If We Pitched Characters from “The Office”

Just like every other Millennial, the employees of Dittoe PR are concerningly obsessed with “The Office” and everything that it perfectly articulates – always managing to generate laughter no matter how many times you’ve seen the episode. It is just that good. And after reading a brilliantly creative blog by a Sigstr employee [and fellow ButlerBulldog], I was inspired to merge my love for Dunder Mifflin with the most significant aspect of public relations: pitching.

While drafting personalized pitches for each reporter can seem time consuming, the lasting relationships formed with media members and top-notch coverage secured for our clients is more than worth the effort.

To show you what we mean by “personalized,” I crafted and tailored media pitches to five Dunder Mifflin employees leveraging current clients of Dittoe PR:

MICHAEL: Why All the Coolest Bosses are Texting for Talent
Hey, Michael!

As a leading branch manager for a thriving paper company, we thought you’d be interested in learning how to bring more hardworking, cool employees, like Ryan, to your office.

Text-based interviewing platforms, like startup Canvas, are helping businesses communicate with the already mobile-obsessed talent generation. With Canvas, employers are able to screen more candidates daily, allowing prospective employees to respond to interview questions at any time from any location—bathroom, crowded concert or even the club.

Not only does this recruiting method resonate with Millennials – like Ryan – but texting is now a prevalent form of communication across all generations. According to Mobile Marketer, 60% of individuals over age 45 say they are just as likely to use texting as voice calling.

This is why you need to hang up on your phone interviews and start more conversations with job candidates via text message interviews instead. Any interest in having a Canvas representative come to your office to learn more?

STANLEY: Relieve Boss-Induced Stress with Holistic Approaches
Hello, Stanley –

Research has linked having a lousy boss to an increased risk of heart attack due to high-stress environments. Thankfully, research also found that massage therapy is effective in lowering stress and blood pressure.

Just like Pretzel Day, a massage is capable of diminishing any woes of the workplace and providing the relief and relaxation you desperately need now more than ever. Enter Massage Heights retreat in Indiana, where therapists limit conversation and focus on administering the perfect pressure tailored to your preferences. From essential oils to massage therapy, Massage Heights will ensure your monitor is on silent.

A Massage Heights representative would be more than happy to visit for an in-office interview and demonstration of a chair massage to show what the benefits of massage therapy are. Any interest?

DWIGHT: How Paper Straws Can Help Recyclops Defeat Polluticorn
Dwight,

We are reaching out because we desperately need your exemplary skills in an effort to alter human attitude and behavior about plastics and catalyze a significant reduction in plastic pollution.  

In the U.S. alone, we use 500 million plastic straws every day, many of which end up in our oceans, Shrute Farms and harming our sea life while conquering Recyclops’ planet. If we don’t act now, Polluticorn will rule the world.

How can you help? With your remarkable persuasive leadership, you can get your followers to #StopSucking on single-use plastic straws. USA-made Aardvark flexible paper straws are the strongest, longest lasting on the market. They’re safe, FDA-approved and friendly to our environment. Aardvark paper straws come in 200+ customizable designs, including these that match your demeanor.

If willing to help, we’ll send you samples of Aardvark Straws that will help destroy Polluticorn and his army of pollutants. Any interest?

TOBY: Leveraging Corporate Relocation when Moving to Paradise
Hi Toby,

I recently heard you were relocating to Costa Rica, so I thought you’d find interest in reading a newly released industry study from leading mover, Atlas Van Lines, detailing companies’ current corporate relocation policies and practices.

This year’s Corporate Relocation Survey surveyed 444 corporate relocation professionals, with 91% of respondents working in HR like yourself. Companies like Dunder Mifflin and Prince Family Paper estimated that only a third of relocations were fully reimbursed – meaning employers are once again letting you down.

While the impact of housing/mortgage concerns has lessened notably over the past six years, not everyone can rely on branch closings and severance to pay for their moves.

More findings and data pertaining to the comprehensive study can be found here. Any interest in sharing this study with fellow HR representatives?

KEVIN: Making the Malone Family Mainstay Dundie-Worthy
Hello Kevin!

We’ve heard about Kevin’s Famous Chili, and we’re here to introduce you to an ingredient – available at Carmel Market District – capable of taking your dish from good, to award-winning.

This summer forget the Ancho Chiles and indulge in the addictive flavor of New Mexico’s famous pepper, the Hatch Chile pepper. These bold, spicy peppers will pair perfectly with the under-cooked onions, pressed garlic and diced tomatoes that will surely have folks chatting.

This famous pepper combined with your famous chili will ensure you a coveted Dundie while leaving everyone else saying “Don’t Go in There After Me!”

We’d love to host you in-store for a segment showcasing your chili! Happy to help transport the dish after as well!

Think your business or organization could benefit from our creative minds and tailored pitching? Contact Lauryn Gray at lauryn@dittoepr.com today!




What cuts in journalism jobs mean for PR

There are six public relations professionals for every journalist.

In 1980, the ratio was 1.2 to 1.

These ratios, pulled from recent U.S. Department of Labor statistics, illustrate just how dramatically the media relations landscape has fluctuated in the last 40 years. Especially in 2019, it’s clear that the media industry – and by extension public relations and media relations – is shifting as a result of waves of layoffs, changes in business models and the rise of influencers and citizen journalists in the internet age.

Below, we explore the evolution of journalism, what it means for the PR industry and the role of PR pros during the transformation.

What’s the reality?
Earlier this year, local and national news organizations announced waves of layoffs as a result of traditional newsroom downsizing and budget cuts. The latest reports show more than 2,200 people lost their jobs in this latest round of layoffs, setting a dark tone for 2019.

The print industry in particular is seeing an increase in layoffs as a result of recent transitions. Between January 2017 and April 2018, at least 36 percent of the largest newspapers across the U.S. – as well as at least 23 percent of the highest-traffic digital-native news outlets – experienced layoffs, according to a PEW Research study. Additionally, buyouts and mergers have clouded the landscape in a fight to find the right business models to bring monetization and higher profitability to online media in particular.

This news is negative for all of us — journalists, media outlets, PR people, citizens and democracy.

In this landscape, it’s also important to realize the pay gap that exists between PR professionals. Back in 2000, the pay gap between the PR pros and reporters was a little more than $6,000 annually. In 2017, the difference in salary increased $16,000. With a figure like that, it’s clear why many reporters are leaving their roles and transitioning into related fields such as PR, marketing and advertising.

What does it mean?
As the audience of journalists shrinks and number of PR pros grows, it’s harder than ever to get media coverage. Because journalists are heavily outnumbered, they are constantly bombarded with pitches.

To combat the clutter, PR pros must tailor each message to specific reporters and think like a journalist by following some basic journalistic principles such as:

  • Avoid selling and start storytelling, as journalists and as PR professionals, our first goal is storytelling, not selling.
  • Know what’s newsworthy by following five key elements to newsworthiness: timing, significance, proximity, prominence and human interest.
  • Understand your audience by asking: Who are your customers? Who are your clients? And, who are the ideal readers of the story you’re hoping to tell?
  • Verify and research your content, from media pitch, a white paper or a thought leadership article.
  • Strategically structure your writing by following the traditional pyramid model. Your most important and most interesting content belongs at the very top of the pyramid.


What can we do about it?
Despite the many changes brought on by the digital revolution, there continues to be an ongoing need for a new, yet free and honest, press that can be supported by PR pros.

The PR industry should be dedicated to supporting the growth of traditional and non-traditional journalism, and PR pros can have a profound impact on the evolution of journalism by engaging in activities such as:

  • Read news to learn more about the topics impacting your clients, the community and the world at large. This can also help you learn the names and styles of key journalists that you’re wanting to build a relationship with.
  • To directly fund journalism, you should individually support or encourage your agency or company to subscribe to news outlets locally, as well as publications in client verticals.
  • Develop new skills that can make the jobs of journalists easier, such as learning how to use a DSLR camera or write a concise headline to increase the odds of a story being picked up.
  • Consider working with non-traditional media, such as influencers and citizen journalists to spread client stories.
  • Hire journalists looking for a career change to the PR profession, as their skills and inside know-how are invaluable for storytelling and pitching efforts.


No matter how much the media industry shifts, one fact remains: Both professions will continue to work together and rely on one another for many decades to come.

Is your business looking for a way to cut through the clutter and reach key journalists? Contact Lauryn Gray at lauryn@dittoepr.com to schedule a consultation today!






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!