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  • Tag Archive: Sally Falkow

    1. 15 Digital Skills PR Pros Must Master

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      Sally Falkow, president of PRESSfeed and founder of Meritus Mediais no stranger to the AirPR blog.

      In fact, she’s a downright digital regular!

      From her brilliant trends reports to our mutually shared love of integrating data into content, Sal is one of those PR pros who quite simply “gets” it. So it should come as no surprise that when one of Sally’s latest offerings (a concise and spot on round up of must-have PR skills) crossed my path, I jumped at a chance to share it with all of you.

      If you think we tee’d you up for success in 2016, Sally is going to ensure you knock it out of the park.

      And now, on to the wisdom o’ Falkow…

      Cision recently launched a campaign around the hashtag #PitchPRomise that has stirred up conversation in the PR community – both pro and con. The premise of the Pitch PRomise is there is a perception that, in general, PR pros don’t take enough care with the distribution of press releases and pitches.

      It’s dangerous to generalize and slap a label on any group of people and this is probably why we’ve seen an indignant backlash from PR folk who protest that they’re being accused of bad practices that they don’t do.  However, just as a brand has an image, so too does the PR industry. Image and perception are closely tied together. Corporate image is a core function of PR, so we should understand how an image gets formed and why the actions of some might impact the group as a whole.

      25 years ago when I first started teaching PR at the university level the number one complaint from editors and reporters was that PR practitioners sent them irrelevant press releases and pitches. Many PR pros at that time were using the “spray and pray”method of distribution. They’d send the release or pitch to as many reporters as possible and hope for a result.

      I taught my students to build relationships with the media – it’s called Media Relations after all. I made it very clear that the best results came from getting to know the reporters and only sending them material that fit their beat and the topics they covered.

      I still talk to reporters, editors and bloggers on a regular basis, but for a different reason now. For the last five years I’ve produced the annual t and, sad to say, the number one complaint about PR from the media is still the same: we don’t do our homework and we send irrelevant press releases and pitches about topics that they don’t cover.

      If this has not changed in 25 years I submit that we do indeed have an image problem. I don’t think Cision is stepping out of bounds here. They’re reacting to a legitimate issue. (Note:  I don’t work for or with Cision or use their products)

      And yes, I do know that this is not what every PR practitioner does. But it must be happening with enough volume and consistency for the media to be holding this up as the number one #fail of the PR industry for a quarter of a century.

      And now that PR and journalism are becoming more and more digital, the ground is shifting beneath our feet. There are news skills we need to learn when dealing with the media. What journalists need is changing. Their job is not what it was 5 years ago.

      This complaint from the media is only going to get worse if we don’t learn:

      • How to do media analysis online
      • Spot the gaps in media coverage we can fill
      • Figure out what the media really needs and wants today
      • Produce stories that are timely and relevant
      • Pitch them correctly
      • Offer rich media assets and content in a way they can actually use

      There are 15 Digital Skills every PR pros should master in 2016. Media Analysis and Media Relations Online are just two of them. Visual Content and Visual Literacy also impact your media relations results.  Metrics and analytics are essential to tracking results.

      Want to be sure you are set up for success this year? Get the poster and see all 15 skills you need.


    2. 8 Elements To Transform Your Press Page Into A Newsroom

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      During a recent PR Council webinar Marissa Aydlett, Chief Marketing Officer at Appboy, challenged businesses to think like marketers, but operate like a newsroom.

      After reflecting on the insights Marissa provided on how to go about this (which you can hear by streaming video from 10:35-12:30 and 27:44-31:22), I got to thinking about other areas businesses might consider revamping in order to achieve this “newsroom” MO.

      What’s one thing every company could reimagine that would transform it from an ordinary information source into a major business asset? The answer: their press page.

      A few months ago, PRESSfeed and the Society for New Communication Research released its 2015 report on media trends and the state of corporate newsrooms. In the report, PRESSfeed president Sally Falkow shared a few trends driving the landscape:

      • There have been massive decreases in media resources due to layoffs, budget cuts, mergers, etc., which opens the door for companies to provide industry news and branded content to media.
      • Search is the now most trusted mechanism for finding news and business information according to the 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer, which indicates the need for companies to create multiple, highly optimized discovery paths.
      • There is a growing demand for visual content across all publishing but due to scarce production resources, media is leaning on brands more to source and produce this content.
      • Due to time constraints, there is a legitimate need for a centralized digital content hub where the dwindling number of reporters can find everything they might need.

      Mobile devicesThese current trends present tremendous opportunities that place PR squarely in the media relations driver seat.

      Falkow’s advice: “Take advantage of all this low hanging fruit by optimizing an oft-overlooked company asset: your press page.”

      Below are 8 elements every modern newsroom should have that will turn it into a major brand asset capable of paying out media (and customer) dividends.

      1. Direct Contact for Press Inquires

      One of the most frequent complaints from journalists is that company newsrooms do not provide explicit contact information for media opportunities. Clearly state the best person for media to connect with and how to reach that individual. If you have various contacts for specific PR offerings, list each person’s contact info along with what area they own.

      2. Industry Trends and Story Idea Generator

      Nothing is more helpful than a thoughtfully curated list of industry news, topics, and trends. By offering stimulating editorial ideas, you automatically position your company as an entity that sees the bigger picture. When you become a trusted source for content inspiration or story angles, you can rest assured journalists will tap you time and time again for contributions.

      3. Expert Database

      Journalists are constantly seeking authoritative comments, quotes, and guest content. Provide a list of your thought leaders along with their areas of expertise, so media knows who to tap and what topics they can speak about intelligently. Your newsroom is the perfect place to show off your prowess and plant the seeds for potential media opportunities.

      4. Video and Image Gallery

      Everyone agrees that visual content is a major media trend that will continue to have prominence. Your newsroom should boast original images, infographics, company videos, and any other image driven assets your brand owns. These may not result in direct propagation, but it will demonstrate your understanding of the power of imagery and your ability to create it.

      5. Featured Owned Media

      Are you a content producing powerhouse? Show off your best stuff that touts your killer writing ability, but encourages any visitor to dig in deeper.

      6. Company Design Assets

      This seems like a no brainer, but it is amazing how many sites don’t offer bios or high-resolution headshots for their senior leadership team. Don’t make media search for the basics. Host everything in one place to minimize asks via email. Additionally, make sure your company logo and any other design assets are readily available, both for print or digital purposes.

      7. Recent Press

      #Duh. It is a press page, after all.

      8. Upcoming Events

      Got a panel coming up that you’re moderating? Are you the keynote speaker at a conference in a few months? Let people know when and where they can find you and your company beyond the four walls of your office.

      At the end of the day, your newsroom should pique interest and encourage outreach because of the inherent value you are providing. When properly “stocked” with all the essentials, this piece of your site becomes a media opportunity creator, a lead generation tool, and a discovery path for potential customers.

      A modern-day brand newsroom provides validation of your wide-ranging reach while extending the network effect of all your hard work. If you’re looking to truly serve the needs of the shifting media industry aim for your newsroom to be helpful, organized, and informative.

      A version of this article first appeared on Inc.com
    3. PR’s Past, Present and Future as told by Sally Falkow

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      When it comes to PR prowess and expertise, there are not many individuals who possess both in droves like Sally Falkow. As president of PRESSfeed and one of the industry’s leading minds on new technology and digital PR, Ms. Falkow brings over 30 years of PR experience to the table.

      Sally Falkow headshotSal (as she often signs her emails) generously offered to sit down with me at her beautiful home in southern California for a candid conversation about the past, present, and future of PR.

      Needless to say, the takeaways were endless.

      Here’s just a sampling of our dialogue, which most definitely included talks about what happens when you eat too much cheese, real time anagrams, and a Rosetta Stone case study guaranteed to blow your mind.

      The entire interview can be heard below. I suggest streaming it as you make dinner this evening or book marking it for an upcoming flight.

      Sally Falkow Notable Quotables

      • You cannot approach PR like throwing spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks. Your whole content strategy should be informed by analytics. Analytics allow you to know what is needed and wanted.
      • PR absolutely must embrace the PESO approach (Paid, Earned Shared Owned). Start with Owned (produce the content). Owned gets Earned (picked up by media). Amplify and push content with Paid, and then it will be Shared (social engagement).
      • Whatever you’re doing in PR, it has to tie back to the business goals. It’s about outcomes, not outputs.
      • PR goals cannot be vague (e.g. raise awareness, get more FB likes). They must be measurable. Identify where you are now, where you want to be, and how you’re going to get there.
      • Not measuring PR is like playing soccer with no goalposts.
      • 80% of firms are starting to spend more on digital skills, but there aren’t enough people with those skills because most students are still being taught very traditional PR.
      • You can’t teach someone to be a brilliant strategist, but you can certainly become a more critical thinker than you are today. People can learn to play chess, which requires critical and strategic thinking.
      • You need to understand the basics of coding, and the basics of the Internet. Otherwise you won’t know what’s coming or what’s possible.
      • All PR people should find one or two sources that they read to stay up to speed with all of the changes.

      You can soak up more of Sally’s infinite wisdom by visiting her fantastic blog.

    4. Creating Content Google Loves

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      A couple weeks ago I had the express pleasure of meeting up with Sally Falkow, founder of Meritus Media, at the PR News Google Conference in San Francisco.

      Because I’m like, totally mature and non-competitive, and a rather supportive and cheerleader-y type of person in general…I decided not to be jealous or mad or irritated the she was speaking at the conference and I wasn’t. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that when I originally spoke to the organizer of the conference about ME speaking he informed me: “Sally Falkow is already covering that topic.”

      Oh. Ok. Got it. Let me take a step back.

      Sally’s what one might consider an “industry vet.” She was probably talking (in her very charming South African accent) about Digital and Social before it even existed. She’s new school but with old guard wisdom. Her accolades include things such as, oh say:

      #1 – Top 50 Social Media Influencers on Twitter

      #2 – 25 Women Who Rock Social Media

      #3 – Top 10 PR Tech Pioneers

      Because I am partially responsible for the crowning of her third title above, I take particular ownership and pride in the SOS (Success of Sally). When push comes to shove, she’s hands down one of my favorite people in the PR industry…so if it seems as though I gushing, I most definitely am.

      The point of that intro? You need to know that when she gives you insights about something there is a 99.4% chance that she’s right. So listen up as she shares her take on “Creating Content Google Loves.” Then go kick some content ass and take some organic names.

      Over to you Sally…

      When we talk about creating content that Google loves, it might sound like putting the cart before the horse – as we’re constantly told we need to create content that our audience loves. As indeed we should. In this post I’m taking that as a given. But once you know what topics your audience is interested in and what they respond to, when you craft that content make sure that it is also content that Google loves.