Setting the Record Straight: How to Pitch Denise Nakano

nakano2Whether she is broadcasting from a breaking news scene or anchoring from the studio, viewers of NBC10 News are familiar with Denise Nakano.

Nakano joined NBC10 as a weekend morning anchor in 2003. Twelve years later, she is now one of the Philadelphia-markets most established broadcast journalists. She reports during the week and anchors NBC10 News on weekend evenings.

Prior to joining NBC10, Nakano was a general assignment reporter and substitute anchor at KCPQ in Seattle, Washington.

Recently, Nakano spoke to the Philadelphia Public Relations Association’s Adam Dvorin on her likes and dislikes when working with public relations people.

Have an idea? E-mail Nakano at denise.nakano@nbcuni.com or tweet her at @DeniseNakanoTV.

“The best story idea I ever received from a PR person is one that didn’t come to me through a mass email, but one where we worked together to tell a story.”

Question: What is the biggest thing you look at when considering a story idea?

Answer: Viewer impact is critical to any story we cover. I look to how many people the story will affect, why people should care, and how the viewer would benefit.

In many ways, we are the deliverers of a product. The more people can relate to a news story and benefit from it, the better job we’re doing.

Q: When you open your e-mail to look at a story pitch, how much time do you spend looking at it?

A: The first thing I look at is… does this appear to be a mass email or is it directly addressed to me. I don’t give it a second glance if I feel as if I’m on a long list getting the same pitch.  Even then, email story pitches rarely catch my eye.

Q: Would you consider a story idea from Twitter?  Facebook?  Phone only?

A; I find that I’ve considered more story ideas from Twitter than any of the above. Got a good story pitch? DM me!

Q. What would you advise a PR person avoid doing when pitching you?

A: I’d advise a PR person to avoid sending multiple pitches about the same client, over and over. For example, I frequently get emails about education related stories, but it always involves the same school.  Those go straight to the delete file.

Q. What are the best and worst times to reach out to you?

A: Best time to reach out is anytime by email. Or if the story is breaking, or involves a scoop, contact anytime! Worst time is during a reporter’s “crunch time”. It differs depending on a reporter’s shift, but you won’t get a favorable response reaching out when a reporter is on deadline.

Q: What is the best story idea you ever received from a PR person?

A: One that didn’t come to me through a mass email, but one where we worked together to tell a story.

Q: What other advice would you offer to PR pros?

A: Establish personal relationships with reporters and know each one will want something unique… an element that sets their story apart from the rest.

This post was written by Adam Dvorin. Adam is Media Director of Winning Strategies, a New Jersey-based communications firm.  He is a Membership Co-Chair of Philadelphia Public Relations Association.  He can be reached at @adamdvorin on Twitter.

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Although You’ve Mastered Pitching, Can You Pitch Yourself into a New Role?

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Stories about company mergers or acquisitions are daily news in today’s headlines. Journalists love these stories because they usually have the potential to be juicy. Customers, clients, employees, competitors and stakeholders may be heavily impacted. Plus, these mergers can make for a good story over a lengthy period, anywhere from one month up until a full year until the merger is a done deal.

If your company is suspected to merge or be acquired, remember there will be a long time period of merger talk  internally, eventually an official external announcement, followed by a period of working normally,  while aware of the merger effective date.

After recently living through this series of events, I would like to share my recommendations on how to work smart, pitch yourself successfully and be realistic throughout this merger. Hopefully you will never have a reason to implement these suggestions but just in case you do…

When I first learned about this pending merger, there were a few key steps I took (round one) that helped me make a job move six months later.

Round One

Inform your network
Inform all of your professional contacts with whom you have a positive business relationship that your company is in merger discussions and as a result, you are exploring your options.

Refresh Your Resume
Make it perfect. Ask several people you trust to review it. Mark your calendar consistently to update your resume each month as there will be key responsibilities or projects you may forget later on.

Create Your Target List
Consider what companies you would like to be employed at. Make a list of these companies, noting who you may know there or who you may know who knows someone there (second level connections). Start working these contacts. Ask to meet or speak to them at their convenience, before work, at lunch, after work or even on the phone in evening hours.

Get Pitching!
Craft your homerun pitch and become comfortable with it before launching your network conversations. Where do you want to work? What is the work you want to do? What size company? Where should this company be located? What level should your next role be? Why are you searching? Simple: you are not sure how this merger is going to shake out for you. Write down your final pitch and review it daily. You are now married to your pitch so stick with it.

I took all of these steps initially in June, four months leading up to an October merger. I did not learn my job was being eliminated due to this merger until two months after the merger had occurred. That is why it is key to continue working your network with your new pitch before, during and after the merger. If and when you do learn your role is going to end, you will be well prepared for round two of your search. The better you managed round one, the easier round two will be.

Round Two
Reconnect with the contacts that you initially informed about your pending company merger. Share with them your job status change and that you are on the market. Before reaching out, review their company websites for potential job openings that interest you. Even if none of the current postings are right for you, continue informing them of your new undesirable job status and awesome pitch.

Maximize all of your job leads by consistently following up on each one. Never EVER sit tight thinking that you are guaranteed any particular role until you have received an offer letter.

After landing successfully in your new role, it doesn’t hurt to continue practicing to pitch about your background and future interests (within reason!) to your new colleagues.

Karen Toner is a PPRA member who works in professional services marketing/communications. She recommends reading The @ Hour Job Search by Steve Dalton to ramp up your search.  Karen is happy to assist any fellow PPRA members whose companies may be merging with their search and pitch strategy.

Setting the Record Straight: How to Pitch…Molly Eichel

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“Get to Know Me.  I’m Pretty Nice”

Readers of the Philadelphia Daily News should recognize Molly Eichel as the author of the four-times a week “Philly Gossip” column – a long running staple in the “People Paper.”

Eichel took over the column in 2013 and has been a writer at the Daily News since 2010.  Before that, she was on staff at the City Paper.

Each day, Eichel is tasked with writing six to eight quick newsy nuggets on items that involve well-known Philadelphians (a recent coup: being the first media member to interview WPVI-TV personality Adam Joseph about he and his partner becoming first-time parents).   Many of those ideas originate from smartly-pitched PR pitches.

Eichel recently took time to speak to the Philadelphia Public Relations Association’s Adam Dvorin about her likes/dislikes when working with PR people.

With your ideas, e-mail Eichel at eichelm@phillynews.com

Q: What is the biggest thing you look at when considering a story idea?

A: The story needs to fit my beat. I have a pretty broad beat but I get so many off-beat pitches. As a PR person, show me you have a familiarity with what I do for a living and pitch directly to me, don’t just blanket a bunch of journalists and hope I’ll respond.

Q: When you open your e-mail to look at a story pitch, how much time do you spend looking at it?

A: It depends. If it’s a form press release, much less time than if someone takes the time to figure out how their story relates to my column.

Q:  Would you consider a story idea from Twitter?  Facebook?  Phone only?

A: Phone and e-mail. Pitching me on Twitter is a guaranteed way to get me to ignore you.

Q:  What would you advise a PR person avoid doing when pitching you?

A: Come into the pitch with no familiarity of what I do.  My name is very easy to Google.  Read a column.  Get a sense of my voice.  I don’t expect you to be a regular reader, but if you have no idea about what I do, it won’t help you.

Q:  When is the best and worst time to reach out to you with a column idea?

A: Deadline is 6 p.m. if you call me between 5 and 6 for something that’s not urgent, I’ll shuffle you off the phone or tell you to call back the next day. Reach out any time before that.

Q:  What is the best story idea you have ever received from a PR person?

A: One that comes to mind is a celebrity giving money to a local rehab center while he was in town filming a movie.

Q: What other advice would you offer to PR pros?

A: Get to know me! I’m pretty nice and if I know what you do and what you’re about, I can better tailor advice on future pitching.

This post was written by Adam Dvorin. Adam is Media Director of Winning Strategies, a New Jersey-based communications firm.  He is a Membership Co-Chair of Philadelphia Public Relations Association.  He can be reached at @adamdvorin on Twitter.