The official blog of Nancy Marshall Communications
offering tips, techniques, and thoughts from Maine's PR Maven, Nancy Marshall


PLEASE NOTE: This blog has been discontinued.
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Help A Reporter Out

Peter ShankmanThere’s a terrific website called Help a Reporter Out, otherwise known as HARO. The tagline is “everyone’s an expert at something.”  Publicizing peoples’ expertise is one of the ways that my agency has helped clients to obtain PR coverage over the years so we follow the media leads provided by HARO and pitch when there’s a good fit.

A work-obsessed triathlete named Peter Shankman started this site as a service to connect people like me who do PR with journalists who need information to write their stories. You can go to http://www.helpareporter.comand sign up to receive daily e-mails with tips on what reporters are looking for in terms of contacts and information.  There’s a whole comunity of HARO PR people and journalists now who are tied together by this site which also has a Facebook page and a Twitter feed. The whole concept reinforces to me how PR has gone social in the past several years, and how we as PR people must stay connected to what’s happening in these online communities to find leads on stories and find the right people to pitch our stories to. Continue reading “Help A Reporter Out” »

A Picture Equals a Thousand Words

Saddleback Base Lodge One of the important things I learned early in my PR career was the power of great photographs. My PR mentor, Chip Carey, taught me to always try to include a photograph with a press release for the media. Sometimes that slowed me down (and those of you who know me know that I don’t like to be slowed down at work!), because I had to look around for a good photo, and back in the day, I had to make duplicates (sometimes by myself  in our own darkroom!….talk about time consuming!)

I am now more convinced than ever that a great shot adds enormously to a press release. Sometimes, particularly in dealing with travel editors, having a great image means the difference between a cover story in the travel section or being buried in the back of the section. Or sometimes it means your story being placed above the fold rather than below the fold. And obviously when dealing with television news, they need great video. When pitching a story to a TV news editor it’s important to describe what the visual images will look like.  TV people thrive on images, not on words alone. Continue reading “A Picture Equals a Thousand Words” »

Are we human beings or human doings?

I’ve been listening to the worldwide ‘webcasts’ by Oprah Winfrey and Eckhart Tolle called “A New Earth, Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose.”   It’s a 10-part series on Monday nights that broadcasted its final segment this past week. I downloaded the whole series on my iPod and have listened and watched attentively….usually while doing something else like driving my car, riding the stationary bike or traveling across country in a plane.  It’s been fascinating. Continue reading “Are we human beings or human doings?” »

First Blog Entry

Over the past 25 years, I’ve had the privilege of doing PR in Maine for a wide variety of clients and organizations. It’s been a great experience, despite the many ups and downs of a sometimes stressful career. I’m starting this blog now in order to share what I’ve learned with others who are trying to communicate their messages. Communications methods have changed, however many things have stayed the same. Even though I used an electric Smith Corona typewriter when I started my first job in Maine public broadcasting, I still had to know what my message was and what audience I was targeting. When I got a new electric typewriter with an erase key, I was on the top of the world! It wasn’t until the late 1980s that I started working with a PC, and we started using the fax machine to get press releases to the media. But I still had to know my messages and my target audiences. So here’s my thought for today. There are three things to think about when planning a communications strategy.

  1. What is the key message and the peripheral messages you are trying to communicate?
  2. What tools are you going to use to get the message out?
  3. Who is your target audience and what tools will work best for that particular audience?

Check back here regularly. I am going to continue to ponder these questions and others as I continue building my career as Maine’s PR Maven. Please chime in with your comments, too. It will be fun to hear what you are thinking about communicating in today’s 24/7 world.