More Bang for Your Trade Show Dollars

24 03 2014

(Guest post by Kayla Brown, Intern)

When it comes time for your company to take part in a trade show or an event just showing up isn’t enough and it won’t guarantee the media coverage you are looking for. So this time around shake it up and try something new.KB Headshot

Trade shows offer prime opportunities to showcase your newest products, as well as opportunities to extend and amplify your messages to a broader audience.

Your company has already spent thousands of dollars on a booth, developing messaging and creating a unique experience for your customers and prospects. Why not enhance that by inviting and interacting with the media?

Engaging reporters with interviews and demonstrations will help reinforce your message by earning media coverage, which can add to your credibility and also reach thousands of customers and prospects who could not attend the show.

Best of all, this can be easily achieved. Here are some simple tips:

1. Reach out to media several weeks before the show. Let them know what you’ll be offering such as new products, demonstrations and who will be available for interviews;

2. Set up interviews or demonstration appointments a week or two before the show;

3. Prepare press materials and brief your spokespeople;

4. Have a PR expert handy during the show to engage and pitch reporters on the spot; and

5. Conduct follow-up with the media after the show to answer any questions and make sure they have all the materials they need (press kit / images / etc.).

Of course, social media is another great way to generate extra buzz before, during and after a trade show. Here’s how:


Create and promote a #hashtag for your show presence so users can find all related tweets. Also, tweet links that lead media and prospects to where they can find information, especially if they were unable to attend.


Post coverage and links on your company’s Facebook page and encourage attendees to “like” your page, so they can post replies, share feedback and learn more.


If you have any videos from the show or press conference, edit the footage into short, exciting segments then promote and link videos to your website and other social media sites.

Integrating traditional PR and social media with your trade show activities can maximize your reach, credibility and impact for enhanced marketing ROI.

Making Personal Connections on a Professional Level Can Lead to PR Success

17 03 2014

(Post by Jessica Killenberg Muzik, APR, Vice President – Account Services)

Not that long ago, I had the opportunity to pitch “key” national and regional media in other parts of the U.S. for a client, which can be a challenge when you don’t already have solid, established relationships with target reporters in areas such as Washington, D.C.JK FB color

Rather than look at this task as daunting, I broke it down into manageable pieces and began my approach. When I pitch, I typically start with a high quality media list that is researched and developed internally at our firm. I research the reporter and study their previous stories. Then I work on drafting my pitch. Now it’s not a “one size fits all pitch,” I customize if for each reporter and, when possible, on a personal level.

Why personal? PR is very much a relationship-based business and when you can find a common personal denominator to break the ice … it simply WORKS!

For example, I needed to pitch a Pittsburgh, PA-based reporter from a major national newspaper. The reporter didn’t know me. However, one of my husband’s best friends works for the local NHL team there, the Pittsburgh Penguins. As a result, I once had an opportunity to visit the area to attend a game. Thus, my note to this particular reporter took on a conversational tone, mentioning the recent Penguins visit, with my pitch later being woven in. It worked. The reporter got back to me immediately. We chatted back and forth a bit and I was able to book a media meeting for our client’s executive with this key reporter. Thus, a very happy client.

So at the end of the day (I hate that phrase, but it works here), we are all just people and making connections on a personal level in our professional life can mean all the difference.

Bringing Credibility to Your Content Marketing

12 03 2014

Jim Bianchi:

The Fourth C of Content Marketing

Originally posted on Bianchi Biz Blog:

In the last post (, we discussed how Gartner’s Three Cs of Content Marketing – Creation, Curation and Cultivation – hinged upon what we see as the fourth, and most important, C – Credibility.

Ultimately, if your content is not credible, it could end up ineffective … and your effort wasted. But how do you gain credibility?

Because credibility is in the eye of the beholder and because it is earned, not manufactured, it can be HARD to come by.

But there are ways you can help your company earn it. Consider that credibility has two key components: trustworthiness and expertise.

You or your company earntrust by proving your integrity and worth over time through your performance. You perform. You do what you say you’re going to do. You demonstrate you can be relied upon. And you keep at it. Every time. Every day.

As you start…

View original 239 more words

Why Media Don’t Respond and How to Change That

10 03 2014

(Guest post by Chad Van De Wiele, Intern)

As an intern, I’ve gained an ample amount of experience and learned many important lessons in the professional world of public relations.

One lesson CV FBI found particularly valuable came from a senior executive here, following her interaction with the bureau chief of a major wire service: there’s a reason the media don’t always respond.

While media pitching is integral to the function of PR, it doesn’t always garner the desired results. In fact, countless emails and pitches go unanswered by reporters.

For PR folks, this is maddening, to say the least. Yet, it’s a common practice we’ve yet to truly understand. So, why do reporters ignore us?

After one of our senior staffers pitched an opportunity to meet with a visiting CEO to various national and regional outlets, the previously mentioned journalist, along with many others, declined. As a sign of good faith, our staffer replied, thanking this reporter for at least taking the time to respond.Why Media Don't Respond Image

In response, the reporter provided a reasonable explanation as to why some media don’t respond at all: they don’t have time. As he explained, he receives around 30 pitches and invitations per day. If each takes roughly three minutes to read and reply to, that’s 90 minutes spent reading and responding to pitches every day.

On top of that, as he stated, declining a media pitch or invitation often results in yet another pitch to reconsiderwhich wastes even more of the journalist’s precious time.

So, it’s hard to argue with the practice of ignoring an invitation, especially when saying “no” might result in additional pitches.

Once you understand this happens, here are three ways to help prevent it from happening to you:

1) Target your pitches: For many of us, this is a fairly common practice; however, it may be that you’re pitching to media that don’t cover your client’s industry. To avoid this, double-check each outlet to make sure they’re appropriate for your pitch.

2) Research the reporter: Before adding a reporter to your media list, do some background research on them. Find out what this reporter typically writes about, read his/her previous stories, and make sure your story is related to their beat. Otherwise it could lead to you being banished to their spam folder.

3) Customize your pitch: Instead of blasting a generic message to everyone on your media list, personalize the message for each recipient, based on his/her needs and preferences. While this may sound time-consuming, it makes a big difference.

And to enhance future pitches, take the time to build a relationship with the reporter — when they have some time. Don’t pitch … just ask them what they’re looking for, what they’re working on, and how you might help.

PR Pros: Are You Pleasing the Right Client?

25 02 2014

A young corporate PR person we’ll call “Joe” was working on his very first project for the company’s CEO. Joe was a bit leery about turning his work over to the CEO without having some kind of safety net. So, he asked a few of the company’s vice presidents to review the piece.

Knowing it was for the CEO, each VP offered Joe some suggestions as to what each thought the CEO wanted. And one VP spent an hour with Joe, overwhelming him with a detailed discourse, complete with back up charts, graphs and documents, to support his views of what he thought the CEO really wanted.

Armed with this new perspective, Joe completely re-wrote the piece. After having it proofread by a colleague, he took it up to the CEO’s office. A short while later, the CEO’s administrative assistant summoned the PR rookie back up to the executive suite.

Joe beamed proudly, sure that the CEO was going to praise his brilliant work.

Instead, the CEO began to berate him for missing the mark so badly. Joe was crestfallen.

Joe tried to explain how he had run the piece by the VPs and how he had incorporated their insight and followed their direction. Shaking his head slowly, the CEO said something that Joe would never forget.

“Son, you’re new here so I’m going to give you some advice. There are a lot of people here you CAN make happy … but there is only one person here that you HAVE to make happy.”

Accepting reviews, input and insight from others is good, but if you focus on that ONE person that is the ultimate client, you’re more likely to hit the mark … and advance your career.

Never Lose Your Keys: Tips for Developing Strong Key Messages

18 02 2014

Image(Guest post by Kayla Brown, Intern)

Good communicators don’t just wing it! When you have a concise, powerful idea of what you want to say about your company or product, your audiences are more likely to be engaged, more likely to understand you and more likely to remember you. In order for that to happen it is imperative to take the time to prepare and develop strong key messages.

What Are Key Messages?

Simply put, they describe how and why you exist as a company. The goal is to have your audiences understand the same basic message. Well-crafted messages should be tailored to the specific audience and also support your mission, explain what your company is aiming for and include a call to action.

One way to think of it is, what are the main points you want your audiences to remember?

To Be Effective, Key Messages Should Be:Image

  • Few in number, usually three or four;
  • Simple, short and concise;
  • Compelling and believable;
  • Focused on one idea each; and
  • Written down and practiced.

How to Create Strong Key Messages:

Remember the “Who”: Think about who you want to receive your message, and what’s important or of interest to them?

Do You Have Data on That?: Use brief, credible, easy-to-understand facts with figures and statistics to back them up.

Test It Out: Your key messages do not flow off the tongue easily, rework them.

In a nutshell, you should start any form of communication with your key messages, return to them throughout, and then summarize them at the end.

Key Message Examples:

Social Media Company:

  • Foursquare turns your life into a game.
  • Foursquare helps you discover new places.
  • Foursquare lets you make the most of where you are.

Technology Company:

  • 3M is a diversified technology company.
  • 3M applies innovation systematically to anticipate and respond to customer needs.
  • 3M is a global company with local presence throughout the world.

Keys to Success – Seven PR Practices to Follow

12 02 2014

(Guest post by Chad Van De Wiele, Intern)

In nearly every field, professionals are continuously searching for the keys to success – a short-cut to business savvy that otherwise only develops through years of practice.

Although no one has all the answers – because we’re all still learning – we’re sharing a list of practices every PR professional should follow, adapted from Steven CV FBCovey’s influential book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People.”

Here are seven simple practices to help every PR professional succeed:

Be proactive – As opposed to waiting for new opportunities, successful professionals create them. One way to do this is to identify “spark events” – or emerging changes and activities within an organization, market or industry that stimulate consumer need for a product. Use these opportunities to create new content, engage an audience and attract new customers.

Look at the bigger picture – It’s easy to get carried away while developing a program or campaign, but successful PR pros begin with the end in mind. As a quick reminder, ask yourself these questions: What are we hoping this campaign will achieve?

Get organized – Juggling multiple assignments from internal or external multiple clients with multiple deadlines is risky business, even for the seasoned PR professional. So, how do you alleviate this chaos? Prioritize tasks based on their level of importance and tackle each assignment systematically.

Think win-win – Networking is essential for any business professional, and for the PR pro, this is especially true. However, business relationships must be forged on mutually beneficial terms in order to work successfully. Prior to making a request for either yourself or your client, think of how the partnership can benefit both parties.

Do your homework – Instead of blindly pitching a client’s story, do some digging: What types of stories does that reporter typically look for? What have they published in the past? What are their interests? A little effort goes a long way in media relations.

Work together – Public relations is a collaborative effort, and accepting your role within a team is crucial. Remember: successful public relations is the result of successful teamwork.

Stay sharp – As communication tools continue to update and transform, so too should the practices of PR pros. Commit yourself to a lifetime of learning, and know there is always more to learn from other people, other industries and other disciplines.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 105 other followers