5 Strategies To Make The Most Of Your Restaurant (Re)Launch

The restaurant industry is an interesting animal. It’s one of the most riveting and communal industries to be a part of yet also one of the most challenging. Though we’re all a bit fatigued by reflecting on the pandemic’s impact, so many restaurant owners are still hurting from this unpredictable era. So where is the silver lining? Despite the challenges, the past few years have shown an impressive level of grit, community, and nimble course correction, with employees stepping up to the plate to cover shifts of sick colleagues and go above and beyond their pay grade to adapt to operational pivots.

As the industry has finally begun to experience the light at the end of the tunnel, it’s more important than ever to build a solid foundation in every area of your restaurant business, especially if you’re getting started from the ground up or launching a new concept.

With a refreshed mindset in 2022 and restaurant fans excited for the next big launch, it’s crucial for restauranteurs to hone in and sharpen their plans when it comes to openings. We’ve pared down our thoughts to five essential strategies that will ensure your launch is a success and builds the momentum needed to stay in the game.

1. Timing is Everything

The media is one of the most powerful resources for restaurant owners, and timing out your strategy is something worth overthinking. Whether you’re an established restauranteur or an industry newbie, you have to keep your local, regional, and national customer base informed. From the moment you sign the lease on your new space, that’s your first opportunity for press coverage that helps build anticipation. Engaging with a PR firm to map out a timeline is one of the best investments you can make. Depending on your restaurant and existing reputation, your team will analyze the best (and most realistic) outlets, as well as your viability for exclusives, which typically offer a greater quality of coverage, along with more clicks and shares. Building out the right media/influencer list and release timeline takes a huge piece of the puzzle off your plate, so you can focus on the dozens of moving parts involved with staffing, design, and finessing your menu.

2. Do overbudget on photography

As mentioned, the restaurant industry is tough… and it’s notorious for slim profit margins. However, if there’s one area of promotions where you should never pinch pennies, it’s photography. Your competition varies depending on your location, but great photography should always be viewed as a bare minimum investment no matter who you’re up against. Think about how much money was poured into fine-tuning your space, design, branding, and menu. Your business deserves visuals that do it justice. Round-up coverage and ‘Best of’ lists are just important as reviews in driving traffic, and media always prioritize great photography when it comes to picking out lead images for their content.

3. Extend Your Launch Timeframe

Like any great vacation or celebration, longer is usually better. Don’t feel constrained to hosting one event and calling it a day. Consider one or two “friends and family” nights to kick things off, using those as the training ground for new staff to work out any kinks with service and the kitchen. From there, take a day or two to soft launch, keeping things quiet while staff continues to gain their footing. Then, depending on the size of your city and your invite list, set aside one or two nights for your official launch. Have your PR team build a list of key media, influencers, and industry stakeholders, with RSVPs to ensure your staff is up-to-speed on who will be in attendance on which nights.

4. Go Big With Your Invite List

Look to your PR team to optimize your invite strategy, but don’t be afraid to go big with your list. If you need to spread things out over a full weekend, it’s better to have more big names in attendance than less, and offering them the chance at exclusivity will maximize the quality of coverage and word-of-mouth impact (since you’re still the newest spot on the block).

5. Rub Every Elbow In The Room

Launching a new concept is one of the best times to network. The story behind your restaurant is most well-received and anticipated by key industry players during the launch phase. Take the time to float around and chat with every table, thanking them for coming in and asking for any feedback. If your team is doing things right, those in attendance will make for great lasting relationships. An influencer who had an enjoyable time and connected with the owner is much more likely to return in the future, continue to promote your business (often at little to no expense) and invite their other influential friends. The same goes for media and potential investors down the line.


Ready to get started with your customized PR program? When we work together, your brand does more than show up. It shows up with a story, a purpose, a unique reason for being – and it makes an impact.

[email protected]

Gift Guides 101: When Should I Hire a PR Agency?

An Insider Take on Maximizing Your Brand’s Holiday Pitching Efforts

When it comes to product PR, it’s no secret that holiday gift guides are the holy grail for many brands looking for revenues to move into the black before the end of the year. Getting your brand featured in a coveted Gift Guide like the ones produced by Oprah, Good Housekeeping, and The Today Show puts your product, experience, or service directly in front of your target audience, and inclusions are also suggestive of the publication’s implied endorsement, i.e., the icing on the cake that sets you apart from competitors. 

Gift Guides: The Process

What industry outsiders don’t recognize outside of the end result of trending online listicles or glossy pages of a magazine is the time, preparation, strategic execution, and relationships that publicists nurture to secure that coveted spot. It’s so much more than simply meeting an editor’s deadline. 

If you’re considering hiring a PR agency to get your product, service, or experience into a holiday gift guide, you’ll want to keep the following in mind. 

Timing Is Everything

You’ll need to consider editorial deadlines, production timing for sample products, shipping deadlines, and the initial onboarding phase for your agency once you have selected one. 


Although a seasoned agency can quickly become familiar with your brand and product, sending out samples and getting samples in editors’ hands ahead of publication is a time-sensitive and sometimes logistically complicated feat – this is especially true when it comes to perishable foods. Above all else, you need to consider your ultimate goals (i.e., print, digital, or both focuses) and work backward from those publication deadlines. 

Outlet Deadlines 

As soon as the holidays are over, agencies are already working on next year’s holiday outreach strategy. Print publications are long lead, with some outlets working 6-7 months in advance. The rule of thumb with these outlets is the sooner, the better! If you are interested in Oprah or similar you need to begin working on gift guides no later than April. Oprah’s team opens submissions in May and closes by the end of June if not sooner. Oprah’s print publication mirrors what they include online later that year. Historically, they don’t add last-minute additions. 

There’s a bit more wiggle room for digital publications like blogs and online outlets. Expect outlets to work around two months in advance on their stories, but some blogs may have a shorter turnaround time and accept submissions up to two weeks before their deadline. Still, you will need to engage with an agency by the end of August. Online gift guides requests start piling up in September and often go live in October.

Getting ahead of these deadlines is essential, especially if it’s an opportunity you don’t want to miss. Sometimes the best plan of action is to reach out to editorial directors in advance to get a concrete deadline if not included in a media kit or editorial calendar. 

Prep Time

Yes, we already mentioned that an experienced PR agency could quickly be brought up to speed with your branding and become familiar with your product, but fleshing out a gift guide strategy is a whole different story. You should account for the amount of time your new agency will require to flesh out the best approach after completing critical research. Finding the proper outlets for your brand’s target audience, the best contacts at each outlet, and drafting the individual pitches themselves are crucial to landing a quality press hit. 

Account for Samples, Press Kits, and Marketing Material Production 

Most media outlets, bloggers, and influencers expect non-returnable product samples in exchange for consideration so they can feel confident recommending your brand and product. (Although some may accept products on loan for big-ticket items)  Be sure that you have shelf-ready product samples available. Some outlets will ask for inventory totals before they are willing to include your item as they don’t want to feature something that gets sold out immediately. Journalists will be less impressed with non-functional or dummy models, products missing final packaging, or frequently loaned items that show wear and tear. With influencers and bloggers, it’s essential to invest in a good presentation as many will still include the “unpacking” as part of their coverage. A cardboard box with bubble wrap is going to get much less appreciation than a well-adorned gift with other “surprises and delights” included. 

Overhead image of people putting together gift boxes. Person one is on a computer and person two is on an ipad.

Additionally, media will request high-res images and photos of your products that they can add to coverage with a simple click. You should have product shots and lifestyle images ready to go. Journalists’ time is precious. Ensure your agency can skip the back-and-forth by providing an all-in-one, streamlined pitch. Plus, they’ll be more inclined to include in coverage if the agency does the cumbersome heavy lifting.

When considering the appropriate time to bring on a PR agency to pitch for gift guides, consider production timelines for samples and whether or not you will need assistance from your agency in compiling marketing materials and assets. 

Affiliate Program Enrollment 

It’s not the case for all digital opportunities, but affiliated gift guides have quickly become the status quo. 81% of advertisers and 84% of publishers in the US are currently leveraging affiliate marketing to earn revenue. Some online gift guide submissions may even require a specific (prime-powered) affiliate link to be featured. While this allows the outlet to make money per click, rather than relying on more advertising on their website, it makes it increasingly harder to be featured in online gift guides. 

If you’re considering enrolling in an affiliate program to overcome this challenge (and potential barrier), make sure to account for the time it takes to select a program, register, and be approved ahead of your holiday campaign. Need a quick crash course on affiliate marketing? Check out our blog post here.

All Wrapped Up (in a bow, naturally)

Once you’ve considered all of the time constraints and worked backward from your intended holiday publication date, you can pinpoint the ideal time to hire a PR agency. While this seems like a hefty to-do list, once hired and onboarded, your agency will take it from there – tapping into their burgeoning contact list and getting your product in front of target audiences right on time for gifting.


Ready to get started with your customized PR program? When we work together, your brand does more than show up. It shows up with a story, a purpose, a unique reason for being – and it makes an impact.

[email protected]

Should My Brand Join An Affiliate Network?

As affiliate marketing grows in popularity, it’s essential that companies seeking to maintain a media presence realize its importance.

The basic concept of affiliate marketing is this: a brand joins an affiliate platform, through which they can network with writers, influencers, bloggers, etc. When these creators mention the brand in their published content, any sales resulting from said mention earn the creator a percentage commission of the goods or services sold. Sounds simple, right? 

While affiliate marketing is simple in theory, there is much to be learned about its inner workings. One of the most common questions we get asked by clients is whether or not they need to join an affiliate network to land coverage. The next question that almost always follows is, “what affiliate program should I sign up for?” As affiliate marketing and public relations continue to grow more intertwined, any modern PR agency will be well-versed on the best methods to ensure a symbiotic relationship between the two. 

Here’s how we advise our affiliate-curious clients

Whether or not you need to be on an affiliate network is largely dependent on your brand’s offerings. Do you sell a product or service that falls within the e-commerce or retail categories? If so, you most likely need to be on an affiliate network. Your brand’s offering is the most important determining factor because it dictates what type of coverage you may be looking to land. Of the clients we work with at Segal Communications, we advise any brand seeking coverage in national lifestyle focused outlets to join an affiliate network.

Of the available platforms, we advise our clients to join the ShareASale network as it is the most widely requested affiliate “umbrella” service by writers. Segal Communications clients automatically secure a 25% discount off of standard pricing. If you are familiar with affiliate marketing, you may have also heard mention of the name Skimlinks. Skimlinks falls under the “umbrella” of the ShareASale network, meaning that when you join ShareASale you are then able to apply to the Skimlinks sub-network for no additional charge. The Skimlinks network is solely comprised of media and publication affiliates, which is why it’s the preferred choice of journalists. In fact, there are many journalists who now require a brand to be on the ShareASale and Skimlinks networks to even be considered for placement.

gif screen-recording of ShareASale's dashboard interface.
Courtesy of shareasale.com

Brands who don’t sign up for leading affiliate programs can be eliminating upwards of two thirds of their coverage opportunities.

You can’t afford not to join an affiliate network

Another question that is typically top of mind for those looking to sign up for an affiliate program is “what are the costs involved?” ShareASale generally requires a one-time set up fee, a percentage of each commission paid to affiliates, and a $35 minimum monthly transaction fee. If your sales for the month don’t cover this fee, it will be charged out of pocket.

Conveniently, ShareASale handles all payments to affiliates. You deposit money into your escrow account on the site, which ShareASale then uses to pay out the commission percentage you set to your affiliates when their marketing efforts result in a sale. The platform also sends regular reports to inform you on how your affiliates are performing.

When it comes to affiliate networks, we recommend brands that fall within the e-commerce and retail categories to join. Many freelance writers rely on affiliate marketing to supplement their income, and thus are much more likely to feature products that are accompanied by affiliate links in their stories. Additionally, the majority of top-tier lifestyle publications now require affiliate links for products to be featured. Here is a list of the publications that require or strongly prefer affiliate-linked product submissions. With these points in mind, many brands are coming to the realization that they can’t afford not to be on an affiliate platform. For the latest list of publications requesting affiliate links, subscribe to Segal Communications monthly newsletter the Pigeon Post.


Need help managing your affiliate marketing plan? Shoot us an email at [email protected] and we’ll get you up and running! 

How to Best Work With Reporters

12 tips to help you ace your next pitch

As a professional journalist, I spend a good portion of my work week reading pitches from hopeful publicists. While some of the pitches I receive are on-target and incredibly useful, the majority, sadly, are not. And so instead of being able to work on a story or find a useful source, I waste far too much time wading through off-topic or wholly incomprehensible pitches. 

While many publicists learn key techniques during their studies or internships, there are some basics that aren’t included. The so-called soft skills that involve building and maintaining relationships instead of randomly peppering people with pitches in the hopes that one will be on target. 

Here’s the thing, really great publicists understand how to connect their clients with the right journalists. They also understand that creating an ongoing relationship with the right reporter could prove more valuable than a single PR hit. And really great publicists also connect with journalists to understand both their likes and pet peeves.

In no particular order, here are some tips on how to better work with reporters while pitching or relationship building. We’ll be adding more advice in upcoming posts as well.

1. Make your message matter.

You have a limited number of words –  and the writer you’re contacting has a limited amount of patience. While it can seem abrupt to get to the point immediately, try not to use so much flowery language and exposition, that the journalists you’re pitching stop reading mid-greeting. Be polite. Be friendly, and get to the point before they tune out.

2. Don’t make them figure out what you’re saying.

I can’t tell you how many pitches I receive that make absolutely no sense to me. Don’t assume that the journalist you’re pitching has any understanding of your client’s mission or messaging. In fact, assume that they’ve never heard of your client before. Try to offer a bit of background, or at the very least clarify what it is that you’re pitching.

3. Keep relevant information easy to find.

Oh, joy! Your pitch is on target and timely and the writer you’re pitching really wants to find out more about the company you mentioned. Only you forgot to include a link to their website and left out the CEO’s name and otherwise neglected to include the critical information that allows a reporter to do a bit of a deeper dive into your client. 

4. Personalize or individualize your pitch.

While you’re busy and likely feeling pressure from your client or boss, that shouldn’t come across in your pitch. Take the time to include the reporter’s first name and spell it correctly. There are few things that cause me to tune out immediately like an email that begins: Dear [WRITER]. 

5. Skip the hearts and flowers.

Unless you know each other well and have professed our undying friendship, don’t start with an affectionate greeting or end with anything too personal. And while you’re at it, skip the x’s and o’s on pitches to total strangers.

6. Create a fantastic subject line.

Challenge yourself to pique the interest of the journalist in question. Try to set your pitch apart from the get-go by creating a subject line that’s almost irresistible. I receive hundreds of unsolicited pitches daily, when doing a quick scan through my inbox I inevitably read the emails that sound interesting.

7. Create a relationship, not a one off.

When pitching a reporter, understand that as well researched as your pitch is, it might not be relevant. But the next one might. By creating an ongoing relationship with a writer you sometimes bypass the crowd and they might come to you first for sources or pay more attention to your pitches the next time around. 

8. Feedback is your friend.

For some reason many publicists bristle when being told their pitch is off-topic or irrelevant. If a writer is taking time to respond, it’s possible that something about your pitch did catch their interest. Pay attention to their feedback and fine-tune your next pitch.

9. Don’t underestimate freelancers.

Back in the day, publicists would prioritize pitches so staffers at print magazines were their first choice. While things have changed drastically— especially with the growth of digital journalism — some publicists still haven’t quite figured out how to work with freelancers. Depending on how many outlets the freelancer in question contributes to, you could be pitching a dozen publications instead of just one. 

10. Do your homework.

It is not a journalist’s job to educate you on who they write for and what they write about. It also is a huge turnoff to be pitched a topic they haven’t written about in years. Look up their profile on Muckrack or a similar site to have an idea of what their recent stories are about and who they’re writing for before pitching. Or check out their social media profiles to see if they’re posting recent stories which will give you a bit more intel as well. 

11. Don’t keep asking when a story will run.

Writers spend a good portion of their day, well, writing. In addition to that, they network with editors and other writers, research their stories, edit their stories, find sources, interview sources, promote their work on social media and more. If a reporter tells you that they don’t know when a story will run, trust them on it. Sending follow-up emails won’t magically make a run date appear. It will annoy them though.

12. Don’t pout if your client isn’t featured.

At the end of the day, there’s always an editorial hierarchy. A reporter might love your client’s quote and then have it edited out of the final version. Trying to make a writer feel guilty about it won’t cause them to sneak your client back in, it’ll probably make them avoid you in the future.


At Segal Communications we understand that while we work for our clients, journalists are our partners in the process. 

Up next: How to Fisher-Price Your News for Journalists

10 Items You Need Before a Successful PR Program

Whether you’re a business vet or you just signed the dotted line for your first LLC, you already know the importance of promotion. Creating buzz for your business is one of the most exciting (yet often daunting) parts of the game. It takes a keen understanding of the shifting media landscape and a watchful eye on communication trends.

For those who live by the motto “work smarter, not harder,” a go-to route is to hire a PR agency or consultant. After all, they’re the ones who can help attract your future clients and customers. While these experts can add value and build momentum at nearly any stage of your business growth, there are essential factors to consider before diving into this meaningful working relationship. To ensure that you maximize your ROI and see better results in less time, we’ve mapped out ten things to keep in mind before beginning a PR program.

Putting in the legwork before you execute a PR campaign will only help to serve in its success.

1. Determine your high-level goals

As any wise business owner knows, defining specific goals and timeframes around sales, expansion, staffing, etc., is crucial. You should ensure that your PR strategy is specifically tailored to assist in achieving those goals. Especially when you’re outsourcing, sharing your larger goals allows those experts to steer the ship in the right direction and allocate resources appropriately.

2. Define (or refine) your brand identity

This is something that a PR firm can typically assist with from a consulting standpoint. However, it’s essential to engage with branding specialists and designers to ensure your brand identity is beautifully reflected through cohesive design and messaging. With fierce competition and increasingly shortened attention spans, if your brand and image don’t project relevance, authenticity, and a clear identity, media and stakeholders will brush it aside no matter how well-crafted your pitch.

3. Evaluate your distribution

Whether offering a product or service, analyze your existing distribution and growth potential to assess the size and scope of PR required. While demand, of course, drives supply, sometimes it doesn’t make sense to over-promote (or target those top national outlets) if you know you lack the infrastructure to keep up with the resulting orders. A PR program should be designed to drive awareness and sales in a way that best serves your capacity and can be scaled up in line with your business.

4. Gather press-worthy images

While it may seem overly basic and self-explanatory, you’d be shocked to see how often companies execute PR with subpar image assets, even in 2022. These aesthetic tools not only reflect your brand identity and value but can be a ‘make it or break it’ deciding factor when a journalist determines which brand will land the coveted lead spot in an article or round-up.

5. Get social

If you had to choose between having only a website or a social media presence, quite often we’d 

recommend the latter (of course, depending on your audience). Not only does it establish a sense of relevance, but it’s perhaps the most organic method to building an audience from scratch, establishing a direct channel of communication, and driving launches and announcements in tandem with traditional media relations. It’s also the first place most potential customers check to vet a new brand.

6. Build a sharp website

Needless to say, this has got to be on point, and you’ll want consistency in style and messaging between the 

site and social channels. PR can help you land that feature story or top-tier placement, but if those calls to action lead to a lackluster website or uninspired social feed, you can kiss that potential sale goodbye.

7. Get clear about your audience

This goes back to the importance of defining your brand identity, and you should have a clear idea in your mind about the demographic and psychographic profiles of your target consumers. PR programs should be highly tailored, and the more specific the audience, the more tailored a campaign can be crafted to truly resonate. This can definitely be a conversation with a PR team to perhaps refine or expand the definition of your audience, but it’s important to have a strong existing sense from the jump.

8. Designate a spokesperson

While a PR rep handles 90% of the legwork here, most businesses should also have an internal ‘face’ of the company, who can be trained and leveraged for interview opportunities, press conferences, and other media or public-facing events. Oftentimes this will fall on the CEO, in-house communications director, or perhaps a paid industry spokesperson or celebrity. A PR agency can help determine the best option, but it’s smart to have someone who is ready and willing from the start.

A man being interviewed by three reporters in a press conference room.

9. Map out your company news

Even if timing isn’t exactly confirmed, it’s important to forecast future events and timeframes in terms of product launches, fundraising, expansion, new hires, etc. The further in advance you have an idea of these developments, the more strategic a PR program can be. Timing is everything, and your team can advise on which announcements will make the greatest impact, and when.

Timing is everything, and your PR team can advise on which announcements will make the greatest impact, and when.

10. Learn to keep an open mind

PR professionals are natural storytellers and diligent planners, which are valuable traits for the job. While they understand that your business is your baby and will do everything in their power to control the narrative, even the best-laid plans will change on a dime. There are many moving parts and uncontrollable factors when dealing with the media, and this is when critical problem-solving skills come into play. You’ll absolutely lose your mind if you don’t learn to trust the process and change direction now and again. Sometimes the new solution ends up even better than the original plan!


Ready to get started with your customized PR program? When we work together, your brand does more than show up. It shows up with a story, a purpose, a unique reason for being – and it makes an impact.

[email protected]

Succeeding in Influencer Relations

Key reminders to ensure a mutually beneficial relationship

Within the complex definition that is 21st Century public relations, influencers have secured a lasting and impactful place. So, while your skills and techniques that just landed you an amazing hit in Buzzfeed are a great foundation, they are not necessarily going to cut it when looking to land that coveted placement with your local Yelp-Elite foodie influencer.


As you take a deep dive into the magical world of influencer marketing, here are some influencer strategies and reminders that even the most seasoned PR pros can implement.

Influencers are not mind-readers.

After outlining your campaign, analyzing your target audience, and pinpointing influencers, you probably have a good idea of what kinds of content you want to see influencers generate. 

In reality, the influencers you seek to work with may have a different vision of their planned output. 

It’s essential to keep in mind that despite your vision, influencers are experts of their domain – they know what drives engagement and secures likes. While respecting that platform expertise, PR agency professionals must provide influencers with a clear written understanding of what they’re expecting on behalf of a client. Without this, your client’s message is easily lost. 

Establish clear expectations, so you and your influencer are on the same page. Put it in writing.

Want to see an Instagram Reel of your influencer unboxing your client’s beauty sample? Photos of their kids wearing your client’s merch? Be clear and specific about your expectations! 

Provide influencers with caption copy, and even share examples of posts that have been successful in the past. Communication is key to influencer success! 

Your relationships with influencers should be different than with reporters.

Like media relationships, social media influencer relationships can be mutually beneficial. 

However, while journalists and their editors usually have the last say for content, you are in the driver’s seat regarding influencer marketing.

You can (and should) ask for pre-approval of influencer content. Contractual agreements can allow you to set clear expectations and establish your position to edit or alter messaging in their posts.

Something to consider – influencers (unlike most traditional media) can accept gifts! Show some appreciation for their hard work and treat them with something special – a happy influencer makes for a happy client.

Influencers are on their own schedule.

A common assumption is that influencers lead a life of indulgence as the recipients of free gifts and services from brands eager to work with them.

Not everything you see on Instagram is a true reflection of reality. Being an influencer, a good one that brands and PR people want to work with is a demanding job. It’s important to remember that above anything – your influencer is a real person with real responsibilities! Whether they are the Insta baddie or the family blogger, influencers might have other partnerships (and even other jobs) that make for a busy schedule.

So how do you make sure that your campaign stays a top priority?

Set deadlines in advance, but be flexible.

Create benchmark dates for when you expect posts to be shared so that you and your influencer have the same expectations. 

Understand that most influencers have set posting schedules – they know the best time to post on their platform. Be adaptable and give them space to make these decisions.

It’s all about connections.

The more you collaborate with influencers, the wider your influencer network will reach! 

Vet and contact new influencers by asking for recommendations from influencers with whom you have already established relationships. This way, you can ensure that you are spending your time reaching out to worthwhile influencers and not bots (because, yes, you will find bots). 

Be mindful that the influencer community is tightly-knit. Local influencers often collaborate with one another and will likely discuss collaborations. Aim to establish positive and transparent relationships with influencers – this will benefit you in the long run!


Ready to get started with your customized influencer strategy? When we work together, your brand does more than show up. It shows up with a story, a purpose, a unique reason for being – and it makes an impact.

[email protected]

Elements for a Strong Social Media Strategy

To craft a successful social media strategy, you will first need to determine your target audience and goals. Once you have established these elements, you will need to select the right platforms, most impactful imagery, and select hashtags that will amplify your campaign to your target audiences. Before starting any campaign, we recommend identifying each element clearly before getting started so that it’s easier to show progress, identify issues, and make changes along the way.

Continue reading to download our free Social Media Strategy Checklist!

Goals 

Identify your personal goals as a social media manager, the client goals, and agency goals. Your personal goals should be simple and easy to earn – but they are essential nonetheless as you should constantly challenge yourself. The client goals are generally straightforward as well. Are they selling a product, providing a service, or looking to drive brand awareness? This will determine what kind of content you provide to your audience. As for your agency goals, this generally has to do with agency reporting for the client. What did the agency offer the client in terms of deliverables for the campaign, and how do you plan to report on meeting those agency goals?

Target Audience 

An excellent social strategy needs its content to be appealing to the desired target audience. While you think it might, your intuition may not always be enough. Do your homework, look at successful content of the past and content that gets high engagement. The quality of the content you post and its alignment with your audience’s interests is more important than how frequently you post.

The quality of the content you post and its alignment with your audience’s interests is more important than how frequently you post.

Your viewer determines the imagery, tone, and subject matter of your content. You will likely have more than one target market, and you may find the demographic that you initially expected is not the one you have. This could require some experimentation, tweaking, and even starting from scratch. 

Identify your content pillars once you have identified your target audience. These are the categories of content you will share with your audience, and they will guide your presence across all media platforms. You can start with general categories such as blogs, company news, and graphics. Then, create more specific categories from these buckets of content. For example, if you create graphics using customer testimonials and graphics with inspirational quotes, these are subcategories of your larger content type. 

Additionally, don’t forget to make use of amazing user-generated content that consumers are posting. Posting user-generated content is a great way to acknowledge and engage with your audience, and it does some of the work for you in creating relevant content. 

Besides reposting follower content, a great way to increase engagement is giveaways and promotions. Encourage users to post images and tag your brand for a chance to win a product, a voucher, an experience, or branded merchandise. This increases brand visibility and is a fun way for your audience to participate. 

Platforms

Selecting the right platforms will depend on the brand you’re working with, their needs, and their target audience. You’ll need to research your target audience to see what platform they spend most of their time on, for starters. 

Currently, Pinterest dominates Gen X women with more than 400 million users; 78% are women 30-50 years old (Sprout Social, 2021). By the end of 2021, TikTok’s Gen Z user base is expected to top Instagram’s (eMarketer, 2021). These types of statistics will help you find where your target audience spends a majority of their time and better determine where you should spend your time placing content.

If you have the bandwidth to produce quality content, it is generally beneficial to engage on as many social platforms as your target audience is active. Even if the platform you’re initially gaining the most engagement on isn’t your top target, it may surprise you what leads to conversions. As for cadence, it is beneficial to post at least once a week, if not more. 

Brand Identity 

Tone

The tone of your brand copy, or “voice,”  is one of the main ways in which you define your relationship with your audience. Identify three to five adjectives that you want to convey in your brand voice. For example, a set of words that may describe your desired brand voice is “professional, confident, reliable.”

When you are addressing multiple audiences for different reasons, your brand voice can change based on the purpose of your communication. For example, you may sound more formal when addressing other experts in your field but more casual when addressing direct consumers.

Design 

Keep it clean. Clean design is key to user engagement and loyalty. While some people may love digging for that hidden treasure in the racks of some discount store – Target has become a household name for its clear message, clean design, and excellent branding. Most users respond to consistency and clean, visible graphics – text should be easy to read, the imagery should make sense, and the message should be clear. Developing design templates will help your audience feel more comfortable, familiar with the brand, and know what to expect. 

Most users respond to consistency and clean, visible graphics – text should be easy to read, the imagery should make sense, and the message should be clear. Developing design templates will help your audience feel more comfortable, familiar with brand, and know what to expect.

Imagery

Consumer-facing brands will likely require a significant amount of lead-time preparation to build visual content. That said, relevant and high-quality images can significantly impact other types of organizations as well. Strong images can communicate professionalism, expertise, and a bevy of other attributes and can help position brands as they would like in their field. 

A consumer brand may constantly update its social team on new products or innovative ways to show its brand. A B2B company may use stock images that reflect the people and operations they serve. 

Engagement 

Hashtags

To stay visible, make sure you use hashtags, but choose them carefully as too much repetition can inadvertently harm visibility. Invest a few hours each week researching the latest hashtag trends. Don’t spam non-target audiences as this will decrease brand credibility and can be annoying to viewers that search for unrelated content. Constantly check for trends in the industry by looking at competitors and similar brands. Trending hashtags change monthly and weekly, so be on the lookout. 

Call to Action 

This is going to look different for every brand. Defining a clear call to action in every post reminds audiences that we want them to do something. It could be “shop now,” “learn more,” or “visit us in-store.” Calls to action will change depending on the purpose of the post. A call to action can also be a question or a survey that engages with an audience to discover what interests the followers. Don’t shy away from a poll – and sometimes, the more simple, the better.

Don’t shy away from a poll – and sometimes, the more simple, the better.

Planning & Insights 

A planning tool must be used to manage a brand’s social channels properly. Ideally, you should plan out content at least a few weeks in advance to allow for unexpected news or changes. Many platforms offer a collaborative process, which can be very useful, especially if there are many people on the team that need to approve content.

Insights within each social platform provide a better view of your audience. On Instagram, you can view data directly from your user base to find out when your unique followers are online, as well as their demographics – so you know what to post as well as when. Keeping track of performance is essential to understanding which types of content work best. For example, a higher engagement rate on infographic posts could direct your future efforts.

Sprout Social, Later, Hootsuite, and Loomly are all excellent tools for managing and analyzing data from your social media efforts. Several of these services offer free planning, with limitations for new, small businesses. With more advanced packages, you can access larger-scale comparative insights, such as data on a competitor’s content. 

At Segal Communications, we know that a successful presence on social media requires a few things: consistency, dedication, and creativity. Although it will not be accomplished overnight, following these guidelines will help you make progress as quickly as possible while reaching your target audience. Remember, social media is not a mathematical equation with one correct answer – it is a recipe that needs to be constantly remastered. 

Remember, social media is not a mathematical equation with one correct answer – it is a recipe that needs to be constantly remastered.

Download our free Social Media Strategy Checklist!

How to Fisher-Price Your News for Journalists

4 Sure-Fire Ways to Make Your Pitches Irresistible

Journalists receive hundreds of pitches daily from publicists eager to tell them about clients, launches, or things they deem newsy. Those pitches can run the gamut from oddly inappropriate, to blessedly on-target, to a whole lot of WTF did I just read

So, what makes a journalist take the time to read your pitch, much less decide the information is worth sharing with their readers?   For one thing, a really great pitch never leaves you guessing. From the subject line to the introduction to the description, all elements shared should fit perfectly together- which come to think of it is a lot like classic  Fisher-Price toys. 

While there’s nothing juvenile about the PR and journalist relationship, sometimes it helps to go back to the basics.

If you’re trying to make your own pitches stand out from the scrum, consider adding a bit of Fisher-Price inspiration to your approach. 

Make it easy to understand.

Fisher-Price toys may have been developed by developmental specialists and engineers, but every single colorful element seems effortless. More than that, they make sense, fit seamlessly with each other and offer a bit of fun in the process before hitting the payoff. And that offers a lot of inspiration for publicists hoping to up their own game.

Before sharing your latest pitches, check for clarity with someone who knows nothing about your product or client. Your pitch shouldn’t be like the New York Times crossword puzzle, taking endless minutes to solve, it has to naturally flow from one piece to the next. 

PR pro tips: Reread your pitch from the journalist’s point of view before hitting send. 

There is nothing worse than receiving a pitch and having no idea of what you’re being pitched. As a publicist, you may have a clear idea of what you think you’re saying, but it might not make sense to anyone outside of your agency. By making your pitch easy to understand and navigate, you increase your chances of your entire pitch being read. And while you’re at it, you probably still need to cut things down to make it clear and bite-sized. 

Don’t make the reader have to plow through endless information for a payoff. And don’t make it so confusing that they give up in the middle. Let your reader know who your client is, why this pitch is relevant or timely. 

Unlike a Fisher-Price toy, a PR pitch shouldn’t feel like a guessing game. 

Make it timely.

Part of the genius of Fisher-Price is the way every toy is geared to a specific age group. Not sure if this is the game for your tot? Read the label and you’ll immediately know if it’s a good fit.

PR pro tips: Make your pitch newsy and timely whenever possible. Just because you’re working with a new client does not mean that it’s relevant or interesting to a journalist. If you can’t find an angle that works exclusively with their beat, find one that works with current events. But since the news cycle moves so quickly, you’ll have to be prepared to hit send quickly to stay relevant.

Do the heavy lifting behind the scenes.

One of the reasons for Fisher-Price’s great success is that they track the many moving parts behind the science of fun. Sure, they create products to dovetail with a baby’s growth and development, but there’s always a deep thought process behind what seems incredibly simple. They also laser focus on who they’re targeting and why and literally build ease of use into the process.

A huge challenge for journalists is keeping editors happy by writing stories that are clickable and organically shareable. As a publicist, you can help by crafting your pitch in a way that shows you’ve not only researched the writer’s outlets or potential angles, but also the way their content is shared or consumed.  

PR pro tips:

There’s a fine line between seeming to write the article for a journalist (don’t do that) and offering bite-sized blocks of information, comparisons, or data points illustrating why your pitch matters. Remember, before you can connect with a writer’s outlet, you have to connect with them first. And in case anyone needs reminding, PR stands for public relations.

Creating and maintaining relationships with journalists is a huge part of the job, and providing consistently good leads often makes you a partner in their process.

Don’t build in too many moving parts.

Part of the genius of Fisher-Price toys is that they somehow know just how many block pieces to include before the puzzle is solved. More than that, they create experiences that override frustration for a feeling of satisfaction. 

Along those lines, if you fill a pitch with so much useless information that a journalist has to dig around to find basic facts, they’ll simply skip to the next pitch. And they might just avoid your future pitches. Always give a writer the easiest possible way to cover your news.

PR pro tips: Before you spend that extra time pasting images into a PDF, ask yourself if that’s helpful to the journalist your pitching? Instead, offer a quick clickable link with a small image and then offer a high resolution image if requested. In other words, always provide journalists with the easiest possible way for them to cover your news. Segal Communications founder Sarah Segal said she and the team “always put the text of a press release into the body of the email and never as an attachment so that reporters can easily search it and don’t have to open anything.” 

5 Steps To Prepare For A Media Interview

Just because your CEO or top-level management players are industry experts does not mean they have the skills necessary to prepare for and master an interview or top-tier media coverage. Whether your interview is designed to promote an upcoming event or launch your newest product, or the result of a crisis, the way the interviewees appear, sound, respond and behave during the interview make a big impact on viewers and followers. 

This is why we always recommend working with a professional PR team – even if it’s only a one-time, interview training consult basis. The professional tips you will glean, and the opportunity to have practice runs are vital to the impression you make on the audience. 

Train For A Media Interview In Five Steps

Our PR firm has worked with entrepreneurs, company management teams, and leading social media influencers, preparing them for media interviews and other public coverage. While we always believe authenticity is best, we also know that learning to control voice modulation, to breathe deep before delivering a passionate response, and practicing to answer questions succinctly is essential to making a good impression.  

It’s also as essential to know what not to answer as it is to answer questions well. And, never underestimate how important it is to make a good impression, even if it is in the middle of a crisis. Confidence, honesty, composure, integrity – even in the worst of situations – all go a long way towards earning respect from followers, customers, and prospects. 

Research the publication/channel and the interviewer

You should never say, “Yes,” to an interview until you’ve completed this first step. It is important that you are very familiar with the media outlet, as well as the interviewer or journalist(s), so you know what to expect. You should watch or read as many previous interviews from the interviewer as you can. If the interviewer is also a journalist, you’ll want to read a fair amount of articles they have written.  

Opting into an interview that is designed to be controversial or to intentionally put you on the spot is never a good idea if you are new to this. While big names and corporations may have the occasional, anecdotal idea that “even bad press is good press,” that is almost never the case for small and medium-sized businesses. You want your top-tier mentions and presence to have a positive impact – the majority of the time. 

In addition to familiarizing yourself with the voice, angle, and points-of-view an interviewer or media personality is most likely to take with you, your knowledge of their work makes a positive impression. That can reap bonus points down the road – like having an immediate “in” the next time you’d like to gain an interview to promote a product, service, or event.  

On the flip side, knowing who you are dealing with may cause you to wisely bow out with a, “no thank you,” to their interview or guest spot invitation; or can help you to prepare stats, figures, and statements if you sense there may be a bit of a clash ahead. 

Ask for the list of questions ahead of time

Interviewers plan ahead because, like you, they want to appear prepared, organized, and confident to their audience members. They should be able to provide you with a list of questions they plan to cover, although the wording may vary a bit from the paper to the personality. Keep in mind, however, that knowing the questions ahead of time is not a fail-safe plan.  

Of the hundreds of professionals and celebrities we have coached for interviews over the years, we can count on two hands the number of interviews that only included the questions provided for preparation. In other words, be very prepared for the interview to go “off book.” Some of our team of all-star PR pros were journalists and interviewers in our previous career lives, so we understand exactly how enticing going “off book” is as it gets your interviewee out of the rehearsed routine and into the realm of unplanned, unscripted, and unedited.  

That said, the combination of a prepared list of questions, your research on the media outlet, and the journalist or influencer who plans to interview you, and your sense of the audience (see #3 next) will be plenty to guide your practice responses. You may also determine that Your Research + Their List of Potential Questions = A “No Thanks: we’ll pass on the interview,” because the potential drama or fallout is already written on the wall.  

Feel free to ask them more about the interview or the “bigger picture” aim and the point of your time together before you formalize your yes or no RSVP. For example: 

  • What is the story about and how does it relate to your company? 
  • Where will the interview take place? Your office? Theirs? Off-site? Or ZoomThis is especially important now with COVID-19, but it also helps you to prepare. For example, if the interview or media coverage is taking place on your turf, in response to a crisis, you don’t want your logo in the background.  
  • Is the interview live or pre-recorded? If it’s pre-recorded, be prepared for the editing reality of a long interview being recapped or reframed into a short clip. 
  • Will anyone else be interviewed? For example a disgruntled customer or employee? A competitor? A pressure group’s rep? That will help to frame your tone. 

Get a clear sense of the media channel’s audience

You have to intimately understand the needs, wants, and concerns of your brand’s target audience. You will need to do your homework about who the media outlet’s audience members are: age, demographics, opinions/leanings, and pain points. Watch, listen, and read a fair amount of materials they produce or publish. Their social media channels are also an excellent place to glean audience/follower information. 

Having a sense of who your interviewer’s audience members are will help you strike the right tone and “energy” when you speak, to gauge your language, and to avoid topics or statements that could be inflammatory, offensive, or a trigger to a notable percentage of the audience. This is not at all to be confused with being fake or acting like you are something that you’re not. In the bigger-picture plan where you may garner future followers or customers from the positive impression you make, the audience members will encounter you again. If you aren’t consistent in who you are, they’ll notice and it will compromise your brand’s authenticity. 

Being truthful and authentic – albeit wisely nuanced – is important in the long-term. While certain politicians or stars may get away with bold-faced lies, most brand representatives are offloaded by their companies pretty quickly when they’re caught being dishonest or unethical. 

Know how to answer the tough or off-limit questions

The minute you are triggered or uncomfortable about a question, it will show on your face, in your nervous stutter, and resulting body language/fidgeting. For this reason, you must train yourself and your employees on how to respond to what you consider “off-limit questions,” or the questions that are unable to be answered by yourself or the delegated interviewee. 

Responses to these questions begin something like: 

  • I’m not able to answer that, but what I will tell you is… 
  • I’m the (Job Title) and that question would need to be directed to our (appropriate Job Title) 
  • You’ve touched on a confidential matter and I’m not at liberty to answer that… 
  • I wish I could answer that directly but we don’t have all of the facts yet… 
  • While I’m not qualified to respond to that, you should speak to (qualified expert they could ask…) 

Also, be extremely cautious about what you share “off the record.” If the journalist asks to go “off-record,” politely decline. If they make small talk before the interview or during breaks, know that anything you say can be brought into the interview or used at a different time. Pleasant neutrality is the theme of any and all “off-record” conversations. 

Practice makes comfortable when it comes to your upcoming media interview

One of the main reasons we recommend consulting with a PR agency to prepare for a media interview is that repeat, educated, and informed practice makes comfortable – if not perfect. Even if you handle your company’s PR in-house, for now, the ROI of investing in professional media interview training and practice is invaluable. In some cases, it can transform the trajectory of your brand’s reputation. 

In addition to expanding on all-of-the-above, your PR consultants will practice with you, spinning potential interview directions and helping you develop a comfortable “on-camera/mic/page” persona that may not come naturally if you haven’t had experience in the media limelight. 

Contact Segal Communications to begin preparing for your upcoming media coverage. We’ve got your back and will make sure your brand puts its best foot, voice, face, and impressions forward.

How Public Relations And Marketing Work Together

When your in-house marketing team hears you’re thinking about bringing on a public relations agency, odds are they will be a bit nervous or potentially miffed. Even if they know that wider outreach and media relations are critical to your brand’s growth and public image, knowing your moving from a DIY to a professional PR approach can make marketing pros feel as if they are now having to bow down to a foreign company that doesn’t know the company and its brand like they do. 

This is entirely understandable. And, the truth remains that brands experience greater recognition, growth, and exposure when public relations and marketing teams work together. Helping your marketing team to understand this will be a symbiotic relationship and finding a PR agency that is compassionate and works in collaboration with your marketing team is key to the process. 

In a SpinSucks article about the importance of collaborative public relations and marketing efforts, author Jessica Canfield writes, “…[PR and marketing teams] share similar goals of building the brand and engaging audiences. And their complementary skills allow them to collaborate on rich, engaging content that drives results.” 

So, while they probably shouldn’t share an office, it is essential that they work together to achieve their overarching goals. 

Marketing Data Is Essential To Your Public Relations Efforts 

While this is not necessarily the priority for the PR team, we think appealing to the marketing team’s prowess is a smart way to go about the transition. If they have done a great job at tracking benchmarks, data, and analytics, they have already done so much to help the incoming PR team.  

A few years back, The International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication (AMEC) co-hosted a Measurement Week in NYC where attendees listened to multiple industry leaders speak about how integral marketing professionals and their statistics are to the PR cause when it comes to measuring the results of our efforts. 

These statistics are invaluable for looking at where you are, helping your PR team to shape where you want to go or what you’d like to change, and then working together to get there. As the PR professionals work to generate new promotional outlets, reframe your story (if necessary), and to gain more media attention, your marketing team will be helping to share, promote, and celebrate the increased audience and will have the data to reflect whether or not “it is working.” 

Public relations professionals need to know: 

  • Are they working? 
  • Where they are working? 
  • Which target audiences respond to, engage with, or share certain stories, events, or launches. 

Without your marketing team’s hard work and metric data to analyze, we would be firing blind. So, first and foremost, your marketing team should always feel essential to the PR cause. 

Engage with audience members across “the right” social media channels 

In a TrendKite article, PR and tech expert Lacy Miller wrote, “PR will always be about brand reputation and storytelling but that does not mean the technical aspects of the practice can be ignored,” emphasizing that public relations agencies will increasingly rely on marketing automation, social listening, SEO, measurement and PR tools throughout all campaigns.”  

This is a good segue from our former point about analytics because successful analytics rely on knowing which social media channels or platforms are the most useful at any particular moment and for specific campaigns and goals. 

A large majority of public relations professionals have a love of marketing and promotion but it is viewed through the lens of journalism and media. We are media relations whizzes, and we can amplify your story through our experience-driven connections. Your marketing team has similar “connections” in the technology world in the sense they typically have their fingers on the pulse of the most happening social media platforms of the moment. They also have a data-based awareness of where particular target audience members spend the most time. 

As we work to create different pitches and angles to frame your story – selling it to new prospects and building loyalty within your existing customer base – we rely heavily on your marketing team’s inside-scoop about which channels are the most active, which ones feel best for starting a particular conversation, the best voice or tone to use in the media, etc.  

Create a streamlined, value-driven content marketing strategy

Sure, some people sit down to watch the evening news, but most rely on their personal networks and the content-driven, 24-hours news feed to remain informed. Thus, traditional PR pitches fall flat because even the tried-and-true journalists know to only promote content that will inspire audience engagement. Similarly, content creation is what breathes life, energy, and continued engagement into successful campaigns. 

As a result, the Content is King mantra continues to prevail. Written content is the way most of us receive our information these days, and while your PR team can create content all day long, it’s always a major bonus to work with a savvy marketing team as we create streamlined, value-drive content marketing strategies in a synergizing way. In the aforementioned SpinSucks article, Jessical Miller states, “PR reaches new audiences and builds company credibility through third-party validation.” 

Content marketing keeps audience members engaged with your brand and that’s essential to continuing the good work the public agency will continue to do on your behalf. 

How public relations and marketing work together? 

The best way to ensure your PR and marketing teams work together is to build the bridge as fast as possible and continue to foster communication and relationship between the two departments.  

If you are contracting with a PR agency, they will have their own brick-and-mortar office, so sharing space isn’t an option. However, it is perfectly reasonable to bring the two teams together from the get-go as the PR firm begins to download the ins-and-outs and nuances of your brand. Once they are completely onboarded, keep the communication channels open and collaborative. Set the tone that this is a partnership or a symbiotic relationship and continue to make sure that’s the case. 

You can do this by including both teams in strategy meetings, having a monthly working lunch where they can share their experiences and throw out ideas, or hosting weekly team huddles (Zooming is always an option) with clear itineraries and goals. You’d be amazed at what a well-designed 30-minute meeting can bring about.

Public Relations And Marketing Make A Winning Team

Would you like to hire a PR firm that understands how invaluable it is for public relations and marketing to work together to achieve success? Contact us here at Segal Communications.