ComPRehension

Professional development and training blog of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)
March 25, 2014

Pitching Challenging Brands


PRSA On-Demand WebinarPitching Challenging Brands: Surround Your Clients’ Key Messaging With High-Demand Editorial Themes.

How can you catch an editor’s attention, and craft your brand’s story in a way that will generate more earned media placement opportunities? Hear several case studies that reveal how PR pros have positioned their clients’ key messaging with high-demand editorial themes to enhance their pitches and garner more organic media impressions.

Available until March 12, 2015 .


Many thanks to the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) for providing the opportunity to present a webinar on “Pitching Challenging Brands.” My colleagues and I (Ellen LaNicca, senior vice president of PadillaCRT, and Susanne Vielhauer, sales director of Family Features) shared our thoughts on garnering media coverage for brands that may be perceived as being mundane, legally or socially challenging, or otherwise challenged by existing consumer perceptions.

Constructing pitches that resonate with editors is increasingly difficult as PR pros have to compete with a changing media landscape.

Here’s a sobering fact: The Pew Research Center reports a 30 percent decline in newsroom staff from 2000–2012.

This shortage of media staffing combined with the increased demands of the 24/7 news cycle, the public’s appetite for sensational stories, and burgeoning competition, result in fewer opportunities to get your messages placed in print and broadcast media.

The good news?

Editors and producers continue to find value in pitches that educate, excite, entertain and engage their audiences. Research shows that the majority of editors prefer to receive pitches by email, so take the time to craft a great subject line and succinctly convey the compelling nature of your story.

Our webinar illustrated a variety of tactics and case histories designed to resonate with editors and their audiences. A few takeaways:

  • Add research to your pitch to “own the issue.”
  • Find a complementary partner to increase exposure and share the cost of the program.
  • Be relevant and align with key issues or a seasonal theme.
  • Connect with a celebrity or a technical resource to enhance credibility and expertise.
  • Fill a critical need for the consumer — providing tips and how-to information.
  • Be a little unpredictable, funny and challenge conventional wisdom.
  • Create your own news and capitalize on opportunities — perfect for social media.

We also included videos in our presentation (including this hilarious rebuttal from Bodyform that’s a must-see!).

An archive of the webinar is available online from PRSA’s on-demand library, or feel free to contact me at bagnes@familyfeatures.com for a copy of the material.

We also have some great new research conducted by the University of Missouri’s journalism department on syndicated content that revealed nearly two-thirds of newspapers are utilizing syndicated content, and more than half find it important to their operations. Syndicated content allows brands to subtly integrate their marketing messages in an editorial format, and drive organic placement in print and online. We’ve collected some best-of-class examples of syndicated content that address new product intros, novel partnerships and seasonally-themed content ideas. We’re happy to share the results of these case histories and welcome your feedback.

Brian Agnes is president of Family Features Editorial Syndicate — a leading producer and distributor of food and lifestyle content for the media. Prior to joining Family Features, Agnes worked at Primedia Business Magazines & Media in sales and marketing management positions, and as vice president. His publications were recipients of multiple Neal Awards for Editorial Excellence.

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