Tag Archives: media relations

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.

 

8 Simple Rules for Succeeding as an Entrepreneur

The upcoming live event WomanCon 2013 at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York City will feature powerhouse female professionals who have courageously challenged the status quo to reign as thought leaders within the business, technology, and media industries.  Each panel at the conference will focus on a major challenge of building a successful empire.

Brett Simon of PR Newswire

One challenge that every entrepreneur, marketer, or salesperson must face is effectively executing the classic elevator pitch. Conference attendees will have a rare opportunity to put their elevator pitch to the test before seasoned media relations professionals during the panel, “Pitch the Media Live.” PR Newswire’s Senior Manager, Media Relations Brett Simon (@savisimon), an ex-TV reporter in her own right, will offer her extensive insight on media pitching as she moderates the panel.

“Working at PR Newswire offers a chance to work on ‘both sides of the fence’–with members of the media who use PR Newswire for Journalists and ProfNet to get story ideas and sources, and clients who use our services to send their content to audiences including journalists, B2B and consumer buyers,” she says, “I’m really excited to use this unique perspective as I moderate WomanCon’s Pitch the Media Live panel, which will offer women entrepreneurs and small business owners in attendance the opportunity to use their elevator pitch and get feedback on the spot.”

The accomplishments of this year’s speakers are a true inspiration for aspiring women entrepreneurs who, at times, are still subjected to discrimination within the workplace. Prior to WomanCon 2013, several of the highly-anticipated speakers shared their personal advice with PR Newswire for those who hope to face their greatest challenges and push the boundaries of success.

1. Focus on building a strong brand
“You need to think about your brand promise, what sets you apart, and then use every single touch point at your disposal to communicate a consistent message” says BrandTwist Founder and CEO, Julie Cottineau. Defining a brand and its strategic criteria before website development is most important because trial and error “can end up costing entrepreneurs a lot of money they don’t have, or money could that could be better invested elsewhere in their business.”
Ms. Cottineau will be presenting her “5 Strategies to Build Your Brand” using case studies from global giant, Virgin Enterprises.

2. Be persistent
“It takes persistence to become successful, when you believe in an idea that will never let you go, never, ever give up,” urges Kay Koplovitz, Chairman and Co-Founder of Springboard Enterprises. Ms. Koplovitz endured 7 long years before she saw her dreams come to fruition as the first female CEO in television for USA Networks.

She will be featured in the panel discussion “Angels, VCs and More: Getting Money for Growth” discussing the value of human capital and building out your network.

3. Be confident, not defensive
Yao-Hui Huang, partner at Pereg Industries and founder of The Hatchery believes “It’s not just about how smart you are or how great your business is. It is how you answer the questions, how you interact with others, it is how you respond.” She attributes this lesson to spending over a decade building one of New York’s largest networks in technology through various people, projects and deals.

Ms. Huang will share her expertise during the presentation “Turning Ideas Into Companies,” which will cover how to transition your passions into tangible creations.

4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
“Many times we don’t tap in to the most valuable resource we have, which is our network and connections” advises WomanCon Founder and Producer, Laura Leites. “People will help you, you just have to ask.”

Ms. Leites founded WomanCon as a way to provide educational and inspirational resources for aspiring entrepreneurs. She credits her trusted and loyal network for helping turn her dreams into a reality.

5. Reach out for support from advisors, mentors, and fellow entrepreneurs
“Being an entrepreneur can feel like the loneliest job in the world” admits Geri Stengel, president of Ventureneer and Forbes contributor. “When you hit an obstacle, get out there and talk to advisors, mentors and your fellow entrepreneurs. Your peers in particular understand what you’re going through. Their advice and encouragement is invaluable.”

Ms. Stengel will be monitoring the panel discussion “Angels, VCs and More: Getting Money for Growth” which will educate, motivate, and inspire women to fuel their growth with outside funding.

6. Attend as many networking events for women and entrepreneurs as possible
Colleen DeBaise, director of digital media at StoryExchange, realized the importance of attending networking events after interviewing successful African-American entrepreneur, Judi Henderson-Townsend. Ms. Henderson shared her fear of being mistreated in an industry that lacked diversity, but believed that she learned how to have confidence after observing the behaviors of white businessmen. From this story, Ms. Debaise encourages others to “Surround yourself with entrepreneurs who may have a completely different perspective than you. It can be an eye-opening experience.”

Ms. Debaise will share her insights on how to pitch the media in her presentation “Pitch the Media Live.”

7. Take it one step at a time
After serving as CEO and Co-Founder of BatchBook Software while balancing life as a proud mother, Pamela O’Hara appreciates the value of stepping back and reflecting. “Take it one day at a time,” she says, “understand that entrepreneurship is a constant juggling act and you’ll constantly need to re-prioritize. Change is the only constant, so just embrace it!”

Ms. O’Hara will discuss the challenges of balancing work and life in her presentation “How to Stay Human in a High Tech World.”

8. Be flexible and willing to modify your plan
“It is so important that entrepreneurs validate that they are truly filling a customer need” says Peggy Wallace, managing partner at Golden Seeds. “Listen to the customers and develop products with their needs in mind.”

Ms. Wallace will be featured in the panel discussion “Angels, VCs and More: Getting Money for Growth” addressing the different types of funding for start-up companies

The speakers of WomanCon 2013 prove that while life as a female entrepreneur poses unique challenges, it is not impossible. Their stories are powerful reminders that any goal is attainable as long as you have the confidence in your ideas, the patience for progress, the humility to listen, and the drive to succeed.
To hear real behind-the-scenes stories of accomplished female entrepreneurs and gain practical advice on how to grow your business, register here for WomanCon 2013: http://www.womancon.com/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 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

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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:

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

12 Tips for Keeping Control in Front of the Media

keep-calm-its-just-the-media

When confronted by a barrage of microphones and probing questions you won’t always have “Just watch me” moments. You’re human. You even make mistakes. It’s understandable: cameras and confusion can make media scrums and press conferences intimidating.

It’s important to engage with media. Dealing with media can be an opportunity to showcase recent achievements, share information with key publics, promote your brand or to showcase leadership.

As communicators, it’s our job to coach the spokesperson to handle all types of media inquiries, one of the most important being the press conference or media scrum. So, where do you start?

  1. Prepare a list of tough questions: You should have a pretty good handle on who your audience is.  Prepare a list of questions you anticipate them asking. Dig deep and don’t assume they won’t ask. It’s better to be ready for anything, so you never have to say “no comment”.
  2. Anticipate audience reactions:  What if some of the questions you’re being asked garner unexpected responses or follow-up questions? Answer the questions on your list from all angles, just in case someone reacts adversely to something you say. Know how to rephrase your responses and be sure to stay on message.
  3. List information not for release: In some sensitive situations, just as important as the key messages are details that are off limits. For example, if the circumstances surrounding the conference are grave, personal information of those involved should not be released. Know what’s off limits before you step up to the microphone.
  4. Distribute material:  You may keep things on track during the conference by having supplementary information readily available to attendees. Factsheets, photos, contacts lists, agenda, maps, company and product information – have these items available in a press kit. This will help journalists covering the story to keep facts straight (timelines, technology specifics) and stay consistent in messaging. It may also cut down on questions and make sure your event runs on time.
  5. Listen:  Now it’s time for the Q&A. This is like the interview portion, so remember to listen to the question. Even though you’ve anticipated a lot of these questions, it’s important to make sure you understand exactly what’s being asked. This will allow you to better answer the question the first time, without having to repeat yourself. Seek first to understand.
  6. Pause: You’ll be answering many questions. It’s perfectly acceptable to take a pause before answering. Make sure you heard the whole question; make clarifications; think about your answer; and respond. If the question has multiple parts, break it up by repeating the part of the question you’re answering. Just take it one step at a time. Pauses are never as long as they seem. So take your time.
  7. Answer the question: Don’t waste time beating around the bush. Listen to the question. Understand what it is that’s being asked. And answer that question. Keep it as clear and simple as possible. Brevity is sometimes the best way. You’re leading the session, so set the standard for clarity right off the bat.
  8. Lead with the facts. You won’t be able to divulge everything at a press conference. Be honest about what you know and what you’re working to find out more about. “No comment” is not an acceptable response. But admitting you don’t have all the information yet is more “transparent” than giving journalists the freeze-out.
  9. Stay on message: It may happen that an attendee at a conference for one event is there to try to inquire into other aspects of your business. Be prepared to get back to journalists with answers to unrelated questions at another time. “Today our focus is _________, but I’d be happy to get in touch with you afterward to answer your questions about __________.” And, sometimes the best way to answer a question is to reiterate a key message.
  10. Stop Talking: They asked. You answered. That’s all you have to do, so stop talking. Make your point and move on. There’s no need to ramble on or jump around to different topics. If someone repeats the question, answer with your key messages and take the next one. Keep things moving.
  11. Watch yourself: In all likelihood, the event was taped. Use the video to coach the spokesperson. What went well? What went poorly? Was their body language appropriate? How was the pace? What could have been handled better? Did the audience identify with the spokesperson? It’s important to conduct a little bit of a self-audit because you might need to consider a new spokesperson.
  12. Learn and correct: Every press conference is a learning experience. Use it to make improvements where you can, in everything from how the event was run to the invitees list and from the venue to the spokesperson chosen. Learn from successes and mistakes to move forward. 

Great preparation can also be the best defense.   That’s why a fundamental aspect of a good media relations program is keeping tabs on what is being published and said about your brand and industry, and to respond quickly when needed.  MediaVantage combines potent media monitoring, measurement and workflow tools to empower your organization to be in control of the brand.

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The 5 Building Blocks of a Media Relations Strategy

So, you think you know media relations. You’ve handled the tough questions, established some good relationships with key journalists and you know most of the how-tos.

But what lies beyond these tactics?

It’s the strategy. Increasingly we, as communicators, are being asked to demonstrate value and prove our worth. Having sound strategies in place is one of the sure-fire ways to do just that.

Here are some helpful tips to build a media relations strategy from the ground up:

1.     GOALS

You can’t achieve success if you don’t know what success looks like. Take some control and outline exactly what it is you’re trying to accomplish.

Your media relations goals should be directly tied to your business and communications goals. Are you trying to achieve success in a certain market? Or trying to promote a new product or service? Link your media relations goals directly to that. And make them measurable.

Maybe you need to inform your stakeholders? Educate them? Or influence them? Be specific when planning your goals and objectives. It might seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised how many communicators don’t take the time to outline their goals before jumping in. The key is aligning your goals to the overarching business goals.

2.       WHO ARE YOU TALKING TO?

A good PR practitioner will tell you that it’s worth determining who your audiences are. Every single one. Segmentation is vital. It’s not enough to say “news media.” You better know which publications, and which journalists you want to talk to.

If you divide your audiences accordingly, it makes it easier to determine how much influence they have on your business or in your market. And, you’ll be better able to tailor messaging that really speaks to each audience.

3.       WHAT ARE YOU SAYING?

Overall, your company will have some general messaging to align the business. And, for each campaign, you’ll need to create specific messaging to support your goals and objectives.

If you understand what your audiences need and want from you, you should be able to anticipate what kinds of information you’ll share. For your strategy, stick to three key messages that support your media relations goals. You should be able to fall back on these three if you’re ever in doubt.

4.       WHAT ARE YOU DOING and HOW ARE YOU GETTING THERE?

Tactics are the nitty gritty details of what exactly you’ll be doing to tackle your goals. Will you issue media advisories, host press conferences or get exposure for your key spokespeople during community events? What are you going to do?

How are you planning to achieve these tactics? Is it to build new relationships or nurture existing ones? It’s important to note how you’ll execute. And when? Attach some timelines and a budget to these tactics.

5.       MEASURE

Was one of your goals to increase media coverage from financial media by 20% more than last year? How will you know you achieved that? Make sure that you’ve budgeted for measurement. It’s an ongoing process and it’s the only way you’ll be able to determine success.

Having a media relations strategy in place is just good business practice. You may have mastered the art of media relations. But, at the end of the day, even if you can answer tough questions on the spot, it won’t matter unless you’re tying those media relations tactics to your business strategy.

Another fundamental aspect of a good media relations program is keeping tabs on what is being published and said about your brand and industry, and to respond quickly when needed.  MediaVantage combines potent media monitoring, measurement and workflow tools to empower your organization to be in control of the brand

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. 

The PR Pitch: A Skill that Matters More than Ever

keepcalmAn article Ragan’s PR Daily ran last week titled “Is the Traditional PR Pitch Dead?” flirted with the notion that it’s possible to practice PR without pitching media and bloggers. The author, Rachel Farrell, concluded (and I agree)that social media is a path to news, not a replacement for it, and that pitching thought leaders and who shape opinion is still a good idea. The art of the pitch still matters.

I’ll go a step further and say that the pitch has never been more important to PR than it is today.

The pitch is the art of describing the very core of a story, and it drives right to heart of why the story would be of interest or importance to the audience.

Just as a pitch – whether delivered via email or phone — is designed to attract the attention of a journalist, that same pitch can also be used to attract your brand’s publics.

In fact, we need to think about leaving multiple pitches  into messages, in order to attract the reader keep the audiences’ attention and guide them along the path that we’ve created, all the way to the outcome we intend.

Even if pitching traditional media and connected bloggers isn’t part of the remit of the particular project, ultimately the success of the message hinges on the pitch, and here’s why:

The pitch will win attention: When appealing to online audiences, it’s crucial that you surface that essential why in the story as quickly as possible. Think about starting your press release, for example, with a pitch.

Keep pitching to hold attention: But don’t stop pitching for attention with the headline.  Once you have the attention of the reader (or in the case of a video, the viewer,) you have to keep it.  Keep pitching throughout the message to keep the audience engaged.  How do you do this? Keep surfacing those crucial nuggets that describe why the story matters, and lead your audience through the message, laying a trail with these compelling ideas.

Close the deal with a pitch: What’s the outcome you want the audience to take? If you’ve kept the audience’s attention throughout the whole message, you’ve managed to generate a lot of interest.  Well done!  But now is not the time to take your foot off the gas.  Encourage the reader to take the next step, and use a pitch to do it.

Abandoning the power of the s the last thing I would do. As the availability of information multiplies and attention spans correspondingly decrease, honing the ability to craft messages designed to garner, keep and guide audience interest is important, and the pitch is a tactic that translates especially well to today’s attention market.

Author Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of content marketing, and is the author of the e-book “Unlocking Social Media for PR.”  Follow her on Twitter at @sarahskerik .