A media relations success story

I’m going to start this blog post off with a big claim – this is The Gong blog after all, named after the giant, gold shiny Gong we have in our office used to celebrate agency accomplishments.

Our national media relations work in the past three months has been as successful as it’s ever has been since Hodges was founded in 2002. When we look at the number of outlets our clients have been featured in and the diversity of the coverage, it’s been a banner year, even during a pandemic and one of the busiest news cycles we have ever seen. We can’t claim any magic tricks because nothing has changed when it comes to successful media relations: It all starts with relationship building and a good story.

Here are some of the recent successes we are celebrating.

Screenshot of The New York Times with the headline, "Grave is Found at Site of Historic Black Church in Colonial Williamsburg."

Colonial Williamsburg

This August, we worked with First Baptist Church – one of America’s oldest churches founded entirely by Blacks – and our client Colonial Williamsburg to announce a community-supported excavation to find the church’s first permanent structure. Among the findings from the first phase of the excavation were evidence of human burial west of the 1856 church and more than 12,000 individual artifacts. The second phase of excavation will begin Jan. 4 and continue for about 18 months.We placed coverage on the excavation in The Washington Post (two stories, including one Metro-section front), The New York Times, WIRED, Atlas Obscura, Black News Channel, Fodor’s Travel and NBC News. In addition to our work on this important story, we also landed a seasonal placement on the holidays at Colonial Williamsburg in Southern Living.

Screenshot of Good Morning America with the headline, "Recovery Underway."

Mercy Chefs

How busy has Portsmouth-based disaster relief organization Mercy Chefs been this year?  Try almost 7 million meals served in 2020 to victims of natural disasters and those facing hunger amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Our work to help tell the Mercy Chefs story has recently earned coverage for the organization on Good Morning America, The Weather Channel, AccuWeather and in such outlets as CBS News, Fox News and Southern Living.

Screenshot of MSNBC interview with Willie Geist and Patrick Murray with the headline, "Biden leads by seven in Pennsylvania."

Monmouth University Polling Institute

We’ve worked with the A-plus-rated Monmouth Poll for two election cycles. While the pandemic claimed some of the news cycle, our team was able to generate regular coverage of the poll and pollster Patrick Murray in the likes of The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Associated Press, networks, cable shows and others. We created new relationships with several podcasts on SiriusXM’s POTUS Channel, and booked Murray with MSNBC’s Morning Joe the day before Election Day.

Screenshot of Maxim with the headline, "The Best New American Whiskeys of 2020."

Virginia Distillery Co.

Though our team has been working with Virginia Distillery Co. for years, we have long been looking forward to 2020 and the launch of the distillery’s flagship American Single Malt whisky, Courage & Conviction. All the credit for the award-winning whisky goes to the distillery team, of course, but we have coordinated hundreds of whisky samples and virtual tastings to get the whisky in the hands of important journalists. Courage & Conviction recently was recognized by Maxim as one of the Top 25 new American whiskeys of 2020, and other outlets like Robb Report and Golf.com also have praised Courage & Conviction in recent weeks.

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Megan Irvin

Megan spends her days doing media relations, community relations, content creation and events for clients like Kroger Mid-Atlantic, Virginia Distillery Company and Mercy Chefs. Her favorite part of her job is working with clients and providing strategic counsel — and garnering media attention for clients in outlets like TODAY, Esquire, USA Today and Bon Appetit.

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