COO’s Corner: Be Present in 2022
by All Points Public Relations, January 5, 2022
It’s hard to believe another year has come and gone. After overcoming the triumphs and tribulations of the pandemic, 2021 truly embodied resilience. With a renewed feeling of hope, brought by vaccines, I’m challenging my staff to live mindfully and be present in the year ahead.
Even in our structured hybrid, we still need to show up – and we need to show up more than ever. In our latest agency seminar, I encouraged my staff to take a moment and reflect on their practices and how they can be more mindful in the year ahead. Here are some tips:
1. Turn Off Notifications
Between my Apple watch, email alerts and text messages, I constantly feel like someone is tapping me on the shoulder.
You may have emails, texts and meetings to deal with, and of course, your own work. To balance all these needs, pausing your notifications for specific periods of time is a happy medium. In the middle of it all, you can apply principles of mindfulness to feel alive and present and even more productive.
2. Talk Less, Listen More
We all like to think we’re good listeners, but there’s a big difference between nodding as you wait for your turn to speak and actually being present.
People do not learn new things when they talk; they learn by actively listening. In today’s busy world it can be hard to shut out distractions that draw us away from the conversation.
Practice mindful listening to eliminate internal and external distractions, so you can absorb and understand fully what is being communicated to you.
3. Get Into a Flow
You may have heard about multi-tasking, but how about single-tasking — doing one thing at a time. Nobody can multi-task, in reality, the brain cannot perform two tasks that require high brain function at one time.
To get into a productive workflow, protect yourself from interruptions and take one task at a time. Be mindful of your deadlines and set chunks of uninterrupted time to get that task done. That goes for respecting your colleagues’ time as well. Schedule a meeting to go over a project or brainstorm new ideas, rather than interrupting their workflow.
4. Stop Working Like Everything’s an Emergency,
Mindfulness at work may seem counterintuitive. You’re slowing down to become more efficient and productive.
Working in a panicky rush leads to bad decisions. As an agency, we live by the saying “this is PR, not the ER,” to keep our staff from constantly working in 911 mode. It’s hard to be present if you’re constantly working in crisis mode.
By purposely managing your technology notifications, listening skills and workflow, mindfulness at work is possible.
Lauren Izaks is the COO and executive vice president of All Points Public Relations, a franchise-focused PR agency based in the Chicagoland area, www.allpointspr.com.
Senior Account Lead Rosie Gillam Presents at All Points PR’s Second Team Seminar
by All Points Public Relations, November 20, 2014
Last week, we had a great time kicking off our second monthly team seminar with senior account lead Rosie Gillam.
Rosie presented on a topic that is near and dear to our media-loving hearts, “Get Your Message Straight: Why Everyone Needs Media Training.”
At All Points Public Relations, a Chicago-based franchise PR firm, we support our clients in media training for a variety of TV, radio and print segments and interviews. We nominated Rosie to share some best practices that she has up her sleeve.
From start to finish, Rosie provided helpful tips on acing any interview, and feeling confident along the way.
Here is a summary of her key points:
As publicists, in order to provide media training we must know the format of every interview we secure on behalf of our client. Each format has different demands. The six to keep in mind are:
- Print/Online Interviews
- Television Interviews
- Radio Talk Show
- Editors Desk-Side
For example, if our client has a television interview, we would recommend that they stray away from wearing black, white, or small patterns. However, big patterns or jewel-toned colors will compliment anyone on camera.
Recommending television attire is one way to demonstrate that preparation is key in any interview. But, as always, the content of the interview is the most important part.
As our client puts their best foot forward, we always provide three ways to support their efforts: identify our objectives, prepare stats/figures and examples, and prepare responses to tough questions.
When our client finally has their interview, the conversation should be natural and personable. Even if a tough question is thrown at our clients, they can always politely ask to follow up over email after the interview. There are many options a client has before allowing themselves to get nervous.
Then there’s after the interview, where Rosie underlined some great points that are a must for any interviewee. Three suggestions are:
- Send a follow-up message via email
- Thank the reporter for their time
- Bullet three target messages
Overall, Rosie provided many helpful tips during her presentation on a service we are proud to provide to our clients. She outlined the most important aspects of media training, while also demystifying the interview process.
Stay tuned for December’s seminar, led by PR Associate Samantha Kritt.
Company Culture: From Seminars to Pizza Parties
by All Points Public Relations, November 13, 2014
The buzz-phrase “company culture” has undoubtedly come up in every professional setting and college classroom over the last several years. Why is this phrase so important and what does it actually mean to employers and their employees? Everyone defines it differently, but the definition of company culture that All Points Public Relations, a Chicago-based franchise PR agency, finds most fitting and all encompassing is “a set of shared vision, values, norms, systems, beliefs and habits. “
Ultimately, company culture is the personality a company develops over time that embraces its mission, expectations and work atmosphere. At All Points PR, the mission is “to support entrepreneurs and entrepreneurially spirited organizations through the persistent execution of effective public relations and social media programs.” This is accomplished through working closely with clients and by hiring and fostering the growth of talented individuals. This is also accomplished through creating a strong company culture.
The culture at All Points PR inspires team members in a multitude of creative and exciting ways. For example, we commonly host incentive programs, seminars and office gatherings. The purpose of these programs is to add to our team’s continued education, career development and to allow us to grow as an agency by bonding and working together.
Specifically, throughout the year, incentive programs are conducted as a way to invite employees to think outside the box and go the extra mile. This past summer, a fun in-office competition titled “Hit of the Week” was held, during which an employee’s exceptional media placement, social media result or content marketing result was rewarded. Each week, the winning employee was presented a trophy and he or she was celebrated in the office for the hard work. At the end of the program, the entire team went out to celebrate a different kind of hit at a Chicago White Sox baseball game. Programs like “Hit of the Week” allow us to celebrate each others successes, learn from our teammates, increase our team bond and ultimately strengthen our company culture.
Recently, several team members initiated a new seminar program, which highlights our company’s public relations systems. The program was launched with a large group brainstorming session during which employees nominated one another to give a presentation on a topic that would benefit the agency. Once a month, a different employee takes the topic that they were nominated for and makes a presentation. For example, one of our publicists presented tips about finding the right publication and reporter using tools like Cision Point. These interactive presentations help spark team discussion and bring the agency together. To read more about the kickoff presentation titled, “Research and Development: Finding the Right Reporter,” by associate Adee Feiner, click here.
At All Points PR, team lunches, friendly basketball games, team runs, baby showers and Halloween parties are commonplace. These events can be as big as a late night bowling party to celebrate the winter holidays or as small and intimate as gathering around the conference table with cupcakes to wish a team member a happy birthday. At these gatherings inside jokes, team collaboration and bonding happen naturally. This creates a shared sense of company pride.
There have been plenty of studies that suggest employee happiness is directly linked to productivity, which leads to high client satisfaction. Unhappy employees tend to do the minimum amount of work required, but those who feel appreciated are loyal and passionate. Those employees in turn stay at a company longer, work harder and more creatively, going the extra mile. A Columbia University study shows that the likelihood of job turnover at an organization with strong company culture is only 13.9%, whereas the probability of job turnover in poor company cultures is as high as 48.4%.
All Points PR believes that continued education, career development and even sometimes the most ordinary things, like a pizza party, can have a big impact on company culture because those experiences bring us together and allow us to share vision, values, norms, systems, beliefs and habits.
Storytelling is the Core of Public Relations
by All Points Public Relations, October 21, 2014
Recently, we viewed filmmaker Andrew Stanton’s TED talk, “The Clues to a Great Story,” in which he shares insights about effective storytelling. Stanton, who is best known for helping create movies like Toy Story, WALL-E and Finding Nemo, knows a thing or two about storytelling. Listening to his talk, we were especially inspired and excited to notice the similarities between his work and the work we do as public relations professionals.
Successful PR professionals are, first and foremost, storytellers who use compelling angles to capture the attention of the press and consumers. Great PR combines words and visuals that engage targeted audiences, while taking them on a journey to discover a brand, product or service.
Although storytelling is not a new concept for PR professionals, the digital age provides new opportunities for brands to express themselves. Today, there is room to share your brand’s story via multiple channels, whether it’s Facebook posts, tweets, an email newsletter or video, among the many. However, the digital age multiplies room for error, increasing the potential for brand inconsistencies.
We’ve put together a few tips for PR professionals to follow when crafting a brand’s story:
Stay true to your brand promise by making sure that characters and ideas align with the overall brand. Whether you’re writing a tweet or working on an integrated campaign, be sure that it fits with the overall story of the brand. If your story gets confusing consumers will be turned away. We’ve seen it over and over again: confusion is the number one brand killer.
One of our clients, Amsterdam Falafelshop, an iconic quick-service restaurant with a Mediterranean twist, is quickly growing through franchising while staying true to its brand. An interview we secured for Amsterdam Falafelshop’s CEO in Bizwomen, a national business publication profiling female leaders & CEOs, helped explain the strategic growth and the brand’s intentions to remain the hyperlocal concept consumers fell in love with. Our storytelling needed to convey that under the CEO’s leadership Amsterdam Falafelshop could maintain its quirky, local vibe amid an aggressive national franchise growth strategy.
Keep your audience engaged
It’s important for your brand’s ongoing narrative to create a story that engages readers, viewers and listeners. The best ideas are those that are rooted in research and that have an understanding of your core audience. Before launching any campaign, spend time planning its execution and content. As Stanton says in his TED talk, “when your content ends, so too does the act of telling your brand’s story.”
For our client Bottle & Bottega, an art and wine concept, we spent time researching and analyzing their primary audience to learn that they value exploring and supporting local businesses. To help build on this finding we created a strategic national campaign that sends residents scavenging for artistic treasures in their community. We felt that this idea engaged the brand’s consumers in a way that allowed them to experience their love of art in their city at unexpected venues. Read more about the success of the “Art Hunts” in My Suburban Life. The campaign told the brand story through a PR push that compelled the press and consumers to take action.
Create relatable characters
Good PR storytelling should always include a relatable source or character with whom the audience can truly relate. People like to establish emotional connections with their favorite brands, and developing a lead character can do just that.
During a Father’s Day campaign, we helped celebrate the franchise partners/owners at CMIT Solution’s, an IT services franchise, by sharing their stories and favorite parenting quotes on Facebook and on the CMIT Solution’s blog. This garnered a lot of attention from CMIT Solution’s clients, who were thrilled to read their IT providers’ stories and get a small glimpse into their lives. The campaign worked especially well because CMIT Solution’s franchise owners are relatable, something that CMIT Solution’s clients value.
Leave room for creativity
Be sure your stories spark your audience’s thoughts and lure them to come back to your brand for more information. The most important thing to remember is that your brand story should constantly evolve based on a dialect you have with your followers. According to Stanton, “The best stories infuse wonder.”
Through the many integrated campaigns we’ve led, we’ve discovered that the most successful campaigns are those that leave room for your audience’s own positive interpretation. Their active engagement is the conclusion you are looking for in your brand story.
If you are looking for new, creative ways to tell your brand story, connect with us. We will keep your target audience engaged through creative storytelling using relatable characters. This is why All Points PR is one of the top franchise PR firms in the nation. To see more examples of story-driven results, visit Allpointspr.com/category/results.
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PR Associate Adee Feiner Kicked Off All Points PR’s First Monthly Seminar
by All Points Public Relations, October 15, 2014
Just recently, our team decided to hold monthly seminars presented by our very own colleagues. This is a plan we are particularly excited about because…
- We want to hear one another’s thoughts on topics pertaining to franchise PR/Social Media
- Seminars are a fun way to grow professionally
- We have an excuse for team lunch (need we say more?)
We are happy to announce that our plans came to fruition last week, when we had the pleasure of viewing PR Associate Adee Feiner’s presentation on “Research and Development: Finding the Right Reporter.”
As a franchise PR firm, where personalization is key, and specialization is everything, Adee’s presentation hit home for us as professionals.
Here is a summary of her key points:
When researching reporters for a pitch, you essentially want to find the perfect match; someone who will hit the ground running and write a fantastic story.
In order to do so, PR professionals have many options available to them: search engines like Google, or databases like Cision. Whichever route you choose, you need to have a calculated plan.
If a pitch is about a female CEO, Cision can be a great place to find a reporter who writes on “Women in Business.” But, it takes reading a few articles to also know the following:
- What column does s/he write for?
- What are his/her deadlines?
- Is there an underlying theme to the piece s/he writes?
From here, you finally have the tools to personalize your pitch and reach out to the reporter. When doing so, try to mention a past article and your thoughts about his/her work.
Also, it is important to provide the column/section in which your potential story would be a perfect fit. This will show you respect the reporter’s time.
Overall, Adee did a fantastic job in covering the many intricacies that come along with researching the perfect recipient for a pitch. She provides great reminders that we are sure to emulate going forward.
Stay tuned for November’s seminar, led by Account Lead Rosie Gillam.
Expanding Franchise Public Relations Agency
by All Points Public Relations, October 2, 2014
This year has been a year of incredible growth and exciting opportunities for All Points PR. Ahead of celebrating its third anniversary in August, the agency hired eight new employees between March and September of 2014. All of the new hires are young, ambitious and creative millennials, the demographic born in the 1980s and 1990s, which is also known as Generation Y. Although the job market is currently improving and national unemployment rates are at their lowest since the 2008 recession (6.1 percent in June, 2014), the outlook for 18-to-29-year-olds continues to look grim (15.2 percent in June, 2014). The statistics are shocking. According to the U.S. Census data 40 percent of unemployed workers are millennials.
Committed to providing rewarding career opportunities for young PR professionals and holding a firm belief in training and promoting bright, innovate PR specialists, All Points PR is experiencing rapid growth with an impressive collection of clients.
The millennial generation, thought to be incredibly tech-savvy and quick to grasp new concepts, is well suited for the ever-changing PR field. In today’s day and age, PR companies are stepping outside the traditional boundaries of faxing press releases and mailing press kits. Public relations professionals need to be great writers, communicators, designers and multitaskers. As the lines blur between PR, advertising, publishing and SEO firms, All Points PR has adapted to better serve its clients’ changing needs. The talented professionals of All Points PR are leading this charge. In fact, All Points PR team members come from reporting, graphic design and social media backgrounds, and have worked on the client side, at agencies and for non-profit organizations. This blend helps make All Points PR one of the top franchise PR firms in the nation.
To learn more about All Points PR and its talented team of specialists, visit Allpointspr.com/about/the-point-people.
The Whole of PR is Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts: Integrated PR for Franchise Lead Generation
by All Points Public Relations, September 22, 2014
Franchise companies that have ambitious growth plans should consider an integrated public relations strategy.
A truly integrated approach incorporates critical PR elements into a cohesive plan that strengthens franchise development efforts. At All Points Public Relations, a Chicago-based franchise PR firm, we believe that there are three necessary components to every PR strategy aimed at driving franchise leads: media relations, social media and content marketing.
Each of these components plays a critical role and should work to enhance the franchise sales cycle your company has set in place.
Media Relations Sparks Initial Interest
The initial step is to identify publications, whether local, national or consumer, that interests your preferred franchise candidate. Landing earned media coverage sparks the attention of potential investors to initiate the discovery process. Nothing speaks more about your franchise than profile stories that feature your existing star franchisees.
Social Media Moves Candidates Along
Now that you’ve sparked initial interest, your candidate will investigate your concept in every way possible. Think of social media as real estate where you can manage and present your company’s image. By being present, creative and authentic, you can share your franchising messaging with prospects so they can continue the course of the discovery process.
Content Marketing Converts Leads to Franchise Sales
It is key that you nurture and help guide your candidates though the buying cycle. Tap into content marketing to push prospects along using branded, well-designed, compelling blog entries and content-driven e-mails that help reaffirm your candidate’s decision to move forward with your franchise.
When combined, these three integrated PR elements have the power to propel your franchise development strategies into overdrive. A fully integrated methodology that blends media relations, social media and content marketing works together to develop the leads and close the deals your franchise concept commands.
From Powerplays to Pitching: Similarities Between Sports Reporting and Franchise PR
by All Points Public Relations, September 3, 2014
Associate Adee Feiner reflects on her transition from sports reporting to being a publicist with All Points PR:
I remember my very first time interviewing an athlete for my college newspaper. After the initial excitement of landing a coveted position as the Men’s Hockey beat writer for the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s The Daily Cardinal faded away, the panic set in. I had to actually talk to an athlete. I arrived at that first hockey practice notebook in hand, nervously pacing the hallway of the facility. In my head, the scenario of interviewing athletes and coaches always played out smooth. But as I stood there waiting for my first interview to show up, all I did was worry that I would come off as uninformed, uneducated and unsure.
However, once that I met that first player and started asking my questions, the fears, jitters and trepidations I had disappeared. As the season progressed, I built a relationship with the team, coaching staff and media personnel. There was a comfortable familiarity and ease that I became accustomed to, and I really missed it when the season ended and I graduated.
Funny enough, I had no idea I would go through almost the exact same process in my post-graduate job as a Public Relations Associate with All Points Public Relations.
The first time my boss Jamie asked me to pitch a story to a reporter over the phone, I’ll admit that I had a mini heart attack. I’m from the technology generation. We text, email and tweet, rarely do we actually call someone!! You’ll have a much better shot over the phone, Jamie said. I sat at my desk with the pitch in front of me, staring at the reporter’s phone number for a good five minutes. Finally picking up the receiver and punching in the numbers, it felt like the phone rang agonizingly long. The reporter answered, so I told her my name and why I was calling. As soon as she told me she’d love to know more, I released that breath I had been holding since I dialed her number. It was at that moment I realized my days as a sports writer were paying off… Sharing a story idea with a reporter is a lot like interviewing an athlete. Here’s how I took my experience from powerplays to pitching:
- Do Your Research And Know Who You’re Talking To: You wouldn’t ever ask a goalie about offensive strategy, or a defensive linebacker about a running back’s job. You know who you’re talking with to better write your questions. Well, it’s the same story while pitching. You don’t want to approach a business reporter with a lifestyle story. Sometimes doing the research can take time and feel arduous, especially with bigger publications. But when you find the right reporter, the process can feel smoother and the conversation will flow.
- Be Personable: While covering a football story, I had to interview a freshman on the team. I quickly realized he was more nervous than me, and made a joke to put us both at ease. We both relaxed, and things felt less like an interview and more like a conversation. It’s a similar process while pitching reporters. I’ve learned that opening an email with “I hope you’ve had a great weekend,” or asking how they are when you call them makes reporters more open to talking with you. It won’t feel like another PR person trying to get a placement for a client, but rather one person talking to another about something that potentially might interest them.
- Keep It Brief and Be Concise: I went into an interview once for a game night preview with a list of 10 questions for a player. I got through about four of them when I realized he was getting pretty antsy. There was no way I was going to get through ten questions with this guy, and I had better be content with what I did get from him. The next time around, I condensed my questions to get straight to the point that I wanted to hear. The answers I was given were lengthier, providing me with more info for my article. One of the first pitches I put together for a reporter looked like a short novel. I realized that he didn’t want to read through that whole thing and try to find what he thought might be the potential story angle. After working through it with my boss Jamie, he helped me bring it down to a few key paragraphs, with the main point at the top. It’s a useful tactic that has always served me well.
- Compliments Never Hurt: This one might be the oldest trick in the book, but it’s worked every time. I interviewed one of the younger members of the hockey team who had been the subject of a feature on NHL.com. Since the team was coming off a tough loss the weekend before, congratulating him on the achievement lightened the mood and made him more open to my questions about the game ahead. The same can go for a reporter you’re pitching a story to. Most interviews and placements that I’ve secured came from pitches that started with “great piece about X,” or “I loved the feature on Y.” It kind of goes hand-in-hand with doing your research. Showing a reporter that you’ve taken the time to learn more about who they are and what they write can only increase your chances of securing something for a client.
When I stepped into that hockey practice facility for the first time, I never would have guessed that one year later, my rink-side days would serve a dual purpose in my PR career. But, it’s usually the experiences that we least expect are the ones that we can draw on for inspiration in our careers.
Although, I have to say that I don’t miss the occasional sweat that dripped down on my notebook during interviews. I’m completely okay leaving that experience behind.
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LinkedIn for Businesses
by All Points Public Relations, August 14, 2014
Businesses are leveraging the power of LinkedIn, the largest social network designed for dialogue relating to career advancement and general business matters like never before.
As it relates to the industry where All Points Public Relations, a Chicago-based PR Firm, focuses its attention, franchising, LinkedIn is an asset to cherish and more and more brands are discovering its benefits.
In particular, franchise organizations need to have and manage a LinkedIn Company Page and perhaps one or more Showcase Pages. As the strength of LinkedIn grows, Company Pages are becoming hubs of rich content that can engage current and potential customers, current and future employees and other vital stakeholders such as investors. Plus, the Showcase Pages offer an opportunity to further dial in with your LinkedIn follower base to give those connecting with your business even more relevant information.
For instance, a franchisor may choose to use a LinkedIn Company page to spotlight their products and services for their clients, or to celebrate company successes, new hires or for general organic engagement about relevant news and topical matters. Then, they can leverage the LinkedIn Showcase page to dial in on franchise development topics and advancements so that interested investors can glean entrepreneurial focused content and growth information from the company, thus increasing their interest in buying a franchise.
Plus, the SEO benefits are measurable. Google indexes company pages; meaning that pages serve as a tool for strengthening rank in organic search results. Each search result contains a brief 156-character company description, which should quickly compel potential customers to learn more about the business by clicking on the link.
With more than 300 million members, LinkedIn is a worthwhile investment. People who visit LinkedIn are in a professional mindset and are actively seeking insights to connect even closer with the brands they are engaging with through the social platform.
A well-organized LinkedIn presence for a franchisor can build a loyal fan base, increase investor interest and further develop a company’s identity, especially if it provides thought provoking ideas and offers compelling reasons for LinkedIn members to return or dig deeper through other online means.
At All Points PR, we implement a full LinkedIn strategy for our franchise industry clients, including initial setup and ongoing management. The social media services, which are part of the integrated Franchise PR collection of offerings, aim to leverage innovative communication strategies by creating interactive experiences for a targeted set of customers (consumers, businesses and potential franchisees). To learn more about our services visit allpointspr.com/services.
Get Noticed with Quality Content
by All Points Public Relations, March 21, 2014
Every business strives to generate more transactions. To achieve this, it is important to attract consumers and not only tell them about your brand, but to share a unique perspective or information they did not have prior to visiting your blog, website or social media channel. Content marketing is a mindset that is integrated into the entire marketing mix, and a great content marketing strategy is a process that must be strategic and well thought out.
While there are a variety of content marketing formulas that have proven to be successful, there is a common strategic thread that binds winning approaches to this element of the public relations game:
1. Define your target
Before producing any content, it is essential to define your target audience and understand their interests. Think about what information your reader needs and how you can supply it in a memorable way.
2. Set goals
Remember that the purpose is to provide valuable insight to the reader. Focus on the needs of your target audience, rather than simply listing your services. Be sure your strategy fits in the sales funnel and integrate your brand’s image within the content.
3. Produce driven content that includes an attainable call to action.
Crafting great content that educates is essential, but asking people to do something with the content should always be top of mind. Position your brand as the expert and point consumers/clients to your online sources, locations or services to get more information.
4. Distribute to multiple channels to amplify the message
Repurposing your content and distributing it to all appropriate channels is essential. This will help reach new people who might not otherwise see your content.
At All Points we see content marketing as an evolving process that is dependent on creative and persistent execution. We recognize that producing content is ours to own as public relations practitioners because of our distinctive ability to be effective communicators through multiple channels. The roll out of our Content Marketing service comes as another way to support our clients with impressive publicity results, creative graphic design and engaging social media.
All Points PR Secures Coverage for IT Service Provider in Major Business Publication
by All Points PR, January 20, 2014
All Points PR secured an outlook piece for a New York City-based IT service provider. The story ran in the publication’s “Small Business Report” and focused on the franchise’s annual growth projections for the year ahead.
All Points PR Positions Client as Prominent Expert in National News Story
by All Points PR, November 20, 2013
All Points PR secured press coverage in a national business publication for an IT service provider specializing in working with small and medium-sized businesses. The story focuses on how Section 179 of the Internal Revenue Code has created an impetus for small businesses to upgrade their technology solutions before the end of the year. The company CEO, as well as one of the brand’s clients, provides expert insight for the story.
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All Points PR Secures Regional Media Exposure for Educational Childcare Concept
by All Points PR, November 13, 2013
All Points PR secured press coverage with a major daily paper for a rapidly expanding educational childcare franchise. The article focuses on the brand’s franchise development plans for the Kansas City Market, highlighting that the company recently signed an agreement to launch it’s first center in the market.
All Points PR Secures National Media Exposure for Art & Wine Studio
by All Points PR, November 1, 2013
All Points PR secured national press coverage for an art & wine franchise concept with Entrepreneur. The two part article includes tips for women who are interested in stepping into franchising and taking control of their personal and professional destinies. All Points PR’s client is positioned as a franchisor that cares deeply about supporting franchisees and guiding them towards a successful future in business ownership.
>> Women In Franchise Slideshow
5 Tips to Ensure Your Pitch is Actually Newsworthy
by All Points Public Relations, September 6, 2013
Every public relations professional has been there — your client has some “news” they want to see published…that really isn’t news at all.
Great. Your mission is to please the client (who pays you). But, of course, you’re not going to bribe a reporter with anything but one heck of a storyline.
So what do you do? You work your PR magic and you turn that new hire announcement into the most important business growth news happening right now, which points to a greater industry trend.
Easier said than done. Still, if you follow these five tips when fine-tuning your next pitch, chances are your announcement will reveal something truly newsworthy — and maybe even land you one of those home run stories for your client.
1. Make sure your media pitch has an impeccable time peg to it. A peg, or story angle, is the crux of your argument as a public relations professional pitching the media. A peg is something people hang a coat or hat on, so think of your peg as something a reporter can cling to at that very moment. The peg is perhaps the most crucial element to your pitch. It answers the “why” for the reporter doing his or her story gathering. And, its timeliness answers the “When should I write or report on this?” question that is always lingering in a reporter’s and editor’s mind. One example we successfully used at All Points: We ran a social media contest on behalf of a fast casual franchise client in which fans submitted ideas for the next new item on the menu. Then, when the winner was chosen, we had a crucial time peg — “Popular area restaurant creates new flavor using innovative social media contest.” As PR professionals, we essentially created what became a timely news angle.
2. Be sure your media pitch has an overall sense of urgency. Every time you send out a pitch — whether via email, through a phone call or smoke signals — be sure there is a sense of urgency embedded deep within the core of your message. You want this story to be written yesterday. And you want the reporter to “want” to be the one to tell it. So, in addition to creating a pitch with a great time peg, the pitch needs to feel incredibly important. Something may have happened today, but that doesn’t make it urgent or incredibly timely. For example, I brushed my teeth today. Big deal — no news there. But, if I brush my teeth today and contributed to the overall well-being of my mouth by protecting from cavities, removing stains and avoiding bad breath, I’ve done something that feels more urgent.
3. Sprinkle useful facts and newsy tidbits into your pitch. While as PR professionals we tend to want to make everything seem grandiose — we want our client to be more unique than every competitor — it’s also important to realize the media you’re pitching, depending on their experience, can become really good at smelling too much BS. You have to feed the desire of journalists and provide them with relevant, factual information about your client and company that can indeed contribute to an objective story about or including them. If your client is comfortable with sharing revenue numbers or other useful statistics, use that — of course, be certain it tells a positive narrative about the client. And don’t be afraid to go to the Google machine and find outside sources or statistics that can help position your client within a larger trend. For example, if your client is in the real estate industry, look at stats within the target market and use those positive stats to help position your client within a larger piece about a promising housing market.
4. Provide the reporter a specific call to action. You generally don’t get what you don’t ask for (unless it magically falls from the sky). Therefore, be upfront with reporters — without being in their face or combative — and ask for something at the end of your pitch. Don’t be afraid to ask the reporter if you can carve out some time for your source to speak with him or her. It may not work all the time, but it has been successful and it can certainly further a conversation. It also clarifies things for the reporter. Being vague is never a good option if you want a task to be completed.
5. Finally, put yourself in the reporter’s shoes — Would you pursue this story? And now, the moment of truth. You’ve drafted that pitch. But before you send it to your editor (and especially before you send it to media) ask yourself a very important question: Is this story interesting? Is this something I or other people would actually want to read about? You’d be surprised — when you answer yes to that question, chances are the reporter on the other end will do the same.