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Media relations

Holland Tourism: Masters of Cool

Amsterdam Clipper Ship Sign2 Cropped“I never had such a good backdrop”, said President Obama. During a recent state visit to The Netherlands, he took a side trip to Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, home of Rembrandt’s renowned Nightwatch painting. As his comment indicates, he was duly impressed. Only select destinations worldwide merit presidential visits, and a visit to The Hague prompted Obama’s trip.

The President’s visit may help put The Netherlands front and center for U.S. travelers, who represent the country’s fourth largest source of visitors. The Dutch tourism effort in the U.S. has been quite active lately, as Holland continues to upgrade its star attractions. Many of its famous museums are being renovated, and they’re reopening in stages.

We checked with The Netherlands Board of Tourism & Conventions (NBTC) about its PR and marketing programs. They partnered with Amsterdam Marketing, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines for a 3-year joint marketing program, “Holland. The Original Cool”. The campaign’s video series has been the most visible joint effort. Launched last year, it features Pim de Koel, the country’s cool brand ambassador, as he teaches an American traveler about unique aspects of Dutch culture. Last year the video received over a million views, and this year it’s a three-part series, with the second episode debuting today.

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Journalists’ Pay Not Keeping Up with…Anything, Really

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Get ready to feel a little more sympathy for your journalist contacts.

We all know that full-time editorializing has never paid as well as it should unless your name happens to be E.L. James, but a new report in the American Journalism Review clarifies just how true that is.

The fact that an American reporter’s mean salary rose 10.7% “from $40,090…to $44,360″ in the decade between 2003 and 2013 is already a little depressing, but the fact that the mean salary for all occupations rose at nearly three times that rate (from $36,210 to $46,440) is more upsetting.

Unfortunately, this is just another confirmation of the fact that fewer Americans see journalism as a legitimate and sustainable career option.

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NASDAQ Paper: ‘What Do Journalists Want?’

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Last week NASDAQ‘s Corporate Solutions group and Ragan Communications published a white paper titled “What Journalists Want” that outlines general trends in PR/writer relations.

Much of the paper concerns points that seem basic but may be easily forgotten: maintain and regularly update your contact list, pitch infographics whenever possible, include embed codes with all videos, send mobile-friendly content, etc.

Professors and scribes offer always-relevant advice like “send useful materials to writers even if it doesn’t concern your client” (an idea we support 115%) and “be specific and direct with email subject lines, using the word ‘you’ to directly address the recipient.”

These are all useful tips, but they’re also familiar to most veterans of the media relations practice.

On that note, we spoke to Mike Piispanen, VP of PR solutions at NASDAQ OMX, to get some additional thoughts on the paper.

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Ignore All the Vomiting: Royal Caribbean Tries To Sell Us on Cruises

The new CEO of Royal Caribbean cruises appeared on CBS This Morning late last week to make a case for why we should be planning our cruise vacations ASAP.

Adam Goldstein was recently promoted to COO and president of Royal Caribbean after 12 years spent with Royal Caribbean International. This new role does include some corporate communications work, so it shouldn’t be surprising that in less than two weeks, Goldstein was appearing on a major morning news program to address yet another illness outbreak this time sickening 105 passengers and crew on Royal Caribbean’s Grandeur of the Seas. The previous week, 117 were sickened.

The problem looks to once again be the dreaded norovirus, which causes vomiting and diarrhea. The Centers for Disease Control gets involved, passengers miss out on their vacations, and you have an all-around mess on your hands.

Cruising’s reputation is also in a sickly state, with Gayle King noting at the top of the interview that trust in cruise vacations is down 12 percent.

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

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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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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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