#PPRAMEMBERMONDAY: Bev Volpe

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Bev Volpe is a Partner at Snap2 Marketing/PR. Bev has been a PPRA member for 20 years!. She serves on PPRA’s programming committee.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Snap2MarketingandPR/

Twitter: @BevSnap2

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/beverly-volpe-26949613/

PPRA: Bev, tell us a bit about your background and your current job.

BV: My greatest role model was my grandfather–a painting contractor, an artist and a great storyteller–so I grew up with a paintbrush in one hand and a book in another. I guess you can say creativity is in my genes. My career has spanned the corporate world (DuPont and PNC) non-profits (Prince Music Theater and the Pennsylvania Ballet) and several agencies. Today, I’m honoring my grandfather’s legacy as a small business owner, and it’s thrilling to use everything I’ve learned throughout my career for clients: strategic planning, digital marketing, branding, events, and of course, PR!

PPRA: Who are your clients and/or what projects are you working on right now?

BV: My biggest client is a fast-growing company that outsources HR; my business partner and I serve as their outsourced marketing department. Right now, we are working on a B2B campaign around sexual harassment in the workplace.

PPRA: What is your favorite part about your job?

BV: I love being my own boss and hearing from other women (including my daughter Joanna, who is a PPRA member) that they see me as a role model. I’m fortunate to have a great business partner who is a talented designer, a successful entrepreneur, and a wonderful person. As for PPRA, it’s a group where I get to mentor young professionals — one of my most favorite activities.

PPRA: What was your latest & greatest accomplishment at your job?

BV: (1) Leading change management communications as Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery County consolidated with its Delaware County neighbor. The campaign included a listening tour with stakeholders, key messaging, direct mail, infographics and new architecture, copy and design for their website (2) Writing Select Greater Philadelphia’s Regional Report which tells companies why they should choose our region as their home (3) Positioning the HR company’s CEO as a thought leader with a 3-page feature in his industry’s magazine

PPRA: What one piece of advice would you give to your fellow PR pros?

BV: Be curious and be optimistic. We are storytellers, and everyone has a story to tell. The fun part of the job is to find the gem of the story. Ask lots of questions, listen carefully to clients, find what intrigues you, and then craft the story so artfully that everyone has to listen.

PPRA: What book or movie could you read or watch again and again?

BV: A history buff, I could read Gone With the Wind over and over. The epic sweep of the story, the very human characters, and Scarlett’s optimism and resilience all resonate with me.

PPRA: What’s your favorite spot in Philly (museum, park, store, etc.)?

BV: That’s a toss-up: the banks of the Schuylkill River near the Fairmount Water Works for the serenity, the people watching, the history and the skyline views; Citizen’s Bank Park (go Phillies!); and The Barnes.

PPRA: How do you take your cheesesteak?

BV: Sorry, I don’t eat cheesesteaks. But give me Philly soft pretzels with spicy mustard any day!

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Harness the Exclusive

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By SPRYTE Communications
SPRYTE is a seasoned team of healthcare communications pros who leverage institutional and agency healthcare experience for their clients. SPRYTE is led by CEO Lisa Simon, a PPRA Hall of Fame inductee in 2010.

A Scoop Can Yield Results

When planning an earned media campaign for your organization, keep in mind the power of the exclusive. It can be used to forge a relationship with a reporter, or strengthen an existing one. And in our experience it might increase the odds of your news or story getting published or aired if the media outlet knows it is the only or first one who has the information.

At SPRYTE, we’ve cultivated many terrific relationships with healthcare writers both locally and in key trade publications and blogs. So when we have a strong story pitch or a timely news announcement for a client, one of the first things we ask ourselves is “Is there a key reporter we can offer this to as an exclusive?”

Usually, the answer will be obvious: that journalist whose outlet is most local or most relevant to the client. Other times, we’ll offer it to a friendly writer who previously covered the client. They might be one and the same, or they might be different.

A Laughing Matter: Nitrous Oxide

A recent example came when our client, a regional health system, became the first in the area to offer nitrous-oxide, aka laughing gas, to mothers laboring in the delivery room. Ni-Ox is a game-changer, as patients can personally control the flow of gas during active labor, and is completely safe for mother and child. It also hasn’t become widespread yet, so we knew there’d be interest.

We pitched a story including an in-person interview with the hospital’s director of women’s health, to the Bucks County Courier Times, a nearby daily with a readership that contributes a significant number of the hospital’s expectant mothers. The resulting story got prominent play in the paper’s health section, with multiple photos, and noted our client’s focus on giving patients more choices in their care.

But we were far from done. We then pitched the story to the Philadelphia Business Journal, the area’s most important business publication. As they don’t compete directly with the daily newspaper, we felt comfortable again offering it “exclusively.” That story ran three weeks after the other one.

And we are currently working with one of the local network affiliates on a story, which when it comes to fruition will be a local TV exclusive.

Because you’re putting all your marbles in one sack with this approach, it requires some patience, and it’s important to allow some time at the start of a campaign for this window of exclusivity, before going out with your news more broadly. Here are some other things to keep in mind when going this route:

Keep the needs of the media in mind. This might mean deferring to their timeline once you’ve made the offer (this is where the patience comes in).

Exclusive doesn’t mean “only.” Most journalists understand that it simply means they’re getting first crack, but others might follow. And they’re almost always fine with that.

Expand your view of “exclusive.” As we did with the Nitrous-Oxide news, we offered it as a daily newspaper exclusive, a business press exclusive, and a television exclusive. You can also offer an idea as:

  • A trade media exclusive
  • A radio exclusive
  • An online/blog exclusive
  • A local exclusive
  • A national news exclusive

You can even offer these simultaneously, as long as none of the outlets directly competes with one of the others.

Use exclusives strategically. If you offer them to the same reporter over and over, they might lose their luster, and you’re missing an opportunity to build other relationships. Also, there might be times when an exclusive is not appropriate, like when your client has vital or timely information. Examples include tips for protecting yourself during an epidemic, or how the organization is responding to a data breach or cyber-attack.

Keep your word. Once you make an exclusive offer, you are obligated to stand by it and not approach a competing media outlet with the same idea. Violate this at the risk of harming the relationship.

Follow up, but be ready to move on. Contact the journalist once or twice after you offer the exclusive, to gauge interest. If they waffle, or don’t respond, send a final note saying something like “if it’s OK, I’d like to go ahead and offer this idea to another publication as I haven’t heard definitively from you.” Wait one more day, then do it.

The medical exclusive can be a valuable tool when embarking on a campaign. If you manage it properly, it can be a win-win for the reporter and your organization.

Note: PPRA is composed of many distinct organizations and individuals, each with different perspectives and specializations in diverse areas of public relations. Many of these members’ websites feature blogs with valuable insights and advice, and we would like to make this content available to you. Periodically, we will repost content from member blogs. If you would like to see your company’s blog considered, email Amanda.mueller@buchananpr.com.

#PPRAMemberMonday: Hope Horwitz

MemberMonday_HopeHorwitz

Hope Horwitz is Vice President/Partner at Feldscher Horwitz Public Relations. Hope has been a PPRA member for four years and serves on PPRA’s programming committee.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FeldcherHorwitzPR/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/hopehorwitz

PPRA: Hope, tell us a bit about your background and your current job.

HH: PR is in my blood. I grew up in the field as my mother (Sharla Feldscher) took me to her publicity events when I was a kid and to her office when school was closed. As an adult, it turns out I love it! I joined my mother in October 2013 and in early 2017, I officially became her business partner and we changed the company name to include me. Before that, I spent 15 years as an event planner and fundraiser before I met my husband and became a mother of two.

PPRA: Who are your clients and/or what projects are you working on right now?

HH: I mainly work with Spring Hills Senior Communities. They have eight assisted living communities across the country with one in Cherry Hill. They also have five all memory care communities called Poet’s Walk open across the country, three more opening by February 2018 with plans for at least three more. Part of their company is Spring Hills Home Care, Renaissance Home Care in the Bronx and Brooklyn and Renaissance Adult Day Services.

In addition to this, I work with the Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival every year — don’t miss this year’s events culminating in Sakura Sunday, an all day, outdoor festival highlighting Japanese Culture in Fairmount Park. It’s so fun and will be on Sunday, April 15, 2018.

FHPR also works with the Bucks County Playhouse, which is run by four Broadway producers. The shows coming out of the theater are amazing and working with everyone at BCP is a real joy!

In addition to these clients, we work with String Theory Charter School, Rothkoff Law Group, the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra, a jazz band called TJP, as well as Paul Jost and many more!

PPRA: What is your favorite part about your job?

HH: My favorite part of my job is by far the creativity. We are lucky to work with such wonderful people so hearing what’s coming up for them and then brainstorming the ways that we can create publicity, is so fun!

PPRA: What was your latest & greatest accomplishment at your job?

HH: I’ve been working on the Spring Hills account for about three and a half years. Each month, I talk to 13 different Recreation Directors as well as the Executive Directors to find out what’s happening. Some of my proudest accomplishments come from this partnership. Last year Spring Hills Cherry Hill Assisted Living hosted an Olympics discussion in the morning of the opening ceremonies for the 2016 Summer Olympics. Working together, we changed the event into our own Opening Ceremony and games, complete with Olympic Flame (made of paper of course), Katy Perry’s theme song and crowning of the Gold, Silver and Bronze winners. It was such a success! Cyndi Long of NBC covered it, among others, but when the piece was thrown to her from the anchor, it was thrown FROM RIO!

Also for Spring Hills, but for Poet’s Walk Henderson outside of Las Vegas, we had great success when we told the story of an 11 year old boy who volunteers there. We had reporters from their NBC, CBS and FOX affiliates as well as a reporter from the Las Vegas Review Journal come to the community.

PPRA: What one piece of advice would you give to your fellow PR pros?

HH: One piece of advice… I would say to stay open minded, don’t be afraid to share your thoughts and ideas because you never know where they’ll lead, and to be sure to build lasting relationships. Ok, that’s three pieces of advice!

PPRA: What book or movie could you read or watch again and again?

HH: I’ve watched The American President again and again and again. I just love watching them fight to stay true to themselves, actually believe in what they’re doing, be good people and to ultimately find happiness.

PPRA: What’s your favorite spot in Philly (museum, park, store, etc.)?

HH: When I was younger I loved going to Kelly Drive to roller blade or sit and have a picnic. And I loved eating lunch in Rittenhouse Square. I think anything that lets me slow down and people watch makes it high on list.

PPRA: How do you take your cheesesteak?

HH: Whiz wit of course — I’ll add ketchup!

Be PRoactive! PPRA Partners with Tree House Books

By Kellsey Turner and Amanda Michelson, Vault Communications

 

This year PPRA is partnering with Tree House Books as part of the Philly PRoactive program, an initiative that partners PPRA members with nonprofits to support their mission. Keep reading to learn more about this charitable initiative and how you can get involved!

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What is Philly PRoactive?

Established in 2009 by past PPRA president and philanthropist Dr. Bill Cowen, Philly PRoactive helps extend the good work of worthy organizations. Each year a new nonprofit benefits from the support and talent of PPRA’s members. Past partners have included Rock the Future, ChemoClothes and Career Wardrobe.

Tell Me about Tree House Books

Tree House Books is a nonprofit Literacy Center and Giving Library that provides free access to books and literacy programs to children and their families in low-income neighborhoods in Philadelphia.

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How is PPRA Supporting Tree House Books?

To support Tree House Books, PPRA is hosting a book drive that will kick off at the Gold Medal luncheon on Nov. 8, 2017. Gold Medal Attendees are asked to consider donating a book. Throughout November, PPRA will continue collecting book donations from members. The member who collects the most book donations will be rewarded with a prize at the end of the month.

How Can I Help?

After donating yourself, you can extend your good will by hosting a mini book drive in your office or at your agency to contribute to PPRA’s book drive. Email Amanda Michelson (amichelson@vaultcommunications.com) or Kellsey Turner (kturner@vaultcommunications.com) and they’ll provide you with a “Book Drive Kit” for your use, which includes an email template, flyer and other useful tools.

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What Types of Books Are Accepted?

Donations can include new and gently used book donations of all kinds for children and adults. However, Tree House Books is particularly interested in receiving children’s books, especially those that are considered classic books in school settings and African-American literature.

Where Can I Make A Donation?

How to Prepare for a National TV Appearance

By Erin Flynn Jay, Founder, Flynn Media

Erin Jay founded Flynn Media in 2001. The company develops and implements public relations and branding campaigns for small to mid-sized companies in all types of industries. Erin has expertise in successfully obtaining media placements for experts and authors. Her work has been featured in diverse publications including careerbuilder.com, MSN Careers, Brandweek, Costco Connection, Opportunity World, Sales and Marketing Excellence, The New York Enterprise Report and Wealth Manager. Learn more about Flynn Media here.

On AIR

Recently, I booked an author client to appear on a national news program. It was thrilling to view his live segment, and watch him captivate the anchor and audience. Feedback was positive: the anchors and producers thought he did an excellent job and it was a pleasure working with him, the publisher’s marketing person and myself.

Based on over ten years of booking guests to appear on national media, here is my advice for authors or experts who land a national TV appearance:

  1. Make sure your publicist or publisher has sent the booker or producer the talking points you want to cover in the segment. They will refine the questions but this gives them something to work with.
  2. The TV network will send a car to pick you up and drive you to the local studio for the interview. Confirm you have the right time and the right time zone. If the media outlet is based in New York, they will be working in Eastern Time.
  3. Rehearse. You will have a window of less than ten minutes to get your points across and answer the anchor’s questions. Be prepared! The questions will come at you fast, and your answers need to be concise and clear.
  4. Check email the night before. The booker or anchor may have some last minutes questions they need a written response on. Try to send that back to them the night before so you do not have to scramble in the morning to write comments and get dressed.
  5. Get a good night’s rest. Do not stay up too late and eat a nourishing dinner. Do not go out with friends to celebrate. You can have a celebratory drink the next night. Take a bath to relax if you have to. Call a friend if you have some jitters.
  6. Leave your cell phone on. The booker will likely call your cell phone to check in with you before your car pick-up. Let them know you are ready to roll for the morning interview. Call your marketing director or publicist if you need some last minute support before you arrive at the studio.
  7. Relax and enjoy! This is your time to shine in the spotlight. Remember to smile. You have a short amount of time to get your ideas out to the nation, so hit them with your newsworthy viewpoints

 

Note: PPRA is composed of many distinct organizations and individuals, each with different perspectives and specializations in diverse areas of public relations. Many of these members’ websites feature blogs with valuable insights and advice, and we would like to make this content available to you. Periodically, we will repost content from member blogs. If you would like to see your company’s blog considered, email Amanda.mueller@buchananpr.com.