Rise of the Mobile News Junkie: 4 Insights From the State of the News Media Annual Report*

Written by: Christine Williamson on Thursday, September 24, 2015 | Leave a Comment 

Shifts in consumers’ news behavior have a tremendous impact on how we, as PR professionals, get our clients’ messages across. In the Pew Research Center’s annual State of the News Media report, thirty-nine of the top fifty news websites now see more traffic coming from mobile devices than from desktop computers – representing one of the biggest changes in America’s news habits.

paper and glassesAs readership on digital-only and social mediums grows, media relations strategies must adapt. Any good agency will understand and appreciate the value of an old-school hit like a Wall Street Journal article and an interview on an iHeartRadio station, but the strategy shouldn’t stop there. With so many new faces in the game, it’s more important than ever to do your research. PR firms and the companies they represent should weigh the social reach and social influence of the reporter and the outlet before jumping on or declining a potential media opportunity. As the number of people who view news on their mobile devices continues to increase, getting tweeted about could make all the difference in reaching your next customer.

Below are 4 additional key findings from this year’s State of the News Media report. Read more…

The Scoop on the Media’s 2015 Agenda*

Written by: Phil Greenough on Tuesday, March 3, 2015 | Leave a Comment 

No one can predict the stock market or the weather (at least here in Boston). Let’s add the news cycle to that list as well. That said, the top-tier media do have an agenda. We see it in the annual editorial calendars that are painstakingly constructed by every top tier outlet. Our media relations team did a comprehensive analysis of what’s in store for 2015 and identified the top 5 themes from the likes of the New York TimesFortuneFast Company, the Wall Street Journal and five other pubs.

Take a couple minutes to see the 5 summary charts and the hooks you can use to get your company in the mix.

Click the image to advance to the next slide

The 7 Stages of Grief: How to Get Over the Article that Got Away*

Written by: Media Team on Wednesday, August 20, 2014 | 3 Comments 

It happened: the perfect story for your client ran in one of your target publications, but your client wasn’t in it. That’s right – you’ve been left out. Despite all the networking you do, the relationships you maintain with industry reporters and your constant media outreach, you somehow managed to slip this reporter’s mind when she was drafting her piece.

Your Article Didn't Make The Cut

Photo: Library Patron, Flickr, askhpnl

First of all, don’t beat yourself up. This can and does happen to the best of us: even the most successful PR pro doesn’t bat 1,000. No matter how good you are, at some point in your career you’ll lose an article that should have been yours – and when it happens to you, you’ll go through the classic 7 stages of grief. Here’s how to deal with each of them:

1. Shock

Finish reading the article and take a few deep breaths. Maybe walk a couple laps around the office to process the terrible injustice unfortunate fact that this reporter didn’t think to include your client. Give yourself a few moments to get over the shock before moving on.

2. Denial

Read more…

Feeding the Media: Turning One Strategic Placement into Multiple Big Hits*

Written by: Zach Pearson on Monday, June 23, 2014 | Leave a Comment 

Photo: Newspapers, Jon S, Flickr Creative Commons

These days producers, editors and reporters are under constant deadlines. The pressure is on to fill digital and cable news sites with fresh content 24/7 and reporters are often asked to file three or more stories a day. So how do journalists continually feed the beast? By sharing content.

The latest RTDNA/Hofstra University study finds that nearly 76 percent of stations are involved with other media in newsgathering and sharing agreements. Almost a third of news directors (31.2 percent) said they ran news on another local station, and the study finds that content ran on an average of 1.4 stations. The majority of stations also have cooperative agreements with outlets in other mediums including local newspapers, radio stations and websites.

Read more…

The Importance of PR Pitching Via Phone*

Written by: Zach Pearson on Friday, November 1, 2013 | Leave a Comment 

We posted a blog post a while ago on the importance of picking up the phone in PR, especially when pitching stories. We, as an industry, have begun to rely too much on email as a sole form of communication. However, the reality is, phone pitches can produce some very powerful results.

Here are a few thoughts about phone pitching that our director of media relations Aaron Kellogg brought up in an earlier blog post, which serve as a good reminder of the power of phone conversations:

Email gets stuck. A journalist friend of mine once said to me, “My email just piles up! I probably get 20 pitches a day. I don’t know what to do with it all, so I don’t do anything.” His advice? “It’s annoying to get a phone call. But, once the person starts talking, I usually have to listen.” Sure, there’s something irritating for journalists who get phone calls: it’s an interruption. But, those who call immediately have the journalist’s ear. Then, it’s up to the PR representative to make the pitch work.

The open discussion. Sometimes it’s good to lend your ear to the journalist. What does that mean? A couple months back we were pitching a high-level legal publication. But, we weren’t sure if the editor would be interested in the topic we were pitching. After all, we also weren’t sure what angle we wanted to take. So we had a discussion. And upon getting the editor on the phone, our conversation went something like this:

    “This is Susan” 
    “Hi Susan, I’m calling on behalf of (my client). We realize there’s a lot of news about (a program the IRS is undertaking). Is it something you’ve given a lot of coverage to?”

Two things were interesting about this pitch:

One, this discussion would likely not have taken place over email. By having a telephone conversation, we were able to open up the conversation to get a better idea of what the editor wanted – we lent her our ear to do a bit of listening. Why is it good? Because sometimes I feel like email pitches can be like throwing darts at a dart board. You have a specific, physical idea in your possession. And once you fire off the pitch by clicking “send,” it’s fingers crossed. Instead, the phone conversation is malleable.

Two, there wasn’t really a pitch in this example. Some people might deem this “lazy PR.” After all, our job is to develop firm, targeted pitches. But, I’d argue that tightly-positioned pitches can sometimes be overwhelming for a journalist. In fact, during my days as a news reporter, I didn’t always want a complete story idea. And, as was the case here, by not presenting definitive story idea, the editor had a few moments to consider the topic and absorb it. By walking through our ideas together in conversation, her interest grew with every word, and we ended the discussion with a definitive idea of where both she and I wanted to end up. Sometimes, soft pitches amount to greatness.

You’re kidding me right? These are the words a New York Times marketing and advertising reporter used when I told her I was calling on behalf of a software company. After all, top-tier reporters want colorful characters, interesting anecdotes and stories with a twist. Such details are seldom found in software development stories. And, had I emailed, the reporter would likely have never responded.

But, my voice on the other end of the line forced the reporter to listen to my pitch (as much as she probably didn’t want to). And, surprisingly, she asked a few questions. In fact, her questions amounted to a five minute conversation. And surprisingly the reporter responded to our follow-up email, leaving the door open for future interaction.

Is the telephone conversation the end-all to public relations? Absolutely not. I would be remiss in saying that Twitter, Facebook, Help a Reporter Out and other electronic channels are powerful tools.

But, for those who dread reporter phone conversations: confront your fear. And, for those whose love affair with the phone needs rehabilitation: rekindle your love.

Because sometimes communication by voice can be most effective – and – in the examples above, it produced remarkable results.

Contributed by Aaron Kellogg. Follow him @KelloggAaron

The Art [and Science] of Mobile, Security and Healthcare Storytelling*

Written by: Zach Pearson on Wednesday, October 9, 2013 | Leave a Comment 

Storytelling is the most common and memorable form of communication. In its simplest form, storytelling allows us to share experiences and create emotional connections. Today, many businesses claim that they’re storytellers, but few truly understand the art (and science) of storytelling.

We’re fascinated with the science of storytelling, so much so that we’ve studied it for years. In our “2012 Prevailing Storylines Study,” we ranked the ten prevailing narratives that appear regularly in mainstream business media. But that wasn’t enough, so in our most recent study of industry-specific media, we trained our eyes on journalists covering mobile technology, IT security and healthcare/ healthcare IT, to look for patterns and potential differences.

The 2013 Prevailing Storylines Study looked at nearly 1,500 articles across 30 business and trade publications spread across three core markets: mobile technology, IT security and healthcare IT/healthcare. The study not only confirmed the prevalence of the ten recurring storylines/narratives, but also showed that certain narratives do indeed appear with regularity in each industry. Within media coverage of mobile technology, for example, “Things Not What They Seem” appeared most frequently. In coverage of IT security, on the other hand, “Recipe for Success” appeared more often, while in healthcare/healthcare IT the most common storyline was “New Kid on the Block.”

Mobile: Top Storylines

IT Security: Top Storylines

Healthcare: Top Storylines

What this research showed us is that the science of storytelling is even more nuanced than we thought. In other words, there are enough noticeable differences at the industry level to recommend unique approaches to storytelling in these markets. And, if companies understand what narratives resonate most within their industry and within the media, they can better position themselves for continued growth and success.

Phil Greenough, CEO of Greenough 

Does Local TV News Get You Talking?*

Written by: Zach Pearson on Wednesday, September 25, 2013 | Leave a Comment 

According to a new study, 55% of all “News of the Day” conversations were sparked by local broadcast news, while online media only triggered 18%. As a former local journalist, I am both thrilled and somewhat surprised by this statistic. In recent years, the television business has been hit hard.  Audiences are shrinking. Demographics are graying. And social media has made the breaking news race nearly impossible to win. So is local broadcast news really the top driver of watercooler talk?

Conducted by TVB, the study asked more than 2,000 American adults 18+ to detail more than 9,000 online and offline conversations in April 2013. According to the findings, “local broadcast television delivers the news that feeds most of these conversations with 82% of people talking daily about Weather, 75% about National and International News, 63% about Local News, 49% about Sports and 42% about Traffic.”

At first glance these results seem to signal a shift in the way young adults consume news, but upon closer examination, they really just reaffirm what local TV broadcasters have known all along. First, weather has always been and will likely always be the number one reason for watching. Secondly, viewers like feeling connected to their communities and while technology makes it easier to report national and international news, local reporters and producers will always seek out an angle that will resonate with their market. And finally, local broadcast outlets are getting smarter about the way they disseminate news. At this point, nearly all local stations have a website, a mobile site and an app.  By distributing their content across a wide range of platforms, broadcast outlets are making it easier for loyal and younger viewers to stay informed and connected throughout the day.  It also allows the most-trusted stations in the market to maintain their status as news leaders and capitalize on the brand equity they’ve built for years.

So what does all this mean when it comes to strengthening your company’s media footprint?  Don’t count local TV news out. Young adults are still watching.  Instead, look to create a broad media strategy consisting of broadcast and print coverage on a national, trade and local level.

Contributed by Media Account Supervisor Christine Williamson. Follow her on Twitter: @ChristineDBW.

Three Media Relations Misperceptions*

Written by: Zach Pearson on Monday, July 1, 2013 | Leave a Comment 

After well over a decade working as a journalist, I am now approaching my third year in public relations. Even during that relatively short time period, the media landscape has changed dramatically. Breaking news is now a commodity, as stories zip around faster, thanks to the Internet and social media. Still, I’ve noticed that many traditional impressions of the media and media relations haven’t changed a bit. Here are three common misperceptions I’ve encountered:

1)      It’s Who You Know 

Not Really. Some PR professionals namedrop and brag about their media connections, but in reality, you don’t need contacts, you just need a good story. That’s not to say having strong relationships with journalists doesn’t come with benefits, however. A media relations pro whom reporters trust and respect, can always pick up the phone and at least get a hearing. Having friends in the media can also be invaluable when it comes to getting feedback on story ideas, which can ultimately help shape a pitch that yields results.

2)      Make it “Pitch Perfect”

A mistake in your email? (gasp!) When I first started in PR, I was trained to triple check every message before hitting send to ensure there were no typos or grammatical errors. That’s certainly an important practice when it comes to interacting with clients. But the media? Not so much.  Case in point: below is an email I received from a reporter at the Wall Street Journal:

“Ok sure thatd be great thanks Andrea”

And another example, this one from a journalist at the New York Times:

“ok, thanks, i’ll do a people item for a future roundup”

Media relations isn’t a black tie affair.  It’s not even semi-formal.  At best, it might be business casual. What it’s really all about is being real and personable. The more authentic and conversational you are, the more likely you are to be successful.  If you’ve ever interacted with reporters, you know they would never disregard a story because you messed up your spacing, used the wrong font, or had a typo or misspelling.

3)      Print is King

I can’t tell you how many “clip craving clients” I’ve heard sigh with disappointment when they learn their story “didn’t make print.”  We can debate the advantages of print, but in my view Web wins hands down almost every time. According to the Pew Research Center’s statistics on print vs. online media, more than half of Americans receive their news from digital sources, and the number of people relying on social media exclusively for their news has doubled in the past two years. In addition, the majority of online outlets now have higher circulations then most traditional print publications.

In the interest of full disclosure, I must say I remain a huge fan of print. There’s just something about the sound of rifling through the pages of newspapers. But when it comes to publicity, we should stop worrying about getting ink on our fingertips and start focusing more on what is really going to deliver results: page views, likes and shares online.

What changes have you seen in the media landscape? Do you have any stories to share or misperceptions that you’ve seen?

Andrea LePain is VP, Media Relations at Greenough. Follow her on Twitter: @alepain  

Financial Advisers: Why You Should Get Into The PR Mix*

Written by: Zach Pearson on Monday, April 29, 2013 | Leave a Comment 

At any age, a working man or woman wants to save money, which is why so many of us grind out 9-5 jobs, right? Unfortunately, many workers cannot effectively manage or save their money, which explains why Suze Orman rose to prominence, providing simple financial advice to millions.

The simplicity of Suze’s advice makes her successful, since her guidance is expressed in layman’s terms. Suze’s financial directives are clear, and the “to-do’s” are obvious, which allows individuals to make decisive choices about their own personal finances. What’s more, Suze built a powerful brand on something basic: financial advice. It’s the type of advice every American needs. Why isn’t every financial adviser like Suze? Why not invest in strategic, brand-building PR?

It’s unfortunate that so many financial advisers sit on the sidelines, while their competitors lure customers who might otherwise be their customers – if only these “sidelined advisers” chose to connect with the right reporters. So many reporters are dedicated to reporting on personal finance. In fact, they’re so hungry for ideas and sources, editors at the Wall Street Journal Wealth Manager blog can’t find enough qualified advisers to write a 500-700 word blog for their site.

It begs the question: if you are a financial adviser or banker, why sit on the sidelines of financial planning, while others are so easily building their brand with advice that everyone needs. Suze Orman did it. What’s holding you back?

Aaron Kellogg is an Account Supervisor at Greenough. Follow him on Twitter: @KelloggAaron

Where Did You Get Your News Yesterday?*

Written by: Zach Pearson on Friday, April 26, 2013 | Leave a Comment 

In the battle between traditional and digital media, the facts don’t lie. Newsweek moved to an all digital format. The Boston Phoenix shut down permanently. And percentage of people reading a daily newspaper fell 18% from 2002 to 2012. It would appear digital is winning the war. Yet, more often than not, clients ask me “is this article for the print edition?” and then seem disappointed when I mention that it will only be online.

But digital has many advantages:

Now, this is not to say that companies should focus solely on digital media. Traditional print and broadcast outlets still have enormous value. During the recent Boston Marathon attack, people turned to their local broadcast affiliates for live reports.  Marginal news viewers came out of the woodwork and flocked to Boston’s legacy station, WCVB Channel 5.  Even though all stations were running constant live coverage within 10 minutes of the tragedy, WCVB captured an 11.3 rating (35 share) – more than double its competitors.

The battle between traditional and digital media may never be over, and the solution is clear. A well-rounded public relations strategy, including print magazines/newspapers, broadcast outlets and digital media is always best. Focus on trusted outlets rather than the method of distribution. After all, the numbers don’t lie – a “post” on the New York Times Bits blog can reach as many – if not more – of your target audience as a print story in the paper’s Sunday tech section.

Christine Williamson is a senior consultant at Greenough. Follow her on Twitter @ChristineDBW

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