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Media relations

Tips on Pitching and Media Relations from Facebook’s Media Coach Bill McGowan

Bill-McGowan

Bill McGowan has held many titles throughout his career: journalist, “A Current Affair” reporter, author, founder and CEO of Clarity Media Group.

His most recent role is media coach for executives, celebrities and artists ranging from Kelly Clarkson and Eli Manning to Thomas Keller and Tim Gunn. He’s also worked with major firms to help PR professionals hone the art of the pitch.

Two of his most recent clients’ names might ring a bell: Sheryl Sandberg and Mark Zuckerberg.

In McGowan’s latest book Pitch Perfect: How to Say It Right the First Time, Every Time, he draws on decades of experience working both in front of and behind the camera to offer tips and tools on how to deliver a message efficiently and confidently.

We recently spoke to Bill to learn how that experience applies to PR.

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Mediabistro Course

Storytelling for Media Professionals

Storytelling for Media ProfessionalsStarting April 22, this in-person workshop will teach you the specific ways to incorporate storytelling into your personal and professional life. Students will examine the role of storytelling in business and put their newfound skills into practice with a series of improvisation, writing, and presentation exercises designed to help them uncover personal stories. Register now! 

STUDY: Is PR’s Focus on Digital Media Detrimental to Brand Storytelling?

BPR Infographic V5 - Stories-without-borders-infographic.pdfTurns out, while managing to cram powerful, sharable, effective brand messages into 140 characters is an undeniably valuable skill, PR’s focus on digital media might be drawing vital attention away from effective storytelling.

This is according to a recent report by Berkeley 360, titled Stories Without Borders—International PR in an Evolving Media World, which explores current research and trends to discover how the global media landscape is shifting, and what that means for PR. The report states that, “the media in most countries has been transformed by digital technology, but success lies in the story, not the delivery.”

As a press release about the study explains that while boundaries are disappearing between print and digital media, between online, social and mobile channels, and between brands and their customers, the world remains a culturally, linguistically and geographically heterogeneous place—and brands and PR professionals forget this at their peril.

While social media networks remain a great way to build and engage local communities and are essential ingredients for successful PR, research shows that over half of the world’s population reads a daily newspaper, and trade publications remain the best way to influence senior decision makers. In other words: the press release is not dead, and people still want to hear a meaningful, engaging, and full-length story about the brands and companies they interact with. Read more

5 Things to Know to Charm Your Clients

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If not, that next call could be a bad one. 

There’s the ubiquitous mantra “The customer is always right.” If you have spent any time in PR, you know this is not always the case. However, it doesn’t matter if you want to keep them happy — or is it?

Understanding the magic formula how to work well with clients and play in their sandbox is nowhere near scientific. It’s all about art of grace under fire, peace under stress, and results under (sometimes senseless) deadlines.

Therefore, we are proud to bring to you another 5 things: What to know to charm your clients. Enjoy.  Read more

PR Pros Make 40% More Than Journalists

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Today in We’ve Been Over This Before news, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its report on the state of the American workforce this week.

Beyond the obvious “retail still doesn’t pay too well” and “office/admin support is the largest occupational group” news, the report did inspire some curious headlines.

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PR Is Dead! Long Live PR!

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Depends on who you ask. Be prepared for a response. You’ve been warned.

Ever heard the oxymoronic exclamation, “The king is dead! Long live the king!”

Feels odd just writing it. The phrase comes from the 15th century when Charles VI (known as “Charles the Mad,” who died as king and his son took the reigns to a much maligned and ransacked France).

Le roi est mort, vive le roi!” 

“The king is dead” announces just that. “Long live the king!” refers to whomever is the shrew to take the throne — in this case, Charles VII. Family business and all. Whelp, this often misunderstood profession seems to suffer same fate every year. Some schmuck says, “PR is dead.” Followed by a hipster who says, “Uh … no, dude.”

That has happened already in 2014, so which person is correct?

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Be Aware of These 5 Common PR Mistakes

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We know. It’s a crap shoot.

I don’t mean to be a Debbie Downer, but a recent discussion with a reporter chum of mine reminded me of this one irrefutable truth in the public relations industry — the easy stuff is always the first stuff to screw up. The mistakes, albeit as common as they exist, are committed on every level of the food chain. From intern to inside the corner office, everyone is susceptible to having these aberrations with the press and our clients.

Yet, there they are, scattered bodies lining the streets like a deleted scene from “The Walking Dead.” In an effort to inhibit the PR ninjas in this industry jumping from trees and throwing star shurikens with dazzling accuracy into pools of heaping crap, here are five common mistakes in PR of which to always be aware to avoid.

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What Makes for a Good, Monocle-Free Trend Piece?

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If you obsessively follow journalists on Twitter each evening (and you really should), then you probably noticed many of them passing this New York Times ”monocles are back” trend piece around last night along with a moderate dose of mockery.

Yep, that’s the one.

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New York Observer Editor Hired His Ice Cream Man to Defend Donald Trump

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It’s a tough job defending a guy like Donald Trump, but somebody’s apparently gotta do it. In this case, that somebody is the editor of his son-in-law’s newspaper…and that editor’s ice cream man, Bill Gifford.

You read that right. A communications “standoff” has emerged in the wake of what looks a whole lot like a 7,000 word article doubling as a hit piece on New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and a defense of The Donald.

ICYMI, Schneiderman just happened to file a 2013 lawsuit against Trump alleging fraud on the part of his real estate “university” seminar—an event whose attendees could, in Trump’s own words, “just copy exactly what I’ve done and get rich.”

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Rob Ford Is Trying Really, Really, Really Hard to Make a Comeback

Toronto’s crack Mayor Rob Ford finally gave an interview that wasn’t totally embarrassing.

Appearing on the Today show this morning to speak with Matt Lauer three months after vowing to make changes, Ford sat up straight and calmly answered questions about how he’s doing and his plans for the future. In a nutshell, he’s working out and preparing to campaign for another term as mayor with elections taking place on October 27.

Despite Ford’s monotone and lack of antics, there are two interesting things about this interview.

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Pitching A Broadcast Story? Think Visual.

Camille.EdwardsIf you’ve got a big story, you’re probably thinking broadcast. We spoke with Camille Edwards, VP  and news director at WABC-TV for tips about pitching your story successfully. Edwards manages a team of about 200 covering the tri-state area and the five boroughs of New York City.

“It has to be visual,” Edwards said, right off the top. “To not have thought about this is problematic.”

For PRs, this means designing campaigns with visuals in mind. Some programs will lend themselves to good visuals. For others, give a lot of consideration about how some part of the storytelling for your story can be told with compelling images. If broadcast is in the media plan from the beginning, it’s probably a good idea to include the media relations team throughout. They’ll be doing the pitching, they have the media relationships and know what journalists are looking for, so their input will be valuable.

Edwards’ second tip is “to be concise in your press release.” Read more

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