Pitching 101: Media advisories, press releases and more

Being a young professional in the industry, many of my closest friends and family still don’t understand exactly what public relations and media relations consists of. To keep the conversation short and sweet, I describe my profession as “emailing reporters and asking them to cover my client’s story,” which isn’t technically wrong. But it’s also so much more than that.

 

From drafting media advisories and finalizing press releases, to tailoring the perfect email pitch to the lifestyle reporter, my job can get pretty hectic!

 

In order to get coverage for a client, these tactics are the most important pieces to the media relations puzzle. Check out the most common – and successful- tools for pitching your ideal reporter below:

 

Press release

A press release, also commonly referred to as a news release, is a PR professional’s greatest asset and tool (besides the AP Stylebook!). A press release is a short, compelling news story with statements from the company that outline the most important details of an announcement. A few examples that warrant a press release include:

 

  • Moving to/opening a new location
  • Announcing a new product or service
  • Announcing a key new hire or promotion
  • Winning an award
  • Company rebrand
  • Promoting an upcoming event

 

Press releases are written with the intention of sending to members of the media. Yes, sometimes they can be housed on a company website, but the sole purpose is for the media to pick one up and decide to cover the announcement in an upcoming broadcast or draft a story online or in print.

 

Media advisory

A media advisory is not a press release and the intent is actually different, too. A media advisory is written for the media, but it’s used to make them aware of your announcement, and hopefully to cover it, too! Media advisories work best for events, press conferences or grand openings. It’s common that an event might warrant both a press release and a media advisory, if it’s important enough.

 

The best media advisories should include the “5 W’s” or the who, what, where, when and why of the event. If your advisory is lacking any details or information, it’s likely the reporter won’t take the time to reach out and ask for clarification.

 

Basic pitch

Believe it or not, sometimes your email to a reporter doesn’t have to include a release or an advisory. If you have something newsworthy for a client, but you’re not necessarily inviting them anywhere or it doesn’t warrant a release, you also have the option to simply draft the perfect email and hit send. It’s a great, quick and easy way to get your client’s name out there without spending hours on creating an extra deliverable.

 

If you decide to send a pitch, personalize it! Depending on who you’re pitching, reporters can get upwards of 500 emails each day. So, make your pitch stand out against the rest.

 

A few ways to do this include using catchy emojis or their first name in the subject line. Personalize your email further by finding out what the reporter enjoys or what they typically write about and tying it into your intro. I like to visit reporters’ Twitter accounts to gain insight before hitting send. Whatever you do though, make sure your pitch is filled with information and leave nothing to the imagination.

 

Hopefully I’ve given you enough basic information to get you started. Remember, include all the details, make it unique, make it personal, and you’re bound to have luck! Just keep pitching.

 

Need help drafting your next press release? Looking to get results for your next company announcement?  Contact Lauryn Gray at lauryn@dittoepr.com to set up a consultation today!

How to Stand Out During Your Internship

What brings you joy?

 

Ever since binge-watching Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix at the beginning of the year, I’ve been asking myself that question in every aspect of my life. Before Marie Kondo, I actually already used this phrase with my friends somewhat jokingly when approached with a question: “Vanessa, should I buy these new shoes?” “Well, will it bring you joy?” But now, it’s taken on a whole new meaning.

 

Digression aside, one of the things that brings me the most joy in life is Dittoe PR’s internship program. As a former Dittoe PR intern myself, I remember how incredibly amazing my own experience was. While there were several perks to the internship, what made it truly impactful was the real-life agency experience I gained while still being a college student. This group of strangers brought me onto their team and almost instantly trusted me to help handle their day-to-day tasks – were they crazy? I’m not sure. But now, a few years later, I help lead our internship program and these strangers have become my work family (and yes, I can confirm they are a little crazy).

 

Every semester, it’s my goal to make sure our interns have the same experience I was afforded as a DPR intern. While we’re known for holding our interns to a high caliber, we believe this will help you in the long run. Our interns walk away feeling like they’ve gained the tools and lessons they need to become a PR professional. In fact, many of our current staff members started at Dittoe PR as interns. So, what is it that we look for in an intern? And what can you do to become a stand-out intern? Below I’ve scrounged up some tips and tricks I think will help any student stand out from the crowd, at a PR internship or elsewhere.

 

Take all the notes and ask all the questions.

This is probably the biggest piece of advice I can give all interns. Especially in PR, it’s imperative to take notes. Come to every meeting with a pen and paper and be prepared to write everything down. This shows that you’re not only prepared, but attentive, too. We also love when interns ask questions – we want to make sure you have a good understanding of each task at hand. And don’t be afraid to ask the daring questions, like “what if we did it this way?” or “have you thought of it this way before?” Questions like that will surely knock our socks off.

 

Treat this like a real job.

We hope you see this opportunity as more than just another college credit hour or another entry on your resume. Treat this internship like a real job because, well, that’s what it is. A real job. We give our interns real projects with real deadlines with real expectations. Forget the fluff projects you’ve had at other internships – at Dittoe PR, each intern is plugged into a dedicated account so you can see the ins and outs of how an account team works. Our goal is for you to walk away feeling like you have worked in a true agency setting.

 

Own your mistakes and grow from them.

We all make mistakes – from interns to senior account managers, it’s going to happen. The best thing you can do is to own that mistake and grow from it. Instead of dwelling on what happened and having it affect your confidence, look at each mistake as a learning opportunity. We don’t expect you to get everything right the first time, but we do hope to see you improve little by little over the course of your internship.

 

Maintain a “first-day” attitude.

I have to admit, I didn’t come up with this point on my own, but this one has really stuck with me. We all want to make a great initial impression – we usually do this by dressing professionally, taking notes, arriving early, participating in extra activities, etc. But don’t let complacency get in the way. While we’re a pretty laid-back bunch, remember to stay professional throughout your internship. Just because you start to feel comfortable doesn’t mean you can start to slack off in other areas. Treat every day like it’s your first day.

 

Ask for feedback.

The only way you can grow is if you ask for feedback. While we try to give feedback on projects in real-time, we often get bogged down and can let this crucial step fall to the side. But by taking this extra step and asking us for feedback shows that you care and that you want to improve. I can guarantee if you ask someone for feedback, you’ll receive it.

 

Integrate yourself with the team.

We truly see our interns as an extension of our team and not just interns. We love when interns join us during activities outside the office – lunches, book clubs, house warmings, etc. This allows our team to get to know you on a more personal level and help build deeper connections. It also shows that you want to be a part of our team. It doesn’t go unnoticed, and it’s a small act that can go a long way.

 

Think you have what it takes to be a DPR intern? We’re now accepting applications for our 2019 summer internship program through Feb. 15. To apply, send your cover letter, resume with references and three diverse writing samples to Vanessa Staublin at vanessa [at] dittoepr.com.

 

 

Three Social Media Tips for a Productive New Year

Each new calendar year brings PR professionals the opportunity to set new goals and get organized. While the majority of pros are researching new media angles, publications and writers, drafting refreshed blog and website content and aligning with their clients’ marketing goals for a successful 2019, social media managers are planning influencer takeovers and social media ad campaigns, while drafting engaging content for various social channels to help support those same marketing and sales goals.

 

You’ve probably already realized social media management is rarely a 9 to 5 job – in fact, it’s nearly the opposite. Depending on your audience and the day of the week, peak times for each social media channel differ. This creates the need for social media managers to need to stay organized and efficient, especially when working on the go.

 

Check out the tips below to help you better manage your time and your social media channels in 2019:

 

Create a Content Calendar

If you’re not already planning ahead for content on social media, you’ve probably found yourself scrambling at the last minute to create sharable content that actually generates engagement with your audience. Instead of reacting in the new year, start by planning the types of content you want to feature on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis.

 

Not only will creating this calendar allow you to plan ahead and schedule content in advance, but it will allow you to better plan for new campaigns and company announcements via social, brainstorm and budget effectively, source credible third-party content and more.

 

Also, consider looking into national days that align with your brand, like Treat Yourself Day for Massage Heights Indy or National Hat Day for LIDS, for additional content ideas (just don’t be one of those managers that jumps on every bandwagon for the heck of it, even if it doesn’t align with your brand).

 

Set Reminders for Recurring Tasks

The same way your alarm clock wakes you up in the morning or a calendar event alerts you of an upcoming meeting, using reminders for recurring tasks can be very useful, especially when managing multiple accounts for multiple clients.

 

Not only should you be logging onto your business’ social media accounts on a daily basis to check for notifications, but you should also be creating a daily or weekly list of tasks to execute on behalf of your business on social media. Various tasks include reading and responding to messages and reviews, taking the time to participate in two-way engagement with your followers, and deploying various acquisition tactics to gain new followers.

 

If your business is running paid social ads, you should also be logging on to your ad platform to monitor their performance, adjust budgets, respond to engagements and more.

 

Get Automated Wherever Possible

The use of automation in social media allows social media managers to increase efficiency and encourage growth in the new year. This is by no means an opportunity for social media managers to move into a hands-off role, but rather offers the ability to save time and effort while maximizing results.

 

Social media management platforms like Sprout Social or Hootsuite allow managers to handle multiple accounts in one platform, assign tasks for team members, schedule content, track engagement and other metrics, and provide insight for future strategic planning efforts.

 

IFTTT, or “If This Then That,” is also another great automation tool that allows social media managers to link tasks together based on a trigger. For example, when you publish your next blog post, the IFTTT would then automate and create a Facebook post on your behalf.

 

Think your company could benefit from social media management? Contact Lauryn Gray at lauryn@dittoepr.com to set up a consultation today!