Q&A: What do journalists want?

Good press, we all know its value. It drives revenue, increases awareness, establishes credibility, creates new opportunities, distinguishes a company from its peers. It’s what companies come to us for.

To offer insight on the inner workings of journalism today we enlisted a journalist we know and respect to share “5 Things to Know About Working With Journalists.”

Laura DunnLaura Dunn is an experienced communications and digital practitioner. Laura has been featured in publications including The Huffington Post, Vanity Fair, The Daily Beast, Politico and the Western Mail. Laura also writes for Fortune and BuzzFeed. She is the founder of Political Style, a global fashion, politics and lifestyle blog. With over 8 years of experience working in the private, public and nonprofit sectors, Laura is passionate about the transformative power of digital media and how new technology and techniques can help businesses and individuals to clearly communicate with their stakeholders. Laura has worked in institutions including the US House of Representatives, The National Assembly for Wales and the UK Parliament, and with clients based across the UK, USA and Asia Pacific.

Laura was named as one of Wales Online’s 35 Under 35 entrepreneurs to watch in 2015, and one of 16 individuals to watch in 2016. Laura was a double finalist in the inaugural Wales Entrepreneur Awards.


  1. Do you feel that journalism has changed since you started your career? If you could do it all over again, would you still pursue journalism?

Since I studied for my degree in Journalism at Cardiff University, the landscape has totally changed. We are now obviously digitally focused, with the dominance of social media, blogs and video completely transforming the way we communicate. I originally wanted to be a newspaper journalist, but early work experience placements set off the alarm bells and I could see the way in which the industry was headed. That’s why I headed straight into blogging and haven’t looked back.

I would definitely study journalism again, and the course I took has helped me in my professional path. If you have a passion for writing and telling a story, these interests can be applied to any field.


  1. What are the biggest challenges of digital journalism?

The biggest challenge of digital journalism is keeping up to speed with the next ‘big thing’ and being the first to report or try something out. In blogging this means being active on the most popular social media platforms, and not being afraid to try out new ways of telling stories and communicating with followers.

Finding fresh things to write about is always a challenge, but it is part of what makes digital journalism a fun path to follow.


  1. What are your pet peeves when being contacted by people pitching you to write about them or their clients? Do you have any advice for people who want to pitch you?

I really dislike being sent pitches that are not relevant to the areas in which I write about as well as being signed up for mailing lists and updates of which I have no interest. Another bug bear is when incomplete information is sent back to me – and this particularly happens when receiving pitches for my independent contributions to Huff Post! Similarly, follow up after follow up becomes absolutely frustrating and will turn me off from working with someone in the future.

My advice for pitchers would be to read all the information you are sent, respect a deadline/time frame that is given (it’s given for a reason!) and follow up sparingly and don’t become a pest.


  1.  What makes a pitch pique your interest?

I look for interesting stories or angles that appeal to my interests and what my followers like to read. A well written pitch doesn’t have to be long or over the top, it needs to be relevant and show personalization for my interests and body of work.

The best pitches are those which contain all the information you need, with the pitcher showing that they’ve done their research on your past posts, structure and your interests.


  1. What’s your advice to people who want to pursue journalism?

For those looking to become a journalist I say start early. Create a portfolio as soon as possible, and ensure it is digital. You don’t need to be a whizz at creating a website, use free sites such as WordPress which provide portfolio style templates and can help you present your work professionally. Look to contribute to websites that are relevant to your areas of interest, and also create a blog where you can develop your own style of writing and creative media.

Look for internships or work placements at local publications, hyperlocal sites or anywhere that will let you get out and interview people. Don’t be afraid to dream big and apply for big name placements or even start your own newspaper or magazine. Creativity is key.

It’s also important that you read as much as you can- newspapers, magazines, journals, blogs, thought leadership to understand the different style and broaden your mind to the many possibilities journalism can offer.


*Fun question: Do you have a favorite journalist whose work inspires you?

My favourite journalists are Katie Couric, Christiane Amanpour, Lyse Douchet – all for their tenacity and grit to tell a story. In the online space, Arianna Huffington is so inspirational and I’m excited to see where her new business adventure, Thrive Global ends up!

Beyond the booth

Trade show season heats up in the fall with promises of new business leads from a targeted pool of prospects.  The average expense of participating ranges from $35,000 to beyond $50,000 when you add booth space and construction, conference fees, travel, lodging, meals and sponsorship.  Is it worth it? Yes: It only takes one new customer to justify the investment.

Another big payoff is the public relations opportunities these shows provide.  Below is a checklist after negotiating a keynote speech or panelist position:

  1. Set up meetings with attending media.  Trade shows provide reporters with free passes to encourage them to attend.  The media list can be obtained four to six weeks in advance, allowing ample time to reach out to individual reporters and editors.  Invite them to the booth to meet and discuss industry trends with key executives who have been prepped on approved messaging.  Just sending a press release is passive.  Be active.
  2. Trade shows provide a five-minute platform to announce news during the show.  Take advantage and tout your latest news, a new client, new market, new partner or perhaps a white paper.  Give them something to remember that sets you apart from others.

    The Oberthur Technologies booth attracted hundreds of targeted prospects at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, earlier this year. Just as important at trade shows are the media interviews and other opportunities that take place beyond the booth.

    The Oberthur Technologies booth attracted hundreds of targeted prospects at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, earlier this year. Just as important at trade shows are the media interviews and other opportunities that take place beyond the booth.

  3. Conduct a media breakfast or dinner to build relationships.  Reporters don’t want to be grouped with their competitors, but they’ll come if you give them access to something interesting.  A CEO breakfast with customers, research analyst or the author of a relevant book can make it easy for a journalist to find news and new contacts.  It also positions the company as a thought leader with a story sense.
  4. Work with the event publication to feature your products and services each day.  Trade shows need content too — so offer them some.  Drone World Expo is one of many shows with an extensive news section.  They’ll be featuring interviews with companies and touting their news releases in the run-up to the November event.
  5. Showcase customers at your booth and in all communications with the media during the event.  Customers are the proof point, and their front-line stories offer the quotations journalists need to tell your story.
  6. Finally, always add the name of the trade show to news releases distributed through wire services such as Business Wire and PRNewswire during the show.  Media covering the industry will be on alert for news coming from the show; make it easy for them to find.  Who doesn’t want to know what’s hot at the annual Consumer Electronics Show?  Also, trade shows typically offer wire service discounts for exhibitors, a small savings.  Check with your marketing contact.

Olmstead Williams Communications is at work for clients attending the October fintech conference Money 20/20 (submit your news for the show).  ESNA, one of the top energy storage shows, is just a few weeks away, too — a can’t-miss event for our cleantech clients.  With countless shows nationwide, there is always at least one that will move your business forward.

We know the business media is interested in business. Make it your business to be interested in them.

September 13th, 2016|Categories: OWC News|Tags: , , , , , , , |

New Flat-Fee PR Service for Tech Start-Ups – Inc. Magazine

By Nadine Heinz
Inc. magazine

This week, Olmstead Williams Communications, a public relations agency in Los Angeles, launched a new division that charges a flat monthly fee for a full range of PR services.

PRTechConnect is geared toward tech start-ups with limited marketing and PR budgets. The News Release Package, which costs $999 a month, includes services such as the creation and maintenance of a master list of media contacts, customized news release templates with tips for making announcements stand-out, targeted media pitching for 20 news release per year, and basic wire service distribution to Google News, Internet search engines, and RSS feeds. Companies must commit to at least three months; a $1,500 set-up fee will be waived if you commit to six months.

Click here to read the full article at Inc.com.

Crisis communications in the time of Tiger Woods


By Tracy Olmstead Williams
Olmstead Williams Communucations

For the past two weeks, almost every meeting, holiday party, conference call or chance encounter has started the same for me: “You’re in crisis communications, what should Tiger Woods do?” Any answer I give is already two weeks too late. Tiger Woods broke the cardinal rule of crisis communications — report your own bad news. Why? Because if you don’t, others will be more than happy to do so, often get it wrong, keep it going longer and provide no glimpse of the true emotions of the transgressor. If Tiger had told everything, as painful as that might have been, it would have cut the legs out from under the follow-up stories. Tiger’s postings on his Web site this weekend, although finally coming clean, didn’t give us any emotional connection to him. It’s a step, but it would be far more powerful to see and hear it from him directly.

Richard Nixon wrote the book on crisis management, proving forever that “stonewalling,” his own word, failed even the all-powerful president of the United States. Bill Clinton, a Rhodes Scholar, didn’t read that book. Many otherwise extremely successful public figures didn’t either. Gary Hart. John Edwards. Eliot Spitzer. Kobe Bryant. Mark Sanford. Each and every one followed up their indiscretion by fumbling their crisis communications. It’s human instinct to want to deny and cover up.