McFlop? Nope—Burger King’s snubbed PR stunt still kinda worked

 
mcwhopper, mcdonalds, burger king, burger, sandwich, fast food, peace day

When Burger King ran a series of full-page ads in the The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune proposing that McDonald’s team up with them on Peace Day for the “McWhopper”, its playful offering of the olive branch didn’t go so well.

McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook served up a too-cool-for-school open letter on Facebook (“A simple phone call will do next time”) with a side of shame: “Let’s acknowledge that between us there is simply a friendly business competition and certainly not the unequaled circumstances of the real pain and suffering of war.”

BK’s elaborate proposal boiled down to a simple concept — a one-day-only pop-up restaurant with all profits going to the charity Peace One Day — and Burger King had already designed everything right down to the packaging and hashtag #settlethebeef. But McDonald’s refused to bite.

People called out the chain for being grumps—and just as swiftly, other brands attempted to insert themselves into the dialogue with “peace burgers.” Disillusioned fast food fans made heartbreaking DIY attempts. Nothing worked—McDonald’s wouldn’t budge. Instead, they promised a more “meaningful global effort” but so far, no word on what that plan entails.

But one thing their little exchange did accomplish? Lots of media attention.

Using MediaMiser software, we tracked news coverage from the day of the proposal (August 26) to August 28. During that time, McDonald’s received 2,180 mentions in articles—slightly more than Burger King, which pulled in 2,083. For both brands, approximately 80 percent of brand mentions first occurred in the headline.

For context, from a total of 2,216 articles tracked from May 7 – August 28, 91 per cent of McDonald’s mentions occurred in our three-day sample.

It seems both sides got a boost in coverage, but had McDonald’s accepted the invite, maybe the stunt could have netted an even bigger media circus? Could those likeability points have helped out sales as McDonald’s stumbles its way through a landscape of changing (read: healthier) consumer tastes? Could it have been a momentary break from headlines about a company in trouble–with the narrative getting so bad that McDonald’s recently decided to make its monthly sales reports private?

Tim Carman of The Washington Post says there are a few ways to view this one: as an insincere effort to raise a competitor’s profile at the expense of the market leader, ie. McDonald’s, or as Burger King’s genuine “attempt at a corporate allegory”.

Maybe McDonald’s resented being painted into a corner on a public stage — after all, the two could have collaborated on the project behind the scenes instead — but their CEO didn’t consider optics: marketing ploy or not, how will this make us look if we say no?

Andrew Collins, CEO of Mailman Group, says that Burger King has shown it’s more in tune with the millennial audience by bringing its proposal out for public debate. McDonald’s could have sparked a massive social media discussion by saying “Great idea, we love it. But it’s not our decision, let the people decide #McWhopper”, but instead brought down a corporate iron fist.

Lost opportunity? There’s no way to know for sure, but with zero investment and a substantial number of headlines, perhaps Easterbrook’s next memo to the kind folks at Burger King should be a thank you card.

Posted in Industry - Food and beverage, Industry – PR and Marketing, Media Analysis, News Analysis, Public Relations, Social Media | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The future of media content curation

 
news, newspaper, online news, search optimization, search engine

The media content curation workflow is central to a MediaMiser Enterprise user. Every day, our media analysts are required to select a handful of relevant media items buried in the enormous amount of online and traditional content. Productivity is key and content relevancy is king.

The current approach to efficient content curation mostly relies on keyword based-filtering. Basically, we punch keywords in a full text search engine using boolean expressions such as “macaroni AND NOT cheese”.

But could media monitoring also leverage collaborative filtering?

I recently stumbled upon a blog post about how The New York Times built their recommendation engine. The analogy to content curation is very strong, in my opinion. The selections that a media monitoring professional makes on a daily basis can certainly be framed into a mixture of topic modeling and collaborative filtering.

The New York Times recommendation engine

So, you’ve been reading The New York Times for years, maybe more recently on your tablet, phone and computer. The New York Times is and always has been your favourite newspaper for the best articles and content. But don’t you find it frustrating to sift through articles that are irrelevant to you so that you can find the ones you are most interested in? Thankfully, The New York Times is making use of a recommendation engine based on Collaborative Topic Modeling so you see relevant and recommended articles first.

Collaborative Topic Modeling is a mixture of textual information retrieval and collaborative filtering. The New York Times has been hard at work creating a clever algorithm whereby it analyzes the articles you have read in the past 30 days. Based on article keyword tags, the algorithm will recommend articles which it believes will interest you. This is bound to succeed because if, for example, you read 15 articles with the tag “Trump”, you will likely want to read similar articles in the future.

This recommendation engine works well in most cases and can be a really great approach. However, keyword context changes and word frequency can quite often lead to an incorrect relevance score.

This is where collaborative filtering kicks in: if other people are actively reading the same news you are interested in, then you will likely be interested in other news they read.

A savant mix of the two approaches was the key to creating a powerful recommendation engine at The New York Times.

Collaborative media monitoring

At the end of the day, we are always looking for ways to lower the cost of media monitoring to our clients while increasing the quality and relevancy of their daily briefs.

How can we leverage and benefit from the content curation work performed by multiple analysts? Could analysts working in different accounts in the same industry benefit from collaborative filtering? Or could we look at media items shared by thought leaders and influencers in one client account and recommend them to other analysts?

The future of media content curation should not be limited to boolean expressions and keyword matching. It would benefit from a collaborative approach.

 

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Twitter, Meet the US Open

 
us open, tennis, sports,

Though it doesn’t have the ad power of the Super Bowl, and doesn’t attract the gamblers among us as much as March Madness, don’t cry for the US Open; it gets its fair share of attention.

Starting Monday, August 31st in Flushing Meadows, New York, the fourth major on tennis’s calendar always manages to up the drama, producing over the years some of the sport’s greatest matches. This year is shaping up to be no different ━ with Serena Williams vying to become the first woman since Steffi Graf in ’88 to win all four majors in a year, and the top-heavy men’s bracket promising some epic bouts ━ and the talk on Twitter is ramping up in anticipation.

tennis

MediaMiser analyzed 43,000 tweets to see who you the people are talking about…and the results just might surprise you (but only if you don’t know who Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic are).

Here, then, is the Twitter share of voice of the top ranked players in the world going into the 135th US Open:

tennis

tennis2

If Twitter mentions are anything to go by ━ and if they aren’t then what is the internet even for ━ we might be in for some history in the coming weeks, with Serena the seeming favourite to take the women’s tournament. On the men’s side, the breakdown is a little less startling, but Mr. Djokovic nevertheless looks poised to win his third major of the year.

MediaMiser will continue to monitor #USOpen tweets until the tournament’s end on September 13. Who knows? Maybe Ms. Suárez Navarro makes a comeback.

 

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Branding lesson from Donald Trump: disruption is the new innovation

 
Trump, Donald Trump, elections, marketing, PR, US elections,

Question: Why has Donald Trump, at least until this point, done so well in Republican Party polling?

Answer: It’s because he’s disrupted the landscape, whether it be by gliding down an escalator with his former model wife while blasting Neil Young, uttering his ridiculous comments about Mexican immigrants, berating Fox News personality Megyn Kelly, having his legendary hair, being on brand with his fleet of “Make America Great” hats or having a willingness to tell other Republicans where to stick it—and the list goes on.

More than anything, Trump has been disruptive because his lack of institutional respect for the traditional political process has allowed him to deliver his message, whether you agree with it or not, to its intended audience—the disillusioned American voter.

And the parallels are vast between what Trump is doing and what brands and organizations can and must do in order to accomplish their goals through strategic marketing communications.

Indeed, one could argue that “disruption” is the new innovation.

Consider that truly disruptive initiatives redefine everyday life, as many technologies are doing now, from how we socialize to how we consume media to how we make purchases. Disruption has reduced the friction of interactions and opened up opportunities like never before.

Banking and financial services—historically a commoditized space—have been disrupted by platforms such as the Square payment system and peer-to-peer digital payment technologies that even Facebook recently adopted.

Early on, Red Bull understood that a new generation didn’t want to just “have a Coke and a smile.” Rather, the brand knew its audience was mobile, active and adventuresome. It knew today’s young Americans want less watching and more doing. They don’t want to sit around and play cards, but rather, they want to race down a muddy slope and swim across icy waters.

Why is disruption so important? Because upright mammals have never been surrounded by so much clutter, which makes it harder than ever to deliver a message and achieve a goal. Think about it: We have information (such as billboards, text messaging, social platforms, email, IMs, carrier pigeons, sandwich boards and geotargeting) barreling down our throats at every corner, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

It’s why, when we concept strategic initiatives for clients, disruption is where we begin. We can’t simply rely on block and tackle tactics such as the highly inefficient notion of writing two news releases per month or advertising on “Days of Our Lives.” And the results have proven out as the disruptors are the ones who are winning.

One campaign we created for H&R Block drove the tax authority’s highest number of tax returns in history because it was ridiculous and stood out from the blah that it has traditionally used. We put U.S.-based crop forecaster Lanworth on the map by telling its story relative to the movie “Trading Places,” leading to its purchase by Thomson-Reuters; and we helped drive 30 percent year-over-year online sales for Charter Communications for three years because we came up with fresh idea after fresh idea.

That’s disruption, and done effectively, disruption leads to very real business results.

So next time you’re sitting around your office wearing comfortable slacks, sipping your civet coffee and concepting what to do next for a client, ask yourself if the ideas on the whiteboard are truly disruptive before you waste your client’s time.

Guest contributor Aaron Perlut is the Founding Partner of Elasticity.

Posted in Industry – Government and Politics, Industry – PR and Marketing, Media Analysis, Public Relations, Relationship Building | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Amazing Race Canada, Season 3 Ep. 8: ‘There’s no crying in yoga’

amazing race, amazing race canada

 

***Spoiler Alert***

When it comes to reality TV, the cast is generally in on the joke: they know there’s an expectation to ramp up the emotions and produce epic one-liners that will keep us tuning in.

In turn, Twitter takes the joke and runs with it—sometimes in the form of its own one-liners—as we saw in this week’s trending hashtag for Amazing Race Canada #NamasteStrongBrent.

It all started when contestants travelled from Saskatchewan to Vancouver, to Tokyo, enroute to Kolkata, India — formerly known as Calcutta.

During filming in Kolkata, the country was suffering through a horrible heatwave—even by India’s standards—so contestants were pushed to their limits.

In the sweltering heat, contestants had to perform tasks, such as assembling a garland of flowers in the Mallick Ghat Flower Market, finding an idol, delivering goods by rickshaw, or performing yoga.

In the case of Brent & Sean Sweeney, their difficulty with yoga poses caused Brent’s emotions to get the better of him.

In fact, the number one tweeted and retweeted clip was of Brent crying.

I have attempted yoga a few times and I’ll admit it is really though. I was warned that for some people, a lot gets released—from gas to tears—so I felt a bit sorry for the guy. Stats show I wasn’t the only one: most people on Twitter were sympathetic. In fact, the hashtag #NamasteStrongBrent was tweeted 86 times and the yoga segment helped propel Brent and Sean to become the most mentioned contestants during the episode. But not everyone was so compassionate. @Janilez tweeted that “there’s no crying in yoga,” a reference to the 1992 movie, A League of Their Own.

Yes, sometimes at MediaMiser, we come across a good chuckle in our day-to-day media analysis.

The episode focused heavily on the ancient practice, with contestants visiting a statue of Swami Vivekananda, the person most credit for introducing yoga to the Western world.

Yoga references represented 74.3 per cent of social media activity in context of roadblocks or tasks. This is not surprising. According to Statistics Canada, the popularity of yoga has been growing steadily.

The number one yoga brand, Lululemon, happens to be Canadian and not surprisingly, Yoga is most popular in our country.

So how can data like this be leveraged? Numbers resulting from media analysis might interest brands like Lululemon, Prana, Shakti and Fabletics as they look for spontaneous PR and marketing opportunities.


By the numbers

Twitter activity compared to last week’s episode: Down 43.7%

Top Twitter activity during the episode:

Social media activity by city

Toronto Ontario Canada (GTA) 28.9%
Winnipeg Manitoba Canada 10.2%
Sudbury Ontario Canada 5.5%
Edmonton Alberta Canada 4.7%
Hamilton Ontario Canada 3.9%
Barrie Ontario Canada 3.1%
Halifax Nova Scotia Canada 3.1%
London Ontario Canada 3.1%
Ottawa Ontario Canada 3.1%
Calgary Alberta Canada 2.3%
Brandon Manitoba Canada 1.6%
Manitoba Canada 1.6%
Montreal Quebec Canada 1.6%
Sarnia Ontario Canada 1.6%
Vancouver British Columbia Canada 1.6%
Other 22.7%

 

Contestants’ Share of Voice

1. Brent & Sean Sweeney 25.3%
2. Nick Foti & Matt Giunta 24.3%
3. Jesse & Gino Montani 20.9%
4. Dujean Williams & Leilani Ross 12.5% (Winners)
5. Brian & Cynthia Boyd 11.1% (Eliminated)
6. Simi & Ope Fagbongbe 5.9%

MediaMiser actively blogs about Amazing Race Canada, and leverages MediaMiser Enterprise to compile analysis on the show.

Posted in Amazing Race Canada, Media Analysis, Start-ups | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Twitter weighs in on Jose Bautista’s Sportsnet boycott

BlueJays SportsNet GotStyle Jose Bautista Boycott

 

The Toronto Blue Jays are on a tidy little run these days, having won 21 times over their last 26 games, and look destined to get back to the postseason for the first time since winning the World Series in ’93.

But while the boys in the locker room are playing like family, on August 26 the Toronto Star revealed that for the past three months a little animosity has been simmering between Jose Bautista, the team’s all-star right fielder, and Sportsnet, its official broadcaster. Contrary to perceptions, all has not been completely copacetic in JaysLand.

Some background:

On May 19, Sportsnet aired a six-and-a-half-minute segment featuring Jays rookie Devon Travis buying a suit (a cobalt blue Ted Baker, FYI) from upmarket Toronto fashion retailer GotStyle. When Bautista learned that Sportsnet ━ whose idea it was to go shopping in the first place ━ had not ponied up for the suit but rather had let Travis foot the bill, he took it upon himself to stick up for his teammate and promptly went into protest mode: @JoeyBats19 was going to refuse one-on-one interviews with the broadcaster until Travis was reimbursed.

The interview strike ended on August 26, having lasted 99 days. But when the story first broke that morning and the details of the feud were made public, Twitter, as it always does, really weighed in. And public opinion was heavily in favour of Mr. Bautista.

The Twitterverse also turned its ire toward @GotStyle, and the hashtag #payforthesuit started popping up with frequency.

Though to be fair, GotStyle did have its defenders.

While we don’t know exactly how the conflict was resolved, as neither Bautista nor Sportsnet have come forward to elaborate, we do know that GotStyle received a pretty plum bit of exposure with the segment. The entire ordeal has thus raised some compelling questions about where journalism ends and advertising begins.

As inevitably happens on Twitter, sides were taken, one calling for either Sportsnet or GotStyle to #payforthesuit, the other defending them, mostly claiming that paying for the suit would compromise the journalistic integrity of the broadcaster.

Herein lies the issue: is that which, by all intents and purposes, appears to be an ad covered under the saintly cloak of journalism simply because it was produced by a news outlet?

The original Toronto Star article quotes Janice Tibbetts, a journalism instructor at Ottawa’s Carleton University, as believing that yes, it is. Ms. Tibbetts feels that if Sportsnet were to pay for the suit, there might arise “an ethical conflict…some threat to journalistic independence.” She argues were Sportsnet to ‘buy the Baker’, it might give the impression of there existing “too cozy a relationship” between the station and the team. (But many people following this story find that argument amusing, as both entities share the same owner, Rogers. Yes, the waters swirling around this debate are sufficiently muddy.)

Twitter pundits, though well versed in the philosophical underpinnings of journalism they may not be, we’re not buying the integrity defence, dismissing it based on the opinion that…

 

Media consumption has never been higher. People want immediate and interactive information,  and outlets feel the pressure to produce. The new media landscape has thus blurred the lines between what has always been known as traditional journalism ━ where information is gathered, facts are researched, and stories are carefully and objectively crafted, edited, and delivered ━ and that which simply gets clicks, views, shares.

The nature of journalism is changing for good, but not everyone is convinced it is for thegood. As long as journalism and advertising continue to blend though, there is no doubt that we will hear plenty from those on both sides of the debate.

Posted in Industry – Sports & Entertainment, Media Analysis | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

10 free tools to help with all aspects of your PR efforts

marketing tools, PR tools, computer, laptop, website,

Sometimes when you’re first starting out, finding the right tools to implement effective public relations and communications strategies can be difficult—especially if you’re strapped for cash.

Below is a list of free tools and resources that you can use in all aspects of your PR efforts:

  1. Buffer

    www.buffer.com

    In order to implement any great social media strategy, scheduling is key. Scheduling not only allows you to focus on other areas of your communications outreach, but also ensures that should you be tight for time, you’re constantly in touch with your audience.

    Buffer offers a free version of their service, but this can be quite limited for companies who want to ramp-up their social media efforts. For $10/month you can upgrade to the Awesome plan which lets you connect up to 10 different social accounts and schedule up to 100 posts!

  1. Bit.ly

    www.bit.ly

    When it comes to communications, metrics are extremely important. Shortened URLs allow you to track the status of your link, regardless of the medium with which you choose to share it. Bit.ly offers a free version of their service that allows you to shorten URLs and review valuable information associated with them.

    You can even integrate your bit.ly account with Buffer so that all of your links are automatically shortened!

  1. MailChimp

    www.mailchimp.com

    Maintaining multiple touch points with your audience helps ensure that your product, service or brand is always top-of-mind. Email marketing is a great way to keep your clients, customers and prospects in the loop about new content, news or promotions your company may be sharing. MailChimp’s visual editor is one of the easiest to use, and ensures that your content is always mobile-friendly.

    MailChimp has a free service that allows you to send up to 12,000 emails to 2,000 subscribers each month.

  1. Bitrix 24

    www.bitrix24.com

    All communications strategies require some level of project management. Britix 24 is a little-known project management software that allows you and your team to track time on projects, delegate tasks, communicate in a social forum, and provides your company with it’s own intranet portal.

    Bitrix 24 is free for up to 12 employees and offers 5gb of online storage.

  1. Google Analytics

    www.google.com/analytics/

    Solid metrics are both the foundation and stepping-stones of a good communications plan. Metrics allow your business to understand which outreach efforts are working, which are the most effective, and pinpoint which areas need improvement.

    Google analytics is the best tool for tracking visits on your website, as well as acquisitions you’ve obtained through other channels, such as social media. Best of all it’s completely free.

  1. Canva

    www.canva.com

    Visual elements on social media, as well as your website, have been proven to drive engagement. Now, thanks to Canva, you don’t need to be a graphic designer to produce beautiful graphics to accompany your content marketing efforts. Choose from a number of templates and fonts, and import your own images!

  1. IFTTT

    ifttt.com

    Advertisers, Marketers and Public Relations professionals are always fighting against time: sometimes there just isn’t enough of it. That’s where automation comes in handy. If This Than Than (IFTTT) helps these professionals automate different aspects of their social media efforts; from sending a direct message to a new follower, to automatically retweeting a tweet with specific keywords, automation helps drive engagement and frees up valuable time.

    Be careful, though—Too much automation makes you look like you’re a spam bot!

  1. Commun.it

    www.commun.it

    Commun.it is a Twitter management tool with a specific focus on relationship management. The simple dashboard gives key information as to who your influencers are, who you should be following, who you should unfollow, and what type of content resonates well with your audience.

  1. Hubspot CRM

    www.hubspot.com/crm/

    Now you may be engaging with your audience, but are you keep tracking of who you’re engaging with, or who might be a valuable lead or prime for a sale? Hubspot, a renowned inbound marketing software company and experts, has recently released a CRM system that is completely free. It allows you to track your prospects in one easy, convenient place and track emails through it’s Sidekick email add-on.

  1. Zapier

    www.zapier.com

    Remember who we said some level of automation is great? Well Zapier makes it easier to transfer information from one system to another. For example, if a potential lead clicks a link in an email you’ve sent through MailChimp, you can have it automatically add that lead into your CRM, and vice-versa.

    The free version of this Godsend allows you to set-up 5 zaps, with 100 tasks a month. This number may be good for a smaller company, but larger companies that require more automation may opt for a paid plan.

Posted in Industry – PR and Marketing, Social Media, Start-ups, Trends | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

UK readers demand free news online—but expect content creators to be paid

 
journalist, journalism, newspaper, laptop, writing, author

New research brings a critical media-consumption dilemma to the forefront—according to a new study from open journalism platform The News Hub, consumers in the UK want their online news to be free at the point of consumption, and they expect journalists to be rewarded for the great content they create.

The survey, conducted by polling expert Toluna, found near-unanimous support for online news to be free, with 96% agreeing there should be no charges to access news websites. Four people in five (80%) also agreed that journalists should be paid for great content they produce.

Despite journalists contending with newspaper closures and cutbacks, consumers of news are optimistic about the impact of technology and the Internet on the news industry. Nearly three quarters (73%) of respondents agreed the unprecedented number of ways to access, consume and create news heralded a ‘golden age’ for journalism and journalists.

“Around the world, traditional news organizations are grappling with the challenge of making online news profitable,” said William Stolerman, founder of The News Hub, in a news release. “Some publishers have put up paywalls with varying degrees of success; others hope online advertising will meet the prohibitive cost of running news teams. We firmly believe this is an exciting time for the news industry.”

The survey was conducted for The News Hub by Toluna using its innovative QuickSurveys platform. A representative sample of 1,005 UK adults aged 18+ took part in the online survey from August 21 to August 23, 2015.

Source: Business Wire; edited by Richard Carufel

Posted in Industry – PR and Marketing, Public Relations, Relationship Building, Social Media | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The key elements of a press kit

 
press kit, media kit, media release, press release, media, news, journalism,  journalist

If you’re a business owner, you know getting media attention can be a struggle — once reporters bite, you’ve got to make it easy for them to give you coverage.

If you want to be featured in the press, you have to give media the tools. The press kit is designed to make life easy for anyone who is interested in promoting your company. Also known as the media kit, it is a concise document — typically housed on your website — which contains a clear outline of who you are, marketing materials, resources, and information about your brand.

When engaging in media outreach, you will be referring reporters, bloggers, or whoever is interested in promoting you to this document.

So what are the key elements of a professional press kit?

Your story: This is where you introduce your company and discuss why you got started, why do you do what you do, what purpose you serve, and what differentiates you from the rest. Describe your services or products. Keep it short and sweet and try your best to highlight whatever it is about your company that’s unique or interesting (read: newsworthy).

Fast facts: Provide a cheat sheet of quick facts so reporters don’t have to dig. How many customers have you served? How long have your doors been open? Where are you located? Where are your products made? What are your social media stats or blog numbers? Feel free to list some of your more notable clients too. These facts will not only reflect well on you, but will ensure that journalists are relaying accurate information to their readers.

High-res branding images: High-quality branding images will make it easy for content publishers to incorporate your logo. Offer one with a transparent background and ensure that it is 360 dpi so it is suitable for print as well. It’s also a good idea to include a download option for the raw version.

Who’s who: Talk about your team. Why are they experts? What experience do they bring to your business? How and why did they get involved? Putting faces to your brand keeps it personal.

Press samples: What media outlets have already featured your organization? Don’t dredge up every article that’s ever been written about you — put the spotlight on a few of the better-known publications and use pull quotes with links to the original pieces.

Contact info & social links: List the full name and email of whoever handles your media requests and provide links to your brand’s most active social networks.

If your company offers services, you can also incorporate packages and rates as well as testimonials — and it is always a good idea to list awards or FAQs.

There are no set ‘rules’ and every company’s press kit will be different; what you include and how you make it available (PDF or its own subdomain) is up to you.

The monetary and time investment in creating a press kit may be off-putting, but long term, it will add legitimacy to your business and increase your likelihood of actually landing in the press.

Posted in Industry – PR and Marketing, Public Relations, Social Media, Traditional Media | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Media relations: PR still needs to adapt to the Digital Age

 
media, social media, PR, marketing, media pitch, news release

The reality of PR today is that while the media has changed from a print mechanism to a mobile multimedia environment, PR remains stuck in the 20th century. As consumers, we want our news on demand, and in turn demand that credible journalists give it to us immediately. And not just written stories—video, audio, live feeds, you name it. We’d also prefer it digested into cool headlines, in 140 characters, in 6-second vines and matching quizzes. Now, journalists need all these tools of the trade and more. And how do PR pros reach them?

Phone and email. Maybe a tweet.

Is it working? Sources say, no.

  • According to the social newsroom network Babbler, reporters delete 75% of pitches from unknown publicists and from wire service press releases—without ever opening them.
  • The Financial Times reports that there are 5 PR pros for every 1 U.S. journalist
  • A Forbes reporter can work on five stories/day—writing 2, editing 2 for colleagues and researching a feature story.
  • Thanks to caller ID, an unwanted call to a reporter can get you blocked and deleted, almost instantly. Bye-bye exclusive.

Your pitch—no matter how targeted—is an interruption.

While massive media databases have greatly helped the industry in identifying journalists, our media lists have grown from a little black book of key contacts to 1000 person databases. The result? PR pros carpet-bomb their lists instead of making each pitch relevant and timely for the media cycle. And although there are great media monitoring systems in the market, we’re still training our PR people to pester reporters and editors to find out that critical publication date. And in the end, we’re destroying the very relationships with journalists that we’re trying to build.

The advent of inbound marketing has taught savvy marketers that “pulling” in customers with killer content is not only the way to achieve sales success, but it creates educated and loyal customers in the process. Most importantly, it puts the customer in the driver’s seat—getting and choosing the content they want when they want it.

Unfortunately, PR is still functioning like a “push” mechanism – and as a result we’re perceived as pushy, instead of persistently helpful in generating news.

What media relations needs today is a social platform that allows journalists to get the full story in one location—all the clips, photos, content, sources and 1:1 communication. That’s why we invented Babbler. We wanted to create a platform that would become the dashboard of the PR industry. One that that reporters would check daily—like Twitter. To find breaking news on the brands they cover and also plan out future stories—with sources and content—weeks in advance. A true 2-way platform that starts with the journalists’ needs and then teaches PR pros how to give it to them—when they need it, how they need it. So rather than blindly sending the same pitch to 100’s a blind list of recipients, when YouTube Vloggers want links, bloggers want tons of images and the print press want copy.

After talking to the biggest agencies and brands in the world, we designed Babbler as:

  • The first real-time media relations platform for the digital age.
  • The only opt-in network that lets media and PR pros instantly share news, content and messages in a single platform.
  • A platform that specifically matches brands with the reporters who need their news.
  • A one stop shop for PR and media pros.
  • The only 2-way communication platform for reporters and PR pros.
  • A platform that makes all content, images, releases and contacts shareable.

PR today demands real-time, personalized connects between PR pros and journalists. If we can’t do that, we’ll see not only a further erosion of our media relationships, but a rise in the already astronomical churn levels on account teams and in PR departments. PR Daily reported that our industry saw a 55% turnover rate in 2013. And unhappy employees lead to unhappy clients and executives. According to the Bedford Group, client/agency tenure has shrunk from more than seven years to less than three years.

In PR, we serve two masters: 1. the reporters and bloggers and 2. the clients or executives who invest our efforts. For the latter, we need to show the fruits of our efforts—the hits, but also reporter interest in downloads, feedback, conversations and the means to analyze and report on those interactions. In the 21st century PR world, our clients—internal or external—will demand total transparency, not to mention a solid ROI on that investment.

Today, agencies including Golin, and brands like Lenovo, Canon, Salvatore Ferragamo are using Babbler as the centerpiece to communicate with reporters and with each other. The most surprising result is that agencies who talk to their prospects about their use of Babbler report a significantly higher rate of closing new business. Babbler has become the secret sauce, helping agencies be seen as at the cutting edge of media relations, and generating the results to back it up.

Guest contributor Hannah Oiknine is the CEO & Co-Founder of Babbler, the first real-time media relations platform for the digital age. Used by more than 250 brands and 30+ agencies worldwide, Babbler is the only opt-in network that lets media and PR pros instantly share news, content and messages in a single platform.

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