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Media Relations

Media Relations

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Media Relations

Feature Story Placement and Pro-Active Pitching
We can help you find, deliver and tell your story. We assess corporate information, such as new products, alliances, marketing messages, and leverage them into timely, relevant story angles. We take the story as far as it can go to get the most mileage for our clients. For example, we have turned a customer announcement that it using a new product in one location into coverage that appeared in The New York Times, ABC's "World News Tonight" and NBC's "Dateline." We have secured numerous feature placements in the national media, including: The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Associated Press, Forbes, Fortune, Bloomberg News, Dow Jones News Service, TheStreet.com and MarketWatch.com.

We talk to reporters and producers on a daily basis, pro-actively pitching stories to them. And based our conversations and e-mails, we also provide a level of objectivity to our clients in evaluating story ideas in terms of whether or not they will be of interest to your key media. (If we think a story will not achieve your goals, we always provide alternative suggestions.) We then recommend and target appropriate reporters and producers at the national media and industry publications to secure feature story placements. We advocate conducting monthly brainstorms to explore new customers or partnerships, current trends, competitors' news, etc., and develop that information into compelling story angles based on your business objectives.
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Regional Media Relations
We’ve seen account teams at big agencies focus only on national media because of the “glamour” and circulation size of consumer publications – whether or not those publications are read by potential customers or investors – while ignoring small circulation publications for being unworthy of their time. We’ve seen account teams at small agencies focus on trade media as a means to reach customers while ignoring investors because they were intimidated by the national media. At Birnbach Communications, we have a demonstrated track record of success with national and trade media – but we also have a strong track record with regional media, which often goes overlooked in PR programs if only because account teams feel they can’t reach customers or investors via regional media. In fact, regional media is important for communicating to, and boosting the morale of, employees, retirees and potential employees or reassuring employees of a just-acquired company. Regional media is critical to reaching the community at large with news about the corporation and, especially, nonprofit organizations, their programs and local outreach.

We have worked with regional media from around the country, from the Arizona Republic to the Washington Post. Having local media experience, where bowling league scores and school lunch menus are important to the community, we identify what’s relevant about the story to the local community, even if we’re separated from the media by thousands of miles and a few time zones. We have successfully worked with a number of companies as they developed and supported programs to improve local schools, whether detailed school-to-work curriculums, support for building new schools, upgrading local schools’ infrastructure, or substantial donations. We have helped announce good news, such as plant openings or expansions, and have helped manage bad news, too, such as layoffs and plant closings.
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Industry or Vertical Media Relations
While national media can seem more glamorous, industry media are vital in terms of reaching customers. After all, readers may make stock-purchasing decisions based on an article in The Wall Street Journal or Forbes, but (with the exception of personal technology) customers make buying decisions based on the detailed articles in industry media. We know the key industry outlets, along with the reporters and editors, and are expert at speaking the industry terminology and developing stories that appeal to industry-specific audiences. We have worked with trade publications in every practice sector, from American Banker to eWeek to Modern Healthcare to Variety, and many more in between, to launch new products and services, including FDA-approved drugs; introduce new senior executives and companies; announce new partnerships and customers and investments; and celebrate key corporate milestones, including new headquarters and significant anniversaries.

Key practice areas include:

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National and Business Media Strategy
Our senior specialists intimately understand the business, consumer and technology media, from The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and Financial Times to the Boston Globe, Washington Post, and San Jose Mercury News to BusinessWeek, Forbes, Fortune to wire services Bloomberg News, Dow Jones, Reuters and Associated Press to CNBC and Fox Business News to and influential websites like MarketWatch.com and C/net.

We have established relationships with key reporters and opinion leaders, and maintain them in ways that establish our credibility so that reporters call us with requests. And with our journalism background, we understand reporters' beats and interests, how they work, what they look for (i.e., customer references and news before their competitors get it, for example), what they don't like (i.e, calling "just to follow up" or to offer a story after it appeared in their competition), and how to get them to pay attention to our clients. We learn our clients' objectives and match them with the right media, whether print, broadcast or online. We provide critical insight that transforms facts, information and strategy into compelling, timely stories.

We use the national media as the focus when developing strategic media relations programs because companies must pitch a more substantive perspective than new product features to interest business reporters. We develop comprehensive programs, supported by story angles that take advantage of that perspective and enable us to provide reporters with something they all ask for: context – how much a deal is worth, what are the implications for the industry, etc. – in other words, why the story matters. This focus also enables us to reinforce our clients' strengths, their business and competitive position, which synchs us with their business objectives.
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Media Tours
We target, pitch and schedule strategic media tours – the ones that build key relationships or score important hits in the national media. Recent highlights include a media tour to introduce the Joslin Diabetes Center to key New York City-based national media who mostly ignored the Boston-based 100-year-old research center. We scheduled briefings with The Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, Time, Newsweek and Parade. The tour resulted in coverage that ran in a Time cover story that appeared in the U.S. edition as well as two international editions; in a BusinessWeek commentary on W.H.O. diet recommendations, and a front-page Wall Street Journal article. We expected additional coverage and to schedule on-site visits by half the reporters we briefed.

Media tour services include: Determining goals, objectives and the news element for the tour; generating interest and scheduling journalists and analysts, preparing the client through coaching and conducting "dry runs," brainstorming and helping prepare the presentation (PowerPoint, video or product demo) and creating specific press materials to enhance the tour.
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Blogging Relations
As growing numbers of outlets are transitioning to an online-only model, understanding the online media world is critical – and much more complicated. There are bloggers and citizen journalists who also report news, not just opinion, but operate differently (sometimes without an editor) from traditional journalists. There are traditional journalists who also blog. You have reporters who use Twitter for interviews or casting about for ideas.

The rules for interacting with reporters, bloggers, Twitterers, Facebook friends (some of whom you may never have met in person) are changing as the technology evolves. We are understand the challenges of the new communications channels, continue to study them, and advise our clients on social media marketing, which includes blogging relations (even traditional reporters operate their blogs under different assumptions) as well as leveraging social networking sites like Twitter.

We help clients find the right way to connect with key stakeholders via social media marketing, which can include Twitter, LinkedIn, forums, blogs and microblogs, wikis, podcasts, video podcasts and YouTube. Based on an understanding of the client's particular strengths, skill sets and customers, we develop a customized social media strategy designed to reach client's stakeholders via blogs – establishing their own or posting onto others' blogs – as well as podcasts and microblogs like Twitter.

We offer a Twitter Lab Training to help prepare our clients to establish and maintain a presence on Twitter. Check out our blog article, "Tips on Taking Advantage of The YouTube Juggernaut." For B2B and nonprofit clients, we also produce multimedia customer case studies that incorporate video, audio, still photography, text and social media.

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Executive Media and Presentation Training
Reporters often prefer talking to a company's CEO, but CEOs do not always like talking to reporters – even if they don't mind talking to financial analysts. Even CEOs who are very strong salespeople or are very comfortable talking with financial analysts get uncomfortable talking to the media, especially broadcast media. Some senior managers are uncomfortable because they don't under- stand what makes for a good media interview or how to set the interview's agenda. Some don't know how to prepare for interviews or how to answer hard-hitting questions, which can sometimes be those for which the CEO doesn't have an immediate answer. Some are so accustomed to industry jargon, they have trouble communicating in compelling sound bites using everyday language – which is critical not just for broadcast interviews, but for talking to any kind of reporter, business or trade.

With a former journalist as trainer, we provide half-day or full-day media training that can help your CEO and other senior managers feel more comfortable by better controlling the interview process and deliver key messages more compellingly. This training can tailored for presentations, helping executives deliver more effective presentations, from Road Shows to industry conferences. This training can also be geared for positioning to ensure that senior managers all agree on key message points while using their own words to communicate. (One client that decided against spending the time for message training learned the hard way: A USA Today reporter called to complain that he could not use an executive in his article because another executive had already given the same exact quote to The New York Times.)
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Speakers Bureau
If Woody Allen is right – that 99% of life is just showing up – the last 1% is just as critical: showing up at the right places. For businesses, that means having a presence at important trade shows and conferences, particularly through presentations, panel discussions, customer roundtables, and event-oriented programs.

By speaking at trade shows and conferences, our clients

  • Deliver their messages to key audiences
  • Strengthen the image of their companies and management
  • Provide a unified, consistent face to the events world, where important relationships are built and maintained

We identify the trade shows and conferences that meet your criteria and target your key audiences, whether customers, the media or investors. Our team has significant experience generating coverage at trade shows such as National Association of Broadcasters, National Cable TV Association, Comdex, Consumer Electronics Show (CES), TECHXNY/PC Expo and others. We have coordinated media interviews, hosted customer roundtables, and developed booth-based events tied to our clients' business goals. For Oversight Systems, we secured speaking opportunities for CEO Patrick Taylor at a number of industry conferences, including ACFE Fraud Conference & Exhibition, Institute of Internal Auditors: Emerging Trends & Leading Practices, CSI’s 31st Annual Computer Security Conference, and North America Fraud Conference.

We have significant experience placing speakers at BusinessWeek events, Wall Street Journal's Technology Summit, Harvard Business School's Cyberposium and more than 80 other trade shows and conferences.

Our team knows key players in the conference industry – from leading business conference organizers to niche market trade show representatives.

  • They know us, and respect the way we work
  • We don't send out form letters or rely on cookie-cutter strategies
  • We deliver the right opportunities to our clients, and the right people to the conferences
  • We leverage our clients' investment in speaking at industry conferences by turning speeches into bylined articles and place them in appropriate outlets – which can then be merchandised online or in reprints to customers, employees and other key audiences
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Product Launches, Positioning, Technical Validation (Reviews and Awards)
We have launched new software, medical devices and pharmaceutical products, new chips and hardware and consumer products, new services, new food products – even new companies. We can design a launch plan that successfully pre-conditions the market and targets your key customers, and validates your technology. We have managed single big events to lower-key multiple-event rollouts. We can help you determine the launch that is right for you, your corporate culture, your market, and most importantly, your budget.

Our media research can help develop product positioning to educate the market, if the product establishes a new category, or can differentiate our clients' products from their competitors, if there are other products already on the market.

Our approach to Technical Validation – reviews and awards – goes far beyond simply delivering a client's hardware or software to the media. We help clients determine a product's market readiness and positioning, influence testing methodologies, educate reviewers, facilitate technical assistance and track product release schedules. These components are critical factors in creating positive product reviews and helping clients win industry awards that will validate the technology in the eyes of key decision makers.

At Birnbach Communications, we offers a variety of offerings tailored to client needs from consultant services, reviews/awards programs, our awards database, risk assessment, reviewer's guides, and private beta tests and lab tours.

Our experience includes educating the market for Symbol's Personal Portable Shopper, a self-checkout scanner already popular in Europe but available in only one U.S. supermarket (a Finast's in Cleveland). Our campaign secured coverage in newspapers and broadcast outlets around the country, including USA Today, The New York Times Magazine (which hailed it as one of six key retail innovations), and positive features on ABC's "World News Tonight" and NBC's "Dateline." It also got the attention of Jay Leno, who mentioned it in his monologue.

Our Technical Validation specialists help ensure our clients' products survive the scrutiny of consumer product reviewers, including The Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg and BusinessWeek's Stephen Wildstrom, as well as the more technical trade reviews conducted by eWeek Labs, InfoWorld and others.

Check out our article on Technical Validation.
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Awards
Winning industry awards can differentiate clients from their competitors. We have served as judges for industry award programs including the PRSA Silver Anvils and Bronze Anvils as well as the Publicity Club of New England's Bell Ringers.

We can help identify appropriate awards, and prepare submissions to help our clients win. We are helping Bradford Networks become recognized for its superior technology through consecutive wins of SC Magazine Innovator Of The Year for Network Access Control, and earning a place on CRN's Emerging Tech List. We developed and executed the plan to help Mantas win the prestigious Waters Magazine award for Best Anti-Money Laundering (AML) solution in 2007 as voted by the magazine's readers; the AML category generated the largest number of votes cast by financial professionals across two dozen categories, and Mantas won by a sizeable margin. We helped Luxoft win recognition as a Rising Star in IAOP's Global Outsourcing 100 in 2007 and 2006 and a place on Global Services Magazine's Global Services 100 in 2006. Luxoft was named as the World's #1 IT Outsourcing Product Engineering vendor by the Black Book of Outsourcing of 2006.

We have also helped clients win recognition for their products, including two "Four Star Ratings" from PC Magazine Projected Financials 3.0 & 4.0 in 2004 and 2005 as well as a "Hot Pick" from Information Security Magazine for Q1 Labs in 2003.
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Editorial Calendar Update
An important way to anticipate media coverage is to continuously update special sections and editorial calendars across sectors for major national and industry media. During an advertising slump, newspapers and magazines are developing new avenues to sell space; we've seen a tremendous jump in the number of special themed advertising sections, only to see a number of them canceled. How can you stay on top of this activity? CalendarUpdate identifies opportunities, appropriate reporters or editors (when possible), and provides insight into how to work with the sections.
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Ongoing Media List Development
The media – along with reporters, editors and producers – are extremely dynamic. One publication shuts down, another one starts up, and more than ever, reporters move from print to online to broadcast and back again. These moves can also impact an outlet's editorial mission; a number of print publications including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and BusinessWeek have redesigned their print version to drive traffic to their websites for breaking news, stock charts and extended features. Staying on top of the media's revolving door means media lists need to be continuously updated. The many books, software and other services are good for initial sources, but we target and update our media lists by talking with reporters and communicating with bloggers, learning what they're interested in and what they're working on from them, not a third-party researcher who doesn't understand your company.
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Press Conferences and Webcasts
The Internet has changed the nature of all but a few press conferences: Many reporters prefer Webcasts so they don't ever have to leave their desks. We have developed and coordinated many press conferences in different industries, and can help develop the messages, presentations and schedule for the conference. We can also set goals and expectations regarding press attendance and coverage. For webcasts and webinars, we can identify vendors and develop presentation materials.
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