How to Apologize When the Media is Listening – Analysis in Forbes

Here’s an article that applies to everyone. That’s right – it doesn’t matter if you’re an entrepreneur, leader, follower or even a kid. At some point, you will need to apologize.

But what happens when the apology is amplified by the media?

I recently wrote an article for Forbes answering that question. I break down three tips to help anyone make sure their apology goes the right way. You can read my Forbes article here. If you’re short on time, here’s a shorter version of the key points.

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Why the Best PR Firms Look Beyond Press Releases

The best PR firms don’t focus their efforts on press releases. They focus their creative energies around the editorial angle.

Yes, press releases are great for content marketing, and they can help communicate a tight, controlled message. But it’s unlikely they will lead to media coverage.

The most successful media campaigns will always include a proactive media outreach. And there is no cutting in line. This approach centers around manually researching and pitching reporters, journalists, producers and editors that are targeted.

MACIAS PR consistently secures coverage for our clients because this approach is at the center of our strategy. Pitching directly to media is especially important for smaller businesses, including startups.

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Which PR Newswires have the Best Reach

Don’t fall for the spam that promises media coverage with a press release. It doesn’t work like that with the PR newswires. Press releases won’t get you on the news or TV, regardless of how much you pay for distribution.

No reporter is going to the PR newswires looking for story ideas. However, there is a role for press releases with content marketing and SEO.

Entrepreneurs frequently ask me which PR newswires are the best.

Technically, the major PR distribution companies all use the same technology so in theory, there shouldn’t be an advantage with one company over another. (I know this because we researched it).

If that’s the case, why do some press releases get more traction?

Search engines are tricky, and Google never reveals its algorithm. However, Google openly admits it places a priority on good content. If a press release is written well, and has a news peg, your chances for online exposure grow dramatically.

Writing Style and Quality Content Play Pivotal Role in Exposure

Press releases can get more exposure when the writing style is solid and not filled with grammatical errors. This includes style errors that are flagged with the PR distribution companies. If you don’t take those guidelines seriously from the beginning, it doesn’t matter who publishes your press release. It won’t get traction.

For example, a press release can’t be in first person, and quotes should be in the AP style. A poorly written press release will get buried with the search engines.

It also helps if you organically share the press release with editors. In the case with our PR agency, we always push the press release to targeted editors. This not only increases our potential for media coverage, but it introduces our story directly to the writers.

Here’s another look at when press releases can help your brand.

Get Announcement On The Record

When clients have big announcements, like a spike in users or a new partnership, press releases can get it on the record. Every time our PR agency wins an award, we put together a press release. And it’s led to new business. 

A few years ago, I worked with a digital health client that was weeks away from receiving full recognition from the CDC for their virtual diabetes prevention program. We prepared a press release in advance so the company would be ready for the announcement. 

Today, if you research this company online you will read how it was the first CDC virtual provider recognized for the diabetes prevention program. That exposure wouldn’t have been possible without a press release.

About Mark Macias

Mark Macias is a former Executive Producer with NBC, Senior Producer with CBS, and frequent contributor to Forbes, CNBC and Entrepreneur. City & State Magazine named him to their PR Power 50 list in New York. He founded MACIAS PR in 2009. The agency has led B2B and B2C media campaigns for brands across healthcare, tech, politics and nonprofits.

How to Quantify and Measure the Value of PR

A successful PR campaign isn’t as straightforward as an advertising campaign, but contrary to what many people believe, you can measure the ROI of a PR campaign. Public relations isn’t as analytics-driven as advertising, but you can still value its effectiveness.

Here are four ways to measure the success of your PR campaign:

Media Placements

Not all media outlets are created equal, so you don’t want to count the sheer number of placements. The Wall Street Journal is way more valuable than the Arcadia Newspaper.

However, don’t assume the biggest is always the best. If you’re pushing a story in a targeted neighborhood, like say Arcadia, you will want to target the community outlet. It’s more likely to drive sales than any story in the WSJ. Similar Web is a great source for measuring reach if you want to gauge overall  reach.

Brand Exposure

If you’re thinking about buying an expensive product or service, most consumers will do their homework and look for reviews. Positive online reviews in the media are one of the most effective tools for sales. 

My PR agency ran the digital campaign for the nutrition program, Lifesum. In 2020, the editor of PR Mag called Lifesum her favorite app for staying in shape. That’s an endorsement you can’t buy. It was instant brand exposure lined with credibility.

Consumer surveys conducted by my PR firm have found Millennials and Gen Z are swayed by positive reviews more than older generations. So if you’re selling to them, focus that PR outreach on reviews to enhance your ROI.

Web Analytics

Every entrepreneur should identify the primary sources behind their sales traffic. But with PR, it’s not always as easy to identify the traffic without a hyperlink. 

Many news organizations are getting stingier with their backlinks, and the traffic is not always directly linked to the news story. 

One of my team’s strategic approaches is to create content that supplements the story and embed it on your website. If the news organization is not able to include the additional information, you will have more success getting a back link to the supplemental material.

Search Engine Rankings

Google doesn’t reveal much about its search algorithm, but it’s clear that quality content and news articles play a large role in deciding what gets on the front page. If the Washington Post, CNN, CNBC and local TV are all writing about your brand, Google spyders will likely recognize the attention and give your website a higher emphasis with search rankings.

In 2018, Google named our client – Noom – one of the top searches for weight loss and diet programs. The publicity from our media campaign had a direct link with that increased seach traffic.

You might not immediately measure SEO with your PR campaign, but over time, you will see an improvement with traffic from search engines.

About Mark Macias

Mark Macias is a former Executive Producer with NBC, Senior Producer with CBS, and frequent contributor to Forbes, CNBC and Entrepreneur. City & State Magazine named him to their PR Power 50 list in New York. MACIAS PR has led B2B and B2C media campaigns for brands across healthcare, tech, politics and nonprofits.

Most Valuable Person Missing from the Boardroom

Surrounding yourself with smart advisors will make any entrepreneur better. But when it comes to the corporate boardroom, unfortunately, politics can push out the best.

Over the years, I’ve worked with entrepreneurs, CEOs, politicians and experienced marketers who wanted to elevate their brand with the media. Without any question, the leaders who shared the most information with their publicists got the best media coverage. 

For more than three years, my PR agency led the publicity strategy for the highly popular weight loss program, Noom. Back in 2016, few people had heard of this brand, but today, it’s one of the largest weight loss programs.

Growth Driven by Intention

When I first started working with Noom, the health tech company didn’t have a CMO to keep me away from their cofounders. As a result, I had full reign to gather information and learn about new updates. This open-door policy with the founders gave me unfiltered access to conversations that kept me in the loop and inspired new ideas.

This access led to publicity with all of the major publications, including Entrepreneur, CNBC, NBC Today Show, TechCrunch and Washington Post. In 2018, Google named Noom one of the top search terms in the health and fitness section.

I don’t share this to brag. I share this as an example of what can happen when you let your PR team or publicist run with unfiltered information. 

Believe it or not, there are many leaders who don’t like their outside publicist speaking directly with their CEO. I’m sure there are logical reasons for this: They don’t want to waste their CEO’s time, maybe the CEO wants a buffer with the publicist, or they want to keep internal information, well, internal. 

That’s understandable. But internal check-ins provide your publicist with unfiltered information that could inspire new media campaigns. News must be new and timely. The hardest media campaigns involve stagnant brands that don’t introduce new elements.

And if an internal crisis begins brewing, make sure your communications person has a seat at the table. And not just any seat, but the most pronounced seat. 

I always tell my team we sell the big picture but communicate the details. These details are the nuances that typically pique the interest of reporters. If your gatekeeper doesn’t communicate these nuances, you are less likely to succeed in the strategy of publicity.

About Mark Macias

Mark Macias is a former Executive Producer with NBC, Senior Producer with CBS, and frequent contributor to Forbes, CNBC and Entrepreneur. City & State Magazine named him to their PR Power 50 list in New York. MACIAS PR has led B2B and B2C media campaigns for brands across healthcare, tech, politics and nonprofits.

The Future of Brands – Forbes Analysis

In the future, brands will not look anything like they do today. Yes, we will have names like Coke, Netflix and Starbucks but their upstart competitors will have a huge advantage when it comes to the world of digital competition.

In the 1990s and earlier, it took years to build a brand. But today, you can build a brand in days with strategic help from search engines.

Think about it: when you’re looking for a restaurant near you, you probably go right to your phone. We don’t need to remember brands anymore. Instead, we search for “best restaurants near me” — and Google provides the list.

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