PR Campaigns – The blog

November 29, 2008

Nine Ways to Avoid a Pitch Slap

Filed under: Metis PR — marialinda17 @ 10:24 am
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Pitching is a vital part of Public Relations and includes building relationships and appeal for the benefit of the client.  I came across a post called, 9 Ways to Avoid a Pitch Slap from Valley PR Blog by Dan Wool who handles corporate communications at Arizona Public Service (APS) and it describes two things that are most important in the creation of successful media pitches; consideration and customization.  By being considerate and customizing attention for particular journalists they will become more receptive to pitches, which ultimately builds trust.  Establishing trustworthiness among the PR community and media outlets is important to your client’s success.  Although some PR practitioners might not know a lot about journalists they are pitching to it’s beneficial to consider the publication or station they work for and gauge what works best for them.  Consider who the journalist is as well as what he or she likes and customize your pitch accordingly.

Wool suggests nine ways to make considerate and customized pitches:

1. It’s not about you or your client – it’s about the journalist.
2. Actually read the publication.
3. Never pitch the editor.
4. Read the journalist’s recent material.
5. One pitch per outlet.
6. Their time is short, so make your pitch short.
7. Make it exclusive.
8. Let the product/service speak for itself.
9. No form letters.

I strongly suggest visiting the blog post and reading the in-depth explanations for each idea.  Wool includes good examples on how each step can be customized in a way that garners positive reactions from journalists.  I think it is advantageous to understand how pitching can be made to work for you.  These nine suggestions can contribute to the success of PR practitioners as well as their clients.


November 22, 2008

Creating a Personal Brand

Filed under: Metis PR — cate415 @ 1:17 pm
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With most of us being on the verge of graduating and entering into the ‘real world’, I found a particular post to be quite interesting.  This post caught my eye because it mentioned the idea of personal brands. While we always talk about building the corporate brand image, the idea of personal brands really never gets addressed.  Thus, I found it a novel idea that needed further probing.

Some interesting points that I found in the blog was the comparison of hollywood actors as personal brands.  He talks about the fact that when movie producers select specific actors for a film, they are in essence buying a personal brand, one that will hopefully help to launch the film’s success by utilizing the social network that the actor has.  The actor inevitably brings along their own followers and media that will gain attention for the film even if the audience has no interest in the film itself.  This allows for the actors with large and success personal brands to be most sought after.

This I think can directly be related to pr professionals.  As we are on the brink of looking for a job in the public relations industry, an important thing that you should have is a personal brand that gives you the edge over your competitors.  Bringing your own social network and publicity to a company can swiftly launch your career in the public relations industry.

November 18, 2008

Why it pays to be a geek in PR

Filed under: Metis PR — letsgoblogging @ 10:44 am
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While browsing the blogosphere, I came across a blog posted on The New PR, titled “Why it pays to be a geek in PR.” The title alone captured my attention, thus I read on.

In this blog, Ryan Anderson explains why it is crucial to have a thirst for knowledge in the field of PR. He compares PR to a game of chess, pointing out that in order to create an effective strategy, you must know how all the tools work together, just like in order to win a game of chess, it is valuable to know which way the pieces move in relation to each other.

Anderson offers helpful advice for those of us soon to be graduates breaking into the PR scene. He says that our best investment in our future is being a geek, which translates to understanding all the facets of PR and mastering all the skills incorporated in PR, not just being an expert in one area.

As graduation, and inevitably the real world, inches closer, I find this rather simple suggestion incredibly useful. In my past internships, I have interacted with PR professionals whose resume may be stellar, but only in one particular field. I have come across industry leaders who specialize in a particular area of PR and leave the rest to the other experts who excel in different areas. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I think that having a broader understanding and mastery of all skills in PR rather than just focusing on a specific component and exceeding at it, is much more beneficial to you, your employer and your career.

What is your opinion on this? Do you find it more benefitting in PR to dedicate your expertise to one particular area of the industry, or do you feel that expanding your skillset to all fields of PR is more advantageous?

November 11, 2008

PRWeb in Plain English

The best presentations are those that tell a story and relate to an audience at an emotional level.  Often PR practitioners propose solutions or ideas that will ultimately result in positive outcomes.  By incorporating unique creativity into a presentation, the audience will not only be engaged but will also have a better understanding of the story.  I found a very clever video presentation called, PRWeb in Plain English.  This video was created by Common Craft and describes quite simply the benefits of using PRWeb’s newswire service to enhance the visibility of online news releases.  This isn’t a conventional visual presentation by any means.  It incorporates hand-drawn characters and paper cutouts that tell the story of PRWeb’s services and how they relate to you, the viewer.  Occasionally hands appear in the video, shifting the paper cutouts and even gesturing emotions.  In some ways, it’s corny, but it’s also very creative and fun to watch.  The voiceover flows smoothly over the story, which is illustrated with sketches and cutouts in a clear, simplistic way.  This kind of visual presentation might not be appropriate for every professional situation, however the storytelling demonstrated in the video is useful for PR practitioners because it channels creativity and emphasizes clarity and simplicity.  These are important things to keep in mind when developing presentations, especially since attention spans don’t last very long.  At one point in this video, hand-drawn PR pitches are flowing down a “River of News” while journalists, analysts, consumers and bloggers hold fishing rods along the current waiting to pick information with keywords that interest them.  Clarity, appropriateness and storytelling are key components to be mindful of when reaching out to an audience.  As PR practitioners it’s important to be aware of not only PRWeb’s services, but to also recognize similar storytelling techniques in this video that might enhance our presentations.

November 1, 2008

Ten Easy Steps to Presenting

Filed under: Metis PR — cate415 @ 3:17 pm
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Putting together a powerpoint presentation for the purpose of promoting an idea or campaign can be quite daunting if you don’t know what your doing.  With little time, you have to sell yourself in the best way possible, making sure that you get everthing you want communicated to the audience without losing their interest.  This in itself can be a near impossible task.  Thus, when I stumbled upon a blog that simplifed the process of creating a successful powerpoint presentation into ten easy steps, I could not help but take notice.  The ten steps outlined in the blog make a clear and easy process out of making a presentation a memorable one.  By covering all of the bases mentioned in the steps, you can be sure that you will have created an informational,educational and interesting presentation that will do its job to sell the audience.  I know the next time I am making a presentation I will be sure to have these steps beside me.  If I had known these ten steps earlier, I would have saved myself a lot of stress! 

October 27, 2008

Photography and the connection

Filed under: Metis PR — letsgoblogging @ 11:24 pm
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On Garr Reynolds’ blog, Presentation Zen I found a presentation by David Griffin, photo director for National Geographic. Griffin shares some of the most astonishing and most famous photos published in National Geographic and discusses how photography can dramatically tell a story. Whether giving a presentation in front of classmates, or in front of a client, the use of storytelling is vital in getting the message across. Depending solely on imagery to relay your message can be risky, but if done correctly can deliver your message in a very effective way.

Griffin says photography can tell a broad story in a focused way and create understanding and empathy. By using images to tell your client’s story or the story of your campaign, you can zero in on the important facets of your presentation without being weighed down with bullet points and paragraphs. Reynolds says “the power of the image to make a connection and tell a story is indeed unlimited.”

At first I thought it would be impossible to completely rely on images during my presentation to deliver my message. I always thought there was a necessity for text on my slides, but now I realize that the audience will be more engaged and focused if a story is being told rather than bullet points just being rattled off.

October 18, 2008

Mena Trott: Building a friendlier world through blogs

Filed under: Metis PR — marialinda17 @ 12:11 am
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The best presentations are those that tell a story and relate to an audience on an emotional level.  Often PR practitioners utilize presentations to propose solutions or ideas that will generate positive outcomes.  I found a very interesting presentation on by Mena Trott called, Mena Trott: Building a friendlier world through blogs.  Trott is the co-founder of Six Apart, which allows individuals, media, companies and other organizations to create blogs and interactive communities.  Her passion for blogging is evident in her speech as she discusses her personal life and the reasons people relate to blogs.  As she tells stories about herself, she visually supports each aspect with relevant photos and graphics.  Often times these tools add humor to her presentation.  As a result, she effectively adds color and meaning to her story.  And Trott is no stranger to the human experience since her personal blog covers happenings in her day-to-day life.  In fact, she learned to promote herself so effectively through everyday storytelling that she became widely popular online, even receiving a blog award.  As PR practitioners, it’s important that we also find ways to appeal to stakeholders and pitch presentations in a manner that relates well to the audience.

During Trott’s presentation she explains the growing influence of blogs in the world.  Her PowerPoint slides display articles, magazines and blog sites to keep the flow of her story moving.  For example, she cites a blog that posted flaws about Kryptonite locks, which resulted in the company taking action to fix these elements for their consumers.  Trott makes the point that blogs can have great influence in today’s society.  She skips being highly technical in her presentation and focuses on stories and examples of blogs changing the way people do business.  Mena Trott is an engaging, funny speaker and this presentation is a prime example of what good presentations should be like.  For PR professionals like us, it’s useful to watch this video for unique insights into blogging as well as Trott’s effective presentation skills.

October 11, 2008

The Art of Presenting

Filed under: Metis PR — cate415 @ 11:07 am
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 After hundreds of times going in front of a group, whether small or large, I seem to always get an intense amount of stage fright overwhelm me at the very thought of a presentation.  My normally calm, outgoing self always seems to be lost amongst the faces staring back at me.  Thus, you could only imagine my excitement when I stumbled upon an article entitled “Advice for conference presenters: Be like Steve.”  It explains everything one needs to know about how not to lose yourself when you conduct a presentation, and logically enough, uses Steve Jobs as a positive example of a phenomenol presenter who remains calm and collected in each presentation.  While nerves and anxiety can get the best of anyone, by remembering some simple tips, anyone can master the art of performing in an individualized way.

Some notable things that I would like to mention from the article were to practice. Yes, it may seem quite obvious, however, you’d be surprised by how helpful it can actually be to over prepare yourself.  Also, one thing I found to be quite interesting is to save the best for last.  While many people find themselves bored by the end of presentations, having a little extra surprise at the end helps to draw the audience back in and makes a lasting impression. “Sell the benefit” was another important point the author made.  This means to always ask yourself, who cares? why is it important?

Thus, the next time you find yourself at the front of the room, remember these few simple steps and you will be a hit!

October 5, 2008

Randy Pausch Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams

Filed under: Metis PR — letsgoblogging @ 3:13 pm
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Since our class has been focusing on the topic of effective presentations, there is one particular presentation that immediately stood out to me. Randy Pausch was a professor at Carnegie Mellon University. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was told by his doctors that his time left to live was limited. Instead of dwelling on the terrible news, he created a now famous presentation, “Randy Pausch Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams.

While the presentation topic is not related to PR, it is worth watching and I suggest everyone take the time to do so. Pausch delivered a speech that was so effective, that it gained a large amount of media attention and is still being talked about today, a year after the presentation took place.

During his presentation, Pausch incorporates videos, photos, and props. He engages the audience by telling jokes and laughable childhood stories. He is active on stage, at one point he even does pushups. The slides that he used were simple yet still creative. His presentation is successful in telling a story, a story that also offers really great words of advice.

Pausch was faced with having to deliver an effective lecture during a very trying time in his life. In PR, if we are faced with a having to give a presentation on a topic that is not so audience friendly, or maybe we are representing a client that is going through some troubling times, how can we still create and deliver a presentation that doesn’t dwell on the negative? What are some ideas to make the dynamics of a presentation more engaging and interactive and how can we effectively deliver a positive outlook in our presentation during a crisis situation, just like Randy Pausch was able to do.

October 3, 2008

Technology is a slave to me

Filed under: Metis PR — marialinda17 @ 9:33 am
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For many of us, technology allows faster means of communication and greater job efficiency.  With new developments being released every day it’s easy to get carried away with everything.  I came across a post from A Shel of My Former Self  blog, which describes how all forms of technology should be taken advantage of to the fullest extent in business, particularly public relations without feeling guilty about neglecting older forms of communication.  This post is a response by blogger Shel Holtz, ABC, principal Holtz Communication and Technology, who recently read another blog asking public relations practitioners to return to more personal means of communication like the telephone.  But with deals and other forms of business taking place online, is it necessary to lay off the e-mail?

Holtz argues that PR practitioners shouldn’t have to sacrifice internet-based communication tools, but should incorporate them with face-to-face meetings and phone calls.  It’s important to remember that the telephone is technology too.  And while some people are overly-dependent on technology in the workplace, the power of in-person communication should not be underestimated especially when it’s most appropriate.  The post cites an example of employees being fired over e-mail, which I believe takes technology too far.  It’s important to utilize channels of communication that are professional for the situation.

I believe we shouldn’t fear our dependency on technology as long as we don’t abuse it.  There is no reason to limit ourselves if we’re able to effectively reach the client, stakeholders and remain within the realm of professionalism.  E-mail isn’t unconventional anymore, in fact, it’s widely accepted for numerous tasks.  And having interned at a local public relations firm I know that the telephone is alive and well.  Voice tone can express sincerity and reassurance much more naturally than text.  For this reason, I believe phone calls will remain an important part of PR.  Each form of communication should be used to its strength.

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