May 28, 2013
It’s critical for public figures to acquire a top PR agency, such as 5WPR, when faced with negative media such as being accused of using illicit drugs. It’s much worse when someone posts an Internet video of that public figure allegedly smoking crack cocaine. But that was exactly the accusation leveled at Toronto Mayor Rob Ford recently.
#1 – Stick with what you can prove
Initially, Ford was irate that anyone would make the accusation, much less post it on the web. And while his initial response was far from perfect, he did get one thing right. He made a direct statement that cannot be disproven: “I am not an addict.” The media asked if the video was true and if the accusation was accurate. Ford was reluctant to respond, denying that he currently smokes crack. Lacking evidence, the media can do nothing with these answers to further tarnish Ford. Top PR agencies in NYC specialize in constructing messages to keep the media away.
#2 – Make the media your ally
From there, the mayor makes a fatal public relations mistake. He attacked the media. Instead of attempting to honestly answer questions without further incriminating himself, Ford decided to criticize the media for, in effect, doing their job. This is rarely – if ever – a winning PR move. The media gets paid to ask questions and report information. Trying to shame them into stopping this is pointless. A much better tactic used by top PR agencies, such as 5WPR, is to attempt to craft a response that gives the media what it is looking for without bringing further incrimination. Ford started to do this, but felt pushed too far and lost the plot. He even went so far as to accuse the Toronto Star of being “out to get him.” Well, if it wasn’t before, it likely was now. It is NEVER a good idea to paint a target on your chest and dare the media to start shooting.
#3 – Don’t attack the messenger
In a related point, it is rarely a winning PR approach to get hostile with those seeking the truth. Sure, you may be tired of answering questions, and, yes, you may be growing frustrated. Still, it is much better to simply say, “No more questions.” Then walk away after having made a brief statement. Flip out on a reporter and it will be up on the ‘net before you can get back to your car.
#4 – Control the conversation
This is the big one. Sure, you cannot control the speculation, but that is not what we are talking about here. The “conversation” in this sense is simply the narrative. This is what you must control if you are going to manage a successful PR speed bump. Even when the PR is positive, it is much better to have your team in the driver’s seat.
Ronn Torossian reminds us that it is just as simple – maybe not as easy, but as simple – to offer a positive response to a negative situation. You simply need the best PR agency by your side.
May 23, 2013
New York’s spring ballet season opened quietly with an American music theme. The themes were lively, the music popped and the dancers basked in the spotlight. Ballet season in NYC is both a perfect metaphor and a prime opportunity for various aspects of public relations and brand development.
When dancing to music or as part of a company you have to stay in time, on beat and in step. PR campaigns work the same way. They must be choreographed precisely and performed with proven expertise. Ronn Torossian suggests using a combination of proven techniques and an experienced team to get it right the first time.
Public Image is Only as Good as Your Last Performance
In ballet at this level, one false move can mean losing the lead role. The same is true in public relations. Your reputation is determined by what people are saying about you “now.” At 5W Public Relations we work with our clients to make sure their latest performance is their best yet.
Taking Advantage of Time in the Spotlight
When you have your chance on stage, you have to seize it. In public relations, when you have a chance to get your message out there, you can’t miss it. To do this effectively, you must have an action plan in place. Just as a dancer cannot just walk out on stage without knowing the show, a PR firm cannot move to benefit its client if it has no plan in place. This is why 5WPR works with its clients to go over several “what if” scenarios in each public relations campaign.
Ballet season allows a wide range of companies to put their products and services on display. From the costumes worn by performers to the equipment used backstage to the technology that keeps everything running smoothly, contractors can make or break ballet season. If performers and producers are happy, your reputation can be set. If not, you will have a lot of work to do to catch up. Ronn Torossian explains that the same can be true when using public relations for brand development. If you put yourself out there but the message doesn’t ring true to your target market, your brand development is set back and must make up that ground before moving forward.
May 22, 2013
If you are considering a career in public relations, particularly if you want to work for a top NY PR agency, there are a few things you will need that they won’t teach you in college. 5WPR CEO Ronn Torossian explains why “book smarts” are just the beginning and what you really need to succeed at a major New York public relations agency.
College communications courses are great for introducing students to communication theory, applied techniques and persuasion. Journalism teaches the elements of “story” and how to convey news. And, while these skills are important, there are others that you generally have to learn on your own if you want to be successful and acquire a job at a top NYC PR agency.
#1 – Competence
Yes, this one should go without saying, but here I am saying it. Competence – whether in your work personally or in your industry as a whole – is vital to success at any NYC PR agency. B and C students do not suddenly become “A” communicators when they hit the workforce. Plus, in this business there will not be any teachers or professors pointing out what you did wrong. The market gets to decide if you get top marks or not. And if you don’t, they are not likely to tell you why. If you want to succeed in this industry, you better be ready to do it right the first time.
#2 – Creativity
Ronn Torossian knows the importance of being creative in the PR industry. Some of the most successful campaigns in the history of public relations and marketing have been incredible risks. Characters don’t always strike a chord, and the public doesn’t always want to hear what you have to say. If you do miss, your only option is to learn and do it right the next time.
#3 – Tenacity
You will make mistakes. You will miss something you shouldn’t have, and you may have to fight – and fight hard – to get and keep each client. In this business, if you don’t have thick skin and a willingness to put your shoulder to it and keep pushing, you will fail. Although tenacity is one of those things you will not find in a book, Ronn Torossian and 5WPR considers this to be one of the most sought after qualities of a top NYC PR Firm
#4 – People Skills
Marketing is not all about analytics, and public relations is not all about following a formula. If you can’t connect with people, you will not succeed in this business. It’s not just about reading people, it’s about giving people what they want – even if they can’t tell you what they want.
Now, you might be reading this and thinking: “What’s this list? No big revelations or super secrets here. What gives?”
Here’s the thing, as we have found success with 5W Public Relations, how we do PR and where we do PR continually changes. But the basics will never change. And it is these basics that so many people get wrong again and again. Your customers just want results. They are not interested in how smart you think you are or how slick your campaigns can look.
Ronn Torossian understands that clients want results. To give them those results you need to be competent, creative, tenacious and good with people. At 5WPR we are always hiring. Click here for more information about a career in public relations .
May 22, 2013
As CEO of 5W Public Relations, a PR agency in NYC, Ronn Torossian works everyday to help his clients hone their PR messages via press release writing. While he admits that nobody is perfect and even 5WPR occasionally makes mistakes, there are several common mistakes Ronn Torossian says you can – and should – easily avoid when writing a press release.
#1 – Pointless modifiers
Also known as “empty” adverbs, these are words that add little or nothing to your content. Words like “very” or “really” doesn’t convey anything. They evoke importance, but without any scale. Thus, both the publisher and the reader have no idea how “very” or “really” you mean. In these cases, Ronn Torossian recommends choosing a word that properly evokes scale, or lose those pointless modifiers altogether when writing a press release.
#2 – Passive voice
Bottom line, editors HATE passive voice. Passive voice is the opposite of the expected – and accepted – standard. To avoid passive voice in when writing a press release, follow these steps:
- Discern which noun is doing the chief action and place this noun at the beginning of the sentence.
- If there is no action, rework the sentence if possible.
- Avoid “being” verbs when possible, unless connected to action verbs.
- Remember, press release writing may not sound like “conversational” writing, but it’s not supposed to.
The reason for this step is integral to the media industry. Remember, they are answering questions with each news story. None of these questions are passive. Therefore, your writing must show activity.
#3 – Word order and accidental repetition
This can be easy to overlook, particularly when reading articles such as “a” and “the.” Often, these mistakes happen when your word processing program incorrectly “autocorrects” a typo. “Tha the” then becomes “The the.” Of course, this is just one example of this how can happen. Read that last sentence again. Did you spot the mistake on the first read through? No? See how easy can that happen? What about that one, did you see it? After writing a press release, Ronn Torossian recommends reading your content backwards to help you find repeated words or misplaced words.
#4 – The use of overly complex sentence structure
It is important to remember that most news articles are written at a 5th to 7th grade level. This means your press releases should avoid overly complex words and compound sentences when possible. Keep your prose simple direct and fact-based. Avoid flowery literary terms, multi-syllable words and crammed-together phrasing. Use periods when tempted to use conjunctions. Avoid semicolons except in lists. When in doubt, break up that sentence. Do not use complex words when simple but evocative words will do. As stated by Ronn Torossian, the goal is to get people to read AND understand your press releases or public relations messages.
Follow these four content tips along with these resources for better writing and you will see better success with your public relations efforts. For help crafting messages the right way the first time, contact Ronn Torossian and 5WPR here.
May 15, 2013
Many of us at 5WPR have been interested to see what the next YouTube-released major product commercial would be. We talked about the hilarious Jeff Gordon “test drive” commercial previously. Now Audi has grabbed the baton at a full sprint with their Star Trek “Challenge.”
The two-minute commercial spot stars two generations of Mr. Spock, Leonard Nimoy and Zachary Quinto, in an escalating series of competitions that leaves them racing to the golf course. Loser buys lunch.
It’s not surprising to see a star from an upcoming summer blockbuster getting some crossover PR from a quick commercial spot. What’s unique about this particular commercial is that Audi not only tipped its hat to Zachary Quinto’s “summer job,” they built their entire commercial around it. This spot is a blatant appeal to Trekkies. A mixture of hot cars and cool technology – without the almost obligatory hot model – this commercial aims directly at people who are already planning to see the movie.
Car guys will love this commercial because the cars involved are stellar. Star Trek fans will love this commercial because, for them, this pairing is interstellar. The cool gadgets and luxury amenities are cool and luxurious no matter why you are watching the commercial. So, even though it appeals directly to Trekkies, it has genuine crossover potential.
At 5WPR, we believe that with any multimedia PR campaign, quotable takeaways are a must. This commercials excels in this area. When another fan asks what the commercial is about, it is easy to give them the “highlights.” Any time you want content to go viral, your viewer needs to be able to tell someone: “This happened, then this, then this happened…” and so on. The more specific memorable points you can drive home, the more successful your PR campaign will likely be.
Nimoy sings Bilbo Baggins
This sort of short clip breaks the fourth wall and speaks directly to a very specific subset of viewers. It’s likely that many younger Trek fans have never seen the eclectic circa 1970s music video with Nimoy singing about a Hobbit. But those who have seen it will laugh out loud and immediately tell their friends.
Ronn Torossian’s bottom line…
Timely movie promotion, crossover appeal, surprises and quotables – this commercial hits on many levels. This is simple, classic entertainment PR, cutting-edge social media PR and a terrific win for Audi.For what you need to create your own viral YouTube super hit, contact Ronn Torossian and 5WPR here.
May 14, 2013
Health charities, particularly those who raise money for cancer research, have historically focused on finding a cure. One company, which raises money for the fight against leukemia and lymphoma, has launched a comparatively bold campaign. The effort certainly positions this organization apart from the rest, and Ronn Torossian says that the tactic is a gamble that could pay off big. The campaign is called “Someday is Today.” Instead of focusing on finding a cure, it celebrates progress already being made. The commercial that introduced the campaign shows scenes of individuals reading a front-page headline: Cancer Cured!
The theme is carried across the entire campaign spectrum:
Print ads: The campaign will appear in several major print markets across the country. The target market most likely to suffer from these illnesses not only still reads the paper, they tend to prefer it. That may change over the next decade, but, for now, print is still a vital part of a successful health-based PR campaign.
Website: An informative, responsive and easy-to-navigate website is no longer a luxury. It’s a must, even for a charity public relations campaign: The vast majority of consumers and donors now check out a company, campaign or organization online before they do anything else. Ronn Torossian advises you to know you are ready.
Billboards: Some people may complain about them, but there is no doubt that billboards work. Positioned correctly, a message on a billboards will not only grab attention, it will stick with you, replaying again and again, imprinting on potential donors.
Social media: Ronn Torossian considers social networks to be some of the best avenues for any type of PR. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Pinterest can be a small budget nonprofit PR campaign’s best weapon. Multimedia messages are easy to integrate, easy to share and inherently dynamic due to the real time dynamic of consumer response.
This sort of wide spectrum, multimedia approach is traditionally reserved for profit-driven PR campaigns. However, with more consumers interacting via social media and getting their news from mobile devices, multimedia campaigns such as these are becoming the norm. How does your nonprofit PR campaign stack up? Are you hitting all the right markets with all the right media, and are you getting the results you should be? If the answer is not – or you can’t answer those questions with any certainty – contact Ronn Torossian and 5WPR.
May 14, 2013
Ronn Torossian, NY PR expert and CEO of 5W Public Relations, gets down to the basics with some of the foundational steps to charity PR that many people miss.
#1 – Simplify the message
Your organization can be about many things. You can help lots of people and invest in a variety of different good works. But, when communicating that message to potential donors, your message needs to be simple, concise and easy to understand. The idea here is to create a charity PR message that can be immediately understood and, most importantly, visualized by your ideal donors. When they can visualize the message, they will be more likely to give.
#2 – Communicate the message across a variety of media
Your potential donors will come from a wide spectrum of backgrounds and should be able to interact with your organization in a variety of ways. No single approach will work with all donors. Charity PR is simply not one size fits all. 5WPR specializes in a multimedia PR approach for that very reason.
#3 – Recruit volunteers
You can’t just ask them. For volunteer recruitment to work as it should, you need to be on point with your message, and it must be delivered to the right people. When you recruit volunteers, focus first on those most likely to not just serve willingly, but also bring others into the cause. As Elie Hirschfeld, a prominent donor always says, a persuasive message is not good enough. It must be “sticky,” a message that compels volunteers to spread the word.
#4 – Teach them to share the message
A compelling message is not enough. The final necessary step is to instruct your volunteers on HOW to share the message. This can be made easier if your charity PR message follows the “simple” and “easy to share” rules. Brief sound bites that can be quickly understood and make the right emotional connection.
While 5WPR recommends all of these steps, Ronn Torossian stresses that these steps alone are just the beginning. They are the foundation of a campaign, not the campaign in itself. Each step should be planned, prepared, weighed and measured before it is put into action.
For help with your next charity campaign or to get advice on your nonprofit PR, click here for more information from Ronn Torossian.
May 10, 2013
When building a reputation online, image is paramount. Your image is your brand. It’s what people understand you to be and how they talk about you to their family and friends. This is why social media has such incredible public relations potential and why YouTube, in particular, offers a tuned-in PR firm their best shot at getting their clients entrenched online. Here are 3 ways PR Firms like 5WPR use Youtube to build their clients brands.
1. New product releases
Releasing a new product on YouTube can be a huge bump for a company trying to establish itself in the market. Look at the success the GoPro brand had with their YouTube marketing program. To date there 10,700,000 company and user-generated YouTube videos related to GoPro on YouTube alone. One of the latest releases, less than a month old, already has more than 1.2 million views. As a company, GoPro chose YouTube for its public relations push largely because it is a video-based product. But the success of the program is based not on product but on content. If the GoPro content was less dynamic, the campaign may have failed. If they had made a few “review” videos and never showed people how their product could change their lives, GoPro may have been a flash in the pan. But instead, they struck a nerve, delighted millions of users and turned their CEO into a billionaire.
2. How to’s
That’s not to say reviews are unimportant. User reviews, specifically, can be Internet gold. Manufacturers spot and correct potential defects and communicate directly with reviewers. And enlisting an army of excited, enthusiastic users as their review team allows them to reach markets that analytics never could. Some people want an overview. Others want to know how a product performs under very specific circumstances. User reviews have a better chance of covering all the potential scenarios than traditional market testing. Plus, the sort of unbiased endorsement users can offer is a type of targeted public relations that no campaign could ever match.
3. Viral potential
YouTube is the single most dynamic public relations tool available to anyone, anywhere. With some production know-how and an understanding of what engages and motivates viewers, you can turn this free multimedia resource into a public relations goldmine. People say that no one can predict what may go viral on YouTube, and that may be true for amateur videographers making movies for fun. But it is the responsibility of a professional PR agency to understand how to make content that pops, that is sticky and dynamic. For example, this video which went viral, was actually staged for a Gillete PR campaign. This is why it’s important to create the sort of content that will push buttons and get people clicking.
Embracing all available tools and platforms is vital for a PR campaign to succeed.
May 8, 2013
As the CEO of top NYC PR firm, 5WPR, I hope I don’t lose my Yankee Card for this one. But as a PR guy, there is a lot to admire about a recent YouTube video featuring Tampa Bay Rays star, Evan Longoria. In the video, a reporter is interviewing Longo when a foul ball rockets toward her head. At the last second Longoria reaches out and grabs the ball out of the sky barehanded, obviously saving the woman from grave injury or death.
Gilette Longoria Stunt
Now, Yankee faithful know that Derek Jeter could have made that catch, no problem. But, as the video went viral on social media, questions about it began to arise. Fox Sports, Huffington Post and even Snopes weighed in on whether or not the video was staged.
But every single one of those reports had one thing in common. They included the video. A video that was watched again and again and again. Now people who never watch baseball know who Longoria is. They know who the Rays are and they have reason to be … ahem … impressed.
But here’s the rub …
There are several reasons to believe this impressive feat is actually clever PR wrapped in a fairly realistic package.
- First, the reporter’s microphone has no media identification, and the Chyron graphic has no media logo. So, either the outlet filming this is incredibly shy or there is no media outlet filming this.
- Second, in a stadium where every section of the baseline is sponsored, only one logo is visible … the one in the center of the entire video. Gillette.
- Third, Evan Longoria happens to be one of Gillette’s new “Young Guns” spokesmen.
So, what’s my verdict? I’m saying “ad.” But I’m also saying this is a very smart use of both solid film work and clever social media PR. The graphics are clean and the clip has all the hallmarks of a very viral bit of media.
Whatever the sponsor, whether it was Gillette, the Rays or an unnamed PR agency paid to produce this video, it was money well spent. Brands have been strengthened and both Gillette and the Rays are part of the national conversation.
May 7, 2013
The NFL draft prognosticators are so often dead wrong in both getting the draft order right and guessing what the teams will do. But they remain relevant and respected. How can this be? Sharp public relations definitely plays a part. These prognosticators are a function of the overall NFL brand, sparking interest and providing conversation topics. The goal of entertainment PR is not necessarily to make the right predictions, but to generate buzz for the league. In that area they get an A+ … but how?
Ronn Torossian, the CEO of top NY PR Firm 5WPR, reveals the 5 way brands stay relevant:
1. Establishing a Reputation
All of these prognosticators have varying ties to the NFL, from former players and coaches to current color commentators. Others have been covering sports for so long that fans cannot imagine football season without them. These individuals have established their reputation based on their prior accolades and name recognition, not on how accurately they predict the draft. Fans trust these guys because they believe that these individuals have access to inside information. This sense of mystery amplifies their credibility.
2. Making Bold Predictions
Part of furthering that reputation is making bold predictions. If the prediction does not come true, both the league and the fan get entertainment value out of it. After all, every armchair QB has to have some “idiot” to poke fun at. If on the off chance that prediction comes to fruition, fans will be astounded by that prognosticator’s genius, giving his reputation a boost. Better yet, that one correct prediction will get endless airplay, further cementing the swami’s prowess.
3. The Power of Logic
Making the prediction is only step one. It is followed by a long, detailed rationale behind this choice. The commentator will combine their insider info with the obvious needs and wants of a particular team. They will play out possible scenarios which underline their choice. Not only does this provide quality content for fans, it keeps a failed prediction from causing any loss of credibility. If the logic is transparent, then obviously the guys actually making the pick knew something the rest of us didn’t know.
4. Giving Viewers Quality Content to Share, Discuss, and Debate
After the prediction is made and the logic outlined, it is the fan’s turn to take the information and run with it. Again, it isn’t so much about accuracy as it is accessibility. Ronn Torossian of 5WPR believes fans will take these predictions along with their personal comments, questions, and concerns to Twitter, Facebook, and sports talk radio, providing an endless cross-platform content barrage. This will spark debates and widen the circle of the draft spotlight. The more conversations they start, the more potential viewers will tune in next season.
5. There is Always Next Year
As soon as the draft is over, discussion shifts to how these choices will impact teams the following season, thereby creating a whole new set of predictions, followed by a whole new set of debates, and the cycle continues. The NFL is a respected brand and therefore produces respected prognosticators. This respect, in turn, feeds off and builds on each other in an endless cycle season to season.