PPRA Event Recap: How To Make Your Pitch Stand Out in a Crowd(ed) Inbox


By  Jullieanne Cueto

A vital part of public relations is pitching new and creative ideas on behalf of your clients. Though, as PR professionals sending out dozens of pitches a week to only receive a few responses, it can get discouraging. To gain a better understanding on how to improve this ratio I, along with a few colleagues, recently attended a event hosted by the Philadelphia Public Relations Association (PPRA): “How to Make Your Pitch Stand Out in a Crowd(ed) Inbox”.

The event featured an all-star panel of Philly-based journalists: Stephanie Farr of Philadelphia Inquirer/ Philadelphia Daily News, Sharyn Flanagan of USA Today, Jennifer Logue of Metro, and Errin Haines Whack of the Associated Press.  The panel shared tips and tricks on how to get a response back from a reporter.

Here are some key takeaways:media-panel


This first one should be a gimme, but spell the reporter’s name right!  Sharyn and Errin both have different spellings of a common name, and as someone who gets their name spelled wrong frequently…I feel their pain. Take the time to make sure it’s spelled right, otherwise reporters will probably ignore the rest of the email and move on.

Build Relationships

It’s important to build relationships – Jennifer of Metro appreciated meeting the person behind the emails; she would like to see us more involved with community events.  Errin and Sharyn shared similar views and recommended inviting the reporter out for coffee, or in Sharyn’s case any invitation that involved bacon!  In the end, being more personal and having a conversation about things outside of work was appreciated.

Understand How Each Publication Works

Sharyn was very adamant on this; it’s efficient and appreciated to take the time to research the outlet and see what and when topics are covered. For example, print stories for Metro need to be in one month in advance for a feature, so plan accordingly!

Each journalist also talked about what they looked for in a pitch:

Errin, as I’m sure many reporters would agree, mentioned getting to the point as soon as possible. Jennifer and Sharyn stressed that pitches that included hi-res images or the opportunity to capture photos or video caught their attention. Stephanie said to spend some time on the subject lines and treat them as a headline.

Hopefully these tips were helpful, happy pitching!

Jullieanne Cueto is a Public Relations Account Manager at Slice Communications in Philadelphia

Democratic Convention Recap Kicks Off PPRA Program Year


By Adam Dvorin
Vice President for Programs
Philadelphia Public Relations Association

The Philadelphia Public Relations Association officially kicked off its 2016-2017 program year with “How We Made History Together” — a recap of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

The session was a great opportunity to hear from the public relations professionals who served in the trenches in the months leading up to the convention — as well as during the event itself.

The panelists:

Anna Adams-Sarthou, Communications Director, Philadelphia 2016 Host Committee for the Democratic National Convention

Khaila Burke-Green, Communications Manager, Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau

Annie Heckenberger, Social and Digital Director, Philadelphia 2016 Host Committee for the Democratic National Convention

Cara Schneider, Media Relations Director, Visit Philadelphia.

Cari Feiler-Bender, President of Relief Communications, LLC, was moderator.

Among the key takeaways:

  • With so many stakeholders, the need for different entities to coordinate messages was “extremely important,” according to Adams-Sarthou. “It was a priority to ensure that primary stakeholders, particularly those who regularly interacted with press, were on-message and citing the same numbers and information. This helped avoid confusion within the press as well as questions about why some numbers were different from what my team was saying.”
  • “Distributing destination guides to media early-on helped Visit
    Philadelphia shape the non-political coverage,” Schneider said, “which
    we expected, correctly, would be about 15 percent of total coverage. We had a
    full slate of resources for press which we started handing out in
    April. By comparison, Cleveland (site of the Republican National
    Convention) didn’t offer as many destination resources to media.”
  • Social media, Heckenberger said, provided a way for everyday Philadelphians to feel a part of the Convention — even though the actual event was off-limits to those without credentials: “Social and Digital was how we told the community about the events that were available to the public, and encouraged them to participate. And, we wanted convention visitors to see as much of Philly as possible – eat at our restaurants, shop at our retailers, visit our attractions – social was a huge part of that activation.”
  • The convention also succeeded beyond mainstream media coverage, Burke-Green said. “The meeting planner media world is much smaller than general consumer publications, but extremely important to us. We tracked more than 30 DNC stories in these publications between May of last year and the August this year.”

The PPRA Program Series continues  Wed., Oct. 19 with “How to Be Brave on Social Media,” a breakfast event at the University City Science Center, 3711 Market St.
For more information, visit www.ppra.net

Adam Dvorin is Director, Media Relations
Winning Strategies

Five Reasons You Don’t Want to Miss PPRA’s Networking 101

ONE Even as outgoing communications people, networking can be TERRIFYING. Start in a spearssafe place!

One day you are going to find yourself at a networking event where you don’t know anyone, everyone is older than you, and they have all been in the business for years. Or at least…that is what it will feel like…

These events are overwhelming at first and you’ll definitely want more networking experience before you find yourself in that position. Networking 101 with PPRA is a networking event FOR YOU. It is geared towards college students so they can learn more about how to network and then do so with the many supportive professionals attending.

TWO While peer connections are invaluable, your network needs to consist suitofexperienced players, too.

The connections you make with fellow classmates, school club members, and even roommates can lead to incredible things. However, you and your peers are essentially at the same experience level. It’s important to connect with professionals who have not only been where you’ve been, but have also surpassed that place.

Knowing these kinds of people, like keynote speaker Justin Pizzi, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Saxby’s Coffee, can help you understand what your next steps need to be to reach your goals. It can also help you down the line if someone you met through networking, like at the speed session, knows another professional at your dream job!

THREE You’ll learn what you’ve been doing right, and what you’re “not-so-hot” at…oh

Professionals say you should have business cards everywhere you go. It’s true. They can be simple with just your name, industry of interest, and contact information. The fact that you have one will be impressive enough!

However, just because you have business cards doesn’t mean you are good to go. Take it from this PPRA member…

“I was going to my first networking event with business cards in tow. I knew it was important and I was proud of myself for getting them. However…once I got there, I realized that despite my preparedness, I still had a lot of work to do. Most of the people there floated effortlessly from person to person, spending just the right amount of time with each other and then casually trading cards.

I, on the other hand, was not so graceful. I either spent too much time with one person, letting them know more than they needed or wanted to know about me, or too little time, leaving them wondering why I even bothered to speak with them in the first place. Having my business card meant nothing because most of the time I was too afraid to bring it up and give it to someone.

This might seem like a networking horror story, but it really wasn’t. I learned so much about myself that night. I was an organized person, ready to dive in. These are great traits for this field. I found that having your supplies ready and being eager isn’t enough and I needed to work on my networking skills. I only wish I’d known about Networking 101 when I was in school.”

FOUR It’s the best bang for your buck!!

parksAs you move forward in your career, you’ll find many professional events and networking opportunities can be rather expensive. When you’re making a salary (at your dream job we discussed earlier) that might be okay, but as a student, these events can empty your wallet.

Because Networking 101 is made for college students, it’s only $15! That includes hearing from a keynote speaker, networking with peers and professionals, and refreshments! You’d spend that much for lunch on campus! So pack your lunch and get registered today!

FIVE You will come out of the event as a more confident professional ready to take on the communications world.bey

Practice and experience are key to becoming a great networker. You may leave Networking 101 finding out things you wish you were better at, but you’re also going to recognize things you rock at, meet a ton of new people, get your name out there, and learn from the best of the best.

You’ll be feeling super excited for the next step in your career. Maybe you will rush home to update your resume/LinkedIn. Perhaps you’ll sign up for another networking or PPRA event. Consider asking one of your new connections to go to coffee for some mentoring. Heck, maybe you need to get back to your dorm to study and ace your Comm. Theory exam the next day. No matter what, you’ll be confident and motivated to move forward!

Networking 101
Thursday, Oct. 13
Saxbys Headquarters
2300 Chestnut St., Suite 310
Philadelphia, PA
$15 registration

5:45 – 6 p.m. Registration and Refreshments
6 – 7 p.m. Keynote Presentation
7 – 8 p.m. Speed Networking

About Networking 101

Four out of five jobs are secured through networking, according to a recent study. Indeed, what you know can help you succeed on the job, but who you know can help you get your foot in the door. But how can you practice networking in a way that is authentic and effective? Find out at PPRA’s annual Networking 101 event for college students and young professionals!

The evening features keynote remarks from Justin Pizzi, vice president of sales and marketing at Saxbys Coffee. Come hear how networking helped Pizzi transition from college student to a major market television reporter to his current role as an executive for a growing consumer brand. Learn how you, too, can network to success!

Following the discussion and Q&A session, put your new knowledge to the test during a speed networking opportunity with professionals from a broad cross-section of the communications industry, including agency, healthcare, sports & entertainment, non-profit, and more.

Attendees will even have the opportunity to win raffle prizes, including one-on-one informational interviews, shadow days, and other coveted networking opportunities with Philadelphia-area communications professionals.

Keynote Speaker

  • Justin Pizzi, Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Saxbys Coffee

Speed Networking

  • Ashley Berke, Penn Vet
  • Tyler Cameron, Slice Communications
  • Christina Cassidy, Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau
  • Kathryn Conda, Bancroft
  • Kathleen Conlon, Independence Blue Cross
  • Meredith Fitzgerald, Comcast
  • Darrah Foster, Anne Klein Communications Group
  • Jenea Robinson, Visit Philadelphia
  • Diana Torralvo, NBC 10/Telemundo 62
  • Meredith Wertz, Comcast

Contact Information:
Denise Downing
Registration Information:
Deadline: Thursday, Oct. 13

Cancellations are accepted in writing by Oct. 11. No Refunds after Oct. 11. No-shows will be billed.


#PPRAMemberMonday: Jaime Martorana

Twitter: @jaimemartorana
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jaimemartorana
PPRA member since 2016

PPRA: Jaime, tell us about your background and your current job.

JM: I joined the Philadelphia Marathon team not long after graduating from Temple University in 2015. And, with the Office of the City Representative, I am currently working on communications and marketing. It’s a small communications team so I’m lucky enough to have a hand in many aspects from media relations and advertising to event logistics and more! In this role, I handle social media, marketing initiatives and media relations for the city-owned and operated, nationally ranked race. While at Temple, I was an active member of the PRSSA chapter, serving on the executive board for three years. I also worked for Temple’s first and only student run PR firm, PRowl Public Relations, as assistant firm director. I recently joined PPRA and serve as the Mentorship Program chairperson. If you’re in the market for a mentor, please let me know!

PPRA: What is the favorite part about your job?

JM: Completing a marathon is usually a huge milestone in someone’s life. It’s amazing to be a small part of that experience and help this event be the best it can possibly be.

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

JM: Recently, I’ve been planning partnership events with local running clubs as a way for the Philadelphia Marathon to get more involved in the running community. We’ve received wonderful reactions from runners who love that we are taking time to talk to them and listen to their feedback one-on-one. It may not be the most grand accomplishment, but it’s experiences like those reinforce why I love PR and events.

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

JM: Always be willing to meet new people and expand your network. You never know when a contact may have an opportunity or a beneficial connection!

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

JM: Harry Potter, I could reread or re-watch any one of the series a million times.

PPRA: What’s your favorite spot in Philly?

JM: Philadelphia Museum of Art- the artwork, the architecture, the view. You can’t beat it!

PPRA: How do you take your cheesesteak?

JM: American cheese and fried onions. Is it un-Philadelphian to say I hate Whiz?

Why is Measuring What We Do Still a Challenge?

by Tina McCorkindale, Ph.D.

Measurement, measurement, measurement. This term still plagues our industry, and is often in the spotlight as one of the areas where our profession needs improvement. Twenty-five years ago, under the leadership of Jack Felton, the Institute for Public Relations formed the Measurement Commission to help address issues and offer research support for measurement and related topics. This Commission still provides research and thought leadership, as frustrations with the current state of measurement continues to grow.

Earlier this year, the University of Southern California and The Holmes Report* released the results of a global survey that found reach (68%), impressions (65%), and content analysis of articles (64%) were the most frequently used measurement and evaluation metrics. Unfortunately, 30% also reported advertising value equivalency was still used (I won’t address the serious methodological issues with this as it has been addressed many times by other articles and posts). As evidenced by the results, our industry still has a lot of work to do.

First, the metrics we use, or suggest as gold standards, are largely focused on the media. While this does give a partial picture, it does not give us a complete one. Working with and monitoring media, both traditional and social, are only a small part of what we do. Also, many individuals do not publish their thoughts or opinions on social media, especially internal audiences. Our industry focuses on media measurement to the exclusion of other methods such as surveys, experiments, and even predictive modeling made possible by the increased access to big data.

Next, when we do focus on the media, we give in to what Gary Sheffer, an IPR Trustee and former CCO of GE, calls “success theater,” where we pat ourselves on the back for earning unrealistic metrics (if you ever have seen a report where a limited program in a segmented geographic market earns billions of impressions, you know what I’m talking about). When we offer these unrealistic metrics, we set ourselves up for failure, as we are always trying to raise this bar of inaccuracy higher.

Finally, our industry throws around the buzz term “insights,” using it interchangeably with “data” and “metrics.” While some research experts think the term “research” is outdated and “insights” may be a better term, I still think research is a good approach. The research process is important. The ability to do research allows us to see the big picture and to create appropriate methodologies for collecting data. The data and findings allow insights to be generated. Measurement is the ability to quantify data or streamline qualitative data. Data, though, are not insights. Insights are an extra step in the process where the data is interpreted and application to the business is made that may have not been made otherwise.

And we can’t forget the importance of non-numbers – qualitative findings are extremely helpful as well. Pairing a focus group or interviews with surveys is helpful to glean insights and can answer some of the “why” questions that quantitative methods may not be able to answer. However, relying on smaller samples as the gospel with qualitative research can create problems with generalizations.

What is missing from the “Where are we now?” conversation about data, measurement, and insights, is the real purpose of what we are trying to do. Our purpose should not be to try to prove the value of our profession or worth compared to other organizational departments. That should not be the focus. Rather, we should use these tools to make adjustments, do a better job, and help us to set benchmarks for our goals and objectives. Research and insights should save time and money, and help support our decisions by also narrowing options and pinpointing issues. Somewhere, we have fallen off the path of purpose in regards to measurement, and with a little help, we can straighten ourselves and head back in the right direction.

Tina McCorkindale, Ph.D., is the President and CEO of the Institute for Public Relations. Formerly, she was a university professor and research analyst. Follow her on Twitter @tmccorkindale. This originally appeared on www.instituteforpr.org the website of The Institute for Public Relations.