The DIY PR Project launches August 1

DIY PR

Launches August 1

This summer, FACTEUR PR is launching a new online program for small business owners, creative entrepreneurs, and anyone who wants to understand how to prep for and procure their own publicity: The DIY Project: Prep For & Procure Your Own Publicity.

Over the course of five weeks, virtual attendees will have the opportunity to learn the basics of public and media relations, from identifying your target audiences and outlets, to putting together a thoughtful plan, creating a press kit, perfecting your pitch, and more!

The DIY PR Project is different than any other PR or marketing workshop online. Part class and part consulting, you'll not only have access to educational videos and helpful workbooks, but also access to the community so you can receive thoughtful feedback and answers to questions along the way.

Each week's lesson, led by FACTEUR PR Founder and Director, Reena S. Goodwin, will be brought to you in the comfort of your own home or office. The links to the workshop videos are delivered straight to your inbox every week along with the corresponding workbook of the week.

At the end of the five weeks, you’ll walk away with your Brand Pitch Pack, ready with the tools necessary to pitch your brand to the media and a feeling of empowerment that you can secure earned media coverage for your business!

Now, you may be wondering, "is the intention of this program to eliminate the need for a publicist?" The answer is "no way!" I have been working in this field for 13 years. There is no way I can share all there is to know about PR in five weeks, because nobody knows it all. We are always still learning as this industry is always evolving. 

Nevertheless, in the nearly three years since launching FACTEUR PR, we have identified a segment of business owners who either cannot currently afford a full-time or contract publicist, or want to expand the skillset of their in-house team to also handle media relations. We're offering the chance to obtain a comprehensive understanding and the tools to be able to succeed at PR on your own time, anytime. 

Interested? Here are some important dates to put into your calendar:

May 1: DIY-PR.com goes live with information about the workshop
July 8:
Registration opens
July 31:
Last day to register and save $100
August 1:
The DIY PR Project officially launches. Registrants receive lesson #1.

Ready to learn more? Hop over to DIY-PR.com to sign up for our e-mail list for more information.

Digital content and story ideas for May

May digital content ideas

Welcome to the month of May! If you're in the northern hemisphere, you are probably welcoming some consistently warmer weather, which always inspires us to create new things. May has no shortage of great events that can serve as an inspirational source for blogging. These ideas are also applicable to your social media and media relations pitches. To get you started, here are just a few opportunities this month to align your brand or business with some already note-worthy happenings online.

May is...

  • Vegan Month

  • National Peanut Butter Lovers Month

  • National Water Safety Month

  • World Stroke Month

  • National Bike Month

  • National Photograph Month

  • National Songwriting Month

Daily opportunities include...

May 2: National Lemonade Day
May 4: National Star Wars Day
May 5: Cinco De Mayo
May 5: Kentucky Derby
May 7: National Packaging Design Day
May 11: National Foam Rolling Day
May 12: Mother's Day
May 18: International Museum Day
May 20: Bike to Work Day
May 25: National Wine Day
May 27: International Jazz Day
May 28: National Hamburger Day
May 31: National Macaroon Day

Want more content ideas for the year? These are just a few of the ones we've identified! We have developed four editorial content calendars specifically for the food & drink, arts & hobbies, health & wellness, and lifestyle industries. You can find them under the Instant Resources tab here on the FACTEUR website (and showcased below). We've pulled together social media, blogging, and PR opportunities based on monthly and daily holidays, hashtags, and high profile events that are related to each of those industries. Also included is a list of story ideas to get you started with developing your editorial plan, as well as space to brainstorm your own ideas. We're offering each calendar for $9, and if you buy all four with our Blogger Bundle, you basically get one free! Plus, every time we update the calendars, we'll make sure you'll get the newest iteration (at no extra charge, of course). Happy creating!

Save this post to pinterest

Save this post to pinterest

How a background in journalism can give you an edge in PR and Marketing

Ever since I was a little girl, you could say I’ve loved writing and photography — it started out with my first disposable camera, ramped up with joining a scrapbooking club and culminated in creating “The Powell Times,” my version of our family’s very own newspaper with details about birthdays, field trips and visits to our grandparents’ house. It was the start of being in touch with media, and although I can cite slightly more impressive bylines now, I’ll never forget the smaller-scale creative projects I came up with.

It only made sense to attend Kent State University to get a journalism degree, so in the fall of 2014, I moved from Pennsylvania to Ohio to pursue a career in magazine journalism. Momentarily I considered switching majors, but in my heart, I always knew that reporting, editing and content-creating were the things I was best at. Having one year in post-grad under my belt, it’s wild to see how my eyes have been opened to even more possibilities as a result of this diploma.

bernard-hermant-621390-unsplash.jpg

As my relatives would say, journalism is evolving — and I would have to agree. Structurally, media people have to think on their feet to present the news in new ways. Our society, specifically my generation, might respond to online content with more enthusiasm than they would a print publication. Although a sweeping generalization, we have to recognize that information can take on many different forms: an email newsletter, a longform article, a tweet, an Instagram caption, a press release, a broadcast story, a piece of citizen journalism captured on an iPhone. The media landscape is becoming wider and longer and deeper. And so it goes with the job market for those in communications-related fields.

When I graduated college, I never imagined sitting in FACTEUR PR, a PR and marketing studio in Ohio City nine months later, whose founder also has a journalism background. I didn’t think journalism and public relations were polar opposites, but I also wasn’t sure what aligning the two looked like. Today, I can say with confidence I do now! Studying and working with the art of fact for so long (since the days of the high school news magazine) has given me a deeper understanding and appreciation for the public relations “side” of this line of work. Here’s how:

Story ideation:

In almost every writing-intensive class I took, story ideas were the first step to a healthy semester. Some would use whiteboard brainstorming sessions, others would use prompts and others would assign beats to each student. It was always our responsibility to establish the “why,” narrow the “what” and find the “who” willing to help us craft an authentic, fair piece. This was a challenging process! A grade would depend on someone in authority getting back to you with a phone call, email or text, approving your request to meet with them and setting up a time within their oftentimes busy schedule.

I believe in the integrity of this system — it has produced some of the most wonderful stories I have had the pleasure of reporting. But as a trained journalist and an emerging public relations person, I see there’s no harm in letting public relations help guide your pitches. If you’re a journalist who receives an email from a communications person, it’s easy to be wary of their motives: are they selling me something? Are they persuading me to do something? Is this ethical?

If the public relations person is doing their job in a truthful way, they will present you with only the facts, operating as a messenger to inform the journalist about something engaging going on. They will act as an ambassador for a brand, event or organization to not only inform you, but to assist with art, logistics and communication. They act as a liaison from one busy person to another busy person, syncing up calendars, details and email addresses.

I used to get nervous when a public relations person would set up a conference call with me and my subject — now I welcome it! They are there to help things run smoothly, especially in something as complex as a phone conversation, where timing and intonation are key in asking questions and expressing the right message.

andrew-neel-308138-unsplash.jpg

Social Media:

In my photojournalism minor, I was taught photography primarily from the perspective that it would later be joined with an in-print or online news article. While this type of straight-out-of-the-camera photography is essential to the market, there’s something to be said about planned shoots. They serve different purposes, but their heart is the same: to notify you!

Social media, particularly Instagram and all of its mechanisms, has become a great short form way to tell people what’s going on — whether from your publication’s headquarters or on-the-go. There should be no shame in using this platform as a way to get your message across.

What’s phenomenal about social accounts is the adaptability they offer. If the demographic for your product, event or message is the baby boomer generation, it may be more wise to utilize a Facebook post to get the word out. If you’re looking to engage with millennials, Twitter or Instagram might be the preferable route to take. One realization I’ve had since working with trained public relations people is that this practice is not manipulation — it’s communication, and it’s a two-way street. The correct distribution of information is simply important in reaching the greatest number of people with your message you’ve worked hard to put together.

krists-luhaers-676036-unsplash.jpg

Messaging:

Timing is everything! Whether you’re a journalist or a public relations professional, it’s important to set and meet deadlines. And when you’re a public relations professional, those deadlines should be created with the journalist in mind.

If you’re pitching to a newspaper journalist, it might be easier to notify them in a more last-minute fashion. Employees of newsrooms are well aware that our communities are constantly telling stories, and their job is to be on high alert for emerging details that will better serve their readers.

However, if you’re interested in pitching to a magazine journalist, a message well in advance will be appreciated. I never knew how real this was until I began working for Ohio Magazine. The Cleveland-based publication, which covers all things Buckeye State, operates on a month-ahead deadline schedule, often researching and writing stories for about two weeks, then fact-checking and finishing stories for the next two. I remember being assigned a piece about holiday lights shows across the state — I was calling people near the beginning of November for information. I felt like it was Christmas time for about two months.

Larger scale publications work even further in advance to create their lookbooks, articles, Q&As and round-ups. If you take a look at the editorial calendars for Better Homes & Gardens, Woman’s Day and Town & Country, you’ll find deadlines for June occur in mid-March. It’s helpful to take a look at these pages, typically available on brands’ websites, to get a better understanding of their pace.

For every single journalist, there are six PR professionals who are at the ready to help guide a story. Having experience now on both sides has definitely offers an edge: insight into how to best collaborate together. We’re excited we get to do that each day at FACTEUR PR.

Are press releases outdated?

are press releases outdated

So much of the work we do as PR professionals is preparation. Long before any media outreach, we are compiling fact sheets, photography, video, biographies, and so forth so that when it's time to pitch, we're prepared with the assets that we know journalists will want to help them with their editorial decisions, researching for an interview, and developing the story itself.

A press release – and moreso a press kit – is often part of this preparatory step. The purpose of the press release is to communicate the details of a special announcement from the source. Press releases are therefore valuable in sharing that information in a quick and concise manner. 

However, the practice of press release distribution can be considered outdated. There are six publicists for every journalist, and each of those journalists is receiving an abundance of sterile press releases to their inboxes every day. Rather than relying on mass distribution to get the word out, we suggest (and practice!) focusing more on personalized pitches to a journalist we know covers the beat. It's absolutely more time consuming, but because relationships are so important in this business, investing the time to build those relationships is of the most importance. Including a link to a press release or an EPK in that personal pitch to learn more makes sure your bases are covered: you've taken the time to develop and suggest a great story angle to the journalist as well as did some of that homework for them by supplying a press release and supplementary information should they need it.

If your end-goal is a story about your business and not just a news brief, I would suggest pitching a journalist a story idea – not just about the brand itself – instead of crafting and disseminating a press release. If you want to create an announcement and share it, use it as part of your pitch; or, create a video announcement and include it in your pitch. That strategy is two-fold: you'll be able to float at the top of an ocean of "For Immediate Release" emails, and you can also use that media on your owned channels, such as your blog, social media, and e-newsletter. 

Want to learn more about how our personal approach to PR can help your earn your brand recognition? Contact us!

How beauty brands can make the most of PR and social media

Photo: beautyheaven.com.au

Photo: beautyheaven.com.au

The world of beauty PR and promotion has changed so rapidly in the last decade. More than ever, social media is as important as all other marketing efforts, and if you aren’t engaging in some form of PR, you are definitely missing out.

So how do you make the most of the opportunities for promotion in the beauty industry?

Where beauty brands once had to be in the glossy pages of a magazine to be considered successful and get noticed, brands are now more eager to create buzz on social media in order to increase their image and brand awareness before anything else. Oftentimes, features in publications and other print media will stem from a good social media strategy.

Creating a Brand Voice and Story

Regardless of where your media coverage is coming from, all of your promotional efforts should fall under the same brand voice and story. As it is for every brand, even outside of the beauty industry, continuity and evidence of thoughtfulness are what will truly legitimize your efforts.

Brands may find it helpful to write down exactly what their mission is, what tone they want to adopt, and a create a definitive mission statement. What makes your product more worthy than the thousands of other beauty products that have the same function? Create a story that will make editors want to cover your product over another. If necessary, create your own new category of beauty, focused on a unique aspect of your product.

Instagram Scrolling Doubles as Research

When you find yourself inevitably scrolling through Instagram during a slump in the middle of the day (we’ve all been there!) take notice of what is trending and on the rise in the beauty industry. Trends and ‘the next big thing’ change nearly every few days, so stay on top of what’s hot and what’s not. Brands may also find it helpful to follow MUAs (makeup artists), influential and indie magazine editors, and more traditional influencers who dabble in beauty.

You may be thinking, yes, scrolling through instagram is fun, but how is that helping me get the word out about my brand? The answer is simply because you’re staying well informed! Half of the heavy lifting we do in publicity is in the preparation. As soon as you see a trending topic that fits your brand while scrolling, you can send a story idea, products, and offer yourself up as a source for editors, influencers, or celebs before it’s published. The time and relevance of your efforts can lead to landing a coveted spot in their publication or on their social channels!

Make use of Advocacy

As a beauty brand, you can’t miss out on advocacy if you want to differentiate your brand to stand out in the extremely over-saturated market.

Photo: Kaymeenmcadams, instagram

Photo: Kaymeenmcadams, instagram

Advocacy comes in all different forms, especially in the beauty industry. Advocates don't necessarily have to be an ‘influencer’ that you would find on Instagram, although those aren’t a bad choice. Send your products to industry insiders, like MUAs, who will include your product in their kit and use it on their clients. Editors of magazines might be getting married, or always post about their puffy eye struggles (which, you will know about because of your Instagram research!). If you have a product that fits their needs, send it! If it works, they will usually share it with their coworkers and friends, and at the best, share it on their social media channels.

You may also find it beneficial to partner with someone to be your advocate, such as a MUA or hair stylist. Some artists will sign partnerships with beauty brands and agree to exclusively use their products on clients. This is a good way to get the word out, ensure user-generated content, and have more control over your coverage.

Many brands already make use of this fun and effective strategy. Makeup artist Kaylee McAdams frequently partners with many makeup brands around award season. She executes a full face makeup look using only the products from her sponsored brand and then shares some of the behind the scenes process to her 52K followers. Her sponsorship with Chanel created a buzzworthy pink glow on actress Sadie Sink for the 2018 Golden Globes.

Regardless of whether it’s in your budget to pay for advocacy, ensuring it is as organic as possible is key! Beauty is an investment, and people place immense value in their products, so try to let advocacy happen as authentically as possible, even when money is calling the shots.

Create Buzz

In the modern beauty industry, creating significant buzz around products is ultimately what will get you the best PR. Product launches and announcements have become essential, creative, and highly-anticipated social media campaigns with every aspect planned out beforehand. If you want to capture that traditional media coverage, creating anticipation and hosting experiences that will make journalists want to write about you can be your ticket to perfectly captivating content.

Photo: blushlondon.co.uk

Photo: blushlondon.co.uk

In 2015, famed ‘mother’ of makeup, Pat McGrath sent models down the Prada SS16 runway with startlingly bright gold lips that instantly created an online frenzy in the beauty world. After creating plenty of buzz about the gold looks by sharing images of her work on her social channels, McGrath announced that the gold pigment was to be her first official product in what is now the billion dollar company, Pat McGrath Labs. Just days later, she partnered with Instagram to record her launch event for Gold 001 in Paris. The feeling of FOMO was very real for anyone who wasn’t reporting about it, and the event gathered so much media attention and coverage that the Gold 001 sold out in just days.

Your brand might not be able to send models down a haute couture runway wearing your products as a covert and masterful unveiling, but the sentiment and motivation are the same for any beauty brand. Anticipation and good social media planning, as well as creativity, are essential to creating that buzz, and obtaining the best PR for your brand.

ROI, ROI, and more ROI

At the end of the day what ultimately matters is ROI (return on investment, for those who don’t know!). If you’re spending more on your marketing budget than you end up with in sales, you probably aren’t hitting the right beauty niche for your brand, and are most likely losing out on other, more valuable opportunities. If you find yourself in this situation, re-evaluate your mission, and the unique aspects of your product. Try to find what tactics will make you stand out amongst the competition, and get creative!

FACTEUR PR is proud to partner with a number of beauty, health, and wellness brands on everything social media and PR, having secured earned media coverage from a number of top industry publications, such as Allure, Refinery29, PopSugar and more. Interested in learning about how we can help? Contact us!

FACTEUR PR welcomes Kelly Powell to its team

Kelly Powell FACTEUR

We are so excited to welcome our new Communications Assistant, Kelly Powell, to the FACTEUR PR team! Kelly Powell is a journalist and photographer located in Kent, Ohio. Alongside her position at FACTEUR PR, she works part-time as the editorial assistant for Ohio Magazine and is a freelance wedding, engagement and portrait photographer. She is a lover of all things media- and graphic-related and is probably signed up for more email newsletters than most.

A graduate of Kent State University’s Magazine Journalism and Photojournalism programs, she loves spending time between Kent and Cleveland for their access to coffee shops, restaurants, art museums and the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Kelly is excited to work at FACTEUR in the heart of Ohio City and looks forward to supporting its clients both at home and from afar.

Kelly will join Reena and Hannah on all day-to-day client relations and efforts with a focus on public relations, social media, and content creation. Please join us in welcoming her to the team! Leave a comment below, and feel free to send her an email. Plus, stay tuned for some blogs and other great content from Kelly throughout the coming months here on the FACTEUR blog! 

How to know if your business is ready for PR

Photo: Marina Claire Photography

Photo: Marina Claire Photography

"How do you know if you're ready for PR?" This is a question we often hear from potential clients. They know they want to gain exposure for their brand, but what does it take? I addressed this very question with Modern CLE on Sunday’s Behind the Story event at the FACTEUR PR office, and wanted to share the insight with our readers here, too.

The fact of the matter is, you always need PR. You always want people saying great things about your brand, so you need to initiate that by being a voice for your brand. PR is more than just media relations. It’s events, it’s customer service, it’s managing how you interact with people when they walk through your door, it’s the messaging and imaging you deliver through social media. Now the question of when to know if you need to hire a PR pro to increase your exposure boils down to a couple things. 

1. Do you have a strong brand? If the look and feel is consistent, your mission and values are apparent, you know exactly who your audience is, the tone and voice of your content is in line with who you are as a brand, and the business itself is operating as it should, you’re going to be ready for communicate all of that clearly.

2. Can you afford it? When you’re hiring a PR person, you are paying for their time, not for a media placement like in advertising. To give an example, a full-page ad in Martha Stewart Living is $233,000. An article will only cost you the time of the publicist, which includes everything from researching the opportunity, creating and compiling creative assets, putting together a press kit or materials, story ideation, sending samples, pitching, securing, follow-up, interview coordination, reporting, and so forth. However, the important thing to note is that editorial coverage is never a guarantee and not always on your schedule like advertising, but arguably its value is higher because you have a reputable third party endorsing or covering your brand. 

3. Can you handle increased recognition? It’s not always an immediate correlation that PR leads to revenue. Rather, PR elevates reputation, which can absolutely lead to greater revenue. So make sure your business can scale to meet the demands.

At FACTEUR PR, we offer scalable public relations services, from coaching to committed engagements. If you have any questions at all, drop a comment below or contact us!

Reena S. Goodwin of FACTEUR PR recognized by Modern CLE

It’s not every day that those of us whose jobs are mostly executed behind-the-scenes are recognized in the media. And we’re super excited to be noticed and featured in Modern CLE this week! Jillian Kramer, editor of the digital publication shining a light on and for Northeast Ohio women, spent some time with us recently at the FACTEUR office. We talked about everything from landing to losing my dream job right after college, to how I started FACTEUR, to my pregnancy that I thought would derail my career but in fact, helped to advance it. You can read all about it here.

As part of Modern CLE’s new editorial initiatives, we’re partnering on a Behind the Story event on Sunday, January 20! You’re invited to enjoys bottomless bubbly and sweets catered by @sweetcostocle, plus an intimate and informative discussion with me, in which I’ll share tips for how to stand out on social media. Plus, you get your headshot taken and freshen up those Instagram profiles, as well!

At the time of this blog post publishing, tickets are already half-way sold out, so snag them fast before they’re gone!


Case Study: How this brand broke through a saturated market to earn 250 million media impressions

The project

Oak & Honey Events is an earth-friendly event planning company based in Northeast Ohio. In addition to planning weddings and nonprofit special events, the brand also produces its annual Recycled Wedding Boutique, a flea-market of sorts for couples to sell their used wedding wears and wares while alleviating some of the carbon footprints created while planning events of a large scale.

a press kit helps tell your brand story.

a press kit helps tell your brand story.

The plan

FACTEUR PR created a yearlong integrated Public Relations plan and executed the plan through targeted media outreach over a period of six months. We created a dynamic Electronic Press Kit (above), an educational and actionable infographic, and developed thoughtful pitches to both local and national media outlets. How did our pitches stand out in a competitive field such as weddings and event planning? Our strategy heavily revolved around positioning the company’s founder as an expert in the field of sustainable event planning. 

The RESULTS (so far!)

More than 250 million media impressions across media outlets including Martha Stewart Weddings, Good Housekeeping, Brit + Co, Brides, Bridal Guide, and locally on Cleveland.com and the Akron-Beacon Journal.

What the client had to say:

“I started working with FACTEUR last year. I previously was using a national PR group that works with many vendors in the wedding industry. It was very cookie cutter and was not customized to our specialty, so I was looking to make a change. When I started working with Reena she had done her research and presented a PR packet customized to us. We have had a lot more PR coverage than previously not only locally but nationally as well. I was so happy after the first three months I signed for another three to help continue with our PR plan. I can not speak more highly of her and the team. They really go the extra step to make sure you get the bang for your buck.”   -Melanie Tindell, Oak & Honey Events


FACTEUR PR is a boutique studio devoted to public relations, social media, content marketing and digital creative services for emerging and established brands and businesses. Interested in collaborating? Contact us

Tips to ignite excitement around a product launch: what we learned from Fashion Week

It is always exciting to share new products with your consumers. Along with all of the effort put into external promotion, however, we can’t forget about creating content for our own platforms. As we always say at FACTEUR PR, “own your story to share your story!”

Want a tip for approaching your social media in a potentially different way? Treat the drop of a new item like an event! Who wouldn’t want more customer anticipation building up to the release?

The concept:

A good source of inspiration for this kind of strategy is in the fashion industry, specifically how luxury brands engage followers during the release of their collections each season at Fashion Week. An easy way to look at the shared content is in three parts: before, during, and after the event. Instagram, and particularly Instagram Stories, are becoming increasingly important and utilized for brand engagement. Here are some examples of what to look for and share.

Luxury brands are often known for being the least transparent in the industry, so any glimpse into the process is widely welcomed. The desire for transparency is growing in consumers at all market segments, so it is a good thing for small businesses to keep in mind as well!

Pre-Show:

  • Instagram Story Takeover (example: a show attendee shares the process of getting ready for the show.)

  • Small Detail Posts (example: sneak peeks of the show venue, inspirational quotes or images that contributed to the designs, and glances at the production process catch the attention of followers.)

  • Attendance List (example: if someone cool is showing up or is otherwise involved, let viewers know.)

During the Show:

  • A Garment in Motion (example: choosing a few of the strongest or most unique looks from the collection works well when shown on the model in video or photo form.)

  • The Finale Video (example: even a fraction of the moment when all of the garments can be seen at once provides the observer with a good grasp on elements of the collection.)

Post-Show:

  • Attendees’ Responses (example: a candid interview occurs to capture the emotional responses of a variety of viewers.)

  • Edited Visuals (example: the sharing of final images and/or videos of the looks occurs after they have been sorted and edited to meet the company’s level of quality and aesthetic.)

An elegantly applicable brand to observe is that of Dior, one that is often acknowledged for their extensive social media content. On September 24, the luxury fashion house showed their Spring/Summer 2019 RTW collection in Paris. Its Instagram account utilized the story feature throughout the day. Instead of following the pre-show preparation of a well-known influencer, they featured a fresh-faced model describing each part of the fashion show she experienced (shown above). Luxury brands are often known for being the least transparent in the industry, so any glimpse into the process is widely welcomed. The desire for transparency is growing in consumers at all market segments, so it is a good thing for small businesses to keep in mind as well!

How to apply it:

Each of the kinds of content described can be translated and pared down to your specific products or services before, during, and after a launch. Post a sneak peek of the cool packaging or a video talking through your sources of inspiration. After the product is released, maintain its new position in the market. Though your business likely does not have the ability to make the volume of content that a brand such as Dior has, sharing a handful of quality visuals in the following days is already a significant reminder to your audience! At FACTEUR PR, we can’t say enough about the importance of continuing on after a big brand moment has happened. Keeping up public relations both online and off is a constant endeavor, so keep it fresh and creative!

Looking for assistance with your public relations and social media strategy ahead of your brand or product launch? We can help! Head to our Contact page to get started!

Instagram Story images c/o @dior. Cover image c/o Cleo Glover.