Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

How to Use Influencers to Expand Outreach and Increase Impact

Tuesday, April 11th, 2017

A client expecting his first child lamented he wished there were Cliffs Notes for all the baby  books stacked on his nightstand.  It got me thinking — I feel the same way about the amazing marketing webinars, blogs, podcasts, white papers and newsletters out there.  So many great resources and so little time to review them! I decided I’d start producing my own version of Cliffs Notes on some outstanding content.  I promise to condense it down to a five minute read, pulling out the golden nuggets so you don’t have to.

This Cliffs Notes installment is a Cision white paper on how to use influencers to expand outreach and increase impact. Enjoy.

The importance of influencers in a nutshell:

The Shelf, an influencer marketing program, finds that 92 percent of consumers trust recommendations from other people, even people they don’t know personally, over branded content.

Influencers can have a profound effect on the bottom line but they also:

  • Introduce your brand and its products or services to new target audiences
  • Offer educational resources and how-to tutorials
  • Show your products within a personal context, creating a “me, too” effect
  • Impact the message, a plus when combatting negative opinions, sentiment or reviews
  • Build long-term relationships, ensuring customer satisfaction and loyalty

Finding influencers

Identifying the people who can truly connect with your audience requires a comprehensive influencer database. (Note this is a cision database whitepaper and the cost of this influencer database will double the cost of your current cision media database. I’m planning to do a demo to see if it’s worth it so stay tuned.)

So if you don’t want to part with an extra few thousand dollars research, and use stats like Unique Views, Followers Fans, Klout, Kred, Traackr, BuzzSumo etc that will help you to consider at least these three things:

  • Relevance has to do with industry. Look for people who not only know your market but also enjoy talking about it. Location can also play a factor if you’re trying to grow reach and impact in a certain city or region.
  • Reach involves networks and platforms. You’re looking for either breadth (number of followers) or depth (a powerful niche). Both approaches work, but the choice depends on your brand’s goals and outcomes.
  • Resonance refers to social validation, i.e., engagement. 

Vetting influencers

This list of eight tips will help you vet influencers. When you reach out to influencers in the right way, everyone wins.

  1. Look at successful influencer programs. Study other people’s work. Take notes, and develop a program customized to your brand.
  2. Determine metrics for success.Establish metrics at the outset of an influencer program. It’s the only way to know if milestones and outcomes are being met. If the goal is brand awareness, determine the numbers that prove success. Also institute metrics for the outreach itself, just as you would when pitching a story or starting a new PR initiative.
  3. Document everything. Influencer outreach isn’t scalable without documented processes. Share them with the team. Revisit them regularly, too.
  4. Build a list. In this regard, influencer outreach is exactly like media relations. Use a database or tools like the ones mentioned earlier; gather contact information and other data; and keep track of who’s been contacted, when and where.
  5. Establish rapport. Form relationships with influencers. Learn what motivates them. If you know what makes them tick, outreach will be a piece of cake.
  6. Make the ask. The ask should be specific, like a call to action. Set expectations and goals at the beginning. Do you want influencers to promote, share, or create content? Give clear instructions, but don’t micro-manage.

Influencers should have full control over their content and behavior, the exception being sponsored content. In that case, they need to follow the guidelines given, typically a simple acknowledgement that they’re being compensated for the work.

  1. Measure your efforts. How are efforts faring? Are people joining the program? Sticking with it? Why or why not?
  2. Refine. Analyze the data gathered from interactions with influencers regularly. Let it guide next steps and improvements with outreach, as well as the overall program.

Relationship management:

To be successful with relationship management, consider these eight tips. They will help you define and implement the process.

  1. Stay in touch. Stay in regular contact so that they feel cared for and don’t think they’re a checkmark on a list.
  2. Ask for feedback. Ask them what they like about your influencer program and what they don’t. The more involved they are, the likelier it is that they’ll stay. Influencers can also act as beta testers for new products and services. The sneak peek will make them feel special, and it’ll give you all sorts of data to work with.
  3. Delegate the work. Influencer relations is time-consuming. Don’t go it alone. Integrate a software solution if you can afford it. It’s the only way the program can scale and be sustainable.
  4. Keep an updated list. The list of influencers needs to be updated just as the media relations one is.
  5. Document processes. As with outreach, document everything that’s being done to manage relationships. Swag? Emails? Social shares? Keep track of it. Also identify who’s in charge of what. Share that information with the team. It’ll keep everyone aimed toward the same goal and help with accountability.
  6. Monitor everything. Use alerts and social listening tools to track what’s being said about your brand. Also consider social sentiment tools to assess impact on brand reputation.
  7. Review the metrics. Metrics have a role to play in relationship management, too. How did influencers respond to free swag? The emails? How did their responses affect the overall program? There’s plenty of data to be had, so capture it and use it to improve programming, outreach and relationship management.
  8. Be ready to change. Influencer feedback and metrics have stories to tell. Listen to them. Let them guide the influencer programs you initiate as well as how you engage with influencers. Always be testing and refining.

Influencer marketing is impactful. It grows brand awareness and reach. It can even boost the bottom line. But most of it all, it can make your brand a little more “human.” You can also read the free white paper here. 



Cliffs Notes on Value of PESO Model (Paid, Earned, Shared, Owned)

Monday, December 12th, 2016

A client expecting his first child lamented he wished there were Cliffs Notes for all the baby books stacked on his nightstand.  It got me thinking — I feel the same way about the amazing marketing webinars, blogs, podcasts, white papers and newsletters out there.  So many great resources and so little time to review them! I decided I’d start producing my own version of Cliff Notes on some outstanding content.  I promise to condense it down to under a five minute read, pulling out the golden nuggets so you don’t have to.

 Below find Cliffs Notes on PR Pros Must Embrace the PESO Model (Paid, Earned, Shared, Owned) written by Gini Dietrich for

Gini argues that an integrated PESO model will help pr practitioners stop thinking of themselves as only brand enhancers and start thinking of themselves as business drivers.

pesoThe PESO model takes the four media types—paid, earned, shared and owned—and merges them together.

Paid Media. Social media advertising, sponsored content and email marketing

Earned Media. Publicity or media relations

Shared Media. Social media

Owned Media. Owned media is otherwise known as content. It is something you own, and it lives on your website or blog.

When your integrated PESO model is working at its best, it can help you establish authority/thought leadership.

Where to Start

The easiest place to start—because you can control the messaging is Owned Media.

Create an editorial calendar.

As you begin to fill in topics for your calendar, start with one large circle– your main topic — in the middle of the page.

Draw six or more medium-sized circles. These are your subtopics.

From those circles, you’ll draw several small circles on each, which will serve as your supportive base.

Continue that until you’ve exhausted all your ideas around that one topic. Then you would have several pieces of content that help extend your main piece and begin to showcase your expertise.

How Do I Use a PESO Model in My Business?

You have the content and you’ll use shared media to distribute it, paid media to amplify it, and earned media to rubber-stamp it.

Shared Media

Twitter: On the day your content is published, tweet the link four times (three hours apart). On day two, tweet it twice, and once on day three.

Facebook: Post your content there once a day, and then consider sponsored content as part of your paid media campaign.

Google+: While Google+ isn’t great for social networking, it’s incredible for search engine optimization. Post content in there once a day.

LinkedIn: Post once a day to your personal account, your company page, your showcase page and to the groups you belong to.

The Others: It’s important not to ignore StumbleUpon, Reddit, Pinterest, Digg and some of the others. Test post in those spots just once a day and see what happens.

Paid Media

Paid media may be in the form of paid amplification (such as Outbrain or Sprinklr), sponsored content, native advertising, or sponsorships of influential blogs.

It also could take the form of sponsored content on Facebook or LinkedIn or sponsored tweets on Twitter.

You can start with a budget of as little as $5 a day. LinkedIn also often offers free advertising coupons to those who use the social network often. Take advantage of those!

While you don’t want to spend money to sponsor all your content, it’s a good idea to test it with one piece each month.

Earned Media

Now it’s time to build relationships with industry bloggers, journalists, and other influencers who may share your content.

On Twitter, create a list of bloggers and journalists you want to collaborate with. This will make it easy to follow them, share their work and start conversations with them.

Create a list of books and podcasts you want to review. Every author and podcaster needs reviews and ratings to gain more traction. They may be appreciative of the work you do there, and may be willing to do something for you in return.

On LinkedIn, create tags—such as “influencer,” “blogger,” “journalist” or “super cool kid”—so you can easily follow what they post and then share, share, share! This may lead to new relationships where you can ask them to share your content later.

On Feedly, create a list of bloggers to watch. Then any time they publish new content, share it with your own networks.

Eventually these influencers may share your content, include it in their own content or interview you for a piece they’re producing.

My personal addition: Don’t forget to distribute the news or content to your key list of editors via email (with a follow-up call if appropriate) and, for SEO, consider an online wire release.

What Should I Measure in a PESO Model?

For each media type, there are different metrics to track.

Paid Media. It depends on the tactics you use under this umbrella, but could include the following:

  • Social media marketing, such as Google AdWords
  • Landing pages and how many people download your content and go into your email marketing database
  • Increases in the qualified leads in your email marketing database
  • New fans or followers who come from reading your sponsored content
  • Leads and conversions

Earned Media

  • Influencer scoring: Does an influencer with 10,000 followers have the same score as someone with 1,000 followers? It could very well be that the person with 1,000 followers can incentivize purchase with 10 percent of his followers, while the person with 10,000 followers can incentivize purchase with only 1 percent.
  • How much Web traffic comes from a story about your organization?
  • An increase in new audiences

Shared Media.

You have to track the number of fans and followers, because sharp declines—or a trend of decreasing followers—will tell you something is wrong. But an increase, week after week, do not results make. The following do:

  • Track the effectiveness of brand ambassadors.
  • Assign points to things such as likes, retweets, shares, and comments.
  • Use unique URLs, coupons, discount codes, or even telephone numbers only in your social media efforts. This will tell you whether you’re getting results from these efforts.

Owned Media.

Unique visitors, time spent on the site, and bounce rate.

  • Email marketing
  • Track downloads and shares
  • Track the effectiveness of a community by whether they’re referring business to you.
  • Is it driving sales?

I hope this can serve as a helpful checklist.  Here is a link to the entire article which includes a couple of good infographics.

Cliffs Notes on Unleveling the Playing Field for More Coverage

Thursday, May 19th, 2016

i-unlevel playing fieldA client expecting his first child lamented he wished there were Cliffs Notes for all the baby books stacked on his nightstand.  It got me thinking — I feel the same way about the amazing marketing webinars, blogs, podcasts, white papers and newsletters out there.  So many great resources and so little time to review them! I decided I’d start producing my own version of Cliff Notes on some outstanding content.  I promise to condense it down to under a five minute read, pulling out the golden nuggets so you don’t have to.

Below, find a condensed version of Cision’s 71 ways to unlevel the playing field and secure more coverage.

Connect with journalists on social

Invest in future

Connect with journalists on LinkedIn with a personal message and like their posts with a genuine and valuable comment.

Follow media on Twitter and Facebook

Share links to reporters stories

Act now

Track journalist hashtags like #journchat  and #URGHARO

Tweet facts, statistics and quotes from your story

Keep track of trending Twitter topics and pounce if appropriate.

 Produce interesting content

Invest in future

Blog often

Guest blog

Publish white papers and ebooks

Email newsletters

Act now

Offer exclusives

Conduct surveys or opinion polls

Provide video or infographics

Use company analytics to determine which topics need to be promoted

Network and showcase at events

Invest in future

Exhibit and connect with reporters at tradeshows

Speak at events

Act now

Hold a conference and promote panelists with video meet and greets

Give back to the community in a genuine way

Remember traditional pitching tactics (this is PR 101 for the seasoned PR pro but helpful if you’re new to PR)

Invest for future

Use a media database

Search editorial calendars

Subscribe to HARO (Help a Reporter Out)

Take an editor out for coffee and listen don’t pitch

Act now

Pitch by email and phone but be concise and compelling and honor an editor’s request for no contact at all or via one method

Newsjack: Tie your story, if relevant, to a current event

Write a timely press release: It must answer the question “Why Now?”

Promote your coverage via social media

Highlight your brand

Invest in the future

Apply for awards

Set up a digital newsroom

Showcase your company’s work-life culture

Act now

Offer demos of products or services before they go public

Consider giveaways in return for coverage

Announce anniversaries if you can also manage a news hook

If you can check off the suggestions above, you’ll be in good shape, but for the complete list, see Cision’s tipsheet.


Five Tips to Win Over the Wire Service With Your Photo

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

As a professional photographer, Greg Cooper has chronicled news stories and documented many momentous sports occasions, including: Stanley Cup championships; World Series finals; NCAA regionals; and numerous Boston Marathons. He has shot for many top national and regional media outlets including USA Today, Boston Globe, AP, Reuters and EPA.

His journalistic expertise is an asset for corporate clients who often rely on him to find and create the most newsworthy shots.  Here are five tips he shared for improving chances of getting your picture published with wire services and other outlets.  Wire services refer to these as “handouts.”


It’s true that timing is almost everything.  If it’s slow news day your chances are greater but, sometimes it’s out of your control when a major news event steals the limelight.  However, it is still crucial to research and avoid competing with a major planned event.  Also, adhere to the outlet’s schedule.  For example, USA Today prints one weekend edition to cover Friday through Sunday. So, if you want to be considered for placement in that edition, you must provide photography by Thursday.


Provide the wire service or daily media outlet with a media advisory or press releases a day in advance so they can line it up 24 hours before.  Then, when you call the day of the event, chances are they will already be aware of it.


Wire desks have become very saavy in terms of deciphering true news verses a pr pitch so make sure it is newsworthy.  Also, branding in your image must be very subtle.  For example, for a ground breaking, include a building with the company name in the background rather than a big banner or emblazoned tee shirt front and center.


If there are other guests in the photo make sure they are comfortable with the branding, since they may not be able to give a hint of endorsing a company or product.  And, if you are also using the images for social media, take care to either have releases for any participant to sign or a sign that informs people of how the photos will be used (e.g.  Social Media). SM can present a grey area between editorial and advertorial so it is important to protect yourself and your audience.


The AP Stylebook is pretty particular about their format but most other wire services, although possibly different, will usually accept the AP Style as long as all the facts are included. According to AP, the following information should be listed in numerical order in one sentence that wraps to the next, if necessary:

  1. Who’s in the photo from left to right
  2. What’s going on in the photo, literally, and wording should always be in the present tense
  3. City and state of the event/where picture is taken
  4. Attribution: Or as AP says “Action not seen.” This is background information related to the picture — the “why” of the picture For example # 2 might say “Fire Captain John Smith in front the Arco Building.”  #4, the attribution, might be “Two people died in the fire.”
  5. Day of week, and date: e.g.  Wednesday, March 25, 2015.  But if the event happened more than two weeks ago you don’t have to list the day of the week.

The second sentence should say why photo is important.

Here’s an example of an AP caption:

Vibram and Quabaug Announce Military Footwear Opportunity

Kevin Donahue, Quabaug CEO (left), describes the features of Vibram military boot soles to Congressman Jim McGovern at the Quabaug Factory in North Brookfield, Massachusetts, USA, on May 16, 2014.  Along with celebrating a 50 year sole making partnership between Vibram and Quabaug, the companies announced a recent DoD ruling mandating that first year recruits choose domestically manufactured athletic trainers; as well as a 1.2 million joint investment in innovation.  (Photo By: Greg M. Cooper / Vibram Quabaug)

You can buy the latest AP Stylebook here:

Of course for social media the above AP Style might very well not apply, especially if you already have introductory summaries on your SM pages.

“A picture says a thousand words.”  Hopefully these tips will make your handout a standout.

For more about Greg’s photography services contact him at 617-593-6800 or  Contact Tommasi PR at 603-893-5878 or visit


How to stage and promote a Guinness Book of World Records Event

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

i-snakesMy son used to be obsessed with Guinness Book of World Records, — the weirder the better.  Like the woman who collected over 4,000 Winnie the Pooh and Friends stuffed animals or the man who held the record for putting the greatest number of rattlesnakes in his mouth.

Breaking a record can be a huge attention-getter and this article by Paul Maccabee spells out in detail how to make the most of it.

A few key tips:

  • Make the record you’re breaking relevant to your brand
  • Tie the event to a cause
  • Visuals, visuals, visuals: For example, show the scale of the event (e.g. a regular 18 inch pizza verses your super-sized record breaking pizza)
  • Show behind the scenes: (e.g. how did you bake or make your product)
  • Consider a record-breaker involving masses of people to attract broadcast
  • Go viral by promoting  your video online via youtube, etc.
  • Include a logo but be subtle

Check out the article:

Delivering a One-Two PR Punch for the Bees

Friday, September 12th, 2014

i-beesBy now most everyone is aware that honeybees are in peril (I wish I could say the same for wasps.  We went on vacation for a week and by the time we pulled out of our driveway they had set up camp in eight different nests on our house.)  But the honey bees are a different story.  They are responsible for pollinating two thirds of our food crops and their numbers are decreasing substantially worldwide.  According to Friends of the Earth, “A strong and growing body of evidence points to exposure to a class of neurotoxic pesticides called neonicotinoids–the fastest-growing and most widely used class of synthetic pesticides–as a key contributing factor to bee declines.

Last week I visited my sister who is doing her small part to add to the depleting numbers by raising her own bees.  My two sons donned bee suits and joined her in her work.  I watched from afar. That visit motivated me to dig into who was behind the amazing pr effort to spread the word of the bees’ plight.  From the cover story in the August 19th issue of Time to a PBS documentary, the news is everywhere. I not only discovered the amazing PR machine, Friends of the Earth (FOE), but also stumbled across their second and perhaps even more important effort – to warn the public that pesticide companies like Bayer and syngenta are spinning the bee crisis to protect profits

FOE published a paper entitled Follow the Honey, a very readable, interesting and compelling argument outlining how these companies are using tobacco style pr strategies to mislead the public:

FOE has also set up an excellent website:  informing consumers on how they can take action to save bees. And, on Valentine’s Day they rallied activists across the country to deliver Show Bees Some Love valentines along with more than half a million petition signatures to Lowe’s and Home Depot stores. Brilliant work FOE!

As a footnote, my sister’s hive honey was way better than anything I’ve ever tasted from a store. Go bees.

Learn the rules so you know how to break them — Dalai Lama

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

Learn the rules so you know how to break them.

This is one of Dalai Lama’s 18 Rules and so apropos for PR.

  1. tacobell image1. The rule: Tell the truth and tell it fast.  This is a golden rule for crisis communications and one I highly recommend to clients.  But sometimes it’s fun, and effective to lie. For example, when Taco Bell was trying to gain inroads in Philadelphia, they issued a press release stating they had purchased the Liberty Bell and were renaming it the Taco Liberty Bell. On a smaller scale, last April Fools, gearjunkie came out with an announcement that Vibram FiveFingers now had a cycling shoe. For a flash second I thought I had been left in the dark, then I looked at the calendar.  In both cases  UVs went sky high.
  2. The rule: Avoid head to head competition.  Well this is more the client’s rule.  From a pr standpoint, rarely are companies willing to instigate their own comparative review initiatives for legal and any many other reasons. But a direct battle can be a crowd pleaser. Case in point, in Asia, Burger King was getting creamed by MacDonald’s.  In response, they put BK tee-shirts on Ronald MacDonald statues and plastered footsteps leading from MacDonald’s to BK, along with other subversive techniques.   The ploy sent BK burger sales soaring.
  3. Rule 3: Avoid illegal activities when planning events. OK, you don’t want to get your client, or yourself thrown in jail but if you can pull it off without prison time, the fine might be worth the publicity payoff. In the UK, two streakers painted with a cell phone company‘s graphics ran onto the soccer stadium field.  The stadium was named for a competing company. The stunt was picked up by the major broadcast company filming the event and got lots of print play as well.

I’m not saying you have to strip down or put out bogus press releases to get attention but I do think you have to be extremely resourceful in this business to succeed. Whether it’s a small budget, tight deadline or stiff competition, sometimes the situation calls for a creative, alternative solution.   Don’t have enough money to fly the media in for an event? Then catch them at a tradeshow – you have a captive audience.  Don’t have time or luck getting through to Newsweek then try their daily blog, The Daily Beast.  Can’t compete with the heavy hitters when it comes to entertaining than go the other way and do something so simple that’s it’s different and a welcome change. Can’t come up with the change to hire a driver for a NYC media tour? Take cabs and wear your running shoes.

Check out for more guerrilla marketing inspiration and, sorry for the cliché, but keep thinking out of the box.


Throw out PR measurement relics for more relevant metrics

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

When a client asks for advertising equivalencies to justify pr, I always try to explain the inaccuracy of this measurement for many reasons, not the least of which is that editorial is several times more trustworthy and authentic and has a great deal more pass-on value. PR Newswire’s free webinar entitled How to Tie PR Metrics and Reporting to Business Results is a great resource for finding a mix of metrics that make more sense for today’s landscape, including measurements of social conversation, mentions and search term use. Here is the webinar and you can also just view the slides if you don’t have an hour to sit through the presentation.    

Hooray for Huff Po: Anonymous Comments Now a No-No

Friday, April 18th, 2014

Our neighbor is a soft spoken scientist  — funny, kindhearted and a great dad.  And, despite a long working  commute to Boston, he manages to coach his sons’ basketball team.  One Friday his community service and reputation were maligned in an anonymous comments column of a local community rag. He was accused of screaming at his players during a recent game — an accusation vehemently denied by friends, family and strangers at the game.

The editor, in my opinion should follow Amanda Huffington’s lead and ban anonymous comments altogether. “I feel that freedom of expression is given to people who stand up for what they say and [are] not hiding behind anonymity,” Huffington explained. “We need to evolve a platform to meet the needs of the grown-up Internet,”

Everyone in pr has been requested by one or more clients to pen a letter to the editor.  Equally important as writing a compelling argument, is the willingness to own up to it.  Otherwise, you have wasted everyone’s time, since any reputable outlet will refuse to publish it.

So hooray for Huff Po for taking a stand against trolls and cowards   For my small part, I have boycotted that local weekly ever since.

Nuclear Power PR Post Japan: No Longer Hiding under their Desks

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

With a good friend in Japan, my nine-year-old son was alarmed to hear of the quake and tsunami. His buddy responded via email that he was fine and had to hide under his desk at school when the earthquake hit.

We were relieved temporarily until news of the damaged nuclear power plant surfaced. I thought of opening my home up to him and his mother if they needed to escape the radiation.

Thankfully the latest news is that the radiation levels in the water are safe the electricity is back on, suggesting that the cooling systems will be up and running and danger averted.

But I have to agree with a recent mediabistro article
“Nuclear Power Industry Puts Up a PR Fight in the Face of Growing Fears.” The general public is mystified and, as a result, often petrified of nuclear power plants.

Whether you believe in nuclear power or not, as a pr practitioner you have to question the effectiveness of their past and current marcomm efforts.