The Reality of Virtual Reality? It’s Getting Real

May 20, 2015

Matt Allinson Bio Pic By Matt Allinson – Media Relations Manager, International Markets

Before a session on using immersive 3D devices for experiential storytelling began at the International Symposium On Online Journalism (ISOJ) in Austin a few weeks ago, symposium organizer Rosental Alves proclaimed that this would be the session most remembered in ten years. After the session ended, I was pretty certain his prediction will be right.

Virtual reality (VR), long promised but never totally delivered, seems to be on the cusp of completely taking over our lives. Want to look around a home before you rent/buy without ever setting foot in it? Go ahead:

Want to stand next to Paul McCartney’s piano during a concert and look upon him or out at the crowd? There’s an app for that. Want to walk around the edge of the Space Needle without making your stomach jump through your throat? You will be able to do that soon as well.

The session on virtual reality featured a panel of three academic/industry professionals and was moderated by Robert Hernadez (aka @webjournalist), a “hackademic” at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Hernandez explained that the main reason the VR adoption rate is at an all time high is because the technology to use it is finally widely available. “There are more mobile devices in the world than toothbrushes,” Hernandez quipped.  Because VR technology can now be used via tablets and phones, and because of Oculus Rift’s meteoric rise, the audience is finally ready, he said. And it seems the journalist community is also ready.

In April, The New York Times Magazine commissioned an artist to create a 150-foot-tall black and white image of a 20-year-old Azerbaijani immigrant onto the sidewalk in front of Manhattan’s Flatiron Building and filmed the enterprise for a VR experience called “Walking New York.”

Walking New York

Walking New York

The Des Moines Register recently created a virtual experience that allowed viewers to explore a sixth-generation Iowa farm in the midst of substantial change. And Nonny de la Peña, a fellow at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and the founder of the VR company Emblematic Group (and a speaker at the ISOJ session), shared some immersive journalism projects she has been working on including “Project Syria” and “One Dark Night.” The former puts the viewer in the Aleppo district of Syria where they bear witness to a rocket strike and the aftermath. The latter puts the viewer on the scene of the killing of Trayvon Martin. Both are VR-powered reenactments designed to give the audience a sense of actually “being there” and allowing them to experience the moments that alter lives and make headlines.

While the journalism industry continues to experiment with and embrace VR technology, it’s safe to say the video game and real estate industries are already deeply in love with it. It’s also safe to say that many other industries will be following suit in the not-too-distant future. The possibilities for the PR and advertising industries seem limitless. VR technology is probably a natural fit for the tourism industry. And what if you were able to virtually wander around an old antique store in the middle of nowhere and find that unique and perfect gift? Retailers of all shapes and sizes should be looking closely at what is on the horizon.

Whatever the future holds, now is the time for leaders of companies and industry to begin considering the possibilities. The opportunity to innovate has never been better … and that’s the simple reality.

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PR Updates From Around the World

May 19, 2015

By Denise Grayes, Business Wire Nashville

Below please find the latest changes and updates in the PR industry.  To learn more about each news item, simply click the hyperlink.  Have your own update to include?  Let us know!

PR Industry Updates

Atlanta
Arketi Group was selected by Cohesive Solutions for messaging, brand enhancement and website development work. Article

Marketing Inspirations (MI) has won three awards for multi-service marketing campaigns from the internationally-renowned Hermes Creative Awards 2015. Article

Chicago
Zapwater Communications announced the addition of two new clients to the agency’s travel portfolio. The new clients are AC Hotels Chicago and Visit Luxembourg. Article

DC
Public affairs firm CLS Strategies has promoted Ray De Lorenzi to senior vice president and DJ Carella to managing director. In addition, Allison Bryan joins as managing associate to serve the firm’s public affairs portfolio. Article

Rio Verde Community has selected Buffalo Brand Invigoration Group to direct a public relations program for the acclaimed active-adult residential enclave northeast of Scottsdale, Ariz. Article

Warschawski today announced the addition of Abigail Wadsworth to the agency’s growing team. Article

Houston
Ward today announced the launch of sister-company OnwardU, which helps management create high-performing teams through professional development, meeting facilitation and consulting. Article

Los Angeles
Robert Lawson has been named executive vice president and chief communications officer at Sony Pictures Entertainment. Article

Evite has named KComm its public relations agency of record. Article

Bernstein Crisis Management has launched AvoidTheApology.com, a service designed to help companies avoid reputation-damaging and financially harmful crises. Article

Miami
The Centers of Integrative Medicine & Healing has retained JoTo PR to help bring integrative medicine to the forefront of healthcare. Article

Edelman has made first acquisition in Latin America in five years by purchasing Position Comunicaciones in Colombia. Article

New York
GroupM has named David Grabert as global director of corporate communications. Article

Anu Kher has joined Rubenstein Public Relations as associate vice president, managing media relations strategies for clients in the corporate and financial services division. Article

Orange Palate has added Sarah Simmons to its client roster. Article

Turner PR is pleased to announce the addition of Pure Barre to the agency’s active lifestyle and fitness portfolio. Article

Kypris has retained Conundrum as its public relations agency of record. Article

ROK Mobile has chosen M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment as Agency of Record. Article

Weber Shandwick is expanding its presence in Latin America with the opening of an office in Mexico City, Mexico. Amanda Berenstein has been appointed managing director to lead the new office. Article

Carnival Cruise Line has handed North American PR duties to M Booth. Article

Nathalie Moar is joining Combs Enterprises as senior vice president and head of communications. Article

The Horn Group has retired the Oriella PR Network and has replaced it with an initiative that centralizes its global network. Article

Brandstyle Communications announced representation of Quad Jobs, Magnises and Bene Rialto. Article

Finn Partners received the 2015 SABRE for Midsize Agency of the Year from The Holmes Report. Article

H+K Strategies announced that Molly O’Neill will be joining the firm to lead its U.S. marcomms practice. Article

Rubenstein Public Relations has announced that Anu Kher has joined the agency as Associate Vice President. Article

Bender/Helper Impact has appointed Michelle (Mimi) Sawatka-Fernandez as Director of Business Development and Marketing. Article

Philadelphia
Adaptimmune has appointed William Roberts as vice president, investor relations. Article

Flackable has expanded its team by adding Temple University standout Alexa Miller as an account coordinator. Article

San Diego
Elevator is pleased to announce they will be conducting the website redesign for the City of San Diego‘s official website. Article

San Francisco
John Earnhardt is leaving Cisco after 16 years in the company’s communications unit to become VP of corporate communications at Visa. Article

Jonathan Carroll has been appointed senior vice president and will lead Weber Shandwick‘s digital and creative teams in San Francisco. And Douglas Myers has joined as vice president in the firm’s corporate practice from Landis Communications. Article

Rachel Whetstone is taking an SVP of public policy and communications post at Uber. Article

Weber Shandwick has made lead hires across its creative and corporate offerings in San Francisco, building out the office under the new leadership of Luca Penati.  Article

Burson-Marsteller’s West Coast leader Bill Orr has exited the company and joined Double Forte PR as EVP and chief strategy officer. Article

Horn Group has announced HORN.Global, an international communications service designed to help clients dramatically increase the volume, quality and replay of earned media coverage, social and original content, as well as their digital presence around the world. Debra Raine  will manage HORN.Global in addition to her leadership of the firm’s San Francisco operations. Article

Blurb announced that Robin Carr and Susan Rimerman have joined the marketing team. Article

Seattle
Global digital/direct marketing agency HackerAgency announced that Jason Grollman has joined the organization as Vice President of Operations. Article

Silicon Valley
PayPal has hired Visa’s Paul Cohen as VP of global corporate communications as the company prepares to split off from eBay later this year. Article

Hong Kong
Costa Coffee has appointed AKA Asia as its creative agency in Singapore. Article

Cohn & Wolfe has appointed Jonathan Tan to associate managing director of its Malaysia office. Article

Rice Communications has been appointed by Outbrain to provide communications support in South East Asia. Article

Frankfurt
Steffen Kurzawa is joining Novartis as head of global communications for Sandoz. Article

London
Edelman has appointed Matt Groves as managing director, digital, in its UK operations. Article

Red Lorry Yellow Lorry has been selected by Canon UK to provide PR support for its pro imaging business. Article

Publicasity has been selected by Old Mother Hubbard to launch its premium natural dog treats into the UK and help support the brand’s exclusive listing with Pets At Home nationwide in stores and online. Article

Virgo Health has appointed Katherine Mantell as its new global head of medical education. Article

Xero has appointed Darren Upson to lead its UK marketing activity. Article

brightside has appointed Cicero Group to provide retained corporate PR support. The account will be led by Cicero executive director Mike Robb. Article

The Ocean Beach Ibiza beach club has appointed Fever as its new retained UK PR agency. Article

Following its recent acquisition of the digital design and development consultancy Splendid Unlimited, marketing communications holding company Creston has formed a partnership agreement with The Digital ConsultancyArticle

Simon Kleine has departed Western Union after more than three years overseeing its communications in Europe. Article

H+K has teamed up with Hyper Island to launch a new training initative, as part of the development of London into the PR network’s first ‘center of creative strategy.’  Article

Paris
Pelin Kocaalp, previously deputy general manager of Hill+Knowlton Strategies Turkey, has been promoted to general manager. Article

H+K Strategies Kenya has appointed Solomon Mahinda as managing director. Article

Edelman is poised to land international PR duties for Dubai Tourism. Article

Sydney
Hill+Knowlton Strategies has won recent pitches to leading life science company Sigma Aldrich, aesthetics and dermatology pioneer Merz, and the Royal Australian & New Zealand College of Radiologists. The firm has also added two new pro bono clients: Take Heart Australia and Parkinson’s NSW. Article

Ashwani Singla has launched a new corporate reputation consultancy in India, after exiting his role as Penn Schoen Berland’s Asia CEO earler this year. Article

Taj Group of Hotels has handed global PR duties to Edelman and Zeno. Article

Toronto
The Quebec Oil & Gas Association has named David Lefebvre as its public affairs and communications director. Article

Kwittken has appointed Betsy Cooper as managing director of Kwittken Toronto. Article

energi PR has been chosen as the newest partner in GlobalHealthPR, an independent agency partnership dedicated to health and medical communications. Article

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PR Updates From Around the World for the Week of May 11

May 14, 2015

PR Industry UpdatesHere are the latest changes and updates in the PR industry.  To learn more about each news item, simply click the hyperlink.  Have your own update to include?  Let us know!

Chicago
Turner Public Relations has opened an office in Chicago, located in the city’s River North neighborhood. Melanie Dennig, director at the firm, is leading the location. It also hired Jeff Maldonado as VP of digital communications. Article

Cleveland
WordWrite Communications has been named agency of record for MPW Industrial Services. Article

Calgon Carbon has hired Daniel Crookshank as director of investor relations, effective on May 11. Article

Dallas
MWW has been hired as public relations agency of record by RAVE Restaurant Group, parent company of Pie Five Pizza Co. and Pizza Inn. Article

DC
The Software Alliance has appointed Jen Beltz as VP of global communications. Article

The Optical Society has brought on Tracy Schario as chief external relations officer. Article

Warschawski announced that it has been hired by Biologics Consulting Group to create a new brand strategy to help position the company for future growth, and redesign the company’s corporate identity. Article

Los Angeles
Azione announced that Ashley Dillahunty longtime entertainment journalist and former West Coast Bauer Chief of Bauer Media Group, has joined its team as the Vice President of Entertainment Marketing in Los Angeles. Article

FiComm Partners announced the addition of two senior professionals, Dana Mahoney and Christopher Latham, to its team. Article

Miami
Burson-Marsteller has hired Jorge Ortega as executive vice president and managing director of the agency’s Miami office. Article

Fetching Communications has added new clients including Bark Busters Home Dog Training, the Charleston Veterinary Referral Center, Reach-in Technologies and its iPet Companion product. Article

Minneapolis
Gage announced it has hired Russ Nolan as the director of business development, as well as Michelle Hoffman as senior public relations specialist. Article

New York
Turner Public Relations recently announced the opening of an office in Chicago, IL, as well as the addition of a wealth of new talent to its ranks. Article

The Halo Group has hired Mandy Cudahy as senior social media strategist. Article

Tartaglia Communications has been hired by the Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences (BITSS) to design and execute a communications program around new prizes geared toward encouraging open social science research. Article

Robert Dowling is exiting FleishmanHillard, almost three years after joining the firm to oversee its New York office and Eastern region operations. Article

Porter Novelli has become the latest PR firm to unveil a cybersecurity offering, teaming up with tech company Rook Security to launch PNProtect. Article

Mark Malinowski has been named senior vice president and director of partner innovation for M Booth. Article

Interpublic Group is merging Mullen and Lowe and Partners to form Mullen Lowe Group. Alex Leikikh, previously CEO of Mullen, was named chief executive of the combined firm, while Lowe and Company CEO Michael Wall will leave the company after a brief transition period, the holding company said in a statement. Jose Miguel Sokoloff will continue as chairman of the Global Creative Council. Article

WEILL has been appointed public relations counsel to the newly created Ted Turner Expeditions. Article

HL Group has named Robert Harwood-Matthews as its first CEO. Article

The PR Council has begun a partnership with the Emma L. Bowen Foundation with the goal of placing college students of color at leading US PR firms. Article

McGraw-Hill Education announced that Catherine J. Mathis has joined the company as chief communications officer. Article

World Moto has brought on KCSA Strategic Communications to oversee its investor relations program. Article

Fortress Strategic Communications launched on Wednesday. Evan Bloom is serving as CEO. Article

Disney and ESPN Media Networks announced the promotion of James Rollins to Vice President of Digital Video Distribution. Article

Women’s Marketing announced the acquisition of Flying Point Digital. Article

M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment has been retained by Harlem RBI for a second straight year to manage public relations, events and talent relations for its annual celebrity golf charity event, which will be held on October 5th, at the Liberty National Golf Club. Article

Brandstyle Communications announced representation of Quad Jobs and Magnises. Article

Sacramento
Ogilvy Public Relations has hired Vicky Waters as vice president and leader of the firm’s West Coast Latino offering, based in the firm’s Sacramento public affairs group. Article

San Francisco
Racepoint Global has added three new clients in its San Francisco office: Altera Corp, which manufactures programmable semiconductors; Healing for People, an energy medicine clinic; and Rambus. Article

Oracle has tapped a Burson Marsteller-led team to handle global PR for its products and services division as the company looks to potentially consolidate PR under WPP worldwide. Article

New York & Frankfurt
Boutique PR firm collaborative PR Boutiques International has added two members: Vienna, Austria-based Results & Relations and Andrew Joseph PR, headquartered in New York City. Article

Hong Kong
We Are Social has opened a new office in Shanghai. The agency has appointed Pete Lin, formerly general manager and chief marketing strategist at Gravity Group Asia, to lead its Shanghai operations as managing director, while ad agency veteran Ying Chang will lead its creative offering. Article

Edelman’s specialist research arm Edelman Berland has hired Catriona Muspratt-Williams as head of Singapore and Andrew Chapman as head of Australia. Article

Ruder Finn Asia has hired Irene Yong to head the healthcare practice for Southeast Asia, based in Singapore. Article

Ogilvy & Mather Hong Kong has officially launched its newest campaign, “Anyhour Happy Hour”, for Kronenbourg 1664. Article

Frankfurt
Credit Suisse Group has named Christoph Meier as global head of media relations. Article

London
Novantas has appointed Cicero Group to support its launch in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Article

Honcho PR has been appointed by Touchjet to introduce a range of ‘touch technology’ consumer devices  – all with proprietary software – onto the UK market. Article

Mixmag has appointed W as a strategic partner to build the profile of its online media network. Article

Consumer products company Fiskars Group has appointed Maija Taimi as head of corporate communications and corporate responsibility. Article

Engineering services and product information company Semcon has named Per Nilsson as corporate communications and marketing director. Article

PMK.BNC announced the expansion of its London office with long-time agency executive, Kevin Gessay, being appointed Managing Director. Article

Paris
Grayling has hired Nicola Gregson as the new MD of its Dubai office. Article

Eva Snijders has been named general manager for Ogilvy Public Relations Madrid and Núria Padrósinto has been named general manager in Barcelona. Article

Diane Watson has joined Cosmetics Europe as public affairs and government relations director. Article

Sydney
Corporate and financial communication firms Citadel and Magnus have signed a merger agreement. Article

Goldman Sachs has called in Weber Shandwick as its PR agency of record in India after a competitive review. Article

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How to Get An In With the Mommy Blogging Community

May 12, 2015

By Hannah Herreid, Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire

Connecting with Mommy bloggers has a wide range of benefits. Bloggers provide influence and reach on a more personal level which can result in increased audience loyalty and a higher response rate.  Mommy bloggers offer authenticity that can be hard to find at larger outlets.

Last week I attended the PRSA: Meet the Lifestyle & Family Bloggers in Manhattan. Four Mommy bloggers shared insight on the best ways to pitch, develop relationships and connect with bloggers of a similar demographic.

Mommy Bloggers

From left to right: Amy Oztan – Selfish Mom, Onica Cupido -The Mommy Factor, Jen Rabulan-Bertram -The Next Kid Thing, Nellie Acevedo – Brooklyn Active Mamma

Moderated By: Erica Saviano Tsioutas – Ketchum and Nicole Chismar – MSL Group, the speakers included Amy Oztan – Selfish Mom, Onica Cupido -The Mommy Factor, Jen Rabulan-Bertram -The Next Kid Thing, Nellie Acevedo – Brooklyn Active Mamma

Here are five takeaways from the panel.

Do Your Research: Not all bloggers are giveaway bloggers and not all bloggers have time to blog daily.
First and foremost, “Do Your Homework.”  Thorough research is one of the most important aspects of reaching bloggers.  Bloggers take pride in the topics they choose. They want to know that you are sincerely interested in what they care and write about. Like Amy Oztan from The Selfish Mom stated, “If I’m going to take the time to read your pitch, then I expect you to take the time to read what I write about.” This may seem obvious, but it can be overlooked when you’re in a time crunch. Make sure to take the time or wait until you have the time. Bloggers talk to each other, so don’t be the publicist who sent an irrelevant pitch.

Make a Genuine Connection:  Mass emails are a thing of the past.
As we’ve heard time and time again, building relationships and contributing to valuable conversations are crucial for public relations. This theme still applies in reaching bloggers large and small. How do you achieve “Valuable” communication? Like any relationship, make an effort to connect and understand the person. Does the blogger have a son or daughter? What is their favorite hobby?  Do they love engaging in conversations on Twitter? Find their touch points and make sure you touch on them. Like exercising, make an effort and you’ll see the results.

Be on Your Trend Game: Watch for holidays, social media, news, events, and pop culture.
Similar to larger media outlets, bloggers are interested in exclusivity and being topical. They want new stories to break on their blog; especially products, events or something that is trending in the digital realm. If your company news can correlate with an event or something that is trending, your chances of getting pickup are much higher.  Be familiar with what’s happing in the social media world. It’s  quick and easy to find what’s popular and what your bloggers are excited about. Like Nellie Acevedo from Brooklyn Active Mamma said, “Twitter gives life to the voices in my head.”

Create a Partnership: Lay out the benefits for everyone involved.
Many bloggers participate in brand ambassador programs as a way of getting paid, or for an opportunity to experience something interesting and new. Partnering with a blogger can be a simple way to gain awareness for your brand and an easy step to the start of a relationship. Make sure your communication with the blogger is clear and concise. Every detail should be laid out including: your final goals, frequency in posts and content of posts, as well as length, and parameters. If you don’t have the budget for a partnership, offer exclusive stories, product, or a guest post on your company website.

Gifting: Be straight forward and know what their tastes are.
If you want to gift a Mommy blogger, take a look at her social media and confirm that what you’re sending will be useful. If her kids are 10 and 12 do not send baby food samples. Send a note, and make sure to include your contact information and an end goal. For example: “Dear xx, I noticed you’ll be taking a trip to the Bahamas next week with your daughter, so I wanted to share these funky flip flops for fun in the sun. Feel free to tag us on Twitter and/or Instagram at @____ if you wear them. Have a wonderful vacation!”  Keep in mind that if you’ve invited a blogger to an event, most bloggers will take car service over a “swag bag” any day.

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Business Wire Event Recap “Meet the Biotechnology Media”

December 5, 2013
by Luis Guillen, Media Relations Specialist

On Thursday, November 21st, Business Wire San Diego hosted a “Meet the Biotechnology Media” panel in Mission Valley. With some of the top biotech journalists in the San Diego area, our panel spoke on a wide range of topics ranging from how to pitch media and current trends to the future of journalism.

Speakers:

  • Bruce Bigelow, Xconomy’s San Diego editor
  • Meghana Keshavan, San Diego Business Journal’s healthcare and biotech reporter
  • Mandy Jackson, SCRIP Intelligence’s West Coast editor
  • Kelly Quigley, life science network and brand journalist at Chempetitive Group

Moderator:

  • Erik Clausen, Managing Partner, Chempetitive Group
    SD-Media-Breakfast-lo-res

Know your media

It’s important to not only know your target media but also what they like. When discussing what makes a good story, our panel shared their tips.

Interesting Characters:

Every story needs to have someone the audience can connect with.

Different Perspective:

Go further in depth, cover it from a different angle that’s not been used before.

Be Open:

Don’t tell me how much money your company has, tell me how the money is being or will be spent. If not willing to talk about certain things, it devalues the story.

Quotes:

Speak with someone who is candid and gives the story some personality.

Pitching preferences

Social media allows new ways to pitch journalists, some embrace it, others still prefer email.

Timing is everything:

Not only does it help to know what your target media covers but also their deadline schedule. Don’t pitch on a Wednesday if the deadline is on Thursday, instead pitch on a Monday, when we’re looking for stories.

No need to follow up:

I received your email pitch. If I don’t call, I’m not interested.

Coaching not required:

PR pros: Be transparent, allow access to the source. Having an open one-on-one conversation with the client is important, beats interviewing someone reading a script.

Embargos:

Are not dead. The panel all agreed that at the very least they would look at it, not necessarily do a story on it.

Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn:

FB seems to be more personal. Twitter has become the go-to tool for journalists to look up people, story ideas and get background information on a particular individual/topic.

Future of Journalism

The truth is no one knows what the future of journalism will look like in 5-10 years. What we do know is that journalism is constantly changing. As more publications continue to go under, some will shift from print to online, following the current trend of specialized publications. With fewer reporters covering this current online, social media, 24/7 news cycle, publications will face new challenges that will reshape the current landscape of journalism again.


PR Lessons from New York City

December 3, 2013
by Erica Schuckies, Account Executive

I recently traveled to New York City for the first time and experienced the bright lights, crowded streets and unique atmosphere that only NYC can provide.

During my five-day trip, we crammed in as many activities and “touristy” sights as possible, which allowed me to leave the city with a list of takeaways applicable to my day job, working in the PR industry.

The busy streets of NY

1.     Come prepared for anything and everything.

While packing for my trip, I struggled with what to bring. The forecast called for normal November NYC temperatures, but being a Texan, I was lacking legit cold-weather attire. Luckily, I decided to bring layering options and was able to bundle myself sufficiently so I didn’t freeze. This turned out to be a fantastic decision, as it was bone-cold and even snowed! Even if I didn’t wear every piece of clothing I packed, I couldn’t have been happier for the opportunity to stay warm.

In PR, it is crucial to be prepared for anything.  Whether you are attending a client event, holding a press conference or making an important pitch, you must have all the necessary tools – and then some – at your disposal. Not everything goes as planned, and in fact, you should expect at least one wrench in your plans. Thinking twice about that spare power cord? Bring it. Extra cell phone battery? You better believe it. And while you’re at it, throw in an extra order of patience and composure. Being over-prepared is your best defense against failure. Not to mention, your client/boss will thank you.

2.     Go with the flow.

Our final evening called for a “show” of some sort, details of which were curiously lacking from my brother, who planned the evening. I had expected to sit back (off my poor, achy feet) and take in an entertaining hour or two. Our schedule had been jam-packed all day, every day and I was ready for a break. As it turned out, the show was an “interactive play,” where the set was an entire abandoned warehouse and we followed actors through different rooms and staircases to take in the story. The building was incredibly dark and spooky, neither of which I am particularly fond. Every step felt like exploring a haunted house with an axe murderer waiting around the corner. As the play went on, I was able to suck it up and roam the creepy, pitch black hallways with less fear. Eventually, I became more involved and interested in the story’s plot, wanting to know what would happen next to each character.

It’s no secret that PR is unpredictable, but the name of the game is flexibility, even in the face of chaos. When things don’t go as planned, the key to success is to keep a positive attitude and an open mind to other options allowing you to reach your final goal. This can relate to impatient clients, uncompromising team members or difficult event/work locations. Don’t be afraid to try Plan B (or C or D) if Plan A has failed. After all, it did take Thomas Edison nearly 1,000 tries to successfully invent the light bulb.

3.     There is always someone willing to help.

The NYC subway system can appear to be a hot mess to us outsiders My brother, who had lived in the city for nearly six months at the time we visited, was still perfecting his knowledge of the schedules and routes of the many train options. One day, we must have looked particularly clueless, because not one, but two locals stopped and offered to help us get to our desired destination.

Need help? Don’t understand something? Creative mind block? Ask someone for help! While the obvious individuals to seek out are managers, coworkers and colleagues, these can also include family members, friends, significant others, or even a friendly stranger. Sometimes, an outside perspective can do wonders for a campaign, idea, problem or issue. In the end, when that advice has resulted in success, all parties involved will come out on top.

And, let me say this loud and clear: Asking for help is not a sign of weakness.  No one should consider themselves too skilled/knowledgeable/experienced/creative to need a little assistance now and then.

4.     Things are not always as they seem.

My brother lives in Harlem.  Cue every movie, television show and song you know that portrays Harlem in a bad light. Because these things were the only exposure of the area I had, my impression of Harlem was a place you should avoid during dark of night and while walking alone with sparkly jewelry and expensive clothing. My brother swore I was wrong, but I still had my doubts. Even when we visited his apartment, the outside of the building was a bit… aged. However, upon entering his unit, I was surprised to see that the appliances and cabinets were nearly brand-new, the floors were hardwood and the space was quite charming. At this point, we can cut to me apologizing to my brother, in a rather embarrassed manner. Harlem is a true testament to not jumping to conclusions. I realized I was too quick to judge from what I thought I knew was true.

The PR lesson in this will be going in a different direction than you might expect. During the initial planning for a client or product campaign/project, there is probably an obvious message and reason for the campaign. Instead of going with the easy option, give it a few extra minutes of thought. Step into the head of your audience and consider what else might resonate with them at that point in time. For a timely example, instead of the “Top Christmas Gift Ideas” pitch, try an approach that takes a look at the “Most Returned Christmas Gifts” so people know what NOT to buy. While this theory may require a bit more time, your return on your investment will be worth it.

5.     Don’t fret over missed opportunities.

On a Monday morning, my father and I decided to navigate the subway system on an early morning trip to the gym. What we did not realize was that we would be part of the Monday morning rush hour of New Yorkers heading to work. Big mistake. Not only were we newbies to the dizzying train schedule, but we weren’t exactly sure we were even going in the right direction. We were seriously annoying the locals. One train, in particular, was so jam-packed with people, the riders on the outside had to literally suck in their guts to avoid the doors closing on them. One look at my father and we both knew: We’re not getting on this train. By the way, I strongly believe that New Yorkers develop the ability to glance at a crowded train and know exactly how many people can still fit. It’s a necessary skill for survival of the fittest. But I digress…

After missing that train, I panicked a little. We started to wonder how in the heck we were going to find our way and which train we should take next. Not two minutes later, another train of the same line pulled up and opened its doors to a much less crowded interior. The train took us easily to the location we desired and I realized my minor freak-out was for nothing. #overreaction

If you’ve been in the PR industry for any small amount of time, chances are pretty good that you’ve been told ‘no.’ Chances are even greater that you’ve been completely ignored. The first thing that many of us do after a missed opportunity is to dwell on what went wrong. Instead of staying in this valley of sorrow, swallow your pride and focus on the next open possibility. DO acknowledge and fix any mistakes made, but you’re not doing yourself any favors by lingering over the missed opportunity. If you get called out for it, apologize (if necessary) and point out what you are doing to take advantage of the next opportunity, which may turn out even better than the passed chance.

6.     Wear comfortable shoes.

As you may know, walking is the main form of transportation in NYC. While locals are seasoned experts at walking everywhere, a tourist can quickly go wrong by wearing the incorrect pair of shoes. Let me give you a tip: fashion should not be a major factor when dressing for sightseeing, even in New York City. After 4+ hours of walking, my body and mind were eager for more, but my feet and legs were not on par. The culprit was the pair of oh so fab boots I’d chosen for the day’s outfit. What I failed to consider was that my pain would overshadow my desire to continue our jaunt around the city. Also keep in mind that most of the NYC pictures you take will be of the tall buildings and unique scenery, cutting your footwear completely out of the frame.

I’ll reiterate here: PR is unpredictable, fast-paced and energetic. Running around a client event in wobbly, strappy heels will not benefit you or your client, no matter how perfect the shoes go with your dress. Remember this equation: Long hours + painful feet = grumpy PR pro. If you know you’ll be on-the-go, the fashion side of me reminds you not to wear sneakers with an evening gown, but my sensible side recommends that you skip the five-inch stilettos for a pair of equally good-looking and more comfortable wedges or flats.

Have you ever been to a place that inspired your career or lifestyle? I’d love to hear about it! Please comment below or tweet me at @the_erica_hour.


Journalists Offer Pitching Tips at SoCal Media Breakfast

August 6, 2012
by Kathy Tomasino, Client Services Representative, Business Wire/Newport Beach
Kathy Tomasino

Kathy Tomasino

It was a full house last month when Executives and PR professionals from Southern California attended Business Wire Newport Beach’s Meet the Media event in Costa Mesa.

The event was moderated by Daniel Rhodes, VP Public Relations at Global Results Communications, and our panel of experts included Tom Berg from the Orange County Register, Chris Casacchia from the Orange County Business Journal and Kyle Ellicott from TechZulu.

The event was focused on how to best pitch your company’s story to both local and national press and how reporters are now using social media sites such as Twitter for story leads.

Below are a few tips captured from the event:

  • Make introductions with a reporter before you pitch your story idea.
  • Reporters use social media sites such as Twitter to find story leads.
  • Email is the preferred way to pitch over a phone call.
  • Have a story and be genuine about how you present it.
  • Find a way in – use “nuggets” to grab reporters’ attention.

Although Twitter is a great resource for story ideas, Casacchia advised our audience to only tease their story ideas on such sites and to also use a wire service such as Business Wire for the full press release. (Business Wire does automatically tweet press release headlines via dozens of industry-specific feeds.)  Casacchia also recommended that you know your audience when delving into social media.  Although social sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest are great outlets to promote your story ideas, you must only use the outlets that fit your company style and business as not all may work for a bank or law firm, for example.

Ellicott mentioned that mobile ads have a huge potential especially since more and more people are using their mobile phones for news and all other things.  Luckily for our clients, all Business Wire press releases automatically feed into the AP Mobile app and other mobile applications.

Berg is a great storyteller and uses sites such as Twitter for story ideas.  He recommended our audience use social media to get the buzz going about a story, although the wire is still the first place he will look for news directly from the source.

All of our speakers may be followed via Twitter at @OCStoryteller (Tom Berg); @ccasacchia (Chris Casacchia); @kyleellicott (Kyle Ellicott) and @GlobalResults (Daniel Rhodes).

 

 

 

 


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