How to Earn Media Coverage in Major News Outlets

Earn media coverage in major news outlets

The Wall Street Journal is the world’s most influential business news outlet. For subscribers of our agency newsletter, The Strategist, we recently put together this helpful infographic on how to earn media coverage in major news outlets like The Wall Street Journal.

It outlines 12 steps to catch the WSJ’s attention for your business, nonprofit or client. These steps can be followed to earn media coverage in any major news outlet:

This approach is how we earned coverage in the WSJ for our client, EVS, as well as a retweet by Arianna Huffington to her 3 million Twitter followers and an inquiry from a Fortune 500 technology partner. Such is the power of The Wall Street Journal.

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(W)right On Communications won a Silver Bulldog Award for Best B2B Product Launch for our work on this campaign. Read the full case study written by the Bulldog Reporter for in-depth tips.

Best Media Training Tips

By Julie Wright —President

Twitter: @juliewright


Our agency meets every two weeks for in-house training and recently Practice Area Director Chance Shay shared his best media training tips in a fun session he titled “Crushing Media Interviews.” I’ve participated in or delivered many media trainings, and I liked how Chance’s presentation so concisely shared our agency’s media training tips. So, I’m sharing a recap here.

To avoid a media meltdown, follow this four-step media interview process and our best media training tips:

Step 1. Screen the Opportunity

When you see a media interview go bad like this British interview with Quentin Tarantino, the culprit is typically a lack of preparation combined with an unrealistic expectation as to how the interview was supposed to go. When things don’t go as we expect, some of us—like Tarantino—will lose our cool (which makes great, if cringe-worthy, television for the rest of us).

Screening requires basic fact finding to ensure the opportunity is a good fit for you and that you prepare appropriately.

Chance’s best media training tips started with reviewing the outlet’s and writer’s past coverage. Is this media outlet and opportunity a good fit for your business and its goals? Is it a top-tier media outlet, smaller and scrappier blog or trade media that look for advertising in exchange for editorial coverage? Will the writer do their due diligence and apply a professional code of ethics such as the Society of Professional Journalists’ code? (The established rules of journalism are not always followed or respected by many new media outlets and blogs–from pay-to-play to twisting quotes to fit a partisan political agenda.)

A blogger seeking clicks has a different goal than a long-form magazine feature writer or a local TV news reporter needing video for broadcast, video for the webs and an article for the web. Print and online journalists will often want video to accompany their stories as well.

Find out who else the reporter is interviewing for the story. Are you one of many voices or are you the only person speaking to your side of an issue. They may or may not tell you who else they’re interviewing, but it will certainly help you better prepare if you can find out.

If you’re not clear what it is that the reporter wants from you for their story, ask for more details or clarity. If their explanation doesn’t make sense to you, it is okay and often safer to politely decline.

If this is an opportunity you are interested in, it is important to get the reporter’s deadline and commit to the interview well before that time. I have seen clients hold out until the last second and, as a result, miss the opportunity. The reporter wants to complete all interviews as early as possible so that they can write the story. The longer you wait to provide a comment, the higher the likelihood others will shape the story and your quote will be placed at the very end of the article, if it gets included at all.

Step 2. Prepare for the Opportunity

Take the time to prepare yourself by drafting or reviewing your key messages and talking points.

If you don’t have these already, start by narrowing down the main points you’d want to communicate. Pick your top three. Practice them in front of a mirror or with a friend.

If you are expecting challenging questions during your interview, brainstorm all of the worst rude questions you might be asked and practice your responses to them. That way, when the nasty question arises, you’ll be relaxed and able to respond without losing your cool.

During our discussion of preparation methods, Chance was asked by a participant whether it was true that Sarah Palin had refused media training. Famously, she did and famously, it showed.

Step 3. Interview Smart

“After all of this, it’s go time,” Chance said. “If it’s an outlet that’s challenging for your client or client industry, you can still get a great win.”

During the interview, remember your ABCD’s.
  • Acknowledge the question: “I’m glad that you asked that.” Or “I get asked that question a lot.”
  • Bridge to key messages: “That’s a great question that I get asked a lot, but what’s really important to people is / what our customers ask is…” These phrases help you move from the interviewer’s questions to your key messages. More examples: “Let me answer that question by putting things into context…” “Let’s talk about something I’m even more familiar with…” “Well the answer is no, but what is really important here is…”
  • Conclude with proof points: “… we know that because we did a customer survey and 95% said…”
  • Dangle the next topic if you’re feeling lucky: “… and it’s dang cool software design” or “… and that discovery leads to a really surprising new problem to solve.”

Chance’s best media training tips included being brief. The less you say, the more poignant and quotable your points are. It also lets the interviewer be engaged so they can ask questions and leaves them wanting more. It’s easy to drone on, especially when a reporter is interviewing you by phone and taking notes. Just because the reporter hasn’t asked another question, doesn’t mean you need to fill the void with ramblings. Make your point and wait for the next question.

Avoid negatives or charged words. A “problem” is a “challenge.” You don’t “hate” something, you “prefer its alternative.” It wasn’t a “failure” but a “learning opportunity.”

Recent media research shows that the media don’t have a political bias. They have a bias for ‘negative’ angles. Conflict sells. When everything is going smoothly and harmoniously, there’s no news.

Remember during your interview that nothing is off the record and the camera is always rolling. What you say before or after the interview can be picked up by a hot mic. Chance’s best media training tips include not saying anything you don’t want to see all over the Internet.

Be conscious of your energy level and body language. Your nonverbal communication can say more than your words. Voice, gestures, posture, eye contact. Avoid eye rolls or big sighs. And if it’s an on-camera interview, dress for the part.

Step 4. Follow Up

Correct any inaccurate statements or provide more follow-up to clarify content from the interview. This could include emailing a full study or images and other links to the reporter. If you have an agency or PR department, they will often take care of the loose ends.

But you can still debrief on the final published story to look for opps to improve for next time.

Chance shared additional do’s and don’ts among his best media interview tips. It was an excellent session but it is no replacement for a full, customized media training session including on-camera practice that is based on your industry, your company’s needs and your own level of comfort in the media hot seat.

To learn more about getting our best media training tips in a customized session for your team or your media spokesperson, please contact us at (W)right On Communications. Call (858)755-5411 or email info@wrightoncomm.com.

Five Tips for Successful Social Media Branding

By: Kara Dement

Twitter: @KaraDeMent_


In more ways than one, social media is at the heart of how most organizations communicate with their audiences.

‘Heart’ is a good metaphor since it’s both central to the communications strategy and the source of how the organization looks and feels—and of course the ‘look and feel’ is the definition of a brand. So how do you make sure your organization’s look and feel are accurately and consistently portrayed through social media? Here are five expert tips to keep your social media strategy on the brand:

  1. Establish and maintain a consistent voice voice GIF

Buffer defines voice as, “your brand personality described in an adjective. For instance, brands can be lively, positive, cynical, or professional.” If you want people to listen, you need to inject some personality. Know your brand’s voice and ensure it’s aligned with your company culture and your target audience. Then make sure you use the same voice across all platforms so that you don’t come across as a split personality.

  1. Choose the right platforms

Understanding each platform’s audience can help you identify what social media platforms are the right choice, and then you can use your brand voice to share things that are relevant to that target audience. Snapchat users on average are between the ages of 18-34 according to Omnicore Agency, so using Snapchat to discuss retirement planning probably won’t work. Also, not all voices work across all platforms. If your brand voice doesn’t have a playful side, you should either look into developing one or steer clear of Snapchat altogether.

  1. Select appropriate visuals

When it comes to describing your brand, a picture is worth a thousand words. So select imagery carefully and make sure it is consistent with and helps augment the story your voice is telling. Speaking of consistency, it’s also important to maintain visual consistency across all social media platforms. Having the same colors, logos, etc. is a given, but even your photography, video and shared stories should all align with your brand’s personality.

  1. Engage

Nobody wants to have a conversation with themselves, plus that goes against the whole point of “social” media. For a brand to have a credible personality, it needs to be responsive on social media, or people will assume no one at your organization is listening. Jay Baer, President of Convince & Convert, found that 42% of consumers expect a 60-minute response time, so being engaged with the audience’s comments, questions and concerns is critical to meeting your audience’s expectations. It’s also a great way to build trust and rapport so when you want your customers to engage with you, they’ll be ready and willing. yes killer whale GIF

  1. Offer relevant and killer content

At (W)right On, we go by the 80/20 rule. Meaning, 80% of content should be “check this out”, so long as it relates to the brand, and 20% should be “check us out”. Talking about yourself all the time is a turnoff, and not the kind of personality that brands want to be perceived as having. If you stick to the 80/20 rule, it will help prevent the pitfalls of constant monologue and will help develop your brand’s personality by giving it depth beyond your own organization.

Need help developing your brand’s voice and personality on social media? Call or email our team of social media pros to help! You can reach us at (858) 755-5411 or info@wrightoncomm.com.

Five lies about PR measurement that can sink your strategy and career

By Julie Wright—President and Founder

Twitter: @JulieWright


Last month I attended the Ragan PR Daily PR measurement conference in Miami. The two-day event was crammed with hot tips and excellent case studies on PR measurement–how to design measurable campaigns, incorporate analytics, conduct surveys and develop metrics that matter.

Businessman pointing graphs and symbols Free PhotoIt is increasingly clear to anyone in the public relations profession that PR measurement is something our industry needs to embrace. With marketing budgets and margins under constant pressure, companies are looking to optimize their investments across paid, earned, shared and owned strategies. Not only does PR need to stack up against highly measurable digital strategies, it also needs to take digital paid, shared and owned tactics under its wing to produce more integrated, measurable campaigns.

After two full days of discussion in Miami, I was even more convinced of these truths and returned to San Diego fired up to confront some of the biggest whoppers about PR measurement head on. So here are my top five falsehoods. I’d love to hear your take on this list and maybe together we can all help move the PR field in the right direction.

LIE #1: PR just isn’t measurable.

If you are in PR and truly believe this, you’re toast. Sure, PR is not as easy to measure as digital marketing, but it is far from impossible to measure!

It requires a little more legwork and setting aside some campaign resources to do it well. But, keep in mind, the gold standard for PR excellence has always started with research and ended with evaluation—a.k.a. measurement.

Don’t believe the lie that PR isn’t measurable. Instead, refresh yourself on best practices in PR research and evaluation.  

  • Read “Public Relations Research for Planning and Evaluation” by Walter K. Lindenmann on the Institute for Public Relations’ website.
  • Check out the International Association for Measurement and Evaluation in Communications and their Integrated Evaluation Framework. AMEC has developed an interactive online tool that walks you through each step in the PR planning and evaluation process. The tool is designed to help support campaign evaluation; however, you can just as easily use it to guide campaign development to ensure you’re creating measurable campaigns from the start.
  • Read how others have designed measurable campaigns. AMEC has an annual awards program and shares case studies about the winning campaigns.
  • Check out the measurement resources provided by the Public Relations Society of America. It has collected all the measurement resources and links you could wish for in one place.

LIE #2: Our campaign goal is to raise awareness.

This is also a lie. As Joseph Ogden, BYU public relations professor, threw down in Miami, “If anyone tells you their only goal is awareness, they’re lying.” No one wants their PR campaign to simply raise awareness. They want their campaign to drive people to take some measurable behavior—to buy a product, drink less soda, visit a destination, attend an event, enroll in a course, submit their email, visit the website, vote, download the white paper or make a donation.

Hold yourself to a higher standard and help your client or boss understand that you do more than just “create buzz.” (Eye roll.)

It’s easier if you start by developing an objective that clearly states the behavior you want your stakeholders to take, by when and how often. Once you know your behavioral objective, work backwards and think about your informational objective–the message or knowledge your stakeholders need to receive and internalize—and the motivational objective—the emotional connection they need to make—to drive them to take the desired behavior.

Once you’ve set your intention from awareness through motivation and behavior, you can start to research your stakeholders to find out what their level of awareness and knowledge is and what motivates them so you can develop your strategy.

LIE #3: PR people aren’t numbers people.

That’s B.S. Don’t be boxed in by this lie. Good PR people are good storytellers, and one of the most powerful storytelling elements available to you in 2017 is data. Don’t shy away from it.

IBM Digital Experience Manager Brandi Boatner put it another way during the Miami conference: “Congrats, you’re all data scientists.”

Boatner pointed out the many data streams at our disposal today. There are internal sources that are coming from your advertising, website and internal processes. Analyze them as well as external streams you can study such as news trends, social media trends and competitive intelligence.

Google’s Louis Gray pointed conference attendees to Google Trends, a site where you can see in real-time what the world or the U.S.A. is searching, what news stories are trending and find interesting reports on search behaviors.

If you’d like to dig deeper into your audience’s awareness, beliefs or behaviors, check out Google Survey. Use this tool to cost-effectively add your questions to consumer surveys pushed out to targeted demographic groups via a network of publishers.Image result for PR measurement memes

Or if you have data of your own that you’d like to put into an impressive visualization, Gray pointed to Google Public, a data visualization tool. And don’t forget plain old Microsoft Excel. It will recommend the optimal charts and graphs for you based on your spreadsheet data.

It’s a data-rich world. Your company and clients are collecting data all the time. Extract that data to find amazing trends or to dispute conventional wisdom. Maybe there’s a surprising correlation between weather patterns and shopping behaviors, or day of the week and donations. The point is, you won’t know if you don’t look. And you won’t look if you think it’s outside of your skillset.

So, call a meeting with your company’s data guru and start spit balling with your new best friends in I.T.

LIE #4: More data is the answer.

It’s not about metrics. It’s about insights. And it’s not about the quantity of data points. It’s about their relevance to your goal.

Over a third of social marketers reported recently that they struggle to “distill data into insights and actions.” And it’s no wonder. Facebook and Google Analytics are just two sources that can generate a massive amount of data on your target audiences’ behavior.

Going back to your informational and behavioral objectives, it’s important to pinpoint a handful of key performance indicators to show that your message is reaching your target audience and that they are taking the behaviors that your client or boss really cares about.

You don’t need to track them all. You just need to focus on the metrics that matter and then go beyond tracking to analysis.

LIE #5: Setting measurable PR objectives sets you up to fail.

The old saying applies here: you can’t improve what you don’t measure.

It is not a failure to set measurable objectives and then fall short of them.

The failure is in not understanding why you didn’t meet your objectives. Were they not SMART enough–specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time dimensioned? Was your strategy missing an element? Was your target getting the information but not motivated sufficiently or too inconvenienced to take action?

If you’ve set measurable goals, you are forced to ask yourself these questions and better understand your successes and challenges, which will make you better.

The only real failure that should scare you is the failure to even try. Or as another old saying goes, no one plans to fail, they just fail to plan.

Let us know what you think. How has your experience with PR measurement been? What tips or tools have you discovered? What obstacles have you encountered with your team, boss, budgets or clients? We’re all in this together and I’d love to hear what you think. Tweet me at @juliewright or @wrightoncomm.

How to Strengthen your Business with Diversity

By Ronda Williams—Marketing & Administrative Coordinator

Twitter: @R_Williams11


Diversity is defined as…

an instance of being composed of differing elements or qualities.

(W)OC has a diverse team of experts in various fields including communications, social media, public relations, graphic design, videography, and more. Not only is our team diverse but the industries we cover are also; this makes for a complementary partnership. Who says you can’t be an expert in more than one field?

The Facts about Diversity:

According to the Harvard School of Law, “the presence of an industry expert independent director is associated with an increase of 4.6% in firm value.”

Whether it be a firm, agency, or business having an industry expert will add to the value of your company.

Another fact  says, “40% of respondents in a recent survey of S&P 500 firms identified industry expertise as a desired background.”

We all could learn a thing-or-two from the business strategies of the S&P 500 firms.

Diversity in a Contagious Atmosphere:

At (W)OC we have a positive atmosphere that makes for less stress and allows us to GSD (Get Stuff Done).  Everyone here works together in  the benefit of achieving the tasks at hand.

Mark Nadler says, “You want people who understand the business and the industry that you’re in so they can think strategically.”

Having a team that is comprised of a diverse background makes for a winning team that can strategize together for the big win.

To put it simply, “a diverse team makes for a strong team!”

He goes on to say, “the roles of the individual board member, the outside person, is to pull the two sides together, to create a link and to bridge different opinions and different points of view.”  Again, backing up the concept of,

A diverse team = A strong team!

At (W)OC we help strengthen each other with our expertise. We’re always lending advice and coming together for a team huddle to create winning strategies for our client partner’s. Having that one team member that is an expert in such industries can be helpful to bring together both sides of a vision.

To learn more about the diverse industries that we cover please visit, www.WrightOnComm.com or give us a call at (858) 755-5411 and let us help bring your visions to life!

Does Listening to Music at Work Increase Productivity?

By Ronda Williams­­ Marketing & Administrative Coordinator’

Twitter: @R_Williams11


“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything” -Plato

Here at (W)right On Communications we are encouraged to turn up our music and jam out as we work.  When you enter our office you might hear Julie Wright “fist pumping” to some EDM as she finishes up a report or Grant Wright “deep in focus” with some smooth jazz while he draws up a proposal. Then there is Keely Smith singing to Adele or Chance Shay listening to his “brotha-from-another-mother,” the artist formerly known as Kanye West. No matter what time of the day, we’re all listening to music as we work.

One morning I was wondering if listening to music while you work increases your productivity, so I started to research and here is what I found:

It’s good for repetitive work!

 “Various studies have indicated that, in general, people who listened to music while they worked on repetitive tasks performed faster and made fewer errors.”

How music affects the brain…

According to examinedexistence.com,

“The meter, timber, rhythm and pitch of music are managed in areas of the brain that deal with emotions and mood.”

So listening to music while you work should not only increase your productivity but also put you in a better mood. This article goes on to say,

            “A great way to relieve the tensions that bring you down is to listen to music. Soothing tunes can help relax your tensed muscles, as well as pace down your breathing rate.”

Having a relaxed mind and muscles can also help prevent prolonged work injuries to your arms and wrists.

Crew.com quoted neuroscientist and musician, Jamshed Bharucha, as saying:

 “Creative domains, like music, allow humans to connect in a synchronized way, helping us develop a group identity and makes us more likely to work together – which was an immensely important advantage for keeping the human species alive.”

Not only will listening to music while you work put you in a better mood but it will increase team morale in the workplace.

Just remember that you are in control of your mood and stress levels at work. Tomorrow is a brand new day so try something new and listen to some music while you’re getting stuff done.

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