MatchPoint


5 Bizarre Ways PR Can Kill You Suddenly

 

(Thanks to guest blogger Thomas Scott for his insights into navigating the dangers of PR)

Can PR kill you suddenly? Death by PR
 
Probably not.
 
Can PR be hazardous to the health and well being of your company?
 
Absolutely. It can kill it in one fell swoop. Suddenly.

Public Relations practices are changing and the PR industry is in the middle of its most major culture shift in the past fifty years. We’re talking major paradigm shift here; the kind that happened when the iPod changed people’s music buying habits and Domino’s Pizza changed people’s pizza buying habits.

What’s the shift?

Journalists and bloggers, the individuals any successful PR campaign must target, have the lowest trust level of public relations companies, individuals and traditional PR content that they’ve ever had. We spent the entire last decade getting connected and wired to the internet and now we are suffering from overload. People want to have conversations where they trade tips and referrals and in order to have good conversations, you need interesting content.

Here are my 5 ways PR can suddenly kill your business – bizarre because they are counter-intuitive for those of us who have worked in the industry for lengthy amounts of time:

1. Write public relations and news releases in the traditional format. Trust me on this one – journalists have a keen awareness of ‘interesting’ and ‘not interesting.’ Those are the only two categories your content falls into. Period. Tell your story the way a journalist would tell it so it is really a story and not a release. Use traditional journalism methods to hook readers so they chose to know more. Forget to do this and your message will go right in the trash.

2. Write poorly thought of headlines. Headlines are called headlines because they serve a very important purpose: you are reading this blog post because I ‘gotcha’ with my headline. Admit it – it’s true! Take the time to write a catchy headline that people will flock to. Search Engine Optimization Experts understand this; it is at the root of the entire link baiting industry. Don’t know what that is? Google it – it applies more to PR than you realize!

3. Write content that is meaningless. As a journalist or blogger, I don’t care about your 59 cent taco. I care that your 59 cent taco kept the entire staff of a California farm employed in the down market or how a lowly 59 cent taco can decrease PMS levels in women suffering from a lack of iron (if that is true, please contact me). Be clear on what your story is and avoid stories that are not – well – stories. Journalists are professionally trained to seek out stories. No amount of calling on your part will convince them otherwise!

4. Call journalists to follow up. I know this is what real PR firms bill as a valuable service. I also know that as a journalist myself at a major market US daily, calling me to ‘follow up’ was a guaranteed way to get yourself and the company you represent blacklisted. Write better content and tell better, more compelling stories that people would want to talk about. Do that and you won’t have to call. 

5. Forget about the longevity of a release. Creating content for a PR release is a lot more than sending to journalists. Current thinking among my unscientific group of 4 PR and social media friends is that if a content piece is really good, it is valuable. Keep your content and releases in your bank deposit vault – your company blog – so people can find it long afterwards and click on the link to your website. Every release you write should be on its own webpage, optimized with search engine tools and should have the ability for readers to both click through to your website and share on their social media networks. Forget that and all you’ll get is a whimper, not a bang.

Good luck!

Thomas Scott

VP Marketing for Showhomes, a nationally franchised home staging company: http://www.showhomesfranchise.com

Thomas is recovering journalist and a new media and content specialist.



The Most Engaging Part of MatchPoint That You Haven’t Used…Yet
March 1, 2010, 11:22 am
Filed under: Pitching Tips | Tags: , , , , , ,

 
Using MatchPoint searches to uncover influencers who are writing stories similar to yours is just part of the power of the MatchPoint application.
  
Many MatchPoint users are finding time efficiencies and increased pitching success by using the ENGAGE button attached to each journalist, writer, or influencer.

Engaging in MatchPoint

The Engage Button in MatchPoint

The engage button will open an email pitch note from you to the selected writer. You may also include any previously saved campaign elements embedded into the body of this html email. These elements can include:

  • Links to videos
  • Photos
  • A Press Release
  • Attributable Quotes
  • Bulleted News Facts
  • Boilerplate

 
Journalists have raved about receiving these embedded elements as opposed to attachments which often get filtered, ignored, or deleted.
 
When sending your pitch note through MatchPoint instead of via traditional email, you can also track who has opened your pitch!

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Is MatchPoint a Media Directory?
February 1, 2010, 7:36 am
Filed under: Pitching Tips | Tags: , , , , ,

Is MatchPoint a Media Directory? I don’t think so. I see media directories as books, lists, or software that hold phone numbers and email addresses for the journalists who I already know.

The annual or semi-annual updating process for media directories – whether the old Bacon’s books or online databases like Cision or Vocus – have never been able to keep up with the changing media landscape. This shortcoming has been highlighted by the massive downsizing at media outlets in the past two years.

A couple of years ago, I found myself listed in a “regularly updated” online media database under a station where I had not worked since 1996! Updated regularly indeed!

If you need to find the phone number or email address of a staff writer who you already know at a traditional publication, then MatchPoint is not the place to look. You may want to use a media directory made by Cision or Vocus for that. I hope the journalist has been there for a while and hasn’t had any changes to her job, role, beat(s), or title. I might also recommend just using Google or LinkedIn.

 But if you are looking for new opportunities and influencers with whom to engage, then MatchPoint is the place to start. At the very least, you will know that the reporters, freelancers, bloggers, and other writers you find have written about similar topics as recently as the date of their latest published work.



Pitching Tips

This is the first of our best practices posts to help MatchPoint users maximize their results and find more journalists and bloggers to engage one-on-one. 
   
 
1. What should I do if my brand / product / client is extremely niche-focused?
 
Some MatchPoint users are working with products or clients about which no reporter has recently written at all. One such MatchPoint client was promoting a very specialized household appliance. The press release draft with which she was searching the “Point” box was very specific to this niche industry. And guess what? Not one of the 200,000 journalists in MatchPoint has written about this product in the past six months. She then searched keywords about similar products and broader industry terms to find journalists who would be interested. These included home repair, home improvement, holiday gifts for dad, etc. The Matching results showed dozens of reporters for whom her news was relevant. Remember, the objective isn’t to find people who have already written about your specific product, but to find those who are likely to write about you now!
 
 
2. Should I include my company boilerplate in the “Point” search?
 
In general, the answer is “no”. But we recommend experimenting both ways and see how your boilerplate affects your results. If your boilerplate contains many generic words and phrases like “excellent customer service with a mission to create synergies…,” our Matching system may produce results that have nothing to do with your main subject matter. However, if your boilerplate contains specific terms for your topic like “ice cream, snack foods, and easy to make meals for busy families” you may want to include the boilerplate to help find even more relevant articles and journalists.
 
 
3. My release includes many high-tech terms – will this hurt my results?
 
The inclusion of technical jargon and specs should not hurt your search results. But be sure that your release includes general terms and phrases relating the subject – MP3 players, laptops, video cameras, monitors, smart phone apps, etc – and MatchPoint will find reporters and bloggers who write about such devices.

Got a good tip for using MatchPoint? Please comment below or email to me for inclusion on the next list at jmonson@enr-corp.com
 
Free a trial of MatchPoint for readers of this blog, click here.

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Top Ten Consumer Electronics Writers – January 2010

 
Here are the top ten of a long list of the most influential writers, reporters, and bloggers covering consumer electronics in December ‘09 and  January ‘10:
 

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10.
 Peter Svensson
 Martyn Williams
 Cecilia Kang
 Andrew Berg
 Don Clark
 John Sutter
 Ryan Kim
 Sumner Lemon
 Mark Milian
 Ariel Schwartz
Associated Press
Network World
Washington Post
Wireless Week
Wall Street Journal
CNN
San Francisco Chronicle
MacWorld
Los Angeles Times
Fast Company

 

This index was compiled using MatchPoint based on several factors contributing to level of influence.

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