How Media Mergers are Changing the PR Landscape – Forbes Analysis

By Mark Macias

It seems like there is new speculation everyday when it comes to media mergers. If you’re looking to get your brand in front of these media outlets, you really have to pay attention because it does impact the way publicists sell stories.

I recently wrote a story for Forbes on this topic, which you can read here. If you’re short on time, I’ll give you a quick summary.

This new alignment of media conglomerates has a huge impact on the overall news industry and the way publicists sell stories to reporters.

Back in 2003, I was Executive Producer with NBC at the time of the Telemundo acquisition. Many of my Hispanic colleagues said the new acquisition would create a stronger news force for our community.

We would have the power of NBC behind us — they said — giving us more journalists to pursue stories in our community. Sadly, I predicted it wouldnt work like that and today we can see the results. Emails for the Telemundo news department have been converted to nbcuni.com addresses. And the news desks in New York for NBC and Telemundo are combined into one desk. 

News organizations need to turn a profit. And the larger organizations that have shareholders are even more beholden to the bottom line. Many business owners tell me why the media has a responsibility to do certain stories. And many times, I agree.

But capitalism ranks higher than journalism based on my media experience. If the news story doesn’t generate an audience, it’s unlikely to move forward. 

This is one of the strategies behind our agency. We look for that commercial angle before we pitch any reporter.

If you want to learn more, you can read my Forbes article that gives you more background on this topic. I elaborate on what publicists need to do to stand out in this new world.

And if you’re short on time, you can catch many of our blogs and articles on our podcast, Always Fresh PR. You can listen on your favorite channel by clicking here. If you were subscribed, you could have listened to this story while commuting or doing errands on the go. It’s like me speaking directly in your ears by clicking here.

ABOUT MACIAS PR

Marketing peers named MACIAS PR the 2017-2020 Strategic PR Firm of the Year. In 2015, 2016 and 2017, Finance Monthly named MACIAS PR the Financial PR Firm of the Year. The founder – Mark Macias – is a former Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York. City & State Magazine named him a PR Political Power Player in 2021.

Entrepreneur Magazine – Are You a Good Candidate for PR?

Not every business is a good candidate for PR. And if you reach out to the PR firm at the wrong time, there’s a good chance that they won’t tell you that you’re wasting money on PR.

Big shocker, especially since I own a PR firm but it’s the honest truth.

I recently wrote a story for Entrepreneur Magazine that detailed which types of businesses are wasting their money on PR. You can read that editorial here.

But if you’re short on time, here’s an abridged version of the advice I shared with their readers.

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How Good Client Relations can Elevate any PR Campaign

By Mark Macias

No one wants to believe you’re a bad client, but in business let’s be honest: strong personalities exist and will frequently clash.

And that’s okay. Be who you are, but when it comes to managing PR and outsourced agencies, be aware of the image it projects.

In my early entrepreneurial years, I didn’t factor personality conflicts into my budgets. When clients asked how I determined cost, I was transparent. We look at the resources and time needed to succeed and the complexity of the campaign. That still holds true.

But during COVID, a new variable factored into the budget formula: client relations.

If you’re a publicist or agency, these observations will help you better vet clients. And if you’re a client looking to hire the best PR or marketing consultants, perhaps a personal reflection might help you forge better partnerships.

Observation One: You Think the Work is Easy

Over the summer, I was speaking with the founder of a B2C startup who graduated from Wharton and spent some time inside the media as an associate producer. She approached us about launching her publicity campaign after a mutual acquaintance told her about my experience. The initial consultation started great, but alarm bells rang early.

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PR Strategies – Conventional vs Unconventional Pitches

The following is an excerpt from the business book, Tao of PR: Strategies to Win the PR War, by Mark Macias.

Chapter 2: Waging War

One size does not fit all when it comes to pitching a story idea to the media. In many cases, you will have more success by targeting the proper news medium and reporter through unconventional ways. Newspapers can be a microcosm for this analysis.

Let’s say you want to get publicity for a woman’s clothing designer.

Most publicists would probably take the conventional approach and pitch their story idea to the style section. They wouldn’t think of pitching their designer to the sports editors or reporters.

And in a similar fashion, most publicists would pitch a profile story on a high school football coach to the sports writers, rather than a religion writer.

Those methods are predictable and safe. But in many cases, you can identify overlooked reporters and pitch them with an unconventional approach.

Unconventional Story Pitches

Take the example of the profile story on the high school football coach. What if that high school coach had leadership rules that applied to business? What if that high school coach was extremely religious and based his coaching philosophy on Biblical principles? Suddenly, this story has a new angle that hasn’t been heard.

A story on a football coach with leadership principles could run in many sections of the local paper: sports, business or metro sections. Add in the faith element, and that coach suddenly becomes intriguing to the newspaper’s religious editors.

Likewise, in the case of the aspiring woman’s clothing designer, she becomes unique to the sports pages if her fashion is geared towards women. Sports writers are always pitched ideas on high school coaches. But they are rarely pitched angles around athletic fashion trends for women. 

Of course you should always concentrate your pitch on the desired audience. Your story idea or client will stand out if you can find that unconventional angle that others haven’t pursued. You should apply this same-targeted approach when choosing which news outlet to pitch.

Many people make the mistake of pitching to the largest pie rather than focusing on a news outlet that reaches their desired demographics. If your story involves a niche, focus your time and energy on pitching the news outlet that reaches those targeted viewers and readers.

And remember, there is nothing wrong with pitching a conventional story the conventional way. But if you find reporters are ignoring you, take a moment to review your story from a different angle. You might find unconventional is the new conventional.

ABOUT MACIAS PR

Marketing peers named MACIAS PR the 2017-2021 Strategic PR Firm of the Year. In 2015, 2016 and 2017, Finance Monthly named MACIAS PR the Financial PR Firm of the Year. Our founder is a former Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York. City & State Magazine named Mark Macias a Top 50 PR Political Power Player in 2021.

How Much Does PR Cost – New Calculator Reveals Cost

No more guessing the cost how much PR costs. MACIAS PR has unveiled a calculator to help you figure out how much any campaign will cost.

Our calculator will give you a customized rate based on your time frame and publicity needs. It’s not a generic calculator where one size fits all. Because we all know – PR is never one size fits all.

Click here to get your free PR quote.

How does PR Typically Work

PR can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars a month, depending on the size and complexity of your campaign. When breaking down the cost of PR for your business, it’s important to consider both the short- and long-term goals. 

Do you want to attract new customers or increase visibility for your brand?

Short-term PR campaigns may involve paying for press releases distribution or pitching relevant newspapers, magazines, or online publications. Longer term strategies might include launching a social media marketing campaign, or creating content that is optimized for search engines.

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How Digital Marketing and Branding Can Help Grow Your Business

According to a study by Harris Interactive, digital marketing is now the most effective way to grow a business. Their researchers looked at 156 businesses across eight industries and found that digital marketing contributed to a 66 percent increase in revenue and 68 percent increase in customer lifetime value.

And for good reason – digital marketing is effective, efficient, and affordable. The online footprint for every consumer and business has been steadily increasing over the last decade. You don’t need to be tech savvy to realize that consumers are watching more TV online and turning to the web for all their answers.

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Why PR is Like Coffee

By: Mark Macias

By Mark Macias

Public relations is like coffee, but it should never be confused for a quick hit like cocaine. I got that crazy thought this morning as I was pouring a cup of coffee.

Coffee – much like public relations – is needed to give your day a boost. Without coffee, you are not as quick on your feet and it’s harder to get through your day. Every growing business needs public relations just like you need your coffee. A healthy dose of PR, like your cup of Joe, gives your business a jolt and if it’s an effective publicity campaign, it makes your workload easier.

Entrepreneurs and business owners should never view PR like a drug that delivers a quick hit to your bottom line. You risk a huge crash if you take this myopic approach.

PR is not medicine. It’s more like a vitamin. We take vitamins in the morning to stay healthy, strong and vital. We turn to medicine when we need a remedy or when our health is failing. All public relations campaigns will be more successful if they are launched while a company has a healthy headwind.

“Give Me a Quick Hit”

I speak with a lot entrepreneurs and I hear a consistent theme from our conversations: They want to see an overnight correlation between publicity and sales. It is possible to directly increase sales from public relations, but an overnight correlation is an unstable foundation, especially for any fledgling operation.

Bill Gates grasped this concept in the early days of Microsoft. He’s been quoted multiple times, saying “If I was down to my last dollar, I’d spend it on public relations.”

Another reason why you don’t want to view public relations as medicine is because it gets harder to influence the public when you face negative news. I frequently get unsolicited calls from businesses or nonprofits, asking for advice on how to improve their image following a negative news story. That’s not a publicity campaign. That is a crisis campaign and they begin with different approaches and strategies.

So the next time you’re looking for creative ways to make your work flow more productive, maybe you should grab a cup of Joe and see what it inspires for your next PR campaign.

Follow Always Fresh PR Podcast

If you like what you read, you can also hear some of these topics from Mark Macias in our #alwaysfreshPR podcast. Listen to us on your favorite channel by clicking here.

Mark Macias is a former Executive Producer with WNBC and Senior Producer with WCBS. He’s also the author of the communications book, Beat the Press: Your Guide to Managing the Media. Macias consults small and large businesses on how to get publicity.

My Forbes Advice: How to Approach Journalists Based on their Experience

By Mark Macias

Before I introduce my clients to a reporter, I always try to research the journalist’s background to get a better idea of their experience. It reveals more insight for my communication style with them.

I recently wrote an editorial for Forbes: How To Approach Reporters Based On Their Experience. It outlines how to approach these different reporters based on their experience. Here’s a condensed version of that thought leadership that was published by Forbes.

How PR Works Behind the Scenes, Impacting Media Coverage

By Mark Macias

Managing expectations in business is a critical component to keeping clients happy, and it’s no different with PR. If a client expects 1 or 2 media placements a month and you get 5 inquiries, they will be ecstatic. But if they expect 10 placements and you secure only 5, it’s going to be a difficult conversation.

I had that difficult conversation today with a new health tech client. 

Our media outreach started 2 weeks and 3 days ago. During this time, we secured two interview opportunities for their CEO (one takes place tomorrow), two requests for editorials from healthcare trades, a reporter asking to try out their platform, and 7 inquiries from other outlets, asking for more details on how their solution works. 

I don’t share this to brag. I’m writing this because I didn’t manage the client’s expectations.

Despite media inquiries from – Forbes, Fierce Healthcare, Pharmashots, Popular Science, Pharmacy Times, StrictlyVC.com, Dot.LA and editorial requests from HR.com and Benefits Pro – the client told me at the end of our call today, “we need to reassess because we have a lot of wins and losses.

Losses? 

“What are these losses?” It’s less than 3 weeks and we have a long list of reporters asking for elements.

Media Placements Rarely Happen Overnight

I’ll stick with more examples from this campaign because it has lessons for any case study. This startup spent time debating the actual public announcement of their launch.

“Should we launch on a Thursday or 4 days later?”

I’m a straight-shooter. It doesn’t matter whether the announcement is released on a Thursday or a Monday because the strategy is a longer-term play. And that’s not reading tea leaves. I made that recommendation based on 13 years of running this PR agency, and my time as an Executive Producer and Senior Producer in New York. 

If you’re trying to sell a story to the larger and more influential media publications, it will take time to assess the value of the story. Writers need to sell the story to their editors, and get approval. Producers need to pitch their Executive Producers. And even when the story is approved, the editorial calendar plays a role on scheduling. A story is rarely published in 24 hours, and that includes online news outlets.

You Need an Angle – Not an Announcement

Unless you’re Facebook announcing a name change, or Apple releasing a new product, an announcement rarely gets coverage. If you’re a big brand, timely announcements matter. But if you’re a startup or smaller brand, you need to identify an angle to sell the story.

It’s a little harder to give guidance on finding the right angle because news is nuanced. Each story is personalized based on the elements. But I can tell you what an “angle” isn’t. 

An angle isn’t a history lesson or information on a problem. It’s bringing a problem to light, or putting history into context with an idea that is relevant today.

If you’re trying to get publicity for an announcement, you have to identify the angle first and position your announcement into that story.

Targeted Media is Good; Broad Media is Better

A lot of potential clients tell me why they want to only target one specific trade publication or medium. And I get it. On the surface, if clients are in a specific industry, you want to reach them via the trades they read.

But that approach shouldn’t disqualify alternative or broader outlets.

For example, years ago, our firm ran a few media campaigns for hedge funds and private equity firms. Most of these CEOs only wanted to reach the hedge fund trades. 

In one situation, we secured an interview with the business editor of the New York Post. Unfortunately, the CEO turned down the request because he said it wasn’t a publication he wanted. To paraphrase, “my clients don’t read that tabloid.”

I’ve been inside newsrooms with NBC, CBS and American Journal, as well as regional TV newsrooms in Arizona and Florida. Those writers and producers aren’t reading the weekly hedge fund newsletter. They’re reading the daily newspapers in each region.

Yes, producers with CNBC and Bloomberg do read the FT and NY Times, but in that morning meeting when they are all pitching ideas, they aren’t reading those in-depth publications. They’re flipping through the tabloids or skimming the news on their phones. But if you get a story in one of those publications they’re skimming, you’re just pitched another reporter without knowing it.

The takeaway? Don’t limit your exposure out of the gate. Your potential clients do watch CNN and read their community papers – in addition to the trades.

If you narrow your targeted audience too much, you are tying the hands of your publicist. And if your publicist’s hands are tied, any story or campaign will be at a disadvantage on day 1 and day 17.

ABOUT MACIAS PR

Marketing peers named MACIAS PR the 2017-2020 Strategic PR Firm of the Year. In 2015, 2016 and 2017, Finance Monthly named MACIAS PR the Financial PR Firm of the Year. The founder – Mark Macias – is a former Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York. City & State Magazine named him a PR Political Power Player in 2021.

Biggest Content Marketing Mistakes

By Mark Macias

Content marketing is critical to search engines. If you’re doing it wrong, you don’t exist to consumers since they won’t see you on searches.

Lately, I’ve been receiving a lot of emails from companies and brands, asking if they can publish their content on MACIAS PR. I suspect they see our great SEO and appearance on the first page of Google, so they want to join our party.

That is not effective content marketing for both the brand and your SEO. Don’t let other companies or brands leverage your blog.

Unless you’re a huge company, like Starbucks, your blog should be devoted solely to your brand. Don’t create clutter or confusion to your readers.

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