Executive Summary

PR News Media Relations Next Practices Conference

December 11th, 2014 – The National Press Club, Washington, D.C.


8:30 a.m. — Wake-Up Call: What It Takes to Succeed at Branded Journalism

Tomas Kellner, Managing Editor, GE Reports, General Electric

  • Brand content has been around forever. John Deere published an agriculture magazine 112 years ago.
  • Don't sell, inspire. Selling is for ads. For storytelling to engage an audience, you must evoke emotion.
  • Break down your news into smaller parts. It makes it easier for journalists to pick and choose what they need.
  • Write about the people behind your product or service.
  • Some companies don't want to talk about problems and conflict. You're in business to solve customer problems! Embrace it.
  • When telling a story, don't leave out the obstacles you had to overcome. It is the essential element in good storytelling.

9:00 a.m. — Media Pitching Tactics That Work

Evan Welsh, Senior Director, Global Corporate Affairs, SAP

  • Think beyond just text. Journalists like images as much as everyone else.
  • Look for a new and unique way to dissect and present information.
  • Identify a challenge faced by the media and create a pitch that will help them overcome it.
  • Tie your pitch into breaking news.
  • If your brand is unexpected in a certain space, why not be unexpected?
  • Explore non-product stories where you have a point of view to contribute.
  • To be a good PR pro, you have to know what's going on in the world—read widely.

Raschanda Hall, Global Media Relations Manager, Business Wire

  • Create Twitter filters for #journorequest, #prrequest, #prhelp, #muckedup.
  • Download Newsbeat and Newsle.
  • Template your expert pitch.
  • Commit to more video in 2015.
  • Get active with a journalism organization.
  • Give to journalists before you ask for something.
  • 50% of journalists get judged on a digital metrics.  Do your part and tweet and share their work.

Tina McCormack Beaty, Account Manager, New Business Development Lead, Porter Novelli

  • A good subject line is only as good as the actual pitch email.
  • Don’t think of it as a pitch; remember you're telling a story.
  • Don’t get in your own way. Learn to distill your story into its purest form.
  • Journalists want and need to put you in a bucket.  If you don't have a label, you go in the junk drawer.
  • Use the SSUN pitching method—short, specific, unique, newsworthy.

11:00 a.m. — Twitter Tactics That Build Relationships With Journalists

Brenda C. Siler, Associate State Director-Communications, AARP DC State Office

  • 70% of AARP employees have a Twitter handle.
  • Use a media advisory over a news release. It's faster, more convenient for journalists.
  • When reporters and photojournalists attend your event, they share information.
  • Use interns and volunteers to assist with research.

Dennis Wharton, Executive Vice President of Communications, NAB

  • Partner with your third-party relationships to promote each other.
  • Twitter is no replacement for face-to-face, tried-and-true relationships with journalists.
  • Be the first to break news from a reputable source.
  • Retweet stories from influential reporters.
  • Tweet a journalist's story before they do.
  • Show reporters that you follow their work and publicly praise their craft.
  • Don’t be business all the time.

Johna Burke
, EVP, BurrellesLuce

  • Resist the urge to “spray and pray.”
  • Journalists will make an example out of you if you send them irrelevant pitches.

12:00 p.m. — Luncheon Keynote Presentation: How to Inspire Audience Participation With Digital Content

Emily Christner, VP & GM, Metacritic, CBS Interactive

  • Know your current audience.
  • Know your future audience.
  • Constantly deliver more value.
  • Be where the audience is.

1:15 p.m. — How to Use the Right Metrics to Make Your Media Relations Initiatives More Successful

Barry Reicherter, Partner, Digital Insights, Finn Partners

  • Journalists’ stories come through their “feed.” To meet the rise of the data-skilled journalist you need to speak their language.
  • To become an expert you need to be thinking through multiple lenses simultaneously. Every effort should include a find, catch and count.
  • Come up with a daily workflow that works for you and keep a log of your activity.
  • To maintain a workable process, you need to keep a bag of data-tricks at your disposal.

Lawrence J. Parnell, Associate Professor and Program Director, Masters in Strategic PR, College of Professional Studies, The George Washington University

  • Before you do anything, define what success looks like.
  • Set measurable targets that prove you are achieving your goals.
  • Test messaging and approach in advance of the campaign and adjust plans accordingly.
  • Establish a media analysis framework and consistent measurement template.
  • Measure holistically, year over year – not just campaign to campaign or initiative to initiative.

Kathy Grannis, Senior Director, Media Relations, National Retail Federation

  • Build relationships first and foremost – you never know when you will “need” a journalist.
  • Don’t get lost in the clutter. A clear goal produces results.
  • The conversation oftentimes should or has to extend beyond the press release.
  • Evaluate success on case by case basis.

Diane Harrigan, Account Manager, MediaMobz

  • How powerful is company voice around ‘fresh ideas’ in industry discussions?
  • Are you getting enough traction from branded content at events where you’re investing time and money?
  • Monitor discussions across all channels including what media is sharing and the underlying tone of discussions.
  • Analyze branded content performance by author, topic and format.

2:15 p.m. — Interactive Crisis Clinic: Working With the Media in a Firestorm

Myra Oppel, APR, Regional Communications Vice President, Pepco Holdings Inc.

Terry Sutherland, Director, Press Office, U.S. Small Business Administration

  • Be proactive. Get out first to frame the story
  • Be transparent. If you have bungled something, you need to confess and repent. Take the initiative to explain what you did wrong, what you’re doing to ensure it doesn’t happen again and how you will try to make it right for those you’ve failed.
  • Be consistent. Make sure all strategic areas of your company know the facts and messages and stick to them.
  • By getting ahead of others who might speak against you or distort the truth, you can frame the narrative for your story.
  • Be specific about consequences and remedies.
  • Be calm. Control the situation. Be cooperative and credible. If you don’t provide information, someone else will. Stress and repeat your messages.

3:30 p.m. “Social” Media Training: Managing Brand Reputation in the Mobile, 24/7 Universe

Jeff Joseph, Senior Vice President, Communications & Strategic Relationships, Consumer Electronics Association

  • Respond to legitimate concerns.
  • Address quickly and efficiently.
  • Continue conversation on other channels.
  • Be authentic.
  • Offer an incentive.
  • Know when to say “when.”

Alison Woo, Digital & Social Media Strategy Corporate Lead, Bristol-Myers Squibb

  • Collaborate with HR and Legal colleagues.
  • Keep language simple and clear.
  • Have clear lines of who should respond to what questions.
  • Have examples of what people can and cannot do.
  • Offers training as an additional resource.
  • Updated frequently.