[MAPR Blog Post] The New Rules of Marketing & PR: How the Web Changed the Rules

Social Media Bullseye Graphic: PR Spam, Marketing Activities

One of my latest Kindle readings include, The New Rules of Marketing & PR – 6th Edition by David Meerman Scott.  In coming weeks, I’ll post more of a comprehensive book review, however, for this blog post I’ll highlight some of the gems highlighted in Chapter 20, New Rules for Reaching the Media. 

For a long time, public relations professionals viewed coverage as a numbers game … full-on blitz, reach out to as many journalists and outlets as you can.  The process was literally, “throwing crap against the wall to see what sticks.”  The non-targeted e-blasts and sleezy methods to lure people to open the messages are partially why strategic communicators received a reputation as spammers. 

The web changed the rules and traditional PR techniques are becoming less effective.  To provide an example and illustrate using layman’s terms; there are parallels between a PR rep securing coverage, and an individual securing a job.  I say this because in one point in time, people were able to blast resumes and play the numbers game, with hopes of landing some interviews.  Now-a-days, attempting the same wouldn’t be effective, in fact, you’d be agitating people.  The process takes time, and personalization.  You have to KNOW the company, understand what comes along with the role, research the applicants they are likely to hire, understand expectations etc.  Letters and resumes need to be customized and even then, it needs to be keyword heavy since pretty much every company has software to scan and eliminate who they deem to be unqualified.   Your resume may never even reach a human. 

Networking is key, because nothing trumps personal relationships.  You’d be surprised how many companies post positions as a formality when they already know who they want.  In both the PR example and the  individual finding a job example, it is very much a “Don’t call me … I’ll find you.”  Correspondence must be personalized, pay attention to the stories a journalist is likely to cover, develop personal relationships; send individualized pitches and target one reporter at a time.  Do what you can to build your audience and showcase your own brand in the best possible light.  This includes having a comprehensive online media room including photos and videos.  “To get noticed, you need to be smart about how you tell your story on the web – and about how you tell your own story to journalists.”

Some key takeaways are as follows:

  • Refrain from sending non-targeted broadcast pitches
  • Develop personal relationships and send an individualized pitch, tailored to the needs of the journalist
  • Target one reporter at a time and pay attention to the types of stories they cover
  • Content drives marketing … make sure your information is up to date, define your niche and use hashtags

Imagine This! Girl Power Film + Media Summit – Attendee Reflection

Briana M. Andrews attends Girl Power Film + Media Summit in New York in March 23, 2019.

This past weekend I attended the Girl Power Film + Media Summit and Showcase in New York.  This event was presented by Imagine This Productions (creators of the Women’s International Film Festival).  I had a phenomenal time, and I am still working my way through the goodie bag containing Cinema Femme Magazine, Eden BodyWorks, Good! Snacks, Ursa Major 4-in-1, Curls liquid hair growth vitamins and more.  I love freebies! 

As a small business owner who actively freelances, I’ll admit, getting my P’s and Q’s together from a business standpoint was definitely a work in progress. I am a creator, and at least initially, my focus was primarily on doing what I love … creating! I spent countless hours developing my craft, writing screenplays, filming, editing etc. However, the same level of dedication wasn’t replicated from a financial perspective. It is no secret that many filmmakers struggle to monetize their projects. Many never quite make it out of the red. I am happy to reach a stage where I can actively book freelance projects and assist companies with telling their stories. However, that is only a start! I wasn’t quite as diligent as I should have been with invoicing, retaining receipts, tracking mileage etc. From a tax standpoint, I am almost certain I left money on the table. Nonetheless, I was eager to soak information up like a sponge at the summit and implement findings with my own practice.

Panel 1: The Female Gaze – Cinematographers’ Talk included a lineup of accomplished ladies of the lens.  The overarching theme was that these ladies don’t wish to be an anomaly.  They desire increased integration so it’s not a shock when they are on set, let alone behind the camera.  All of the panelist emphasized the importance of networking, as fostering relationships can work wonders for your career, and you will learn more in the field than you will ever learn in a classroom.

Summit Attendee Pass, Branded Materials and Goodie Bag from the #GirlPowerSummit

Discussion included female representation in film, and offered insights into their creative processes.  Some of the panel members started out with Canon 7D, Bolex or Super 8 cameras.  There was dialogue about affluent students at some of the nation’s most revered film programs having access to state-of-the-art equipment, and not experiencing challenges securing funding to shoot their student films. Isabella Tan, founder of Rebel Motion attended NYU.  She stated, “Some people are privileged and have funding for great equipment, don’t get discouraged.” A poignant response statement from Valentina Caniglia, Director & Cinematographer of “Gypsy” and “The Stand” is “a great camera can still produce a bad product.” 

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Camera doesn’t matter! It is about the cinematographer who tells the camera what to do.
  • Emphasis should be placed on THE STORY and DRIVING THE NARRATIVE, LENS SELECTION, LIGHTING and TONE.
  • Ultimately, the director and overall collaboration are greater project contributors than equipment.

The Distribution Down Low with Christina Raia from Seed & Spark was particularly informative.  Christina is a Crowdfunding Director who successfully led several campaigns.  Distribution is usually a confusing topic for independent creators, so it was wonderful to have her break it down with tips and tricks, and an explanation of the economics for every aspect from VOD to theatrical.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Understand the importance of DATA TRANSPARENCY.  Raia stated, “They don’t want to share the info because it gives power to the creators.”
  • DON’T COMMIT to only one revenue source.
  • Explore niche markets and innovative ideas to reach your audience.  TAKE RISKS with your independent film.

This was my first time attending an event held by and geared towards women in film and media. This blog post barely grazes the surface with topics discussed. Overall, the atmosphere was amazing and definitely female-centric! I’d like to thank Susie and Patrice, the organizers and everyone else involved with bringing this event together. I am also extremely grateful for the guest-list addition (as the tickets were $95 otherwise). The Girl Power Film + Media Summit & Showcase was worth much more than the ticket price. The value of the knowledge I walked away with far exceeded the associated cost.

Happy Anniversary BibbyFame Digital! | Reflection & Expansion

TIME – CERTAINLY – FLIES.  BibbyFame Digital is a boutique photo and video production company that was started in February 2017.  During that month, I produced a comedic short named “How to Watch.”  It was completed on a shoestring budget; I conceptualized and wrote it, handled casting, location scouting, shot some scenes with an iPhone, others with a DSLR, edited in Final Cut and presented the project to my Digital Video Editing and Multimedia Imaging class at Union County College.  For me, this course was a game changer purely for CONFIDENCE reasons.  Prior, my focus was solely on securing a job and finding a place on someone’s set.  Afterward, I embraced my skill-set and was comfortable in my ability to take a project from concept to completion.

Since then, I have been blessed to work with numerous clients for both photography and video production; all while developing my film concepts, furthering my education and taking advantage of internship opportunities, freelance gigs and flex-schedule jobs in creative services.  This website was created one year ago, primarily to build a presence that didn’t rely solely on word-of-mouth marketing and social media. 

Over the next year, there is a lot in store for BibbyFame Digital:

  • Provide the company with its own socials, branding and identity (that isn’t merely an extension of the company owner).
  • Seek volunteers and an intern to assist on-location with set-up, lighting, BTS shooting and socials.
  • Update the website to list service offerings, service areas and availability.
  • Add secondary blog to this website dedicated to female-centric creators with an emphasis on film.

These are exciting times and I am excited for what’s in store.  I appreciate you and THANK YOU for your continued support and patronage.

2018 Recap – The Art of Sales for Creatives

I hope you enjoyed the holiday season. I wish you all a successful, healthy and prosperous 2019.

In recent weeks, I’ve been going through my interview footage to create a supplemental reel.  I filmed a lot of interviews and documentary-style videos, however, I never include it in my reel because I don’t want to blend it with narrative works.  This is just my preference … I like a cohesive reel with comparable footage.

Nonetheless, I came across one of the videos I completed over the summer for Jill Lotenberg.  I provided her with the footage and won’t repost the interview here but it was an interview with Ryan Serhant from Million Dollar Listing: New York which airs on Bravo.  He is a famous real estate agent, also an actor and producer.  This interview had so many business gems with the art of sales, and how this can be beneficial for creatives. 

As creatives, we work on building and strengthening our craft, expanding offerings and further skill development.  With 2019 on the horizon, I also plan to put my best business foot forward.   I figured I’d share some of the golden nuggets here, both for myself and for the benefit of others since “sales are sales” and this information is easily transferrable and applicable to various industries.

Ryan Serhant pitched Bravo at least 50 different shows, some of which admittedly weren’t that great, but he continued to try.  You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take!

  • Be consistent, never give up, refine your strategy
  • Reach out, “put it out there” – send personal emails and constant reminders
  • Create industry list, maintain contact, offer incentives, adjust rates as needed
  • Use networking, email solicitation, advertising, social media

Serhant opened up the discussion by stressing the importance of creating a niche and finding what works for YOU. 

  • “Look for clues, find your inspiration”
  • “Find what works and milk it, exploit it”
  • Assist with branding, solicit business

Another important item addressed in the interview is GROWTH.  Serhant stated he would not be where he is today if he insisted on doing everything by himself.  He values a strong team and makes a point to hire type-A people who are better than him. 

  • Collaborate, offer opportunities, share responsibilities

Research and planning are also important factors.  Those who “fail to plan, plan to fail.”  Social media activities should be planned out for the week and posted during optimal times based on analytics.  For him, around 2pm on weekdays works best.

Facebook vs Instagram, Advantages and Disadvantages – Discussion Post 7 | PR 06301 – Basic PR Writing

Many social media options exist for strategic communicators to deliver messages, and for companies to brand itself. A few options available include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Google+. Focusing on Facebook and Instagram specifically, there are advantages and disadvantages associated with each platform.

With Facebook, there are many ways a company can benefit from using this site. Recent statistics indicate Facebook exceeds two-billion users. Instagram is at about 800-million. This provides companies with incredible reach potential. On Facebook, people use their real-names and have personal connections which lend to sharing and can help from a credibility perspective. Instagram has less personal “real-life” connections, aliases are common-place and profile information is often fabricated. On Facebook, business can target users based on profile information, engage and ask questions, provide links, schedule posts for optimal effectiveness and add eye-catching visuals. Facebook also has a solid website and mobile platform, whereas Instagram is primarily a mobile destination. On Instagram, there isn’t as much of an emphasis on sharing and re-posting the way you’d find on Facebook. However, there is an opportunity to use stunning visuals and short-videos. People “read” on Facebook, but they visit to Instagram to “see.”

From a business perspective, a downside is that people don’t use social media to view advertisements. Ad placement on Facebook is easy to ignore. On Instagram, ads are integrated on the feed in a way that makes it natural to view. Ideally, both sites can be used for engagement to build relationships with target audiences by posting relevant content. While many possible benefits exist, there are also many ways social media can stand to hurt a business. For instance, there is pressure to actively use the platform. Having infrequent posts can be considered even worse than not having a page at all from a branding perspective. Also, you are giving content to each site your business is active on. For some businesses, this takes away from the time and dedication spent on developing its own company site. A business shouldn’t drive traffic to another platform for its products and services. More content on social media can translate to less e-newsletter sign-ups, less reporters utilizing its newsroom, less target audience web traffic and ultimately, less backend data it has access to. Social media should be used as a tool to drive people to the company website and events.

Another disadvantage is lost control of the message. People start to share and change the message, leave comments, create memes and so forth. Social media also forces public customer service because you have direct communication with reporters and your audiences. There is pressure to respond to items expeditiously, and during times of crisis – there is an incredibly fast pace. Analytics is an area that served as an advantage primarily for Facebook, but now the playing field is almost even. Facebook has distinctive business profiles that allowed advertisers and businesses access to promotional tools and additional information on traffic (number of visitors, time spent, links clicked, gender) etc. This information is now available on business profiles in Instagram.

Video Profile Assignment | JRN 02314 – SKYSTOLEE.com

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Skyler Lee, a 16 year-old entrepreneur and scholarly fashionista from New Jersey.  She is the founder of SKYSTOLEE, a store focused on clothing, accessories, cosmetics, art and novelty items for young ladies.  In this video, she gives an inside scoop about her business.

Be sure to bookmark www.SKYSTOLEE.com and visit in Summer 2018 for the official launch.

IMG_9431 (2)

Media Kit Components – Discussion Post 5 | PR 06301 – Basic PR Writing

Public Relations and Digital MarketingThe media kit is a package of information that allows a company to present itself as it would like to be seen.  The public relations professional uses the media kit to make it easy for the media to use supplied stories about their clients.  Press kits can be found online in a company’s media room, however, for live events, the media kit can be supplied as a printed package. There are several components included in the media kit.  In this discussion post, I will highlight six items commonly found in a media kit – the press release, backgrounder, fact sheet, key contacts, social media links and audio / video.  Some other items that can be included are Q&A, biography and position paper.

The press release / news release is communication directed at members of the news media to announce newsworthy items.  In the media kit, the releases should be placed in reverse chronological order.  The backgrounder is a lengthy report that uses subheads.  It supplies historical perspective about a company or event for staff writers’ use in publications.  The fact sheet is a one-page document, bulleted for easy access, that lists items of interest about the company, event, product or service.  It provides reporters with details that can easily be inserted into their articles.  Key contacts must be included in media kit.  This provides the media with the contact information for a company representative if they need to clarify a point or obtain an answer to a question.  Social media links allow reporters to easily find RSS feeds, company blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram accounts and YouTube videos.  Audio / Video can include high resolution photographs, streaming video, podcasts, audio recordings, logos and PowerPoint presentations, among others.  Providing a Q&A section saves time by eliminating the need for company employees to repeatedly answer the same questions.  It is a section to provide answers to commonly asked questions.  A position paper is a persuasive editorial that provides the official company stance on an issue.  

Photojournalism – JRN 02314 – Feature Photo Assignment

Full submissions with captions included with classroom file transfer.  Image captions were included in the description field under “file” in Photoshop.

Barnes & Noble employee serving up Frappuccino goodness at the Starbucks on Rowan Blvd. in Glassboro, NJ on March 19, 2018 (Photo by Briana Andrews)

Lydia Balogh and Steven LaSalle enjoy Tony Lukes on Rowan Blvd. on March 19, 2018 (Photo by Briana Andrews)

Zachary Dawson strikes a pose as he prepares to take your order at the Rowan Blvd. Starbucks in Glassboro, NJ on March 19, 2018 (Photo by Briana Andrews)

Elaine DeHunt (left) and Danielle Burke (right) chew and chat as they enjoy Cookie Munchers on Rowan Blvd. on March 19, 2018 (Photo by Briana Andrews)

Photojournalism – JRN 02314 – Slideshow, Pitman PhotoVoice Project: Broadway Bakery

Broadway Bakery, located at 132 S Broadway in Pitman, NJ offers decadent buns, fluffy muffins, an inviting family atmosphere, excellent customer service and affordably priced selection. This PhotoVoice project was completed on Thursday, February 22, 2018.

Special thanks to owner, Christine Mastrocola and staff for being so welcoming and allowing me to photograph the premises.

Learn more at http://www.broadwaybakerynj.com

Photojournalism – JRN 02314 [Assignment 2] General News: Edelman Planetarium

Full submissions with captions included with classroom file transfer.  Image captions were included in the description field under “file” in Photoshop.

General News:

Rowan University presents the “Earth, Moon and Sun” at the Edelman Planetarium in Glassboro, NJ on Sunday, February 11, 2018. (Photo by Briana Andrews) – Extended DOF.

Crowds formed in front Edelman Planetarium in the moments leading up to the “Earth, Moon and Sun” at Rowan University in Glassboro, NJ on Sunday, February 11, 2018. (Photo by Briana Andrews) – Frontal, Extended DOF.

(Name omitted), 4, clenches a jacket with his teeth as he spins around behind the ticket lines forming for “Earth, Moon and Sun” at Edelman Planetarium in Glassboro, NJ on Sunday, February 11, 2018. (Photo by Briana Andrews) – Frontal, Extended DOF.

(Name omitted), 34, shares a laugh with her children after wind gusts blow her umbrella inside out while exiting the Edelman Planetarium at Rowan University in Glassboro on Sunday, February 11, 2018. (Photo by Briana Andrews)

A copy of The Whit lies on the table in Science Hall as staff readies the Edelman Planetarium for the Earth, Moon and Sun family event in Glassboro on Sunday, February 11, 2018.  (Photo by Briana Andrews)

Boy scout (name omitted), 10, walked gleefully around Science Hall after the “Earth, Moon and Sun” event at Rowan University’s Edelman Planetarium in Glassboro, NJ on Sunday, February 11, 2018. (Photo by Briana Andrews) – Sideview, Extended DOF.