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Guest post

It’s Time We Gave Bad Pitches a New Name: ‘MULGE’

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This is a guest post by Ed Zitron, EZ-PR founder, Inc. columnist and author of This Is How You Pitch.

Every industry has its own specific terminology and neologisms. The PR industry has done fairly well at creating a few – “pitching,” “source-filing” and more – but we don’t have many of our own straight-up words.

TV producers, bloggers and reporters regularly receive 400-word blasted emails that don’t actually say much of actually other than how good a given client is. As I’ve established in the past, it’s my belief that this is what everyday PR pitches are like. At no point should anyone in our industry pretend that this is not what goes out every day from most agencies, whether the messages come from an Account Executive or a Director.

Mail-merging aside, unread and unlovable email blobs unfortunately remain standard practice.

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Reasons Why I’m Thankful to Be Working in PR Today

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Today we bring you a guest post by Jennifer Leckstrom, an account supervisor with Hoboken, New Jersey’s RoseComm.

I don’t know about you, but my Facebook newsfeed is filled with workplace drama, whether it’s friends complaining about their bosses or about their colleagues missing deadlines (and even stealing their sandwiches). There’s an entire subgenre of blogs dedicated to the types of clients no one wants on their agency roster. People love complaining about work, and our industry is no different. Who wouldn’t find something to grumble about in a career that tops “most stressful” job lists year after year?

But let’s save the bitching for another day. With Thanksgiving right around the corner (and, um, when did that happen?), I started thinking about the reasons I’m thankful for a career in PR.

Here are just a few.

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The Hunger Games: When Symbolism Transcends Fiction

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Today we bring you a guest post co-written by two PR professionals from LevickErin Flior, Vice President of Digital Communications and David Robinson, Fellow.

It’s a rare and mystifying event when cultural phenomenon happens. Since Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 release, audiences across the globe are again thrown into the dystopian world of Panem. However, it seems that scenes and symbols from the Hunger Games are blending with our world.

PR tactics in the movie

Throughout the series, and more prevalent in the latest installment, characters are media savvy. Before contestants or TV personalities appear on television, they are repeatedly drilled in talking points and key message themes similar to any politician running for office here in the U.S., and this comes before the hours of hair, makeup, and costume design.

The corrupt government in Panem relies heavily on propaganda videos to dispense fear mongering among the rest of the districts. During the Hunger Games through twitter-like updates, viewers are notified the instant a game contestant is no longer competing. Daily recaps of the day’s events are reviewed in a detestable Nightly News/Sports Center hybrid.

And that’s just the antagonists.

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Creating a Process to Scale Your Content Marketing Efforts

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Today we bring you a guest post from Allie Gray Freeland, content marketing specialist and PR for iAcquire and ClearVoice.

According to a recent study conducted by Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, 73 percent of B2B marketers said they are producing more content now than they were one year ago. An impressive feat indeed, but what happens when your organization does not have the building blocks in place to a) keep your content organized and b) maintain both scale and quality? And, as content marketing becomes the primary marketing tactic for most organizations, how do you create a process to make it as effective as it can be?

Content marketing has a lot of moving parts, especially within large organizations, and a streamlined content workflow that tackles the challenges your company faces are crucial. From content strategy to content development, all the way through to content amplification, the most important thing you can do is create a process within your organization to  help you maintain that healthy ratio of quality and quantity.

Here are 10 steps to scale your content marketing efforts to fuel more efficient, effective and plentiful content campaigns.

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Why Uber’s ‘Smear the Press’ Approach Would Never Work

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Today we bring you a guest post from Andrew Graham, founding partner of Clear and co-founder of Grow America.

Uber has managed to give opposition research a bad rap.

What surprised me about Ben Smith’s scoop — that an executive at Uber floated the idea to use opposition researchers to smear journalists who write things the company does not want them to write — isn’t that the idea apparently existed in some form.

What surprised me is how profoundly bad that specific idea is on its own, and that it would even cross the mind of someone who has managerial responsibility at a company valued at $18b.

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The New Corporate Social Responsibility: Company Stances on Controversial Issues

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Today we bring you a guest post by Melissa D. Dodd, Ph.D., assistant professor of advertising and public relations at University of Central Florida’s Nicholson School of Communication. Follow her on Twitter @mellydodd.

Public stances regarding controversial social-political issues by executive leaders of major corporations have become increasingly commonplace. For example, the following megabrands have taken stances on same-sex marriage: Amazon, Barilla, Ford, and Microsoft; healthcare reform: Papa John’s, Applebee’s, and Denny’s; and gun control: Levi Strauss & Co., Hallmark Cards, and Ben & Jerry’s, among others.

Public declarations surrounding controversial issues may be proactive organizational initiatives with planned communication. They may also be unintentionally spoken by organizational leadership, prompting reactive communication.

Regardless, the outcome from the standpoint of consumer perceptions is the same: the company has become aligned with these positions.

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Tips for Making Sure Editors Don’t Skip Over Your Email Pitch

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Today we bring you a guest post from Kelsey Libert, VP of marketing at Fractl. It follows a joint study conducted by Fractl and relationship CRM software maker BuzzStream. Click here to download the full white paper.

Maybe you haven’t been getting the type of responses you’ve been hoping for. Perhaps you haven’t heard anything back at all. It might begin to feel like all your effort isn’t worth it. But then you remember that everything could change if a high-authority digital publisher picks up your story. Getting coverage from one of these publishers will guarantee wide distribution of your ideas, more so than just about any other way you might share your content.

Still: You’ve been trying, and nobody seems interested. If you know your content is good, it could be that the very email you are sending to get your work noticed is in fact keeping it from being discovered at all.

Our research of 500 top-tier publishers shows that email is by far the best method to pitch writers. While this news isn’t earth-shattering, it is important to note that 85% of editors determine whether or not they are interested in a pitch by the subject line of the email. This bit of information is golden and goes a long way in explaining how almost all the 300 or so daily editor pitches go unread.

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4 Ways to Win New Business: Lessons I Learned in My First Year

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Today we bring you a guest post by Darcy Briks, PR veteran and Principal/Creative Director of Second Language Design.

I am presently celebrating my first year as a new business owner. Last October I formally launched a creative firm in New York City called Second Language Design. As its Principal and Creative Director I’ve learned many ways to turn a friend or former colleague into a client. Although these methods require serious thought, they are simple enough for anyone to successfully execute.

Following are my four top ways to gain new business.

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Staying Ahead of the Crisis Curve

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Today we bring you a guest post by Dan Soulas, MD of Ebiquity’s N. A. Market Intelligence practice.

Tips for Organizations to Proactively Manage Reputational Risks 

As Warren Buffet aptly put it: “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.” This is especially true in today’s digital ecosystem, where every stakeholder has a bullhorn and word travels at lightning speed. This reality hasn’t escaped notice among corporations: reputation was the top risk-related concern cited by 73% of participants in the 2013 Eisner Amper Board of Directors survey.

This past year, the boulevards of business were strewn with reputational wreckage, including product failure at GM, security breaches at Target and scandal mismanagement in the NFL.

At a holistic level, what is your company doing to avoid these types of crisis situations? And just as importantly, if an incident does occur, do you have a communications strategy in place that will guide your interactions with customers, employees, investors and other stakeholders? If you aren’t asking these questions now to get ahead, then it’s a lost opportunity to develop a more sound and robust brand.

The good news is that by examining what other companies went through as they responded to crisis, your organization can learn important lessons that will help ensure your brand stays ahead of the issue.

Here’s how:

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How Mo’ne Davis Won the World Series for Chevrolet

Today we bring you a guest post by William Nikosey, senior account director at kwittken+company.

If it were the day after the Super Bowl, you might expect the conversation to be focused on the commercials. But it’s not. It’s the day after the second game of the World Series — not typically an event at which advertising steals the show.

However, that is exactly what Chevrolet did on Tuesday night. Without 111 million fans watching or Super Bowl-like budgets, Chevy managed to turn its 60-second spot during Game 1 of the World Series into a national conversation.

Here’s the ad:

The way they used it was brilliant.

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