Yesterday, I was pleased to join U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer in Troy as he talked about his efforts to secure critical FEMA funding to repair Downtown Troy’s 90+ year-old seawall, an issue the City has been aggressively pursuing. Our company, Gramercy Communications is particularly interested and invested in waterfront development.
We moved our headquarters to Troy two years ago so that we could be directly on the riverfront, and we have sought out clients who are committed to the water and development along our rivers. Last summer, I volunteered my time to help jumpstart the Troy Marina & Docks that had sat idle since Hurricane Irene in 2011. This experience gave me a close-up view of how important it is to invest in waterfront infrastructure right now.
Our region will always be judged by how awesome or inadequate our waterfront is. When we go to other cities or regions on the water, we size up how great they are in a few minutes by looking at how they treat the water. The Hudson River and Mohawk River present incredible opportunities to boost the vitality of our downtowns, and in turn, the region as whole. We are lucky to have many talented individuals committed to bringing a mix of uses to our historic rivers, and our company is glad to play a role in stimulating, participating in or promoting these works and successes.
If you share the passion and want to talk to us about ideas you may have for our region’s waterways, drop me a note or give me a call.
It’s a widely held belief that PR and the press mix like oil and water.
Sometimes, that’s a well-warranted opinion. In my recently departed life as a journalist, I remember many a day spent fielding phone calls and wading through emails exhorting my attention to far-flung issues like the new menu at Bob’s Diner in Hallifax, Nova Scotia.
Most editors must pore over hundreds of such off-target pitches every day. It gets to be exhausting, aggravating and dehumanizing, and in that state of affairs, there are no winners.
It is because of this the positive moments become overlooked, when a perfect story lands on a reporter’s desk, one that his or her readers will be truly interested in.
What was clear to me as a journalist, and what is even more evident to me today, is there are good and bad examples of public relations. And just as irresponsible journalism can give a black eye to the entire news industry, poor pitching can do the same for PR.
Communications professionals should strive to promote symbiotic partnerships with journalists they work with. Their services should be counted as another tool in the journalist’s arsenal, instead of a stumbling block or annoyance.
The onus falls on us practitioners to understand our counterparts in the media, predict their needs and supply thoughtful, useful ideas – and to avoid projecting our own goals onto them in the form of off-target pitches. When we pick up the phone and take to the keyboard, we must put ourselves not only in the shoes of our audience, but of our audience’s audience.
After all, we could all stand for a little less aggravation in our lives.
Gramercy Communications Director of Content and Media Strategy Charles Wiff was surprised and humbled to receive news over the weekend that his work was recognized in the New York Press Association’s 2013 Better Newspapers contest.
Charles’ work during his time as Managing Editor of Spotlight Newspapers was recognized with a Coverage of the Arts award. Congratulations are in order for Charles and all of the other journalists recognized at the annual NYPA convention!
Whether you’re leveraging your own content online to earn media coverage or sharing that media attention with your target audiences, your content needs to be accessible and share-ready.
I recently attended the Public Relations Society of America Capital Region Chapter’s “Building An Online Newsroom” workshop. Mike Lesczinski, public relations manager for Excelsior College, discussed the development of Excelsior Life, the college’s award-winning online newsroom.
Written content, audio and a visual are the three components for share ready owned media. @PRSA_CapRegion
— Mike Bohne (@Mike_Bohne) March 26, 2014
When developing your online news pipeline and producing content on your website or blog, here are a few things to consider:
- Publish quality, relevant and diverse multimedia content
- Post to your online newsroom, but distribute that content to your targeted audiences through other platforms too. Create a link first that you can track, and measure your reach
- Leverage your earned media coverage online and leverage unique content to earn media coverage
- The written word, audio and a visual together, create the best share-ready content
It’s important to remember, your content may tell a great story, but if isn’t accessible then your target audiences won’t see it.
Social media is a hydra of sorts today – for every platform that becomes defunct irrelevant, two spring up in its place.
That was clear at a recent conference I attended in Washington, D.C. on measuring the impact of social media. The event was organized by the Public Relations Society of America and Ragan Communications.
What has become abundantly clear these days is that the scope of what is defined as “social media” has expanded dramatically. A world that used to be Facebook, Twitter and a few outlier services is now a circle that encompasses dozens of broad-appeal and targeted platforms custom built to share photos, recipes, political views and cute cat photos.
“Find us on Facebook” doesn’t cut it anymore. What’s become less clear is where the right solution lies.
So what is the social media solution? The good news is with fragmentation of the social media landscape, there exists more ways to zero in on your audience. Why spend time and effort curating an Instagram account if your customers spend most of their time on Snapchat? (And yes, Snapchat is actually used for things other than what you think it’s used for.)
But what’s interesting about social media beyond the “platform wars” is what it’s done for storytelling. Brands that have been successful on social media have done so by being engaging, transparent, honest and above all, engaging. It’s an approach that appeals to the “millennial” generation that is making its home on these tertiary platforms in increasing numbers.
What you’ll likely find in the coming years is the growing influence of these seldom-heard-of services, too. As older cohorts discover the “traditional” social media world of Facebook and Twitter (and other demographics tire of them), more and more major brands will realize the influence that can be wielded elsewhere with some creativity.
The idea this fragmentation only creates a din is false. The same shifts are occurring that emerged when the Internet challenged television, and when television challenged radio, and so on and so forth back to the cave wall.
Those that emerge as winners in this new landscape will be those who make concerted efforts to realize the potential.
The plans that were unveiled contain a vibrant symbol of the City of Troy’s historic connection to the Hudson River, and an anchor for the ongoing downtown renaissance.
Once complete, the One Monument Square project will include residential, commercial, retail, dramatic riverfront park access, parking and civic space. The site is broken into two structures, Monument North and Monument South. The former will feature on its ground floor 20,000 square feet of space set aside as a permanent and expanded home for the Troy Waterfront Farmers Market.
The second phase includes an option for the City of Troy to create a permanent home for City Hall that it would own. The development team is fully committed to develop a private mixed-use building on that parcel if the city chooses not to relocate its civic headquarters to the site.
The project will proceed along an aggressive timeline, with completion of phase one in fall of 2015 and phase two to start directly thereafter. The team hopes to break ground this year, with substructure and the parking garage complete in a year’s time. From there, Monument North will be built first, followed by Monument South and the plaza area, where the public will be able to access the open space elements and the riverfront.
Gramercy’s offices are directly adjacent to the One Monument Square site, and we’re eager to hear work being done. The project promises to be a great benefit not only to downtown Troy, but also to the entire Capital Region and beyond.
How well are you prepared to defend yourself in the court of public opinion? Every organization — whether a globe-straddling colossus or a start-up just launching itself – will face an emergency at some point. After all, accidents happen, things break, smart people do stupid things and sometimes good people do bad things — occasionally on purpose. As the saying goes, “stuff” happens.
A good reputation is one of the most valuable assets of any organization. It increases value and drives loyalty among key stakeholders. Studies show that businesses with better reputations have higher sales, among other benefits.
Preparation can be the difference between a short-lived and inconsequential event and a full-blown, business- and reputation-busting calamity. After all, failing to plan is planning to fail.
- Develop a business contingency plan: It should be comprehensive, include specific action steps and assigned responsibilities.
- Don’t turn a drama into a crisis: Perspective is critical: don’t make the issue bigger or try to wish it away.
- Take ownership: Act fast to acknowledge the problem and put it behind you…don’t extend its life.
- Be visible: Ultimately it’s your business and your reputation.
Mismanaging a visible issue adds a layer of cost and complexity that most small businesses cannot afford. Conversely, when issues are well-managed, they can enhance the regard for you and your organization.
Your world is watching, listening and keeping score. Failure to communicate can have unfortunate results. Act accordingly.
Who really wrote “A Visit from St. Nicholas?’” The question will finally be answered during the mock trial of “Livingston vs. Moore.” Our office 225 River Street, once housed the Troy Sentinel newspaper. On December 23rd in 1823, “A Visit From St. Nicholas” was published anonymously and later attributed to Clement Clarke Moore, who acknowledged authorship. Join the trial on Dec. 18 to find out the true story behind this famed classic.
Learn more about it here in the Times Union.
The Capital Region was greeted with not-so-surprising news this week that Journal Register Company publications The Saratogian and The Record would be placing their websites behind a paywall. It’s thanks to a new strategy from JRC owner Digital First Media.
The two JRC publications will join the company of other local publications including the Daily Gazette, the Post Star and the Business Review. It is now clear the industry will march inexorably towards paid online models, with limited outliers.
And that will be great for readers.
How could parting with more money be a blessing, you ask? Well, it won’t be – unless papers make their online products worthwhile.
With any luck, the paywall wave will serve as the trigger that forces more newspapers to go beyond words with their online product, and truly harness the power of photography and videography in a bold new type of storytelling.
Paywall pioneer The New York Times has signed up droves of online subscribers by breaking the paradigm and offering compelling online content. This story about an avalanche and this package on life in the South China Sea are among the finest examples of 21st-century journalism out there, and an encouraging signal about the future of the photojournalism craft.
Local news outlets can make the same efforts. They might not be able to fund full digital departments, but the great thing about newspapers is they’re almost universally staffed by smart, dedicated and creative people who are coming up with ways to use the internet to deliver compelling content. Smaller outlets can create photo galleries, interactive pothole maps, build Storify-type digital storytelling… the list goes on. And a few paywall dollars can fuel that innovation.
Here’s hoping the paywall revolution will help papers – and readers – decide how important digital truly is to the future of news.
Yesterday, the Times Union unveiled a new mobile website, allowing readers in the Capital Region and afar to stay up to date on breaking news from their smartphones. At first glance, the new mobile site delivers everything I would want: easy navigation, live updates, social media integration and visual enhancements.
Last month, I wrote about a study conducted by app maker Locket, revealing that the average person unlocks his/her smartphone 110 times a day. The new mobile site shows that the Times Union is listening not only to its customers, but also to industry trends.
Working in public relations, I’ve had the Times Union’s app on my phone and often visit it multiple times a day. I look forward to now making the mobile site part of my daily reading, starting each morning with the Capitol Confidential A.M. Roundup.