She has experience in corporate reputation management and crafting earned media stories. While Jen’s media background spans a variety of clients and industries, including food, agriculture, consumer, and financial services, Jen is also passionate about sustainability and loves fostering relationships with sustainability and ESG journalists.
Read below for the entire interview with Jen:
1.) Tell us a bit about your day-to-day and your role as the Vice President/Media Group Manager at Ketchum.
One of the beautiful, energizing aspects of my role (and media relations in general) is that there is no ‘typical’ day-to-day. There is one part of my day that is always a given: starting the day by scanning major news headlines and media newsletters. Having this pulse shapes the pitching we’re activating or counsel we’re offering to our clients.
In addition to client counsel and media outreach, I play a role in bringing the ‘will it play in media?’ lens to planning for our clients. Many days involve at least one brainstorm (organized by our talented creative and client account teams), and planning media strategy around an upcoming new program or creative concept for our clients.
My Earned Media Strategy Group colleagues and I are also involved in business growth, sharing media expertise & playing a part in presentations for prospective new clients.
2.) What’s the best pitch of yours that resulted in coverage and what elements made it successful?
While it may be tricky to define ‘best,’ one of my favorite pitches led to a Fast Company feature story. While we had pitched other outlets, the story felt like a natural fit for Fast Company:
- While this story – a partnership between our client, a professional sports team, a university, and other partners – was an innovation story at heart, it showcased the power of collaboration to help make this sport safer.
- The technology in this story was a design application. Rather than pitching a tech-centric journalist, I approached a Fast Co. co-design journalist, thinking he would draw in the technology as part of the design story. And he did beautifully.
- Because we offered interviews with not only our client but also the professional sports team president and another partner, the journalist had a first-person perspective on the impact from all sides. As a result, the story included a lot of interesting dimensions.
3.) What makes a good subject line? Can you share an example of one that worked?
Short and sweet. Highlight a unique resource. Make it easy for a journalist to keep reading. Earlier in my media relations career, I thought clever subject lines were key. Now, I’ve found that direct subject lines help paint the picture. For example, if the pitch offers an interview from a unique perspective or spokesperson, I call it out directly in the subject.
4.) What information do you always make sure to include in a pitch?
Along with the must-have information – the ‘who,’ ‘what,’ ‘why’ – including the extra piece that takes this pitch from ‘an idea’ to a ‘story’ is always the goal.
What this piece is depends on the pitch – for one, it may be an interesting visual or dynamic video asset. In a sustainability pitch, for example, it may be fresh data laying the foundation for change. This extra piece signals to the journalist that you (and your clients) are a real resource for them.
5.) What’s your best tip for measuring PR? What’s the most valuable KPI to track in your opinion and why?
We’re lucky to work in an industry where measurement has evolved by leaps and bounds. Look beyond traditional ‘impressions’ – to quality. Is it a media outlet that directly reaches your customers/target? Does it highlight the two or three key messages that are most important for your story? Does it include a call-to-action that will move your business or brand? If you’re answering ‘yes,’ PR measurement is on the right track.
PR KPIs are also only as valuable as the business impact, so designing PR metrics that support business goals – for example, perception, influencing a behavior, or impacting sales – is key. (channeling our very talented Ketchum Analytics team)
6.) How do you maintain relationships with journalists when you have no news to share?
I read (a lot!) and will often drop a line to a journalist just to say I appreciated their recent story. When it makes sense, I’ll also share an expert or client resource that could help add color to their future storytelling. My media colleagues & I also connect with journalists for coffee chats – a two-way dialogue so we know how we can best help them do their jobs, while also being a resource.
7.) How do you utilize social media/marketing to amplify your PR results?
Social media is a game-changer – in so many ways. We and our clients use social media – Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, etc. – to drive even more awareness of powerful stories. Along with directly amplifying stories on social, it’s an incredible look into where and what is capturing journalists’ attention.
8.) What’s your #1 tactic for building relationships with journalists?
Be human. Be reliable. Be a trusted resource. Always keep the ‘relationship’ piece front and center in media relations. It sounds cliché, but it can be easy to forget that behind every email or Zoom interview is a person. One of my favorite parts of media relations is connecting with journalists on a human level — ask about the recent trip they Tweeted or if they found a favorite Fall recipe from their crowdsourcing on social. A journalist & I recently were chatting about vacation (we were both traveling to the same area) – and ended up exchanging travel tips.
9.) What’s the best PR advice you’ve received or given to others?
Take time to take a breath. Take time to think. And celebrate the wins (big & small).
If you’re looking for more tips from PR professionals, check out our entire PR profile series highlighting some of the top PR professionals in the industry!
Like this series and have a guest you think would be a good fit? Shoot us a Twitter DM or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know who you’d want to see featured next! PS: you can recommend yourself too.
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