When Smaller News Organizations are Better for Publicity

Every brand wants to be in the New York Times or on Good Morning America but sometimes those aren’t the best news outlets for your targeted exposure.

I wrote an article for Entrepreneur recently that explores when smaller news outlets might bring more targeted exposure. You can read that story here.

Many times, clients will suggest we turn down a smaller publication because they have their hearts set on these larger news organizations. If you’re a startup, you should be accepting all media opportunities — big and small. Your story hasn’t been told as a startup and every media opportunity is a chance to scale your brand. These news stories also help your website with SEO.

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Media Case Study – Publicity for Off-Broadway Play

In 2018, the founder of MACIAS PR – Mark Macias – wrote and produced an Off-Broadway play on the final hours of Elvis Presley’s time on earth. The King, The Final Hours was an artistic look at what went through Elvis’ mind as he realized he was dying. 

This agency led the entire publicity and marketing campaign for the play, and it had a direct impact on ticket sales. The King, The Final Hours received local, national and international media attention and sold out 50 percent of its shows. More than 50 independent theaters across the country expressed interest in the play before COVID hit. The first syndicated play was scheduled to open in May 2020 in Portland, Oregon. COVID put that on hold.

Media Coverage for the Play

Local TV, community newspapers, radio, national and international online publications all published features on The King, The Final Hours. Here’s a look at some of the mentions from those news stories.

  • New York Post – “The King, The Final Hours, Macias’ debut play that imagines Elvis Presley’s sad last hours on this earth, had a well-received reading… with an eye towards enticing more investors.”
  • Broadway Box – “The King, The Final Hours will take baby boomers back to their youth and introduce a new generation to the powerful entertainer who became the most famous man on Earth.”
  • NY1 – “While many story tellers focus on what made Elvis so successful, this play examines the singer’s struggles.”
  • PIX 11 – The play looks at how his life ended and finds themes we can all explore in our lives.
  • Rock & Roll Globe Magazine – “This story explores some of those personal failures that he had as a human. If a play is going to succeed, it has to be a great story, a new story, something that hasn’t been told. And I believe this does have that.”
  • Brooklyn Reader – “The play doesn’t shy away from the truth about Elvis.”
  • Brooklyn Paper – “Macias’ show imagines Elvis realizing something very strange is happening, and calling out to the three most important women in his life: His mama, his first wife, and the woman he loved but didn’t marry.”

Media Partnerships

In addition to securing media placements and creating content for social media, MACIAS PR also partnered with sponsors from different industries. We created experience packages for hotels. This included a Meet & Greet with the cast, seats in the front row and a private Q&A with the producer following the show.

You can see more of our media coverage in the case study below. Interested in hearing how MACIAS PR can help promote your show or play? Click here to get a free PR estimate. We learned a lot from producing and promoting this play, and can share more of this knowledge with your creators.

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 New York

Case Study – Branding Campaign for RX Brand in Provider Space

Rising prescription costs are at the forefront of the healthcare debate. Despite this timely news issue, one digital health company had trouble standing out even though it provided a unique value proposition that lowered prescription costs.

This case study looks at how MACIAS PR helped elevate the WellRx brand by placing targeted consumer stories across TV, print and influential online news publications. You can also read a Linkedin testimonial from the company executive who worked with our agency throughout our 3+ year relationship.

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Consumer Survey – What Motivates People to Buy

In the height of the pandemic, MACIAS PR, published a consumer survey that looked at the waning influence of commercials and online ads. It’s valuable insight that is still relevant today, especially as consumer spending slows during this economic downturn.

The online survey was conducted July 15-16th, 2020 and involved more than 2,000 Americans who answered questions detailing the best approach to get them to buy new products.

The survey found a staggering 70 percent of participants said TV commercials no longer influence them to buy products. In contrast, roughly 45 percent said positive online consumer reviews and positive stories on the news influence them the most when it comes to buying a new product or service.

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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.

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.

Insider Look: What Journalists Look for when Writing Stories

Every business owner wants to know how to get journalists to write a story on their business. Unfortunately, there is no magic formula that reveals how a story gets on the news or in the newspapers, but there are guidelines that can increase your chances for coverage.

The approval process in news is extremely subjective, just like any other profession involving creativity, opinions and experiences. During my time as Executive Producer with NBC in New York, I approved story ideas from reporters, publicists and producers.

Sometimes, stories were approved but later killed for various reasons, while other times, I had to kill a story because it lacked visuals or was outdated.

So how do you get journalists to cover your business? Here’s a general rule of the approaches our firm continues to take with our campaigns. These tactics are derived from my time inside the media.

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AI Producing More Content – How it Impacts PR

A recent article predicted artificial intelligence will generate 90 percent of all online content by 2025. Another news article revealed editors with the popular CNET tech site have already used AI to produce news articles.

Back in 2020, I wrote an article for Forbes exploring this topic, titled “Artificial Intelligence in PR: Is it Science Fiction?” You can read the entire article by clicking on that link, but if you’re short on time, here was my prediction from 2020.

AI won’t succeed with PR because news happens too quickly. During my time running the PR campaign for the popular weight loss program, Noom, I learned how quality data helps AI. It helps the machine learn, grow and predict overtime. Machine learning can’t learn without quality data.

PR and journalism are nowhere near gathering this kind of big data for news coverage. But even if this big data on news generation was available, we would still need critical and creative thinking to launch enterprise PR campaigns.

A different article in January’s Atlantic Monthly supported this thought. The Atlantic Monthly article states it best:

“Even if ChatGPT can spit out a pretty good paragraph on AI, it can’t interview AI and labor experts, nor can it find historical documents, nor can it assess the quality of studies of technological change and employment.

It creates content out of what is already out there, with no authority, no understanding, no ability to correct itself, no way to identify genuinely new or interesting ideas. That implies that AI might make original journalism more valuable and investigative journalists more productive, while creating an enormous profusion of simpler content.

The key to that point? AI can’t interview people like a journalist and publicist can. AI can help publicists with their research but when it comes to creating campaigns from scratch, AI doesn’t create content from scratch. It only creates content from existing content.

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Do Contacts Lead to Media Placements?

By Mark Macias

Business owners and entrepreneurs frequently make assumptions with me. They tell me, “you must know a lot of people in the media.”

And yes, I do know journalists, reporters and producers across the US. But honestly, those connections don’t lead to media placements. Yes, sometimes these former colleagues can assist but the friendship never directly leads to a media placement. 

So what does? Stories that are newsworthy.

In business, who you know helps, but when it comes to the media, the rules of the game change.

Want to hear more? Watch the video that goes more in-depth.

 

The Overlooked Consumer Group Every Campaign Should Target – Forbes Editorial

By Mark Macias

I recently wrote a story for Forbes that breaks down a hidden group of consumers that many PR campaigns miss. You can read that Forbes editorial by clicking here. A synopsis of that thought leadership is below in case you are short on time.

You’ve likely heard of influencers, but have you heard of emotional motivators? This group of consumers should be at the top of your PR strategy. Emotional motivators are a specific group of consumer behavioral patterns — like the need for excitement or attention — that drive decision-making. They are also known to influence others.

The social scientists define emotional motivators as those who are not shy about expressing their feelings; when they “feel,” everyone around them feels, too. And when they like something, everyone knows it. 

When a PR strategy taps into emotional motivators, you can earn a brand ambassador better than any celebrity spokesperson. In my experience, these motivators help bring a higher return on investment for any PR campaign and increase the chances that your brand will spread via word-of-mouth.

Want to learn more? Click here to read my full thought leadership on Forbes.

ABOUT MACIAS PR

MACIAS PR was founded in 2009 by Mark Macias – a former Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York. Marketing peers named MACIAS PR the Best Strategic PR Firm while Finance Monthly named us the Top PR consulting firm from 2015 to 2021. City & State Magazine has named Mark Macias a Top 50 Political PR Player in New York.