Monday, May 28, 2012

How to Time Your Launch


I just answered a question on Quora about the best time to distribute a press releases over a specific wire service. But there's a broader question there - one that has nothing to do with the specific wire service or the various distribution mechanisms for the news. The essence of the question is about the best day of the week and the best time of the day to release news.

I pasted my answer to the Quora question below so non-Quora users could participate in the discussion.

I'd love to hear thoughts/feedback from other PR teams about their best practices.
Five simple rules for timing your news:
  • Release on Tuesdays. or Wednesdays. For the biggest bump of media attention, release on a Tuesday morning.  This also gives you an opportunity to pre-brief reporters if you wish.  Tuesdays and Wednesdays are both solid options.
  • Thursdays trim your news cycle. The problem with a Thursday is that, for really big news, there's no opportunity for a protracted news cycle (ie, you miss the day two and day three stories).  If it's good news, go with a Tues or Wed.
  • Avoid Mondays, avoid Fridays. Mondays are for coffee and catching up on email. Fridays are for releasing bad news, the idea being that the news will be reported but will be old by Monday and by Tuesday, the media will have moved onto something new.  This doesn't always work.  The Enron folks certainly didn't get out of their media cycle over the course of a weekend.  Nor Madoff. Nor BP.  If you f*ck up royally, prepare for a lengthy skewering.
  • East v. West. OK, so we've established release days, let's talk about what time to put it over the wire.  Are you a publicly traded company? Does your news impact financial trading? If so, release it early Eastern Time (usually 8am, though sometimes midnight if you're chasing a WSJ embargo).  Are you a California-based startup hoping to secure tech coverage? An 8am PT release should be just fine and will give your core press targets a chance to wake up. The time zone you favor will set the tone for your coverage so choose wisely.
  • Going global and making the best of it**.  Want global coverage? Truly global? Well, that's trickier.  Who do you want to piss off the least?  Midnight ET is going to make everyone unhappy but means Europe and Asia aren't completely shut out of the cycle and the West Coast of the US has already reached their print deadlines but you might be able to eek in for online.

**I have a follow up post in the hopper that addresses truly global launches.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

One Post Behind

I should blog more. I know it’s important. I enjoy doing it. And yet, I constantly feel as though I’m one post behind. I have perpetual, nagging guilt about it. My blog is an electronic extension of my Jewish mother – wondering why I haven’t written or called and manifesting as mild but persistent anxiety. 

I’m eager to start blogging about my current adventure. But there’s a catch…I never closed the last chapter. I didn’t take the advice I’ve given several times over: your blog is your story and if you jump around, don’t be surprised when the people following along at home look up and say, “wait a sec, I have no context for what’s going on here.” So two weeks ago, when Stormy asked the Mozilla Conductors group to blog, I realized I was a post behind.
Juggling at OSCON 2007
Staying involved

In February, I left my full time post at Mozilla where I ran the global PR team(1). My five years at Mozilla were pretty all encompassing and the prospect of doing something new was incredibly exciting (but also terrifying). At the time, I didn’t have a very clear idea of whether or how I’d stay involved in the project. And it’s one of the reasons I delayed writing this post. I wanted to figure out what my version of “staying involved” looked like before I committed to it.


Where to find me

It no longer says Mozilla on my paychecks or my business cards but I remain an active contributor as a Mozilla Conductor, a MozillaWebFWD mentor, and as part of the NorCal Mozilla surf crew.  And while I never thought I’d miss it, I’m occasionally hanging out in IRC. If you see me around, say hi.  And if I can help with courageous conversations, startup mentoring, or San Francisco restaurant recommendations, don’t hesitate to ping.

(1)
My goodbye note:
Dear Mozillians,
Over the past five years, numerous colleagues have approached me when it was time for them to write goodbye emails to ask for some pointers.  I always said pretty much the same thing: draft it at home, take your time, speak from your heart and know that no matter what you send, it’s unlikely to capture everything.

Now that I’m on the other side of that advice, I can tell you that leaving Mozilla is exactly as hard as everyone says it is.  Mozilla lines are blurry: contributors are indistinguishable from employees, colleagues morph into incredible friends, the work, though hard, frequently feels like play.

Next Friday (February 10th), I’ll leave Mozilla and move onto my next adventure. I am honored to have worked for the Project and lucky to have spent time in the trenches alongside all of you.  It’s been an amazing experience and one I’ll treasure for my entire career.  Rarely does one get to work with such a passionate, dedicated, and splendid group of people and be entrusted to share their stories with the world.

I look forward to the next time our paths cross.  I’m including my contact details below - please stay in touch.

Fondly,
Melissa
xyz@gmail.com
@shappy

Friday, October 28, 2011

Announcing Communications Reps SIG

The Mozilla Reps program aims to empower and support volunteer Mozillians who want to become official representatives of Mozilla in their region/locale.  A few weeks ago, William shared the news that the Mozilla Reps program would be expanding to include Special Interest Groups.  Today, I'm incredibly proud to officially announce Mozilla's Communications Reps Special Interest Group.

There are many areas of PR/Communications where Mozillians can get involved and make a big impact. As a Comms Reps, you will have an opportunity to get hands-on experience while working alongside one of the most innovative PR teams working in tech today.  You will learn PR fundamentals, including how to share Mozilla news and announcements, draft media pitches, monitor and analyze coverage, and conduct outreach to local media contacts.

We're kicking off the Comms Reps program with sessions at the upcoming MozCamp events in Berlin and KL.  To join the Comms Reps program, please fill out the following form: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dEVHNldzU1U4cDhOY3ZRWUJ4d25aZWc6MQ. We look forward to hearing from you!

A heartfelt thank you to Mozilla's PR intern, Annika Heinle, who worked this summer to build out the infrastructure for the Comms Reps SIG and to Shannon Prior, Annika's summer mentor.





Monday, January 10, 2011

What are the qualities of a great PR firm?

It's been months since I've blogged. These days I'm tweeting a bunch and answering questions on Quroa. In the interest of getting some content on my blog, I'm crossposting one of my recent Quora responses.

Q: What are the qualities of a great PR firm?

A: Qualities of a great PR firm from someone who's both hired and worked at quite a few...

*Organized - A good agency will set and stick to deadlines. A great agency won't make you ask about the status of a deliverable - they'll communicate along the way.

*Stellar media chops - Do they have your key journalists on speed dial? Are they BFF's with the influencers in your space? Often, good agencies do bad work because they are supporting clients where they have no domain expertise. Ask for relevant account portfolios to ensure that they aren't learning everything on your dime. You can save time and money by doing your homework and hiring an agency with prior industry experience.

*Genuine partners - When the going gets tough, are they working late hours alongside you? Or are they nowhere to be found the night before the tour when a blizzard hits Boston and you need to rebook a full week of meetings? A
great agency will feel like an extension of your team. They will have a clear understanding of your topline objectives and they will go the extra mile to get you there because success is shared. A big win for you is a big win for them.

*Detail oriented - Page numbers on every doc without exceptions. Reporter phone numbers. Directions to the next meeting. PR lives and dies by the details. The difference between a good meeting and a bad meeting is often a well constructed or poorly constructed briefing sheet. These are typically drafted by interns. Is someone senior reviewing their work before it gets to your inbox?

*Whip smart - As the client, you're wearing branded blinders and drinking the Kool-Aid every day. A good agency will flag relevant trends and articles and pull you out of the weeds.

*Proactive - Relevant ed-cals from reach publications? That new, hot industry
conference? Beat reporters moving publications? Your agency should be
all over this and you shouldn't have to ask for it, it should just show up in your inbox.

*Trust - Ultimately, great agency relationships are based on trust. These are the people who will call the press on your company's behalf. They are the front line storytellers for your company's narrative. Do you trust them to tell your story? Get key facts and figures right? Accurately represent your position in the market? Save your CEO if a briefing is going completely off the rails? Help you navigate a crisis? Cover day to day operations if you need to be offline for a day?

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Leroy Stick; the man behind @BPGlobalPR

Via Street Giant...

You know the best way to get the public to respect your brand? Have a respectable brand. Offer a great, innovative product and make responsible, ethical business decisions. Lead the pack! Evolve!

Monday, May 03, 2010

What’s in Your Backpack?

After countless press tours, conferences, and events where I’m not only responsible for my own well-being but that of my traveling roadshow colleagues, I picked up a thing or two about road warrioring. “Be prepared” being the motto of the savvy pr professional, my colleagues joke that I’m better than a boy scout.

Here is a collection of ten of my favorite/best travel tips. Some of them are specifically geared toward female business travelers, but most will work for everyone. The following items are in my backpack at all times. Just in case…

1. Peekaboo, I can’t see you. Bring an eyepillow. You never know when you’ll end up in a hotel room with a neon sign directly in front of your window. It also comes in handy during long flights where the person next to you is reading and you want to sleep.



2. La la la, I can’t hear you. It is not the small child’s fault for screaming during the entire flight. It is your fault for being unprepared. Do not leave home without at least two pair of earplugs. If you are going to Vegas and have early morning meetings, earplugs are the difference between a sound night of sleep and staying up all night - people scream in the hallways at all hours for no apparent reason.

3. Tea Party. The tea in hotels (even fancy hotels) simply sucks. Travel with a few of your favorite bags. Oftentimes a nice cup of tea can make the difference between a good day and a bad day.

4. Be your own Starbucks. Carry a coffee sleeve and one of those green coffee stoppers from Starbucks. They come in handy if you end up getting coffee from a place that doesn’t stock those things.



5. Be your own RiteAid/Walgreens/CVS/Duane Reed. Pack a coughdrop. Just one. Pack two Dayquil. And at least four Benedryl. If you or your spokesperson goes into a coughing fit in a press briefing, you’ll be ready – it’s easy enough to buy more if you need them. If you or your spokesperson gets a cold on the plane, the Dayquil may save you from rescheduling a full day of meetings – that stuff is amazing. The Benedryl is the most fantastic of all. It’s intended for allergies and does a bang up job as an anti-histamine. But what the label doesn’t tell you is that if you’re stuck in an unfamiliar time zone, it’ll help you sleep with minimal side effects and no Ambien hangover.

6. Meal in bar form. You should always have at least one granola bar in your bag and at least one piece of gum. A spokesperson with low blood sugar will make your life miserable. And garlic breath is not an effective message delivery vehicle.



7. These lips were made for talking. Chapstick is a modern miracle. It does not matter if it is winter or summer, your lips will be chapped after three days of meetings.

8. Summertime and the livin’s easy. Bring flip flops on every trip, even if you’re going someplace cold. After a day in work shoes, no matter how comfortable, you’ll enjoy walking around the hotel in them. And if you find out those new shoes aren’t quite as comfortable after you’ve walked the length of Manhattan in ‘em, you can always throw them in your backpack, use the flip flops to hike across the city, and change back in the elevator. No one will ever be the wiser.



9. Oops, I did it again. Those little tiny sewing kits they have in most hotels? Take one and put it in your backpack. It doesn’t take up any space and if you lose a button, split your pants, or get your sweater caught on a turnstile, you’ll be glad it’s there.

10. Cousin It stand-in. Bring a hairtie and at least two barrettes no matter the length or style of your hair. Cute as your hair may be when at home, humidity is a wondrous thing. You can suffer through the frizz or pull it all back in a tight bun and let it down again once you’re safely inside.




Photo credits:
Flipflops.
Eyepillow.
Starbucks.
Garlic.
Cute kid with the wild hair.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/foto-motto/

Friday, March 26, 2010

Do you think you have a public relations problem?

NYTimes Q&A with Yelp's CEO.

Q. If nothing else, do you think you have a public relations problem?

A. There’s simply anger over the accountability that Yelp brings and also this feeling of powerlessness because so much power is now being put in the hands of the consumer. But the important thing that gets lost with some of these business owners who are very upset with us is it’s the whole picture that counts. Focusing on that one review you feel is unfair misses the value, which is the whole symphony of opinions you get on your page.



written or spoken - what do you think?