Formula for Media Placements

Formula for Media Placements

By Mark Macias

Many people assume there is a secret formula to getting stories on TV or in the newspapers. If that were the case, the formula would have been hacked and posted on the Internet by now.

It’s also not about who you know, which many outsiders assume. Yes – a friend in the media can help you by guiding or framing the story, but if you don’t have a solid idea, they won’t run it on the news – no matter how close you are.

A more successful media strategy is identifying the strongest narrative with an angle that is creative and unique. As an Executive Producer with WNBC in New York, I approved the story ideas from reporters, producers and publicists. I also approved the scripts that came out of our consumer, health and medical units. When I was reviewing these scripts, or trying to identify whether this was a story of interest, I would use these traits to help me guide me.

1) Is it timely?

2) How does this benefit our readers?

3) What is the controversy and does it have a solution?

4) Is there an interactive element we can add?

5) Who else has done this story?

Generally speaking, if you can craft a media campaign around those questions, you will have more success with your media placements. You can also get some guidance by looking closely at the media formula photo we posted above this article.

Mark Macias is a former Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York. He’s also the author of the communications book, Beat the Press: Your Guide to Managing the Media, which has been featured in the NY Times, Fox Business, NY Post and others. Macias consults small and large businesses on how to get publicity. You can read more on his firm at MaciasPR.

How to Lose Twitter Followers

By: Mark Macias

Imagine the pain of learning you lost 3200 Twitter followers overnight. It was a painful reality for a popular morning TV personality in Phoenix.

Tara Hitchcock was the morning show anchor for Good Morning Arizona in Phoenix a few years ago. The TV industry is a transient field, so I didn’t read too much into her departure when I heard the news until I read this in an article:

“She has started up a new Twitter account -@taratv- in place of her old one, which is owned by Channel 3.”

Tara spent her TV career in Phoenix, promoting that Twitter handle, but she lost control of it because she didn’t own the handle.

Own Your Twitter Handle

Tara Hitchcock is unfortunately not alone.

I have many close friends in the TV business and many of them associate their Twitter accounts with their current employer. It’s great to drink the Kool-Aid and drop ABC or CBS in your handle, but what happens when you switch employers. These reporters and anchors are harming their ability to brand themselves by giving away their influential Twitter power to the networks.

This doesn’t just apply to TV personalities.

There are many companies that will create a Twitter or Facebook account for any small businesses and for free. They even will help grow your fan base for a small fee, but when you read the fine print, you will see that you don’t own the Facebook page or the Twitter handle.

You don’t need to be a calculus major to see what will happen when  you take your business to another social media provider: you will lose your account.

So before you go identifying your entire brand with one employer, or even one industry on Twitter and Facebook, think of what could happen if four years down the road, you decide to take a different path.

Use a Facebook and Twitter name that you can take with you. I’m glad I did that during my time with NBC and CBS, which is why you can follow me on Twitter/MarkMacias or on Facebook.com/maciaspr.

Mark Macias is a former Executive Producer with WNBC, Senior Producer with WCBS and Special Projects Producer with NBC. He’s also the author of the communications book, Beat the Press: Your Guide to Managing the Media. Macias now consults small and large businesses on how to get publicity. You can read more on his firm at MaciasPR.

Why the Media Says No

By: Mark Macias

How do the news producers and newspaper editors decide what to print and broadcast on TV? Conspiracy theorists love this question because it gives them a chance to point out how most national news organizations always cover the same stories.

Yes – that happens, but is it a coincidence or has the media been indoctrinated to all chase the same news stories?

Here’s an insider view on the media from someone who spent time as an Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York — the places where these conspiracies all allegedly begin.

Every news outlet wants to run enterprise and original stories, but the open secret inside every newsroom is most editors, news managers and producers are afraid of failure.

That’s right – they’re afraid of pitching a bad story idea that no one will like.

If the public doesn’t buy, read or watch their stories, those reporters and reporters who pitched the story know they will lose credibility in the newsroom.

And once a journalist loses credibility, he has an uphill battle, especially in competitive New York newsrooms where the flavor of the month usually melts before the end of the day.

How to Improve Your Chances for News Coverage

If you want a story written about your business, you need to cite a reason why people will want to watch. You need to explain why the newspaper readers will benefit from your story.

You can improve your chances for coverage by understanding how viewers and readers think. And in just in case you’re wondering, how do viewers and readers think?

Pretty much just like you and me. That’s why I still believe the best journalists and story tellers understand themselves first. The more you understand human behavior, the better you are at driving news coverage for your business.

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 now consults small and large businesses on how to get publicity. You can read more on his firm at MaciasPR.

How to Reach Hispanic Consumers

By Mark Macias

The mainstream media, politicians and advertisers are catching onto what most Latinos knew 20+ years ago. Hispanics are a huge consumer market and if you can tap into their families, you will have a growing business.

The CMO of Coca-Cola recently told an influential crowd of advertising executives that Hispanics are a key part of Coke’s growth strategy through 2020.

We kind of all know that, but what the CEO of Nielson – David Calhoun – said was even more intriguing: He predicted Hispanics would be the biggest source of growth for all US companies. He then challenged all business owners to spend 65% of their time “figuring out this Hispanic opportunity.”

Hispanic Market Pizza Post

The Growing Hispanic Consumer Population

When I was an Executive Producer with NBC, I co-founded the NBC/Telemundo Hispanic Forum, which brought Latino journalists from the English and Spanish news divisions together for networking and mentoring sessions.

You would think with my media experience and culture, I would have thought of targeting Hispanics when it came to finding new business.

But guess what: I learned the hard way like many entrepreneurs.

It took meetings with three different clients (who are not Hispanic) before I realized I was missing out on reaching a key growth opportunity. They all wanted to know how they could market to my culture via the media.

Spanish Media Outlets

After the light went on in my head, I pitched my law firm client to CNN en Español.

Roughly 5-minutes later, I heard back from a CNN producer, saying she loved my story. That segment ended up running on the program, Dinero, which airs at 8pm on CNN en Español.

For nearly 4-minutes, my client was an expert on legal issues in prime time.

So what does this mean to you?

If you speak Spanish, start pitching the Spanish media because they need experts for their news stories too. Lawyers, accountants, financial consultants, nutritionists, doctors– they’re easy to find anywhere, but Spanish journalists need to look harder to find their equivalents for their audience.

I don’t speak for all Hispanics, but I can tell you everyone in my family spends a lot of money to make sure we stay healthy and young looking. My vain family is a marketer’s dream. Loreal wants to reach my sisters. Banana Republic wants to reach my Dad.

That’s why I’m now looking in the mirror and going after potential clients who are just like me. If you want to reach more consumers like me, give us a shout. We’ll show you what we delivered for other clients in the Spanish market.

Mark Macias is a former Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York. He’s also the author of the communications book, Beat the Press: Your Guide to Managing the Media. Macias now consults small and large businesses on how to get publicity. You can read more on his firm at MaciasPR.

Market a Fund to Investors

By Mark Macias

Public relations can raise the profile of your firm. Unfortunately, the financial industry is one of the last sectors to embrace PR.

MACIAS PR has led many media campaigns for hedge funds, private equity firms, money managers and financial service providers. Our team secured media coverage for our clients with CNBC, Wall Street Journal, Barron’s Magazine and others.

This track record is partially why industry peers named MACIAS PR the 2017 Strategic PR Firm of the Year. And in 2015 and 2016, Finance Monthly named us the Financial PR Firm of the Year.

A recent white paper, How to Market your Fund under the New SEC Rules, found less than 5 percent of SEC registered hedge funds are taking advantage of PR.

The white paper found fewer than one in 20 SEC registered funds had a website, putting them out of reach of new investors. The research also discovered roughly 80 percent of the funds in Connecticut didn’t even have an email address for  investors to contact.

The white paper was published by MACIAS PR and can be downloaded by clicking here.

How to Market a Fund to Investors

Before the SEC lifted the restrictions on marketing, most funds had not developed a website, fearing it would give the impression of skirting the old SEC prohibition on advertising.

Those funds are now at a huge disadvantage since they are entering a modern world where an online presence is crucial to marketing any service.

Marketing a fund with the media is drastically different than marketing a product to the public. Every fund needs credibility before the media will even consider putting a portfolio manager on TV or quoting him as a financial expert. This is why he says it’s so crucial for all funds to establish credibility now with a strong online presence.

Here is an except from the white paper How to Market your Fund under the New SEC Rules:

Establish Credibility before any Media Outreach

Credibility matters in life, but it especially matters for journalists, says Macias who was a journalist for NBC, CBS and King World Productions. Whenever a portfolio manager is pitched as an expert to the media, journalists will quietly and overtly measure his expertise, integrity and experience in the financial industry. If a reporter doesn’t see an online presence on your fund, credibility questions will be raised, Macias says. Here are a few credibility questions you should be able to address and answer before your fund pursues media placements.

Develop a Content Marketing Plan

Your team of analysts already has a wealth of research that could be turned into white papers, blogs, articles or editorials that could be marketed on the web. This is known as “content marketing.” Content marketing is one of the most effective methods for reaching new investors because it provides a real value to consumers. When promoted on the web, content marketing platforms, like nRelate or Outbrain, can help your original content reach even more targeted business readers on influential blogs and news websites.

Research Financial PR and Financial Marketing Firms

Unlike ad campaigns that stop when your campaign ends, media campaigns keep working for your fund long after a PR campaign is over. The cost for a PR campaign effectively diminishes overtime, since news organizations rarely bring down their stories.

Another benefit to a financial PR campaign is a boost to your search engine ranking. If your PR team can convince a news organization to post a link to your website on their news site, other search engines will suddenly view your fund as more valuable, boosting its ranking to a higher position. Here are a few questions to help you determine which PR firm is the best fit for your hedge fund.

Develop an Email Marketing Campaign

Email marketing campaigns can be a targeted way to share your investor newsletters with potential investors. When written in a concise way, a fund’s newsletter can be shared with your clients’ sphere of influence, especially when it contains social media links embedded in the newsletter. The key to launching a successful email campaign is to deliver original content that educates readers on your fund.

Macias PR was named the 2017 Strategic PR Firm of the Year and 2016 and 2015 top PR Firm of the Year – USA by Finance Monthly. The founder – Mark Macias – is a former Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York. He is also a PR contributor with CNBC, providing media analysis, insight and crisis advice on timely business topics.

Friends in High Places (Media)

By Mark Macias

Everyone wants to help a friend and members of the media are no different.

If you’re cozy with certain journalists, you might get a call returned faster or your story idea forwarded to the right person.

I spent over a decade working side-by-side with journalists at NBC and CBS, but you don’t need to be inside the media to curry favor. You can also develop relationships by seeking outside interests.

Look for Networking Opportunites

First off, you need to be genuine about what I’m going to say. Journalists are smart and can read through a fake quickly so if this is not something you’re interested in, don’t show up for the sake of meeting media people. However, if you do love these types of networking events, they can easily work to your advantage.

Affinity organizations like the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, National Association of Asian Journalists and the National Association of Black Journalists provide many personal opportunities to network with journalists.

Those summer conferences allow journalists to socialize and network together while their nighttime events are filled with booze and parties. You don’t need to hold a press card to attend one of these conferences. If you pay the fees, you are welcomed inside.

Many cities also have their own local media mixers.

When I worked for a TV station in Phoenix, I belonged to an organization called the Arizona Latino Media Association or ALMA. The group frequently held social events at bars and restaurants where Hispanic journalists and PR executives mingled. Mediabistro also hosts networking events where journalists hang out together.

Just don’t be fake with your agenda. If you are there to network with people – or even to sell your business – be transparent because no one wants to hang out with the guy who is holding a secret. And don’t forget, these professionals are paid to uncover secrets, so you won’t last very long if you take that approach.

Mark Macias is a former Executive Producer with WNBC, Senior Producer with WCBS and Special Projects Producer with NBC. He’s also the author of the communications book, Beat the Press: Your Guide to Managing the Media. Macias now consults small and large businesses on how to get publicity. You can read more on his firm at MaciasPR.

Buying Journalists Gifts?

By Mark Macias

It’s a written rule and code of ethics in journalism that you can’t accept gifts in exchange for stories, but that doesn’t stop publicists from trying to secure media coverage through freebies.

When I was with NBC and CBS in New York, I was always invited to “free” press screenings for shows and concerts. Restaurants, lounges and bars also sent me private VIP invitations to their openings. Even our Special Projects unit  received unsolicited gifts from publicists to try out their products.

But is this an effective approach?

Here’s the inside media scoop on gift giving to journalists.

Every newsroom has a table full of toys, makeup, books and other products that are sent to reporters and producers.

I am of the belief that it’s a waste of money to send free samples to reporters because it will inevitably end up in the hands of a person who has no influence on whether that story will run.

As an Executive Producer with WNBC – overseeing the consumer and medical units – I can’t even recall the number of times I went to my work mailbox and saw a package or box with my name on it. Most of the times, I had no use for the make-up or toy or other product that was shipped to me.

But this doesn’t mean you should completely ignore a version of this strategy. You can still offer up a sample for the news organization to try, but be selective with it and most important – make sure you offer it to the right news contact.

And most important, don’t ever project that you are expecting something in return because that is the quickest way to get your story killed.

Mark Macias is a former Executive Producer with WNBC, Senior Producer with WCBS and Special Projects Producer with NBC. He’s also the author of the communications book, Beat the Press: Your Guide to Managing the Media. Macias now consults small and large businesses on how to get publicity. You can read more on his firm at MaciasPR.

Publicity for Smaller TV Markets

By Mark Macias

As a journalist, I’ve covered news in Phoenix, Miami and New York – and all three markets couldn’t be more different when it comes to getting stories on the local news. News is covered differently based on the region of the country and even the city.

So how do you get the local news to write or run a story on your event?

Many PR blogs will advise you to pick up the phone and call. As a guy who received those calls from publicists, I would advise you differently.

Instead of picking up the phone and calling a random reporter you have never met, you should first put your thoughts down in writing. This will keep you more focused and concise when you try to explain the story to a reporter.

Most people ramble on when they get reporters on the phone. It’s a normal trait since they are likely excited when they finally get through, but it will work to your disadvantage quickly if you don’t communicate the angle of the story within the first minute.

If the news desk likes your story, they will also ask you for something in writing, so these notes will help you sell the story later.

Finally, if the TV station says they don’t have a photographer to send to your event, don’t give up. Ask if you can send them video. We’ve done this for many clients and the local TV station ran the story. Smaller TV markets are also more likely to run your video.

Most important – make sure your email gives detailed information on your organization for the story because a local TV station can’t write a story if they don’t have the information for the story.

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 now consults small and large businesses on how to get publicity. You can read more on his firm at MaciasPR or MarketYourFund.com

How to Sell Your Story to the Media

By Mark Macias

The best salesman is always the person who is most passionate about his product. He’s the person who loves his product so much that his eyes come alive as he explains why there is no superior product. It’s no different with the media and selling your business to a reporter.

You need to be absolutely convinced that your story is newsworthy. If you have doubts, hold off on pitching the story until you are absolutely sold with the story angle.

How to Sell Your Story to the Media

In Journalism 101, students are taught the five W’s that help them identify the value of a story.

These bullet points help you identify why your story is newsworthy and what is important to communicate to reporters. Here’s a quick overview to help you identify your narrative.

WHO: Who is this story about? Who is the character in the center of the story?

WHAT: What is this story about? You will have more success with your media outreach if you identify the “what” because your idea will be more focused.

WHERE: This should be one of the easier W’s to identify. Where is this story taking place? Does the location have any value or importance in the community?

WHEN: Does your story have any timely components? Will your story take place on a single night or day? Is your story relevant at a certain time of the month? The timeliness increases your chances for coverage.

WHY: Why should anyone care about your story? The “why” could be the deciding factor that determines whether your story is pursued or killed. You need to communicate why consumers, readers or viewers care about your business.

By learning the answers to these questions, your story narrative will be more focused from the start, increasing your chances for coverage.

Macias PR was named the 2016 “Financial PR Firm of the Year – USA” and the 2015 “PR Consultant Firm of the Year – USA” by Finance Monthly. We have launched and led media campaigns for clients in healthcare, finance, tech and the nonprofit sectors. The founder of Macias PR – Mark Macias – is a former Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York. He is also a PR contributor with CNBC, providing media analysis, insight and crisis advice on timely business topics.

How to Pitch a Story like a Journalist

By Mark Macias

It’s the one question every person wants to know. How does the media decide which news stories are important? Here’s how to pitch your story like a journalist.

When I was an Executive Producer with NBC in New York, many of my friends quizzed me on whether there was a conspiracy in the media. After all, they would ask, how could it be possible that all of the news organizations would typically run the same stories?

There is no conspiracy and there is no magic formula, however there are ingredients that do make for a news story.

If you want to get your business on the news, you need to first identify what is different, new or unique about your product or service. News is based on the root “new,” which is why all news stories must be timely.

How to Pitch a Story like a Journalist

The more you can make your pitch sound timely, the better chances you have of getting your business on the news.

You can increase your chances for news coverage by answering these questions before you reach out to reporters:

* What is different about my business?

* How does my business help the public and why is that service unique?

* Is there something timely about my business or product?

* Is there a personal story to tell about my business, like maybe a grandfather is passing the 75-year-old family business onto his grandchildren in a public ceremony?

* Is there a new trend arising in my business field that will affect the pocket books of consumers?

* Have any trade organizations recognized my business as a leader in innovation that will help shape the future?

Finding a unique angle is not as difficult as it may sound. You just need to open your mind to timely events that impact and influence sales of your product or service.

The more you understand the definition and value of “newsworthy” the better chance you will have of getting the media to do a story on your business.

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 now consults small and large businesses on how to get publicity. You can read more on his firm at MaciasPR. The company also does financial PR – which you can read more at MarketYourFund.com.