Paywall Surge a Fresh Challenge for PR Pros

By Alex Altman With ad revenue plummeting and editorial budgets being slashed, digital publishers are turning over every stone looking for new ways to make money. So, it should come as no surprise that many of them are kicking the tires on paywalls. The Washington Post, New York Times, Chicago Sun-Times, Wired, Vanity Fair and Financial Times are just a few of the publications that have introduced paywalls in recent years. By restricting access to non-subscribers, these publications are betting that their coverage — combined with reasonable fees and the lure of fewer annoying ads — will spur consumers to […]

News Interview Tips

6 Tips for Crushing Your Media Interview

By Alex Altman Whether you’re a rookie or a veteran when it comes to giving media interviews, it never hurts to go over some best practices. Here are six tips for giving an interview that positions you and your company in a favorable light, and helps you make the most of your opportunity to get your name out there. Research Reporter: Whether it’s the tone of their articles or the stories they choose to cover, every reporter has certain tendencies. Reading previous articles by the reporter will shed light on the type of interview — and maybe even the type […]

12 Months Later: Starbucks Learns from United Airlines’ Woes

By Alex Altman Caught in the eye of a PR firestorm, former Starbucks CEO (and still face-of-company) Howard Schultz took a page from the Oscar Munoz book on corporate leadership. And then he did the exact opposite. When cellphone footage last April showed a passenger being violently dragged off a United Airlines flight, Munoz delayed, deflected and even blamed the “disruptive and belligerent” victim for his failure to heed the orders of a flight crew. His regrettable handling of the situation inflamed an already outraged public, provided fresh fodder for the national media and caused irreparable harm to United Airlines’ […]

Pitch Perfect: How to Nail Your PR Media Pitch

By Alex Altman Driving reporters to media events is one of the most important jobs for PR professionals. Naturally, it’s also one of the most difficult. Reporters are time-strapped, unpredictable, and inherently cautious of giving away free publicity. These are some pretty hefty barriers. But with the right brand of salesmanship, they can be overcome. If low turnouts have become all-too-common at your PR events, there’s a strong possibility that your media pitch is lacking. The media pitch is often the biggest factor in convincing a reporter to cover this event instead of that event. Here are some tips to […]

6 Companies That Won PR in 2017

By Alex Altman There’s no way to spin it: 2017 was a bad year for PR. Over the last 12 months, seemingly every corporation, celebrity, congressman and TV network in America has found itself in hot water for one reason or another. But there were some incredible PR wins, too, many occurring this summer, when corporate generosity was needed more than ever following the spate of natural disasters that rocked Texas, Puerto Rico and other parts of the country. These are the stories I’d like to focus on as the year comes to an end. Amazon: While Amazon’s $13.7 billion […]

How Harvey and Irma Proved the Power of Corporate Philanthropy

By Alex Altman They rushed in from all corners of the country, hauling boats, medical supplies and drinking water. They knocked on doors, waded through contaminated water, and put their lives on the line to help complete strangers. Hurricanes Harvey and Irma provided another forceful reminder that calamity brings out the best in people. And apparently, Corporate America, too. Over the last month, businesses of all sizes have stepped up in a big way, collectively donating an estimated $157 million toward the hurricane relief efforts. At least 30 companies have pledged $1 million or more. While humanitarianism is all the […]

A 6-Point Checklist for More Shareable Press Releases

By Alex Altman You’ve crafted the perfect headline, finagled the just-right quote, triple-checked your spelling, and scored client approval. By all traditional measures, your press release is ready for life in the wild. But how long will it survive? While quality content is important, it hardly matters if the press release isn’t sufficiently “shareable.” This wasn’t an issue 10-15 years ago, when generating awareness was as simple as sending an advisory to local media. But today, creating a buzz is more of a self-starting enterprise — one that requires both social media savvy and an understanding of how your audience […]

PR For Small Business

By Brian Murnahan (This article originally appeared in the July edition of FW Inc. Magazine) Utilizing public relations in business is often seen as a big business luxury, but in reality, even smaller businesses can use basic tools for successful PR campaigns. PR is defined around key pillars that encompass audience, message, relationship and strategy. Businesses that put a communications strategy in place based on these pillars can find it to be extremely effective. Step one involves taking the time to research and define key characteristics of your intended audience and what value points matter to that group. Use research drawn […]

How Sorry Apologies Doomed Pepsi and United Airlines

  By Alex Altman, contributing writer More than a month later, the bruises still shine bright. No matter what they do, Pepsi and United Airlines can’t outrun the ignominy of their recent PR blunders. In an age where attention spans are as limited as airplane legroom, that’s really saying something. At this point, pretty much every aspect of these mistakes has been unpacked. And what’s interesting is that while both situations transpired in completely different ways, they’re bound by common themes: including weak apologies that only made matters worse. When you make a mistake, an immediate, thoughtful and thorough apology […]