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Holon Solutions Taps Amendola to Advance its Standing as the Leading Liberator of Healthcare Data

Healthcare PR agency to expand Holon’s reach through media relations and marketing 

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., April 16, 2019 – Amendola, a nationally recognized, award-winning healthcare and technology public relations and marketing firm, announced today that Holon Solutions has chosen Amendola as its primary agency of record. This partnership for media relations and PR will support Holon as they work to bring true interoperability to the healthcare space.

Holon Solutions, based in Alpharetta, Georgia, is leading the industry in data liberation, leveraging technology to surface data from any electronic health record (EHR) or third-party solution and bring those insights directly to the point of care.

Julie Mann, Chief Commercial Officer, Holon Solutions noted that Amendola’s work with other health IT leaders made for a natural partnership: “Holon’s technology works with virtually any EHR or data repository, unlocking data to support providers as they work to bring better care to patients. Because of the experience Amendola has working in this space, they genuinely understand the importance of bringing an interoperability standard to the industry. We’re excited to have their help as we work to spread our message and expand the adoption of our vendor-agnostic solution.”

“Holon Solutions is solving an important problem that has been plaguing the healthcare space for far too long. Their technology genuinely has a positive impact on patient care through improved data access,” said agency CEO Jodi Amendola. “We are pleased to help them expand their industry presence through advanced public relations. I genuinely believe in the Holon mission. It’s an honor to work with them, as they strive to free patient data from disparate systems that hinder effective analytics.”

As part of a comprehensive media relations plan, Amendola will secure placements that highlight the interoperability crisis and how Holon’s technology is solving the problem. In addition, a larger communications strategy will include press releases, contributed content, speaking engagements, and potential awards as Holon’s leadership and customers are positioned as industry thought leaders. Amendola will also be working with Holon to expand its marketing efforts, helping the company to reach new customers in need of data liberation that supports value-based care initiatives.

About Holon Solutions

Holon Solutions is a healthcare information technology company that liberates the data to liberate the care, putting the right information in front of the right people at the right time through our reimagined interoperability platform. Holon empowers risk-bearing organizations to optimize patient outcomes and financial performance by surfacing actionable, patient-specific insights directly to the point of care. Holon’s agnostic platform CollaborNet® surfaces contextual insights within the provider workflow, seamlessly shares clinical data from health plans and vendors, and automates documentation exchange and referrals across health communities independent of the technologies in play.  Our team of innovators is focused on removing the administrative burden from clinicians through our patented, sensor-based solutions.  We are grateful to be recognized by Healthcare Informatics as the “2018 Innovator of the Year for Value-Based Care.”

For more information about how Holon helps healthcare organizations fulfill the promise of value-based care, visit www.holonsolutions.com.

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Media Contact:

Linda Healan

Amendola Communications

404-725-7117

Lhealan@acmarketingpr.com

 

 

Embrace the Paywall Future – Because it’s Coming

For several years now we all have lived in luxury, enjoying free content on the Internet that’s paid for through ads and data mining, with no paywall to contend with. But, as many prominent media outlets have noted, things are beginning to change.

Back in the early days of the Internet (and in the print media era of old), we as consumers paid for the content we wanted to read and watch. With the advent of Adblock Plus – not to mention a reduction in advertising budgets – many news websites and online magazines are going back to subscription business models, unable to maintain profits with optional “premium” services and banner ads alone.

What does this mean for those of us in media relations? It means we’re going to have to set expectations for our clients, educating them on the state of the media. Because like it or not, it does seem more paywalls are popping up, which means public relations and marketing plans have no choice but to adapt.

On its face, things may appear dire – it’s hard to share content on social media and on a personal blog when a link appears behind a paywall. But, there are some positive takeaways to the coming “subscription era” of Internet journalism that could mean more meaningful placements, better quality leads, and superior content than what we’re getting now in the “free and open” era of Internet publication.

Subscribers Read – and Readers are Your Target Audience

I’m a bit of a hipster. So, I still subscribe to a few print magazines. Since I don’t like my money to go to waste, I actually read those magazines, sometimes even cover-to-cover. I also subscribe to a couple newspapers online, and I check them every day, reading the content that’s relevant to me and subscribing directly to the RSS feeds of columns and writers I like the most.

The takeaway here is this: Those who pay for content are more likely to actually read it. Studies have shown most people don’t read the content on their social media feed, often sharing links without even clicking on them. I’ll argue that this is a product of the free content era, wherein the overabundance of choice has rendered us all lost in a sea of noise. While it may be nice to get a social media share or a link click, ultimately what does that really mean in terms of educating the public on your business, thought leaders, and relevant news?

If you ask me, the answer might be “not much.” Too often our metrics for success are superficial, measured in total number of social media shares, clicks, and engagements, even if those engagements are largely the result of bots and humans users who act like bots. But, if someone subscribes to a publication, they are more likely to actually do some reading, because they have a financial stake in supporting that content. That means more meaningful social media shares and readers who actually do – you guessed it – some reading. This translates to real discussion and genuine interest, not just some generic comment and a quick share that’s aimed at strictly producing numbers.

If someone subscribes to an online (or print) magazine, that means they are genuinely interested in the topic. Ideally, when it comes to a media interview or byline that you want read, your target audience is interested. The subscription era means more quality readers, even if the quantity of superficial shares and clicks is reduced.

Building Meaningful Relationships

It’s an unspoken truth of media relations – backs need to be scratched, and sometimes your thoughtful expert source means less than the source from a company who bought an ad. It’s not fair and, quite frankly, it reduces the quality of the content journalists produce, but that’s the reality of for-profit media. Ads are how publications stay in business, at least for now.

As advertising budgets begin to dry up across the board, the “pay-for-play” approach to journalism is harder to navigate for companies looking to get coverage, particularly for smaller startups who are still working to expand and turn a profit.

A positive outcome to a subscription business model means ads will no longer determine who gets an interview, since the primary source of revenue would ideally be subscriptions. Further, “sponsored content” will no longer be a path to regular byline publication. Like in the days of old, sources will be judged based more on merits, and journalists will begin, once again, to seek the stories that are most interesting to them and their readers.

Much as how the subscription model means an increase in quality readers, the same holds true for the content journalists produce. For those in media relations, that means we can build meaningful relationships with journalists for the mutual benefit of providing sources, who in turn get their name and message into stories that are far more genuine than those produced under the guise of advertising.

While free content will likely persist long into the future, the trend seems to be that the best publications are going to put themselves behind a paywall before too long. This will bring challenges, particularly when it comes to sharing content on company blogs and in social media feeds. In time, content producers and social media users will undoubtedly adapt to these changes and find workarounds, since sharing is the key to more exposure. I think this problem will ultimately solve itself, though admittedly things won’t be as straightforward as they are presently.

Sure, it may seem strange now to imagine an Internet where all content isn’t free, but it’s coming. And there are positive aspects to this transformation that could benefit everyone involved in the media placement chain, from thought leaders to journalists and those of us in between.  One thing is for certain, it’s best to embrace this future instead of combatting it – because those who are prepared will be best equipped to navigate the changing landscape and find success. One thing is for certain: Subscription models do not signal the end of journalism, which means media relations will continue to play an important role in earning placements.

The Anatomy of a Successful Pitch

The Anatomy of a Successful Pitch

Nothing fills me with existential dread like sitting down to write a media pitch.

Give me the sweet relief of an 800-word byline ghostwritten under a soul-crushing deadline. Bury me under the gigabyte of bone-dry peer-reviewed research I need to complete an immensely complex white paper. Let me spend eight hours hacking through a labyrinthine approval process just to get sign off on 400-word “new hire” press release.

Anything I do in the PR world is easier than convincing a stressed out and overworked journalist with a trigger finger on the junk file that my story is worth telling—and doing it in under 100 very concise and very compelling words.

Below are what I believe to be the essentials of a good pitch, broken out by its main components. Following this advice is not going to guarantee a media hit for your client, but it will dramatically increase your chances.

The Subject Line. It’s true that many—maybe even most—pitches live or die based on the subject line, but that doesn’t mean you should panic and resort to dumb gimmicks in a bid to win a journalist’s attention. Expending way too many precious words to support a style of writing—funny, hyperbolic or scare-quotes clever—you can’t pull off wastes everyone’s time.

Think of it this way: The subject line is your pitch reduced to its simplest form. For that reason, I prefer to write my subject lines last. Good pitch writing usually leaves a lot of tasty leftovers that just couldn’t be fit into the final revision; an interesting turn of phrase and a good word choice or two that didn’t make the cut can usually be repurposed into an effective Subject Line. If you feel you are really rusty, cut-and-paste your entire pitch, then slowly whittle it to its most essential elements.

The Opening Sentence. When I was a journalist, I was often surprised at the amount of “throat-clearing” in the pitches I received. I’m not a captive audience, dude! Into the trash you go!

If you have done your due diligence—carefully researching the outlets and reporters that would be a good fit for your story—you can avoid kicking off your story roughly 30 seconds after the newly formed Earth cooled.

Strategies will vary based on the story you are trying to tell, but I have had the most luck just telling the reporter what I want and why they should care: “Hey, [JOURNALIST], I’ve read your coverage on [TOPIC.] This [STORY] for [THESE REASONS] would be useful to your readers.”

If it sounds prosaic, that’s because it is. But by eliminating the throat-clearing, you can simply and honestly convey a.) your knowledge of the reporter; b.) your familiarity with how they have covered their beat; and c.) why your story is relevant to that coverage.

The Body. Most posts filed in the “pitching advice” genre emphasize the importance of brevity. And they’re right! Unfortunately, this can be taken to an extreme. A good pitch will offer a solid framework that the reporter can use to build the rest of the story. Use you pitch to cover the journalistic bases—who, what, when, where, why and how. Add relevant links to your pitch—to your sources’ LinkedIn profiles, evidence supporting your pitch idea and/or interesting industry trends, for example. Statistics relevant to a pitch help to ground it in reality. If you’re speaking about an end-user, be sure to provide specific numbers on the improvements they saw from using a solution. The more specifics, the better.

The Closer. A pitch should contain a clear call to action near the end, asking a reporter to specifically consider an interview or byline. A reporter may not be ready for this story right now, but politely ask them to keep you in mind for the future. Second, don’t be afraid to briefly offer to help a reporter with their coverage—now and into the future. Many opportunities arise from relationship-building that starts with a single pitch. Lastly, always thank a reporter for their time.

Final Advice

Almost as important as knowing how to write a good pitch is to know when you don’t have anything to pitch. Not everything a client does is a story or warrants legitimate coverage.

This is where client management comes into play. Capturing inbound interview requests—the sweet, sweet nectar of media relations—is a long and painstaking process of developing a trusted relationship mostly over electronic devices.

Pitching writing is both an art and science—which is part of the reason why creating them can be frustrating. Bad pitches are the kudzu of the public relations world, choking out good stories beneath an oppressive monoculture of bad faith and even worse writing. The problem is so pervasive that entire websites and Twitter feeds are dedicated to terrible pitches. However, devoting your energies to the right components of a pitch will ensure a greater level of success.

Amendola Communications Adds Award-Winning Healthcare Journalist and Experienced Public Relations Professional as Senior Writer

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., August 23, 2018—Amendola Communications, a nationally recognized, award-winning healthcare and healthcare information technology public relations and marketing agency, announced today that Morgan Lewis Jr. has joined the agency as Senior Writer. An award-winning healthcare journalist and experienced public relations professional, Lewis will create a wide variety of PR content for the agency’s healthcare/healthcare IT clients.

Morgan Lewis Jr.

Lewis brings 20 years of journalism and PR writing experience, focused almost exclusively on business and healthcare. He most recently served as Senior Copywriter at MERGE Atlanta, formerly Dodge Communications, an integrated healthcare PR and marketing communications agency. As Senior Copywriter, Lewis created ghostwritten bylined thought leadership articles, white papers, case studies, blog posts, website copy and other pieces of strategic PR and marketing content for dozens of healthcare and healthcare IT clients over four years.

Before joining MERGE Atlanta, Lewis was an independent healthcare and healthcare IT writer creating content for several PR agency clients, as well as crafting his own bylined articles that appeared in publications such as Medscape, Physicians Practice, Managed Healthcare Executive, Medical Economics and Chiropractic Economics. Lewis previously served as Senior Editor at Medical Economics, where he focused on healthcare IT, and won three writing awards from the American Society of Healthcare Publication Editors (ASHPE), including two Gold Awards.

Agency CEO Jodi Amendola said: “Morgan’s knowledge and experience as a healthcare journalist and PR copywriter will be tremendous assets to our growing team and expanding list of diverse clients. Morgan is not only an exceptional writer, but he is also a strategic collaborator who understands how to engagingly share clients’ messages amidst a rapidly changing industry.”

Lewis holds a bachelor’s degree in English-Journalism from Miami University of Ohio.

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Media Contact:  Marcia Rhodes | 480.664.8412 ext. 15 | mrhodes@acmarketingpr.com

 

 

Kaufman Hall Taps Amendola Communications as PR Agency of Record to Support Strategic Growth Initiatives

SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ. – August 7, 2018 – Amendola Communications, a nationally recognized, award-winning healthcare and health IT public relations and marketing agency, announced today its selection as the agency of record for Kaufman Hall, a leading provider of management consulting services, enterprise performance management and decision support software.

Amendola won the business after a competitive agency review process. It will provide strategic counsel, media relations and content development for Kaufman Hall’s three industry sectors, healthcare, financial institutions and higher education. The agency will build upon Kaufman Hall’s stellar brand reputation in these industries for its software and management consulting services.

“At its core, Kaufman Hall solves complex business problems for its clients. In a similar vein, we require a communications agency that not only understands the complexities and nuances of what we do but also can bring big ideas to the table and execute on them,” said Rob Kunzler, chief marketing officer of Kaufman Hall. “Amendola’s experienced team has demonstrated its ability to deliver value and its commitment to working closely with us to form a trusted, long-term partnership.”

“We’re excited to partner with Kaufman Hall, which has been helping executives to navigate rapid market changes in healthcare, finance and higher education for more than 30 years,” said Jodi Amendola, chief executive officer of Amendola Communications. “The company has built its reputation on consulting, performance improvement technologies, and data and analytics—and even more importantly, on its strong customer base of top-tier organizations that rely on its counsel and expertise.

Our collaboration will help to further elevate Kaufman Hall’s thought leaders’ profiles among journalists, prospective clients and key stakeholders across industries.”

About Kaufman Hall

Kaufman Hall provides software and management consulting to help organizations realize sustained success amid changing market conditions. Since 1985, Kaufman Hall has been a trusted advisor to boards and executive management teams, helping them incorporate proven methods into their strategic planning and financial management processes, and quantify the financial impact of their plans and strategic decisions to consistently achieve their goals.

Kaufman Hall services use a rigorous, disciplined, and structured approach that is based on the principles of corporate finance. The breadth and integration of Kaufman Hall advisory services are unparalleled, encompassing strategy; performance improvement; financial and capital planning; cost transformation; treasury and capital markets management; and mergers, acquisitions, partnerships, and joint ventures.

Kaufman Hall software includes the Axiom Suite, providing sophisticated, flexible performance management solutions that empower finance professionals to analyze results, model the future, and optimize organizational decision making. Solutions for long-range planning, budgeting and forecasting, performance reporting, capital planning, and cost accounting deliver decision support, reporting, and analytics within an integrated software platform. Kaufman Hall’s Peak Software empowers healthcare organizations with clinical benchmarks, data, and analytics to provide a higher quality of care for optimized performance and improved patient outcomes.

Media Contact:  Marcia Rhodes | 480.664.8412 ext. 15 | mrhodes@acmarketingpr.com

 

 

 

 

 

Integrity in Public Relations – For our Clients, the Media and the Profession

Integrity in Public Relations – For our Clients, the Media and the Profession

Recently, I heard someone speak about Integrity and the importance of having it in all aspects of your life. It might sound like a simple concept, but when someone, especially someone in a leadership or advisory role, doesn’t apply integrity in their life, there seems to be a great deal of fall-out. And let’s face it: it can be news-making in the worst conceivable way.

Integrity is “a firm adherence to a code of especially moral or ethical values; soundness of character; honesty or a state of being whole.” Another definition is a “concept of consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations, and outcomes.” I like to define it as always doing the right thing when nobody is looking.

I began thinking about how essential integrity is in business and certainly as a part of public relations. When we as PR people are responsible for building our clients’ brands and reputations, integrity is most certainly an important attribute. To support this belief, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) has developed a Code of Ethics as part of its commitment to integrity and expects its members to adhere to this Code.

There are many examples of how important integrity can be in public relations. Here are just a few examples of where I find integrity to be especially critical:

With our clients

It is our role as PR practitioners to advocate on behalf of our clients and advise them on what is in their best interests. Sometimes those interests contradict what we know to be right or perhaps goes against our own best business interests. This is where integrity is essential.

PR practitioners tend to be people pleasers. We want to make our clients happy. However, our clients engage us to provide more than just a service, they retain us as advisors who get results. Sometimes saying “No” and explaining why a client request is not in their best interest is part of our role.

With the media

I have heard two theories throughout my career. The first was “He who has the gold, makes the rules.” The other was, “Clients change. It’s your relationship with the media that you need to hold sacred.” I personally adhere to the second theory.

Don’t misunderstand, I truly value my clients; but they generally hire me because I can obtain coverage for them in the press. Honesty, providing accurate information, meeting deadlines, and pitching appropriate information to the press is the foundation for a great relationship with the media.  What good am I to any client (present or future) if I have burned a bridge with one of the key healthcare editors at a tier one publication because I conducted myself unethically or if I have a reputation for supporting fake news?

Within our profession

Of course, we should treat each other with fairness, respect and pursue honest competition. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. As we seek to impress clients, build new business and grow profits, it is sometimes too easy to drift away from doing the right thing.

I could share multiple examples of backstabbing, bad-mouthing, and undermining colleagues that I have witnessed throughout my career. But more frequently, I get to see colleagues supporting each other, providing meaningful honest feedback, helping peers to grow and learn new skills, and working as a team towards success and to support our clients’ communications goals.

There is a truth in six degrees of separation. It is a big, wide world, but the PR community can be small, and reputations follow us. At the end of the day, all we have is our reputations which rely heavily on the integrity we exhibit consistently.

In the time that I have been with Amendola Communications, I have seen the highest levels of integrity demonstrated from management, to the account teams and with the administrative staff.  Not only are my colleagues extremely knowledgeable and talented, but they consistently work in the best interests and to the highest standards for our clients, our media contacts, with each other, and the profession as a whole. I’m pleased to say that I work in an environment where complete integrity is one of the agency’s four key principles.

The trust of clients, colleagues, the public, the media and the wider community is fundamental in maintaining a positive reputation in the PR industry. The subject of integrity might not seem the most interesting of topics, but it’s often misunderstood and something that we could all give more thought to.

VisitPay Selects Amendola Communications for Public Relations and Content Development

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., June 5, 2018—Amendola Communications, a nationally recognized, award-winning healthcare and health IT public relations and marketing agency, is pleased to announce that it has been selected as the PR agency of record for VisitPay.

Amendola will utilize a broad range of public relations and content services to promote VisitPay’s market-leading platform for fully automated patient financial engagement.

Founded in 2010, VisitPay is the developer of a cloud-based platform used by major providers to deliver transparency, choice and control to patients managing healthcare financial transactions and outstanding balances. Through VisitPay, patients can access a complete and comprehensive accounting of their financial obligations, as well as critical health plan and healthcare information, through health system-branded portals.

For health systems, VisitPay’s proprietary analytics tailors consistent and fully compliant financing options to the unique needs of individual patients and their families, creating a simplified billing experience that drives both higher payment rates and improved patient satisfaction scores.

“VisitPay counts some of the largest and most innovative health systems as clients. We wanted a public relations agency that could capitalize on that momentum,” said Will Reilly, Vice President of Marketing at VisitPay. “Amendola’s deep experience in health IT will help us shape and lead the conversation on patient financial experience.”

Amendola will promote VisitPay through a number of public relations and content marketing programs, supported by Amendola’s top-tier media research and relations. The agency will work with VisitPay to increase brand awareness and thought leadership by delivering its core value proposition to target audiences, drawing on its deep industry knowledge and significant media relationships in health IT. Amendola will also be responsible for delivering a range of content demonstrating the thought leadership and expertise of VisitPay’s corporate and client-based leadership.

“Hospitals and health systems are challenged with uncovering the tools and strategies for bringing transparency, choice and control to the patient financial experience,” said Jodi Amendola, CEO of Amendola Communications. “Our collective experience in the patient-as-payer space will be instrumental in helping VisitPay reach its public relations objectives.”

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About VisitPay
VisitPay is the first and only platform for Patient Financial Health. The culmination of seven years learning and development, this proprietary cloud-based platform enables health systems to dramatically increase the amount paid on patient balances because patients can finally exercise control over their financial health. VisitPay is proudly headquartered in Boise, Idaho, one of the most livable cities in the country, where it has assembled a powerful team focused on predictive analytics, user-driven software design and consumer finance. More information about the company and its solutions can be found at www.visitpay.com.

Media Contact:
Marcia Rhodes
Amendola Communications
480.664.8412 ext. 15
mrhodes@acmarketingpr.com

Amendola Communications Honored as a Top Healthcare Agency in Ragan and PR Daily’s Ace Awards

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., May 22, 2018Amendola Communications, a nationally recognized, award-winning healthcare and healthcare IT (HIT) public relations and marketing agency, announced today that it has added another accolade from the PR industry. The agency was recently recognized in the overall Healthcare Agency category in Ragan and PR Daily’s Ace Awards 2017.

The Honorable Mention award is just the latest national recognition for the agency, which provides a full range of PR and marketing services, including media and analyst relations, messaging, media training, content development and management, social media, digital and online marketing, collateral development, website design and content creation, crisis management, strategic counsel and other services.

“We have received many awards focused on specific campaigns, but we’re especially proud of this award from Ragan and PR Daily because it recognizes the agency as a whole – our work, how we operate, our development of a high-performance team and culture, and the results we generate for clients,” said Jodi Amendola, CEO of Amendola Communications. “We’ve lived and breathed healthcare technology for nearly two decades and, as a result, have developed a team of healthcare veterans with the experience, connections and creativity to drive meaningful business results for businesses of all sizes, whether they’re early-stage startups or established public companies.”

The Ace Awards honor individuals, in-house teams and agencies in communications and marketing. Entrants represent the most talented and innovative thinkers across a variety of industries.

Media Contact:
Marcia Rhodes
Amendola Communications
480.664.8412 ext. 15
mrhodes@acmarketingpr.com

PR and Marcom Veteran Linda Healan Joins Amendola Communications

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., May 16, 2018—Amendola Communications, a nationally recognized, award-winning healthcare and healthcare technology public relations and marketing agency, announced today that Linda Healan has joined the agency as senior account & content director.

Healan brings more than 23 years of experience building, managing and executing PR and marketing communications programs for B2B technology, healthcare technology, and professional services leaders. Most recently, she operated her own well-regarded marketing communications consultancy, Healan PR, with clients that included IBM, Broadsoft and Emerson Electronics. Prior to that, Healan held roles of increasing responsibility for national and international public relations and marketing agencies.

“Linda brings a deep set of skills and experience launching companies and promoting brands and products across a broad spectrum of technologies,” said agency CEO Jodi Amendola. “We are confident she will deliver value to our healthcare/HIT clients from day one.”

“I’ve worked with Jodi and the Amendola team over the years and I am grateful for the opportunity to join the A-team and contribute to the agency’s ongoing growth,” Healan said. “I thoroughly enjoy working with healthcare and HIT organizations and look forward to supporting them strategically through earned, owned and shared media channels.”

Healan will create and manage client programs, provide strategic counsel and positioning, and pitch media and digital influencers for the agency’s healthcare/healthcare IT clients. She holds a B.A. in Journalism from Georgia State University in Atlanta.

To download a picture of Healan, click here.

 

Media Contact: Marcia Rhodes | 480.664.8412 x 15 | mrhodes@acmarketingpr.com

Five Big Changes in Media Relations and How HIT Organizations Can Adapt

Five Big Changes in Media Relations and How HIT Organizations Can Adapt

A recent webinar sponsored by Cision explored several changes in media relations over the last few years and offered tips on steps healthcare IT (HIT) organizations should take to prosper in this new reality.

The webinar was led by Michael Smart, a PR pro who says he has trained more than 7,000 communicators in his career, and is based on a white paper he wrote. Smart notes that, in his own observations, he’s seen far too many organizations chase the “Holy Grail” of coverage in the New York Times or Wall Street Journal to the detriment of smaller, lesser-known publications that in some cases could deliver even more value to clients.

Refreshingly, Smart also offered among the sharpest denunciations I’ve come across of the corporate scourge known as multi-tasking, stating, “I hate multitasking. It’s this thing we were all excited about 10 years ago until we realized it’s awful, much like kale. I seriously think it destroys potential and it’s killing a lot of PR pros, and so I’m on a mission to defeat it.”

Amen, though I will admit to enjoying kale in the proper context. To Smart’s comments, I’d like to add my own sarcastic slogan for multitasking, to be emblazoned across inspirational posters hung above the busy cubicles of America: “Multitasking: Why do one thing well when you can simultaneously do 10 things poorly?”

While many of the changes in media relations that Smart describes will be familiar to PR veterans, a refresher never hurts. In that spirit, I attended the hour-long webinar and condensed the five key points down into this quick, bite-sized summary.

  • Expand your definition of the “media” in “media relations” to include any third-party trusted by your audiences: In other words, explore nontraditional outlets that may be easier to work with and have similar reach and credibility to the old guard. This can include well-known and widely read sites like Vox that have only been around for a few years, or even corporate blogs. The key is simply whether the site has earned your desired audience’s trust. How do you know which of these sites are worth pursuing? Start by using SimilarWeb to research site traffic and use Moz to examine domain authority.
  • Journalists’ incentives have changed. They must increasingly focus on web traffic: Again, no shocker here for anyone who’s been paying attention. But this new reality opens up new possibilities for HIT organizations. Smart suggests that journalists will be more receptive to your pitches if you can show you’ll be able to distribute their content to a wider audience yourself, ideally by leveraging a social account with a lot of followers or an email newsletter, for example.
  • Get noticed before you pitch: All experienced marketers know that journalists will be more receptive to their pitches if they’ve been able to previously establish solid working relationships with those journalists. But Smart offers good advice for establishing those relationships, which are especially important given that there are four PR pros for every professional journalist in the U.S. and U.K., according to statistics he cited during the webinar. He suggests developing a key list of 10 influencers, and then devoting 10 minutes per day to reading content they’ve produced, and when appropriate, reacting to the content with a compliment or a few kind words. He touts this as a simple daily task to “dramatically” increase your response rate. A private Twitter list is a great way to keep up-to-date with content from your top influencers.
  • Faux customization often fails: Specific and sincere customization can help you stand out. Smart warns to avoid beginning pitches with broad, non-personalized statements. As supporting evidence for journalists’ frustration with this approach, Smart cites data from Cision’s 2017 State of the Media Report. When asked to improve the situation, journalists’ two most frequently cited pieces of advice were, first, to research and understand the media outlets they’re pitching, and second, to tailor their pitches to suit those outlets.
  • Journalists don’t have time to do the legwork anymore: Reporters are always on deadline. They don’t have as much time as they once did to research sources or story ideas and they have an “insatiable need for visuals,” which can often be hard to acquire, according to Smart. The big change here is how much of this unglamorous legwork journalists will let HIT organizations do for them once they’ve proven to be trustworthy and credible, Smart says.

No doubt the practice of media relations will continue to change just as quickly as the media ecosystem itself does. But HIT organizations looking to keep pace with this evolution would do well to try implementing some of Smart’s advice. Smarter, more targeted pitching could help free us of our quality-killing, attention-sapping multitasking obsession.