May 2009

Recently, one of our clients, Scottsdale Lanes, had a message to send out to the local media.  We didn’t just want to send the media a standard sheet of paper that just read Scottsdale Lanes is great.  So, we decided to hand out standard size bowling pins.  You may be thinking, what would anyone do with a bowling pin? Well, I can tell you that this bowling pin made its mark on the media world.

To be honest, these pins were over four pounds each and they weren’t easy to hand out, especially when you had to carry multiples at once.  But these heavy pins were going to be tied in with Scottsdale Lanes, so we continued our trips of dropping the pins off to the Arizona media. 

I waited a week or two before I followed up with the media contacts.  I simply went down the list and emailed the reporters, first asking if they received the pin and then asking if they would like to set up a time to talk to me about Scottsdale Lanes and its newly renovated center.  I am talking not even five minutes went by when responses from various outlets were coming into my inbox with all positive responses.

Long story short, these bowling pins got praises from several top media.  So much praise, that they called me to set up a time to meet at the center.  These four pound bowling pins gave Scottsdale Lanes a name in the ever so popular city of Scottsdale. 

So my advice, pitching is an extremely useful source.  It is an easy way to get the media’s attention, especially when you are original with the message.  Don’t over do it but also be diligent and consistent when following up.  Make sure you always are thinking with your client’s best intentions first and the rest should come easy.  Bowling pins may not be something that the media can use, but the pitch was well thought out, original and straight to the point.


Last week I attended a San Diego PRSA New Pros “Digital Communications” event at the Downtown Center ( The three panelists were: Amy Jones, managing supervisor at Fleishman-Hillard, Carrie Shields, PR manager at Bailey Gardiner and Mike Rose, vice president of Nuffer Smith Tucker. It was a very informative evening with great examples of digital campaigns from each of the agencies. The overall message of the night was, “Social media is a strategy not a tactic.” This is a great thing to remember when working with clients to create a successful social media “strategy.”

Yes, we all know our clients usually want one thing when starting a new campaign. Whether it’s an increased number of event attendees, more sales or a higher ROI, but creating a Facebook page or Twitter account with only one particular goal in mind, and no other systematic plan of action in place, is recipe for disaster. You can no longer rely on the “Build it and they will come” model because it’s not that easy and you will be left with a poor showing of 10 friends over a six month period. Now is that really getting your message across?

Things to keep in mind when creating an online strategy:

  • Do research: Find out where your target audience is, what they are responding to and how best to reach them.
  • Be transparent: Inform those who you are communicating with exactly who it is they are communicating with (If the CEO of the company is blogging, make sure it is, in fact, the CEO).
  • Create “Best Practices” information sheets: It is important for clients to know how to properly use each social media platform that you are implementing on their behalf.
  • Listen: Get onto message boards to see what people are saying. You do not have to address every issue that arises, choose the most important ones and work from there.
  • Monitor your efforts: Set up a way to monitor your social media efforts. Create internal documents your agency’s internal use as a means to help define success, or sign up for online monitoring services.
  • Use examples: When dealing with clients that are weary about social media, show them case studies of your past efforts (or even those of a competitor) and slowly ease them into the world of Web 2.0.
  • Finally – Don’t forget about traditional media. Reporter’s blog and use Twitter, too! (Twitter is also a great place to build personal relationships with reporters that was not possible in the past). (more…)