“Magic,” that’s how I’ve heard public relations described. Many clients don’t understand all that goes into a PR campaign for their brand, they just know that you get the buzz going for their company announcement or new product and that’s enough for them. What PR professionals do is often taken for granted and labeled simply as “magic.” Those of us in the industry know that behind the scenes of that great media hit was hours upon hours of blood, sweat and tears (sometimes literally). We write, we research, we network, we build media lists, we get frustrated by inaccurate databases, we pitch, we pray, we pitch some more. As we approach a new project, most of us have our specialties, that one space where we find our groove, whether it is the writing, the relationship building, etc.
Over the years clients have given me the title of “media whisperer” and “the closer,” I guess you could say I’ve found my strength in the relationship building and the pitching. I have been fortunate enough to be the missing peg in teams looking for someone to focus on pitching. As that familiar quote says, “teamwork DOES make the dream work” and there are important factors to building your team for your next big project:
Strengths first- This is key. No one likes to admit it, but we all have professional weaknesses. An article from Fast Company states that “Working on one’s weaknesses only brings misery and
self-doubt. Concentrating on your strengths brings a better sense of fulfillment and forward progress.” Now in my opinion, the first part of this statement is debatable, but the second part couldn’t be more true. When you put together a team of people all focused on their strengths, success is inevitable.
Synergy- The dictionary describes synergy as “the interaction or cooperation of two or more agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects.” We know this to be factual, but synergy is also a vibe, an ability to effortlessly play off each other’s strengths and weaknesses, to create a seamless joint effort and a successful outcome. The combined strength of a team that works well together is essential in a productive plan and ultimately a completed project that boasts triumph.
Communication- Surprisingly, in the communications field, communication can get lost internally. When working with an outside contractor, or building a team where most are remote, communication is essential and can make or break a team consisting of even the best professionals. Communicate with each other at least twice as often as you communicate with the client. Though work may be divided, cohesiveness in the plan, and actions is essential.
As the pitch professional piece of several public relations teams, my strength is in pitching and building relationships with key influencers and media. Below are a few case studies that are an example of how short-term projects with a team of people focused on their strengths lead to satisfied, repeat clients.
HAHN’S OLD FASHIONED CAKE COMPANY
Challenge: I was approached by the owner of Hahn’s Old Fashioned Cake Company, a small brick and mortar store in Long Island NY that was looking to increase it’s online sales. Having had very little media presence, the goal was to get some “buzz” on food blogs around the holidays to hopefully increase holiday sales. I was hired in September, and had a few months to gain the interest of high traffic bloggers.
Process: Through strategically sending samples, pitching and creating relationships with key contacts, we were able to garner results in less than four months and holiday sales were notably higher than prior years.
Results: All media can be seen here: http://crumbcake.net/crumbcake/press/
Most notable- Newsday and Sugar Loco, one of the fastest growing food blogs with over 25,000 visitors per DAY. The client was extremely happy and has already hired me again for Holiday 2015 when the plan is to start sooner and focus on national print publications. Commitment: 10 hours per month for 4 months.
OLD SPICE (Client of RAS Associates, I was hired as a contractor)
Challenge: “Old Spice Guy”, Isaiah Mustafa was scheduled to do a presentation at Philadelphia high schools on how to “scent responsibly”. I was given two weeks to spread news of his appearance in local Philadelphia media.
Process: Pitched local editors and producer on the arrival of this well-known TV personality.
Notable Results: FOX29 Good Day Philly, Philadelphia Inquirer
LUCAS CANDIES (Client of Astonish Media Group, I was hired as a contractor)
Challenge: Small town chocolate company with an amazing product that was looking for national exposure to expand their customer base.
Process: During this six-month retainer project I strategically pitched a very specific list of contacts. The focus was on the history of the chocolatier family and the high quality hand made products.
Notable Results: Dessert Professional Magazine, Forbes, Sugar Loco
About Dana R. Swinney, Public Relations Consultant
Dana Swinney is a PR natural, who has sharpened her skills working with the top media outlets on both the east and west coast, and most of the markets in-between. Past clients have included well known food products, chefs, law offices, authors, franchises and other lifestyle brands. Her skillset expands several industries. Having worked with national media from the Huffington Post, Forbes, The Today Show, The Better Show, Life and Style Magazine, Bloomberg Radio, NPR, and Prevention to some of the top bloggers online, Dana’s relationships with the media continues to thrive.
Dana worked in the Public Relations/Marketing field for over five years prior to starting Dana Swinney Public Relations in 2006.
Known affectionately as the “media whisperer” by her clients, Dana offers clients her ability to examine any potential news angle and find the right pitch for the right target, be it local, regional, national or international press.