‘Thanks Universe’.

Remember when I said I had big plans for 2016? Well, I’m thrilled to announce that StorylinePR has refocused to become a marketing & PR agency for fine art photographers.

Some might say I have changed tack 180 degrees and strategic direction completely, to which I would answer – “Not really.”

You see, when I first created storylinePR, I tried connect my business to my love for photography. In fact, back then, it was known as Storyline Photo Marketing. Here’s a bit of background to that story…

image of storylinePR logo on canvas in art gallery Upon graduation, I had grandiose ideas with images of photos on a gallery wall and me doing the PR to make that happen. College was great at teaching us hands-on skills to develop our talent, (not so great at helping us articulate a vision.)

Right after school, I put that practical knowledge to work at a big brand company in marketing and PR for almost a decade. I absolutely loved my job and learned a great deal, but my quality of life began to suffer. I found myself packing my things (and my vision) and moving to Ottawa in 2000.

To feel more at home than I already (instantly) did, I took a few weekend photography courses in the Gatineau Hills and registered my business as Storyline Photo Marketing. Through referrals of friends and colleagues, my business morphed into a communications and media relations company known as storylinePR. (my other love)

“The universe knows exactly where you’re going, even if you don’t”

As I grew my PR business, I continued to pursue my love for photography on a personal level while providing PR services to small business. Along the way, I met some pretty amazing local artists, (photographers in particular), that I deeply admired.

In conversation with this group, I often heard how difficult it is to get their work noticed by the right audience and how frustrating and time consuming it was to market their own work when all they really wanted to do was focus on creating it. And then that’s when it happened. That ‘ah ha’ moment. A partnership between marketer and photographer, both subjects I knew intimately well.

You know that saying? ‘The universe knows where you’re going even if you don’t?‘ It really does. Timing and experiences play a huge factor and I feel as if everything I have done up to this point has guided me here. That I’ve finally created the business I’ve envisioned with subject expertise I’m so passionate about.

The connections I’ve made and relationships I’ve built over the years with magazines, publishers, galleries and agencies was in some small way, significant.

Thanks Universe!

___________

About the Author

Deanna White is owner and publicist for storylinePR, exclusive PR firm & marketing agent to Ottawa’s most talented fine art photographers. Learn more and connect at www.storylinepr.ca

Using Social Media as a Newswire

We recently participated in a survey by TekGroup who were interested in finding out how social media users are following, sharing, posting and monitoring news on various social media outlets. In their ‘2015 Social Media News Survey Report’ -survey respondents indicated they are using social media tools habitually with more than 90% saying they use Twitter, Facebook, and blogs on a daily basis to follow and monitor news and information. We thought we would share some tidbits we found interesting.

Image of news release with soical media icons Where do social media users go?

73% use press releases when following, sharing, or posting news info. Your news releases must be available on your online newsroom when you use social media for distribution. Links from Twitter and Facebook should go directly to your online newsroom and your branded press release.

Controlling your own story on social media

84% of survey takers believe news gathered via social media sources are more timely than traditional media. It is imperative that you update your corporate social media sites regularly so that you are in control of your own story. Being able to publish your news content on your online newsroom and then making it immediately available on social channels will increase your chances of reaching your audience in a more timely fashion.

Gaining visibility

88% believe social media tools are important for following/monitoring news and information. A lot of people are alerted to breaking news using social media outlets such as Facebook or Twitter. By including your own corporate news on these channels, you give your organization more visibility in the social media universe.

Just how important is social media to news content

With 95% of users finding social media an important vehicle for sharing and recommending news and information, it is essential that you have social sharing icons readily available on all of your news content, not just press releases, but also photos, videos and other news assets.

The key take-away?

More and more bloggers and journalists are writing about companies every day – both positive and negative stories. Comments on Facebook and message boards also are becoming more commonplace as areas to discuss products, services and companies. Make sure that you are involved and engaged with posting and writing content on a regular basis. You can download the full report here: http://www.tekgroup.com/social-media-news-survey/

Are you fully taking advantage of social media to share your story? We can help! Contact storylinePR and tell us your story.

_______________
About the Author Deanna White has always been passionate about marketing and public relations. Owner of storylinePR, Deanna is best known for taking it beyond the pitch. For building brands & bottom lines with the right channels to share your story. http://www.storylinepr.ca.

Forced to unplug and re-connect

Image of cracked iPhone screenToday marks day number three without my iPhone. I’ve read about others who have unplugged by choice and remember thinking to myself that was something I doubt I could adapt to easily.

I’m first to admit I have an unhealthy relationship with my phone. I’m constantly checking email, reading news stories and dabbling in my social media accounts.  My out-of-office message even says that although I’m on vacation, I’m still available. That’s telling. But when you have an accident like I did, cracking the face of my iPhone that renders it unusable, you have no choice but to unplug… and you know what? It wasn’t so bad. In fact, I would go as far to say it was freeing.

My connection to the world had collapsed

Sure, it helped that I was in holiday mode and my days were action packed. Had I not been on vacation in a remote town with no access to solutions, I’m sure I would have handled the situation quite differently. I know for a fact I would not have been as calm, thinking my connection to the world had collapsed and I assure you, I would not have been going on a fourth day without my phone.

Don’t get me wrong, I completely panicked at the sight of my phone – now shards of a glass held only together by its’ sturdy  protective cover. I started exploring options right away from a land line, but after the initial shock, I was forced to accept this unfortunate mishap and I had to remind myself I was on vacation after all – which by definition is: relaxing, enjoying, and kicking back. I decided I was going to take it in stride and enjoy  what was left of it.

So, I guess THIS is what being unplugged is all about

From this experience I was forced to slow down. I convinced to myself, (and possibly out loud), ‘So, I guess THIS is what being unplugged is all about’.  I’ve made a pact to myself; and that is to check my phone less frequently – and more so off hours; to not be slave to every ding or ring I hear and each push notification I see. I am going to focus on the things that are most important to me beyond my electronic world – and just turn the damn thing off. Other than self-admitting my addiction, here are a few things I’ve come to realize as a result of being forced to unplug:

1. Pen to paper.
I started writing this blog post by hand. With a pen and paper  – remember those things? I actually got writing cramps and finger calluses (also known as writers bumps).  I started itemizing the balance of my vacation plans on said paper and making to-do lists. I actually connected my random (and sometimes convoluted) thoughts, instantly feeling more organized. I documented action items to cross off, instead of relying on the ding of my auto reminders – like a microwave announcing dinner is ready. These things are in a paper book that I now carry with me and add to frequently, by writing them down – things I can’t so easily dismiss. It also inspired me to start a personal journal again.

2. Me-time.
Being without my phone, I was a lot more relaxed. It had me reading complete novels in a matter of days, something that would have taken me weeks with the constant distraction of my phone. I realized how much I missed reading. I broke in a new pair of running shoes and went for brisk walks (sans phone) and stopped thinking of where I was going to get my next Wi-Fi connection along the way. More me-time is definitely on the top of my to do list!

3. Real connections.
Most importantly, this experience has me wanting to connect in person; to have face to face meetings and lunches with cherished colleagues and friends. Something I mistakenly confused with a ‘like’ or ‘comment’ to a post as a sufficient way of staying connected. Wrong on so many levels!

When I came home to the city, I wasn’t as frantic to get in touch with the repair shop like I initially wanted to. I’m told that when I do finally take my phone in to be fixed,  it could be another few days before I get it back, and you know what?  That’s perfectly fine.

_______________

About the Author
Deanna White has always been passionate about marketing and public relations. Owner of storylinePR, Deanna is best known for taking it beyond the pitch. For building brands & bottom lines with the right channels to share your story. http://www.storylinepr.ca.

5 ways to issue your news

image of airplane folded newspaper Issuing regular, professionally written news releases will open doors to the media and can have positive outcome on your business. But before putting pen to paper, think about how you want to issue your news. 

News releases are often lumped together as one single PR tool, however, there are different types of news releases with subtle differences in how they convey your message to the media.

Read more

getting engaged

Public Relations, by definition, includes ongoing activities to ensure your company has a strong public image. Just as media is finding its way with a new online business model, so must business. Social media has re-defined PR and helped shape how companies can leverage their online reputation. It’s all about is creating content that captures media and target audiences while addressing your business goals. There are many elements of PR that can help you do this with the net effect of increasing website traffic, optimizing search engine rankings, and ultimately creating new business. Here are few…

Read more

the joke’s on who, exactly?

I’m all for companies who issue releases that provide a little humour for the entertainment value on April Fool’s Day – as long as it is obvious and all good and all in fun. In fact, some organizations have been pretty clever this year…

Yesterday, LinkedIn listed under “People You May Know” the likes of Albert Einstein, J.R.R. Tolkien, Sherlock Holmes and Robin Hood. Google was having a little fun too. If you typed “Helvetica” in the Google search box, your font would change to Comic Sans. They went as far to announce a new technological advance in its popular Gmail application, motion-controlled email.

Some companies went a little further (and over the top in my humble opinion).  Virgin announced its company founder Richard Branson had bought Pluto in order to reinstate it as a planet. Ikea released its ‘newest product’ via YouTube video: The Hundstol, or dog high chair, which confused consumers who asked about availability.

There’s a belief that all publicity is good publicity… but is it really?

I believe that ‘news’ should be exactly that…

Read more

add a little Google juice to your PR

One of the most effective ways to tap into news about your industry is through Google Alerts. Not only is it free, but also provides you with some valuable insight and enhances your PR efforts.

Using Google Alerts will help you…

  • Know what media coverage your competitors are getting.
  • Monitor a developing news story about your products and services.
  • Find out what news angles are of interest to journalists for your industry.
  • Target reporters and editors who are interested in your space.

Here’s how it works:

  1. You enter a query that you’re interested in.
  2. Google Alerts checks regularly to see if there are new results for your query.
  3. If there are new results, Google Alerts sends them to you in an email.

I recommend to all clients who want to stay abreast of what’s happening in the news to set up several alerts.

Read more

read, watch and follow.

[tweetmeme source=”storylinePR” only_single=false]

Media, journalists, and publishers are leveraging social media such as facebook and twitter to distribute news content and engage their communities.  In the past, it was important to read a vast array of newspapers and magazines, to watch the major television outlets, and listen to local radio news programs in order to keep track of the amount of news coverage about the issues your organization is promoting.
The same is true today, but it can now be done online from social media platforms giving “read, watch and follow” a whole new meaning. There are very few media outlets who don’t use social media and some use it more effectively than others. From a PR perspective, the best advice I can give is this…
  • Read the tweets and facebook updates from media outlets.
  • Watch the conversations being created around the news that is being reported.  Become a fan of the media outlets facebook page and follow their twitter feeds. Be an observer.
  • Follow the source of the news. Find the names of the journalists who cover your specific topic and search for articles by those journalists and start following them on twitter. Their twitter profiles usually indicate the topics they cover… for example:

image of twitter profileimage of twitter profile

I have created a list of Ottawa-based media outlets on both twitter and facebook.  If you would like to add to the list of media outlets or want to report a broken link, please do so by leaving a comment.

paying for news content

[tweetmeme source=”storylinePR” only_single=false]

Newspapers have been struggling trying to find a business model they can use in the online world and a few have adapted a subscription model which only allows readers to see a portion of a story before paying. But even if the paywall pays off in the short term, isn’t the longterm price of a weaker readership base too high? Times in the UK were one of the early adopters who have been

Read more

the truth about the newsroom – straight-up!

[tweetmeme source=”storylinePR” only_single=false]WARNING: What follows is a harsh reality that may offend some readers.  Viewer discretion is advised.

Ask reporters what they want from pitch to coverage – their top-ten list might look something like this:

  1. Do your homework. Know exactly what I do and do not cover. Don’t waste my time and I won’t waste yours.
  2. When you pitch, show me you have taken the time to find out what I’m interested in and compose a note meant to appeal to me.
  3. Please be accessible once you pitch your story. Your marketing manager is not a suitable substitute.
  4. Return my phone call – even if you’re just calling to tell me you don’t know the answers to my questions! I work to a deadline.
  5. Make it easy for me to cover your story – send me multimedia that will add to your news.
  6. “Speak my language.” Don’t talk in jargon or industry-speak. I know you’re smart – that’s why I’m interviewing you. If I don’t understand you, then I can’t explain it to my readers, (listeners / viewers)
  7. Give me a quote to punch up my story. And remember, nothing is off the record – so please don’t tell me what I can and cannot use.
  8. It’s OK to follow up – but please don’t call to ask me if I received the press release you just sent. I have them by the hundreds in my inbox… and yours was which one exactly? When you do follow up, pitch your idea in 30 seconds or less and add some value to the contents of the release. Oh, and please don’t call me when I’m filing my stories. One word… “Deadline”
  9. I get that you want coverage, otherwise you wouldn’t be contacting me, but don’t send your news release to three other reporters I work with too! What’s worse is if I find out you pitched the same story to every media outlet in the city – I’ll kill the story.
  10. Don’t ask me why I’m not running with your story. I’m answerable only to my editor. It’s likely because it lacked real substance and news value. I report news. Period.

What reporters really want is usually pretty simple. They want their calls returned, a quote for their story and they want to do their job and go home.   Read more…