Dittoe PR Takes On Swell of New Wisconsin Clients

2019 has gotten off to a great start for Dittoe PR, as we recently added two new clients to our roster – and they both happen to be based in Beloit, Wisconsin! In January, we kicked off partnerships with Geronimo Hospitality Group, the hospitality team behind award-winning boutique hotels, restaurants and clubs in Wisconsin and Indianapolis, and Beloit College, a private liberal arts college and the oldest continuously-operated college in the state of Wisconsin.

While we will be developing and executing very different PR strategies for these two clients, our mission is the same: to proactively shape narratives that influence behavior and invoke change.

Geronimo Hospitality Group
Geronimo Hospitality Group owns and operates seven restaurants, four hotels, two golf facilities, two fitness centers and one event center. The properties are located in Beloit, Delafield and Janesville in Wisconsin and Indianapolis.

We first began working with the Geronimo team in April 2017, tasked with promoting and securing media coverage surrounding the grand opening of Ironworks Hotel Indy. Our partnership has lasted long beyond the hotel’s grand opening, and our team has since worked on a variety of projects to keep Ironworks Hotel in the news consistently, including media relations, content creation, social media operation, event planning and more. Ironworks Hotel has been covered at the national, trade, local and regional levels through our various media relations efforts, which include events, retail tenant updates, seasonal happenings at the hotel and much more. We also oversee all social influencer relations for the hotel, working with local and regional influencers to help promote the hotel and its unique amenities.

In the last year and a half, we have worked to develop strong personal relationships with both the Geronimo Hospitality Group team and Ironworks Hotel Indy staff, which has enabled us to secure consistent, ongoing and impactful media coverage for the hotel in outlets such as the Indianapolis Business Journal, Indianapolis Star, USA Today, Condé Nast Traveler, Hotel Business and many others.

Going forward, Dittoe PR will manage public relations for all 16 of Geronimo’s properties, including their boutique hotels and restaurants throughout Wisconsin. A few of the Beloit establishments we are focusing on in Q1 include Hotel Goodwin, Velvet Buffalo, truk’t and Ironworks Golf Lab. Our team will also continue to oversee media relations efforts as needed for Ironworks Hotel Indy.

Dittoe PR’s top priorities for Geronimo Hospitality Group will be to generate media and social influencer coverage that leads to increased exposure and brand awareness of its properties so the local community and residents in regional cities and neighboring states keep Geronimo’s hotels, restaurants and clubs at top of mind for lodging and dining options.

The Geronimo team is made up of extremely talented, creative and hardworking individuals and we are proud and excited to grow our partnership with them in 2019.

Beloit College
Since its founding in 1846, Beloit College has been committed to providing students with a cutting-edge curriculum and has shown a continued dedication to innovative and experimental curriculum practices. In fact, Beloit College is often cited as a “Best Value” in higher education, and was ranked No. 19 on U.S. World & Report’s list of “Most Innovative Schools.”

As an institution, Beloit College prides itself on meeting students where they are and imagining futures for them that they may not have yet considered. The college offers students a multidimensional approach to higher education that focuses on personal, academic and professional growth.

Media relations and thought leadership will be the heart of our PR strategy for Beloit College. We want to generate consistent local, trade and national media coverage for Beloit College to increase awareness of the school, its unique experiences and world-class educators, and the benefits of a liberal arts education.

Our team is beyond thrilled to lead media relations, influencer relations and thought leadership efforts for Geronimo Hospitality Group and Beloit College. Think your business or organization could benefit from public relations? Or interested in hearing more about our full list of services? Contact Lauryn Gray at lauryn@dittoepr.com today.

How to Prep a Client for a Media Interview

At Dittoe Public Relations, we offer a variety of services that all help our clients put their best foot forward in their respective industries. You may have heard us refer to media relations as our “bread and butter,” and while it falls on us to secure the opportunities for coverage, it falls on our clients to execute a great interview (with a little help from us).

 

Let me start by saying that some clients are rockstar interviewees and love an opportunity to speak with media. To those clients, we salute you.

 

To the clients that don’t love the spotlight, we feel you. There is a reason we PR pros chose to be behind the camera instead of in front of it. We know you still love your companies but add in the lights, questions and the difference between a live shot and a look-live shot and all of a sudden, the thing you do every single day – talk about your goods and services – becomes incredibly complicated.

 

That’s where Dittoe PR comes in. We’re here to guide clients through the process, even the ones that are confident in their abilities, because, let’s face it, no one can ever be over-prepared. We make sure that no matter the outlet, format or interviewer, each of our clients are ready to knock every single interview out of the park.

 

Research.

Whenever we secure an interview, the first thing we do is research both the outlet and the reporter conducting the interview. Providing a synopsis of the target market of a publication can help frame the type of conversation. Is this a national publication or a specialized trade magazine? This knowledge can help shape the direction of the interview and set expectations.

 

Prior to pitching, we research reporter bios, beats and writing history. Fast forward to securing an opportunity and this knowledge gives us a feel for how they may conduct an interview, reducing the amount of potential surprises to our clients. We share all this information with our clients, so they feel at ease with the person (and media outlet) they’re conversing with.

 

Prep.

In addition to a thorough summary of who they’re going to be talking to, we also provide our clients with a detailed analysis of what topics will be addressed in the interview. This summary includes the story angle that secured the interview as well as key messages to support the client’s side of conversation.

 

We make sure that significant stats are top of mind and offer advice on how to give the perfect soundbite. We also offer suggestions on how to deliver flawless messaging, reduce background noise in phone interviews, and how to come across like an Emmy winner when on camera. We’ll even hold media training sessions with clients, as needed, to keep interview tips and tricks top of mind.

 

Execution.

When our clients go on interviews, we go on interviews. We listen it on phone interviews to provide introductions and take note of key information and necessary follow ups. With local TV interviews or larger national interviews, we accompany clients to the station, assist in visual setup and teardown, handle any final coordination with producers and reporters, and snap behind-the-scenes footage. Often times, we’re also helping with any last-minute prep – answering questions before going live – for the reporter conducting the interviews.

 

Trust us, as badly as we want the interview to go well, reporters want it to go well even more. Knowing that we’re there to take care of any issue that might arise lets our clients know that they, and we, have the situation under control. We also are committed to being visible and build real relationships with reporters outside of our email or phone exchanges.

 

At the end of the day, talking on live television or live radio can be daunting. At Dittoe PR, we put our clients at ease and help them navigate each individual interview as it comes along, leading to spectacular segments, articles, reports and coverage of all kinds.

 

Interested in getting more media coverage for your brand or company? Contact Lauryn Gray at lauryn@dittoepr.com to set up a consultation and learn more about our services.

Tips for Securing National Media Coverage

“No thanks.”

“Not at this time.”

“I appreciate your persistence, but I’m not interested.”

 

If you’re in PR, you’ve more than likely received a response similar to this from national media journalists. In my five years at Dittoe PR, I’ve heard this, well… too many times to count. While it can be discouraging to get so many rejections about your story idea, especially after you’ve spent hours coming up with the strategy and writing that perfect pitch, a PR professional must never give up. Hearing that “yes” makes the flurry of pitches worth it—for yourself and for your client.

 

National media outreach is often perceived as the most difficult kind of pitching. But if your client’s preferred coverage is a story in Forbes, The Today Show, and USA Today, or if you want to thoroughly impress a new client, you need to know how to become an expert in landing outstanding media hits in national outlets.

 

Using the below tips to secure national media coverage will help to blow your clients out of the water:

 

Do your research.

 

As with all media pitching, it’s more important than ever to make sure you’re reaching out to the right journalist. Study their beat. Tailor your pitch to make it about what they typically cover. Personalize the intro of your email by expressing how much you loved their recent article on the best way to earn a college scholarship, and THEN share your story idea about caddying for a full ride to college.

 

My client, Aardvark straws, was interested in national consumer media coverage about their NFL paper straws, as they are the only paper straw company that has the rights to print NFL team logos. I recall finding an editor from Southern Living who had shared that her favorite NFL team was the Dallas Cowboys. Well, did I have the pitch for her! I offered her samples of Aardvark’s Dallas Cowboys paper straws to use for a Super Bowl party, and she replied not even a minute later with interest. A week later, Aardvark earned coverage in Southern Living!

 

Don’t underestimate the power of newsjacking.

 

Newsjacking, or taking advantage of current events or news stories in such a way as to promote one’s product or brand, can really help your client steal the spotlight. It’s always good practice to pitch a story idea that is timely, so newsjacking works well if you pitch your story as soon as possible after the news breaks.

 

Our country was so divided after the latest presidential election that even employees were affected at work. Another client of mine, Culture of Good, guides other businesses on engaging their employees properly. Immediately following the presidential election, I took the opportunity to pitch national journalists about fixing employee morale and keeping everyone together, which resulted in interest with Fast Company.

 

Make your email worth opening with a catchy subject line.

 

A dry, dull subject line such as “New wireless retail partner” is not going to get you anywhere with national media. A PR pro should make their subject lines catchy and succinct, while getting the point of the pitch across. Using Emojis adds creativity, and often, addressing the journalist’s name in the subject line helps the writer know the pitch may be personal.

 

A subject line that worked well for one of my clients, Redux, grabbed the attention of Mashable, The Today Show, TIME Magazine, New York Magazine, Digital Trends, and more: SPLASH! How to revive a wet phone in a flash this summer

 

And, when following up with media, change up the subject line to see if it peaks their interest.

 

Add images when applicable.

 

If you’re pitching a consumer product, this is a given. What better way to help a national reporter visualize your client’s product than with a photo? But even if you aren’t sharing info about a consumer product, images can add flair to an email.

Who wouldn’t want to stay at Ironworks Hotel after seeing one of their suites?

 

Be persistent.

 

Persistence is key! It’s not uncommon for a reporter to accidentally miss your first email… or your second… or your third. Follow up emails are often the ones where I receive the MOST media interest from—local and national alike. As mentioned before, refresh your subject line, add new information in the follow ups the writer may be more interested in, and keep up the determination!

 

And you may need to become a bit of a stalker.

 

Not really. But kind of. Okay, you do.

 

It’s great to find the ideal national reporter to cover your client’s story, but it can be confusing as to why you aren’t receiving any responses.

 

Look at writers’ Twitter accounts to see what they have been up to. Maybe they are on vacation or maternity leave. They could also be at a conference or tied up with a big story angle. It might be nice to use that bit of information in a follow up once you find out when they’ll be back on the grind.

 

And if you can’t find a national reporter’s email address, you may be able to find it on social media, personal websites, or otherwise.

 

Calling both local AND national writers can be nerve wracking. So before picking up the phone, try to discover if they’ve blatantly told publicists not to reach them via phone. You don’t want them to blacklist you. But I’ve called plenty of national reporters who simply didn’t see my initial emails and have indeed been interested in my client’s story. It’s definitely worth a shot!

 

Most national journalists receive hundreds of emails daily. Make yours count by sharing a lean and impactful pitch with the appropriate writer who won’t want to miss your groundbreaking story.