Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The New Republic: Have we confused viral with consequence?

Posted by Greg Matusky
I got schooled last night. Bloomberg’s Charlie Rose was interviewing Leon Wieseltier, the former literary editor of The New Republic, the liberal journal of arts and culture. I had only followed TNR’s implosion from a distance, intrigued by its owner, Chris Hughes, whose net worth hangs at about $1 billion thanks to having been a Harvard roommate of Mark Zuckerberg and helping him to co-found Facebook.

This winter, Hughes faced a newsroom mutiny when most of his staff writers, including Wieseltier, resigned in protest rather than accept Hughes’ plan to transform the 100-year old journal into something more akin to an online technology publication with more audio, video, graphics, and revenue generated by snappier, shorter articles attended by clickable headlines.

Friday, March 20, 2015

How to land a story in Popular Mechanics

Posted by Mike Lizun
Every tech company wants and needs exposure to win customers, sell products, and distinguish itself from the competition. But what does it take to land a tech-related story in the national media? 

Photo (CC-BY-2.0) Keoni Cabral on Flickr.
I’ve been interviewing some of the nation’s top tech editors about that very topic and will be sharing their insights with you over the next few months. 

We start with Alexander George, Associate Editor for Popular Mechanics. Popular Mechanics commands great respect and readership, including a circulation of 1.2 million early-adopter, influential readers who can make or break the success of the newest tech products.

Here’s his perspective on how to win the attention of Popular Mechanics and earn coverage for your technology product.

Mike Lizun: What catches your eye when you’re looking for a story?

Alexander George: When you're going through hundreds of pitches each day, especially about new products, a really compelling image or video always helps. Besides, especially for a magazine like mine, a story has to include a photo or illustration, and if it's a great one, that's how you get a reader's attention.

Writers whose pitches we take often have a savvy time-specific element. A friend who did one on acoustics at outdoor concert venues for a summer issue of Wired was a great idea.

If there's a way to add something prescriptive to a story, to give some lucid, actionable advice, that's always appealing, too. You can talk about those concert acoustics, but there needs to be an element where you can tell readers whether they should go see their favorite band inside or outside.

It's basic but bears repeating: The story has to fit the magazine. Our magazine is trying new things now, so I don't mean there's a mold, but when I see the idea or I'm coming up with one, I need to think that this story is a Popular Mechanics story, not a Wired or IEEE Spectrum story. That comes down to the angle, as well. We did a watch guide for the March issue, and some of it could've fit in a typical men's magazine, but we focused on the engineering and design history.

Thanks, Alexander. Check back soon for more insights into what the top tech reporters and editors are looking for and how to tell your story so it can’t be ignored. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Chip Kelly might know football, but he sure doesn’t know PR

Posted by Greg Matusky
Rarely do I address local issues here on Gregarious, but what’s happening now in Philadelphia is just too rich to ignore.

As coach Chip Kelly deconstructs our beloved Philadelphia Eagles, he is making any number of classic communications errors. Whether ridding the team of some of the NFL’s finest talent -- LeSean McCoy, Jeremy Maclin, and, dating back to last year, DeSean Jackson -- will work or not, he has bungled the story to such a degree as to undermine his long-term relationship with many of the team's most valuable constituencies, including sponsors, advertisers, and, of critical importance, us (ME!) the fans.

I believe his bungling has been so egregious that I am willing to predict that his actions of the past week and his communications failures will doom Kelly to a short tenure in the City of Brotherly Love. We are a loyal but tough sports town. We stick by our teams, even bad teams, but in return, we expect to be treated with some modicum of respect, spoken to openly and honestly, and let in on the master plan.

Chip has done none of this. His missteps read like a roadmap for how any organization should never handle a reputation management issue, including:

Failure to build rapport with the press corps in advance and use those relationships to effect 

When Jeff Lurie bought the Eagles, Gregory FCA represented the new owner in the transaction. From the outset, both camps, buyer and seller, were extremely respectful to local reporters, building a hierarchy of influencers warranting special attention. It paid off. Lurie was received as a savior to Philadelphia, even though he had grown up in Boston as a Patriot’s fan. Building and cultivating relationships is one way any organization can leverage the media to help extend a narrative in a time of need.

Monday, March 9, 2015

What goes on at a top Philadelphia PR agency: From the eyes of a junior staffer

Posted by
I started off at Gregory FCA, as so many do, as an intern the summer before my senior year of college. My experience during the summer was incredible as I gained real-world experience working on a wide variety of projects, interacting with clients, and learning the tools of the trade and how the industry works from a team of extraordinary professionals. My hard work paid off, and I was lucky enough to be asked back upon my graduation to begin my career at one of the top agencies in the country.

But I know many hopeful interns and potential job-seekers never see those kinds of opportunities, at least not right out of the gate. For those looking to get their start in PR, how do you tell a top PR firm from a dud? What should you look for to make sure your internship or first job is a slingshot into a successful PR career?

Here I am, nine months after my official full-time start date reflecting on the experiences I’ve had as both an intern and a full-timer, and I’ve narrowed down four key questions you can ask yourself to identify the best PR firms to work for. No one question should veto your decision, but if a firm hits all four, you know you've found a great place to start a career. 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Netanyahu’s Image Soars; Obama to Blame

Posted by Greg Matusky
The results of a sentiment study performed by Gregory FCA show that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu significantly improved his image and reputation with the American public after speaking before Congress this week. 

The study, which was conducted by Gregory FCA using Sysomos, a leading social analytic and online monitoring platform, found that positive sentiment for Netanyahu increased by an astounding 16 percentage points, while negative sentiment toward the Israeli Prime Minister decreased 6 percentage points following his speech. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

Why Science is Losing the PR War and What Needs to be Done

Posted by Greg Matusky

The anti-vaxers movement represents a deadly new attack in the war on science. This time, it’s being waged disproportionally by the left, among an affluent, well-educated army of science deniers, spurred on by Jim Carrey, Jenny McCarthy, Bill Maher, and a slew of other Hollywood celebrities. They are particularly dangerous in that they can’t be dismissed as simply misinformed, uneducated, fundamentalist fueled or some bizarre pronouncement from Chris Christie. Rather, they use their own intelligence as the very rationale for their stance. After all, if they, the self-appointed intelligentsia, believe the story, it has to be true.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

How brands can intercept the Super Bowl – one tweet at a time

Posted by Mike Lizun
The big game is just a few days away. Football fans are hoping for a game that isn’t over in the first half. Casual fans will tune in for the other big show, the commercials. And PR teams are refreshing social feeds in search of a trend to newsjack.

Wait, to what? If you haven’t heard of newsjacking, it’s the art of inserting your own idea or brand into current events, trending topics, or the most talked-about stories.

And some of the best examples of newsjacking occur during Super Bowl frenzy. This shouldn’t be surprising. Football’s biggest game is one of the most-watched TV events of the year, with more than 110 million viewers in 2014. Twitter, Facebook, and every other social network will produce an avalanche of comments and opportunities for content around the event’s most memorable moments.
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