Company News…Check Out Our New Look!

After two months of social distancing, the Crenshaw team has been so productive that we decided to whip up a new visual identity and website for the agency as a sideline. Nice work, right? How do you like it?

Seriously, our new look has been a little longer in the planning than that, but we couldn’t be happier about the outcome. We feel the website is more suited to our role as content creators, and the sleeker look offers an updated feel and navigation. And for clients and friends who play their cards right, there may even be some swag coming. Stay tuned. 

Thanks to the intrepid Jeff Rodgers and the entire team involved in the new and improved Crenshaw Communications brand. 


Crenshaw Team Adapts To The WFH Life

With New York named the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Crenshaw team, along with so many other local businesses, will follow the lead of our governor and leading health experts. With upgraded remote server access and a positive attitude, we’ve left our Flatiron office to work from home until the social distancing protocol is eased. Luckily, we’ve been able to maintain high client service and productivity standards, and no one needs to commute, so there’s a savings on that front. For those of us still in the city, there’s always that 7:00 pm cheer for our amazing healthcare providers. Here’s to those on the front lines! Meanwhile, we’ll keep busy and carry on. See you on Zoom!

A PR Pro’s Guide To Media Start-Ups

The savvy public relations team pounces on new media outlets with zeal, looking for the best ways to find placement opportunities. These can range from providing expert quotes to offering up an exec for a profile. Right now, there are some relatively new outlets that have been lumped together in what Wired Magazine calls “millennial niche news sites.” We don’t see these sites as quite so limited in their appeal, but they do share a common mission which is summed up in this quote from Ozy CEO and co-founder Carlos Watson, [to be a place where] “people could get smarter a little bit sooner.”

With that in mind, here’s a primer on the hottest new news websites and a bit of pitching wisdom for each.

Ozy – A breath of fresh air in the digital media landscape.  The easily accessible site covers everything from the very local such as this coverage of a cannibis “trade pub” in Oregon to the topical, a tax season piece including an interview with the CEO of H&R Block, and dozens of other hard and soft news pieces. The site includes detailed info on their staffers and their work, so choosing a writer to pitch should be straightforward. Finding their emails, not so much, but the intrepid shall prevail.

Mic – News as unique as our generation. This site flaunts its youthful bent and editorial team (“a rockstar team of editors, reporters, producers, designers and engineers!”) but its coverage is wide and varied as well. The site has terrific pop culture reporting including thought-provoking pieces on race, sex and the arts as well as attacking style from every angle such as this piece on ill-fitting suits worn by Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump featuring cogent critiques from the menswear industry. The site is well-represented on Cision, making it easy to track down reporters of interest.

Vocativ – We use deep web technology as a force for good.  This site forages through forums, databases, documents, and public records, social platforms, chat rooms, and commerce sites to ferret out stories such as  “a nutrition label for your broadband service” apparently unearthed from FCC docs which does seem kind of “deep web” to its lead story on Spain ending its siesta tradition – a story that was everywhere. Cision has a complete listing for writers on the site, though it seems a best bet here is to offer up expert sources rather than pitch stories.

Fusion – The media brand for a young, diverse and inclusive world. This site is decidedly the most youthful-looking of the four with a strong emphasis on pop culture, justice, sex and the arts. Graphically, Fusion has an easily digestible mix of listicles, GIFS and video and the mix of news and features makes for an easy, breezy read. Fusion also deftly tackles weightier subjects like this piece on the gig economy. Fusion has a comprehensive list of contributors and their stories to help plan your pitching as well as solid Cision data. The site seems ripe and open to smart PR pitching.

Using Creative PR To Make News

Earlier this week we explored ways that PR pros can keep their clients in the media even when they have no news. The best PR firms create news rather than wait for it to come from the client.

At our agency, we’re fortunate to work with stellar brands, many of whom offer credible news hooks. Some are smaller, innovative companies who make few “formal” announcements throughout the year. One example is the leading mobile navigation and maps provider skobbler.

An app-chart topper in over 20 countries, with over 3.5 million users on iOS alone, skobbler is one of the premier players in mobile location-aware services and development based on the OpenStreetMap. Yet, while skobbler’s applications and services are popular and groundbreaking, the brand does not quite carry the same “brand-name recognition” as an Apple or Microsoft.

How do we compete and generate PR results without hard news or a recognizable name?

Research. Tech moves at the speed of sound, and we’re constantly on the lookout for emerging trends where skobbler can fit in and make a statement. Once we identify a trend or idea, we craft pitches with relevant insights from skobbler, including the sexiest facts and figures detailing why the company is a great source, and how it differs from others in the space.

Go vertical. Each client has its own wheelhouse. Mapping and navigation are skobbler’s, but the company execs also have the ability and knowledge to discuss the technology related to digital mapping, including everything from operating systems to mobile devices themselves. This expands the scope of pitch targets far beyond industry trades like GPS World, into news and tech targets like VentureBeat and CNET. We can then craft a relevant perspective that the journalist or publication may not have encountered or included in the past, in the form of a byline post or an exclusive article or Q&A.

Mine unique data nuggets. Part of our relationship with any client is to ask what’s new and mean it. Our ability to ferret out “ownable” data points that are timely, clever and out-of-the-ordinary helps generate stories around topical subjects, even a skobbler-assisted list of the most sought-after pubs on St. Patrick’s Day! The broader navigation topic offers many kinds of stories, from technology to travel.

As great as it is to have hard news handed to you on a silver platter, there is something a little sweeter about crafting a story from creative thinking and ingenuity.