Articles Written By:

Sean Ryan

What to Expect When Starting to Work with a PR Firm

So you’re thinking of working with a PR firm. Whether you’ve worked with a PR firm before, or it’s the first time, it can be a big decision. How much is it going to cost? How much time is it going to take to manage? How to choose between firms? Why are we doing this? Here are a handful of things to consider if you’re looking to work with a PR firm. Set a Budget It’s not quite like Jerry Maguire’s escalating “Show me the…

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A look behind the curtain of national media relations

A couple of weeks ago, Colonial Williamsburg’s partnership with Williamsburg’s historic First Baptist Church was featured on The Today Show. Colonial Williamsburg, the world’s largest living history museum, began an excavation of what’s been determined to be the first permanent structure of First Baptist Church, one of the nation’s oldest Black churches, in September of 2020. The Today Show shared early findings in a piece during Black History Month in 2021. I’ve been working in media relations for more than 20 years. National morning show features (or even mentions)…

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Basket of baseballs with Gong mallet laying on top

Celebrating an Anniversary

It’s hard to believe that Hodges is celebrating its 20th birthday this summer. Harder to believe is that this year marks my 19th anniversary at Hodges. I’ve been fortunate to call Hodges home – first above Siné Irish Pub on Cary Street, then here on Broad Street, then across the parking lot in a one-bedroom apartment cozy enough for four Hodgers while renovations were made here and finally back in this building – for all but the first six months of the firm. I joined…

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Woman holding camera with microphone

What should journalists expect from PR pros?

A couple of months ago, I wrote about what PR professionals should expect from journalists. (In short, a lot of rejection and silence, but if you’d like to read more, check it out here.) Since that piece, I’ve been thinking a little more about what journalists should expect from PR pros. Granted, some journalists don’t expect much from us, because (as mentioned in that last piece) they simply don’t want to work with PR people. And that’s OK. But most are at least open to…

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Phone screen, email notificiation at 20 unread

What should PR pros expect from journalists?

In our industry, we don’t have to go far to hear how bad we are at our jobs. We have our own hashtag (#prfail), and journalists routinely skewer our pitches or methods on Twitter or Instagram. And many times, we deserve it.   A couple of weeks ago, Chris Stokel-Walker, a journalist who writes for the BBC and New York Times, screen-grabbed a request from a PR professional requesting a response back to his pitch as a “professional courtesy.” He wrote: “PRs: don’t do this….

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And here comes the pitch

It is often said that baseball is a game of failure. After all, even the best hitters fail 70 percent of the time.  Or as the legend Ted Williams said, “Baseball is the only field of endeavor where a man can succeed three times out of ten and be considered a good performer.” Media relations is like baseball. It, too, is a game of failure. Singles and doubles – a quote in the local newspaper or a quick interview on the local news – take…

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Baseball’s botched communications crisis

A sure sign of spring is (usually) the start of the Major League Baseball season. However, before the current pandemic erupted, a dark, dark, dark cloud lingered and threatened the integrity of the game as much or more then the steroids era of the late 1990s and early 2000s. And to think, a sound crisis communications reaction could have pacified the situation. Even most non-baseball fans are aware that the Houston Astros were caught cheating during their world championship season in 2017. To catch you…

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Wrestling With Twitter

Over the years, my Hodges colleagues have written quite a bit about Twitter on this blog. From explaining how Twitter works in 2009 and “Twitter is Dead” back in 2011 to building brand loyalty for your CEO on Twitter in 2016 and tips for increasing organic engagement last year, we’ve covered a lot of ground. Personally, I’m at a Twitter crossroads, and not just because Twitter may be making some changes to the like button and The Atlantic says it should kill the retweet. What…

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The Value of March Madness

Midway through the second half of 16-seed UMBC’s historic win over No. 1 Virginia, CBS’s Jim Nantz reminded viewers that UMBC was short for University of Maryland, Baltimore County. In becoming the first No. 16 seed to beat a top seed in NCAA Tournament history, the Retrievers were sure to be the talk of the tourney’s opening weekend. But thanks to a Twitter game that was savvy, hilarious and authentic, UMBC went even more viral. Yahoo Sports and others shined a well-deserved light on Zach…

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How to Write a Killer Press Release

Every so often these days, our industry asks if the press release, a staple in the communications toolbox for businesses and communicators for 700 years, er, decades, is dead or alive. I’d argue that aging might be a better descriptor, as in the press release as we know it is aging. I’ll admit there are plenty of reasons not to announce your news or opinions in a press release (hey, maybe that would make for a good blog!), but to say that the press release…

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So, you want to be on TV…

When I started in PR more than a dozen years ago, three of the most dreaded words when talking with potential clients were: The Today Show. Nothing against the show, but it’s really hard to break through their producers to actually see your client sitting down next to them for an interview. It can be just as hard for Good Morning America, CBS Sunday Morning or any of the shows on Fox, CNN or MSNBC. Hard, but not impossible. Here are a few things to…

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Internal communications to content

From Internal Communications to Content

Years ago, we were responsible for helping write and edit a magazine for a Fortune 500 company that it mailed to its employees all over the country. Back then, we called it internal communications (or external communications for more outward-facing work). These days, we’re writing an online magazine to celebrate Swedish-American lifestyle. Today, we call it content or brand journalism. What’s changed – or stayed the same – over the past decade or so? One thing that hasn’t changed is developing relevant content. Whether it…

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