Published: Sep 11, 2020
Last Updated: Sep 15, 2020

As public relations professionals, we know how to figuratively stretch a dollar. Occasionally, clients don’t have a recurring roster of robust news, or the news they do have is not always deemed media-worthy (think internal company announcements or minor hiring shifts). As PR practitioners, we’re tasked with helping clients make the most of the messages they disseminate, even if the content isn’t necessarily “new” news. 

In order to get the most out of what we share with reporters, we place specific emphasis on making communications relatable and tailored, while leaning into different geographies where relevant. 

Work we did for NEC is a good example. A leading multinational technology integrator, NEC tapped Idea Grove for support in sharing a series of announcements around an update to its cloud-based communications platform with media in the US and Canada. The challenge? While its news was important to share, it was positioned as a series of updates to an existing announcement around a company partnership. Idea Grove stepped up to the plate to make the most out of these updates through targeted pitches in both countries, resulting in 21 total pieces of unique media coverage for news that wasn’t exactly new.

To get started tackling an announcement with cross-regional audiences (read: audiences not defined to a sole geographic region), you must first know to whom you are communicating. 

Our approach to tackle this at Idea Grove involves strategic research of media contacts so we can approach them as a journalist and as a person. That means spending time looking at areas the reporter has specifically covered in their recent work and identify any underlying threads. Is there a heavy tech angle? Does that reporter tend to only examine business innovation in their coverage? Catering to these journalistic characteristics help us catch the eye of relevant reporters. 

Figuring out how to approach them as a person is a little more fun. Typically, we start by looking at a reporter's social media profiles (we find Twitter to be a great option) to see if there are any shared commonalities. For instance, is this reporter a Harvard grad like the client’s CEO? Or, is the reporter a fellow dog lover? We like to reference these briefly (and in a professional matter) in our outreach, as it shows the reporter we’ve done our due diligence in researching them, and we value their time by not giving them a story pitch that’s not a fit. 

For NEC, we honed in on contacts that specifically covered business communications and collaboration, naturally, but we tailored our outreach to each specific region. For U.S. media, we played off of the original partnership announcement. In sharing the follow up news, we clearly communicated that NEC was on a runway for success in the UC space. We examined what nuances U.S. media included in original stories. Did this reporter want to learn about the financial impact? Was another interested in how the original news would impact channel partners? Questions like these informed the creation of detailed pitches to the media.

Communicating to Canada media involved more hyper-targeted outreach. Idea Grove identified that the Canadian media was particularly focused on the impact of this announcement on Canadian channel partners. As such, we examined the top channel and tech publications and ensured that outreach included channel-centric publications in addition to general technology. By understanding this audience up front, the message around NEC’s solution availability in Canada was clear, concise, and effective. 

There were lower expectations around the final announcement in the series, highlighting  a new partner model that would benefit both the US and Canada. We made sure that our pitches were even more targeted by revisiting the original media list and sharing this news as a followup with contacts who’d indicated interest in the previous announcements.  

Communicating NEC’s news to different audiences involved dedicated media research (to identify key contacts), developing targeted media pitches (specifically tailored to each publication and reporter’s areas of focus) and hands-on outreach and communication with the client team. Additionally, we leaned into the nuances of different geographies whenever possible, and weren’t afraid to get targeted and dig in with our research and pitching efforts. We found that the more relatable we could make our news to our list of contacts, the better! 

As we mentioned, we’re no strangers to stretching a (media) dollar. It’s all about getting the right pitch in front of the right audience at the right time.

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About the Author

Mary Brynn Milburn
Mary Brynn Milburn
Mary Brynn is an intern turned senior public relations coordinator at Idea Grove. She is adept at seeing around corners and anticipating internal and client needs. She is passionate about telling stories and developing strategy that will drive success for client initiatives. She supports client media initiatives through campaign planning, media research, reporting, pitch creation, interview preparation and more.

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