Want 550 pieces of media coverage for one event? Ditch the batch-and-blast approach.

With 1,160 TCC and Wireless Zone stores across 41 states, Round Room LLC is the largest Verizon Authorized Retailer in the U.S. as well as one of the Indianapolis area’s Fastest Growing Companies. Dittoe PR started working with its subsidiary TCC in 2010, and over the years, we have expanded our scope to handle PR for many of Round Room’s portfolio companies.

In addition to promoting TCC from coast to coast to get customers into the stores, Dittoe PR also works relentlessly to secure media coverage for its “Culture of Good” movement in which the company makes ongoing investments in the communities where it operates. So far in 2017, Round Room has hosted three large-scale nationwide initiatives and will conduct a fourth later this year.

The annual backpack giveaway

The most recent Culture of Good event hosted by Round Room was the fifth annual School Rocks Backpack Giveaway on July 23. This initiative kicked off in 2013, when TCC donated 60,000 backpacks at 400 of its stores across the U.S. Since then, the event has more than doubled in size and is now hosted at nearly 1,000 TCC and Wireless Zone stores nationwide.

During this year’s giveaway, a whopping 172,000 backpacks full of school supplies were handed out to ensure children across the U.S. are well prepared for the start of the school year. TCC and Round Room, together with their partners, have donated 505,000 backpacks through the annual initiative over the last five years.

Where PR comes in

Dittoe PR’s goal each year for the backpack giveaway is to get customers lining out the doors to pick up their backpacks. Getting the word out in nearly 1,000 markets is no small feat. It takes weeks (even months) of preparation and execution.

It all starts with research. We spend hours upon hours making sure we know all of the local and hyper-local media outlets in every city where the giveaway is taking place. After we build out a list of the targeted media, we have to find the best contacts at each outlet—another time-consuming, yet imperative task.

We then carefully tailor our outreach to each reporter and editor based on their interests and geographic coverage areas. By personalizing our media outreach based on the writers’ previous stories, beat or a reoccurring column, we’re able to provide them with all necessary information to tell their readers about the backpack giveaway. We also work with each outlet as needed to provide additional information and images and coordinate interview requests with Round Room leadership.

Why Dittoe PR is different than other agencies

For an event of this scale, many other PR firms would simply write a press release containing the basic event information, blast it out to thousands of writers, and then cross their fingers it gets picked up. This practice results in only a fraction of the media coverage Dittoe PR secures through tailored media pitching. Plus, our personalized outreach is key to forming ongoing relationships with media members. When we go back to them for another story idea, they remember (and appreciate) our personalized approach and are eager to work with us again.

Proof our approach works

Dittoe PR earned a total of 565 pieces of media coverage for the 2017 School Rocks Backpack Giveaway, with nearly 1 billion media impressions! More than 200 print outlets shared the news, and it appeared online in more than 350 news outlets. The total ad equivalency (how much it would have cost for Round Room to buy advertising placement in all of these outlets) was more than $1.2 million.

While we’re proud of our results for the backpack giveaway, we’re even more proud to be part of such an impactful initiative for kids and families across the country! If you are interested in learning more about how Dittoe PR can assist with outreach for your next event, request a consultation today!

The one tool that can optimize your intern project workflow

Managing the part-time schedules, varying skill levels and alternating projects for multiple interns can be hard, but adding a single visual management tool to your office can make it simpler.

Enter: the Kanban board.

The board gets its genius from the Kanban system, which communicates the status, nature and context of work all in one physical space. This type of tool is especially valuable for efficiency and workflow because it plays on the natural practice of the brain, which processes visual information 60,000 times faster than text.

Creating a Kanban board in your office serves as a way for interns to map their individual workflow as well as—at a glance—show the team who is working on what and when.

How it started

Although the method has been popularized by Silicon Valley startups in recent years, the Kanban technique stems from a Toyota production system developed in the 1940s. Assembly line workers displayed colored cards to notify workers downstream about demand for parts. Kanban is the Japanese word for “visual signal” or “card.”

Because of the highly visual nature of the method, workers were able to see what work needed to be done and when, as well as take measures to maximize efficiency and minimize waste on the line.

What it is

To create a Kanban board to manage intern projects in your space, hang up a physical whiteboard, get some dry erase markers and stockpile sticky notes. If you work remotely, consider building an online Kanban board using an online platform like Trello.

At its simplest, the board can be divided into three columns: “waiting,” “in progress” and “completed.” The type and number of sections can be changed depending on the project needs of your company. The board at Dittoe Public Relations includes an urgent column to signify projects that need the immediate attention of interns. There are also rows that divide projects up by the day of the week for further organization.

After the Kanban grid is laid out, start by having employees stick color-coded sticky notes with projects for interns in the first column. Each one should include the name of the employee who placed the project on the board, the date assigned, the deadline and a brief description of the project at hand.

To break it down even further, use various colors to signify different types of projects, such as blue notes for writing and red ones for research.

When beginning a new project, interns should write their name on the note selected and meet with the employee who placed the sticky on the board to get complete project details. Interns can then move the sticky into the proceeding sections as they move through the project until complete.

Why your office needs one

This type of workflow management is especially effective for interns and new employees because it allows them to visualize their projects, notice the pace of their work and grow their sense of accountability within the company. A Kanban also creates a sense of transparency — out in the open, the board holds interns accountable for the projects they choose and the deadlines associated with each project.

On the flip side, those who manage interns can use the board to gain valuable insight into their interns’ work. Are employees assigning too many or too few projects to interns? Are there too many writing projects and not enough research projects? Is an intern gravitating towards a certain type of project, and what work can be placed on the board to strengthen their skills in that area?

By creating and utilizing a Kanban board, companies will create a new, visual standard of work not only for your interns – but the entire company.

And besides, finally moving a sticky into the “complete” column after many status updates gives your interns even more satisfaction than crossing a task off their to-do list. Is there anything better than that?


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