All Posts in PR
Q. What will you do at Cutline?
Currently I am an intern and I support various accounts. I am busy every moment of the day, but I am thriving and having fun. Being at Cutline allows me to dabble into every aspect of the PR industry, and I absolutely love the fact that I get to work alongside and support such passionate and talented people.
Q. What will you do at Cutline?
As an intern I’ll be helping out with some of Cutline’s accounts. I think the main thing, though, will be building strong relationships with the people around me, and being a team player by jumping in wherever I can. I can’t wait to learn from all these talented, wonderful people!
Ever wondered how we got our start here at Cutline? You’re in luck! We’re back with another post that showcases the stories of how Cutliners turned into PR rockstars. Check out how Mishri Shah became a sensational Manager.
How did you get your start in PR?
I majored in journalism in college, and while I loved it, I quickly realized I like talking way too much to limit myself to just writing. Working in PR gives me the best of both worlds -- I get to write, and I get to communicate with my awesome clients and rockstar coworkers everyday!
What’s your latest/favorite hit so far?
One of the recent hits I’m really excited about was securing a slot for Pebble in O Magazine’s spring trends issue! It was really neat to see Pebble featured in print among several other exciting brands.
What’s a top tip you’d offer to someone aspiring to become a PR rockstar?
Always put yourself in your client’s shoes. Just like any other relationship, empathy is key to fostering a strong and healthy partnership with your client. Understanding their world -- their preferences and requirements -- makes it much easier to share clear recommendations and find new and exciting opportunities for them. At the end of the day, you’ll secure better results, and your client will put more trust in you!
If you know anything about football or have been paying attention to the news at all lately, you’ll know that the National Football League has had quite the scandalous year. From a PR standpoint, it’s been nothing short of a nightmare!
Most recently, the NFL and my home team, the New England Patriots, have been stuck in this infamous, never-ending controversy known as ‘deflategate.’ As a refresher, deflategate came about when Tom Brady - quarterback of the Patriots - was found to be playing with footballs that looked to be deflated during the first half of 2015 AFC championship (the game before the Super Bowl XLIX). Some say deflating a football is supposed to give a person a competitive advantage (it’s easier to grip), but the Pats still demolished the Indianapolis Colts 28-0 in the second half after the footballs were corrected. Did it really make that much of difference? Eh, no! Pardon my biased tone, I grew up in the greater Boston area.
Anyways, deflating footballs is a clear violation of the NFL playing rules and unfortunately, this wasn’t the first time the Patriots have been found doing questionable things. This led a sequence of on-going awkward press conferences and media reports, which had Brady, Patriots coach Bill Belichick, and the NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell under fire.
Under pressure to act, the league decided to investigate the situation, which was led by attorney Ted Wells. They released a nearly 250 page Wells Report which found that Brady was “generally aware” (and most likely he was) that the footballs were deflated. The league suspended him for four games (that’s fair, he broke the written rules of the game), fined the team $1 million (they can afford it), and took away certain drafting picks until 2017 (that hurts).
In effort to fight back, the Patriots launched a website called The Wells Report in Context, which has their lawyer explaining or disproving the most incriminating claims from the original report.
For example, the NFL and Wells Report discussed a series of suspicious text messages where a locker room attendant called himself the “deflator.” The Pats and The Wells Report in Context justify that is was a conversation about one locker room attendant’s efforts to lose weight.
Brady has since appealed the ruling through the NFL Players Association, and Players Association requested for a neutral arbitrator. Roger Goodell denied the request and said that he would preside over the appeal. This decision has brought an immense amount of criticism against him and the league from fans and the Patriots, who are accusing Goodell of being unfair. This has *slightly* shifted the media focus away from the Pats and back on the NFL.
The Wells Report in Context does serve as an interesting lesson in crisis PR and how a company or organization can respond if they feel like there’s no way out of a bad situation. Some of the points may have been absurd, but the Pat’s report was simple, to the point, and tells their side of the story in their own words. Since the appeal hasn’t happened yet, it’s very likely this story will remain in the news cycle and will be interesting to see how it all unfolds as the new season begins. Stay tuned!
Yesterday I set out to draft a quick blog post about our open job positions – two kick-ass senior account executives to join the Cutline Crew in San Francisco and/or New York City. But instead of me writing some rambling post, I decided to ask my colleagues for help. So, I sent out this note:
Subject: HELP! Need input from you for a blog post
Text of email: Quick! I need the top 10 reasons an SAE should join Cutline... Go! Pretty please. 🙂
(Yes. I use emoticons in email and every time I do I cringe just a little bit.)
What I saw in response to my email BLEW. MY. MIND. Nine years ago this month, Megan Lamb called me in Texas, where I was visiting my family, and asked if I wanted to help start Cutline (which was nameless at the time). Nine years later, I’ve never been more proud to say I’m a Cutliner. Sure, you could argue that people responded positively to my ask because I helped start Cutline. But that’s honestly not the way we roll here. And they could have responded in a million different ways.
My plan was to highlight one reason from 10 different Cutliners. With a little preamble from me. Duh. But, once again, my fearless, amazing colleagues have risen to the challenge and have left me stumped. So, hopefully I’m stumping them a little right now. The upside of having the keys to the kingdom is that I can post to our blog or make changes to our website at my leisure (hopefully I got this right, Nena!). So, Cutline Crew, this one’s for you, too!
YOU GUYS ARE THE HANDS-DOWN ABSOLUTELY NO QUESTIONS ASKED THE FREAKING BEST. EVER. Words honestly cannot describe how thankful I am to work with such an incredible bunch of people. Today is our annual Thanksgiving potluck and I just want to say that I am INCREDIBLY thankful to work with each and every one of you… starting with the best business partner, colleague, mentor, and friend a girl could ask for, and that would be my little lamb. This has been an amazing year for our growing agency and you should all be extremely proud of what we’ve accomplished together. THANK YOU. THANK YOU. THANK YOU. And here’s to the next 90 years!
Now that I’ve rambled far too long – you saw that coming, right? – and have probably lost the intended audience, I want to share with you… future Cutline SAEs… the top I-lost-count reasons YOU should join the Cutline Crew. If you like what you read here, drop us a line at jobs at cutline dot com.
Lots of love from Erin / Efors / Forsie / Fors / whatever you call me.
10 46 Reasons You Should Join Cutline (unedited and brought to you by the fabulous Cutline Crew!)
- We are awesome
- Hot new office
- Generous PTO
- Cool, Smart, Creative Chicks who work here
- Megan Lamb
- Erin Fors
- We have amazing clients
- Dog lovers
- Brand New MacBooks
- Holiday Party = Fabulousness
- Pictures of Baxter
- Awesome gifs
- Nacho Libre
- Snacks for days
- Chalkboard art
- The greatest people on the planet and coolest clients an SAE could ask for
- Because of our dope fitness sessions. Buns of cinnamon are great, but buns of steel are even better.
- Our clients are big deals (meaning everyone knows them or will know them)
- You will have equal parts autonomy and support
- You will be challenged every day
- We have Sex in the City marathons on Fridays! Or if you want to tune into a dog show/competition, people will let you 🙂 whatever your jam is, it's ok
- All of our clients are straight up COOL.
- We have a zen room with a massage chair. Just saying.
- Want to sit at your desk? No problem. Stand? That can also be arranged.
- We believe in work life balance.
- We trust each other.
- We know how to get shit done.
- Our holiday parties are epic.
- Our clients are THE BEST
- Our team is small but mighty
- We love a good happy hour
- We value meritocracy
- We do Pilates so that we can stuff our face with Thanksgiving meals or because we believe that half of a meal should be dessert
- Our clients are not just our clients, but our partners
- We love to celebrate - holidays, big media hits, or even just because
- We have a "Zen" room in our office with a kick-ass massage chair
- Our team is made up of positive, intellectually curious, fun people
- Creativeness can also equal professionalism
- Quirks are not encouraged, they are preferred
- In a small office your voice will be heard and you won't even have to shout
- Ties are to be worn as belts or headbands unless you're a girl, then they can be worn as a tie
- Did we mention there's ice cream in the freezer?
- We love gadgets. Need we say more?
- Oh, and Twitter wars of love.
Last week, two of us Cutliners were lucky enough to attend The Holmes Report’s In2 Innovation Summit, which focused on “The Future of Engagement.” Most of the speakers were senior executives from PR agencies or in-house PR teams and journalists. The conversations were fun and insightful and below are a few of the things we learned and wanted to share.
On the first day of the conference, Gabriel Stricker, VP of Marketing and Communications at Twitter, shared rules PR pros should follow to adapt to and succeed in the “modern age of communications.” Highlights and major takeaways include:
- Love thy reporter: If you don’t love reporters and journalism, you’re in the wrong profession. Pretty simple.
- It’s about the voters, not the election: You need to have a thorough understanding of your users and customers. That’s imperative and the only way you can make informed decisions…about anything.
- Get the picture: Images are often more powerful than words. Make sure you have good visual assets. Really think through how they reflect your brand. FUN FACT: We learned that Gabriel and his team were behind this iconic Twitter IPO photo. It was one of the first times, if not the first time, an IPO photo didn’t feature execs or investors, but real people who use the company’s services in real life.
The second day kicked off with a keynote from Kelly McKinnis, SVP and Chief Communications Officer for Levi’s. Before joining Levi’s, Kelly led communications at Dell for several years. She drew from her experience at Dell to present her “care tag for transformation,” featuring her five lessons for transforming a company:
- The right team: Combine optimism, pragmatism, and courage. Layer with resilience and expertise. Add a splash of fun.
- Message matters: Align your narrative with the big picture. Select the words. Don’t waver.
- Be agile: Sands will shift. Be ready to jump, tumble, and roll. Hang in there (it’s okay to arrive early).
- Bring the outside in: Know your audience. Own insights. Build credibility. Drive strategy.
- Embrace the new: Innovate. Take risks. Lead.
If you liked what you’ve read and are eager to learn more, feel free check out additional recaps from the event here!
- Paige & Rachel
Steve Rubel from Edelman kicked off by explaining how his research has found a distinct difference between the type of news that finds us (“lean forward” news), with the type of news that we discover on our own (“lean back” news). The challenge to PR practitioners and brands today is how to tell compelling stories in different styles that find and engage a target audience.
Karl Gude from Michigan State University led a “Visualization 101”-style tutorial that highlighted the benefits of visualization (enhanced engagement, retention, and comprehension) as well as the tools that brands and PR professionals can use to create compelling visualizations. For example, use maps to demonstrate where something happened, charts to compare apples to oranges, and diagrams to help brands explain an idea. A few open source graphics and visualization tools can be found at http://freevisualtools.wikispaces.com/.
Natanya Anderson from Whole Foods Market talked about the importance of appealing to different types of learners. Does someone prefer to acquire knowledge through a video or an image/illustration or an infographic? Brands like Whole Foods have launched campaigns tailored to each type of visual learner.
As one example, Whole Foods’ “Share the Buzz” campaign told a complex story about the importance of honeybees in our food ecosystem. Natanya’s team integrated visuals with text to get the message out in a way that their audience would be able to understand in their daily lives and share with friends and family. The campaign was designed to resonate with people who learn through a combination of imagery and text.
Natanya also shared advice for brands who use Pinterest to become expert curators: make your story big and broad so it includes both your own passions and perspective as well as those of your customer. She also suggests sourcing most of your content from outside your own brand. Inspiration can come from all around you, so stay current! Her advice for brands on Facebook was along the same lines: celebrate your story with imagery and use visuals to open a window to your world.
All in all, it was a great reminder of the importance of visual storytelling in PR and marketing campaigns. Thanks to PR News for hosting and bringing together an interesting and diverse group of experts to share their knowledge with the rest of us!
One of the best things about working at Cutline is the opportunity to interact with new early-stage startups on a daily basis. And in talking to these teams day after day, we often find the conversations turning to questions about how they should be approaching PR. As you might expect, we have some pretty specific thoughts on those questions, and have put a few of them together for you here:
1. Launching a company doesn’t necessarily mean you’re ready for PR. You’ve been working hard, you’re feeling good about your product, and you’re ready to start getting it out there. But that doesn’t mean you have the elements necessary for a strong news story, or that you’re at a stage where PR can make a meaningful contribution to your success. PR can help you attract new users, raise your profile in the investment community, plant a stake in a competitive landscape, and more. But it can only do these things when you have the right ingredients for a story, and when you’re at a stage in your growth as a company where you’ll have regular opportunities to go out and tell it.
2. Talk less about your product and your company and more about the larger trends you fit into and the problems you’re trying to solve. As you put together your PR campaigns and other communications, you should always be thinking about how your company fits into the bigger picture. Of all the problems out there, why is the one you’re trying to solve important? Why will consumers or businesses use your product? What’s new or unique about your approach, your team, or your technology? What’s the vision you’re trying to achieve, and who will it impact? Sit down and craft some talking points that address these things, and then find ways to tie those points into all your PR outreach.
3. Good PR is about building relationships. Figure out who the influential reporters covering your space are, arrange for an introductory meeting (ideally at a point when you have some news they can cover), and then – if they’re interested – work to stay in regular contact with them. Take the time to read their stories (which are likely to be relevant to you anyway) and send them insightful comments. Keep them posted on important developments at your company. Give them a fair chance to cover your news, when appropriate. Doing all these things will help you build strong relationships with them, and that in turn will help you stand out from the pack when you’re trying to secure coverage.
4. Good PR is also about engaging with reporters on a regular basis. In the technology space alone, there are hundreds of potential stories for reporters to consider every day. As noted in #3 above, having good relationships can help you get their attention. The other thing that can help is regular engagement – reaching out to interested reporters whenever you have some meaningful news to share or a great story idea (the launch of a significant product or feature, the announcement of a prominent new partner or customer, an interesting feature idea, etc.). And when you do reach out, make sure you’re tying the story back to the talking points discussed in #2. This will help reporters understand how today’s step forward fits into your larger strategy, and ensure that they hear a steady drumbeat from you about that strategy. They won’t cover everything you put out – and you shouldn’t expect them to – but it’ll help you stay on their radar.
5. One more thing good PR is about: news. Most reporters are driven by news cycles. A story breaks, develops, and then dies. Then another breaks, develops, and dies. And so on. Even the larger-scale features and commentary pieces out there are often spurred by an announcement of some kind, or by a series of announcements that suggest a trend. Can you get great coverage without news? Of course. But the PR programs that are most successful in the long run tend to be the ones that structure announcements and other campaigns to maximize their news value and fit into breaking trends.
What else should early-stage startups be thinking about when it comes to PR? Weigh in below in the comments section.