Rock The Pitch #9: The 13-Point Checklist

Rock The Pitch #9: The 13-Point Checklist

“Don’t be irrelevant, poorly written, too lengthy, boring and annoying.

PR people, please understand who you are pitching, sum up your thoughts in less than four sentences, use spell check, entertain me, and ditch the buzz words if you want your emails to stay out of the trash can.”

~ Erica Swallow, Mashable

Erica’s quote is wonderful and something ALL of us should take to heart.

Before You Hit Send On That Media Pitch…  

Sometimes, for those of us who are detail-oriented and process-addicted, checklists can be useful. So I thought I’d throw together a quick one that can be taped up in a cubical and glanced over before hitting send on a pitch… Just to make sure we are following best practices, even when our day is insanely busy.

Here it is – let me know if you think something should be added.   [Read more...]

Four Big Secrets Digital Agencies Don’t Tell: Part 2 of 4

Four Big Secrets Digital Agencies Don’t Tell: Part 2 of 4

(Read part one here.)

Earlier this month, I introduced four truisms that many digital agencies aren’t telling their clients and prospects.

1. While they want to be a full service digital agency, they tend to excel at one thing, not everything.

2. Some are repackaging services under new labels and jargon, but what they deliver hasn’t changed.

3. They are frantically trying to hire, but can’t find the right combination of skills.

4. Knowing this, most still aren’t training the talent they already have in-house.

Why did I bring these out in the light? Because it’s time to do something different. It’s time to be more nimble as agencies and talk about our  gaps so we can more easily FIX them. If we can’t find the right skills, frankly, it’s time to aggressively begin training the talent we DO have.

And if we are selling services we can’t execute with expertise, we should either stop selling it and become more specialized where we can perform with confidence, or wait until we have the right staff and/or training in place.

To do anything less feels like an abuse of the trust clients place in us as experts.

We are here to guide them through the minefield into success with company growth and visibility, not pretend to pull warm, fuzzy bunnies out of magical hats.

[Read more...]

Five Critical Points of Blogging & Image Law Every PR Pro Must Know

Five Critical Points of Blogging & Image Law Every PR Pro Must Know

SMACK. POW. Right where it counts!

Nope, not on your kisser but, even worse, in your wallet. Agencies, PR and marketing professionals, bloggers and anyone doing social media (who doesn’t?) are unwittingly putting themselves at risk. The lesson can be expensive, with lawsuit costs and fines stacking up in a horrifying way.

What am I talking about? Copyright infringement.*

It doesn’t feel like you’re breaking the law when you save a funny cartoon or quote you like, so you can post it to Facebook later. Or when you scan then post your honor roll student’s school photo on Instagram. (You bought the big reprints package, so it isn’t stealing!) And… at work, when you use a photograph of Angelina Jolie in a blog post on breast cancer. (It wouldn’t be on Google if it weren’t okay to use!) 

Or, even more common, when you use client-provided photography in a brochure you are creating for them, with the client then promptly posting a PDF of that brochure on their website. (You paid the photographer AND agency, after all, so it belongs to you!) 

Then there’s this one – so rampant in the agency world – you post screenshots of a client’s customized Facebook page and Twitter background in your online portfolio. (After all, it’s your design work, right?) And since you’re dabbling in website edits, you might as well upload those BurrellesLuce clips of editorial placements. (Don’t they send a PDF for that reason?)

These might seem innocuous enough, but they’re legal violations that can be prosecuted. Even if it doesn’t  go to court, fines can be in the tens of thousands of dollars.   [Read more...]

Four Big Secrets Digital Agencies Don’t Tell: Part 1 of 4

Four Big Secrets Digital Agencies Don’t Tell: Part 1 of 4

The more I work with digital agencies, the more I’m noticing a few trends in common across all of them.

1. While they want to be a full service digital agency, they tend to excel at one thing, not everything.

2. Some are repackaging services under new labels and jargon, but what they deliver hasn’t changed.

3. They are frantically trying to hire, but can’t find the right combination of skills.

4. Knowing this, most still aren’t training the talent they already have in-house.

I have a few ideas on why these things are true, and how you can benefit as a PR pro. Because this topic is rather lengthy to discuss and I’d like to elaborate on each one of the above points, I’m splitting it into four posts.

This is the first.   [Read more...]

My Top Do’s & Don’ts For Pitching & Writing Guest Blog Posts

My Top Do’s & Don’ts For Pitching & Writing Guest Blog Posts

It’s raining outside and I’m feeling lazy, like curling up with an afghan, a full french press of coffee and a great book. Trust me, I have hundreds of books to pick from. So…. in my haste to wrap up work for the day, I think I’ll bang out a quick listicle!

Content marketing is on my mind quite a bit this week, for a variety of reasons, so we’ll use that as our topic.

Busy week! I landed a new digital agency client for strategic work in repackaging what they package, sell and deliver to their clients as they change from link-building services to content marketing – so my mind has been tackling some of their major issues in preparation for launching work.

A second client tasked me with building a list of recommended next steps to move their content marketing forward, AND I’ve been working on my own 2015 content marketing strategy for Rock The Status Quo.

See why it’s top of mind?

Don’t Overlook Its Importance

When I think of content marketing, one of the primary tactics that comes to mind is guest blogging. It’s critical and, as bloggers now outnumber journalists, it’s a public relations tactic that can’t be ignored.

That being said, here are a few dozen “do’s and don’ts” to help you in your pitching and writing efforts.   [Read more...]

Newsjacking Tragedy

Newsjacking Tragedy

The Robin Williams suicide hit me hard. Very hard.

I’ve had decades of exposure to depression, addiction and mental illness with friends and loved ones, spending agonized months – years – trying not to lose them when their pain became unbearable. Navigating the healthcare system across years of misdiagnosis, trying medications that didn’t work, finding new doctors who had a clue. Afraid of closed bedroom doors, because you couldn’t see what was happening on the other side, always worrying they might be doing something harmful or dangerous. Keeping secrets because of other people’s ignorance, misperceptions or stupidity.

Seeing others lose the fight brings home just how tenuous winning that war can be sometimes. It breaks my heart and terrifies me, because it’s a battle that doesn’t end. Every day you start over.

Regardless of the masks people wear in public, you just never know what private battles they face.

I never met Robin Williams in person, but he was one of those people who effortlessly won people’s affection through his combination of self-depreciating humor and deep love for the world around him.

His death caught the nation completely by surprise and many of us will continue mourning his loss for a long time to come. For family, the feelings of shock and horror might never go away.

It certainly didn’t help that some media outlets were all-too-eager to report intimate details of his death. If I am shocked by the callous disregard for privacy, I can only imagine how his family feels.

Edelman Crosses The Line

On Wednesday, one of the largest PR firms in the world ran a blog post by Lisa Kovitz called “Carpe Diem: Seize The Day” explaining how to get publicity from William’s suicide.   [Read more...]

How to Create an Online Newsroom That Journalists Love

How to Create an Online Newsroom That Journalists Love

Creativity counts when it comes to a media pitch, the headline of your press release and share-worthy blog posts. But what about your online newsroom?

An archive of press releases is useful…. but investing a few hours to add fresh resources can take it from meh to fantastic.

Most companies treat the news section of their website as a laundry list of press releases, never aiming higher, yet it’s the first place a journalist looks when something about your company sparks their interest.

And when they need a well-packaged story? A robust newsroom that delivers exactly what they need can make or break that story opportunity.

Have you given it enough TLC… or is it a snoozefest of corporate-speak with minimal value?

[Read more...]

Rock The Pitch #7:  The Anti-Facepalm Formula

Rock The Pitch #7:
The Anti-Facepalm Formula

Today’s GOOD(!) PITCH submission comes from Lindsay Bell, the fabuloso content director over at Spin Sucks. Why did she like it? It was humanized… and relevant.

There is a certain irony that, as PR professionals who earn a living based on our pitching skills, our own industry blogs are smothered with a constant deluge of bad pitches. You’d think the difficult part would be picking from so many GOOD ones and that all are relevant but, alas, that is SO not the case.

I’m not convinced it is related so much to PR pros, though, as it is the fact that so many MARKETING generalists (and entrepreneurs) are taking on PR with little or no PR-specific training.

If this isn’t the case, please, I’m begging you. Don’t burst my delusional bubble. It would just be too darn depressing.

(Names and email content used in this post are included with permission from both the original sender and the publisher, lest you think I’m doing something sneaky.)

THE PITCH

On Jul 24, 2014, at 8:42 AM, John Larkin (kudos, John!) wrote:   [Read more...]

PR Metrics Deconfuzzled.

PR Metrics Deconfuzzled.

For many people, PR metrics leave them completely confuzzled. Bamboozled. Too confused to see straight. Giving up before they even begin.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

The trick is to focus on metrics at THE BEGINNING of your campaign, project or initiative – not the end.

What end goal do you want to accomplish? What action do you want the reader or viewer to take?  Think it through and track that.

Create your content or campaign with your end goal in mind and figure out a metric that works.

Integrating metrics doesn’t have to be done at a complicated, cross-departmental, c-suite level. (Well, unless you are a CMO, of course…) It is okay to either work with a supervisor to define goals and critical metrics and/or use a level of metrics that commensurates with your scope of work and skill level.

PR Metrics: You've GOT THIS.

It can be as simple as pointing a SlideShare document, guest blog post or byline article to a specific website page, then monitoring traffic to that page. Or creating content that points to a “subscribe now” button, then looking at how many new subscribers you end up with. Or looking at the percentage of website referral traffic coming from specific social media platforms or editorial placements using Google Analytics. Or launching content and conversations tied to a specific hashtag. These are all great places to begin.

What IT CAN’T BE, is determined after the fact. It’s a thousand times more difficult. Successfully implementing metrics that deliver value long-term require discussion and strategic thinking from the very beginning.   [Read more...]

Rock The Pitch #6: Will You Keep Me In Mind For Next Time?

Rock The Pitch #6: Will You Keep Me In Mind For Next Time?

An EPIC tweet was sent by a deputy tech editor at the New York Times yesterday afternoon… shared by the delightful Maura Lafferty (follow her at @mlaffs).

Are you peeing your pants with laughter, or cringing in guilty embarrassment?

Read on; there’s more.

I’m guessing if Quentin bothered to answer Mark’s last question, it would be a resounding “YES.”   [Read more...]