Our Favorite DPR Moments of 2018

The new year is a great time to reset, reflect and set new goals — and that’s exactly what we’re going to do here.

 

From landing our clients in national media outlets and key industry publications to hiring six new full-time team members, Dittoe Public Relations has had an incredible 19th year driving results for our clients and growing our team. Relive our best moments of 2018 below.

 

Securing big media hits

At Dittoe PR, we don’t wait for news to happen. We make news happen. We’re all about securing consistent media coverage for clients in top tier media – national, local, trade and influencer outlets – by proactively brainstorming new story ideas.

 

Here are some of the biggest headlines we secured for our clients this year:

 

Bringing on new accounts, upsells

We pride ourselves on expanding our client roster and client scope with a variety of projects in the media relations, social media, event planning, content marketing and thought leadership spaces.

 

In 2018, Dittoe PR brought on multiple client wins in a variety of industries including Lonely Whale, Hoffmaster, Merchants Capital, Scooch and Massage Heights. Additionally, the company earned increases in scope for Aardvark and Medxcel. PSI, also new client in 2018, recently increased their desired scope of work with our team, as well.

 

Growing our team

Dittoe PR added six new full-time account coordinators and account executives to the team this year, each of whom are bringing exceptional results to clients day in and day out.

 

Shelby Kaiser joined the team in February and brought her experience of managing a sorority’s quarterly publication, assisting with email marketing and overseeing social media for individual chapters. Haley Williams brought her six years of industry experience in branding, storytelling and communication to the team in April.

 

Ashley Shuler (me!), a previous intern who started full time in June as an account coordinator, was promoted to the account executive role in October. Ashlea Alley, another former intern, also joined the team as an account coordinator after after graduating from the University of Indianapolis with a dual focus degree on public relations and journalism.

 

Jillian Thomas brought her eight years of TV reporting and anchoring experience to the team when she joined Dittoe PR in September as an account executive.

 

Kaitlyn Beck, who graduated from the Indiana University Media School with a B.A. in journalism and specializations in public relations and advertising, and Natalie Weber, a previous intern who started full time in October after graduating from Purdue University with a public relations and strategic communication degree, also joined as full-time account coordinators.

 

Developing our skills

Dittoe PR has always held personal and professional growth in high regard. We firmly believe that our premier PR agency can only grow if our people continue to grow, too.

 

This year, Dittoe PR introduced a professional development budget for all employees, and our team members took advantage of those dollars by attending conferences across the nation. Megan Custodio, Ashley Eggert and Greta Snell attended INBOUND 2018 in Boston; Kaiser, Vanessa Staublin and Sophie Maccagnone attended Digital Summit in Dallas; and Mallory Sturgeon and Kasie Pieri attended PR News’ Media Relations Conference in Washington, D.C.

 

Defining our values

This year, we embarked on a six-month journey toward building a stronger company culture through unified personal and professional development with the help of organizational coach, speaker and author, Katara McCarty.

 

After crowdsourcing responses to a select set of questions about Dittoe PR’s culture, the team collectively crafted four core values that we firmly believe in and practice daily to support each other, our clients and Dittoe PR as a system.

 

  • Cultivate Happy: At Dittoe PR, we have fun, work with passion and purpose, and value work-life balance.
  • We’ve Got Your Back: Because our team is always there for each other. Similarly, this value speaks volumes to how we treat our clients, because we’ve got their backs too.
  • Here We Grow: Because we believe we can go farther, together, by investing in our employees through professional development opportunities, mentorship programs, new client opportunities and more.
  • Exceed Expectations: Our team doesn’t just aim to meet client expectations. We strive to exceed them in any way possible.

 

From securing top tier media hits to cultivating our values, we can’t wait to see where 2019 takes us! Want your business on our 2019 list? Contact Lauryn Gray at lauryn@dittoepr.com to set up a consultation and learn more about our services.

How to Build A Successful Media List to Generate Coverage

The biggest part of our job is earning media coverage for our clients, which is done by pitching stories and developing relationships with journalists. Doing this effectively requires a strong media list, which is one of the key components to successful PR.

 

Now, you may be wondering, what is a media list? Simply put, it’s a compilation of reporters organized for the sole purpose of pitching them story ideas on behalf of your client. It’s highly organized and updated frequently to accommodate today’s fast-paced, ever-changing journalism landscape. It’s also customized per story idea.

 

If this sounds like a ton of work, it is. But that’s what makes our job so rewarding. And there are a ton of tools and tricks that help build excellent media lists. But if you’re still unsure of how to put one together, follow these steps.

 

Step 1: Determine Target Audience.

In order to determine the best reporters and publications to add to a media list, first determine target audiences, which should correlate with a client’s key customers. For instance, let’s say a client sells audio products such as headphones, soundbars and home theater systems. As a PR agency, the goal will be to educate tech-savvy individuals about the client’s products in the consumer electronic space. Therefore, the media list should reflect reporters who cover this beat for media outlets frequently read by this demographic. If the client has multiple audiences, make sure to build a media list for each one.

 

Step 2: Create a list of ideal outlets.

Once target audiences are determined, create a list of outlets that are a natural fit to cover your client’s story. This will also need to reflect the client’s PR goals.

 

So, if a global tech company is seeking national media coverage, the media list may include outlets such as Fast Company, Wired, Inc., Forbes and USA Today. But, if a client is seeking local coverage to help promote a local event in Chicago, outlets may include the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, The Red Eye and Crain’s Chicago Business, among others.

 

When creating this list, consider the outlet’s key readers. This can be accomplished by identifying its age group, gender or median income, among other key characteristics. Many times, these insights will be found in an outlet’s media kit. This will help ensure the outlet’s key readers are parallel with the client’s target audience.

 

Step 3: Find contacts.

Once those outlets have been determined, it’s time to do our homework and find the right contacts. During this portion, follow these tips:

 

  • Review previous stories to understand how frequently the writer pushes out new articles.
  • Learn about the writer’s interests to build a deeper connection through their bio page, LinkedIn or social media. For instance, when pitching a new product for our client LIDS, we take the time to understand if the writer has an allegiance to a specific team, so we can pitch them relevant products.
  • Be thoughtful about what topics writers cover in their stories. In some cases, people who write about the “technology industry” may not review “consumer electronics,” and “health care” writers don’t necessarily cover “health and medicine.”
  • Take time to consider each writer’s role. Editors-in-chief, for instance, are primarily responsible for the business-side of an outlet, like selecting content rather than creating it. Editorial assistants or staff writers, however, are usually looking for unique new stories and ideas.
  • When faced with multiple people at one publication, select only one or two for the first iteration of the list. If everyone has a similar title and seemingly covers the same topic, review past stories for each contact and narrow down from there.

 

Step 4: Conduct additional research.

Once those contacts are determined, pinpoint key words and conduct additional research to find contacts that may be a fit based on relevant stories that populate in Google News. For example, if you’re pitching a new parenting app that you want reporters to check out, search “apps for parents” or “parenting tech” in Google to see what type of writers are covering something similar to help build out your media list even further. In addition, conduct research to find media contacts who have covered the client in the past, written about the client’s competitors, and/or recently covered a trending news topics relevant to the client. This may help build out additional pitching angles.

 

 Step 5: Find contact information.

Depending on the media vertical, the contact information for the reporter may be easy to find and readily available on their designated bio page or in the “About Us” section on the outlet’s website. This is more accurate for newspapers or smaller publications. Other times, it may be harder to find. Media databases such as Cision and Meltwater are helpful tools to find contact information for journalists at hundreds of thousands of media outlets.

 

Step 6: Organize contacts.

Once research has been completed to find the right publications and reporters, organize and track the information so you can refer back it to at later time. Since the majority of our efforts are conducted through personalized outreach rather than blasted out through a media database, many of us organize them through Google Docs so they’re always accessible, easy to share with peers, and can be updated in real-time. Use columns and rows to track reporter name, job title, email address, phone number, Twitter handle, bio page and other important information.

 

Step 7: Keep media list up-to-date.

Once the list is built, the work is far from over. The media list will need to be updated regularly so you can stay on top of any role changes that could affect future pitching efforts. In addition, make sure to monitor the beats and job titles of any reporters on media lists, in case they change.

 

While these tips may be helpful, enlisting the help of a PR agency such as Dittoe PR is the surefire way to ensure PR goals are met. If you’re interested in learning more about Dittoe PR, contact Lauryn Gray at lauryn@dittoepr.com

Dittoe PR client announces monumental acquisition

Plastic straws.

 

They’re small, convenient, inexpensive and seemingly harmless. Their use has been widespread amongst restaurants, retailers, consumers and businesses alike for several decades. However, this modern-day convenience also comes at a high price.

 

Plastic straws not only contribute to our rising plastic pollution crisis, but they’re unavoidably harmful to the environment, as they’re too lightweight to make it through the mechanical recycling sorter. Shockingly enough, Americans use more than 500 million plastic straws each day.

 

Enter Aardvark Straws.

 

Introduced in 2007 in response to the growing anti-plastic movement, Aardvark Straws offer an environmentally friendly alternative to plastic straws with their durable, FDA-compliant, marine degradable paper straws. They’re produced in more than 200+ customizable designs, making Aardvark Straws ideal for a large range of uses, including restaurants, weddings, holidays and more.

 

However, as the anti-plastic movement grew, so did the anti-plastic straw movement. People became increasingly aware of the dangers of plastic straws. Following the hard work of many activists and organizational groups, others began to take notice. Cities began to ban plastic straws, then major corporations did, too. Some of the world’s biggest brands, such as Starbucks, American Airlines and Hilton, all pledged to remove plastic straws from their companies.

 

As the movement grew, so did Aardvark. As the sole U.S. producer of paper straws, Aardvark was soon selling billions of paper straws to restaurants and establishments all across the globe. Business accelerated quickly, which led Aardvark to start thinking about what was next for the company.

 

With plastic straw bans occurring worldwide and the paper straw market on the rise, Wisconsin-based Hoffmaster Group saw an opportunity to capitalize on the rapidly accelerating demand for alternatives to plastic. Hoffmaster acquired Aardvark in August 2018. They invested in the brand because they believe in paper straws as a product solution and saw Aardvark as a natural extension of Hoffmaster’s premium portfolio of environmentally responsible, disposable tabletop products. Through the acquisition, Hoffmaster hopes to protect the environment and marine life, as well as to ramp up production in order to supply top grade paper straws to the marketplace.

 

As a longstanding client, Dittoe PR jumped on the opportunity to lead media relations efforts for Aardvark’s exciting announcement. We shared the news with local, regional and national media, which resulted in media hits in several major media outlets including Fortune, USA Today, CNNMoney, MarketWatch, Inc. and live TV interviews on CNBC and Fox Business News.

 

In addition to careful research and personalized pitching that led to such great media results, we also assisted with the thorough development of messaging for the acquisition. From messaging documents to customer questions to media interview prep sheets, it’s important when making such a major announcement that all messaging is consistent and accurate.

 

Ultimately, Dittoe PR was able to generate 240 media hits garnering 167,100,363 media impressions and a total publicity value of $1,917,878! We were overjoyed with the outcome of this campaign and are looking forward to continuing to lead Aardvark’s PR initiatives in the future.