How To Launch A PR Campaign in 2013

iStock_000006123578_MediumLaunching a PR campaign can be a tricky proposition.  Although each campaign is different and unique, there are basic steps that we follow, which could serve as a basic blueprint.

We begin by setting up a brainstorming session with the client.  Before the session, we send the client a questionnaire to review, which we use as a guideline.  The session can be in person on over the phone.

The purpose is to review the client’s history, expertise, stories, media angles, etc.  I generally have an account executive who will be working with me on the campaign on the call with me.

Once we finish the session, we write the initial press release(s) which we send to clients for approval.

We then build the specific media lists to approach.  The list will include magazines, newspapers, TV, radio, online publications, blogs, etc.

Once the client approves the release, we start approaching the various media outlets.

Except in special situations, we generally do not use paid wire services.

We target our proprietary media list.  Here is where experience and having contacts and ongoing relationships with the media can be real assets.

Once the media has been contacted, we then make follow up calls to each editor, writer or producer; the follow up phone calls are how most of the stories and interviews are placed.

Initially we target the national media, Los Angeles, and New York.  We then approach the more general and regional oriented media.

We focus on L.A. and New York, because they help create a media buzz and influence the national media.

If there is a local focus to the campaign, the initial media lists and outreach will be targeted to the local and regional media.

Even with locally based campaigns, we’ll launch a national outreach.  I’m a big believer in reaching out to the national media even on a local story.  It can be tricky and the story has to be presented in the right way, but it can be done.

Depending on the client and the campaign, there are various media outlets to consider including sports and fitness publications, women’s magazines, trade publications, TV talk shows, TV morning shows, business-oriented publications, entertainment oriented publications and TV programs, general interest media, etc.  Overall, we have in thousands of media contacts in our database.

It’s important to modify the pitch for the various media outlets.  A pitch that would work for the Dr. Oz, would generally need to be modified for People, Allure, USA Today, or to a local or regional media outlet.

It’s also important to understand that each media outlet has its own lead time.  A nightly news show is reporting breaking stories; newspapers are timely, but not as immediate as live TV, weekly publications deal with current stories, but not

It’s equally important to understand that each media outlet has its own particular needs; which means, even though you can develop one main pitch or release, you need to know how to modify them to meet the needs of the various outlets.

Copyright © Anthony Mora Communications 2013

 Shutterstock. “How to Create and Execute a PR Campaign on a Shoestring Budget.” Photo. Under30CEO. 02 Dec 2012. 03 Jul 2013. <;

A How-To Press Release Review

When launching a PR or media relations campaign, your press release is your calling card.  If it’s well done it will tell a compelling story, interest the media and make the reader want to know more.  It will be more about the story than it will be a biography of you or your company.  Remember the old adage facts tell, stories sell.  Make sure you have a strong hook or story before you write a release.  Simply writing a release about the launch of a new product or business isn’t enough.  Unless you’re writing releases strictly for SEO value, or to place in a very specific trade publication, press releases about promotions and the like can help generate good will within the company, but from a media relations perspective, they’re a complete waste of time.

I have a hard-and-fast rule at my company that press releases cannot exceed one-page, and I will sacrifice double-spacing in order to come up with a one-page release. Trouble is most clients feel that they have so much interesting and important information to impart, that we couldn’t possibly say all we wanted in a one page press release.  They’re right.  And the purpose of a press release is not to tell everything, but to offer a very specific compelling story.

You’re not going to tell them your life story in one release.  At least I hope you’re not going to.  Effective public relations is not about listing facts, but about creating interesting stories that educate, inform and/or entertain.  You first want to come up with the strongest angle and story that you can and then give the media that pitch in headlines, and teasers.  Imagine that you’re cutting a trailer for an upcoming movie.  You’re not concerned with trying to let the audience see the entire film.  Your job is to interest the public enough to plunk down their money to see the movie.  It’s the same with your press release.  You want your release to act as a teaser; you want to interest the media, grab their attention.

There are some set-in-stone, very specific guidelines to press releases, such as covering the who, what, where, and when information, adhering to the AP press release format, and keeping it double-spaced.  Personally, I’d say focus more on telling a compelling story than with following the rulebook.  Most press releases are horribly, terrifically boring.  They are either dry, and chock-full of dull, tedious facts, or they are overly cute.

Before you decide to write and send out a press release, consider the following:

  1. Write in clear, plain language that people who are unfamiliar with service-learning can understand.
  2. The first paragraph of the release should convey in a clear and succinct way what the news release is about. Do not put any excess information in this paragraph
  3. The last paragraph should include information on your organization (“boilerplate”), along with a website address, if available, and phone number.
  4. Write with action verbs, and an active voice.
  5. Keep sentences and paragraphs short and concise.

And always keep in mind that your main objective is to tell a story that the media and their listeners, viewers or readers will want to know about.  Remember a press release is not a one size fits all document.  Change and modify it to fit the needs of the different media outlets.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2012

Rick, Jonathan. “4 Ways to Rethink the Press Release.” Photo. Mashable. 20 Aug 2012. 06 Apr 2012. <>

How Public Relations Can Turbo-Charge Your Marketing Campaign

Say you saw a commercial on a local TV segment or you read an ad in a local magazine that featured a physician. The ad or commercial told you why the physician is so wonderful, what he or she specializes in, the services offered, etc.   Now let’s say you read an article about a different physician in the same field. The article profiles her and tells you about how great she is with patients, her success rate and tells you her story. Which one would impress you the most, the news story or the paid commercial or ad?   My bet is that the article, the news story is the one you’d pay the most attention to.

Why? The ad is informative, but we all know it’s paid for and the physician either wrote or okayed the copy and the images. The article is a news story. It is a third person account. It has been vetted by a writer and an editor.  It’s the news and therefore carries with it validation and credibility.

So how do PR and media relations help turbo charge your overall marketing campaign?  It is perhaps the most effective way you can build your brand.  An effective public relations campaign offers you:

1) Prominence By Association – Suppose you are being featured on an evening news segment.  Your interview could be placed in between an interview with a major political figure and a feature on a new, life saving medical discovery.  You are now in the company of the newsworthy, and because of that association, you have suddenly leaped ahead of your competition.  You and your company are now news.

2) Mass Communication – You and your message will enter homes and businesses, not as an ad or commercial, but as news story.  .  You will not be viewed as a hard sell, or as simply another commercial or ad to ignore. And, by being featured in the media, your business, service, or product will reach (depending on whether the story is local, regional, or national) hundreds, thousands, and possibly millions of people.

3) Validation – Anyone who sees your interview, or reads your feature in print will perceive you as an expert.  Instead of being viewed as someone who is trying to sell them a product or service, you will be perceived as an authority.  When people seek you out, they will be seeking you out as a specialist, as someone who the media deems important enough to be featured in the press.  Not only have you avoided spending thousands of dollars in advertising, you have gained something no amount of advertising could ever buy you – credibility.

You can now utilize your PR coverage in your other marketing efforts from social media and blogging to direct marketing and advertising.  It will bring the credibility and validation that only public relations can offer.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2012

 Graham, Charlie. “Good Better Best.” Photo. Mashable. 13 Aug 2012. 3 Aug 2012. <>


How To Ignite a PR Campaign & Land Media Coverage 

If you launch a PR campaign by pitching what you want, you might get some media coverage, but probably not much.  If you pitch what the media wants, you’re positioned to succeed.  So what does the media want?  The media wants informative, entertaining, educational, compelling stories.  They want strong stories that grab the attention of their readers viewers and listeners, but apart from that, to be perfectly honest, not even the media knows exactly what they want. They’re scrambling to find stories, just like you’re working to pitch them stories.  They are continually searching, looking for new stories, and working on new ideas, articles and segments.

If you think you know what the media wants, chances are you’re wrong.  You’re most likely focusing on what you want and hoping that the media reacts the same way.  But that’s where the disconnect comes in.  We’re generally so thrilled by our idea, project, company, product or service that we’re sure the rest of the world, particularly the media, will react the same way.  But, that’s not how it works.

A successful PR or media relations campaign does not work on wishful thinking.  To launch an effective public relations campaign you’re going to succeed only if you learn how the media thinks.  If you assume you know what they want, chances are your assumptions are going to be wrong.   You have to study, do your homework and review the various magazines, newspapers, TV shows and online media sites. When it comes to landing media coverage, the bottom line is delivering a good story, but, and I can’t repeat this enough, don’t assume because you find a story of interest, the media will like it as well.

Take time to review the various media outlets, study the formats, as well as the types of stories they’ve run in the past. In truth, apart from breaking news and celebrity train wrecks no one really knows what the media wants because what they want is constantly changing.

The best way to succeed is to think like a producer, think like a journalist. Study the particular print or electronic media you are targeting. Who is their target audience? What is the age range? Is it a male or female audience?   What segments or articles do they usually run? Now, keeping your business, product, service or talent in mind, what type of story would work?
When you want to pitch a story to the media pitch according to the media’s needs, not yours; remember that the story you’re convinced is the most fascinating story in the world, just might not meet with that same reaction in the media world. So be creative, give it a hook, an angle or an approach that is focused on the media’s needs. Turn it from a sales pitch into a news story.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2012

Steinberg, Scott. “Matches” Photo. Mashable. 25 May 2012. 09 Aug 2012. <>


Public Relations for Artists

PR for artists is an art in itself.  Effective public relations comes down to compelling storytelling.  The more compelling the story, the more effective the PR campaign.  Unlike with advertising, or direct marketing or other forms of promotion, by utilizing PR or media relations you are the news.  Developing effective stories is the most important part of a campaign.  A compelling story that connects with their readers, viewers or listeners is what writers, editors and producers are looking for.

As an artist, your responsibility is creating the best work you can. The trouble is, particularly now in the age of social media, it’s often difficult to realize that creating your work is step one.  In the real world, it’s not where your job ends if you want your art to reach your audience.

Creating the work is step one, marketing it is a whole other story. But if you realize that creating a successful PR campaign for your work is an art form in itself, you can begin to look at it with new eyes. Whether offline or online, your story is your fortune. A band, author, filmmaker or a painter becomes successful once they tell their story in a believable, impactful way.  Effective PR truly is the art of storytelling. The media doesn’t want to be sold or hyped. It doesn’t want smoke-and-mirrors or jargon. What it wants (and needs on a daily basis) is compelling stories.  PR can bring stories about you, your work and your career to your target market and to investors and influencers in your field.  It is a way to create and develop your brand.  It’s also a way to get out such practical information as where your shows and exhibits will be, which galleries are showing your work, activities or organizations you’re involved with, collaborations you’re working on, new work you’re creating.

To start you need to know your target market and your audience.  Understand where they find their information, what do they read, watch and listen to?  What sites or blogs do they visit?  What interests them?  Who else shares those interests?

Now develop stories about your art, your journey as an artist, your perspective on art and the art world, etc.  You never know where your most compelling stories are until you work on them.  Don’t just stick with the obvious.  Chances are you’ll be surprised by which stories will connect with the media and your audience.  But then again, art is like that.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2012

The Secrets of Fiction For PR Success

I began as a fiction writer and then moved into journalism.  From there I found my way to PR.  It wasn’t a career path I was thinking of taking, it more or less was a process that evolved.  But, whether I’m writing fiction, journalism or for public relations campaigns, the basic tenants remain the same.  It all comes down to a good, compelling story.

When I worked as a journalist I wrote with my readers in mind.  I wrote with the intention of being relevant to my target market.  When I write a novel or a play, I’m looking to tell a good story, but I’m also looking to connect with the public.  In essence, as a fiction writer, I’m once again, looking to connect with my target market. To some writers that sounds crass and although I don’t write my fiction with the market in mind, I do hope and try to write a compelling enough story that the play, novel or screenplay directly connects with my audience.  From my perspective, that is part of my job as a writer.

I’ve written quite a bit on how PR comes down to effective storytelling, which is in fact what public relations is all about.   Here again, it’s not just telling a story, it’s telling a story that resonates with a specific audience.  When it comes to traditional media, your job is to convince that editor or producer that the story you’re pitching is going to captivate his or her readers, listeners or viewers.

It needs to be compelling, but it also has to be relevant to that particular target market.  For example you could have an incredibly captivating tale that has to do with sports or fitness.  From your perspective it’s a slam dunk.  It has all of the elements of a strong, powerful story.  But creating that pitch is simply step one, now you have to present it to the right media contacts.  If you spend your time pitching your sports-oriented story to the beauty editors of the top women’s magazines, I’d say your chances of landing an article are slim.  Yes, you have the story, but there is a disconnect when it comes to the media you’re pitching.  In effect you haven’t built the bridge necessary to take your story from being a strong concept to being a produced segment or published article.

There lies the secret.  You need to develop a strong story with a compelling narrative, but you also need to know when to pitch it and who to pitch it to.  In other words you need to know your audience.  Combine those two elements, a strong story and a defined market, and, regardless what style or form of writing you work in, you’ll succeed.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2012

How PR Drove Facebook’s IPO

Sometimes an amazingly effective PR campaign can be a dangerous thing.  Take Facebook for example.  The company raised the price range for its IPO to $34 to $38 a share, from $28 to $35 a share.  That illustrates how the media frenzy has hungry investors biting at the bit for this offering.  It also shows how perception can create what could be a false reality perhaps blinding investors to the reality of the situation.  Facebook’s initial price range put its valuation at $77 billion to $96 billion, but now that shifts to $93 billion to $104 billion under this revised price range.  That, my friend, is a lot of money.

Facebook has yet to prove that its $3.7 billion in revenue and $1 billion in profits last year can justify such astronomical evaluation. . Last month, Facebook disclosed that its first-quarter profit and revenue shrunk from the fourth quarter of 2011.  The company claimed that it was do to seasonal trends in advertising.

Facebook going public can be dangerous.  The pressure of being a public company can make companies lose sight of what made them so successful to start.   When it comes to Facebook, the pressure will be particularly great. Its earnings are quite a ways below its projections.  It’s hard to see how it will find a way to grow at the lightning speed investors will not only expect, but demand. 

Another red flag is that Facebook has real exposure to Europe. Apparently over twenty five percent of its users are fromEurope, giving Facebook definite financial exposure on that front. With the state of the European economy, and Facebook’s reliance on European advertising, that could be dangerous.

According to the media, most savvy investors seem to be shying away from Facebook’s IPO.  There are probably some credible reasons for that.  This is not to say that Facbook is not an amazing success story.  Its success and growth have been astronomical; still that doesn’t necessarily justify such aggressive valuations.  And that’s where the media and PR frenzy comes into play.  From newspaper and magazine articles to radio and TV segments Facebook’s IPO has been a front page story for weeks. And then of course, there is Facebook itself.  The social media outlet is its own non stop marketing machine.  The buzz creates more interest and investors start beating the investment drums.  It looks like a difficult road for Facbook to live up to those projections; time will tell whether the drum beating will lead to success or investor disappointment.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2012

Flauraud, Valentin. “he loading screen of the Facebook application on a mobile phone is seen in this photo illustration taken in Lavigny.” Photo. Chicago Tribune. 16 May 2012. 16 May 2012. <,0,4596444.story>

PR Secrets for Your Online Business

Apart from Facebook and a few other IPO notables, IPOs no longer command the attention they did in the wild west of the late 1990s, and youthful billionaires, although still newsworthy, are no longer the big stories they were even two years ago.  These stories will continue to garner press, but they are not enough for a company to build a media presence around. The days of easy media are lost to the end of the 20th Century.  Already the 21st Century is a more demanding, more media-savvy time.

When dot.coms were still the rage, many internet companies turned to celebrities, hoping that by partnering with Whoopi Goldberg or Cindy Crawford, or some professional sports star, some of the stars’ fame and sheen would rub off on their online business. These companies were aware that the media love celebrities; and it is a star’s fame often that drives the media like moths to the proverbial flame.

But soon, even the celebrity factor began to wear thin; amazingly enough William Shatner survived as an online spokesperson, but overall internet companies found themselves faced with the same question that brick-and-mortar companies have faced for years: after the initial fireworks have cleared, how does a company consistently develop engaging and credible stories that will interest the media?

This is where public relations, specifically media relations and media placement come into the picture. When it comes to marketing a business, e-commerce site or internet product, a company must now broaden its scope to include an effective, story-driven media campaign. Unlike advertising, effective media relations can validate and legitimize a company – and for a fraction of what a comprehensive ad campaign costs.

This is not to say that when marketing an online business advertising and public relations are mutually exclusive. The two have different tasks to perform and one reinforces the other. Both can be vital to a successful overall campaign.  But in the 3.0 world of marketing it’s a mix of social media marketing and traditional PR that offers the most successful form of marketing.

During the heyday, many e-commerce companies did advertising overkill which cost-wise had a tendency to kill their business; most ignored or under-utilized the immense power and effectiveness of a well-targeted media relations campaign. Many figured that the more money they threw into an ad campaign, the more successful they’d be.  Few did their homework, thinking out of the box, and developing unique, compelling hooks and distinctive story ideas.

Meanwhile, the media began suffering from a bad case of dot-com burnout, which continues to this day.  It’s no longer enough to simply send out press releases announcing that a new site has been launched. Every day, thousands of press releases and pitches flood the email, snail mail, phone and fax lines (yes there still are some of those) of every media outlet in the country.

If a company wants to be noticed, or heard above this deafening roar, it better to know what each particular media outlet wants, understand each particular outlet’s demographics, and know how each editor or producer likes to be pitched.   Marketing has come full circle.  Once again it is all about the story.  Successful public relations comes down to having a credible, effective, engaging and instructional story to tell.  And that’s good news.  It means that the smallest, most cash strapped company has a chance to shine.  It simply needs to be creative.  When it comes to PR and pitching the media, remember, your story is your fortune.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2012

Craig. “Advantages of Having an Online Business.” Photo. U2. NET. 29 Sept. 2010 18 Apr 2012. <;

Who Benefits Most From PR and Media Relations?

One huge mistake when it comes to PR and media relations is thinking that it only helps those that are already established. For example, in the entertainment industry only George Clooney of Jennifer Aniston need PR, or in the business world only Apple and Google can really benefit from a public relations outreach, or in medical arena, only the Mayo Clinic or Johns Hopkins School of Medicine can take advantage of PR and media coverage.  Whereas it’s true that all those listed can and do take full advantage of concerted PR campaigns, it is perhaps even truer that those actors, companies or physicians who are up-and-coming can benefit even more.

Those that I listed above need PR to keep their image strong, but those that have yet to become known in the media are the ones who truly need the poser of PR.  They’re the ones who need to establish themselves in the market, as experts in their fields, and need to reach their clients and customers.  Apple, or Clooney or the Mayo Clinic don’t need to actively pitch their stories as they did before.  The media know to come to them.  Their job is mainly to screen requests and when they have a new story to tell, to alert the appropriate media contacts and set up stories.  It’s the newer companies, or those who have never utilized PR in the past that need to court the media and actively pitch their stories.

Ever wonder how the Clooney’s, Google’s and others got to where they are?  Hard work, talent, expertise, great products-  and plenty of media exposure.  None of these would be at the top of their fields without hundreds of stories in the media including TV, newspapers, magazines and radio.

PR can be like money; those that need it the least get it the most.  That’s why public relations is so vitally important for companies that want to grow, reach their target market, and land more clients or customers.  PR offers the validation and credibility of being featured in the news.  It presents entrepreneurs and companies as premiere in the field.  It opens doors, builds businesses and establishes brands.

So, don’t make the mistake of thinking that your company or business or career isn’t big or important enough for PR.  In fact it’s the opposite that’s true.  Instead of waiting to become big or successful enough to warrant PR, use a creative public relations campaign to transform your business into that successful company you’ve been dreaming of building.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2012

Getty Images. “George Clooney.” Photo. IndiWo. 25 Feb 2008. 11 Apr 2012. <;

“Apple logo.” Photo. Forbes. 13 May 2011. 11 Apr. 2012. <;

“Google Building.” Photo. The Inquisitr. 11 Nov 2012. 11 Apr. 2012. <;

“Mayo Clinic: Defend Your Corporate Identity.” Photo. Bloomberg Businessweek. 11 Apr 2012. <;

The PR Trust Factor: Your Greatest Marketing Edge

PR, specifically media relations, could well be the most misunderstood form of marketing there is.  On the other hand, when a public relations campaign works it is the most effective form of marketing available.  It is a very subtle form on marketing which is probably why it, in many ways, is the most confusing.  For example if you’re launching an advertising campaign you can decide where the ad will run and exactly what the copy will say.  Those are the upsides.  The downsides are, advertising is quite expensive, you generally need to run an ad several times for it to work and your ad is only going to run in those specific outlets that you paid for, on the times and dates that you bought.

Often people mistakenly believe that PR is a less effective form of marketing because you cant’s assure that you will receive coverage at a particular time on a specific date.  Whereas that’s true, with media relations you have access to hundreds, even thousands of media outlets, as opposed to one or a handful.  Whereas you have no guarantee when and where your story will get picked up, when you do land coverage it could be in multiple outlets and your story will be featured as a news story, not as an ad.

People trust the news and the trust factor is what any business strives hard to achieve in the marketplace.  People tend to hire and work with companies they trust, and public relations is what builds brands and creates trust.

But in order for media relations to do its magic, you need to offer the media a truly compelling story.  If you can hire a PR firm, or public relations consultant, you’re ahead of the game.  But if you’re not yet in a position to do so, you can still move forward on the PR front.  You’re either going to need to invest money or time.  If you’re going to give it a try on your own, block some time and review some of my articles on launching a PR campaign, developing a media story, finding your target market and writing an effective press release.  If you take some time to learn the process and do a slow step by step build, you can generate media coverage.  But, once you start to generate sufficient cash flow to bring on a marketing pro, do so.  Just as you don’t want to handle your accounting as your business grows, the same is true with PR and marketing.  Your time and expertise will be better spent running and growing your business

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2012

Other helpful Articles:

How to Effectively Communicate with the Media

6 Secrets to Maximizing a Media Interview

Making The Right PR and Marketing Choices

You need to market, that’s a given.  The question should not be if, but how.   Your best choice is to hire a firm or a professional consultant.  If you’re on s shoestring budget, that makes it tougher, but there are still myriad ways to approach it.  Going the do-it-yourself route is one choice, but if you do chose to go this way, you have a big learning curve ahead of you.  For example, let’s say you decide to handle, create and launch your own media relations campaign; to start, you need to learn the hows and whys of putting together a successful campaign.  And you need to know how to define a campaign.

Keep in mind that landing an interview on TV program, or in a magazine, is not media relations.  That is simply one small step.  I’ve had potential clients tell me that they tried PR and it simply didn’t work.  When I asked them to define exactly what they did, they usually explained that they were featured in a magazine or newspaper or TV segment and nothing happened.  When I then asked them how they utilized or maximized that one media placement, I’d generally be met with blank stairs.  In their mind, that one media placement was a PR campaign; it didn’t change their life, so PR didn’t work.  The trouble was, they never really tried a public relations campaign, they simply appeared in a story or two.  Being featured in the media a few times is not a media relations campaign.  It’s a start.  It’s nice.  It can help, but it’s not a campaign, and that’s what public relations firms focus on creating, launching and implementing effective PR campaigns.

This is not to say that you can’t do some initial PR work on your own.  You can, but your goal should be to shift from doing your own marketing to brining on a professional as soon as possible.  Your job is running your business.  Your marketing team should be marketing your business.

Effective media relations is an art and a full-time job. It takes skill, know-how, experience persistence, and contacts. The art of effective PR entails more than writing releases, posting releases on paid wire services, putting together press kits – and praying. If a campaign is launched haphazardly or incorrectly, it’s often best not having been launched at all. The last thing you want to do is alienate the press, which is often what happens when well-meaning but inexperienced individuals try their hands at running their own media campaigns.

So until you can bring a team or a consultant on board, do what you can on your own.  But be selective.  Keep your efforts targeted and focused.  Once you’re ready to hire a PR firm or marketing company, choose wisely.  Choose a firm or individual you’re comparable with.  You need to be able to communicate with you representatives. You also need trusted advisors who will tell you when they feel you’re steering off- base or making a wrong move. If you pick wisely, do your part and work with your PR firm, (to paraphrase Bogie in Casablanca) this could be the start of a successful and profitable relationship.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2012


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