PR Niblets

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Growing Older (and More Experienced) with America’s Favorite Trade Show

By Doug Wright

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) celebrated its 50th anniversary last month. This gave me pause, as I figured I must have attended nearly half of these renowned events showcasing the latest in technology and gadgets. I can’t decide whether this makes me feel more “old” or “experienced,” but the fact that I too turn 50 this year…

My first CES experiences were in the early 90s, when the Consumer Electronics Association (now known as the Consumer Technology Association) hosted two shows per year, including a summer expo in Chicago in addition to the winter one we have today. During my career, I have been fortunate to represent many brands at these events, including Sharp, Sony, Maxell, Kenwood, Pioneer, Yamaha, Monster, Acclaim Entertainment and most recently HDMI Licensing Administrator and Healbe.

Over the years, preparation for this highly-anticipated show has certainly evolved. Here are a few pointers to help your company prepare for CES from a public relations standpoint:

Timing is everything when it comes to press releases/announcements.

Where it used to be generally preferred to announce new products at CES, the size of the show today has made it more difficult to break through the noise and clutter of it all. Consider these two alternatives to help your company stand out:
  • Release your news in advance so you can invite media to your booth for more information, a live demo and/or an interview with a company spokesperson.
  • Offer the news to the most important media outlets in advance (but under embargo until launch day) to give your company a better chance at being featured when you want the coverage. I’ve also noticed more recently that editors are writing stories in advance to keep up with the demand for coverage at the show. In these cases, you’re actually doing them a favor.
To press conference or not to press conference?
The vastness of the show and its media days means your company is competing with press conferences for companies of all kinds. In order to stand out among all this competition and noise, weigh your news objectively and decide if it is best suited for a standalone press conference or an editor preview event (such as ShowStoppers or CES Unveiled,) where hundreds of reporters go to learn about all the new products while enjoying a bite to eat with colleagues.

Social media is not optional – it is essential:
When I started out, there was no social media; however, today you must have a plan to engage. Here are some tips to staying social at CES.
  • Post content before, during and after the show with information about your booth, announcements and new products.
  • Share content live from the floor with lots of graphics to show off your displays and booth crowds.
  • Spread information about your company and products using official event hashtags (e.g. #CES2017) and encourage booth visitors to do so as well.
  • Post photos and shout outs tagging press and other booth visitors to increase engagement and attract new followers by soliciting replies and retweets.
For your next big trade show, whether it’s CES or otherwise, consider these tactics to help you secure quality media coverage and get the greatest value out of your time and allocated resources.

Healbe CEO Artem Shipitsin talking about the new GoBe 2 Smart Life Band
with Into Tomorrow Radio's Dave Graveline at Showstoppers.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Setting New Year’s PR Resolutions for your Business

Running a company is a non-stop adventure, both fun and frustrating at times. Business owners are constantly running around doing everything they can to better serve clients or customers.

As critical as it is for you to define and set your marketing and communications strategy for the year ahead, it’s easy to fall victim to your workload and “to do list” and keep shoveling in pursuit of sales and client needs while ignoring your own business development goals.

So here we are in 2017 and perhaps you still haven’t made time to focus on supporting your company’s communications strategy. Sell yourself on the value you bring to your clients by implementing these five things for a focused, prosperous year ahead:

  1. Get on social media. If you aren’t already on social media, set up your accounts and start posting and engaging with your audiences. 
  2. Create a content calendar and start posting. Draft blog posts, compose tweets, update your Facebook profile, connect on LinkedIn, post a photo from CES 2017 on Instagram. Let everyone know you’re still out there and what exciting stuff you’ve been doing.
  3. Register for industry events. Every industry boasts a slew of industry associations and trade shows/marketing events geared towards specific groups of professionals. If you already belong to one or several such organizations, consider attending their next big event or conference to meet prospects, enhance your sales queue and then even set up some media interviews to burnish your company’s brand and awareness.
  4. Draft your corporate communications plan. As the end of each year approaches, you start looking forward to budgeting, planning and goal-setting for company sales for the year ahead. It’s important to do the same for your marketing communications. Invest in your company’s communications strategy to stay ahead of your competition and make your voice heard.
  5. Nominate yourself for industry awards. Research industry award programs that are relevant to your industry and apply. Even if you don’t win, you will have put together an impressive presentation on your greatest work to share with clients and prospects.

The new year is a time for introspection and self-improvement and your PR/communications plans and outreach should be high on your radar. Make time for it; it’ll pay dividends all year long.  And if you’re “buried” with deadlines and other work, reach out to your trusted PR and marketing advisors to help you get there.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Tip Tuesday: Integrity Matters

“Don’t lie, mislead or whitewash.  It’ll come back to haunt you.  Integrity is like crystal:  fragile and irreparable once cracked.” – Richard Roher

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Tip Tuesday: Credibility is Everything

“Your credibility and your truthfulness is all you have, so never lie to a journalist.  While there may be occasions where you can’t give them the full situation, do not lie or distort the truth to win a pitch. Your reputation and effectiveness will be limited substantially and it will reflect poorly on your client. If you’re going to be effective in pitching a journalist, remain honest and do your research. Check out samples of their work to understand their beat, the publication they work for and the kind of stories they write about. Pay attention to what they do, remain credible and don’t waste their time.” - Henry Feintuch

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Top 3 Rules Every PR Professional Should Know

Every industry has a rule book, whether or not you know about it! As a communications professional, our rule book is endless. With many years of professional and personal experience, we sat down with our Feintuch team member, Doug Wright, to come up with the top 3 rules that every communication professional should abide by.
  1. Go above and beyond. Strive to do as much of your boss’s job as you can. Any part of his/her job that you can do frees them up to concentrate on higher level work that will benefit the company overall. (Of course, you need to make sure you are covering all of your job responsibilities first!)
  2. Take ownership of the good and the bad. Sins of commission are better than sins of omission. While no one likes to make mistakes, they are inevitable. A sin of commission—where you may have gone about trying to get something done the wrong way—is less offensive to most than a sin of omission where you simply dropped the ball.
  3. Stay humble and motivated. Don’t doubt yourself and keep worrying to a minimum. If you know what you are doing and performing due diligence in getting it done, that’s all you can do. Don’t be cocky, but keep this in mind even as questions arise from clients and supervisors about a news announcement that does not get the expected pick up or a lightly attended press conference. More often than not, if you are performing due diligence, things will work out the way they should.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Tip Tuesday: Social Media Basics

"When trying to build a brand on social media, it is important to remember these four things: be smart, be relentless, be honest and most importantly, be on message. Once you post something on social media, it becomes a permanent part of the digital world." - Richard Roher.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Executive Series: Doug Wright

Doug Wright is our resident consumer electronics and music tech expert. He has an extensive background representing major brands, including Sharp, Maxwell, Sony, Kenwood, Yamaha and Pioneer. He’s also worked with clients in other industries, including video games, professional video, marketing premiums, health care, financial services and others.

What is the biggest change you’ve seen in PR? 

Media relations. One thing I remember distinctly about my first jobs was how easy it was to get reporters out of their offices. Trade magazine writers and even mainstream media made time to meet with clients over lunch, which helped to build relationships.Nowadays, no one has time. The economy and the way business is done has effectively changed the way relationships are built. Editorial teams are often short-handed, and any time out of the office is at a premium. In fact, it can be difficult to get an editor you do not have a relationship with on the phone.This has made it all the more important to tighten up the other aspects of media relations. Pitches, both written and verbal, must be very efficient and even more compelling to get the attention of writers and editors.

How do you generate news and build buzz for clients?

Finding and engaging key influencers. For instance, you may want to offer an exclusive story to a major media outlet that your client is most excited about. If an exclusive is not possible, seeding stories to top mainstream or trade media under embargo is a great tool as well. This way, you can prepare them with materials/interviews/etc. to publish their stories when the news hits, not days later. It also lets the writers know that your client believes this is big news and will help you cut through the clutter of all the other news they may cover on a given day.

Social media is also key. By helping a client to build strong social networks (Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.), they can hint at upcoming news that would be of interest to their audiences. By engaging social media influencers in your client’s field (media, industry experts, enthusiasts, etc.), you can build a great deal of anticipation for a pending announcement and extend its reach.

What is the most challenging thing about PR?

Prospecting for new business. This is the life blood of any agency and it can be a challenge to find the time to find new clients. I have found that the proper mindset is to make sure new business prospecting is part of the normal work week, to be tackled alongside regular client work.

I try to make time to consider opportunities for business among colleagues, friends and new contacts. You never know, a well-timed phone call or email can be the first step to gaining a new client.

Is there anything happening in the industry that you find interesting?

Newsroom and editorial changes. With smaller editorial staff and advertising shifting to online media and other areas, print publications are getting thinner and even transitioning to online-only formats. The editorial landscape is changing rapidly and it is important to keep up to date with changes and new opportunities for more timely coverage.

An upside of a more online-centric media base is its tie to social media. Online stories can be more easily shared with clients’ audiences and other social media influencers to spread key news farther and faster.

What is one thing you wish you’d known when you started out?

Being creative in the job hunt and adapting the job to your preferences. The need for PR is everywhere—in corporations, financial institutions, art organizations, health care companies, non-profits and on and on—so there is a great degree of opportunity to find your passion within the field. As for adapting a current job, I now know you can use your strengths to bring a position even more in line with your interests—and maybe even create a new position. This, of course, needs to fall in line with your employer’s needs and goals.