Wednesday, May 27, 2009

c21 Gives You Moore!

Want to see the biggest art exhibit in Atlanta? Enter our “Give You Moore” Facebook contest for the chance to win one of five pairs of tickets to the Moore in America exhibit, which is on display now through October at Atlanta Botanical Garden. Just post a comment on our Facebook Wall telling us why you want to see the Moore in America exhibit, what you’re planning for your summer vacation, or what you love about c21. Check out our Facebook page for more details.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Fewer Outlets = Better Pitches?

By now, it’s common knowledge traditional media outlets are suffering. Advertising sales are way down, which means print publications are closing their doors at an alarming rate, from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer to the Ann Arbor News. This ever-shifting media landscape means it’s even more important for PR pros to stay on top of who’s still out there and what they’re looking to cover. In light of this, here are some tips on pitching both local and national media - everyone can use a refresher every now and then.

  • Know the publication or online outlet. Understand its format, target audience, frequency and reporting style, and what beat a reporter covers. Read articles previously written by the reporter you are contacting.

  • Target the pitch specifically for that media outlet. For example, we’re pitching a rheumatoid arthritis (RA) communication kit to national media on behalf of the Arthritis Foundation. For publications like Good Housekeeping and Cosmo, we’ll focus our pitches on how RA affects women and offer interviews with women who have RA. For the Associated Press and the evening TV news programs, we’ll focus on breaking RA news (like new study results) and offer the toolkit as a free resource for those with the disease.

  • Be cognizant of breaking news and whether your pitch is relevant at that moment in time.  For example, don’t pitch to local media in a city just hit by tornadoes unless your story is about helping with the clean-up, housing the victims or donating supplies. The same goes for national daily news.

  • Keep these tips in mind, and check out HARO (Help a Reporter Out) - beneficial for journalists and PR pros alike. You’ll receive three e-mails a day with queries from reporters who are looking for something specific. For example – one of my clients, Kevin Rej of Raise Studio, has an amazing vintage lunchbox collection. A few weeks ago, a writer for a magazine in San Francisco was looking to speak with a lunchbox collector. I pitched Kevin, they did the interview, and the article is scheduled for the magazine’s July issue. It’s like having a constantly updated editorial calendar delivered to your inbox! It’s important to note that Peter Shankman, the HARO facilitator, is serious about on-target pitches. He’s been known to blacklist PR people if reporters/journalists report off topic submissions.

    The bottom line - the competition for editorial coverage has gotten tighter, so we have to work smarter by taking time to do our research before picking up the phone or sending an e-mail. The pitch has to be succinct and relevant in order for the news to turn into a story. Use news sites and social media to stay on top of the changing media landscape and constantly update your list with media on the way out, and new outlets appearing on the scene.

    Monday, May 11, 2009

    Vote for HandsOn Network

    Nonprofits - those organizations whose sole focus is to improve people's lives - are struggling in this economy. However, innovative partnerships can help nonprofits to raise the money they need to continue their good work. Target, which gives five percent of its income to communities — over $3 million every week, is putting the power of the people to work. From May 10 - 25, you can go online to Facebook and vote for the charity you would like to see receive $3 million (or a portion of that).

    As a friend and longtime supporter of HandsOn Network, all of us at communications 21 hope you will vote for them. The money raised through your vote will go to HandsOn's work in schools across the country. You can vote once a day until May 25 - so click here.