Must. Write.
Rock The Pitch

Six Essential Steps YOU MUST DO Before Pitching a Blogger

Rock The Pitch #14
A pitch hit my inbox yesterday from a writer. It wasn’t a bad pitch, just mediocre, but it did have obvious signs that the person sending the pitch didn’t do his basic homework before pitching.

These are very, very common mistakes and worth talking about.

If a new step only adds minutes to your pitch process, but helps you land two out of three pitches instead of one out of twenty, isn’t that worth the extra minutes?

Public Relations

Media Training in Minutes: The Pre-Interview Prep Call

Finding time for media training can be difficult. It’s one task on a massive to-do list.

However, some of the best value-adds we can bring to a client relationship take virtually no time at all. Seconds, even.

These, for instance:

PR Pro Showcase

PR Pro Showcase: Shonali Burke

If you don’t know Shonali, she is a PR consultant and incredible PR educator on the faculty of The Johns Hopkins University (she teaches at Rutgers University, too!).

Shonali just launched a brand spankin’ new program called Social PR Launchpad – go check it out or see the image below for details. It’s completely free and sounds pretty terrific!

Social Media

Handling Social Media Complainers


They’re unavoidable on social media and most of us quake in fear at the thought of handling them wrong.

The topic is top-of-mind this week due to our recent #PRprochat (get the transcript here). I came across this absolutely wonderful infographic yesterday that explains different types of complainers and how best to handle them. It’s worth a quick bookmark.


Which type are you? I think I’m a cross between the “meek complainer” and the “aggressive complainer” categories. I have a big mouth and am not afraid to use it, but try to only complain when truly frustrated. Being heard makes me shut up quickly.

Understanding these different types of complainers, where you fall personally in the spectrum and how it impacts your own perception, and how others respond to different solutions can be very helpful! It also supports why a one-size-fits-all approach to customer service is rarely a good idea. 

Social Media Trust & Reputation

Troll Control: Fabulous Tips From Five Experts

Every community manager worries about trolls. Potential risk, how to respond in a way that minimizes damage or–in a best case scenario–boost reputation when a troll jumps into a conversation…

When you aren’t sure what to do, decision trees can make the decision simple. This one from Kuno Creative is pretty ingenious. 

Digital PR

Social Listening: A Few Facts Every PR PRo Must Know

According to a 2015 Brandwatch study, only 46.6% of brands engage with a tagged mention. Even worse, LESS THAN 5% respond to a complaint that isn’t tagged – leaving a whopping 95%+ of brands who allow trust and reputation to erode.

It’s not that they don’t care–most, anyway–I believe they don’t have resources in place to catch (or handle) the mentions, and they don’t realize how damaging neglect can be.
What is a tagged mention versus untagged? A tag is when the person mentioning the brand takes the extra step to link their mention to the brand’s social media page, usually through the use of an @ symbol or hashtag.

Tagging the brand ensures the brand is notified of the mention and, depending on the social media platform and its settings, publishes the mention on the brands social media page. Without the tag to connect the mention to the page or profile, the mention won’t show up in notifications for the page.

Untagged mentions are often deliberate by someone who wants to complain without coming to the attention of the brand, but occasionally a simple mistake by someone who doesn’t know how to link to the brand or doesn’t care whether the brand sees it or not.
As PR pros, we are responsible for awareness and reputation, and it’s a logical leap to monitoring mentions and crisis control. They are intertwined, like laces on your sneaker.

Even if we don’t handle social media for a client, it’s definitely our role to advise them on social listening and its kissing cousin, crisis management. Whether or not they TAKE our advice is an entirely different discussion, but we do need to be making recommendations and flagging gaps. Social listening can be automated through individual platforms and software solutions, but only if you’ve taken time to put that monitoring in place.
1. Know there are three basic kinds of online monitoring: web mentions, social media mentions and customer reviews.
Most software solutions handle one or two of these, and I’m unaware of ANY that handle all three. Understand exactly what you are getting with your monitoring before you sign a contract or subscription agreement. Never assume you know!

Digital PR Public Relations

Is Digital PR Making Public Relations Sexy Again?

When you think of the biggest changes in the move from traditional #PR to #DigitalPR, what comes to mind?

I think of HOW FUN our job has become. Challenging, true, but very fun. After decades of media relations and pitching, everything is suddenly changing. Like the first summer monsoon washing away a year’s worth of dust, or a squeeze of fresh lemon bursting on your tongue when you sip water, the industry is becoming infused with new ideas, new influencers and experts, and a deluge of alternatives to grow visibility.

It’s refreshing. It’s wonderful!!

Today’s stronger focus on social media and content marketing is also bridging the gap between digital experts and traditionalists, link builders and content creators, community managers and customer service. That closing gap is creating much of the fresh thinking, because we’re trying to simultaneously accomplish their goals and ours. We’re thinking differently.

It’s also coming from those without a lick of public relations experience who are suddenly writing content and pitching bloggers. New options for brand journalism–publishing your own news and building your own audience instead of relying on media audiences–and blogging has brought PR to everyone’s attention. It’s also brought a wider variety of marketers and entrepreneurs into the fold as newbie PR pros.

PR is suddenly sexy again. Everybody’s interested.

RSQ Social Media

Zero to 1.25 Million: Celebrating Three Years of #PRprochat

Social media has completely changed our lives.

Sitting down to personally chat with the most influential, amazing people in an industry was virtually impossible before social media.

One-on-one conversations with heroes, influencers and leaders rarely happened. They just weren’t accessible. How we learned was completely different, too. Experts are now available with the click of a mouse and five seconds of social media searching, and Google happily delivers free education on any topic we can possibly conceive of. Twitter chats, Periscope, Google Hangouts, YouTube videos, LinkedIn articles – expertise is available everywhere we look, with authors and influencers completely open to direct conversation.
If I were a meme or automated gif kinda girl, I’d put one here but, alas, I’m not.
September marked the third anniversary of #PRprochat. Thirty-six Twitter chats!! We’ve gone from a fledgling chat with nobody listening and a moderator grateful if the same three people showed up each month, to a chat with incredible guests like Jay Baer, Gini Dietrich, Danny Sullivan, Jeff Rohrs and more.

This month, we hit our highest numbers ever, REACHING OVER 1.25 MILLION TWITTER USERS and 23+ million timelines, largely thanks to the reach of my amazing guest, Danny Sullivan (Search Engine Land). Source: Hashtracking

Public Relations

Transform Your Boring New Hire Press Release into a Bigger Story

PR Newswire’s Kate Goebbel (@kate_city) wrote a wonderful blog post several months ago, called How to Add Personality to Your Next Personnel Press Release.

I found it fabulously inspiring! The idea stuck in my head.

When a client asks us to write a new hire press release, it’s easy to dismiss its importance, churning out a cookie cutter release talking about their new role, their background and a quote that sounds like a million OTHER new hire quotes.

BUT WHAT HAPPENS if we flip the process on its ear – thinking about WHAT ELSE we can do with that release?

What if the new job is secondary – almost coincidental? What if we use that press release to showcase actual expertise by sharing some of it, instead of just saying they have it?

How can we make it more than a new hire release, so it has potential to become A BIGGER STORY in a journalist’s hands? After all, there’s only so much press you can get on personnel news, right? It’s extremely limited.

Expanding the story gives us more to work with, too, from a repurposing perspective.

It’s up to us to challenge our own thinking. Don’t fall into the trap of doing what we’ve always done, relying on experience in lieu of fresh thinking.

Go ahead. Confront the status quo. Write it differently. Shake up your process, your outputs. Give the press release a fresh new spin that is completely unlike what you’ve done before.

Social Media

Instagram is Sexy, But Does Your Audience Actively Use It?

Are we focused on social media platforms with hardly any users?
… making decisions on where to build audience for brands based on buzz, instead of fact??

Social media is fantastic – but choosing the right platforms to focus your effort is critical. Otherwise, you are speaking to an invisible audience.
The truth
The marketing industry overflows with massive hype about social media – but is it worth the time investment? Which platform(s) do you choose for your business? How do you decide where to prioritize your time when you have a presence on multiple platforms? How do you know which ones to drop, if you are trying to maintain too many and your staff (or budget) are overwhelmed?

These are questions your social media strategy should address. These decisions must be based on fact, not guesswork or industry buzz, which is what is happening all too frequently.
It’s time to start talking about active users, not accounts. There’s a MASSIVE DIFFERENCE.