2022 PROI Global Summit in Dubrovnik

Our CEO Dorothy Crenshaw is representing Crenshaw Comm at the PROI Global Summit in Dubrovnik this week.

PROI is the largest and most established international network of independent PR firms. The Dubrovnik meeting kicked off with a motivational presentation from the very dynamic Valorie Burton of the Coaching and Positive Psychology Institute. Valorie was followed by our new Ukraine partner Kristina Nikolayeva, founder of Be It Agency in Kiev. Kristina spoke very movingly about working in wartime – from setting up shop in bomb shelters to helping staff locate and reunite with missing family members. The theme of resilience was very appropriate.


5 Pitch Ideas For PR Pros When There Is No News

PR firms live and die by news. But there are some weeks, especially late in the summer, when the news cycle is slow and companies are in a lull between announcements. Despite this, there are ways for PR teams to get their clients in the news by basically creating it themselves.

Here are five pitch ideas for when there is no news that can work particularly well for B2B PR campaigns. 

Meet and greet!

If there was a recent senior leadership hire or promotion at your organization, it can sometimes be leveraged into news, or at least background information for later news. We do this through a meet-and-greet pitch. The executive addition doesn’t even have to be that recent and even if it was covered by the news, a meet-and-greet will often be welcome. 

In this type of pitch, we introduce the new officer and explain what their new role is at the organization, highlighting their accomplishments in past roles. The goal of this pitch is to offer executive time to reporters for introductions, background material, and to share a POV on the industry and its future.

It’s so simple, but you’d be surprised how many reporters can be interested. The informal meetups often lead to meaningful relationships where the reporter will reach out to get the exec’s opinion on certain topics down the road. 

Data points drive press

Often companies have surveys or case studies that contain great data points. Research, when well packaged and communicated, can be just the thing for a slow period. When pitching case studies, it is important to offer a spokesperson from both the customer organization and the one that offers the product or service. Each must be willing to speak with a journalist, as some journalists will want to hear from the customers directly. We work with our clients to stretch the data into something newsworthy and add their insights to garner interest from the media. 

Data points can go a long way. In some cases, it’s suitable for a quick media alert or even a press release. There are many news outlets that have columns focused on numbers and data, like eMarketer and The Drum’s “Week in Numbers.”

Use the news that’s already breaking

PR pros have been “newsjacking” for decades but it wasn’t until 2011 that David Meerman Scott penned the term. The Oxford dictionary defines it as “The practice of taking advantage of current events or news stories in such a way as to promote or advertise one’s product or brand. 

When news breaks, reporters and analysts often look for experts to comment on the story. That’s why we in PR need to stay on top of relevant news. Luckily, there are so many ways to consume news that it’s pretty hard to miss it. You can set up Google alerts on your phones and laptops, listen to daily podcasts and sign up for newsletters in pertinent industries. The keys here are relevance and speed.

Reactive media outreach needs to happen within hours of a breaking story. The best pitches will offer insightful commentary driven by relevant expertise. If you can package it well, you may just grab interest from a reporter.  

Our Crenshaw team executed a reactive pitch about a recent data breach which resulted in our client, NCSA, being featured in the coverage about it. The team reacted quickly and garnered information and a quote from NCSA to offer to the media. The work paid off as they secured numerous stories for offering insight on the data breach. 

Capitalize on recent trends

Another way to establish relevance for an organization or expert is to take advantage of recent trends that apply to their business. This doesn’t have to be groundbreaking or even a solid announceable piece of news, but it can be a way to offer an opinion on how a company is using trends, or, conversely, how its business is actually bucking a trend in spite of conventional wisdom. 

For example, the use of newsletters has ramped up in the last year. We represent ad tech companies and media brands, and the shift to newsletters has real implications for them. There’s not a single, breaking story to react to, but rather a steady stream of developments in the category that makes it a natural trend for commentary and content.

Recently, we sent out a pitch offering our client LiveIntent, to discuss the importance of local newspapers and their email newsletters amid changes due to COVID-19. We were able to secure a Q&A feature opportunity with this pitch as well as inclusions in ad-tech newsletters. 

Thought leadership

Most PR pros work with their clients to create plans where they outline pitch angles and content topics they want to execute over the course of a couple months. These plans are helpful when the news cycle is slow. 

Having a thought-leadership pitch angle ready, complete with approved quotes from company executives will make it easier to reach out to reporters. Thought-leadership pieces should offer insight for readers from new perspectives and commentary that contributes to a larger conversation that is relevant at the time. 

A thought-leadership angle that can garner interest can include commentary on the third-party cookies saga. The phasing out of third-party cookies has shaken up digital advertising and media, and with recent pushback regarding privacy issues, there is much to talk about. Offering an opinion and thoughts on the ongoing cookie delay is going to be relevant in ad-tech for a long time. 

When we reach out to journalists with pitches about something other than an announcement, they take notice and particularly appreciate fresh ideas. If the content or commentary is compelling, relevant, and timely, it will grab the attention of reporters. 

Unique Ways PR Pros Can (and Should) Consume News

PR specialists must eat, sleep and breathe news. We need to stay connected to a variety of news outlets to stay current and knowledgeable, both for our own benefit as well as that of our clients. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, news consumption in the US was up by 215%, showing that we rely more on the news than ever before. 

One of the best and easiest ways to position executives as thought leaders is by taking advantage of relevant news stories as soon as they break. “Newsjacking” is one way that PR people secure reactive coverage by jumping on a story that’s already in the news. The worst feeling in the world for a PR agency staffer is failing to notice a big breaking story and thus missing an opportunity to newsjack. So what are some ways we can stay on top of the 24/7 news game?

News Apps

Sometimes unnecessary notifications on our phones can be distracting, but for PR teams, notifications from news apps are essential. Because notifications can be customized to topics you want to stay on top of, they’re extremely useful. Popular apps like Flipboard, feedly, and even Apple News can be tailored to your interests so that you can stay up-to-date on both specific publications as well as topics. 


Newsletters are another essential tool for any PR person’s inbox. Email newsletters are a fast way to scan the daily headlines from a given publication in the hope that a long-awaited exclusive has finally gone live, or simply to shape the day’s media outreach. Some of my favorite newsletters and the ones I read on a daily basis are The Daily Skimm, Digiday 5 Things to Know, and The Morning Brew. The benefit is that they offer brief summaries on the most important headlines of the day, so we can gauge our interest in more in-depth searches. Check out this list of newsletters every PR pro should receive. 


Podcasts have soared in popularity in the past few years. Fifty-five percent (155 million) of the US population has listened to a podcast. Podcasts are not only a great way to go in-depth on a topic, but they’re also an easy way to consume news on the go. Popular news podcasts like The Daily by The New York Times, Up First by NPR and WSJ What’s News by The Wall Street Journal are great vehicles for catching up on the news in less than 15 minutes. They’re often hosted by influential reporters and are ideal when you don’t have time to sit down and read the news first thing in the morning.  

Voice Assistants

I’d be lost without my Amazon Echo. I even became that lazy person who hooked up their lights to a smart plug so I can turn my lights off by voice. But in addition to rewarding laziness, we can train our voice assistants to keep us up to date on the news. I’ve set up a skill on my Echo to give me a flash briefing if I say “Alexa, Give me the news,” and anyone can set up their favorite outlets to hear major headlines from outlets like Bloomberg, CNBC, CNN, Fox News, NPR and more. This is a great feature for PR people who might want to hear the news first thing when they wake up as they get ready for the day ahead. 


What are some ways you consume the news that others may not know about? Let us know on Twitter @colleeno_pr

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.