The Gong Blog

Woman reading a newspaper outside with a cup of black coffee

Virginia news updates you should know about

The Hodges team regularly engages journalists across Virginia. Here are some recent Virginia news developments you should know about in your earned media relations outreach. New online outlets Last month, several former Roanoke Times staffers launched The Cardinal News, an online investigative outlet covering Southwest and Southside Virginia. Longtime Roanoke Times opinions editor Dwayne Yancey is serving as the site’s editor, which will provide in-depth coverage of politics, the economy and culture. Sign up for the website’s newsletter to stay...

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Endless stacks of folded newspapers bound in twine

How to build good media lists

Receiving unwanted emails can be both irritating and a waste of valuable time. Most of us, at some point or another, have signed up for online mailing lists that we don’t want to be on, and end up hitting the unsubscribe button, or at least I know I do. Journalists experience the same annoyance from receiving unsolicited pitches that have nothing to do with their beat or the subjects they usually cover. When pitching journalists and reporters, your goal is...

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Zoom screen with four tiles, part of Jon's podcasting best practices blog post

The four P’s of podcasting best practices

In one of my other lives, I’ve been co-hosting a podcast on Rutgers Athletics for almost four years. It’s been a blast, and we’re about to hit our 100,000th download mark. We’ve also learned a great deal, and I’ve tried to apply those lessons to conversations with clients who are interested in starting their own podcast efforts. I’ve boiled podcasting best practices down to the four P’s: planning, preparation, production and promotion. Planning One of the most fundamental podcasting best...

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Black business professional on the phone while working at a laptop

An almost true story about blogging

Let’s start with a conversation I have more often than not with folks calling us about helping them raise their profile and enhance their expertise position in their industry. Caller: I want to raise my profile and enhance my expertise position in the industry [or something like that].Josh: Well, that's what we do, so let's see if we can help. Let me ask you some questions. What kind of content marketing are you doing?Caller: Content marketing? You mean like using...

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Social media user's hands with a phone loaded up to the TikTok screen

Should my brand be on TikTok?

Whenever a new social platform is launched, every marketer is inevitably asked the question, “Have you heard of [insert buzzy new social media tool]? Should we be on that?” With new tools and platforms launching and sputtering all the time (hello Fleets, Vine, Google+, Meerkat, etc., etc.), it can be hard for marketers to answer that question before it’s even clear if the platform is going to stick around. TikTok seems to be here to stay. With more and more...

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Overhead view of a women working on a latptop with her phone and notebook beside her

Advice for creating content from our in-house content creators

If you’re creating content for an editorial calendar in 15 minutes or less, you’re not doing it right. Full stop. The fact is, when you’re curating third-party stories, crafting posts to support your key messages and value propositions and finding ways to transform long-form content into smaller, digestible chunks – that takes time. We’re incredibly lucky to have a melting pot of talent at Hodges when it comes to content creation – whether it’s crafting craft quippy social media content...

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Looking behind someone sitting at a computer working with a cup of coffee on the side

Media relations lessons learned from over five million pitches

One of the things I love about working at Hodges is the opportunity we have for ongoing professional development. In pre-COVID times, this meant attending conferences and various in-person trainings, but like many other things, a lot of our professional development has taken a virtual turn in the last year and a half. Earlier this year with the support of Hodges, I joined media relations and writing coach Michael Smart’s Inner Circle, and I’ve found great value in the sessions...

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Overhead shot of hands typing on a laptop, the hand wearing rings with a purple crystal beside the computer

Using local influencers in your content marketing strategies

Brands are multifaceted. Communicating their stories requires attention to detail and often an intrepid willingness to implement nifty marketing techniques in the hope of attracting consumers. More and more, PR professionals are using social media campaigns as an essential element of a marketing strategy. Also trending is integrating an influencer into your campaigns, a tactic that can reap big time dividends. Influencer marketing is a $6 billion industry. A trend in online marketing is to partner with local influencers rather...

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Five ways media relations has changed since 2020

Five ways media relations has changed since 2020

It’s no secret that the last year and a half has brought about a tremendous amount of change, both in our daily lives and in the way we do business. In the public relations world, we’re seeing some common themes as we engage with media contacts. We’re sharing five ways media relations has changed in the last year or so, and we talk about ways you can adjust accordingly.  There are more busy news days.  In October, I wrote a...

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Bright colored paper with pronouns like your, my, her, him, their.

Pronouns and PR: Make your media relations more inclusive

Hello, my name is Cameron and I use he/him pronouns. Our roles as media relations professionals are important as we make connections between journalists and spokespersons. Pronouns and PR go together, and here are a few ways you can make your media relations more affirming by including pronouns. List pronouns of media contacts List the media contacts’ pronouns in your press releases. Easy. For example, I list: MEDIA CONTACTCameron McPherson (he/him)Email AddressPhone number Include pronouns in quotes In general, you...

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Screen grab of Umgas Article about Skarsgards being Swedish Kardashians

The ROI of a great content marketing strategy

Two years ago when I spent 30 minutes writing an article about the Skarsgård family being the Swedish Kardashians, I would have never dreamed it would still be getting website traffic. And not just single views, I’m talking multiple thousands of views with ZERO promotion. But that’s the long game – and payoff – of a solid content marketing strategy. Back in 2015, we helped our client at Swedish Match North America launch a storytelling platform to help share Swedish-American...

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Close-up of a hand scrolling through Instagram with a latte in the background

What makes for good Instagram content? Cracking the Instagram code.

Did you know Instagram is no longer a photo-sharing app? That’s what its CEO declared in a move to push Instagram into a land that more resembles TikTok. Today, the social media platform has a whopping 1 billion active monthly users, a base that is second only to Facebook and about twice as large as LinkedIn and more than three times bigger than Twitter. And like TikTok, it tends to be a platform generally fueled by young people. Three in five...

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