The Gong Blog

Successful media relations strategies for Virginia (and beyond)

The team here at Hodges knows media relations in Virginia. From the Eastern Shore to Bedford and beyond, there is a level of nuance and finesse needed to navigate the ins and outs of Virginia’s various media outlets, which differ in shape and size. On the surface, media relations may seem like a lot of copy and pasting the same email without much rhyme or reason. But the reality is, there’s a significant amount of planning and strategizing before we click “Send.” We surveyed the office to get some thoughts about everything from planning and timing to writing and sending …

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A lesson in content marketing, inspired by salad

Those who know me best know I love to cook. If you were a fly on the wall in my kitchen, you’d likely hear me narrating my dinner preparation like I was a Food Network Star. In fact, when I was little, I drafted up a pitch for Food Network because I was disappointed in its lack of children’s programming. Never followed through though. You’re welcome, Hodges. My YouTube homepage is filled with cooking videos. My Pinterest with recipes. At 26, I own a KitchenAid mixer. And the pasta attachment. And I am pretty sure my pulse increases when I …

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Five things to consider before sending your next media sample

When our clients announce new products, one of the best ways we can help spread the word is to get samples in the hands of influencers and media. It’s a fun part of media relations. Why sampling is good: Samples are a natural, cost-effective touchpoint and a great way to keep a brand top of mind with important contacts within the industry. When you see products in magazines or on broadcast segments, sampling is often where it all started. The goal is two-fold: first, to get key contacts to try or experience whatever the product is, leading them to cover …

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Crafting the perfect communication report – like a sandwich

Building the perfect sandwich takes precision, finesse, gusto. The same goes for building the perfect report. With the flair of a sous-chef, I’m serving up a recipe for one top-notch report. Start with the bread The bread is what makes the sandwich. It’s the first and last thing you sink your teeth into. Your goals and objectives are the bread. Start your report by reiterating your goals and objectives as a reminder of what the metrics you’re about to present are supporting. Slab on the mayo Before I get to the bulk of the report, I like to add a …

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Changing Careers to PR: A Tactical Approach

I talk to a lot of young people who are interested in finding a job in public relations. They typically fall into two buckets. There are the recent graduates, wide-eyed and earnest, who really just need to catch a break and find that entry-level opening. If they’re lucky, they have some PR-related internships under their belt, and I have a personal prejudice toward those who wrote for their college newspapers, although, sad to say, that is a rarity these days. But between their degree in communications and some extra-curricular experience in public relations, they ultimately just need to find that …

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Our Roster: Meet Lindsay O’Bar, APR

We like to think of Lindsay O’Bar as our resident employee and community expert. This Hodger has a way with words and is a well-known face in the Richmond PR world. A Philadelphia native, Lindsay moved to the Richmond area at the age of 16 with her family and attended Virginia Commonwealth University. Her interests in writing led her to VCU’s communications school where she found herself at a crossroads about which track to pursue. At the time, she didn’t know much about public relations, but after attending her first PR class, it all clicked for Lindsay. If you know …

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Planning your content marketing budget, line by line

You may know that you have a certain number of dollars in your content marketing budget, but do you know the best way to split that spend? When you clicked on this blog post, you were probably thinking, “Woah, thanks Hodges, this is going to be the answer to all my internal struggles!” Well, not exactly. This is more of a, “WHAT’S IN THE BOX?” or a Pulp Fiction gold-illuminated briefcase kind of deal. We’ve laid out three content marketing budget break downs based on what your goals may be. The main line items we include are paid advertising (including …

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Three things you can do to get your organization ready to hire a PR firm

As the CEO of a thriving public relations/content marketing agency, I wear a lot of hats — and one of them is business development. Over the years, I’ve seen many trends in our quest to acquire “new business,” the latest being the lengthening of the new business cycle, or the amount of time from the first meeting with a potential client to the “close.” The amount of time is getting longer. In the past when we’ve experienced that, it’s mainly been because the potential client just wasn’t sure what they were looking for. As a result, we revamped the questions …

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Why aren’t PR professionals talking about (not to mention, practicing) empathy more?

Being a PR professional married to a (music) therapist can be a humbling experience. I’m the professional persuasive communicator, but routinely she’s the one teaching me how to communicate effectively. This is more a testament to my personality rather than my profession, but I routinely approach a difficult situation wanting to be right, whereas she is seeking reconciliation. First in that process is empathy, something that is woefully undereducated in PR programs and underappreciated by young and old professionals alike. It’s by no means an entirely foreign concept to public relations, but it is one that isn’t recognized and elevated …

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Communication Counsel: Paying the price of big data with data privacy protections

Remember when people loved throwing around “big data” in every business meeting and presentation? Well, marketers and communicators are now dealing with the repercussions of all this big data integration, thanks to an influx of data privacy rules and regulations that have started trickling down from lawmakers. If you’ve noticed a deluge of “Accept,” “Opt-In,” “Opt-Out” and “Learn more about cookies” pop-up windows, these are just a few of the disclosures companies are now required to share with their readers and users. When did all of this start? Some of the first sweeping data privacy protections began in Europe. Does …

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The Hodges Partnership
1805 East Broad Street
Richmond, Virginia 23223
804-788-1414
804-788-0085 fax