Crenshaw Recognized At PRSA Big Apple Awards

Our team was excited to be recognized for the quality of our work at the Public Relations Society of New York’s Big Apple Awards this week. 250 industry professionals convened to honor outstanding individual achievement in PR and to recognize the best communications, marketing and public relations work of 2015.

Marijane and Dorothy were on hand to celebrate, along with Kirstin Cole, a reporter for the WPIX 11 Morning News and Jordan Drake, Director of Marketing at The Home T, and many others at the Mandarin Oriental in midtown New York!

For PR Agencies, Does Cannes Really Matter?

 

The Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity – the Oscars of the advertising business – was held last week, and apparently it was a big disappointment for the public relations industry, which won fewer awards than in previous years. I wouldn’t necessarily have known that, for two reasons. First, my social feeds were filled with posts of Cannes attendees at sun-dappled meetings against a brilliant Cote d’Azur, sipping Rosé and dropping celebrity names. Hard work, I’m sure. But it’s tough to feel bad because someone came home with nothing but a hangover.

PR sets sights on Cannes

The other reason is that for many PR agencies, Cannes simply hasn’t been on the radar, except when a client is a sponsor or honoree. But a few years ago, the public relations industry – led by the largest multinational agencies – decided that, in order to be competitive in an increasingly integrated marketing universe, we must be winners at Cannes, and we should work to grow the PR category to expand recognition for what we do. In 2015, PRs were heartened that three winning Lions were entered by PR agencies, and that Procter & Gamble’s “Like A Girl” campaign won the PR Grand Prix.

Never mind that the agency that dreamed up the winning campaign idea was ad shop Leo Burnett; MSLGroup, which handled the PR, was able to bask in the Grand Prix glory. For those with a stake in Cannes as a vehicle for gaining greater influence, and larger budgets for PR programs, it seemed that it was the break that PR needed.

But 2016 turned out differently. This year, despite a 38% increase in PR Lions award entries, just two “pure-play” PR agencies took home metal, making 2016 the most lackluster performance for PR shops since the category was created four years ago. The setback triggered a round of post-mortems by PR companies and advice from Cannes jurists on the reasons for the setback.

Amid the disappointment it’s worth noting that, while PR agencies took home fewer honors this year, public relations as a category is stronger than ever. Cannes used to be called the “Festival of Advertising.” Today, it’s a “Creativity” extravaganza, and with good reason. Most campaign entries are based in PR-ish concepts executed across many marketing disciplines, from advertising to media relations to direct-marketing and brand activation. The idea for REI’s wonderful #OptOutside campaign, which won the Grand Prix, originated with the client, but it was executed by a team of agencies and was honored in nine categories.

Lions honors are still led by ad agencies

The problem here is, the work is often led by ad agencies. So the very success of PR-driven campaigns naturally makes PR people, particularly those who work in large holding company networks, paranoid that their advertising colleagues are eating their lunch.

There’s some value to the self-analysis. There are plenty of logical reasons for PR’s less than stellar performance in Cannes, including the number of entrenched creative advertising players who have been entering the Festival for years; the superior packaging and presentation skills of many ad agencies; their higher dollar investment in awards; and a pronounced preference for a specific type of creative campaign beloved by Cannes jurists. In the words of Fleishman Hillard’s Dave Senay, Cannes rewards “big, bold, disruptive, transitory, and edgy ideas, rather than strategic, effective campaigns built on long-term relationships.”

“Awards for the PR one percent”

So, as more PR agencies invest in entering campaigns for Cannes awards, we will probably do better as an industry. But should we worry about our lack of metal at Cannes? Does it mean anything? My friend and former colleague Bob Pickard calls Cannes the “awards for the PR one percent” because of the high cost of entry, both in time and cash. Then there’s the fact that the Lions favor splashy international campaigns driven by compelling creative content, which might exclude nearly all but the largest consumer brand campaigns, or well-supported pro bono efforts, which are typically favored. B2B PR, financial services, public affairs, crisis management…these categories wouldn’t be likely Lions candidates.

He, like others, sees the PR industry’s preoccupation with recognition as “awards overkill” and calls it “an embarrassing…hunger for validation that makes PR firms look underconfident.” More to the heart of the matter, he points out that the Cannes Lions Festival is a marketing awards program and that PR isn’t really about marketing.

I think there are good reasons for PR agencies, particularly the largest multinationals, to invest in a strong showing at Cannes, and to send staff to network and gain inspiration there.  For the “PR one percent”, it’s more than a party. It makes sense to engage the Fortune 100 CMOs who predominate at the Festival. These agencies crave access to seven-figure budgets as much as they want ego gratification.

So, I’m happy for the multinationals to carry the torch for our industry when it comes to creativity in integrated marketing campaigns. And it’s encouraging that, as social media and branded content grow in importance, the tenets of smart PR thinking is beginning to predominate within other segments of the marketing mix.

What’s wrong with selling products?

But there’s something fundamentally hypocritical about the Cannes celebration of the best in marketing. The jurists like to lavish praise, and bestow metal, on the types of social marketing or philanthropic campaigns that are not truly representative of mainstream marketing work. It’s as if advertising, as an industry, is ashamed of the types of programs that sell ordinary products, like cars or cake mix. These are the accounts that actually keep the lights on at most agencies. Maybe this is true of any awards program, but it seems particularly acute at the Festival of Creativity. There’s no room for marketing populism.

It’s even more complicated for PR-led campaigns because PR is far more than a support for marketing. A well-designed PR program goes beyond the customer relationship to engage and influence not only consumers, but stakeholders, employees, media, and other constituencies. It may include community relations, third-party endorsement, word-of-mouth, and reputation management. At the end of the day, a strategic PR campaign may not always fit into a dazzling creative package. I can appreciate the inspiration that Cannes offers, but when it comes to entering, I may leave that to the PR one percent.

7 Pitching Tips For Better Tech PR

Earning coverage in the top-tier tech press is a mainstay for any technology PR program, whether your brand deals in consumer tech or B2B services. Universal pitching rules apply here, but a few twists are in order when it comes to getting out technology news. In some ways, pitching tech is more straightforward than working with mass media or consumer lifestyle publications, since the parameters for what tech journalists cover are more specific and well defined. Here are our Tech Practice Director Chris Harihar’s best tips for generating better tech PR in day-to-day media pitching.

Learn the coverage and beats. This is a basic PR rule, but it’s particularly important in dealing with specialist press.  The impersonal “spray and pray” approach is clearly still a problem, because tech journalists often complain publicly about PR teams who offer irrelevant or inappropriate pitches, or who can’t be bothered to do basic research before they craft a pitch. Technology as an industry isn’t monolithic, so a Virtual Reality startup and an acquisition by Salesforce will be covered by two different people at a given publication.
More importantly, all tech media are not the same. TechCrunch, for example, regularly covers funding announcements for startups, while a consumer tech pub like CNET isn’t as interested in startup funding as it is in product reviews or deals for customers.

Make the most of product updates. Tech products these days evolve quickly. The companies we work with tend to lay out product roadmaps that include iterations and updates on existing products. They may seem insignificant but there’s often a good reason for the change. Even a small update can make news, particularly if it’s indicative of a trend. Combine a smart update with a savvy PR team, and you could earn strong coverage, as our team recently did with a a smart home product that made its service work seamlessly with Dropbox.

Narrate the story. Yes, technology writers want to break news and one-up the competition, but they’re also interested in why the product or service matters. Rather than use superlatives and jargon to describe your tech offering, show why it makes a difference. Sound storytelling techniques, particularly around a product’s origin or a founder’s vision, can go a long way to propel a pitch.

Acknowledge your competition.  Occasionally clients don’t want to admit they have competition for fear of being one-upped in the press, or because they want to claim a position as innovator. But competition is a good thing. The chances of generating coverage are far better if there are other companies in the same or similar space, particularly in a new or unproven category. To a journalist, it means there’s investment and business potential in the sector and might even signal the birth of something new.

Consider an exclusive. Tech journalists in particular tend to pay greater attention to a pitch if they are offered the runway to cover it first. It typically results in a larger and more detailed story, which is quicker and more efficient than shopping a story to individual journalists. But because an exclusive may mean that additional publications may not want the story after it’s been covered by a competitor, it’s a strategy that requires thoughtful consideration and, for agencies, client cooperation.

Be available. Nothing frustrates journalists more than being offered an interview or an exclusive, only to learn the top exec or founder isn’t available for questions. We know schedules can be demanding (and journalists sometimes don’t make it easy). The rock star PR professional rolls with these bumps and perseveres, sometimes creatively, to make the connection happen. Sometimes resorting to an email Q & A is one way to get the job done.

Share insights. Beyond startups, funding rounds, and product announcements, evolving trends in technology are of constant interest: no tech journalist wants to be the last to know about an important development on his or her beat. Is this the year personal home robots go mainstream? Is programmatic TV advertising reaching a tipping point? If you can prove you’re shaping trends or have thought-leading ideas for your industry, don’t be shy about letting media know. Just be able to back up your claims with data, examples, and well-articulated comments.

A Journalist’s POV: Questions From A PR Team

iraapfel pr

Helping craft an executive’s opinions into a compelling story for publication is a gratifying part of public relations work. The best outcomes come from good relationships with discerning editors, such as Ira Apfel of the highly respected AFP (Association for Financial Professionals) publications, with whom we have had the pleasure of working. Read on for Ira’s insightful answers to our “questions from a PR team.”

What should go into a subject line that will make you open a query? Do you have any good/bad examples to share?  Unless you have a really catchy phrase (fear usually works), a good subject line should simply state what’s in the message. Exclude as much technical jargon as possible and all clichés. Just tell me what I’m about to read. Maybe I’ll read it, maybe I won’t. But if I do read the email and the topic does not live up to the subject line’s promise, or if it makes no sense, or if it is simply boring, then I am less likely to open your next email to me.
Current subject-line trend that I HATE: “Does it make sense to discuss this, Ira?” No, it doesn’t. Go away.

What do you look for in a byline submission and what should interested writers avoid? Avoid talking about your turnkey product solution. I have a theory that every product is a perfect solution to some customer out there. What really makes a difference is customer service, and that includes the vendor’s knowledge about the customer’s business and industry. So when I read byline submissions – and I read every one that comes in assuming I get past the subject line – I want to see if you understand my readers and their challenges and have advice for them. My readers have said in survey after survey that they don’t want a product pitch; they want insights. Here’s the good news: It’s not uncommon for vendors or consultants to write articles for my publication and then be contacted by my readers looking for expert advice – not a perfect turnkey solution.

What are some dos and don’ts for “pitching” you a story for one of your pubs? Take five minutes to poke around my organization’s website to understand what we do and better hone your pitch. Every day I receive email pitches about personal financial planning articles. Problem is, my readers do business financial planning – budgeting and forecasting for companies. So a pitch like this will not only be deleted immediately, it will lower my perception of you and make me less likely to open your next email. If you do believe your pitch is a good one for my readers, tell me so. When I read submissions I always ask, “Why should my readers care? What’s new or different in this article that they’ll want to know?” If your pitch doesn’t answer those basic questions, you need to start over.

“Why should my readers care” – that should always be the first question asked and answered in any media relations outreach.

Will The Election Kill Brand Trump?

Is Donald Trump’s presidential run just a giant PR push for his brand? And if so, is it backfiring?

It doesn’t take a political pundit – or public relations expert – to suspect that Trump’s true goal in running for our nation’s highest office is to build up his name in order to license more products and properties.  After all, that’s what he does best, and in media appearances the candidate has relentlessly promoted his resorts, the Trump Tower headquarters, and a random assortment of licensed products. In its filing documents, the campaign values the brand and its associated “deals and brand developments” at $3 billion. While this may be an exaggeration, it’s no secret that for decades the Trump organization’s business has been based more on licensing and leasing deals rather than outright ownership of real estate properties. The brand is truly central to its business now and for the future.

So, if the campaign is a giant brand promotion, is it working? Or has the largely negative media cycle of late started to hurt brand Trump?

Trump’s campaign could harm his brand’s luxury status

There has surely been business fallout. As controversy escalated, Macy’s and Univision retreated from brand partnerships. Worse, a promising deal with a Spanish-born celebrity chef dissolved into litigation after Trump’s harsh anti-immigrant remarks. Last month a travel planning site reported that year-over-year bookings at Trump hotels and resorts were down sharply. (The report was denied by Trump Hotels, which claims its occupancy rates are strong.)

What may be more relevant to the long-term health of the brand is a Forbes survey of 500 high-income individuals. It showed that 45 percent of those surveyed said they will not patronize Trump properties, with three-quarters attributing their decision to Trump’s divisive campaign rhetoric. Meanwhile, sales of Trump’s books are more robust than ever, and he is reportedly contemplating the launch of a cable network.

The central disconnect here, and greatest future threat to brand Trump, is the chasm between the candidate’s core constituency and the brand’s mostly upscale prospects. Cheesy deals for vodka or made-in-China ties notwithstanding, the Trump brand is about luxury. At its best, it’s epitomized in elegant resorts like the Trump Soho or the multimillion-dollar residential properties in Trump Tower. And its recent extensions have been carefully tended; Ivanka Trump has launched successful jewelry and clothing brands, and most recently a Goop-like website for working women that dishes out soft-focus lifestyle and workplace advice.

But it’s tough to square a carefully curated image of female empowerment with a guy who espouses dog-whistle racism and mocks the disabled. The aspirational brand positioning is clearly at odds with Trump the candidate’s ugly remarks and campaign bombast, which at its worst connects with a lowest-common-denominator element in the real world and on social media. The public has a short memory, so a brand rehabilitation is always possible, but there’s no evidence that Trump the man will begin to moderate his comments or behavior to make them more palatable to upscale consumers.

So far, the Trump brand has been resilient. It has weathered bankruptcies, litigation, and personal scandal, and the Trump children show every sign of being equipped to grow it through more strategic and tasteful partnerships. Win or lose, Trump the celebrity candidate will be fine. He will continue to have fans and to command the type of media attention that will bring new opportunities for partnership, although they may be very different from past deals.

But I’m not so sure about the increasingly schizophrenic Trump brand. Its future is tied to higher-income, college-educated millennials whose tastes and values don’t mesh well with nativism or naked bigotry. I’m sure the Trump heirs know this, and I’m not envious of the brand stewardship challenge that they face after the election is over.

5 Benefits Of Hyperlocal PR

Hyperlocal public relations can be easily overlooked, especially when dealing with PR campaigns for national or global companies. But “hyperlocal may be the new global.” An extremely local approach can support business goals nicely, particularly for national brands with dozens, if not hundreds, of local outlets, or services focused on very specific segments of an industry or demographic.

Need convincing? Here are five benefits to the hyper-local PR approach.

Lead generation. We’ve all been there — after working for weeks and sometimes months to land that top tier placement, there’s the glow of victory and a slew of well-earned praise from clients and colleagues. But there is perhaps little by way of consumer engagement for the actual product or brand. Meanwhile, the hyperlocal placement — that glowing product review in the specialty local blog, or the company profile in the local business publication — launches a wave of inquiries, sales, potential business connections, and new fans. What gives? Consider it a testament to the power of a well-placed hyperlocal story that reaches the most relevant audience possible, the people who are ready to be engaged and open to hearing what you have to say. Of course, in a perfect world, you have both — the big, global media feature along with a local story. Just be sure not to sacrifice one in favor of the other.

Improved targeting. Gone are the days of generic messages. Today we want to read news about relevant to a given community, neighborhood, or specific industry or business segment. With the rise of original content as the chief commodity PR can promote, now is the time to tailor stories to appropriate customer segments. It’s how most consumers are accustomed to being reached, so why not employ it in PR messaging and pitching, too?

More focus, better quality. Hyperlocal approaches lend themselves to super sharp focus, which allows for tight control of the story and high levels of quality. It’s often said that the more strict the parameters, the easier it is to comply. When working with local influencers or case studies to bring life to a story, a local focus means you can anticipate the direction and scope of the story, which means you can focus your preparation more specifically and be in a stronger place to convey the right messages.

Touch and feel. Never underestimate the power of physical touch, taste, sight, smell and sound to trigger powerful and specific messages. Just as a single smell can trigger the most poignant of childhood memories, there’s something to be said for employing the tangible senses. A hyperlocal event in a specific place lends itself to creating strong associations between the product or service and the locale itself, especially if you can include particularly tactile elements that tie in well, like a food and beverage pairing, or a hands-on DIY activity. Better still if those elements have special meaning to the local region.

Heightened credibility. For consumer brands, the prevalence of social sharing and self-publishing means local endorsements are more important than ever. Earning positive local reviews is an industry to itself.  Hyperlocal PR serves to boost reputation among local influencers, who can make or break a brand’s success in a local market.

And Now A Few Words About PR Etiquette

It’s impossible to tally how many interactions a fast-moving public relations team has with media contacts, vendors, clients, and partners on a daily basis. Let’s just say the number is a big one. And with each comes the possibility of misspeaking, divulging too much, or sending the poorly worded or ill-timed email. Now might be a good time to review some do’s and don’ts of proper PR comportment.

You need to deliver bad news to a client. The long-awaited profile piece in a top daily is negative. The promised story you worked on for months is not going to happen. The bad news from the CEO’s past has popped up again in a post that’s gone viral. Take a deep breath and before relaying the news, make a plan. Determine what you need to say, who is in the best position to deliver the news and by what vehicle. An expert I spoke to said to view the communication this way: The severity of the bad news should dictate the appropriate delivery medium — email, phone, in-person meeting, etc. The more serious the news, the more face-to-face time is needed.

Whichever way you choose to communicate, do it swiftly and document the communication. The learnings from the situation may come in handy in the future.

You’ve sent an email by mistake. Who hasn’t? Some have activated the email recall feature. This is usually a bad idea because the recipient sees that the note has been recalled and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out potential reasons why!  This article  lists the top reasons people recall: You send a message when you are mad or upset and then you realize your words were nasty or inappropriate and you want those words back. Or, you realize after you’ve sent something that it was addressed to the wrong person. The level of panic in this scenario can go sky-high if the message had confidential, negative or sensitive information in it.

The best solution from business etiquette experts is to cop to it quickly and apologize. A former colleague called the client right away and deftly deflected from the mistake by taking responsibility in a humorous way. Sometimes, however, a bigger gesture – a gift, a formal apology, or a face-to-face meeting – is required.

You’ve promised a media contact something you can’t deliver. We’ve all been caught up in the moment of pitching a good story and garnering interest from an important journalist. And just when you think you can reel in the placement of a lifetime, the writer asks for access to the CEO (who never speaks) or inside scoop on the big announcement. In your frenzy, you say yes and realize shortly thereafter that it’s never going to happen. So you back-pedal.

There are a couple ways to mitigate the situation. We counsel that it’s worth presenting a reasoned case to the CEO or PR team to see if any of their positions can be changed. If not, perhaps you can strike a bargain for something else to take back to the media contact. If nothing else, you’re faced with the meaningful mea culpa. The last time this happened to me, I was able to save face by giving the writer the next big story I had – and all was forgiven.

Want more? Read here to learn how to cope with some other cringe-worthy business situations.

7 Tips: What PR Agencies Want From Their Clients

 

We had nice comments on a previous post from the PROI Worldwide meeting, What Clients Really Want From Their PR Agencies, so it inspired me to look at the flip side of the client-agency relationship.  Here’s our list of top things a typical PR firm looks for in an ideal client.

Commitment. Occasionally in this business you see a client who is a PR dabbler. They’re “testing”, or maybe they liken it to direct marketing or digital advertising — something that can be turned on or off as a demand generation tool. If so, the program is unlikely to be successful. We look for an understanding of what PR can (and can’t) do, and a reasonable commitment to a strategic PR campaign.

Clear objectives, well communicated. This one’s a mutual responsibility. The onus is on the agency to be straightforward and specific about goals and outcomes. But goals should flow from business objectives, which originate with the client. Where it occasionally gets tricky is when there are other, less obvious needs from a PR campaign – like personal glory for a key executive, or support for a sales team. We can handle that; we just need to know.

Transparency and openness. Agencies need information to do our job. Lots of it. More than many clients think the PR team will need. This refers to brand or corporate background information that will help the team tell your story, but it can also mean insight about company politics, corporate changes, or senior management expectations.

Trust in our expertise. Agency professionals appreciate clients who will listen and trust our expertise. That doesn’t mean a client should take every recommendation or always agree with our viewpoint, but true respect for years of experience is necessary on both sides of the relationship.

A spirit of partnership. I know, it’s a cliche, but that’s because it’s true; the most demoralizing thing for an agency team is to be the last to know about a key development, or to be left out of a communications strategy discussion. The best clients are highly collaborative. They consider the agency team as an extension of their own staff, with the privileges and accountability that come with it.

Help in managing expectations. Particularly among senior management. This is a common concern among agency teams who aren’t always in regular contact with the CEO or other top client executives. If the PR program’s value isn’t communicated properly at the outset, or if it falls prey to “expectations creep,” that can undermine the relationship and the outcomes.

High expectations. Needing to manage expectations doesn’t mean they should be low. Agency creatures thrive under (reasonable) pressure. When the bar is raised, expectations are clear, and we’re all pulling together, that’s when we can do our best work.

5 Tips For Winning Father’s Day PR

Can Father’s Day be a viable opportunity for generating positive PR? If done well, our answer is a resounding yes!

There’s no shortage of interest in the holiday: the changing role of dads is becoming evident, and Father’s Day spending is expected to reach a record $14.3 billion in 2016, according to the National Retail Federation. Marketing and public relations professionals would be wise to take heed.

Here are some tips, garnered from past brand campaigns, for winning positive PR for dad’s big day.

Use real-life people in your campaigns. Smart media relations pros know stories are richer — and more likely to earn coverage — when they feature real people who win our hearts and minds. If you have compelling fathers to highlight as part of your brand’s Father’s Day push, make them the centerpiece of publicity efforts whenever possible. Dove’s commercial last year, which featured actual men learning they’d become dads for the first time, is a good example of using genuine moments to create a compelling brand awareness campaign.

Get emotional. Pulling at the heartstrings isn’t just a winning strategy when it comes to Mother’s Day. Emotional stories tend to be shared more frequently, especially when combined with the real-life scenarios mentioned above. We enjoyed Time magazine’s recent Father’s Day campaign, Letters From Dad, which featured written pieces from a diverse range of  famous dads, including Aaron Sorkin, Michael Bloomberg, Hank Azaria, Ethan Hawke, and Tom Brokaw.

Be clever with hashtags. Use hashtags to encourage social sharing, and make sure they reflect an equally clever idea. Last year’s hashtag, #jokesfromdad, launched by home goods retailer hhgregg, had us in stitches watching the video of children retelling irresistible “dad jokes.” Some variations on the dad joke video went viral, indicating how universal the idea was.

Don’t ignore gift guides. Ah, the gift guide — just because it’s predictable doesn’t mean it should be neglected. Expect top publications to spill some ink on recommendations for gifts ranging from trusty bedroom slippers to edgy new technology, like the virtual reality headset featured in this Father’s Day gift guide. If your company produces a product for mass — and male — consumption, it’s worth pitching the right targets. It could be as simple as cleverly packaging your gift idea, and timing it well.

And one caveat: avoid assumptions. Never assume everyone has a dad, present or not, or has fond thoughts about him. Take a lesson from eBay, which earned publicity for its Father’s Day email marketing campaign for all the wrong reasons. The online selling giant sent emails with the subject line, “Your father called,” irking many for its lack of sensitivity (imagine receiving that note while grieving the loss of a father). One can’t predict every scenario that might hit the wrong way, but in today’s age of Twitter lambasting, it pays to vet every idea carefully. Try testing the concept with a diverse enough crowd to see how it lands.

6 Things Your PR Agency Can Do Beyond Media Relations

Those seeking public relations services often pigeonhole it into media relations. But there are some important value-adds that PR partners can bring to a relationship that help elevate a company or brand. Here are just a few:

High-level media training. Many a CEO has declined to make time for a media prep session on the grounds that “no one knows the company better than I do” or “I don’t want to sound ‘canned,'” only to falter in an important interview. Common mistakes include disclosing more than necessary, getting angry or defensive, or simply failing to maximize the opportunity. For a real dash of schadenfreude, check out these examples  of what not to do. The best media training sessions train the entire team, starting at the top.

Brand perception audits. As more brands forego traditional advertising but increase overall PR spend, communications partners need to be integrally involved with brand culture, messaging, sales strategy and the industry landscape. For that reason, we advocate for PR to take the lead in conducting a detailed analysis of a brand in its current state, engineered to highlight strengths and weaknesses and help the team structure a results-oriented program. The audit isn’t new, of course, but it’s newly important.

Website analysis and evaluation. One of the first things we do when partnering on a PR assignment is review the company website, a topic we also tackled here. Our experience can offer insight into what makes a successful e-commerce site or what a B2B destination tells its prospects, and we will always make recommendations to make a client site more journalist-friendly and stronger in telling a company story.

Thought leadership events. An excellent way to create quality content and gain exposure for a trendsetting company is a thought leadership event. One example: convene a panel of like-minded executives to weigh in on a specific sector or issue. We’ve produced panels and meetings on topics from art e-commerce to worker’s compensation insurance. (Often, the narrower the topic, the better.) In addition to opportunities for media to attend and cover such events, a savvy PR team will package the resulting content for white papers, bylines and other post-event coverage.

Long-form content.  In the era of digital publishing, any executive can be an author, which also speaks to thought leadership. But the most successful in the genre get help from great writers – many of whom are journalist or PR professionals. Books lend credibility to a CEO or a company while offering a fresh news hook for an ongoing PR program.

Bonus tip. PR partners come to know a business and a team, and like any other good consultant, can be an important resource for key business moves such as hiring. As a client partner to many early stage businesses, we’re often called on to help vet and hire internal marketing staffers as well as make recommendations for outside experts in branding, market research, or marketing automation.