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Every so often you hear about a huge marketing fail from a brand. But more common are little mistakes that brands make in their PR messages and marketing strategies. This recent PR Daily article listed three of the worst digital marketing sins that brands make and we couldn't help but add two more that totally freak us out!

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Pitching a reporter is a skill that takes time and a bit of experimentation to execute successfully. As PR pros we talk a lot about what we should be doing, but what about the things to avoid that make reporters cringe? 

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One of the most rewarding parts of any influencer relations program is scoring your clients the coverage they deserve, whether it’s a feature article in one of their target publications or a mention in a national new story. In order to obtain that type of coverage, you must present journalists and influencers with a solid pitch. This recent PR Daily article outlined 3 steps to nailing your pitch and getting your client’s story heard. 

Do your research. This is absolutely the most critical step to acing your pitch. Peruse through the publications website, check out the journalist’s social media profiles, and see if you have any personal connections you can use to get the inside scoop. Be certain that the person and publication you’re reaching out to is on target with the story you’re pitching. And speaking of the journalist, make sure you know how the journalist prefers to be pitched. Do they want a phone call? Short email? Direct message on Twitter? You may find the answer several ways: on their publication’s website, Twitter bio or a PR platform such as Cision.

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It looks like Obama's State of the Union Address isn't the only thing getting fact-checked in the news this week. Take a look at this article from ReadWrite yesterday where IBM gets called out on some extremely bold claims its spokesperson made in a recent interview.

As public relations professionals, we frequently guide clients in crafting messaging for announcements and press interviews. We generally advise against using positioning statements with blanket superlative language (the "biggest" and "the leader") unless they're backed by solid research and supported by facts.

This is a good reminder of what could happen when clients go off script, making unsubstantiated claims that are exaggerated, or even patently untrue. In the piece, IBM gets busted for claiming to be the world's largest cloud provider, a title that rightfully belongs to Amazon Web Services. Apparently, Microsoft also falsely made this claim several months ago.

The moral of the story? Today's journalists are not afraid to publicly call out untruths, so play it safe and stick with the facts.

Truth-O-Meter is a trademark of Politifact.com; Image Credit: http://www.politifact.com/

 

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2015 started with a bang as several clients of our influencer relations services have already issued major business or product announcements that commanded their industries’ attention. Even in today’s media landscape, that attention is best earned through proactive conversations with key influencers who want to hear your story in advance and are willing to consider in-depth coverage when your news goes public. If you have a product launch or other news that warrants a strategic, concerted effort to pre-brief the influencers who matter most to your brand, here are three strategies that can make the difference between a big splash of positive coverage and the sound of chirping crickets when announcement day comes:

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