogger. Know the blog’s audience. Always consider who will be reading a blog post and be careful about overlapping audiences. Don’t oversaturate a particular niche all at once.

Try identifying bloggers from a few different niches that are relevant to your pitch. For instance, a store opening could be pitched to fashion bloggers, local event blogs, lifestyle/personal bloggers, and mom or dad bloggers. Just remember to tailor the angle of your pitch to each individual’s interests. While there may be some overlap, each niche has its own unique audience.

Or spread your campaign over a longer period of time. After you determine the influence level of your target blogs, reach out to a group of high-value influencers, then stagger your outreach to your second and third groups.

Remember that the value of a blogger is not just how large their audience is, but also the relevancy to your brand and how likely it is that they’ll blog about you. A blogger with a smaller audience who is passionate about your brand may be better than a blogger with a massive audience who is not quite the right fit.

7) Be prepared. Be helpful. Short and sweet pitches are fantastic. However, after the pitch, the more resources you have prepared, the better.

When it comes to multimedia, think beyond your brand’s logo; have product shots, event photos, relevant infographics, or embeddable video ready. Similarly, be prepared with hashtags, social media handles, examples of tweets and other social media messaging. Don’t attach everything to your pitch, but offer its availability.

8) The relationship doesn’t stop at the blog post. How a brand interacts after the blog post could help or hurt future outreach just as much as the initial pitch does. A short email thanking the blogger is nice, as is sharing their post (and other posts) on your social media channels.

You don’t need to overwhelm bloggers with a lot of attention; however, the occasional retweet from a brand has helped keep them on my mind months after I blogged about them. Conversely, I try to extend the same courtesy by thanking the brand rep or retweeting their content.

Bonus: An example of good blogger relations.

There are a lot of bad pitches shared online. Instead, here’s an example of blogger relations that left this blogger smiling:

The Katz Club Diner recently opened in Cleveland and is in the process of developing a local coffee program. To build awareness, Emily Richardson of The Katz Club decided to host a blogger meet-up.

Although she had a few dates in mind for a coffee-tasting, her initial pitch was a simple introduction asking bloggers for feedback on what time of day was most convenient to them.

What she learned is that many bloggers were unavailable at a time the restaurant had been considering. Instead of planning an event and then learning no one could attend, Richardson maximized event attendance by engaging with influencers.

By seeking input, being flexible, and giving plenty of advance notice, she demonstrated The Katz Club Diner was honestly interested in what bloggers thought and wanted to work with them.

They were dedicated to building a relationship, which is at the core of all media relations. In turn, I want to build one with them.

Want to improve your pitching?  Hone your pitches and streamline your workflow with Agility, the PR Newswire platform that enables you to target and engage with journalists and bloggers. 

Amanda Hicken is a media relations manager at PR Newswire. You can find her online @ADHicken.

7 Essential Business Practices for Growing Entrepreneurs

Photo via Susan Ng

Photo via Susan Ng

According to the 2013 State of Women-Owned Businesses report, more than 8.6 million U.S. women-owned businesses account for nearly 7.8 million jobs and over $1.3 trillion in revenue. Despite the tremendous opportunities created by women entrepreneurs, there is still doubt over the impact that female leaders are capable of.  “When women start businesses, the term ‘small business’ is automatically applied,” says Peggy Wallace, managing director at Golden Seeds. The first annual WomanCon event held last week in New York City addressed these challenges with real-life lessons from established women entrepreneurs. The presentations covered a range of topics including how to start a business, pitching the media, raising funds, building stronger brands, and balancing work and family life.

Identify your competitors

Growing entrepreneurs may find it hard to admit that their business concepts are not entirely unique. “Anything you can think of has been thought of by at least 5 other people in the world” says Yao Huang, founder of The Hatchery, “Ideas are useless, execution is key.” Compare your business model with competitors and identify your competitive advantage. Think about what you do that is more effective or cost efficient.

Customize your pitch to the media

“Pitches aren’t one size fits all,” advises JJ Ramberg, host of MSNBC’s It’s Your Business and founder of Goodsearch, “Think about your audience and who you are pitching to.” Find out what reporters are interested in and tip specifically to them. Colleen Debaise, director of digital media at the StoryExchange suggests that writers are typically “drawn to the challenges of building your business and how you overcame them.” However, Christine Lagorio, senior writer at Inc.com, adds that business owners should remember that some journalists write features while others create product guides.

Find investors by networking with friends and family

“The human capital network is priceless no matter where you are in the change of development” says Kay Koplovitz, CEO, Koplovitz & Co. and founder of USA Network. Seeking out friends and family to raise money for your venture puts less pressure on how you choose to manage your business. Be sure to formalize the agreement in writing and do not take out debt unless you can pay it back.

Define a powerful brand promise

BrandTwist founder Julie Cottineau believes that entrepreneurs often neglect their most valuable business asset, which is the brand itself. “Brands are a consistent promise you deliver that makes people loyal” she says, “If you don’t have a promise, you are leaving potential revenue behind.”  This promise defines what the fundamental role and purpose of your business is and how you are able to empower your customers.

Hire based on personality

Your employees are essentially your brand ambassadors and should be hired not only based on experience, but also on how they embody your company’s culture. “Hire for personality, not skills,” recommends Ms. Ramberg, “Skills can be taught, perseverance and ambition cannot.”

Make business decisions based on customer needs

“Every business decision you make needs to benefit the customer in some way” says Janine Popick, CEO and founder of VerticalResponse. Business partnerships may not always be successful. Do what is best for your clients, even if it means dissolving a partnership.

Be flexible between business and personal life

“One thing that is important for me to realize is that not every family looks like mine,” says Pamela O’Hara, co-founder of Batchbook Software. Ms. O’Hara requires each of her employees to take a 5-week vacation to ensure that there is a proper balance between business and personal life. Implementing policies that recognize family diversity can create a healthier and happier environment for employees.

The presentations at WomanCon 2013 highlighted a shifting paradigm in the way businesses are established and maintained.  Today’s age of big data means that aspiring entrepreneurs have more opportunity to focus their brands and build stronger relationships with stakeholders based on greater access to competitive research. New communication technologies like social media allow for open dialogue between business-owners, clients, employees, investors, and the media. Therefore, it is imperative to create promises with each stakeholder and follow through in order to establish loyalty.  With an astounding 59% rise in women-owned businesses over the last 16 years, it is clear that female entrepreneurs will continue to break barriers.

PR Newswire tools such as Agility and iReach can help rising entrepreneurs target the media and creating engaging content to propel brands forward at an affordable cost.  Visit http://www.smallbusinesspr.com/ to learn more.

Author Shannon Ramlochan is a proud Brooklyn native, a pop culture enthusiast, and a member of PR Newswire’s marketing team.

 

Pitching the Media: It’s not what it used to be

Life was so simple back when I was a reporter all those years ago. A pen, pad and a mic were all I needed to report the news of the day.

There were really only two ways someone could pitch a story idea to me for the television station I worked for.

Calling the newsroom was by far the most popular pitching method. My assignment editor was the gatekeeper of all incoming calls.  Amazing guy. He could juggle the phone lines, monitor the police scanner and fax machine all to the steady hum of news alerts spewing from the AP printer in the background. You had to get pass him before you could get to me.

If you couldn’t get through by phone, PR folks simply dropped their release in the mail.  That’s right, good ole snail mail!  A batch of releases and letters were neatly stacked on a designated corner of my assignment editor’s desk waiting to be weeded through daily.

It’s a lot different today. We have email and social media to thank for that. PR folks have a multitude of new tools they can now use to deliver their message to the media.

But some pitching rules hold fast.

“Know what the reporter is looking for,” says JJ Ramberg, host of MSNBC’s Your Business. This is #1 on every journalist’s list I’ve come across as a media relations manager with PR Newswire so let’s start there.

  • Do your research: A journalists can tell right away how much you know about their publication or show. JJ says the tip off for her is when people pitch companies.

“We don’t profile companies or people. We feature lessons in small business. That’s what PR folks should pitch to my show.”  Make a good first impression by learning what the media point specifically covers; who their audience is and the various platforms they report on.

  • Personalize your pitch:  A canned pitch is not an effective pitch. Target your pitch to appeal to the media org’s readers/viewers. Be flexible and willing to change your strategy to fit the needs of the publication you’re pitching. Your objective may be to get coverage of an event, but the publication may be interested in another angle of the story. Be open to switching it up to accommodate the journalist.
  • Keep it simple:  Stay away from industry jargon.  “Journalists are not venture capitalists. Our eyes roll when we hear words like “synergy” or “next-generation” or other management-speak buzzwords,” says Colleen DeBaise, former special projects director of Entrepreneur.com and current digital media director at The Story Exchange.  Colorful words don’t make the story more attractive. In fact, it can be a total turn-off.
  • Be available:  Remember, you are on their time. Though you may not grab their attention at first, they may need you later down the road. And when that happens,  be ready.  When they call, answer. Whatever they need, get it. Believe me, they will be forever grateful that you helped them out at crunch time.

The art of pitching the media is forever evolving and changing depending on the nature of your story and the type of media you’re pitching. This Wednesday, I will be moderating a “Pitch the Media Live” panel at the Woman Entrepreneurs Conference in NY. Attendees will have the opportunity to pitch a panel of journalists on the spot and get their honest feedback.  Here are the conference details, agenda and the place you can register.

Work smarter!  Hone your pitches and streamline your workflow with Agility, the PR Newswire platform that enables you to target, monitor and engage with traditional and social media, all in one place.

Author Brett Savage-Simon is a senior manager of media relations for PR Newswire. 

Media Moves and News for September

http://prnbloggers.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/agility-logo.png?w=127&h=125&h=125

MEDIAware, PR Newswire’s Audience Research Department newsletter, features recent media news and job changes in the industry. Here is a sampling of this month’s edition:

Newsweek Magazine owner IAC has sold the magazine to the International Business Times. According to the Daily Beast, the International Business Times is a global news publication founded by Etienne Uzac and Jonathan Davis in 2006. Newsweek was originally sold by the Washington Post Company to philanthropist Sidney Harman in 2010, and then merged with The Daily Beast in November of 2010; ultimately leading to a shared ownership between Harman and The Daily Beast owner IAC. The short joint venture ended in 2012 when the Harman family decided to sell their investment in the company shortly after the death of Harman. Newsweek will part ways with The Daily Beast once the sale is complete, and continue to operate as a digital publication.
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/08/03/newsweek-magazine-sold-to-ibt-media.html

CBS and Time Warner Cable reached an agreement on the retransmission contract, which had ended in June. The two conglomerates had been at a stalemate causing several CBS affiliates to lose content. More than a dozen stations were blacked out during the dispute. The Federal Communications Commission was poised to step in but did not have to in the end. Read more details at: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/03/business/media/cbs-and-time-warner-cable-end-contract-dispute.html?_r=1&

Patch (http://www.patch.com) is planning to shutdown 300 of its 900 local news sites. AOL, the parent company of Patch, is trimming the 300 that are not creating enough revenue. Each “Patch” (https://twitter.com/PatchTweet) provides news and information for a localized area. They are hoping to sell some of the sites or partner with another company to cover costs in producing the Patch sites in some areas of the country.

A recent study by two business school professors (Feng Zhu of Harvard Business School and Robert Seamans of New York University) showed that craigslist, the online local classified website took a big bite out of newspaper advertising. They state that consumers saved over $5 billion by using craigslist (http://www.craigslist.org) from 2000-2007 instead of the local newspaper. This study puts craigslist at the top of the list as another contributing factor in the decline in newspaper revenues. Here’s more information from the study: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/08/13/ny-nyu-stern-school-idUSnBw135869a+100+BSW20130813

HD radio set numbers are up: Ibiquity the company behind HD Radio (http://www.hdradio.com) projects over five million HD radios will enter the market this year up from three million previously. Car manufacturers are the impetus in this growth by including HD Radio in their model offerings this year.

The Toronto Star (http://www.thestar.com) has put up a paywall. Canada’s largest daily newspaper gives you 10 free stories per month but after that it will cost about five Canadian dollars a month. If you already subscribe to the newspaper digital access is included for free.

BH Media Group, a subsidiary of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Company, acquired The Press of Atlantic City (http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com) and named Matt Blum (mblum@pressofac.com) Publisher. Previously Blum was the Publisher of the Morning News in Florence, S.C. and is not new to The Press. From 1989 to 1993 Blum was the papers’ Controller.  BH Media currently owns 30 daily newspapers and weeklies in Virginia, the Carolinas, Florida, Iowa, Texas, Nebraska and New Jersey.

Meredith Corporation (http://www.Meredith.com) supports the list of broadcasters approving the TVB analysis who provide local live + same day ratings: http://www.tvb.org/media/file/Meredith-Broadcasting_08-12-13_Live-Plus-Same-Day.pdf

ABC (http://www.abc.go.com) owned stations are to lay off 175 employees within the Disney/ABC Television Group as part of restructuring operations: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/cotown/la-et-ct-disney-abc-layoffs20130821,0,4888715.story

You can view the entire September Issue of MEDIAware here: www.prnewswire.com/knowledge-center/medi… and the Regional Changes here: http://www.prnewswire.com/knowledge-center/mediaware/September2013UpdatesByRegion.html

You can also follow all of the latest media moves and news from PR Newswire’s Audience Research Department on Twitter at: twitter.com/PRNmedia

The Future of Media Relations: Changing Audience Behavior

martinet quoteSocial media has created the unprecedented ability to form direct brand-to-consumer relationships and share news in real-time. Its influence is so powerful that just last month, Yahoo! announced a groundbreaking new partnership with Twitter that would integrate the site’s social media feed as a news source. This rapid shift in relevance from print to online content puts the future of media relations into question. Stacy Martinet (@stacymartinet) Chief Marketing Officer at Mashable.com, joined Business Development Institute and PR Newswire in a roundtable discussion to share her insight on the latest trends in content marketing and the future of media relations.

According to Martinet, most of todays’ content marketing is concentrated online. With a new emphasis on storytelling, PR and marketing are no longer disjointed industries. In fact, Martinet predicts that PR specialists will soon be held more accountable for metrics. However, the number of ‘likes’ or ‘followers’ on social media is simply not enough to accurately measure ROI or KPI.

“In media relations, ROI is more about asking, ‘have you changed the behavior of the customer?’ ” says Martinet.

Producing customized content is one of the ways to change customer attitudes. mr blurbMashable.com works with brands on building a “custom mission” or goal that embodies the brand’s culture. It is crucial to manage a product content portfolio to sustain a positive brand image with customers.

“Corporate websites are more important than ever,” Martinet says. “Images, info graphics and other rich media are a must.” More importantly, the sites must provide an immediacy of information in order to build trust. Martinet suggests that content be delivered via stream. It should be clear what the stream is about and updated on a regular basis.

Traditional journalism still matters

With the current emphasis of online content marketing, what does this mean for the future of journalism? Now that news is breaking faster on Twitter than other sources, the future of “exclusives” appears to be grim. Although they can offer behind-the-scenes opportunities, “To me, exclusives are the end of an era. [They] tend to only matter to journalists or news outlets” Martinet admits. She also emphasizes that fact-checking is still more important than breaking the news first.

Martinet says that although technology is changing, “Remember, the mainstream media still matters so that’s still a huge get!” Using social media tools in conjunction with mainstream media can provide insight on branding, audience development and purchasing.  Sites like Twitter can also identify consumer influencers who may not be journalists, such as users with a massive number of followers.

Updating your media outreach tactics

Martinet offers a few tips for media outreach today:

  • Even though Facebook is among the most popular social networking sites, journalists rely on Twitter for sourcing.
  • Email is still an effective way to communicate with journalists.
  • Be sure to get straight to the point, offer exclusive content and provide visuals and screen shots when possible.
  • Remember that anything you write can be posted; it is important to explicitly state if none of the information should be shared on social networks.

Martinet believes that mobile technology will lead the new wave of media relations. She says, “In many countries mobile consumption bypasses desktop usage, but the products and platforms currently available are lagging in a changing business model.” Therefore, investing in advanced mobile technology and content streaming is vital to prepare for the future of content marketing and media relations.

Despite the shifts in media relations from print to online technologies, the core approach remains unchanged. As Martinet says, “We still must develop and create a compelling message as always. We just have several tools now to use.”  Conveying meaning through powerful words and images should always be the main focus of a PR or marketing campaign. Strategically pairing a captivating message with technological elements will resonate with audiences and be the driving force for a successful media relations campaign.

Co-authored by PR Newswire’s  Shannon Ramlochan, marketing, and Brett Simon, media relations & audience development. 

Dealing With Negative Comments on a Company’s Social Media Accounts

The Q&A Team answers questions from ProfNet readers with advice from our large network of experts. Has there been a question burning in your mind lately, something you’ve been wondering that none of your colleagues can answer? Please send it to polina.opelbaum@prnewswire.com

Dear Q&A Team,

A couple of weeks ago I was assigned to manage my company’s social media accounts. I started noticing negative comments being left on our different accounts, and I am not sure if I should delete/block or respond to these comments. What is the best and most professional way from me to deal with these attacks?

Lost in SM World

_____________________

Dear Lost in SM World,

Congrats on your challenging but exciting new role! Here are seven ProfNet experts who provide their insight on managing negative commentary on a company’s social media accounts:

Define the Attack

“First, define who is attacking you, because it might not be worth your time to pursue,” says Penny Sansevieri, president/CEO of Author Marketing Experts, Inc.  “It’s important to know the difference between an online attack and a difference of opinion. We’ve worked with authors who have gotten bad reviews and wanted them pulled. A bad review is not an online attack — it’s someone’s opinion of your product or book. They didn’t like it and it’s their right to voice that.”

Therefore, “if the negative comments are constructive and have merit, it’s critical to respond in a respectful, conversational and non-defensive way. Explain in a fact-based manner the brand’s position,” says Lisa Gerber, president of Big Leap Creative.

In addition, there can be times where the comment may be a customer service issue rather than a blatant negative comment that is delivered via social media and seems aggressive in nature.

“How you respond, and who should respond, should be known in advance throughout the organization,” explains Chris Dessi, CEO and founder of Silverback Social. For example, he says, “Is there a customer service email you can refer people to? A customer service phone number?”

Responding to a Negative Attack

Wikipedia defines a troll as “someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as a forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional responseor otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.

Now that we know the “official” name of the individuals who attack, how do you deal with the attacks?

Peter LaMotte, senior vice president of LEVICK, says, “Your message needs to be clear and firm, and must communicate the company’s pre-determined position. If a firm is clear with their communication and stance, there is little more to add unless the conversation takes a new direction. A clear statement can also avoid time-consuming back-and-forth arguments.”

“The company should always be honest about how they are dealing with the issue,” added LaMotte. “If they legally can address the issue, they should never be anything less than transparent. Transparency shows that you have nothing to hide, so anything less than full transparency will exacerbate the issue. Finally, use your platforms to focus on the positive aspects of the issue. If steps are being taken to address the issue, use your blog to tell the story and then share that content across all of your social media platforms.”

Sansevieri  agrees: “Communicate on your blog, on Twitter, and on Facebook. Don’t stop talking. That’s the first thing many big companies want to do: go silent. Silence is not golden. Be communicative.”

Some issues should be handled outside of social media, says Bill Corbett, president of Corbett PR. “Major concerns should be taken offline for discussions and communications with customers with issues.”

Sansevieri says, emailing the person and having a dialogue may be the last thing you want to do, but “step back and realize that going directly to the source could fix this much faster.”

As far as how quickly you should respond to the attack, Dessi recommends responding “as quickly as humanly possible. Really. No matter what, you must respond quickly. The faster you respond (even if you don’t have a solution for someone), the better. We like to at least say to people: ‘We hear you. Thank you for posting. We’re working on getting you an answer.’”

When to Delete/Ignore an Attack

Complaints that are not respectful or not understandable may be subject to no answer or deletion; blocking of the individual; or other actions, says Corbett.

Specifically, “if there is any inclusion of personal attacks or personal information of employees or stakeholders, the company has the right to delete the comment,” says LaMotte.

Sansevieri shared a case where an individual had to be blocked from Twitter. “A few years ago, one of my Twitter followers asked me to market him for free (no kidding). When I didn’t, he started attacking me on Twitter. We reported him to Twitter and he was shut down, but that’s the extent of what we did. Now he continues to start up new Twitter accounts and tries to follow us, but he is always blocked.”

However, if a comment is deleted, you need to have something to fall back on and explain the reason for deletion, says Gerber. “This is where a social media policy is very important. In your policy you can state that comments that are disrespectful or contain profanity will be deleted. This policy should be posted online somewhere and available to all community members,” he explains.

*See Huffington Post’s comment policy: www.huffingtonpost.com/faq/#moderationprovided by Tim McDonald, community manager of HuffPost Live. You can also read his insight on dealing with trolls here: bit.ly/XTKmEF

A Positive Side to the Attack

“Sometimes, ‘negative’ comments are a good thing, and can be an opportunity for your brand’s customer service to shine and to solve a problem in front of your social media fans,” says Dessi. “I’ve done this for large retailers and it’s always a huge hit.”

In addition, if you’re doing your job well, your brand advocates will also come to your rescue, says Gerber.

Dessi agrees, saying “it’s always better when the community polices this type of activity. The best way to encourage this behavior is to give back to your community, engage with your community, and generate genuine interest and affection for your brand/personality. When there is affection there will be defenders in your corner, always.”

As far as getting involved in the conversation while the community comes to your rescue, Gerber believes that “as a brand, you’ve said your piece. Now your brand advocates are participating. Your job is done.” If you would like to thank your brand advocates for the supportive behavior, “you can message them privately thanking them.”

Managing Across Different Social Media Accounts

Handling negative comments for difference social networks requires different responses, says Dessi. “I like to say that they are the same language, but different dialects. Also, certain social platforms allow for different types of responses to complaints from the community. Recently, there was a long Facebook post response from the president of Carnival Cruise Lines speaking about a ship that has been stranded at sea. He couldn’t offer that depth on Twitter, nor would it be appropriate.”

“Twitter responses should be more immediate,” adds Corbett. “Facebook responses should be well thought-out and provide more information or ask questions.” He adds that tweets have a shorter life span than Facebook and other posts. “In many instances, a response alone is enough to solve and issue.”

Yet, the fundamentals of communications remain the same, said Gerber. “Don’t get defensive, never be angry, and end the conversation if you are going to agree to disagree. The tools simply dictate a change in tactics, but not in strategy.”

Do’s and Don’ts

Dan Grody, partner of Tellem Grody PR, provides some helpful do’s and don’ts for managing negative comments.

DO:

  • Remember that everything will be ok.
  • Respond to negative comments.
  • Take screenshot threads that demonstrate resolution and keep them on file. You will always be able to show your social media team examples of handling negative comments.
  • Direct conversations offline to address matters privately, if situation is not      easily resolved.

DON’T

  • Don’t delete the comments (unless offensive, derogatory, etc.).
  • Don’t stress.
  • Don’t get defensive.

LaMotte adds to the list with a few more do’s:

  • Engage in the conversation where the conversation is already taking place, don’t try and create your own soapbox.
  • Use a single voice of the firm. Don’t allow any employee to engage on your behalf on their own accord.
  • Be a human being; don’t come across like a robot or party-line recording.
  • Be honest about mistakes or missteps. Don’t forget to address your next steps or solutions.

I hope this provides you with the information you need to effectively and successfully manage the trolls and different negative comments you receive on your company’s social media accounts. Good luck!

- The Q&A Team

Written by Polina Opelbaum, editor of ProfNet, a service that helps journalists connect with expert sources.  The Q&A Team is published biweekly on ProfNet Connect, a free social networking site for communicators. To read more from Polina, check out her blog on ProfNet Connect.

image via Flickr user cambodia4kidsorg

Twitter’s Two Factor Authentication May Not Help Those Who Need it Most

There are a multitude of vulnerabilities for brands in social media and none so famous perhaps as the recent hack of the Associated Press Twitter account, which had a lot of people in the media pointing fingers at Twitter for not having a more secure platform.

Many called for two factor authentication, like Facebook offers. Adding this feature to your account will require you to enter a code that is texted to your cellphone when you attempt to log in.

This week Twitter announced that it has now added that very feature.


Per Twitter’s instructions, you can enable the new security feature in three simple steps:

1)      Visit your account settings page.

2)      Select “Require a verification code when I sign in.”

3)      Click on the link to “add a phone” and follow the prompts.

However, if you share management of a brand Twitter account, this new verification process may not work for you. Ask yourself, whose cell phone number is going to be attached to the account and how certain are you that person and ‘their cell phone’ will be available each time the code is needed?

Jim O’Leary on Twitter’s product security team states on Twitter’s blog, “With login verification enabled, your existing applications will continue to work without disruption. If you need to sign in to your Twitter account on other devices or apps, visit your applications page to generate a temporary password to log in and authorize that application.”

That sounds good. Most brands use a third party application like Hootsuite to manage Twitter. But sometimes authorization fails. Sometimes you need to delete an erroneous tweet quickly. Sometimes you get a new laptop and what if the person with the cell phone attached to the account is traveling. I can think of too many reasons why I don’t want one of our brand accounts attached to a single person’s cell phone. Not the least of which is if an account is hacked the person able to act quickly on your team to log in and change the password may not be the person with the cell phone needed for the security code.

Twitter’s security solution is a start, but it’s not a solution that will work for all, and certainly not in all situations.

In truth, the bigger problem to be addressed may be internally. Educating  employees on not clicking questionable links in emails may be in order. The Onion, which was recently hacked, kindly shared exactly how the attackers got in. It all started with an employee clicking on a link in an email that should have been questioned. The AP admitted that it was hacked similarly, because an employee clicked on a link that came in an email.

What should we be doing until all social networks are secure from hacking and the threat of spam emails has been eradicated? As marketing and PR professionals managing brand social media accounts, we should all be having serious and hopefully productive conversations with our information security officers, as well as keeping ourselves educated on what the current threats are.

Information and awareness are essential.

Victoria HarresVictoria Harres is VP, Audience Development & Social Media at PR Newswire, the main voice behind @PRNewswire, social media lead for @Business4Better and a frequent speaker and writer on social media for business. 

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