Lewis Public Relations works with media professionals every day, and we value the relationships we’ve built along the way. In today’s “Meet the Media,” I’d like to introduce you to Jessica Golden, a field producer covering sports business at CNBC. Jessica and I worked together on piece featuring Topgolf at last month’s PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando.
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After nearly 10 years in public relations, I’ve seen my fair share of grand opening and ribbon cutting events. Giant scissors, mayoral proclamations, radio remotes, free samples…you know the drill. While it all sounds pretty simple, a well-executed grand opening event can be a very effective way to introduce a new brand, business or location to the neighborhood. The results can be even better when you get a little creative, which is exactly what the ALON/7-Eleven team did for a grand opening in Rio Rancho, N.M., last week. Since the new store was unlike any convenience store location the company had ever built, the grand opening had to be just as special.
How did we help make it special?
My day started off at the store at 5 a.m. sampling some new products and preparing goodie bags with fresh treats for the local media. ALON ordered these chocolate covered waffle cone cups straight out of Beverly Hills to help launch the store’s new coffee bar. DELICIOUS.
Then, I visited local morning shows to drop off samples and spread the word about our grand opening activities. Thanks to the KOB Good Day New Mexico team for letting me hang out at the studio for a while!
We also did a few live shots from the store with KRQE reporter David Romero.
But, the fun really started when customers began packing the store and the parking lot to try out new products, enter to win free gas prizes and visit our special guest, five-time Super Bowl Champion Charles Haley.
The event was a ton of fun, but the best part is that thousands of customers came in to check out the new store during opening weekend. That’s the true measure of success.
Today is the 45th anniversary of Earth Day. While everyone generally agrees in doing their part to help protect the environment, sometimes only the big companies with entire departments devoted to sustainability get to show off their good deeds. Here at Lewis Public Relations, we do a lot of little things to help with our fair share. We’re glad to have companies on our client roster that share this commitment. We’re happier still to help celebrate their accomplishments in this area. McKinstry, a national firm specializing in consulting, construction, energy and facility services, celebrated a big win with the completion of their second environmental phase of the Corpus Christi Energy Efficiency Conservation Project. Through water conservation, lighting and other efficiency efforts in 76 different buildings, McKinstry was able to reduce Corpus Christi’s carbon emissions by an estimated 6.6 million pounds and almost 43,000 kWh annually. To put that in perspective, that's equal to 827 acres of trees being planted or 581 cars removed from the road.
On Tuesday, the City of Corpus Christi was presented a refund check for $87,071.20 for its continued commitment to energy efficiency with the help of McKinstry’s work. Through the Energy Efficiency Conservation Project, Corpus Christi was eligible to participate in AEP’s Texas CitySmart Program, which helps municipalities save energy and money by providing no-cost facility improvement recommendations, and implemented through CLEAResult.
We’re glad to support clients that positively impact local communities, producing big results while also supporting green initiatives in the state and across the country. This was a big win for the City of Corpus Christi and a big win for McKinstry!
You can see coverage - pitched by the LPR team - of the check presentation from the Corpus Christi Caller-Times here: http://bit.ly/1OFZ36o and from the Nueces County Record Star here: http://bit.ly/1HgKSWu.
More information on McKinstry's other projects in Texas may be found here: http://bit.ly/1OC30uE.
(Photos credits: American Museum of Natural History and City of Corpus Christi)
This week was fun week for us here at Lewis Public Relations. As a part of our relationship with Prolanthropy, we get to work with professional athletes who give back to North Texas communities. On Monday, we generated great media turnout at Cook Children’s Medical Center for a donation from the Andy and Jordan Dalton Foundation. Former TCU, now-Cincinnati Bengals Quarterback Andy Dalton and his wife, Jordan, work through their Foundation during the off-season to raise money to provide the children and families with video games and iPads. As they “pass it forward,” their hope is that the kids will find a distraction in these and have a fun way to pass the time during treatments and hospital stays. It was great to see Andy and Jordan bring smiles to these kids and their families.
Before the donation of “Andy & Jordan’s Hub,” we worked to promote ticket sales and coverage of the Foundation’s fundraiser, “Fiesta & Goal,” through earned media. On Wednesday night at Joe T. Garcia’s in Fort Worth, the Foundation hosted 225 guests and media at the event.
Andy and Jordan are doing great things here in the DFW community, as well as back home in Cincinnati. We were glad to partner with them to help make these events a success.
Check out some of our favorite coverage from WFAA’s Joe Trahan here: http://bit.ly/1HheOhS. Also, a big thanks to Mac Engel with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for spreading the word about the event: http://bit.ly/1Hzv3dl.
Photos courtesy of the Andy & Jordan Dalton Foundation.
Preparing to be interviewed by a North American journalist in the United States or Canada? While the top source of interview preparation material is still past media coverage, today’s journalists are getting a jump on their executive interviewees by studying their social media profiles.
Like millions of other Americans, I tune in each February to the Academy Awards - arguably our country's biggest soiree to celebrate art and culture. Rarely have I seen the movies that are nominated, but I enjoy watching ostentatious fashion come to life and pop culture's biggest stars walk the red carpet.
What I didn't expect this year, though, was the many ways celebrities used public relations best practices to raise awareness for inequality, suicide, debilitating diseases and other social issues.
Before stepping out of a limo and onto the red carpet, Reese Witherspoon shared posts on Twitter and Instagram encouraging reporters to #AskHerMore. The social media campaign prompts journalists to ask women substantive questions - and encourages fans to share suggestions for interview topics in real time. At the end of just the red carpet parade, the hashtag was trending in the U.S. with more than 27,000 tweets.
Speeches by prominent actors, directors and screenwriters also thrust causes onto the national stage. Many opted to apportion part of their allotted 60 seconds to raise awareness. While none can dig deep into the intricacies of these causes in under a minute, a captive audience is one way to ensure your message is heard.
Of course, the art can speak volumes for causes, too. Some of the year's most celebrated films addressed social issues of veterans' affairs, racial equality, early-onset Alzheimer's and ALS. In today's age of 140-character messages, a two- to three-hour movie dedicates infinitely more time to the intricacies and complicated facets of these causes. When it comes to awareness, you just can't replace in-depth explanation.
So, what are the measurable results for these causes in the days, weeks and months following the Oscars buzz? Only time will tell. But the Academy Awards as a social megaphone? I think PR-savvy celebrities will be sure that's a trend that continues.
HMA Public Relations, our PRGN affiliate and friends in Phoenix, Ariz., have a great blog series they call "Media Mondays." This week's featured newsy is Keven Ann Willey, editorial page editor at The Dallas Morning News.
Well, 2014 has come and (almost) gone… Can you believe it? When thinking back on the biggest news stories of the year, I found that 2014 was pretty good for public relations.
Before my internship with LPR, I’ve only ever attended an event as a guest. In the few charity events I’ve been to (or, really, seen on TV), everything seemed so coordinated and effortless. People smiled for cameras, guests of honor spoke without nerves and everyone was focused on the benefiting charity.
After working my first charity event, the DeMarco Murray Foundation’s Celebrity Waiter Night, I’ve come to realize that all of those things do happen – but not without a lot of behind-the-scenes work. Here are my two big takeaways: how an event like that is put on, and why we did it.
My role leading up to Celebrity Waiter Night was pitching the event to Dallas-area bloggers, where I gained firsthand experience inviting them to attend and following up for both participation and coverage.
On the day of the event, I staffed the celebrity room. (Pretty cool for this sports-loving Dallas girl!) Some things were out of our control, like DeMarco Murray being stuck in traffic when CBS needed to film their live shot. A lot of things, however, were in our control, like maintaining consistent communication between the media and celebrity rooms about when the next item on the agenda was happening.
But the biggest challenge of the evening, I realized, was finding the balance between accommodating the players, guests and media.
The players – the celebrities of the evening – needed time to eat before they began serving the guests and wanted to enjoy the night with their dates just as much as the guests of the event. Meanwhile, the media wanted every possible photo op and detail of what happened, which is why they were invited.
It was important for me and the rest of the team to remain sensitive to everyone’s wants and to try and cater to those wants as best we could.
Although a few portions of the evening didn’t flow as smoothly as we’d hoped, we had to keep two things in mind: the players and media arepeople, too, and there was a cause behind every hectic moment.
When the timing of things didn’t happen the way we wanted, it was important to keep sight of the vision and purpose behind what we were doing.
The planning, arranging, organizing, scheduling, inviting, publicizing, calling, emailing, set-up and implementation of weeks of preparing was all for one group of people: the Dallas-area youth who would receive educational help and resources thanks to DeMarco’s foundation.
Professional athletes, especially football players, haven’t had the best publicity the past few months. This event came at a crucial time for the NFL’s reputation. Thanks to the media who attended the event, members of the Dallas community had the opportunity to see the players they cheered for, sometimes even idolized, doing good for their hometown.
And, no matter the size of my role, I was a part of helping them do good. To me, that makes my first celebrity event a success.
It can take a lot of time and energy to create new relationships with the media (or anyone else, for that matter). You have to do your homework, network, reach out and follow up until you either make a connection or move on. But, what’s the best way to move forward once you’ve captured their attention? Here are a few steps you can take to strengthen and maintain mutually beneficial relationships with the media. Make the Most of the First Meeting
With any type of relationship, the initial meeting is arguably the most important.
Preparation is key.
Make sure your client or colleague is fully briefed on the media outlet, the reporter and the particular subject matter they want to cover. Create a list of potential questions and review them with your client in advance to make sure he or she is comfortable and ready for anything.
Likewise, talk with reporters to find out what topics they’re interested in covering and give them as much information as possible up front. Making their lives a little easier is a great way to earn points and providing them with information can help steer the conversation.
Lastly, pay attention to the logistical details. For example, if you’ve secured a briefing at a major conference, it’s a good idea to reserve a meeting room that gives the reporter and your client a quiet place to chat. If you have visuals to show, but can’t meet in person, set up an online meeting instead of a regular conference call.
Stay in Touch
After the initial meeting, always follow up to thank reporters for their time and provide additional resources based on the questions and interests they expressed during the conversation.
But, don’t stop there. Continue to cultivate the relationship by following the reporter’s coverage areas, sharing relevant story ideas, providing updates on client news, and staying in touch via email, phone or social media.
Remember, your client is a subject matter expert, so look for opportunities for them to provide commentary on current events or serve as a resource for a story. Sometimes all it takes is a quick check of a publication’s editorial calendar and an email to get back on the radar.
Give and Take…and Give Some More
Relationships are two-way streets. When it comes to maintaining good relationships with the media, it’s not always about you and your client. If a reporter is coming to you for help, they’re usually under a tight deadline. Respond quickly and help if you can.
Even if you can’t always deliver (and there will be times when you can’t), making a concerted effort to help reporters not only preserves relationships, but speaks volumes for your clients, your agency and the PR profession overall.
Getting your foot in the door is only the first step. Know your audience, stay in touch regularly and be available when they need you. In the PR profession, relationships are created every day, but the professionals who tend to be the most successful are able to take new relationships and grow them into something truly great.
A new report from the Dallas Business Journal has ranked Lewis Public Relations as one of the top largest PR firms in North Texas. Out of the hundreds of PR firms in the Dallas area, we’re thrilled to earn a spot as number 21 on the list.