5 Steps to Finding the Perfect PR Firm

by Pitch PR | 8th August 2016

So you have a new startup or thriving business and you want the world to know. Smart cookie! Public relations is one of the finest ways to promote a brand, create name recognition, and ultimately drive sales. The media’s power of persuasion provides a third-party endorsement you can’t get elsewhere. In the consumer’s eyes, if a TV show or magazine is featuring you, your business must be credible. When it comes to PR, there are thousands of options from small freelancers to global agencies and medium-sized firms in between. So how do you go about finding the right PR firm to get you in the media spotlight? You already know about the importance of getting a referral. Of course you should do your homework on any PR agency before you engage. But how do you really know you’re getting someone who can deliver?

Here are 5 questions you should be asking that you may not be:

1. What have you done lately? Sure, nearly any firm can tout a few high profile media placements over the years. But what have they landed lately for their clients? An excellent PR firm should be delivering results on a consistent basis. Ask for a few examples of stories they’ve generated in the past few months to get a sense for how results-oriented they truly are. Can they show recent success and does that success include the kinds of outlets you find impressive?

2. How do you define success? Your vision for a successful PR campaign and their vision might not align. Some PR firms will consider one great media hit a successful campaign. Would you? Get your expectations and their definitions clear in the beginning to make sure you aren’t surprised by having totally different goals. We love to hit the ground running with our clients, but we set the finish line first.

3. What do you think of my business? This seems glaringly obvious, but it’s not. You should share insight into your company and get feedback from your agency on what their impressions are. Do they think it’s newsworthy? If so, why? Can they relate to your business and your story? Do they understand what you do? Make sure they “get it” and are passionate about what you do. If not, it’s going to be really difficult for them to promote it! We only take on projects we feel have media appeal and businesses we are excited to tell our media contacts about.

4. Who will I be working with? PR firms vary in sizes and large agencies can have hundreds of employees including many junior executives. You may be dismayed to find out the knowledgeable PR executive you talked to in the beginning has disappeared when work begins and you’re stuck with an intern who is inexperienced and overworked. This is a question rarely asked but should be top of the list.

5. What do you need from me? Yes, you want a PR firm that takes media activities off your plate and handles PR from A to Z. But find out how you can better support their efforts and increase your chances for success. That could mean providing them with more information and materials up front or being available for touch base strategy calls. You may be able to provide content and expertise to better enhance the materials they use to generate press.

Every business has a story to tell. Effective and savvy PR firms will find the right angles and media targets to generate key exposure that can have a lasting and positive effect on your company’s revenue and reputation.

But first…
Ask the right questions and you’ll find the right firm!

Planning and Pitching to Media Success

by Pitch PR | 27th December 2015

By Executive Media Coordinator Marybeth Grass

It’s all in the pitch. That’s our motto here at Pitch Public Relations. Whether making publicity a priority has always been in your annual marketing game plan or a new initiative for the New Year, it’s the perfect time to put together a roadmap of angles to pitch throughout the year to ensure media success in 2016! Here are some ideas to help put your pitch planning into motion:

Establish Your Expertise: You’ve worked long and hard to create your business. You know your service or product inside and out, so let the world know! The key is to find a way to lend your expertise in a newsworthy manner. For instance if you sell toys, you may want to pitch your knowledge on the best toys for various ages, or offer up the “must-haves” for the holiday season. Or perhaps you have important new insight on the safest toys on the market. Tap into your wealth of knowledge and pitch away!

New Trends: What’s new in your industry and how will it affect the public? Are there any fresh ideas or happenings in your business that could affect pricing, availability, etc.? Answers to these kinds of questions can lead to great pitches that grab journalists’ attention.
Research: The media loves new data that stems from business research, consumer surveys and other factual content. This information will likely take time and effort to generate but well worth it if interesting and groundbreaking data is the end result.

Tell Your Story: There’s a lot of bad news to be told which makes a pitch about a positive story grab journalists’ attention. Building a business from the ground up always has its fair share of challenges. Sharing the lessons you’ve learned from your bumps in the road and hard work, sweat and tears you’ve endured to reach success may very well be the perfect story to inspire a media outlet’s audience.

Highlight Milestones: Plan ahead for important dates that may resonate with the press. If you are approaching a milestone business anniversary that tells a story of how your company has positively affected the community or coming close to helping, say your 5000th customer solve a problem, it may be time to spotlight the details in a pitch. If you’re not quite there yet, tap into holidays, national recognition days (i.e. Mother’s Day) or events that tie into what you do. One such example…an accountant can provide the latest in filing tips during tax season.

The right pitch at the right time can make all the difference in securing great media coverage all year long. Make it happen in 2016!
We here at Pitch Public Relations wish you every bit of success in the coming year. Happy New Year!

Holiday Coverage is Still Well Within Reach

by Pitch PR | 27th November 2015

By Executive Media Coordinator Marybeth Grass

Here at Pitch Public Relations we hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We are thankful as ever for our wonderful past, present and future clients!
While the turkey and stuffing buzz may not have worn off yet, it’s safe to say the holiday season is officially in high gear. On the publicity front, it may feel like the media has already (or about to) feature the best gift ideas for the season. However, the good news is there are plenty of outlets just beginning to think about showcasing “must-haves” to be placed under the tree. We’ve discussed this before here on the Pitch Public Relations blog but feel it’s important to remind you that opportunities remain to pitch your product for coverage this holiday season. Of course, you’re not the only one trying to capture the spotlight so take time to craft a pitch that shows editors what makes your product stand out from the rest. Here are strategies to implement in the coming weeks that could result in great media coverage:

Online: Websites are relentlessly looking to feature new content more than any other medium. In fact online outlets may be looking to feature more than one gift guide. When reaching out to online editors, think about niche opportunities depending on the outlet’s readership or the editor’s focus. For instance, say your product caters to parents and is eco-friendly, than be sure to capitalize on both angles. Additionally, don’t discount pitching smaller outlets. You never know when the viral nature of the internet can snowball into bigger and better coverage.

Magazines: Even though top tier magazines have already locked in coverage months ago for the December issue, their online holiday features may very well still be in the works. Be sure to seek out the online editors versus the editorial staff who handled the print issue to make sure your message is reaching the right contact. It’s great to be featured on their glossy colorful pages but more than ever readers are reaching for their tablet or phone to see the latest content, so pitch away! You may end up scoring coverage you thought had long since passed taking into consideration magazine’s normally long lead deadlines.

TV: Local TV newscasts and lifestyle shows are ripe for holiday content. Be sure to emphasize the local aspect of your product whether it’s made in town or at the very least the company is based in the area since reporters and producers with local network affiliates are always looking for that home town angle. Don’t forget to explain the visual opportunities to convince a reporter or producer that your product would show off great on camera.

Newspapers: Your hometown daily and weekly newspapers are in on the holiday gift guide coverage too! Just like online outlets, there may be multiple opportunities for coverage. Take a good look throughout the paper to see where gift guides might pop up. Editors covering a variety of topics (general lifestyle, fashion, gardening, gadgets, etc.) may be planning to feature gift guides focused on some of these individual topics. Seek out these editors and pitch away!

Radio: What it lacks in visuals, it may make up for in an impactful endorsement. Radio show hosts are always looking for something to talk about on air. Consider reaching out to on-air personalities and/or their producer(s) about your product to see if it’s a possible fit on an upcoming holiday gift themed show.

So wait no longer! Seize the great editorial placement that awaits you this season. We wish you much success this holiday season and beyond.

How to Make the Most of Media Coverage

by Pitch PR | 6th April 2015

By Michelle Everson, Publicist

Your team has done it – landed that fabulous media placement that you’ve been working on for weeks (or sometimes even months)! No matter how many times we’ve helped clients shine in the press the excitement of landing a quality feature never gets old. Now that you have that valuable piece of coverage, what’s the best way to make the most of it?

Here are some of our top tips for getting the most out of every editorial placement.

Say “thank you.” Whether your organization or news item is the focus of the story or just a part of it, the Golden Rule applies in public relations. Your media contact worked to put together that piece – and everyone likes to be recognized for his or her work! A quick thank you e-mail to show your appreciation for the coverage is all you need. Besides just being polite, being grateful and responsive to media contacts helps to keep you as the expert in your field at top of mind for their next piece.

Share. Once you have a feature link in hand be sure to share it via social media. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, even Instagram or Pinterest if it’s a visual piece. If appropriate, don’t forget to tag the outlet that ran the piece. Also, encourage your employees and friends to share too – the more eyes on the news piece, the better! This also helps in maintaining a great relationship with the journalist; the more eyes and ears on his piece, the better for them as well.

Start an online pressroom. Once media momentum has built up around your product, company or expertise, it makes sense to start an online pressroom where people can go to learn more about your brand. This is also helpful to other media outlets to get background on your company and to know where you’ve been featured in the past. (In addition to coverage, be sure to include a press contact in your pressroom so interested media can contact you. Bonus points for having press ready images on file, too!)

Incorporate it into your marketing efforts. For top quality features, sharing one day via social media just won’t do. Share the link in your company newsletter, on your blog, or even in your e-mail signature if appropriate (check with the outlet first on logo usage).

Keep at it. It’s a fast-paced media world; one stellar editorial placement is great, but ongoing press coverage is even better. Once you’ve had a great media hit, keep up the momentum! This can include keeping in touch with target journalists/outlets, brainstorming new angles/ideas to pitch the media, establishing yourself/brand as an expert in your field, and becoming known for always being a “first responder” when the media comes to call.

Great coverage can benefit your business and your current and future customers or clients. We hope you can use these tips to help you maximize both media exposure and success.

LinkedIn and PR Success

by Pitch PR | 8th July 2014

By Karli Hartwig, Public Relations Intern

Social media is here to stay and professional social networks like LinkedIn are great tools for creating brand awareness. After all, according to LinkedIn, the site is home to more than 300 million professionals from across the globe. The ability to network with professionals from all around the world can take your business’ public relations campaign and brand awareness to the next level.

Networking, networking, networking. The ability to connect with journalists and bloggers directly has transformed PR—especially with today’s 24/7 news cycle. LinkedIn profiles can give you the upper hand when determining whom to pitch and when. What are they looking for? What are they talking about? Gaining background knowledge to these outlets through LinkedIn will keep you one step ahead of the game.

Knowing the industry in which your representing is key. For example, the group feature on LinkedIn allows you to join content specific groups. This will allow you to grasp what is going on in that market and see what others are up to.

Here are some other tips for PR success utilizing LinkedIn:

• Create well-organized profiles for yourself and your company. Make sure both pages are professional, clear and up to date. Have your contact information listed, as well as all employees linked to your company’s page. Not only will you be looking at profiles to gain insight but also others could be looking at yours when searching for someone to interview in the industry. Does your profile make a good impression? Does your company’s profile stay up to date? ‘Yes’ should be the answer to both of these questions.

• Add links to your social networks. Add links to blogs, websites, and Twitter/Facebook profiles for better circulation of content.

• Recommendations. Credibility is the backbone of any successful business. In order to improve your online presences get your skills endorsed and successful stories written for recommendations.

• Get connected. Try to find connections. If you find a mutual connection with someone, ask to be introduced! It will pay off in the long run. Do not connect to people you haven’t worked with on at least some level or haven’t been introduced to though—that can be considered unprofessional.

• Get talking. Whether you are answering questions or asking them. The ability to post updates and share content is a great way to get your name out there. Position yourself as an expert in the field.

Like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and others, LinkedIn should be just one tool in your social media outreach arsenal. All of these tools combine for a great online presence and, in turn, PR success.

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