How Does SEO Work With Your PR Strategy?

The fast-paced nature of the internet has created a consumer demand for Google search results to be delivered instantly and precisely. A survey found 60 percent of mobile users were very likely to click on the first two to three search results they saw, and more than 90 percent were likely to click on the first set of results. 

Leveraging search engine optimization (SEO) to boost your visibility online has become a highly valued and sought-after strategy for companies. Traditionally, SEO has been a marketing practice but this is no longer the case. The ever-changing nature of today’s digital landscape offers new possibilities for PR pros to incorporate SEO tactics in their work to strengthen their clients’ presence in search results.

The ever-changing nature of today’s digital landscape offers new possibilities for PR pros to incorporate SEO tactics in their work to strengthen their clients’ presence in search results.

The Relationship Between SEO and PR

SEO and PR can work cohesively to increase brand recognition. They are reliant on one another, often more than we think. How effective can PR efforts be if consumers cannot find your company on Google? There is little content and opportunity for SEO to grow organically without PR. 

Including SEO tactics in your PR strategy can differentiate between how you and your competitors stand in search rankings, ultimately deciding which sites both new and returning consumers choose to visit. PR pros can incorporate two components in their daily practices to achieve optimal SEO for their clients: keywords and backlinking. 

Keywords and backlinking are essential in the relationship between SEO and PR as they are easily manipulated and offer significant influence when utilized correctly.

Identifying the Keywords You Want to Rank For

Keywords are phrases included in your content that make it possible for search engines to list your company as a reliable and accurate result. This is where most will look to start in their SEO journey.

You first will want to audit the keywords your company is already ranking for. This builds your foundational understanding of which keywords are influencing your ranking. You are likely to see your company rank highly for obvious keywords relative to your company, like your name, service, or product. An audit can provide insight into what phrases are commonly addressed in already published content and help in identifying new opportunities to focus on in the future to target those infrequently used keywords.

It’s crucial to note keyword selections are not set in stone. They can be adjusted to cater to new product offerings or different PR campaigns, but be careful in selecting which ones and how many you want to monitor. The best practice is to start basic and simple before expanding to longer, more complex keywords.

Person working on a computer looking for SEO keywords they would like to rank for to boost visibility online.

Your search ranking is also determined by the number and quality of outside websites that link back to your website within their published content. Backlinks from credible and trustworthy sites positively influence your SEO ranking, making earning digital media placements one of the most beneficial SEO-boosting tactics. These placements work to increase your brand’s searchability, ultimately enhancing the quality and quantity of website traffic you receive. To ensure a published story results in an SEO-boosting backlink, your PR rep can ask a journalist to include a link to your company’s website along with including relevant links in their pitch for the journalist to reference and embed. 

Owned media, which includes things like press releases and blog posts, also presents opportunities for PR pros to help you drive your SEO rankings. Linking to other relevant content you own within a piece of media on your website can increase domain authority and traffic to other landing pages. Overall, we see this as a win-win!

The Takeaway

Your SEO ranking determines your accessibility, affecting how both new and returning customers can find you. Working with the right team of PR professionals can ensure your company ranks for relevant search terms and generates a healthy stream of backlinks to achieve maximum visibility.


At Segal Communications, we’re here to help your business reach its full SEO potential. Ready for a custom audit to identify your business’s optimal keywords and assess backlink health?

Reach us at [email protected].

Why You Can No Longer Post a Single Image on Social Media

As a social media professional, I’m constantly having to adjust my clients’ social media strategies based on new trends and algorithm changes. This is arguably the most valuable way to grow your audience and increase engagement on your posts. I’ve seen it and experienced it firsthand: the brands that fully embrace these changes on social media experience growth at an exponential rate compared to brands that stick with their outdated social media strategy.

If you don’t keep up, you’ll simply get left behind.

The rise of short-form video on social media 

During the height of the pandemic, TikTok grew immensely in popularity. All other social media platforms were forced to catch up and began offering their versions of short-form video content similar to the format of TikTok to do so. A recent report from HypeAuditor shows that Reels generate the most reach on Instagram, beating out both static image and carousel posts. Instagram, specifically, is working to keep up with its top competitor, TikTok, so it’s no surprise its algorithm pushes Reels out to mass audiences more than other post formats. 

As all social media platforms have moved in the direction of short-form video content, posting videos on social media has quickly become a top priority in the social media strategies we create for our clients. 

A woman capturing content of her day to day routine to post on her social media accounts.

How do social media algorithms work? 

Gone are the days of your social media feeds appearing in chronological order. Simply put, social media algorithms work to show you content they think you will be most interested in based on how you’ve interacted with content on your feed. All social media platforms have one objective in mind: keep users on the platform for as long as possible. When the algorithm picks up on a piece of content that is accomplishing this objective, it will continue to put it in front of even more users. 

Understanding how the algorithms work and keeping up with new algorithm updates is the name of the game when it comes to any content strategy. While we tailor our plans for each client to reach their specific goals and needs, we always keep algorithms at the forefront of our strategies. 

Investing in your content plan

It is vital to frequently produce new, quality content to support your social media strategy. In order to gain large numbers of Impressions on your content and grow your audience, you need to be publishing posts at least two to three times per week, and ideally three to five times per week (depending on the industry). Unfortunately, you can no longer get away with posting a single image. You simply won’t see the growth you’re aiming for because these types of posts no longer gain a substantial amount of traction. 

Since we work with clients with a variety of content budgets, we’ve gotten creative with the ways in which we source content. I’m fortunate enough to have an awesome team in-house that is creative and highly talented. We’ve put together numerous shoots for local clients and clients with a product that can be shipped directly to us. This is our ideal method of producing content because it gives us full creative control over the content we publish and saves our clients money. Another way we’ve been able to meet the challenge of producing regular content is by partnering with a client to help them hire a content intern. We were even able to get some press from the job listing! 

How to stay on top of trends

As a social media manager, much of my job consists of identifying current social media trends and making sure our clients are taking advantage of them. How we do this is pretty simple, and I’ve listed some resources below to help if you’ve not yet made the switch to a social media management agency. I also scroll through Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Reddit more than I’d like to admit. 

Resources:

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Ready to get started with your customized social media 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. At Segal Communications, we become an extension of your team – we work fast to become brand experts and make sure we’re keeping your company relevant on social media.

[email protected]

5 Signs it’s Time to Hire a Social Media Manager

While social media used to be considered merely a supporting communication channel, it’s now much more. For millions of potential customers, it’s how they find, engage, and become loyal to brands. Despite this, we regularly come across founders and owners who either don’t think social media is important for their business, have someone on their team posting in addition to their regular job, or are doing the posting themselves, albeit infrequently.

While you don’t need to be on every platform, creating a consistent posting schedule is no longer optional for any brand or individual looking to establish credibility or attract new customers.

Here are five signs it’s time to invest in social media support.

Responsibility for managing your brand’s anemic channels is being passed around like a hot potato.

Creating social media posts is constantly being pushed off because of other responsibilities that take priority. You have good intentions to make social a priority because you know it’s important, but you just don’t have the bandwidth to keep up.

You’re feeling lost at sea.

The world of social media and social media marketing is vast – growing channels requires a well-thought-out strategy and the ability to adapt to new features and trends across platforms. It may seem daunting to attempt to do it all on your own. That’s where your agency will come in. An agency will craft a detailed social media strategy for your brand, figure out where your audience is strongest, and monitor performance to make sure the strategy is going according to plan.  

Your social media strategy isn’t based on insights and analytics.

Odds are you’re not a data analyst, and deciphering what each KPI (key performance indicator) means has been a challenge. And what are you supposed to do with the information? Your social media manager will know how to best use these insights and analytics to drive a well-thought-out strategy for your content moving forward. On an ongoing basis, they’ll make sure you’re meeting the goals you established by monitoring your channel’s data and adapting to trends. 

Social media manager holding a cell phone looking at social media apps and looking at it with another person beside them.

You’re experiencing a creative block.

Continually pushing out valuable, engaging content is no easy stint. Social media managers have a keen eye for making an aesthetic Instagram grid or strong marketing graphics. They also have the resources and a reliable network of creatives to tap into when the demand for content is extremely high.

You’re not keeping up with the Joneses.

Let’s face it, social media is an ever-changing landscape. If you already have a full plate, odds are you don’t have the time to keep up with trends across social media. An agency will always be on top of trends and know when it’s time to participate and when adding another post to ‘National Sandwich Day’ is just adding to the noise rather than value. 

Your audience on social media is arguably the most important and valuable asset to your business. If you don’t have the bandwidth to engage daily with your community, you’re losing out on potential sales and building upon your brand loyalists.


Ready to get started with your customized social media 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. At Segal Communications, we become an extension of your team – we work fast to become brand experts and make sure we’re keeping your company relevant on social media. 

[email protected]

How to Get Media to Attend Your Event

15 ways to inspire journalists to attend — and hopefully write about — your launch, product, or service.

It’s been a rough two years for all of us, and the world of PR is no exception. Publicists who once relied on in-person events to help introduce journalists to brands had to find alternate ways to connect. And while Zoom events were fun, in-person events are back.  

As we’re actively planning the rest of the year, we’re also collectively gearing up for launches and events. Before you start planning your next big media lunch or cocktail party, have a read through some of our best tips on how to get media to attend your event.

1. Make the invitation stand out

Whether you plan on sending out an engraved note with hand calligraphy or prefer an email blast, spend some time thinking about your message. What’s your event for? What or who are you promoting? Whether you’re planning a launch of a new diet or a one-on-one with an A-lister, the invitation mood should match your event. Whether it’s punny or extremely serious, create a design to match the wording. Make sure your contact information is updated and everyone’s names are spelled correctly. Always include contact information and an option for feedback. While you’re at it, include teasers. If you plan on giving away a trip to Hawaii, make it clear, especially if attendees must be present for the drawing.  

2. Don’t muddle the message

If your goal is to connect with journalists, set up a smaller event so you can have more one-on-one time. If your goal is to introduce writers to your client in person, create a series of conversation starters so that writers find a reason to engage with your client. If your goal is to launch a product, make that front and center of your invitation, event and follow-up. Offer enough cues and incentives to make it easy and inviting to write about whatever it is you’re promoting.

3. Swag matters

Speaking of winning, try to make everyone attending feel like they won something simply for showing up. Create memorable giveaways and try to be plentiful about them. Not to sound jaded, but many journalists receive a lot of useless swag. Don’t just slap your client’s logo on an unidentifiable tech accessory, try to make your giveaways (plural is always better) match your product, client messaging and writer’s beat when at all possible. And if at all possible, co-brand an advance gift. In this way, you’re already creating a positive association with the reporter and your client.

4. Plan a fun activity

The best events are on some level interactive in service of the product or client being feted. I once made dessert with a former chef for the royal family. Another time I learned how to create cocktails using a kitchen torch. Years later, I still remember the brands that went above and beyond to ensure that not only was their brand or product highlighted, but the event was so much fun that it stuck out in my mind. I still talk about the best events I’ve attended. And believe it or not, the best events have multiple attractions and activities to keep all types interested.

5. Make it easy for guests to get there

…and leave. Despite the fact that you’ve spent months planning your event, not all journalists will plan to be there for the whole thing. Be gracious if they pop in and have to go. Arrange transportation when possible, and don’t pout if they leave before the presentation. Budget for a car service through ride-share apps. Better yet, arrange the cars to make them feel even more pampered.

6. Have a great venue

While every single element matters, the venue is crucial – and so is decorating your space. While having a step and repeat feels like a no-brainer, it isn’t always appealing. If possible, bring in a designer to help you create a look that highlights your client’s aesthetic and then display the product accordingly. And as sad as it sounds, have some people around just to keep an eye on the swag bags and other items of value to make sure they don’t disappear.

7. Feel free to show off

I once attended the 20th anniversary of an online jewelry brand, and they held the event in a room filled with sparkly things, including rings with 20-carat diamonds. Even more fun, we were free to try everything on and play dress-up for a while. If your client has an incredible product, show it off in as many ways as possible. Tactile works well at an event since even shy journalists can find reasons to chat with team members.

8. Keep your room well staffed

If you’re expecting a crowd, make sure that you have enough team members there to personally greet guests and give them a walk-through when possible. And while you’re at it, have two-tiers of staffers- some with name tags or other identifiable details, and some that blend into the crowd and act as conversation starters.

9. Be a great host

We all know how stressful it can be to host an event, but if you’re the one inviting someone, don’t ignore them when they show up. After check-in, assign a few people to be unofficial greeters and lead guests in, and point you out. Or give them a VIP list not of the A-Listers, but rather of the people you really want to speak to!

10. Present an alternative option to attending in person

Not everyone is going to feel comfortable showing up to your event and that’s fine. Create an option for people to attend via Zoom or the video conferencing software of your choice. And don’t make them feel guilty if they can’t make it. Consider sending gift cards so you can treat them to a snack while they virtually socialize at your event. 

11. Plan a great menu

Whether it’s branded cocktails or doughnuts with your corporate colors, try to ensure that there are subtle branding reminders throughout. Unlike a personal or family gathering, the point here is to find a way to do business together.

12. Send out reminders

Make it easy for journalists to remember your event. Send calendar invitations and remind them a few days before your event and again that morning. Despite people’s best intentions, it’s sometimes easy to totally miss an event. Be friendly, not annoying when you send out the reminders, and try to include one previously not shared details. Maybe it’s a celebrity visit or a crazy cocktail.

13. Don’t disappoint your guests

I once attended an event since I was curious about interviewing an A-List celebrity with a new movie out. You can imagine my disappointment when they rolled out a screen with a previously recorded message. 

14. Follow up in a fun way

Maybe you have pictures from a photo booth or a personalized trinket, but don’t only follow up to ask about their plans for coverage.

15. Make your client available for follow-up interviews

There’s nothing as frustrating as being pitched a story or source only to be told they’re not available for an interview.

And don’t ever do this:

  • Don’t CC everyone on your random media lists in the hope that someone will show up. Spend time curating your guest lists so that you’ll have an appreciative and hopefully interesting crowd.

Need help getting started? When we work together, you and your brand do more than show up. You show up with a story, a purpose, a unique reason for being – and you make an impact. At Segal Communications, we become an extension of your team – we work fast to get to know you and your brand and make sure we’re keeping you and your company relevant on social media. 

[email protected]

How to Increase Executive Visibility on Social Media

As part of increasing brand awareness and visibility for your company, it’s essential not to skip out on your own social media profiles as an executive or member of the c-suite. Likely, you are the face of the company, and making sure your social media is buttoned up and active is a crucial step in maintaining good PR

Whether you’re just starting out or have had Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook profiles for years, here are five ways to increase executive visibility on social media. 

Clean up and optimize your profiles 

This may seem obvious, but it’s imperative that your social profiles are buttoned up and used to their full potential in order to increase visibility. Have you filled out all the sections on your LinkedIn profile? Is your LinkedIn headline optimized for your industry? Set your LinkedIn profile to allow anyone to follow you by turning on Creator Mode, and make sure your DMs are open on Twitter. Don’t forget this crucial step when getting started on increasing your executive visibility

Define the purpose of each social media profile 

While sharing the same content across all your social media pages is tempting, it’s not something we recommend doing. Provide value to your followers and make it worthwhile for them to follow you on all platforms. On LinkedIn, share your wins, accolades, and awards – treat it as a place to share updates relating to your professional life. On Twitter, share real-time thoughts and updates, speak to current news in your industry, and retweet others’ content with a comment (also known as a quote retweet.) Instagram and Facebook are great for sharing more personal updates. Instagram stories are a great way to share your day-to-day life. Show your face and talk directly to your audience.  

Share your work 

Don’t be afraid to show off what you do and humbly brag about yourself. After all, you are an expert in your field, and you should express that to your audience. Did you recently contribute an article to a major publication? Did your company make an exciting announcement? Be proud of your work! You worked hard to get to this place.

Provide followers with your expertise 

Along with sharing your work, there is great value in providing your audience with your vast knowledge relating to your industry. After all, that’s likely why they follow you. You’re successful, and you got there somehow, so share that with them. What advice can you give to other folks hoping to make it up in the ranks within your industry? How did you get your start? Transparency and authenticity will go a long way with your audience and allow them to put their trust in you as an industry leader. 

Engage with your community! 

Social media is meant to be social, so engage with your audience. Spark conversation out of them and then participate in those conversations. Allow your audience to feel heard just as much as they hear you. 

An executive dressed in business attire looking at their phone.

Recap

  1. Complete your LinkedIn profile
  2. Add a LinkedIn headline (for search optimization)
  3. Turn on Creator Mode on your LinkedIn profile to allow others to follow you
  4. Open your Twitter DMs
  5. Share your wins, accolades, and awards on LinkedIn
  6. Share real-time thoughts, updates, and speak to current news in your industry on Twitter
  7. Share personal updates on Instagram and Facebook

Need help increasing your executive visibility? When we work together, you and your brand do more than show up. You show up with a story, a purpose, a unique reason for being – and you make an impact. At Segal Communications, we become an extension of your team – we work fast to get to know you and your brand and make sure we’re keeping you and your company relevant on social media. 

[email protected]

Getting the Most Out Of Influencer Visits To Your Property

This blog was originally published in Hotel Online.

Influencer marketing can be a valuable means of reaching new audiences, but not every influencer will be a right fit for your property. If you’re going to go through the effort of hosting an influencer (and often a plus one or family) on the property, you should be confident they will showcase your hotel or resort in the best possible light. Here are a few guidelines to help you ramp up your hosting game.

Destination

For starters, if you want to attract influencers, it’s essential to make it a high-touch experience at the outset. Have a designated place for influencers to request a stay at your property. We recommend a dedicated email and appointing a staff member to handle inbound requests to streamline the hosting process.

Influencers love the feeling of exclusivity and special service, so taking these steps will attract more of them.

Check-in

Before you agree to host an influencer, it’s vital to ensure they are a good fit. We recommend establishing a vetting system that helps determine whether an influencer will be able to match the level of value you provide. Will the value of their post(s) offset the expense of hosting, which includes the rate you’re not getting from a paying customer, housekeeping, in-room amenities (food, snacks, bathrobe, etc.), on-site dining, and the time spent coordinating a visit?  Obtaining a media kit from influencers is a great first step in determining whether they have the audience you are aiming to target. An agency can help you develop a checklist with associated values that can help automate the decision-making process.

Reservations

Influencers expect to get contracts. ‘Influencing’ is a full-time job for most, and they understand the process. That said, if you are working with an influencer with a fantastic following on their Instagram channel don’t assume they will be posting in-feed. If you prefer a stationary post to a story, then put that in writing along with any preferred messaging and hashtags you’d like included. Depending on their follower count and engagement, you’ll often need to negotiate rates depending on whether you want an in-feed post, story, or combination. Provide a time frame for the influencer to share their post within, usually a specific number of weeks after their stay.

Guest Experience

When drafting the agreement, be sure to include specifics about new services or hotel features you’d want the influencer to experience while on the property and, in turn, share with the public. Whether you’ve added a new treatment to your spa menu, a new cocktail to your lounge, or have a promo worth mentioning, you should relay that before signing on the dotted line. Think about which amenities are attractive to their followers. A fashion influencer would be great for promoting an on-site shop vs. a foodie influencer whose followers might enjoy the restaurant or lounge.

Length of Stay

The excitement that builds before the arrival of an influencer can quickly leave management crestfallen when hours go by with no posts in their feed. If you want an influencer to start posting the moment they walk in the door, you need to make sure they understand that before they begin their stay. Some influencers plan their feeds far in advance, so it’s worth confirming post dates in early negotiations. Another idea to consider is to include a “flashback” post 6-8 months after their stay – your relationship does not have to be one and done. Some influencers might offer better rates for long-term packages, so consider how you might maximize your ROI.

Confirmation

Another benefit to working with influencers is that you have more control over the visit outcome. While most members of the travel media are freelance, they are often held to the same standards as credentialed media and are not allowed to share work before publication. Influencers are a paid (or trade) relationship; you have every right to seek post-approval before they go live. Make sure this is included within your agreement.

Amenities

There are several ways you can optimize the value of an influencer stay. First, ensure that your agreement allows the repurposing of content created by the influencer with appropriate credits in your own property’s social feed. Second, if you love the influencer’s content, you might work to secure additional images to use on your channels throughout the remainder of the year. We have all seen influencers strike pose after pose; you might consider using that as a means to get more content to use well after they have checked out! This can often help you save big on in-house photography costs, while diversifying your content.

A female influencer sitting on the edge of a pool at a hotel resort.

Check-Out the Data

Most savvy influencers won’t be surprised by requests for a data report on the success of their posts. Be sure to add this as part of your agreement. It will help you better understand and fine-tune your vetting process for the future. It also might indicate that a return visit from the influencer may be worthwhile. Ongoing relationships with influencers come with the benefit of audience recognition, and can be especially valuable if your property constantly updates and adds services, amenities, and activities.

Cancellation Policy

It’s not uncommon for influencers to clean up their feeds and remove posts after a while. While we can appreciate the need for a fresh start, we recommend adding a clause to your agreement that ensures your post will live in perpetuity. Back-scrolling is common for Instagram followers, so a 6-month-old post can still provide value.

While initially daunting, hosting influencers is easy to manage once you have set up a process. We find that influencers appreciate clarity in the relationship and are amiable to most requests. Check out our blog for more tips and tricks on working with influencers and members of the press.


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]

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]