Posts by Sean Ryan

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 was for an internal magazine or annual report back in the day or our online …

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Making Your Opinion Known

College campuses are rife with experts, whether it be the president, dean of admissions or faculty member who knows everything there is to know about the day’s big story. Newsjacking – what we call the practice of connecting experts to reporters covering trending news – often can enable their thoughts to be heard, but all too often their expertise goes unnoticed. The next time that happens, try getting opinionated. Opinions, or op/eds, can be a valuable part of your communications arsenal. While it takes some practice (see my previous post about “The Art of the Opinion”), a well-crafted opinion piece …

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College Communicators: Improving Your Chances for Landing a TV Hit

I previously wrote a blog post about pitching TV producers. While hard to land placements, it’s not impossible. As college communicators, you have a bit of an advantage over others: Experts are everywhere, giving you the opportunity to offer expertise on a variety of topics. Six tips for landing the interview Choose wisely Not everyone wants to go on TV. And not everyone is ready for prime time. Avoid your experts who are long-winded and talk in tangents (save them for print) and look for those who speak in soundbites and are fast on their feet. Do your homework You’re …

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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 remember when pitching TV producers. Research – A common refrain on our blog, but take …

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3 Tips for Pitching Journalists [VIDEO]

In our latest video, I give a brief overview and tips for pitching your story to the media. You can watch the video above and find a transcript below. At the end, you’ll see a link to download our eBook on Earned, Owned and Paid PR where we delve a little deeper into the practice of media relations and how it fits into a full PR program. Transcript of 3 Tips for Pitching Journalists Video Hi, my name is Sean Ryan. I’m the vice president of media relations here at the Hodges Partnership and today we’re going to talk about …

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Three Keys to Getting Your College into Breaking News Stories

One of the first things I do each morning, even before my shower and shave, is check my newsfeed. What’s the news of the day? An hour or two later, depending on the day, I do the same thing when I get to the office. The thought is simple: Do we have an expert who can comment on the news of the day – whether it be on the national level or as a source for local media trying to localize the national news – when we know the media is going to be looking for experts? Put another way, …

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Finding Success in a Changing Media Landscape

So, you think you have a good story to tell. Do you? What makes you think so? What makes your story stand out, why are you different, why should the media care? A lot goes into media relations, a lot more than most people think. Granted, there are slam dunks like helping a new retailer open a location in your town or announcing the new CEO of a Fortune 500 company. But even newsmakers like that require a great deal of work. Now more than ever, earned media is just that – earned. One of the reasons for that is …

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On workshops, conferences and placing op/eds

This is going to be a busy, but fun week. We’re looking forward to starting the week at the College Media Conference in D.C., where we’ll attend workshops, learn from higher education reporters and editors and network with university communications professionals. We’ll also hear from one of our clients, Cynthia Price at the University of Richmond, who will be moderating one of the panels at the conference. Conferences like this always produce new ideas and strategies – we’re looking forward to a great few days of learning. On Wednesday, I’ll be moderating a conversation with Clay Risen, an opinion editor at the …

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Finding the Right Reporter

We’ve seen the stats: There are far more of us than there are of them. By us, I mean PR professionals; by them, I mean members of the media. Because of that hard truth, the already tough task of pitching ideas to the media has been made even harder as our industry has grown and theirs has shrunk, thanks in part to many former journalists coming over to the PR side as I did more than a dozen years ago. Remember, more of us means more PR pros fishing in a lake with fewer fish. And we’re all competing for …

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The art of the opinion

So, you have an opinion.  Placing that opinion, often called an Op/Ed (which originally meant opposite to the editorial page in a newspaper), is easier said than done, as I wrote a while back. Consider that the New York Times receives about 2,000 submissions per week. That’s right, several hundred a day. My guess is that the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post are about the same.  Here are five steps to consider to improve the chances of your opinion seeing the light of day (you can also download a PDF of these tips to print or share). Pieces should be 750-800 words, …

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