PR Writing Post 8

Using the three pronged approach what did you take away from this chapter?

Also – respond to the following:

A manufacturer of golf carts has developed a new, smaller cart for one person that requires fewer batteries to operate. Using media directories, compile a list of trade and specialized publications that might be interested in this new product announcement.

There are 24 comments

  1. Chelsea Idzior

    One of the things I learned in Chapter 10 was how detailed media databases can be. I expected them to just list contact information and the names of reporters and editors for publications. I had no idea that they sometimes also tell you the audience, deadlines, and story placement opportunities of the media outlets. This is definitely helpful and can make a PR professional’s job a lot easier. Cision even gets as detailed as telling you how a journalist likes to be contacted and recent stories by media outlets or journalists. I was surprised with how many media outlets are included in the databases. The text said that the CisionPoint directory has almost one million entries. The amount of information is intimidating because it makes you think to yourself, “Where do I start?”

    I also learned that less is more when creating a database of media contacts. The text quoted retired senior vice president of Cision Ruth MacFarland who said that sending a few story ideas to the right editors is a much better approach than sending a ton of news releases out and doing mediocre follow-ups. I think that could be a tempting mistake to make when you have access to so many media contacts.

    I would like to learn more about online newsrooms. I didn’t know what online newsrooms were prior to reading this chapter, so I’d definitely like to learn more about creating an easy-to-use and informative online newsroom. A second topic I would like to learn more about is formatting websites for mobile devices. Is having a mobile site or a mobile app important for all business, even small businesses, or just larger companies? I’d also like to know how websites are formatted for the web—is it a simple process or one that is involved and expensive?

    For the new golf cart, publications that might be interested in this product are:

    -Golf Digest (they have a section on their website dedicated to “Equipment” and within that section an area dedicated to “New Stuff”)
    -Golf Magazine (they do reviews of new equipment)
    -Golf Monthly
    -The Sand Trap (a top golf blog)
    -My Golf Spy (another top golf blog)

    1. Raven Gardiner

      Chelsea,

      I believe I wrote about media databases in my post too and I expected the same thing. I guarantee that it’s difficult to please most journalists and with the databases, most of the information is spelled out for the PR folks. It’s nice to see that we can tailor our searches with easy to use sites. I just wish we had a way to get into them without a corporate id. Maybe it would be nice for them to have a “Student” section of the databases. It could be something that would require a school email but it could allow us to get a look of what the databases have to offer.

      I like how when creating media contact lists, the book still tells us that a few good ones are better than a ton. This goes along with the idea of building relationships which is HUGE in public relations.

    2. rosedinardo

      Chelsea,

      I definitely would like to learn more about news rooms and mobile apps as well. I also am curious about the mobile device formatting for businesses as well. My question is since it is such an easy way to reach so many people, like you said it it for every business? I can’t imagine that your local mom and pop local restaurant would have an app but then again you never know. Honestly something like that COULD give a smaller business an advantage if their was such an app that supported similar businesses. It could also set them apart from even the bigger ones who don’t have that type of connection yet and could possibly put them on the map.

    3. leahprodriguez

      Chelsea,

      Media databases are AMAZING! I’ve been using them since last semester in class and at my internship and they truly are a lifesaver. The variety of outlets that are included are very helpful as well, you can even get hits from twitter and LinkedIn off Cision or Meltwater. I agree with the less is more aspect and I think sending a few releases to the right editors is better than sending many to the wrong ones or ones that might not be interested. This will be something I think I’ll struggle with because I haven’t mastered deciding who would be best for what stories. I think the media databases can help relieve some stress in that aspect.

  2. Ben K. Media

    A good chapter! I wish more of this information was taught when I was working on my journalism degree. We talked about databases but never discussed how to use or how exactly they worked. A valuable tool for both a journalist and public relations professional.

    I am not sure I agree with a database being small. It seems to me that I would want access to as many journalists as I can get information on. When sending a press release I can pick from the pool for the most accurate journalists to target. Not send to everyone in the database but have lots to pick from as I don’t know what angle needs to be worked next.

    The online newsrooms was eye opening. I have never thought about it but I have to agree as a journalist I hated to hunt. When looking for information I went with the sites that where quick and easy to get what I needed. If I had to spend time searching I quickly moved on to someone else.

    The gold cart idea poses a different angle in my mind. I would target the “green” movement for press coverage. One of the things I would address would be what the counter argument may be. Less batteries but also a cart for only one person. With traditional carts seating either two or four players this would put more carts on the course. More carts, more material used to build… I can see the counter argument going on and on.

    I would target with this answers to the counter arguments to:

    Pure Green Magazine
    Superintendent Magazine (a professional groundskeeper and course manager trade magazine)
    Golf Course Trades

    1. Chelsea Idzior

      Ben,

      I agree with you that this chapter was really informative. It was packed with information and all of it was extremely helpful. I liked learning about databases because one of my biggest panic areas when thinking about a possible career in PR is how will I know who to pitch to and how will I contact them? Databases are obviously a solution to that problem.

      I get what you’re saying about not being sure if you’re in agreement with the idea of having your personal database be small. On one hand, I agree with you, and think you would want a wider variety of options that you can pick and choose from. On the other hand, when you’re working for a client, they are generally specialized or focused in a specific area. Therefore, the majority of the time, you’re probably going to be pitching/sending news releases to the same types of journalists and publications. If you keep your contact pool smaller, you are less likely to over send your news releases, and also more likely to develop a relationship with journalists and publications that you continuously reach out to and give info to.

      1. lydiaseale

        Chelsea,

        I agree with you about not wanting to keep your personal database too small. I think that a better way to describe what we’re looking for in a database is “specialized.” As PR professional we don’t want to use what the book called shotgun distribution, but we do want to make sure that we are maximizing the number of people receiving the material we generate. I think in these situations it can be even more important to build personal relationships with media and social press members who cover the specific topics we are more likely to be writing about. For instance, if you work for a cell phone company, making connections with software developers’ PR staff could be helpful, whereas it wouldn’t be helpful to connect with just any technology blogger. I think it’s more important to have quality than quantity when it comes to media contacts.

        -Lydia

    2. Raven Gardiner

      Ben,

      I would have to agree with you. Journalism courses should teach more of that type of stuff. The courses that I’ve had shut PR down a lot but if the two learned to cooperate more and mesh together then it’d be hugely beneficial. I wonder if journalists are the ones that place their info into the databases.

      The hunting as a journalist has got to be annoying. I’ve come across newsrooms before but it’s nice to see what they really can be used for.

      I like how you took an angle on the golf cart story. People would definitely say that the increase in materials and carts would be a negative thing towards the carts so you would really have to find solid positives. I think the angle could work, it just would take some nice facts about the carts. Could they be lighter, and maybe faster so people don’t have to wait as long to get to the different holes?

    3. lydiaseale

      Ben,

      I totally agree with you when it comes to not wanting to hunt for information. When company’s newsrooms are inadequate it makes things so much harder than they need to be. When we were doing the Tetra Fish Care media advisory I was so frustrated trying to find any press coverage on the TetraCare product and product line. Even though it would seem like it’s not important to the mass media, it could be important to people involved in aquatic research and to pet stores looking to educate employees (or even a PR student needing to write a media advisory. I think that unless an organization does no original work, they should have an up and running pressroom. The only time I could see myself digging that far for information would be if I were doing an investigative piece. Otherwise, I wouldn’t bother and would seek another source.

      -Lydia

    4. Sophia Williams

      Ben,

      It is interesting to hear it from a prior journalists that it is true, if you couldn’t easily find something you would move onto the next organization. I think I would have done the same thing. This is why it is important as public relations professionals to make information easily accessible.

      I liked that you said for each journalist you need to see what angle needs to be worked next. This is true, for every journalist you need to personalize and make it relevant to them. These databases help us do this. It gives us information so we can see what journalist would be most interested in our information. I think this is going to be very beneficial to us. I am interested to see if the journalists agree with the information about themselves on these databases. I would hate to contact them in the wrong way just to find that it is the way that won’t get through to them.

      Sophia

  3. Raven Gardiner

    I know we discussed this a bit throughout our semester but I’m so intrigued by media directories. I had no idea that there are as many as there are. Another thing is how detailed they are! I can’t believe that you can not only get the necessary information but also pet peeves and preferred contact method for a journalist. It seems to make it significantly easier to begin the relationships that are needed to really survive in the field.

    Something that surprised me is the fact that so many PR books and chapters bring up the fact that distributing to a tons of places is bad. I’ve had that told to me more times than I can count. I guess this is just me thinking because I haven’t entered the “real world” but is it really such an issue that it should be said over and over again?

    I was also very surprised that things like “Keyword”, “Enhanced URL”, and “Anchor text/embedded keywords”. It just confused me a bit. If this is an email news release then how do those things matter? Would this be a part of the information that is in the news release which happens to be in an email?

    Hidden at the back of the chapter was a tiny little section about sending faxes. I’ll admit that I have never used a fax machine. I have never had the need but could this be something that is returning. The book says that it is as easy as telephones and even gets a physical piece of paper across. Another bonus is that it’s more difficult to delete than an email. Maybe it’s coming back but it sure did surprise me that it was actually in the chapter.
    I’d like to know more about newswires. I get the sense that they just send press releases out for PR folks but I have a feeling that it involves much more. Am I just missing what else is left?

    I don’t know if anyone else is having a hard time, but I could not get into the directories without a corporate id.
    I searched using golf related keywords and found a couple of places.

    *Golf Digest: They have a bit about equipment but I think their magazine would fit better for the golf cart. Anyone from golfers to course owners could be reading it so the publication is great to look at.

    *Golf.com: They seem to be similar to Golf Digest and they also have a nice “News” section for interested folks to take a look at.

    I decided to look at blogs too so the top ones that I found were The Sand Trap and Golf Spy, which Chelsea found. The next top ones were Geoff Shackelford, Sir Shanks Alot,and Armchair Golf Blog.

    1. Chelsea Idzior

      Raven,

      I had similar thoughts to you about this chapter. I was incredibly surprised with how detailed media databases are! I thought it would be more or less like a phone book of journalists, but, like you said, it has deadlines, pet peeves, etc. This makes sense because by journalists giving more details about themselves and their preferences, they are more likely to receive the most relevant pitches and are less likely to be bothered when it’s not convenient for them. I also took note that the chapter mentioned sending news releases or pitching to too many publications is bad. That is definitely a message that I have been hearing a lot this semester and one that seems to be really important in the PR world. I too had trouble getting into media databases without a corporate ID. Instead, I did a good old fashioned Google search to locate some of the top blogs and magazines about golf and golfing equipment to see where the story would fit best.

    2. rosedinardo

      Raven,

      I too don’t really use fax machines and maybe it is “coming back” or maybe it just never left haha. The last time I used one was probably like 10 years ago to send secret messages to a friend. So obviously I thought it was really cool but either way it does get the physical piece of paper and whatever you want to be sending directly, without postage stamps. I think it is definitely something that everyone should get in the habit of more often and maybe I should find out what my fax number actually is haha. As for the distributing of info, like it said in the beginning of the chapter you need to make sure the right media is reaching the right audience or it will just end up in the clutter, unshared on Facebook, or wherever, depending on what the message is. Either way its important!

      1. Carmen Bojanowski

        Fax machines are retro! Haha, but really. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I think that the physical papers make the items more, tangible, I guess. Everything is emailed now, so it’s easy for things to get lost in an endless inbox. I’ve actually thought of faxing employers my materials, because I thought it might garner more of a response than showing up in their inbox and disappearing amongst a hundred more applications.

      2. Ben K. Media

        Haha, Fax Machines retro… that makes me feel real old! I have not used one myself in several years but do see them around often. I think it is technology that may be far past its prime but is still used often in the professional setting.

        I can remember working at a radio station and the owner going nuts over our paper and ink usage in the fax machine. As I remember it was a paper roll and some special ink cartage that was big money. Us on air people would get the fax blowing up with jokes and all kinds of things. I also remember the huge number of advertisements that would show up.

        I guess it is the same as what happened to email. The new toy came along and everyone was finding ways to use the technology. After some time people moved on to the next thing (Twitter perhaps?) and left the technology for its intended use.

        This all comes around to PR in the aspect that we need to know the emerging trends and technology and how to use them but don’t forget the “old stuff” until it is gone.

    3. Carmen Bojanowski

      I love how detailed media directories are. I say, the more information listed, the more effective they are. If my information was in a media directory, and PR people were trying to reach me to write a story, I would want as much information as possible. My office hours, my deadline days, my beat, et cetera. Journalists have really busy, frantic schedules, and they don’t have time to be contacted for arbitrary reasons. If all of that information is listed in a media directory, then PR professionals have no excuse for being a pest. They’ll be able to work a lot better with the journalists.

    4. Sophia Williams

      Raven,

      I was shocked to know that you could find out about journalist’s pet peeves also. It is great that this is offered and very helpful through media directories. It makes our job a lot easier when the information is readily available. I didn’t know how detailed it was but am grateful for this. Im sure it will help me in my future career.

      I saw the part on fax that you touched on. I just used a fax machine for the first time at my internship. It was very easy to use and helpful but I wondered why the company preferred me to contact them in this way. It is so much easier to send it to them over email as opposed to wasting paper, ink, and having to use a large fax machine. I think this is probably a dying thing but is important to know how to use because that how some people prefer it.

      Sophia

  4. rosedinardo

    The chapter starts out right away talking about making sure that the right media is reaching the right audience, which pretty much sets the tone for the chapter. Honestly, if these two things don’t coincide then it is nearly impossible to get your message across. I learned in this chapter all of the various methods of distributing your materials and which ones are most effective and for what purposes. That is why it is essential to use a variety of methods in order to get your message heard. I also didn’t even know what a news wire was and would like to learn more about how to utilize them when it comes to news releases and publicity materials. I think it is important to note that Apps are now a very effective way to reach people on a more regular basis and that anything that can be accessed via smartphone in this day and age is going to be a good way of reaching people.

    As for the new golf cart, I would use:
    Golf Carts Plus, Michigan Golf Cart, and JL Golf Carts.

  5. leahprodriguez

    Something I hadn’t learned about prior to reading the chapter was information on feature placement firms. It’s interesting to me how features are in digital form and distributed via email and the Web instead of paper, but this doesn’t surprise me with the way technology is shifting. I would be interested to learn more about these and ways to promote your business or product and “only mention the organization once or twice in the entire article,” (pg. 266).

    Nothing in this chapter surprised me, since we talked about Cision in my Intro to PR class and I’ve used a couple different media databases in my internship. Something I need to work on however is my Twitter usage. Aside from a newsroom to post updates on recent crisis, Twitter could potentially be a more relevant source for getting information to the public. In the book it states Lady Gaga tweeted to her 7.5 million followers about rescheduling one of her shows. With the proper utilization, this tool can become a valuable source in the future.

  6. lydiaseale

    The most significant thing that I learned from this chapter was the need for mobile enabled content when selecting a distribution channel. The text said that, “QR codes can embed a variety of information that reporters can access by scanning the code.” I have always thought of QR codes as being most useful for networking purposes or for companies that are socially focused. However, the codes can be used to distribute website links and other important information.

    I think the greatest surprise from this chapter was the idea of the feature placement firm. These firms prepare the entire layout of the feature, including headline, photos, and graphics. They then distribute the entire layout to various news media outlets. I always thought that it was the public relations professional’s responsibility to create and distribute feature material, so to know that there are places that actually focus on drafting features was interesting.

    I’d like to know more about the development of online newsrooms. I had no idea that so many companies had such ineffective and incomplete online newsrooms. Lack of adequate and up-to-date information is a plague many organizations have fallen victim to. I’d like to know what it is that these organizations have in common and how to prevent it.

    The following publications might be interested in the development of a new golf cart may be:

    Golflink.com
    Starev.com
    Globalsources.com
    Golf Digest
    GolfStylesOnline.com

    1. Ben K. Media

      I agree completely with the need for mobile formatted information. I hate looking up something that I need to know when on the go only to find the site in standard format. What works on the computer with all the input devices is a pain when using a three or four inch screen and one fat finger!

      I don’t know if it is just me or not but I disagree with the QR codes. I see them in a few places but don’t think they are catching on in a big way. Sometime last year I remember reading an article about how the QR code was dead in America and that it was a passing fad that never made any huge waves. I know that I have never used one but when I had business cards made up put one on that when scanned took you to my website.

  7. Carmen Bojanowski

    I really appreciated how comprehensive the section on media databases was. I’ve always had kind of a vague idea of what they are and what they’re used for, but never wanted to ask about them because in all of my journalism classes, everyone else seemed to understand them! I also found the section on keywords really useful. Headline writing is tough, and it’s a lot easier to know exactly what people could be searching for to make sure you get as much traffic as possible.

    What surprised me the most was the section on apps. I’ve never really thought a whole lot about apps, because even though I have a smartphone, I don’t use very many of them. I guess it does make sense though, that the PR part of a company would have the most pull when it comes to the apps, because they’re geared completely toward the consumer.

    I would like to know more about online newsrooms. I never even knew that they existed until this chapter, and they would have come in handy plenty of times in the past.

    As for the golf cart announcement, these publications would probably be interested:
    Golf Digest, ESPN.com, PGA.com, and SportsIllustrated.com.

  8. Sophia Williams

    One of the main things I took away from this chapter was to not blind copy press releases. That you should always go through and personalize each one. There should be a reason you are sending it to a specific reporter and this needs to show through your pitch.

    Another thing I took away from this chapter was the “push” vs the “pull” strategy. We have always talked a lot about the “push” strategy without knowing it. We send press release and reach out to people. The “pull” strategy is just as important. This is when you make information readily available to journalist. You do this by putting information up on your website and making it easily accessible.

    I knew nothing about editorial calendars and tip sheets before this chapter. This seems like vital information for public relations professionals. Editorial calendars help us tremendously. They give you information on other publications so that you can determine what coincides with your organizations particular focus.

    Publications that would be interested in the new golf cart:

    Golf Digest
    Golf Week
    ESPN
    Auto and Design Magazine (older men, maybe into golf)

    1. leahprodriguez

      Sophia,

      The blind copy thing was something I wasn’t aware of before taking this class. I always assumed you create one general press release that goes out to all outlets and journalists. Taking the extra step toward personalizing each release will be a huge asset in getting the interest of that specific recipient. The pull strategy is another important aspect when working with journalists. Having that information readily available for them will not only establish credibility, but create a sense of ease when they are in need of information and need it quickly. The journalist will remember you for taking the extra step and helping them out, thus creating a lasting relationship.

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