Posts Tagged ‘PR


Six Ways to Jazz up a Pitch

Journalists are very busy and get thousands of emails a day. So, even very well targeted news pitches can be overlooked. However, how can you break through the clutter and get your pitch read?

Here are a few tips of how to break through by jazzing up your pitch:

  1. Have a great subject line for your email or introductory sentence for your phone pitch. A subject line with six words or less is key.
  2. Pitch your story as a process story. If your content is not particularly interesting, how did you get to that point and is that more interesting? This might be particularly useful for research-based stories. Did you use any unique processes to achieve your results?
  3. Pitch your story to an unorthodox beat. Are you pitching a biking story, how about tying into fashion, food or business related to biking instead of the typical sport beat?
  4. Tie into a tread, and I am not talking about fringe boots here. What IS the media covering and how can you be a part of it? Today, if you have a way to tie into SOPA or PIPA, your chances of getting coverage are greatly increased. Or, how about a story about the ubiquitous Tim Tebow?
  5. Leverage your existing assets. As any good communicator could tell you, half of our jobs are to repurpose and reconfigure old content, coverage and concepts. Do you have a company mascot and a yearly contest? Can you tie the two together in an interesting way?
  6. Make it a multimedia pitch. Use video and photos. Pitch on Twitter and Facebook.

Make your pitch interesting to read, view or listen to, and you just might break through.

Got other ways to jazz up your pitch and break through? We would love to hear your comments – here on The Side Note, @Weise_Ideas on Facebook.



5 Ways to Get the Media to Pick Up Your Story – Part 1 of 3

Please welcome guest blogger, healthcare communications professional Rachel Brand who will bring The Side Note a series of three blogs for the next three weeks on health care public relations.

Do you want to write more compelling press releases and earn more coverage?

You should. Health care is ripe with dramatic medical rescues, fascinating technology, unsung heroes and stirring ethical debates. But these stories often don’t get told. That’s because pr pros are writing leads like this:


The new health insurance plan, authorized by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, is designed to provide coverage to uninsured individuals who have been denied health insurance or been offered only unaffordable options.

Sure, it’s important. But is it interesting? And – will it drive coverage?

1. Lead with the impact

For your next lede, ask yourself out loud, “what does it mean to the man in the green pick-up truck?” You can see him, across the park under the tree, sitting in his rusty forest green truck.

In other words, how does your news benefit, effect or change the lives of real people?

How about:

Thousands of uninsured Americans, desperate for healthcare coverage because they are chronically ill, can now see a doctor thanks to a new federally funded health insurance plan.

But what if your program doesn’t have any direct impact on people, at least not yet? Then…

2. Lead with people

Whether you are promoting a walk to fight cancer, a rally for homelessness, or the appointment of new CEO of your hospital, find a person and tell his or her story. Better, yet, tell the story of an important person in an unusual way.

Typical CEO appointment releases have headlines/first paragraphs like this:


(Anytown, USA) Lawrence Leader, currently the COO of St. Elizabeth’s Regional Hospital, has been appointed CEO of the hospital. He takes over as current CEO Marcy Mercy retires after a long and distinguished career.

But what if you took a half hour to find out Larry’s story?

The results might be:


(Anytown, USA) Larry Leader’s mother, a first-grade schoolteacher in Moline, IL, used to count out coins from her wallet each Saturday morning before grocery shopping. Rarely was there extra to buy candy.

Poor but strong-willed Florence Leader pushed her children to go to college. Larry, the youngest of five, enrolled as an Army medic to pay for it. …

The moral of the story? Writing a compelling press release that leads with the impact or leads with people is a better way to get the media to notice your press release.

(Continued next week)

Rachel Brand is a healthcare communications professional who can teach writing over brown bag lunches at your company. Contact her at rachel (at)


starbucks changes logo: will people notice?

Starbucks recently revealed it’s logo change. The new logo completely drops the name Starbucks Coffee from logo and boils it down to the siren, from the center of the previous logo.

The evolution of the Starbucks logo. The latest drops the name.

My first thought: Starbucks is changing its to reflect its new product or services offerings. This seems to be a valid reason, right? Starbucks does offer more than coffee; pastries, some music cds, etc. so the logo shouldn’t be limiting in the product offerings… but don’t most coffee shops?

My second thought: Is this mark, the siren, as it is now, a strong enough graphic for the company going forward? We all know how Nike dropped the word Nike and only uses the mark, the swoosh, in it’s branding. In the case of Nike though, the swoosh is on the side of the shoe and is a prominent mark that everyone (and I mean everyone) on the Earth know without the name included.

Is the Starbucks mermaid as recognizable? Will people notice this logo with the same fervor as the Nike swoosh? AND, is the mermaid the part of the logo that should have been the new essence of the brand? Yes it’s more interesting than the words, but is it more instantly recognizable or the part of the logo people will be looking for when needing coffee?

Here’s my thought process: I’m not a fan of the siren…no loyalty to the mermaid, that’s all. So making it the primary mark doesn’t resonate with me.  My general rule for logos: the simpler the better. Yes, this logo is simpler, but reducing the logo down to what it is now, doesn’t seem to simplify it because it  is still too busy and has too many parts. This logo, as it stands without the words Starbucks Coffee isn’t as strong as before. Maybe it’s all the loose openings around the logo. It doesn’t seem as tight and solid as its predecessor.

What do you think about the new logo? Will you even know where Starbucks stores are located without the old logo? Will you even notice?

We’d love to hear your ideas, so post a comment on The Side Note Blog, send us a tweet @Weise_Ideas, or find us on Facebook: Weise Communications.

Howard Schultz, Starbucks CEO talks about the new logo.


Social Media Tips and Tricks: Facebook

To continue our series on social media, we’ll talk about some ideas to increase your brand awareness on Facebook.

Fans bring value to your brand. In addition to the digital word-of-mouth marketing, studies show that Facebook fans are more likely to buy a brand’s products than non-fans. So Facebook can be a great way to find your brand’s consumers and market to them directly. Today, more than 45 percent of Facebook’s audience is over the age of 26, so it’s not just for brands trying to market to tweens.

Here are four tips beyond the standard tactics of creating a profile and updating it with content:

  1. Paid advertisements on Facebook can help increase the reach and impact of exclusive offers and campaigns.
  2. See past the number of fans you have and look at your brand’s level of engagement. A fan’s activity on your page will spread throughout their personal network and news feed. And engagement is much more important than simple fan numbers.
  3. Facebook users like short polls and surveys. There are excellent tools that both B-2-B and B-2-C companies can use to encourage participation on the company’s fan page – and you many actually learn something about your fans too.

Let us know if you have any other great ideas to make Facebook work for you and your company, and check out Weise Communications on Facebook.


Social media tips and tricks – getting started

There are a lot of social marketing proponents and statistics creating the image of social media as one of grandeur and greatness. Though this might be a stretch, the fact is that social media is a cornerstone for branding, sales and public relations in today’s world.

Of the Fortune Global 100 companies, 65 percent have Twitter accounts, 54 percent have Facebook fan pages, 50 percent have YouTube channels and 33 percent have corporate blogs.

Social media probably should not be the only place that your company markets itself, but it should be included in your overall strategy. And, success in social media is like success in general – it takes an investment of time, money and effort. Quality outcomes can only come from quality contributions.

One great benefit to online social media is that is highly track-able. You can easily measure the level of engagement and how this translates into increased revenue. So, here are some general tips to keep in mind when beginning your company’s journey into social media:

  1. Learn the lingo and etiquette of the communities. You are more likely to be accepted into a community if you play by the rules,
  2. Entries on all forms of social media need to be short, concise, focused and designed for SEO.
  3. Find your niche and invite participation with your social profiles and take a moment and explore others profiles too.
  4. Don’t give up. The social media may seem overwhelming at first, but with the right tools and strategy, you’ll be a productive member of social media community with a growing presence in time.

In the coming days, we’ll profile tips and tricks for Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Blogs to help you understand why social media is such a powerful marketing tool. So stay tuned!


The All Too Often Forgotten Marketing Rule

The All Too Often Forgotten Marketing Rule: Don’t Forget What Makes Your Hospital Different

Here on The Side Note Blog we write a lot about how and why to implement certain aspects of marketing, advertising and public relations campaigns. We have covered SEO, mobile marketing, social media, outdoor advertising, TV advertising, branding, crisis communication and so on. It should not be forgotten however, that all of your marketing and advertising should never lose focus on what makes your hospital unique. What is the one thing that your hospital can hang its hat on? Is it quality product, service, price, convenience, atmosphere or location? Never lose focus on the one thing that makes your hospital – the reason patients will change doctors to have treatment at your facility. This reason needs to remain a fundamental part of your marketing message.

Take for example a full-service hospital known and recognized by the community for its excellent oncology services that is focused on growing the orthopedic service line. This hospital should write messaging targeted at getting people to remember that a hospital with great oncology services most likely has other world-class services as well – in this case orthopedics. Anchor yourself to your key differentiator whenever possible.

Maybe the thing that you can ride on is your location. Consider a fundamental focus on outdoor and radio advertising and put directional information on every billboard and in every radio ad. Regardless of what the overall message is, never run an ad without information on where the hospital is located.

Maybe the very best thing that your hospital offers is the quality of nursing care. Focus on this. Nurses spend more time with patients that physicians do, so talk about the care of nursing in all areas of your hospital. Use your nurses in your campaigns. Talk about the difference they make every day.

Regardless of the goals of individual campaigns, try to include your distinguishing component. Don’t ever let your audience forget what makes your hospital different from your competitors.


Adidas: The Model for Integrated Social Media Campaigns

As a part of ‘Every Team Needs a Fan’ campaign, Adidas is teaming up with recognizable athletes Reggie Bush, New Orleans Saints; Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic; BJ Upton, Tampa Bay Rays; and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. of NASCAR to engage sports fans across the U.S. for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Adidas is the provider of the World Cup game ball and is extending their awareness at the global event with these four brand ambassadors.

Reggie Bush traveled to South Africa, in addition to conducting interviews with multiple media outlets, he shared a picture (right) on his twitter account with U.S. player Jozy Altidore (also an Adidas athlete) minutes after the U.S. beat Algeria.

Each ambassador is posting Facebook updates, they are tweeting during and between World Cup games. Each one has shot YouTube videos. (Dwight Howard’s is the most entertaining.)  To get people even more engaged, there is a competition for the ambassadors to get the most fans and Dwight Howard is hosting a watch party in Atlanta for one winner that signed up through Facebook.

Here are many of the locations the integrated social media campaign appears:




Individual Websites

Adidas has done an exceptional job of extending their brand presence through athletes they have endorsement deals and having them cross-over into different sports which exposes fans of these other sports to these athletes and Adidas.

BJ Upton’s participation has been limited in this promotion, however he recently became embroiled in controversy and it is possible that Adidas downplayed his role in this campaign.  This shows Adidas flexibility to adjust the campaign on the fly and the flexibility of social media as a marketing tool to enable such adjustments.

Let Weise Communications on Facebook know about the best thoroughly integrated social media campaign you’ve seen.


Lack of Social Media Planning Spells Disaster for Capri Sun

Will Capri Sun recover from the negative press it is receiving about the mysterious growth found in an individual juice pouch purchased from BJ’S Wholesale Club in Homestead, Florida? That remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure, the lack of a social media plan has damaged Capri Sun.

It started on Memorial Day when Melissa Wiegand Brown posted this picture of a globule of gunk extracted from her son’s Capri Sun pouch on her Facebook page. Within hours, the FDA in Orlando was contacted, the picture went viral and the wild speculation began.  The gunk was sent to a lab for testing and it appears the first time Kraft Foods, Capri Sun parent company, got involved was asking for the results from the lab.


After a week of non-response, Kraft issued the following statement, “We recently received word from a consumer about an issue with a Capri Sun pouch. We understand that some of you are concerned. Now that we’ve tested the material, we’ve confirmed it was mold. While unpleasant, it is not a safety issue.”

Finally, Capri Sun has released a well done FAQ on the Kraft Facebook page to address consumer concerns. However, the Capri Sun’s lack of activity has not prevented the story from going mainstream, it appears in today’s Chicago Tribune.

There are four key elements to a social media crisis plan, let’s evaluate where Capri Sun fell short in this crisis for each of these elements.

1.    Build your network before you need your network.
You can’t start social media crisis communications in the middle of a crisis. Capri Sun’s lack of social media planning meant they were seeking people to join their social network instead of communicating with an already established network.

2.    Communicate quickly; acknowledge awareness and accept responsibility.
Capri Sun simply let too much time go by before communicating with the public on the story.  Speculation from human body parts, to animals, to questioning the production locations for Capri Sun were mentioned without response from Capri Sun. Acknowledging the concern as soon as possible, even just to day ‘We are investigating’ would have been a better approach.

3.    Communicate often; provide regular updates to stem the tide of rampant speculation.
Capri Sun allowed too much information to go unchallenged. When the hysterical comments are flowing, someone needs to answer them. It gives the appearance that Capri Sun does not take food safety seriously.

4.    Authenticity matters when speaking to customers, prospects, interested parties and the general public.

Even though they missed the timing, the latest communication from Vinay Sharma, director of Capri Sun Beverages expresses authenticity. “We appreciate that our Facebook community is so engaged and willing to share their point of view. Whenever you have questions about one of our products, it’s important that you’re in the know about what we know. It’s also important that you have the most accurate and up-to-date information from us.”

Capri Sun was only successful with one of the four social media crisis planning keys.  It will be interesting to see the impact on Capri Sun sales and the rehabilitation attempts Kraft implements to repair its image.

In the meantime, I’ll only be drinking 100 percent pure Florida orange juice.

Since we are building our network before we need it, check out Weise Communications on Facebook and “Like” it for future updates and follow us on Twitter.


YouTube Celebrates Five Years

I was in a public relations class in 2006 at the University of Colorado at Boulder when I first heard about YouTube. I was listening to a speaker from Metzger Associates talk about how social media had changed the PR landscape, when a student raised his hand and said, “What do you think about YouTube?” Several in the class knew exactly what this student was talking about but most of us, including the speaker and professor, looked back at him puzzled.

Since then, YouTube has become a household name and billion dollar enterprise. Creating a teen sensation, making household names and providing an outlet for anyone to “broadcast themselves,” YouTube has reached 2 billion daily views.

Although YouTube can be a perpetual time-suck, it does function as a video source, a search engine and an outlet for anyone to become a storyteller. This is the real value of YouTube, it provides a platform to tell the story about your company, your products or yourself. You can post silly videos of your kids to share with grandma, you can capture a breaking story on your cell phone and share a first hand account with the country, or you can tell the 20 something’s out there how to do their hair for their fun night out. With the advents of the Flip camera and affordable video cameras along with editing software truly anyone can become a YouTube star. With such a wide landscape of possibilities the limits of the value of YouTube to you and your company are only limited by what you can imagine.

Here are some of my favorite videos from the past five years of YouTube:

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