Author: Kristen Thomaselli

Become an earned media darling

We undertake dozens of PR campaigns on behalf of our clients every year. Each campaign -- and each client -- has a different goal. One may want to change lawmakers' views on a certain policy issue; another may be looking to get reporters to attend...

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PR Tips | Pitching Magic

When you're submitting op-eds and news stories to the media, why do some pieces run in top publications, while others slip through the cracks? Well, it’s all in the pitch. So what are the keys to a “winning” pitch. And how do you make your story stand out...

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#BringBackOurGirls

As nearly everyone knows, 276 Nigerian schoolgirls were kidnapped last month by Boko Haram. Following these horrific kidnappings, two Nigerians tweeted with the hashtag #BringBackOurDaughters. It wasn’t long before the hashtag changed to its current form: #BringBackOurGirls. Twitter users from around the world united and the...

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PR Tips | The Fine Line Between Persistent and Obnoxious

In public relations -- and life in general -- there's a fine line between regularly contacting a person and annoying the heck out of someone. I reach out to dozens of reporters and editors every day. So I’m constantly straddling this line. When pitching a story, how many times should I follow up with a journalist? How frequently should I call or email? There is no simple answer to these questions. But here’s what I’ve learned in the course of doing it on a daily basis: The hotter the story, the more aggressive the pitch. If I’m pitching an oped by Joe Biden on how he negotiated the fiscal cliff deal, I’d be doing editors a huge favor by calling them every hour, because I can guarantee that every editor in town would kill to have that piece in today’s paper. Alternatively, if I’m pitching a story about a new flavor of dog food, I’ll be far more selective and careful not to annoy journalists who aren’t interested. Either way, most people don't mind an occasional "follow up." But when they’re busy -- especially editors at top publications -- following up too frequently could put your name on the X-list. And your client's piece in the trash bin.
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Profiles in PR | Tara Curtis

Your Name: Tara Curtis
Your Position: Director, Communications
Your Business: West Virginia University Alumni Association
Company Website: alumni.wvu.edu
Twitter: @WVUAlumniAssoc (business) @WVUGal93 (personal)

Services You Offer:
The WVU Alumni Association represents West Virginia University's largest constituency - more than 185,000 alumni worldwide. We provide outreach opportunities throughout the country, develop opportunities for social and professional networking, and engage our alumni through communications, including web, social media and printed communication.

Your Niche Area of Expertise:
Communications, strategic messaging and media relations.

How Did You Get Started in this Business?
My first real "communications" job was working for an energy company where I had an opportunity to develop great skills in the areas of crisis communications, media relations and internal/external relations. The experiences I gained with this company really helped me enhance my professional skills and developed my work ethic. I have always enjoyed working with nonprofit agencies, so when the opportunity was presented to work for my alma mater, I jumped at the chance. Working with alumni who are passionate about their university makes my job fun, challenging and wonderful.

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