Author: Rebecca Wardell

PR Tips | The Super Bowl of Advertising

This February, two larger-than-life sports events will engage fans around the world. Both the Super Bowl and the Winter Olympics will showcase incredible athletics, but for many the appeal isn't the competition itself. Indeed, a full 78 percent of Americans look forward to the commercials played during the Super Bowl more than the game itself, according to a new study by ad agency Venables Bell & Partners. That's up from 59 percent in 2011. "This is the strongest Super Bowl market that we have ever seen," says Toby Byrne, president of advertising sales at Fox. This year, 30-seconds of space on the broadcast cost $4 million and slots sold out over a month ago. And with the Winter Olympics opening just four days later, NBC is also jostling for sponsors. So far, the proximity hasn't deterred Olympic advertising in the least -- ad sales for the 18-day event have already exceeded $800 million.

PR Tips | Campaign for a Cause This Holiday Season

This December, increasing numbers of companies are mixing social good into their holiday advertising and PR campaigns. It’s smart. Well executed cause marketing can generate big rewards. Studies show that consumers are interested in making purchases that improve our world. In a recent survey, 87 percent of consumers said they would switch brands based on association with a good cause. Last holiday season, two-thirds of shoppers considered environmental and sustainability factors when buying gifts. Tapping into this market of socially aware consumers requires engagement using traditional and new media. According to the Adobe Digital Index 2013 Online Shopping Forecast, an estimated 36 percent of consumers say they will use social media in their Christmas buying decisions. As with any media effort, holiday marketing requires a clear, high-quality message. It's important to target the proper audience with an easy-to-digest mission statement. Potential customers want to know exactly what their purchase is benefiting.

PR Tips | Queries and the Art of Pitching

Just about everyone is familiar with the advice, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” It's true: A product’s packaging isn’t always a fair representation of what’s actually inside. In general, making an informed decision requires more than a cursory review of the options. In the media world, however, that quick blurb – “the cover” – might be the only thing an editor looks at when deciding what to publish. Editors at the major daily newspapers – and large online publications – receive thousands of pitches every week. Somehow they must choose a few each day. When pitching an editor, it’s best to start with a query – an enticing synopsis of your event, argument or story. A query is essentially your sales pitch, whether you’re promoting an oped, article idea, or media event. The query lays our why an editor (or reporter) should accept your submission for publication, cover your event, or write on your issue. It's therefore critically important for the query to be polished and engaging. Here are a couple of tips to make sure your query stands out: 1. Keep it quick. Your query shouldn't be more than a couple hundred words. Remember, you only need to convey the main point of the piece. 2. Make every word count. With so few words to work with, each one should pack a punch. Leave out unnecessary clauses or explanations and stick to the bold or controversial points that will grab an editor's attention.

PR Tips | Social Media Drives the News

Can you run an effective PR campaign today without a social media component? A quick look at the numbers suggests that the answer is “no.” Roughly 25% of all Americans now have a Twitter account. Facebook has more than a billion users -- and about half of all Americans have accounts. Meanwhile, 82 million American consumers are constantly connected to the social media pulse, accessing their social profiles from their phones. It used to be that people took blogs less seriously than traditional news reporting. But that’s changing. Sixty-five percent of people now find the information they see posted online trustworthy, according to ING's new Impact of social media 2012. Look at any recent news event -- from the election to Superstorm Sandy to the Patraeus scandal. It’s obvious that social media is driving the news and shaping public opinion.