All posts by Heather Whaling

HOW TO: Effectively Pitch Bloggers

USA, California, San Bernardino, baseball pitcher throwing pitch, outdoorsThis week, I’m presenting at a local conference on blogger relations, which has me thinking about what separates the “good” blogger relations from the bad.

We’ve all heard that relationships matter, right? But, it’s not always realistic to think we can build a solid relationship with every blogger (or traditional journalist, for that matter) before the pitch. Especially if you work in an agency environment, with clients in multiple industries.

So, what’s the secret to effective blogger outreach?

Not too long ago, a blogger emailed this to me after receiving my pitch:

I really appreciate you taking the time to know a little bit about me before you emailed me. You have no idea what a difference that personalization makes. Or, maybe you do. But in case you don’t hear it enough, good job!

Personalization. You’ll notice this is the beginning of a theme . . . Continue reading

Are You a Singing Publicist?

Teenage girl singing karaoke in bedroomIs a love of music a pre-requisite for a successful PR career? At one point or another, you’ve probably tweeted your undying love for Pandora, grooveshark or Or told your friends and followers about that awesome new band you just discovered. And, we all know that singing your favorite song at the top of your lungs can be a surefire cure for a stress-packed day … whether you’ll admit it publicly or not, right?

Well, now you have a chance to put your vocal chops to good use for a chance to walk the red carpet! (That’s right, actually walk the red carpet. Not stand on the other side with a clipboard ushering people through the line.) The Tony Awards, Macy’s and CBS launched Macy’s Ticket to the Tony’s — a nationwide online contest in which one lucky fan will win the opportunity to walk the red carpet, attend and be featured on live television at the Tony Awards on Sunday, June 13th. Continue reading

PR Advice for Nonprofits: Help! No One Wants to Talk About Us

Young woman interviewing senior man, close upWhile some nonprofit organizations — like American Cancer Society or Make-a-Wish — generate a lot of publicity and online chatter, many others struggle to spark meaningful conversations. As a society, we’re uncomfortable talking about certain topics (e.g., child molestation, addiction as a disease). Organizations focused on such causes face an uphill battle. It’s easy to see how the silent treatment can cause significant challenges: A lack of dialogue can result in  a lack of awareness … which can lead to a lack of funding and an inability to deliver the necessary services. It’s a vicious cycle.

Understanding that it’s a challenge isn’t enough though. A nonprofit communicator recently posed this question to me, “Our subject isn’t ‘warm and fuzzy,’ so it’s hard for us to get media attention or initiate online conversations. How can we communicate our message to community leaders (many of whom play a key role in funding decisions)?” Continue reading

Advice for Nonprofits: Ask and You Shall Receive

Technology Concepts 1As I help nonprofits improve their public relations and social media efforts, I’m struck by the fact that, regardless of size or mission, they often ask similar questions. I’m sure other groups have similar questions, which is why I’m excited to start this new PRBC series, which aims to answer nonprofits’ most burning questions.

Question: I’m having trouble establishing tangible goals & objectives in regards to media measurement for my non-profit organization. I’ve gotten stories placed in the paper or on local tv & radio stations in the past, but that was reactive, nothing strategically planned. Any advice? Continue reading

You’re Invited: #Chatmixer, March 9

People drinking at a party in kitchenDid you know that there are more than a dozen inudstry “Twitter chats” that focus on PR, social media, marketing and blogging? You may participate in one or two of these conversations, but it’s impossible to find time to chime in on all of them, right?

Until now.

You’re invited to join us for the ultimate chat mixer, taking place this Tuesday, March 9, starting at 8 p.m. EST. Justin Goldsborough, Valerie Simon and I are hosting this party to help people interested in PR and social media forge new connections and build their network. Continue reading

Small Potatoes Will Grow

Thinkstock single image collectionAs a small business owner, I see customer service from a whole new perspective. When I opened my business banking account, I received exceptional customer service – far better than I had ever received before. Now, it could be this particular bank’s branch, but the cynic in me thinks reps cater more to the business owners than the individual with a regular account.

Businesses tend to prioritize their customers. It’s not unreasonable to think bigger customers get better service, right? But, by providing less-than-stellar service to a smaller customer, are you assuming that that account will always be “small potatoes?” Continue reading

Collaborative Pitching: Pitch With Me

pwt-logo_transIf content is king, then it’s about time we crown collaboration the queen.

By now, we all understand the value of quality content — in terms of SEO, traffic, engagement, readability, and so on. But, only recently have PR people begun to rethink our uber-competitive nature. And, we’re discovering that working together leads to better results for our clients.

For example: How many of you have seen a HARO query, and thought “Hey, that would be a perfect fit for X.” If X is another PR person, technically they’re a competitor. I don’t know about you, but when I first started my career, I never would have shared a lead with a competing agency. But, now I don’t think twice about giving someone a heads up if I see a HARO that might be relevent to them or their clients. If nothing else, it’s good karma, right? Continue reading

Geben Gives

PRTini Headshot Sepia_smIf you’ve hung around the PR Breakfast Club for even a short amount of time, you know these bloggers subscribe to the “give more to get more” mantra. In fact, I’m amazed at how willing my “online” friends are to share information … give advice … lend an ear.

But, generosity doesn’t stop there. It’s heart-warming to see how many individuals are using their platforms to do some good. As the holidays approach, what’s better than social media for social good, right? Some recent examples: Continue reading