Media Relations

Nothing gets our juices flowing in the AHA PR office more than the opportunity to pitch media and bloggers. Coming up with the right idea that will get a journalist or blogger to learn more about a client’s organization or their product or service takes more effort than most people outside of PR realize. It is part art, part science and part magic – I think.

While we still believe that there is value in a news release, more and more these days, we find ourselves developing pitches for a specific journalist or blogger. We write the pitch as if we were writing it for an editor – with stats, facts and why this story idea is relevant to the readership or audience of that journalist. It is an interesting process and one that takes the effort of several of the AHA crew. We put the pitch through its paces, reviewing it through the eyes of a busy journalist who receives a lot of pitches in a day. We look at it with the “who cares” lens – and ask why anyone would care about this information?  If we can’t confidently explain who would care and why – the pitch needs to be reworked. And if we keep hitting the who cares phase and we can’t get past it – sometimes, we need to go back and speak with our client about taking a different angle or, perhaps, coming to terms with the fact that while this information is of value to a specific audience relevant to their organization, that it may not be of value to a larger, more public audience.

Ragan.com has a great piece written by tech journalist David Pogue of the New York Times. We’re big fans of Pogue’s work – not only does he know his stuff, he is a genuinely nice guy and he’s really funny. (Several years ago, he was a speaker at the Ragan Social Media Conference and there was a technical glitch with his presentation. Pogue sat down at the grand piano on the stage and performed a fun, lively little number taking a poke at communicators and reporters for us while the challenges were being fixed.)

In this piece Pogue shows two pitches that got his attention. Getting the attention of the New York Times tech journalist is a pretty great thing – this is worth a read.

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There is an interesting post on how B2B PR will fail in 2010 on Ragan.com. It’s worth a read for several reasons – not the least of which is the list it provides on what type of content will be important for us to do our work.

At our Vancouver PR agency (and in every city that AHA is in), content has always been important. The stories that we tell on behalf of our clients are at the heart of what we do – we share relevant, authentic and interesting information. We engage, connect and actively listen – not just to what we think will be said, but we pay attention to what is being said. That, however is a blog post for another day.

More and more we, at AHA, find ourselves working with clients to develop their stories, to help them to tell those stores and to distribute them using technology. (Understanding, of course, where the target community lives – either online or offline.) We also work to encourage and facilitate the conversation between our client’s organization and the stakeholder group.

Great content can be found in blogs, in infographics (the incredible charts and graphs that can now be created), in customer stories and testimonials, in podcasts and videocasts, in games and on mobile apps, on Facebook and Twitter, in stats, in produced video or audio programs, on websites, in speeches, in e-newsletters and even in songs.

It is important to understand the community or stakeholders that your organization wants to connect with and it is equally important to appreciate how they want to participate in the conversation.

AHA has a crew of exceptional communicators – talented writers and editors, producers and project managers. We are focused on creating engaging, authentic, relevant content for our clients. It has to fit in within the overall strategic objectives. It has to be current, smart and interesting – whether that means funny, informative or creative.

Content is important – and we know it.

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