Monthly Archives: March 2008

Cultivating Relationships With the Media is Critical to an Organization’s Success

The media are a powerful force, and they can do a lot for you—or a lot against you. Cultivating relationships with reporters is essential if you want to attract positive news coverage for your organization. They are, after all, the messengers of your story.

I was fortunate enough to learn a few tricks about establishing relationships with the media from my co-workers at EMC Creative this past summer. Below are a few tips I picked up:

Learn reporters’ deadlines. News is perishable, and reporters must meet specific deadlines. Your job is to help them do so. Develop a reputation as someone who respects reporters’ schedules, guidelines, and priorities. Provide sufficient information, stories, and pictures when they are needed.

Think like a reporter. Think in terms of what an editor or reporter would consider newsworthy. Reporters are bombarded with stories. What makes yours compelling? What makes your story standout amidst the plethora of others?

Know your message and stick to it. Reporters are busy. Don’t waste their time fumbling around the core of your message. Write down talking points before you speak with reporters, so you’re confident in relaying your message.

Be accessible. Make sure reporters know how to get in touch with you at a moment’s notice. They are on strict deadlines, and if you can’t respond to their questions promptly, they will go elsewhere for sources or ditch your story. Be on call to reporters’ needs and questions.

Be honest. It takes a lot of hard work to build credibility, and nothing builds credibility like honesty. Accuracy, integrity, and openness are key. If you don’t know the answer to a question, say so. Offer to get back to the reporter as soon as you can with an answer.

Every media contact is an opportunity to tell your story. Protect and cherish relationships with these individuals, so you can generate positive coverage for your organization.


Coca-Cola Ads Inspire People to Make Good Things Happen

come1.gifCoca-Cola launched a new set of ads last week that invite consumers to join the company in community projects. Innovative ads were featured on television and in newspapers to highlight the company’s role as a corporate citizen. Coke’s involvement with the Boys and Girls Club of America, the Coca-Cola Scholarship Foundation, and its sponsorship of community sports programs were featured in the advertisements.

The ads are part of an overall “Coke Side of Life” campaign launched in 2006 by Coke. The ads are an invitation for viewers to live on the positive side of life and feature Coca-Cola as a socially responsible company committed to improving communities.

“As consumers push to learn more about the products they buy and the companies behind them, Coca-Cola needs to stress its community involvement,” said Katie Bayne, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Coca-Cola North America. “Consumers want to know that Coca-Cola cares.”

The campaign also includes a Web site, which asks people to join the effort to make good things happen in their community. The Web site gives resources for people to support education, promote active lifestyles, and protect the planet. Coca-Cola also plans to add a ZIP code search where people can find out how to participate in specific projects in their area later this year.

Coca-Cola’s “Coke Side of Life” campaign is a refreshing, colorful explosion of energy and optimism. Its message is Coke is happiness in a bottle. The campaign strays away from violent, sex-filled commercials and inspires people to make a difference in their communities. The “Coke Side Life” campaign is an example of how to attract brand loyalty through positive images and messages that inspire.

Below is a “Coke Side of Life” advertisement that was featured during the 2007 Super Bowl. It continues to be a fan favorite.

Facebook Takes the Crown for Students’ Favorite Web Site


I’ll admit it: I’m a Facebookaholic. I cringe at the number of times I visit the social networking site every day. I’ve considered deactivating my account to gain back precious hours I spend browsing the site, but the thought of no Facebook gives me anxiety attacks. No mini feeds? How will I ever know what my friends are up to?

I’m not alone. I can breathe a sign of relief. There are millions of other Facebook addicts out there. Youth Trends recently came up with its “Top Ten List Report,” and Facebook was students’ favorite Web site for the seventh straight quarter. More than 1,000 college students were asked to name their three favorite Web sites, and Facebook was a winner among 74% of females and 60% of males.

CollegeHumor, Break, and Digg all experienced gains this year among men, while the rise of Perez Hilton’s blog was the biggest surprise among women voters. YouTube was in the top five for both groups. What does this study say about college students? Well, the majority of us love social networking sites and visit them frequently.

A study conducted by Harris Interactive, Inc. in July of 2007 shows that 54% of college students visit social networking sites such as Facebook daily, 26% watch videos on sites such as YouTube daily, and 22% read blogs daily. Therefore, it’s no surprise that marketers are experimenting with social networking sites to reach their target audiences. According to eMarketer, a projected $1.6 billion will be spent on advertising to social networking sites in the United States in 2008.

Facebook is no fad for college students. As Youth Trends’ study suggests, social networking sites are here for the long haul.