The meaning of earned media exposure

COVID has certainly played havoc with the media landscape.

Magazine titles have been shut down, local radio and TV programs are now networked from other locations and newspapers have been shut down or moved their content online (often with a paywall).

It’s devastating on so many levels, the job losses, the loss of quality content and from a PR perspective the breadth of opportunities we could once offer our clients.

Which is why NOW more than ever, the relationships many PRs have formed with media contacts is really worth its weight in gold.

Public relations has often been positioned as the best way to secure “free exposure”, but as we all know, nothing in this life is FREE.

It’s earned. So what is earned media – from a PR perspective?

It’s networking with those media contacts, time spent with these professionals, finding out what content they want, what’s going to resonate with their readers /viewers /listeners. It’s constantly monitoring a multitude of media outlets to stay on top of trends for clients – potential and existing.

Earned media is staying in touch with those media contacts when we don’t have something relevant to say, but strengthening the relationship.

It’s equally important to stay in touch with those who have been made redundant to check on their wellbeing and to see what exciting possibilities they are pursuing and explore collaborative opportunities.

Earned media doesn’t happen overnight. It’s based on relationships and skillsets, both of which take time to develop.

However, we (the PR industry) have now been offered a brilliant chance to (yes, I’m going to use *that* word…) PIVOT from the perception of “free exposure”.

It’s an opportunity to almost “peacock” and show our multitude of colours and talents and really wow our customers.

It is the PR industry’s chance to put the value back into “earned media”.

Zoom take-aways part 2

In our next series of tips about Zoom sessions we look at three more essential areas when hosting meetings on Zoom.

We’re all missing the interaction of being in the office with our “work friends” and this first tip should help with this!

Tip one: If you’re having a team meeting, start with something fun. Don’t just start the meeting (unless it’s an urgent issue /crisis management meeting!)

Whatever you decide, remember, it doesn’t have to take long, something as quick and fun such as one round of Pictionary. Email a colleague with one or two pictures they have to draw and then get everyone else to try and guess.

Another quick and fun game is two truths and a lie, someone has to tell two things that have happened to them that are true and the third is a lie. Everyone has to guess which one is a lie!

It’s a great way to have colleagues connect and start with a bit of a laugh – which gets the endorphins going!

Tip two: Have an agenda, it’s so easy to get off-topic on Zoom, just as it is in face-to-face meetings. Make sure everyone who is required to speak, knows when they’re required to do so and how much time they have allocated to them.

Ensure the agenda is sent at least a few hours before the meeting is due to start (ideally the day before) so if there are any changes to be made, they can be done in time prior to the meeting starting.

If you find you’re going overtime, stop the meeting, check everyone’s schedules and if you can wrap it up quickly in the next 5 – 10 minutes.

Tip three: Note-taking is critical. Encourage people to take notes during meetings, but it’s just as important to ensure that someone is appointed at note-taker (or minute keeper for more official meetings).

If you’re leading the meeting, organise to check-in with the person taking the notes, and cover-off everything later the same day, so notes /important information can be sent to other team members ASAP.

If you’d like assistance with online events or coordinating large meetings online, please get in touch. Pursuit Communications can assist with online event management.

Anatomy of a media release

I was recently asked on Twitter how easy it was to write a media release.

It’s never 100% easy, no matter how many times you’ve written a media release.

Sure, it becomes EASIER, but it’s never “EASY”.

In today’s post I thought I’d give you a bit of an insight into some of the steps involved when writing a media release.

Now, assuming we’re working with a client for the first time, I like to do research beforehand on their topic area, and make sure my contacts in their “space” (i.e. education writers for an educational product) are up-to-date and aware of the work we’re doing!

So once initial research and contact has been made with media, it’s on to step one. The angle of the release, during a consult with the client I work on a strategy and what (collectively) we’d like to achieve from this release.

With this in mind, it’s back to the research desk, and it’s time to start writing with the help of any exisiting material from the client.

I then create a “skeleton release, send this to the client for their input.

Pending deadlines, this can sit with a client anywhere between 24-48 hours, but generally I don’t like to leave it any longer than this.

Once I have the first lot of feedback and inputs from the client, I then give the release some shape, make sure the language is easy to understand and remove any “industry talk” that has the potential to be lost in translation.

Then it’s back to the client for the final lot of inputs, again this may sit with them for another 24 hours this time, absolute maximum.

Once I give this version a final lick and polish and send it to the client for their sign off it’s onto media engagement time.

That, in summary, is the process of writing a media release.

If you’d like Pursuit Communications to assist with writing a media release for your business, contact me to arrange a time to meet over Zoom or FaceTime.

Thank You – the most important tool in your PR toolkit

‘At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.’ – Maya Angelou

We’re told as children to remember our manners, “Please” and “Thank-You”, yet when as we get older the intent behind them seems to disappear.

Whenever I meet with a Journalist, Editor, supplier, or client (new, potential or exisiting) I always start by saying thank you for your time. Taking time out to meet with anyone should be acknowledged.

It’s the organisation that goes into being prepared for that meeting that should be acknowledged, along with the time out of their day.

I go a step beyond and send thank-you cards to potential clients, to let them know how much I appreciate them taking the time to hear my ideas and consider my PR services for their company.

It’s all about making that person feel valued and appreciated.

Other ways I say “Thank-you”:

  • Letting my media contacts know about stories that they may not be aware of – outside of my scope of works
  • Taking someone out for coffee /lunch
  • Recommending their business to others
  • Shout-outs on social media (including liking their posts or sharing their content)

So for now, I’d like to say thank-you to YOU. For reading this, you could have quite easily clicked somewhere else, decided to read another blog post or news site.

 

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PR lessons from Harry & Meghan

In the Pursuit office, over the water cooler talk for the last 24 hours has predominantly been focused on the news that Harry & Meghan “revealed they intend “to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family, and work to become financially independent”.

It’s HUGE news. What’s even bigger is that it really did come without warning. Sure, some Royal watchers may have expected the pair (and baby Archie) to split their time between Canada and the UK, but a step back? Wow.

Below we share our thoughts and highlight four important PR cornerstones relating to this announcement.

  1. The importance of communication – If nothing else this announcement highlights how very essential communication must be with all associated parties.
  2. Planning – Having a timeline that includes all associated parties is also critical
  3. Keeping your internal organisation as informed as the general public is paramount
  4. Be prepared for a barrage of questions following a major announcement

It’s our opinion that it appears internal communications didn’t occur with this announcement from Harry & Megan. The statement from Buckingham Palace  said: “We understand their desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through.” This insinuates that Buckingham Palace were not informed prior to announcement. A huge no-no in anyone’s book.

Being caught off guard (pardon the pun!) is never a good look for any organisation (including the Royal Family).

Taking the time to communicate with all associated parties will ensure when making an announcement that there’s a united front and everyone is aware of who will be saying what and when! It will keep any “fallout” to a minimum as well.

Which leads into the planning of any announcement. Making sure you have a timeline that allows everyone involved enough time to get their messaging correct, approved by those who need to approve it and making sure those managing social media are aware of the announcement, when it will happen so they can tackle any questions from the general public.

As with Harry & Megan, they seem to be running to their own schedule and letting Buckingham Palace clean up the proverbial mess.

When making an announcement, knowing what to say externally is one thing. Knowing what to say to those internally is another.

Internal communications need to be handled differently to external communications, often with care and discretion. Some team members may need to have a “closed door” discussion and others may need to sign a non-disclosure agreement, stating they won’t reveal any details of the discussion until a certain day /date.

The language will differ between the general public and your internal communications as well. You may want to be a little more relaxed with your internal communications (pending the announcement).

Internal discussions can often raise more questions which may not have been considered by those making the announcement. It’s always best to discuss in advance with internal executives and get their input.

Finally, being prepared for questions (both internally and from the public) is so very important. This is where good media training and planning really does prove its worth.

Being able to answer a question succinctly is key. If you’re not sure, don’t be afraid to say so. DO say that you’ll get an answer to the person who queried and make a priority of doing so.

Your social media team should be armed with a series of potential Q&A’s. If they are asked a question and they’re not sure of the answer, the team should have DIRECT access to spokesperson /decision make to provide them with the answer in a succinct amount of time.

Only time will tell how this will play out for the Royal Family. Hopefully with a little preparation the next phase won’t be as catastrophic as the first.

The lessons from 2019

I’m writing this on a Sunday morning leading up to Christmas – thinking about everything this year has taught me. What a teacher of the year 2019 has been for me.

2019 was very much the year of priorities – and the major priority for me this year was my health.

I heard a podcast this year that used the saying “Your health is your wealth” and that really resonated with me.

In case you missed it (or you’re new to the blog) I had a few health issues this year that made me hit the “pause” button on both businesses for a substantial amount of time. (You can read more here)

The benefit of this?

I realised where my priorities needed to lie with both businesses. It was in taking a step back, I was actually taking a step forward. It wasn’t easy, as someone who is happiest when her laptop is open, keys tapping away, radio /music playing softly in the background and the cat is purring away on “her” chair, resting and listening to my body was a huge lesson for me.

But it’s enabled me to make some changes and plans for the next 12 months and I’m excited about that.

The next priority lesson I learned was in relation to my time. While I was resting and recovering knowing that I had to let this process take its time. It was on its own schedule and I had to adhere to it.

I’m now working on building a better “timetable” which allows me to focus equally on both businesses, while also giving myself the much-needed rest my body still needs.

Finally, the priority of people in your life. Notifying my clients immediately what was going on and being completely transparent really did help build stronger relationships with them.

My family supported me, cared for me and got me through what was a rollercoaster of a year and I can’t thank them enough.

My friends – you know who you are – your support, words of encouragement and visits were appreciated beyond belief.

So, here’s to a better year in 2020, using these lessons from 2019 and creating more success for my clients, my business, and most importantly a happy and healthy life.

Three things you can do before Christmas

It’s little over a month until Christmas Day… You may be thinking, “What else can I do to capitalise on the Christmas rush?”, or you may be thinking – “Eeep, I’ve left it too late, what can I do?”

Never fear… we have three easy to achieve activities for you to get some cut-though before the big day!

ONE: Thank your customers for their patronage this year. If you’re an online store, send a discount code to your email database as a token of gratitude.

Keep your message festive, short, sharp and ensure you include any terms and conditions with your discount code. Now is NOT the time you want to get caught up in any legal matters.

TWO: If you have a bricks and mortar store, have candy canes at reception or at the service counter for your customers. You may also want to reward your customers who visit in December with complimentary services or bonus items.

THREE: Keep in mind people’s budgets. If you’re noticing a lack in sales, don’t panic. Remember there’s always the January sales period, start thinking about what discounts you can offer (now’s a good time to get a head start on stocktake).

If sales are exceeding expectations, why not tell your local press? Get the word out there about what you’ve achieved.

BONUS: Why not offer a percentage of profits to farmers in need or a local charity? You’ll be able to promote your donation once you’ve finalised the total. Think about a cause that’s close to your heart and get started now.

Our favourite productivity app

Since discovering this app, I make sure I use it AT LEAST twice a day. Why? Because it keeps me focused.

Which when you’re running two businesses and have a tendency to pick up your phone more times than is acceptable in an hour, anything that will keep me on task is worth its weight in gold.

Enter Bear Focus Timer.

I pop the timer on for the set amount of time I want to focus on a specific task (or series of tasks) and get to it.

Every time I lift my phone the bear’s face turns grumpy, a good incentive to keep going with what I should be doing and not getting distracted by my phone.

To get your paws on the Bear Focus Timer search the app store of your device.

Now get to work!

Photo by krisna iv on Unsplash

Podcasts: What I’m currently listening to

Whether you’re in the car, commuting to work on the train or bus or hitting the gym and need some distraction, Podcasts are a fabulous way to be entertained, informed and educated.

Below I’ve shared my list of my favourite podcasts (in no particular order!)

The Squiz – These girls are my WAKE-UP crew. After I listen to local news, I’m straight into this podcast and their daily email. You won’t regret adding this to your must-listen list, you’ll be kept up-to-date with current news and events in an instant, so you can impress your work colleagues with how very informed you are!

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Seize The Yay – If you read our post about Gary V, then you’ll know I’m pretty darn keen on Sarah and her Podcast Seize The Yay. What I love about this podcast is Sarah’s interviewing style, it’s very natural, I feel like I’m sitting with friends, having a conversation. Added bonus – the show notes – are BANG. ON. Always great if you’re keen to learn more about a guest.

Screen Shot 2019-10-03 at 6.04.44 pmLauren Conrad – Asking For a Friend – Okay, so for anyone who has known me for more than 15 years will know, that I have an absolute girl-crush on  Lauren Conrad aka LC. So much so that a friend bought me an authentic LC autographed picture one Christmas. What’s so fabulous about Lauren’s podcast? The topics are varied but so relevant to any young woman. Her guests (often friends of Lauren’s) offer great bits of advice that’s achievable, in any particular area. It’s the honesty, but also the support network that’s clearly a reflection of what an absolute gem Lauren is inside and out.

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Socialette: Bite-Sized Online Marketing Podcast – This is the perfect quick listen after a meeting or whenever you’ve got less than 10 minutes. Steph’s podcasts and short, sharp and to the point. I love the frequency of the Socialette podcasts and the variety of guests.

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I’d love to be guest on a podcast, in fact, it’s a goal on my vision board for 2020. In the meantime, I’ll keep listening to these podcasts and hoping that I get closer to that goal day by day.

Tell me, what are YOU listening to? Any recommendations would be gratefully appreciated.

 

Featured image via Unsplash

Consult with someone who knows

When you’re running a business, you want to engage with the best people to get optimum results.

We’ve all heard the saying “You don’t ask a mechanic about your water pipes”, so why would you engage the services of someone who doesn’t understand the PR landscape to help you communicate your message?

Pursuit Communications knows the best media outlets to contact (and the people behind them)  across a wide variety of sectors, including niche “vertical” outlets within a multitude of industries.

It’s knowing “Who’s who in the zoo”, their deadlines, their communication preferences and so many other variables to get your message across to the media and to your desired audience.

It’s also an ability to think creatively, understanding what’s the BEST way to communicate your message to the media and your customers, that’s going to stand out from the rest!

With our first Small Business September offering – a 1:1 phone call, over 30, 60 or 90 minutes, we can cover all of this – and more.

So if you’d like to have a discussion, click here to get started and connect with someone who knows.