Thursday, September 29, 2016

Philly Tech Media: Pitching Basics Still Relevant Today

By Caitlan McCafferty

Successful public relations professionals know how to work with the media – but have those pitching basics changed in recent years? We caught up with some Philly tech journalists at a recent event to find out.

Hosted by Business Wire, Smart Talk After Hours: Meet the Philly Tech Media offered the opportunity to hear directly from the Philadelphia area’s top technology reporters about the projects they are working on and how to connect with them most effectively. Each of them writes about the burgeoning tech and start-up scene, focusing on innovative businesses in Philadelphia. 

Panelists included:
Michelle Caffrey, Technology and Education reporter at the Philadelphia Business Journal
Roberto Torres, Lead Reporter at Philly
Melony Roy, Social Media Editor at CBS KYW News Radio
Johnathan Takiff, Technology Columnist at the Philadelphia Inquirer

Each spoke about his or her individual writing process and experience with public relations professionals, but they all agreed on a few tips. 

They want an exclusive.  The journalists agreed that they are more likely to run a story if it is an exclusive for them. Every media outlet’s goal is to break the news first, so journalists want to be the first to talk to a particular person or about a certain topic. 

The phone still works. Both Caffrey and Torres spoke about how email pitches aren’t always the most effective method of pitching. Caffrey doesn’t mind a phone call and welcomes any pitch via phone especially if she has a relationship with the PR contact. Torres made things even more personal, and talked about how he prefers in-person pitches. He attends many networking events and doesn’t mind being pulled aside to discuss a potential story. 

Make the pitch to their beat and what they are interested in. Each journalist spoke about the importance of pitching to their interest. For example, don’t pitch a story about a tech company in New York City to Torres. He writes about tech companies in Philadelphia, not New York City. Don’t pitch Takiff a business story; he is interested in consumer experience. Most of the journalists on the panel talked about filing up to four stories a day. They want to hear your pitch, but be sure that it is something for them. 

Follow ups work, but be respectful. The panel spoke about PR Pitch horror stories. Most of them were about PR pros that just wouldn’t leave them alone or didn’t understand why the story wasn’t right for their publication. Follow up reasonably, and if the journalist doesn’t respond after the second or third follow up, they are not interested in your story.

Each journalist’s experience reinforced media relations best practices. If you craft a good pitch, pitch it to the right person, and follow-up appropriately, you have a better chance of being successful. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Working with a Marketing Agency on Social Media and Ways to Engage Personally

By Laura Powers

Many companies today are active on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. These essential social media profiles have become professionally acceptable ways of engaging with target audiences.

When firms work with a marketing agency, such as Furia Rubel Communications, the agency often is asked to write and post content on the organization’s behalf. This can be done in various ways depending on the client’s in-house resources and their contract with the agency.

Typically, agency engagement involves Furia Rubel posting the following types of content on the firm’s social media profiles on an ongoing basis. Each post typically consists of a paragraph of teaser content with a link to the relevant page of content on the firm’s website:

1. Accomplishments, awards and honors for the firm or individual professionals
2. Magazine stories such as feature articles
3. News articles in which the company is named or professionals are quoted
4. Blog posts
5. Firm news, such as new hires
6. Speaking engagement news

Tips for Individual Professional Engagement

The following types of social media post content are recommended for individuals to post on their own social media profiles. Content should be posted on a consistent basis at whatever frequency works with their schedule. Each post should include a paragraph of teaser content (original thought) with a link to the relevant page of content from the source:

1. On individual Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter profiles, share the same public relations content that is posted on the company’s official profiles (see above).
2. Share newsworthy articles related to and affecting the company’s work from industry organization sources.
3. Share articles of interest to the public that relate to the firm’s core business services from consumer resources such as The New York Times.
4. Create posts relevant to days of the year that relate in some way to the organization’s target audiences; for example, a back-to-school post, a Thanksgiving season post, or a Father’s Day post.
5. Share photos and/or video from activities that you participate in outside of work; for example, 5K races, volunteer work, or attendance at a special event.

Many professionals who previously have not been active on social media want to be engaging on those platforms, but they aren’t sure how. These tips should help get you started.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

5 Dos and Don’ts for Buying Stock Photographs

By Heather Truitt

Over the last 15 years or so, along with the growth of the internet, stock photography has become wildly popular. The availability of a wide range of images, from landscapes to cityscapes and more, offers a more cost-effective alternative to doing a custom photo shoot to produce content to use on your website or in marketing pieces.

Whether you are using the purchased images for a blog, a website, social media platforms, or promotional materials, below are some tips to keep in mind when purchasing stock images.
  1. If you are purchasing images on a regular basis, DO buy a subscription. This will ensure that you are getting the most for your money.
  2. DO research usage licenses, because the differences are important. Do you know the difference between royalty free images and rights managed images?
    • Royalty free means that the purchaser is free to use the image for whatever purpose they like, with a few exceptions, and for an unlimited amount of usage. So, let’s say I wanted to use one image for an advertisement in both print and digital forms. I would need to buy a royalty free image only one time and would be able to use it repeatedly without any extra cost.
    • Rights Managed images requires users to specify exactly what the image will be used for, and additional uses would carry additional cost. Let’s say I found a great image that I wanted to use for an advertisement. I would have to select the type of publication in which the advertisement will be placed (ex. Magazine, newspaper, event program etc.) and specify the circulation of the magazine, the start date, and how long I would like to use the image. As you can imagine, this type of usage arrangement can drive the price of your stock photo from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars.
  3. Remember your audience. If you are trying to reach a diverse audience, DON’T purchase images that do not reflect diversity.
  4. DO examine images with a critical eye. Let’s say I wanted to purchase an image for a personal injury law firm blog post that talked about being injured in a car accident. When I’m looking for a suitable image, I want to be aware of all of the parts of the image. Sometimes, you will find a great photo, but then realize that, say, all the police officers are dressed in European uniforms, or the ambulance does not have the look that your users would expect.
  5. Some stock photography websites allow you to search by image popularity. DON’T pick the most popular images, unless they best fit your specific image criteria. The chances of another competitor using that image or a similar one is likely, especially if you are using popular stock photo websites. You want to make sure you are differentiating yourself from competitors through the use of different images, whenever possible.
These tips should help you make better choices when purchasing stock photography for your company or yourself. One of the most important tips to reinforce is making sure you are looking at the correct license for your use. Few things are worse than finding that PERFECT stock photo to fit your needs, only to discover that it is rights managed and will cost a few thousand dollars to use it every time you need it.

Below is a list of some of the most popular stock photography websites; I highly recommend and Getty Images.

Friday, September 02, 2016

What We’re Reading: Instagram Zoom, Twitter Tips and News Consumption Habits

By: Caitlan McCafferty

Zooming on Instagram
No more hacks needed for Instagram users on Apple products. Instagram recently announced an update that allows all iOS users to pinch to zoom  in on photos or videos. It will be available across the app – people’s profiles, users’ feeds, and the explore tab. Instagram says that the Android app will receive the updates in the “coming weeks.” If you’re a dedicated Android user and you can’t wait until then, don’t despair. You still have a hack that will let you zoom in Instagram. AndroidPit has the story.

Twitter Tips
Are you using Twitter to its full capability? This article from Social Media Today highlights “5 Under-Used Twitter Features That Can Help Your Business Stand Out Online .” Bring more value to your Twitter presence by using Lists, Collections, Photo Collages, Featured Tweets, and Gallery features. Twitter Collections and Twitter Lists help users better listen to the accounts they follow. They both offer improved content curation and better organization on the fast-flowing platform. With Photo Collages, Featured Tweets, and Gallery, a user can create a story or message for their followers. Check out the article linked above for specifics on using these tools to create a better Twitter experience for your brand and your followers.

Study Highlights Consumer News Consumption Habits
Pew Research recently released its latest findings on the modern news consumer  and concluded that 8 out of 10 news consumers get their news online. Pew found that 62 percent of Americans get their news through social media and 72 percent get news delivered to a mobile device. Most Americans continue to use news organizations as sources of news, but some receive news from their friends and family. Despite the rapid increase in digital consumption, however, television still commands the largest market share – 57 percent of respondents said they often get their news on TV, while 38 percent said they get the news often online. These findings should help brands and organizations make better strategic choices when considering how best to executive their public relations plans.