PR Niblets

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.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

5 Ways to Rock Trade Shows and Conferences

Trade shows, conferences and industry events present unique opportunities for PR professionals for several reasons. You have the opportunity to learn more about your client’s sector and the major players in their market, join a panel or two and hear some insights from key figures in the industry and meet the media you’ve been diligently working with. The best part of it all is being able to see your clients interact with their customers and demonstrate their news products.

Our trade show guru, Doug Wright, shares his thoughts on the five best practices to tackling a trade show or conference successfully:
  1. Listen and learn. Take note of the questions asked at your client’s booth, as well as the answers. This will educate you and help you become more conversant in your future presentations to editors.
  2. Organization is key. Keep your head in the game for the duration of the show. Keep track of all press appointments and make sure they meet your client and see their most important offerings at the show. 
  3. Stay motivated. While it is a long time to be on your feet and your body starts to complain (foot and back pain), keep in mind that everybody is in the same boat and that the show is not only important to your client, but very expensive. Time is literally money to the tune of thousands of dollars per hour. The client will be watching and evaluating what worked at this show, as well as what did not. You do not want to be one of those things that did not work because of a lackluster performance.
  4. Nurture your relationship. Have fun with your client at the show—on the floor and off. A great part of trade shows is the ability to build a relationship with your client. While work obviously comes first, take this time to learn more about your client and have them learn about you. Nobody wants to work with an automaton.
  5. Be focused. Perform due diligence in show related activity. There is a lot going on and you need to own your part. There will not be a lot of sympathy given to those who miss a key step in the trade show effort because they got busy and forgot.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Tip Tuesday: Be Ahead of the Game

“Whether you’re in consumer, tech or B2B public relations, you should read a noteworthy news publication every day, like The Wall Street Journal, even though it may appear to be ‘off subject.’ As PR professionals, we tend to focus too much on our clients’ niche or sector, but you shouldn’t fall into that trap.  You’ll be a more successful and well-rounded communications professional if you have a comprehensive understanding of the larger business environment in which your client operates. To be successful in this industry, you must always be ahead of the game.”
– Richard Anderson

Monday, March 28, 2016

Executive Series: Henry Feintuch

Henry Feintuch was born a writer. Growing up, he’s always loved writing and had a strong interest in the news. When he was in the Boy Scouts, he was the editor of the newsletter for his local chapter. One Halloween, he even dressed up as a reporter and carried around a typewriter. As a news junkie, the move into broadcast journalism and, ultimately, PR was natural. With 30+ years in the industry, Henry sat down with us and shared his thoughts on the changes and what it means going forward.

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

The Internet. I started as a broadcast journalist so I spent time at four different radio stations and Channel 2 News in New York before I shifted my career path. Since then, the biggest change was the availability of the Internet. It changed everything—the introduction of email, the ability to publish content directly to a targeted audience, the ease and accessibility of worldwide information and instant and mass communications. 

This significance wasn’t confined only to PR but the implications in the industry was evident—less efficiency, less time to think, more work. If an email is sent, immediate responses are seemingly expected. Taking longer than 30 minutes to respond makes you seem aloof and unengaged. The definition of being a service provider has changed but not necessarily for the better. The compression of time and lack of thinking leads to less strategic and more knee jerk responses. 

What is the most challenging thing about PR? 

Client expectations and reality. Managing client expectations and educating clients about what is possible through PR is challenging. Some clients have their own ideas of results and the ROI PR should deliver. So it is essential to get everyone on the same page; otherwise the relationship won’t last and we can’t succeed regardless of the output. 

At the onset of the relationship, partner with the client even as we strive to manage both our roles in their program. Ensure you both understand the current assets you have and what results those assets can deliver. You can tell a client “no” if you know what they are asking for is wrong or not in their best interest. Keep them focused on the business outcomes they are looking to achieve, instead of simply generating buzz and media coverage.

Both are important but those are not the end game for me. The outcome should not only be the article in the WSJ but to increase product sales or enhance their reputation as an industry leader. Fundamentally, this goes back to their overall objectives and the best strategies and tactics we can employ to accomplish them. 

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

Social Media. The social media hype is well out of proportion to the role that social media plays in client accounts. Social media is a channel for having a two-way conversation with an audience. If the audience can be reached by social, then it’s an appropriate tactic. But it’s not always the case. 

A social media program is more effective with media relations or thought leadership campaigns and should be valued alongside other valuable tactics instead of being the primary channel. It’s another way to communicate to an audience, no different to running an event, a press release, etc. Companies think they need these platforms so the medium or channel is saturated because everyone is doing it. The reality is that you need to see if it’s an appropriate channel to reach your audience. 

What is important about writing and how can professionals improve their skills?

Writing is an art. You can be a great creative writer, but if you can’t write to convey the message of your campaign, you’ll never succeed.

Writing is a key tool that communications professionals use to educate the market and capture the attention of their audiences. Through writing, we convey the voice of a company or brand, its goals, aspirations and/or point of view. 

You need to be flexible in your style of writing so you can produce copy that is appropriate for each intended use. There are two ways to improve your writing: by reading and by writing.

When you immerse yourself in reading different forms of writing (e.g., news, books, blogs, etc.), it influences the way you think and can help you become more creative. Similarly, the more you write, the better you write. By putting this skill into practice, you can essentially improve your writing over time.

How do you generate news and build buzz for clients?

By listening. Early on in my career, a seasoned professional told me, “Don’t just speak to hear yourself heard. Go into a meeting and listen and take notes.” 

Meetings with clients, reporters, customers, etc., provide an opportunity to ask questions. If PR people were less concerned about being authorities and more concerned with listening and asking the right questions, we’d get to the heart of their need faster. Being a great listener and great reporter have helped me immensely over the years. 

I don’t like to build buzz for clients. I don’t even like the word buzz. I like to solve my clients’ business problems and realize their business goals. In fact, if part of what they need is buzz, publicity, word-of-mouth, then we will develop that but I look at that in a more holistic fashion. Clients won’t get the best from us if the goal is to just build buzz. 

The approach, when we want to generate excitement in the marketplace, will vary from client to client and situation to situation. Building buzz means so many different things, based on who we are targeting, the industry and what we are trying to accomplish. 

What publication do you read on a daily basis? 

The New York Times. Every day. I like the writing style of The New York Times, the editorial mix, the journalistic standards that are imposed and the resources available to staff to report from all around the world. They do a great job at giving a well-rounded view of the world. I also get news from difference sources—news radio, television, online—but it’s very important to read a paper of record in order to stay current with the world, opinion and things that are happening outside of your sphere.