Perfecting your Pitch: 6 Tips On Getting Your Story Published

Josh Spencer Professional Development

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In the fast-paced, ever-evolving world of Public Relations, it takes a lot more than simply sending out a press release to obtain the right media coverage for your clients. Our digitized world is constantly stirring with important events  24/7, and having the right strategy paired with the right contacts is key. From my experience with Public Relations, these are the 6 essentials to getting your stories published.

  1. Peace out Press Release: In this digital age where consumers demand instant updates from news sources, press releases have lost their value due to the tedious time involved in developing, distributing, and following up. Get innovative with your pitches! Don’t get me wrong, there are some situations in which a press release can do you right, but choose wisely my friends.

  2. Socialite Status: It’s not called Personal Relations for nothing! Get out there- join advertising and marketing associations in your city, attend conferences & city-wide events to plump up that little black book of contacts.

  3. Extra, Extra, Read All About it! : Don’t think a journalist or blogger will pick up your story about Why Accountants have more fun? It’s all about how you pitch it to them. Did you know that accountants at Rothstein Kass don’t report to work until 10:00am, have personal concierge services for all home duties, and get paid for international travel during vacations? Paris, here I come!

  4. Do your research: Find out as much professional information about the person you are pitching your story to. Knowledge is power! If you are attempting to grab Barbara Walter’s attention to pick up your story, viciously research her previous work on the particular subject, relate back to it in your pitch, and give her finite reasons as to why the public needs to know more.

  5. Say It Loud & Proud: Did your pitch not get picked up the first time? Neither did Abe Lincoln’s. Revisit your first attempt, make some edits, and try again. And Again. And Again. Reporters look for specific stories at precise times–persistence is key.

  6. Go Big or Go Home: Don’t sell your story short. There are over 100,000 professional journalists and bloggers in the Unites States alone, not to mention international press who have an influence around the world. The World is your oyster, go out there and capture it!

Intern Spotlight: Lillie Hart

Josh Spencer Velocity News

 

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What do fashion, horses and New Orleans have in common?  They are all beloved by our Public Relations intern, Lillie Hart. Originally from Zephyrhills, FL, Lillie has lived most of her life in Durham, NC. She moved to New Orleans and became a Business Marketing and Legal Studies major at Tulane University. For our very first Intern Spotlight, we go one-on-one with Lillie.

VA:What brought you to New Orleans?

LH:My family is actually from New Orleans, so I’ve grown up coming here to visit family and then when I was looking for colleges I visited Tulane and loved it.

VA:What are you passionate about?

LH:I’ve always been really passionate about horses. I’ve been riding since I was 7 and competed in high school and I still ride for the Tulane team. I’m also passionate about shopping. I shop, like, a lot.

VA:What do you like about  being an intern at Velocity ?

LH:I really like that everyone is so young and excited about their work. Being so close in age is awesome because I feel like my ideas are valued, but at the same time I learn how to do something new or about something new every day.

VA:What is Public Relations for you?

LH:For me, PR is being a catalyst for really cool or important or interesting information to people who want to know about it. It’s about getting information or news to the right audience that not only helps the people you’re sharing information about, but also the people who want to know about it.

VA:What are your hobbies ?

LH:I’m a friend to the animals as well as a philanthropist…just kidding. Besides riding horses and shopping I spend a lot of time babysitting and have a really soft spot in my heart for little kids.

VA: What is your social platform of choice?

LH: Instagram, #handsdown.

Memoirs of an Ex-Crackberry

Josh Spencer Digital Innovation, Mobile Technology

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Scrolling down the endless feed of Instagram photos on my iPhone, one selfie stands out. It’s a girl I know from college, she is taking the usual “mirror pic,” but there is something that makes this photo extra special. Her picture was not taken by an iPhone, but by what many years ago would be known as a “Blackberry Bold.”

Flashback to my freshman year of college: I remember getting my first Blackberry (Flip phones in 2008? Unheard of!). The Pearl was not the best model, but did serve its immediate purpose of placing calls and granting me access to the infamous BlackBerry Messenger (BBM). The Blackberry was my drug of choice. I remember the rush of excitement as I uttered the words “Add me on BBM,” the self-doubt that crawled in when someone would leave my message on R, and the feeling of impending doom when my parents flooded me with PINGS! after a night out.

From the Pearl all the way up to my last Bold, my passion for Blackberry models was evident. When I spot one from time to time, I become nostalgic. I remember how the clattering of keys would make anyone around me aware of my conversations. I remember how scrolling meant praying to God, that after much abuse, my sphere was still working. I remember scrambling for 3G reception so my BBMs could be sent. I remember declaring myself a “Crackberry” addict at some point, as well as using entire bags of rice in hopes of reviving my soaking wet Curve.

For better or worse, Blackberry no longer reigns as king of the smartphone world. Even though I know that going back to Blackberry now would be socially unacceptable, I must admit I am nostalgic about our romance. I miss typing away on its minuscule keyboard, I miss knowing when my messages had been read and being able to communicate with friends and family around the world. And no matter how cool and user-friendly the iPhone may be, no one can ever compare BBM to iMessage: there will never be something quite like it.

Do you have any memorable Blackberry memoirs? Share them with us! 

Caring is Sharing: 4 Tips To Getting Content Shared

Josh Spencer Social Media

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As a marketer, I am constantly immersing myself in blogs, articles and guides in order to keep up with the ever changing online landscape. As a social media director, I am always on the lookout for the holy grail of social: how does your content get shared by others? Bombarded with How-To’s and vague promises, I decided to ask a more relevant question: why do we share?

Sharing is not new, it’s human nature. Even before the days of Internet and social platforms, we shared relevant and important information through various mediums.The only thing that has changed is that we share more content, from more sources, with more people, more often. Still with me? The only way to understand the real reason why people share is to understand the underlying psychology.

Based on a recent study, each share comes from different psychological factors that all tie into building and maintaining relationships. These include:

  • Bringing valuable and entertaining content to others
  • To define ourselves to others
  • To grow and nourish relationships
  • To promote causes and brands we care about

Another study argues that sharing comes from a deeper level of emotional responses. Researchers believe that the act of sharing could be sparked by evoking emotions such as:

  • Amusement
  • Shock
  • Inspiration
  • Fear
  • Anger
  • Illumination
  • Controversial
  • Positive
  • Negative

Judging from these studies, we can conclude there is a certain science behind sharing content online. Another key take away is that there is a spectrum of emotions, whether positive or negative, that will incite users to click “share.” So now that we have an understanding as to why people share, how can you use this information to your favor ?

  1. Appeal to your audience’s motivations: they are following you for a reason and it’s not just to connect with you, but to connect with others who care and know about you.
  2. Establish trust with your users: no one shares content they don’t find credible.
  3. Keep the message simple: you can’t expect users to share content if they don’t understand it.
  4. Appeal to emotions: be true to your persona whether it be controversial, inspirational, or amusing.

Keep these tips in mind next time you make a post on any social platform. It’s not an exact science but they can certainly increase your chances of “getting shared.”

RIP Google Reader

Josh Spencer Velocity News

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While it’s certainly not the first product Google has axed, the loss of the Reader service today has received more backlash than any previous cut from the tech giant’s team. For the past eight years, millions of loyal users have relied on Google Reader for their daily dose of internet news, all provided in one simple feed. As of midnight on July 1st, these fans will have to find a new RSS home for good.

So, if there were so many loyal fans, then why did Google put an end to Reader?

There are several clear reasons, and more will become apparent after the shutdown is complete and we get a better sense of what to expect for Google’s next move. What we know for sure is that the proliferation of social media platforms has been the biggest detractor from Reader’s user base. The decline can be traced back to 2006, the year which saw the rise of Twitter as well as the introduction of Facebook’s News Feed feature. Both immediately provided a syndicated, continuous feed bringing users personalized micro updates at speeds far faster than your standard online newspaper, and together they drew consumers away from the suddenly clunky and comparatively slow world of RSS.

Fast forward to 2013, and two of the tech world’s biggest stories are again focused around news feeds. Just as Google Reader lives out its final hours, we are hearing more and more about the impending launch of a new feature that will turn Facebook into an even more functional and powerful online newspaper. For now, those who are coping with the loss of Reader will have to find an alternative. Luckily, the fight to claim the empty throne of the RSS world is turning out well for consumers. With everyone from AOL to Digg vying for your usership, there’s no doubt that newly launched services will be stacked with attention-grabbing features.

If you’ve been a longtime Google Reader user, what service have you switched to? If you couldn’t care less about Google Reader’s departure, we want to know why.
Leave us your comments, and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Official Velocity Agency WWDC 2013 Report

Josh Spencer Velocity News

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The 2013 WWDC has come to pass, and the tech world is buzzing with a wide range of reactions to Apple’s major announcements. At Velocity Agency, we were glued to our computer screens yesterday as we waited anxiously to see what would be unveiled, yet we remained acutely aware that the news would most likely make all of our current smartphones and laptops immediately obsolete. But that’s fine by us, because nothing is more exciting for a marketing agency than the prospect of a new line of cutting-edge gadgets to power our day to day operations.

The office consensus is that Apple’s new mobile operating system, iOS 7, is what we are looking forward to most. Apple CEO Tim Cook is calling the new iOS the biggest thing to happen to the iPhone since its initial launch, so clearly some big changes are on the horizon. What we know so far is that the new operating system is going to feature a completely rethought and redesigned look built from the ground up. The biggest change will be a shift away from Apple’s previously skeuomorphic based design. For those of you who don’t know, skeuomorphic designs are based off of physical objects and real-world textures, such as the green felt and wood theme to the current Apple Game Center app. For iOS 7, Apple will be moving to cleaner, flat looking designs, which we think will provide a generally more aesthetically pleasing mobile experience.

Now, let’s talk about iTunes Radio, Apple’s long awaited Spotify competitor, which was also unveiled at the WWDC. The biggest news is that it will be free for all users, and ad free for subscribers to iTunes Match, the cloud-based storage system for cross-device listening. This means that for about $25 a year, users will be able to store all their downloaded music in the cloud and stream all the music they don’t own for free. Pretty sweet deal. But, Spotify has a big head start on Apple, so it remains to be seen whether or not they will be able to convert users who are already signed up for other streaming services. More often than not, Apple is on the cutting edge, but in terms of streaming services they are basically the last on the bandwagon following Google’s big announcement just a few weeks ago.

The only major letdown from yesterday’s event: no new iPhone. But, we’re not worried. We all know the iPhone 5 S can’t be far off, and at the very least we will see it by the time iOS 7 launches in the fall. Until then, we will be keeping a close watch on all things Apple. Be sure to keep with us as we track the release of all the new products announced at this year’s WWDC. We will be posting our up to date commentary on Facebook and Twitter, so join in on the conversation and let us know what you think!

TBT Etiquette – 5 Rules To Follow

Josh Spencer Social Media

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#TBT Holiday Spirit circa ’94 – Andrea Hernandez , Social Media Director

Do you #TBT?  It’s Wednesday afternoon and there are already more than 44 million photos that include #tbt hashtags, not to mention the 24 million from the original #throwbackthursday. Since the unveiling of Instagram, we can confidently say that Throwback Thursday is the most popular installment yet. For those who have tried to make #FlasbackFriday and #TransformationTuesday happen you’re setting yourself up for failure.

Powered by our nostalgic narcissism, TBT is here to stay. We are all guilty of endlessly scrolling down our Instagram feeds every Thursday to soak up the flood of our friend’s diaper-laden days or nonsensical, and sometimes funny photos. However, as in anything in this over-exploited age, Instagram users have become convinced that anything goes on Throwback Thursday.

At Velocity Agency, we are all about proper digital and social media etiquette. For this reason we find it our obligation to come up with a list of do’s and don’ts for the infamous hashtag.

1. TBT is all about comedic nostalgia. We know you looked cute as a baby, but posting angelical pictures of yourself is not nearly as amusing.  Throwback Thursday was founded on principles of comedic relief. Embrace it.

2. Timing is essential. So refrain from tagging #TBT pictures when it is in fact not Thursday. This should be a no-brainer.

3. Throwback Thursdays are all about commemorating vintage moments. Try and aim for non-digital photos that were probably taken from your Polaroid iZone. If you are #TBT-ing to last week’s Thursday, you’re doing it wrong. Try to have a gap of a couple years.

4. You can’t be hashtagging pictures that are not even throwbacks but just a clear abuse to the popular hashtags. This also includes “Celebrity Throwbacks.” Unless you were childhood friends with Ryan Gosling, this is a major DON’T.

5. #SelfieThrowback: Unless you were rolling around as a baby taking pictures of yourself, there is no such thing.


And so, remember the next time you #TBT you need to do it right. The internet will call you out. Respect Throwback Thursday

 

Weekly Absolute #18 – Hackathon

Josh Spencer The Weekly Absolute

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Strategic marketing is now less focused on research and more on cross discipline integration. Companies now require total solutions that span beyond their current infrastructure, not just raw data. Whether in-house or outsourced, CMOs must coordinate back-end development, front-end content, and conversion based initiates to achieve upticks in demand capture.