Archive for the ‘Public Relations’ Category

Public Relations Trends in 2018

Monday, January 1st, 2018

It’s January, the first month of the year when we often explore new professional opportunities. If you work in public relations you might be developing a PR plan for a client or yourself and would welcome more information.

Check these links for PR possibilities that you might not have considered.

► 20 Insightful PR and Marketing Predictions for 2018

► 10 Bold PR and Marketing Predictions for the Year 2020

► 4 Key PR Trends to Watch in 2018

► The most important media and PR trends for 2018

►Public Relations Today

► Ask the Experts: Predictions on the Top 10 Marketing Trends for 2018

Happy New Year.


Want to Connect with the Media?  Time for a Pitch Letter!

Monday, June 12th, 2017

Are you a  public relations pro or citizen journalist who wants to share a newsworthy subject with an editor or producer, the “gatekeeper” to your targeted audience? Then you should know how to approach them because they want to hear from you.

The following pitch letter resources include pointers, samples and a quirky pitch letter.

How to Pitch the Media

Pitch letters target a specific publication or media outlet (local newspaper, radio or TV station), explains David Meerman Scott, author of The New Rules of Marketing & PR, latest  5th Edition.

In his book, Scott elaborates on these “How to Pitch the Media” bullets.

  • “Target one reporter at a time.
  • Use the tip line if the media outlet you are targeting has one.
  • Help the journalist understand the big picture.
  • Keep it simple.
  • Try newsjacking! (use current events as hooks)
  • Explain how customers use your product or work with your organization.
  • Don’t send email attachments unless asked.
  • Follow up promptly with potential contacts.
  • Don’t forget, it’s a two-way street – journalists need you to pitch them.”

Scott also quotes a newspaper editor: “The single most effective thing people do is watch and read my stories and send me personalized, smart pitches for stories that I am actually likely to cover.”  In other words, your pitch should reflect your familiarity with the medium and reporter.

Learn how to effectively connect with your target audience through pitch letters “social media, online video, mobile applications, blogs, news releases & viral marketing to reach buyers directly” in The New Rules of Marketing & PR.

Pitching Media – Samples

“Sample Magazine Query or Pitch Letter”

“The Pitch Letter”

Quirky Pitch Letter See below.


Dear (name of editor),

The shoes you wear take you to work, to the ball game, to the mall, to school, on a hike, or stepping out for a special event. If the shoes you wear are perfect for the occasion – comfortable as well as stylish – they help you feel more confident anywhere you go.

Into Shoes knows about the shoes you wear. Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the downtown Somerset shoe store has fitted scores of women and men with shoes that take them everywhere. As one of the relatively few independent retailers, Into Shoes serves the young and older, liberal and conservative and all those walking spirits who want comfort, quality and style.

As part of its celebration, Into Shoes will donate two percent of its anniversary month’s sales to the Somerset Child Care Center and the Somerset Social Services Agency.

When Into Shoes initially opened, it focused on a few brands of comfortable shoes. It now offers more than 50 brands of women and men’s shoes from many international designers, attracting local customers as well as those from miles away who appreciate the eclectic variety, comfort, quality and style.

We think (name of medium) your followers will be interested in a sole-searching feature on shoes. We, of course, will be delighted to step into it, offering our 50-year perspective.

We look forward to talking to and walking with you.


Bob Grant


Visit Sally Chapralis & Associates, Business Communications & Public Relations,

Pitch Letters – Media Appreciates Targeted Information

Wednesday, April 6th, 2016

Are you a public relations pro or citizen journalist who wants to share a newsworthy subject with an editor or producer (“gatekeeper” to your targeted audience)? Then you should know how to approach them because they want to hear from you.

Pitch letters target a specific publication or media outlet (local newspaper, radio or TV station), explains David Meerman Scott, author of The New Rules of Marketing & PR, latest  5th Edition.

Scott elaborates on his “How to Pitch the Media” bullets.

  • “Target one reporter at a time.
  • Use the tip line if the media outlet you are targeting has one.
  • Help the journalist understand the big picture.
  • Keep it simple.
  • Try newsjacking! (use current events as hooks)
  • Explain how customers use your product or work with your organization.
  • Don’t send email attachments unless asked.
  • Follow up promptly with potential contacts.
  • Don’t forget, it’s a two-way street – journalists need you to pitch them.”

Scott also quotes a newspaper editor: “The single most effective thing people do is watch and read my stories and send me personalized, smart pitches for stories that I am actually likely to cover.”  In other words, your pitch should reflect your familiarity with the medium and reporter.

Learn how to effectively connect with your target audience through pitch letters “social media, online video, mobile applications, blogs, news releases & viral marketing to reach buyers directly” in The New Rules of Marketing & PR.

For even more information on pitch letters, check out the First Person Public Relations blog post: “Pitch Letters Attract Media Interest,

Whose Words Are They: Quotes, Copyrights & Testimonials

Monday, June 9th, 2014

PR pros, writers, bloggers or marketers frequently “quote” expert sources.  But depending on the context, how the quote is used, and given today’s social media opportunities and issues, it’s time for a legal refresher.

Quotes & Copyright

 “If, when quoting someone in a piece where the subject matter relates to the quote, and the quote is short, factual and attributed to the appropriate source, you should be O.K. because such quotes are usually not protected by Copyright Law or are considered Fair Use,” Andrew Goldstein explains. “If, however, someone is associated with that quote such as Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a dream,’ then you would need permission to use the quote for commercial purposes under unfair competition laws.”  Andrew Goldstein is an attorney and partner in the law firm of Freeborn & Peters in Chicago.  He advises clients in virtually all aspects of intellectual property and information technology law, including trademark and copyright law and computer, Internet and multimedia law, as well as fair use entertainment, advertising and promotion law.

Copyright Law protects the original author or creator of a copyrightable work (literary, musical or artistic) from unauthorized use.  However, copyright does not protect facts or ideas, only the way in which the ideas have been expressed. And, if the text is in the “public domain” (e.g., older works or government documents), you do not have to consider Copyright issues.

Fair Use and Transformative Purpose

If, when taking the words or text from another source, you “transformed” them, they may also be considered Fair Use.  For example, the Supreme Court held that 2-Live Crew’s rap version of Ray Orbison’s song “Pretty Woman” was a fair use and not copyright infringement because the rap song was transformative since it criticized the norms of what was pretty.

Book, article, speech, song, or blog post…what do “fair use” and “transformative” mean?

  • Fair Use. The Copyright Law generally relies on four guidelines or factors to determine fair use: the purpose and character of the use; nature of the copyrighted work; the amount used related to the total work; and the effect or value on the copyright work. As you might imagine, deciding fair use can be a tough decision.
  • Transformative.  The more “transformative” a work is, the more likely the above factors will favor fair use.  “If you have used a particular source, such as a paragraph from a study, but you are presenting it in a new way,” Andrew explains, “changing the nature of the original use (thus, transforming it by adding new meaning, information or approach), it could become fair use.”

Self-publishers & e-bookers

If you are self-publisher or produce e-books that you write, “you automatically have a copyright when you create the piece, although there are advantages to registering with the U.S. Copyright Office before publication. They include recovering legal fees.” Andrew says. “Do include proper copyright notices, namely:  the symbol © or word “copyright,” author’s name, year of first publication and ‘All rights reserved’.”

Testimonials & Endorsements

What about testimonials and endorsements for your book? “There’s a subtle difference between them,” Andrew says. “Endorsements are usually given by celebrities, well-known authorities on the subject or prominent authors in the field. Testimonials come from readers, consumers or others who have benefited from your book.”  Also, and this applies to testimonials and endorsements for your book or other PR pieces, under the rules of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), you must disclose any material connection (i.e., payment, a sample, a prize, etc.) with the person offering the testimonial or endorsement. For more information about the FTC’s new guidelines read “PR Firm Held Liable for Product Reviews it Posted on iTunes”:

Bloggers & Copyrights

Your blog posts are automatically copyrighted (e.g., First Person Public Relations!). This includes a photo the blogger took or an image the bloggers created. “If, however, you want to sue a person for intellectual property infringement, then you must be registered with the U.S. Copyright Office,” Andrew adds.

 Whose words are they? Let’s think before we write!

Videos, Public Relations and the Media Mix

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

“We now live in a vibrant, colorful multimedia world. Print, radio, TV, and online media have evolved into an integrated environment that offers sensory-rich PR opportunities such as those expressed in video.”

Reno Lovison, video producer and owner of Reno Lovison Marketing, explains that whether you “spontaneously capture video from your smart phone or digital camera, shoot it on a computer webcam, or use the services of a professional videographer, your video offers the potential to tell your PR story in ways you might never have imagined…and that journalists and consumers will appreciate.”

Think Video

Begin by thinking about video opportunities. “It can be professional or do-it-yourself, but something is better than nothing,” Reno says, “because there are ways to maximize your video’s potential regardless of the quality.”

Consider your video possibilities:

  • Look for people and things that are moving. After all, they are motion pictures.
  • Demonstrate or announce new products or services.
  • Talk eye-to-eye with viewers in a short, purposeful and engaging messages that can be dynamic and help to make a personal connection.
  • In case of emergency: an urgent message from an expert or organizational leader increases credibility and can get a message released quickly.
  • Videos attract business by featuring your product or service, sometimes in offbeat ways.
  • Testimonials offer first person user credibility. Remember to get written permission.
  • Thank donors after a fundraiser, and showcase the organization’s services.
  • Introduce your staff or offer a tour of your office or trade show exhibit.
  • Consider a video blog or v-log to announce tips and timely messages.

How long should your video be?

“Your video can run as long as it takes to succinctly deliver your story or information in a manner your viewers can quickly consume. Thus, depending on your goals and multiple uses of video, it could run from one to three or even ten minutes – if it is a complex message or story.” Always consider whether your objective should be accomplished as one video or multiple smaller videos.

“Open with the important information first…hooking viewers in the first 10 – 30 seconds maximum,” Reno says. “If you don’t immediately hook them, they may be gone before you get to the good stuff.”

PR Opportunities

If you are contacting the media, remember that they appreciate links (up front in your email letter or news release) to relevant, focused videos that tell your story. Even if it’s a radio station and the audience cannot see the video when listening, they can be directed to the station’s website to see it…and they do.

Reno offers an example of a recent PR approach. “A fine artist we worked with was featured in a two-week museum exhibit, so we shot a video to preserve the experience. On camera the artist explained a bit about the process and inspiration for each of her works. We submitted the 30 minute version to the local cable TV station that scheduled to air it four times in the upcoming month. It was also uploaded to YouTube to be indexed by Google and available in perpetuity. Then we edited the video into a number of smaller videos, which she includes on her website and also uses as part of PR activities and community outreach.”  You will see more at:

Another client, looking for public speaking opportunities, had a few hastily produced iPhone video examples of his presentations. We took excerpts of some of the least shaky parts and added some photos and graphics to craft a very nice video to promote him to clubs and organizations for speaking engagements.”

A condominium management company that Reno works with holds quarterly, two-hour education programs for condo board members. “We video the presentation and then break it into smaller segments. Each segment deals with a subtopic such as ‘pets in the hallways’ or ‘escrow accounts for capital improvements’. We then upload these multiple videos to YouTube in order to provide the company with a larger presence. Search ‘condo management Chicago” on YouTube, and you will discover the company and see that it has the largest number of videos under that search criteria.” The videos are also embedded on the company’s website as an ongoing educational service.

Reno notes that QR codes are being used in magazines and other print media so that consumers who scan them may experience a video. If you do not have a scanner app on your smart phone, consider downloading one of the popular apps such as Redlaser, QRreader or ATTscanner. You will begin to see scanning opportunities all around you.

Speaking of apps, you can download Reno’s “Authors Broadcast” app for free at iTunes or Google Play to learn more and to see book video trailers he also produces. “This app is a great example of how you can create and distribute a collection of videos directed to a specific market or audience that you hope to engage on a regular basis.” he says.

Video, as Reno says, has finally found a home on the web where high speed internet access provides an opportunity for individuals to experience quality video via desk tops or mobile devices, making your message available whenever and wherever it is needed or will be most effective. Consider how it can enhance your next PR campaign.

For even more information on videos, apps and PR opportunities you might not be aware of, visit Reno Lovison Marketing — Chicago at



Public Relations – New Roles, New Publics

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

As public relations activities evolve and grow in response to the changing landscape, PR pros are assuming new responsibilities, interacting with unique publics, remaining newsworthy, and applying classic qualities.

Most people think of PR as media relations, working with journalists to increase awareness of an organization or yourself. You approach traditional media – newspapers, radio, TV, and others however they’re “delivered” – with targeted newsworthiness. While traditional media produces results, PR includes creating and managing social and mobile media channels and sites with content (blogs, video and other formats) that engage target publics.

Furthermore, PR pros work with other publics besides journalists. Remember, a public is a group (three or more) with something in common, and they can be very influential. Identifying and reaching publics presents new possibilities, challenges and venues (digital, online, video, etc.) and relationships that can reflect your 1st Person PR and success.

While media relations increases awareness of an organization’s services and products to potential consumers, PR pros are involved in other critical activities: reputation management, crisis communications, community relations and outreach, employee relations, investor and donor relations, researching relevant subjects and trends – all of which support marketing and advertising.

New Roles, Classic Qualities

To succeed in all of PR’s possibilities and new roles, a PR pro must apply classic qualities:

  • passion for the purpose
  • intellectual curiosity and research skills
  • understanding the bigger picture – whether local, national or global
  • sensitivity to each public’s interests and goals
  • appreciation and responsiveness to the journalist’s perspective
  • trustworthiness and dependability
  • resiliency and flexibility when facing “rejection”
  • importance of one-on-one customer service and “being there”

As you define your organization and its potential, take a new look at your publics. You can use this starter list of possibilities: “Who Are Your Publics?”  Determine how you can reach them and what each wants and needs. You may be surprised.


Time to Benefit from Media’s Long Legs & Clips

Monday, January 13th, 2014

When your public relations pursuits have led to features on radio or TV, then you understand “how valuable broadcast time is and what long legs it can have,” says David H Lasker, CEO, media monkeybiz, which monitors TV, radio and the Internet for businesses and PR agencies after a broadcast.

In fact, depending on your goals and media coverage, “a feature’s ROI (return on investment) will likely always be greater than the value of an ad.”

While editorial coverage (PR) coverage is “free,” its value depends on quality of the news and media interest; you cannot control the final feature. Because you pay for advertising, you can control the content and timing. Each has its role.

A media story, however, offers editorial [third party] credibility, which means your company’s PR pro knows how to objectively approach the radio, TV or newspaper reporter with a newsworthy subject that fits the medium’s programming and audience interests. “While many people watch or listen to both news content and commercials, others tune out during ads, which could reduce their viewership,” David says.

“We all know examples of broadcast segments or articles that created awareness of a brand and grew a company’s business. Afterwards, you (or the reporter) can give it legs by following up with TV or radio clips to use in other ways to maintain ongoing interest.” This means that before approaching another journalist or producer, you do your research.  The original reporter might even pursue different news hooks that include your business.

Measurement Potential

Measurement is usually discussed in numerical terms and figures, which is important for your marketing, PR and advertising goals and strategies. “But,” notes David, “the results of some efforts happen over time and the future benefits can’t be immediately measured or factored into results. Furthermore, the metrics may not include analysis of the segment/feature and its current or potential value.”

PR features such as satellite media tours (SMT) or radio media tours (RMT), for example, can offer ongoing post-feature possibilities. And, “because editorial is considered more objective, the impact is always greater than a paid ad.”

“PR pros and authors (particularly nonfiction authors solving a problem) can also use segment clips after a broadcast to illustrate the author’s comfort and expertise when being interviewed on TV or radio. Book stores and other venues also appreciate the segments for book signings,” David says.

Your PR pro can also approach different media – local, national, online – with news hooks targeted to diverse audiences. “We cover all U.S. TV markets and the majority of radio markets, and there are lots of possibilities,” David says. When contacting other media, include your clips (“as seen on…”) to reinforce continuing awareness.

Get ready to benefit from media clips and long legs!!

Want Your News Releases to Bring Optimal Results?

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

“The press release is not dead. It’s alive and kicking, and it definitely offers ROMI, Return on Marketing Investment.”

To research and formally clarify outcomes and effectiveness of news releases, Business Wire, the media distribution company, collaborated with Rutgers University and SEO-PR in several statistical research studies. Researchers tested the best time to send a release and explored the press release’s potential for increasing and maintaining awareness, generating site visits and leads, improving loyalty, and reaching target consumers and publics. You will find the specifics at “Press Release Measurement: Creating the Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI) at

“Business Wire helps clients create and target news releases, build media databases, reach stakeholders, and effectively use a variety of multi-media resources including social media,” notes Raschanda Hall, Global Media Relations Manager.  While social media, of course, continues to evolve, flourish and engage your current and potential followers, news releases remain a critical dimension of the public relations process. And, as Raschanda notes, “social media requires people to be accepted as a “friend” or “follower”.

In fact, Raschanda says, the changing face of disclosure (complying with Securities and Exchange Commission requirements) for publicly held companies means that when issuing a “formal” news release, they can post it via social media limited disclosure, as well as submit it to appropriate journalists and media…as long as it’s made clear that it’s released on its site and through formal channels.

To achieve optimal results for your release, however, you must know how to create one that will accomplish your goals. Business Wire addresses this in another white paper report, “Press Release Measurement: Creating the Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI), which you will find at:

“Start with the End in Mind” for your release.  “The press release should be considered ‘the first mover’ document breaking the news.” Thus, it must be compelling in every way, up front and throughout the release. Or, as the report explains, “Content + Context = Impact.”  That means Message and Format, Distribution and Availability, and Measurement by Benchmarks. The report also leads you to “Six Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Press Release,” and “Considerations for Building a Better Online Newsroom.”

These white papers and other resources help you determine what has worked. Business Wire’s Executive Vice President of Media Services and Product Strategy, Laura Sturaitis, attempts to demystify this process, offering an approach that will unify all of your PR efforts “and maximize the return on investment – or ROMI – of your communications program.”

What is the sound of your story?

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

Storytelling has always been part of our lives – whether sharing a story one-on-one, reading it, listening to it via audio/radio or watching it on YouTube, TV or in a theater. But, when you see a film and are focused on the plot, actors and backdrop, you may not realize just how critical sounds, music, voices and other audio effects are. “Sound tells you what to feel,” Brad Meyer says, “and is responsible for at least 50 percent of a film’s success.”

Brad is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Film Production and enjoys the challenge of telling a story on screen.  He also understands and appreciates how important the sound and audio production are to its success. “Music and sound effects help tell a story, set the scene, establish a tone, and influence the audience’s emotions, mood and response. Sound includes silent moments, and in a way, it continues after the film is over.”

Brad’s first film assignment in college was a documentary, “Out of Print,” a story about Robert Katz and the Magazine Museum. Brad and his student partner, Sofia Kerpan, spent three hours filming and over 100 hours working on it in post-production to produce the 9 ½ minute documentary.

“You learn how to interview [no script for this documentary] and see what people being interviewed say. We wanted it to be about Bob and his profound story, not just his incredible collection.”

It’s time to see and hear “Out of Print.”

Most people don’t realize that, after filming, the only thing not removed is the dialog. All other sounds are created in post-production sound design. And, Brad adds, “When the sound is done right, you may not notice it, but you will if it’s done wrong.”

Brad’s interest in sound effects may be related to his participation in Foolish, a four-guy, funk-oriented rock band that keeps him tuned to sound in other ways.

Finally, if you are interested in an offbeat approach to sound, check out “Sound more important than video? Say it ain’t so…”

Ready for a more dynamic film or video? Sound it out.

Search Engine Optimization – Google, Are You There?

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

Whether I’m writing a blog post, developing an “attractive” news release, or working on website content, I start by thinking SEO and grabber keywords. Google, are you following me?!

In The New Rules of Marketing & PR, 2nd edition, David Meerman Scott offers an overview of SEO and discusses how to “Carve Out Your Own Search Engine Real Estate.” He reminds us that “if you want to be found on the Web, you need a unique identity for yourself, your product, and your company to stand out from the crowd.”

While most people do consider keywords and other ways to optimize prospect searches, Scott notes that too many “organizations are terrible at building a landing page – the place people go after they click on a search hit.”

Landing pages should generate interest and sales, whether on websites, blogs, special offer pages, or author book sites. In creating a landing page, Scott offers the following suggestions:

  • Make the landing page copy short and the graphics simple.
  • Create the page with your company’s look, feel, and tone….because a landing page is an extension of your company’s branding.
  • Write from the prospect’s point of view….you want visitors to feel that the page speaks to their problems and that you have a solution for them.
  • A landing page is communications, not advertising. … Advertising gets people to click to your landing page, but once a prospect is there, the landing page should focus on communicating the value of your offering to the buyer.
  • Provide a quote from a happy customer.
  • Make the landing page a self-contained unit. … Sometimes it is better to make your landing page a unique place on the Web and not provide links to your main web site.
  • Make the call to action clear and easy to respond to.
  • Use multiple calls to action. You never know what offer will appeal to a specific person, so consider using more than one, whether a free trial, discount, or white paper.
  • Ask only for necessary information. … Don’t use a sign-up form that requires your prospects to enter lots of data – people will abandon the form.
  • Don’t forget to follow up!”

People have searched for you, attracted by your keywords and SEO strategy, hoping they have landed on the right site to meet their expectations. “That’s great! Don’t drop the ball now…follow up as quickly as possible” because it’s time for First Person Public Relations.