Archive for the ‘Journalism’ Category
The 24-hour news cycle has given us many gifts (some good, some… less so), but one that is extremely useful to the PR world is a continued need for experts or interesting points of view when a major story breaks. Becoming involved in a breaking news story can be an excellent opportunity to gather wide exposure for your organization and reinforce to the public what it is that you do best. Consider this: every time a reporter calls you an expert, he’ll have to explain why. If the reason is rooted in your work, the resulting publicity can have far-reaching rewards.
But there are always pros and cons. Before delving into the fray, you need to make sure you are doing it for the right reasons. Here are four questions to ask yourself.
Two months ago, my career did a 180-degree turn.
I left my job as a business reporter and joined a PR firm. While I was excited by the opportunity of digging into a new profession and all the challenges that come with it, I dreaded the inevitable jabs about going to the other side of the broadsheet.
Before I started, I had a feeling that one of the toughest parts of my job transition would be pitching my former friends and colleagues. I was right. Initially, pitching reporters has been a bit surreal. Suddenly, my new reality is that rather than screening dozens of pitches a day for the occasional newsworthy gem, I’m on the other side, trying to catch the attention of reporters, hoping that they’ll bite on one of my ideas.
At the White House correspondents’ dinner, President Obama said, “I remember when BuzzFeed was just something I did in college after 2 a.m.”
Indeed, while the website founded by MIT grad and Huffington Post co-founder Jonah Peretti is 7-years old, until recent months, BuzzFeed might have been something only college students were reading at 2 a.m., searching for LOL cats and photo bombs that they could share on Facebook.
But all that is changing and it feels as if suddenly, BuzzFeed has all the media buzz.
- Propelled by high-profile news events such as the Newtown shooting and Boston Marathon bombings, the site seemed to intuit exactly what readers wanted during and after the crisis and its content was even more viral than usual. In January, the site had about 30 million unique visitors. In April, that number had spiked to 65 million uniques. The New York Times’ website has nearly 29 million monthly uniques.
In the horrifying moments after the Boston Marathon bombings, after ensuring that everyone we knew was safe, we told all clients who might have scheduled tweets to shut them off. Some of them already had and some were shocked that it took almost 20 minutes to finally stop the process.
Thankfully, having a business Twitter blackout has become standard procedure during any crisis because a brand’s social chatter – even if it’s not self-promotional – seems wrong when people are trawling for vital information about breaking news. Going silent is the digital equivalent of giving a fire truck the necessary 500-foot perimeter to do its job. Get out of the way of the #disaster hashtag.
I’ve been working in PR for over two decades and, even to this day, nothing makes me happier than when I land a great piece of media coverage for a client. To me, this joyful moment happens when three elements come together in unison: a great pitch, a solid relationship with a reporter, and the right timing.
Once upon a time, great media relationships were built over lunches, press conferences, phone calls and in-person media tours. But times have changed and so has PR. Today, while phone calls still matter a great deal, in-person meetings are rare. The good news is that we now have Twitter and it’s a huge and, I think, untapped, asset for building relationships with reporters.
In a random act of Googling last night, I was searching on PR firms and I stumbled on a bunch of Quora and Google+ discussions where entrepreneurs were asking a simple question: how do I choose a PR firm? The answers to these questions were many, all with the same common theme largely from journalists — you can do PR yourself. Forget the agency. Just get to know the press you need and reach out yourself. This argument is not new to me or to the PR community. But we often just sit back and let journalists air their grievances with PR firms — after all, journalists are our clients too. It will come as no surprise that I am on the other side of this argument in most cases (although not always). But for good reasons.
Writing has always been a passion of mine — from scribbling pretend news stories when I was a child to penning blog posts and bylines as a communications professional. As in sports or music, practice makes perfect.
But we’re all human, so mistakes can certainly occur, especially in this digital age when it seems our keyboards are moving faster than the news cycles. The race to quickly publish is heated, but before distributing, writing needs thorough proofreading. After all, content is currency in public relations, and any grammar flops can disgrace circulated content almost faster than pushing it live.
The Associated Press Stylebook provides a right-hand guide for all writers and answers many questions about proper prose. Following are some common blunders in written content, with the AP Stylebook’s rules to help keep them straight.
Content is king – you’ve heard that before. Granted, there should be a healthy focus on content creation in today’s marketing mix, but one of the core beliefs at InkHouse is that content by itself – even great content – falls short. Content needs to be shared, it needs to grow and it needs to engage in order for your thought leadership foothold to increase. This is where a strong seeding program (i.e. InkHouse’s Content Bureau) can set your content apart.
One of the most effective ways to seed your content is to interact with existing content – articles, blog posts, even tweets. For the sake of this post, let’s focus on blog posts and articles. Almost all writers like a comment on their article or blog post – journalists have told InkHousers that they appreciate a article comments much more than a “rapid response” email – so it’s a great place to engage with influencers and drive them to your content.