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East-West Shrine Game Wrap Up

media planning media buying

Saturday, January 21, 2017, marked the 92nd annual East-West Shrine Game and Pinstripe’s sixth year managing the advertising, social media, public relations, media credentials, pre-game and much more. While preparation for the game takes a couple months, the week leading up to it is an action packed time for us, and we love every moment of it!

 

Kicking off the week with a visit to the Shriners Hospitals for Children – Tampa with four busloads of all-star football players, coaches, team managers and other staff is incredible. We couldn’t think of a better way to remind ourselves and these young rising star football players what the Shrine Game means.

Monday am – We start the day by visiting the Game Office at the Tradewinds Hotel on St. Pete Beach. We check in with the staff there, pick up the most up to date rosters and practice schedules, and just say hi to all of our wonderful colleagues that make the Shrine Game possible.

Monday lunch – We collect and organize all of our media interview requests for the players and coaches. These have been arriving via text, phone call, email – any method the press can connect with us, they do! Our goal is to make sure the press gets what they want, but also that the players get exposure for the week – they’ve worked hard to get here and deserve some recognition for that.

public relations

Monday afternoon – Head over to Shorecrest Preparatory School football stadium, where the East Team practices. We set up our media table, where we distribute rosters, schedules, and check-in writers, photographers, and videographers who are approved for credentials to access the practice field and press box at the game. We even hand out mints and sunscreen, because we’re just thoughtful like that. You’d be surprised at how many people take advantage of both. We take photos and video of practice and post to all social accounts. After practice we pull players aside for in-person interviews with media, and give them instructions for radio and interview call-ins they will need to do in the evening. Later in the afternoon, we head over to St. Pete High football stadium for West Team practice, where we do the same thing that we did with the East Team.

Monday night – We all meet to go over media requests, recap the last two days, look at photos/video, and make sure we’re on track for the rest of the week. The whole team is always checking in with each other to make sure all bases are covered and to see if anyone needs help with anything.

Tuesday – Thursday – These days are much like Monday – we attend practices, connect with media, and make sure that social is alive with photos, updates, and fun, interactive posts to keep our fans engaged and make sure they can follow what is going on. Some of the players’ families are not able to attend the game, so our posts are their way of seeing what is going on during the week.

press release writing

Thursday, Friday, Saturday mornings – Prior to the week, we booked morning shows for the executive director of the game and the Shriners Hospitals patient ambassadors, so we attend these morning shows for support and guidance, as well as to connect with the patient ambassadors. This is our first time meeting them and it is always a pleasure!

Friday evening – We attend the banquet! The Shriners, players, coaches, and the Shrine Game team come together at Tropicana Field for a night filled with food, awards, and celebration. The executive director of the game, Harold Richardson, presents the Pat Tillman Award. Pat Tillman was a professional football player who walked away from the game after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 to join the U.S. Army and fight for our country. After just three years in the NFL, Tillman turned down a multi-million dollar contract offer from the Cardinals to enlist in the U.S. Army. He was killed during a mission in Afghanistan in 2004. This year the award, which recognizes the player who best exemplifies character, intelligence, sportsmanship and service, went to Air Force safety, Weston Steelhammer.

video production

Saturday – GAME DAY! Although kickoff is at 1pm, the Pinstripe team is at The Trop at 10am to set up the press box, go through the production schedule with the Rays video team, and get ready to provide last-minute media credentials at will call. We manage the pre-game pageantry, in-game video and graphics, half-time show, sideline photography, press statistics, MVP voting, the final game press releases, and more! It feels like we fit a month of work into a single day that lasts well into the night. It is a tremendous sense of satisfaction as we look out over the dark, empty Tropicana Field where just a few hours before, a hundred young football stars burst onto the field to play for their futures, for their families, for many of their own reasons, but most of all, for the millions of Shriners Hospitals for Children patients who benefit from the game.

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Good Marketing Never Forgets the ‘Old Year’

Tampa Bay marketing firm
The New Year is upon us, and with it comes a sense of a “fresh start” — especially if the past 365 days haven’t been particularly good. However, before we can measure progress, we must have an idea of how far we’ve come. Therefore, it’s essential to record the results of past marketing initiatives and reference them from one year to the next.

Understand that every advertising campaign or customer/prospect outreach effort is very much like an experiment. Not only are you interested in results, you’ve got to control for variables.

Necessarily, there will be a “best guess” component to your experimentation based on experience, industry knowledge and instinct. Additionally, some variables will be beyond your control while others are completely invisible to you. But every campaign requires standard, basic decisions. To avoid repeating the same mistakes and to steadily improve results, pay attention to:

  • Audience demographics – Age, gender, ethnicity, income, location … you should have a profile of your target audience before your campaign begins. Say, for instance, 75% of your target audience is male but 50% of the leads generated are female. Such over-performance with women might suggest untapped demand. Yet you’ll never know unless you record who received your messages in the first place.
  • Campaign timing – From “back-to-school” sales for children’s clothing stores, to tax season for CPAs, every industry has a time of year that’s expected to bring in more business. But is it better to advertise a month before the event or just a few days in advance? And the days of the week that you advertise could make a difference in response as well. Will your Monday email blast get lost in the clutter from the weekend? Make identifiable changes from one campaign to the next, and compare results.
  • Types of communications (email, direct mail, radio, social media … etc.?) – The tricky part about comparative analysis of media is that results can be radically different from one to another, yet actual effectiveness could be almost equal. Take for example, the email blast that costs next to nothing per contact, but also brings in very few qualified leads, versus a creative (and expensive) direct mail campaign that nets a much higher percentage of actual sales. It’s only when you try different approaches over time that you can determine which has the greater positive impact on your bottom line.
  • Frequency of contact – One thing we hear commonly hear from clients is that they tried a certain type of advertising and got no response. This often means they mailed a postcard or sent out an email blast—one time and out of the blue—and no one noticed. But people get bombarded by thousands of messages every day. To make an impression, you usually must repeat yourself. However, there is a sweet spot—before diminishing returns on your advertising investment—that you won’t find until there’s a documented history to examine.
  • Tone of the communication – Did your advertising seek to get a chuckle, tug at someone’s heart strings or imply that life as we know it rested on the prospect’s buying decision? Most business owners think they know their customers—and they usually do—but it’s risky to make blanket assumptions about the mindset of others. Certainly, you want to stay within the boundaries of your brand image, but occasionally changing the tenor of your messages may provide valuable marketing insight.

As you go from one campaign to the next, isolate a specific aspect of the communication to change.  You don’t want to change too much. Otherwise, if results are greatly impacted, you won’t know which factor was at work. Plus, if you’ve been getting reasonable ROI from your marketing budget, you don’t want to risk a disastrous result by suddenly changing too much. Your expectation should be incremental improvement. Sure, you might discover an advertising formula that exceeds your wildest hopes, but in the meantime, plan on adjusting and analyzing your marketing plans as long as you’re in business.

 

Ready to kick off your 2017 marketing? We are!

Et Cultura Festival Wrap-Up

et-cultura-wrap-up_newsAbout a month ago the first inaugural Et Cultura Festival took place. The festival was the culmination of four creative minds, a city in the midst of tremendous cultural growth, and a collective of people from a myriad of spaces, from technology to politics to art to education to craft brewing. The timing, it seemed, was perfect. The City of St. Petersburg was ready for this.

Lea Umberger, one of the 4 founders of Et Cultura Festival, at Station House St. Pete.

Lea Umberger, one of the 4 founders of Et Cultura Festival, at Station House St. Pete.

et cultura film festival

Colin Lyman, one of the four founders of Et Cultura Festival.

et cultura festival

Joel Malizia and David Allison, two of the founders of Et Cultura.

Pinstripe Marketing got involved back in June when we met Joel Malizia, one of the founders of Et Cultura. We invited Joel into our office to chat and he captivated us with the promise of Et Cultura – our creative souls could not resist a festival full of art, music, film, and interactive. We decided to sponsor the festival in a big way – by doing pubic relations and media relations in the months leading up to and during the festival. So it began. Wrapped up in the whirlwind, we were in awe as excitement built around the festival. It seemed as if everyone we knew had heard of Et Cultura, either from us or someone else. We were a part of something big in a city we are proud to call home, something that, deep down under, we all knew was coming.

We also saw some great connections and decided to get some of our clients involved. Shorecrest Preparatory School sponsored part of Et Kidtura, a section of the festival just for kids. Our friends at ADM Two, a trade show fabrication and design firm, sponsored many of the beautiful banners and signs for the festival.

We attended as many as the interactive sessions as we could, and were wowed by the local and national presenters that stood before us and discussed their experiences and thoughts on technology in design, entrepreneurship, and even art. The final keynote speaker was South By Southwest’s own Catlin Whitington. After his presentation a panel discussion erupted about how to keep the momentum of Et Cultura going, to make it a signature of St. Pete.

et cultura film art music festival

Panelists for the Metathesis St. Pete discussion after SXSW keynote speaker Catlin Whitington’s presentation.

The art and music started on Friday with a graphic design exhibition curated by HYPE Group and held in the beer garden at Green Bench Brewery. DJ Sugarbear was spinning soul music that had us all grooving, and in general it was a great atmosphere. The four Et Cultura founders, Lea Umberger, Joel Malizia, Colin Lyman, and David Allison had their official ribbon cutting ceremony right there by the artwork, and later we all headed down to see local band, The Hip Abduction.

art festival

The four Et Cultura founders cut the ribbon at the graphic design show.

Saturday’s art exhibition, Heroes and Villains, was curated by Black Amethyst Gallery and featured dozens of local artists of many different mediums depicting their own versions of heroes and villains from literature and film. The makers festival took place as well, so there was plenty to see and do. A spectacular projection mapping display was held every hour along with music on two stages and several films being screened. It was an action packed weekend.

We are so glad to have met Joel on that day in June and to have been able to participate on the ground floor of this festival. We worked with our media contacts to connect the founders with the Tampa Bay Times, Daytime Television, and several other local news outlets who showed an interest in Et Cultura. We are certain that this interest will only build as the founders build their list of featured presenters, artists, musicians, and filmmakers. We can’t wait to see what Et Cultura has in store for our city next year!

View some of the articles and news clips from Et Cultura:

Tampa Bay TimesLineup for inaugural Et Cultura festival announced

St. Pete Patch: Shorecrest Welcomes Et Cultura: A Festival of Creative Culture

WTSP 10 News: New Et Cultura festival to celebrate St. Pete culture

Creative Loafing: Photos from Et Cultura over the weekend

Daytime Television: Et Cultura Festival Brings Art, Music, Film, Makers, and More to St. Pete

Green Bench Monthly: Et Cultura Festival Showcases Vibrant St. Pete Art, Film And Technology

 

What Makes a Good News Story?

what-makes-news_news
When telling a news story, choosing the audience wisely is as important as the writing itself. Not all audiences will want to read all news. This has always been true, through the many eras of news. However, with the current flood of information and availability of news anytime and anyplace, it is especially important now. Ask yourself these questions before you even pitch a story. Who are my readers? Who is going to care about this story?

Once you determine your audience, you can start to research publications that are relevant to that industry or vein of interest. Avoid sending your press release to every publication you can think of. For example, if your story is about an office remodel that caters to the work habits and needs of Millennials, you wouldn’t pitch the story to Cat Fancy or The New Yorker. It may take some time to find the appropriate publications, but the leads you discover will be far more qualified than sending your pitch to as many publications as you can without doing research.

Another facet of news is relevance to current trends. It is a difficult task to create a buzz about something – better to ride the tide of another trending topic or collection of stories. For example, in the above story about remodeling an office to appeal to Millennials, you may use references to research done by larger companies such as Apple or Google that state the importance workplace satisfaction plays in productivity. You could even relate the story to studies that have shown that inactivity leads to health problems – the newly remodeled office provides employees with areas that promote physical activity and thus wellbeing. This is where you get to be creative and perhaps learn a bit more about the story yourself. Doing some research into the topic can help you make relevant connections that will be very effective in relaying the importance of your story.

Even after you do your research and create connections to relevant, trending topics, your story may not be viable. In the current information atmosphere, people have access to so much news that it is increasingly difficult to capture their attention. The 24-hour news cycle has yielded to an even more rapid moment-to-moment news cycle, so trending topics can appear and become obsolete in just hours. Appealing to emotions helps, great quotes help, relevance to trends helps, but ultimately the often fickle audience of today decides what is going to be newsworthy. Reporters and news outlets are forced to keep up with their ever-changing tastes.

Despite the challenges you face with pitching your story to the media, don’t be discouraged and don’t take it personally. In the event that your story is chosen for publication, the resulting piece is extremely rewarding after the obstacles you’ve faced in today’s news environment.

Pinstripe Marketing offers public relations as one of our many services. Public relations is one aspect of a complete marketing strategy – we help create pitches that tell the story of your brand. Check out the below links for more advice on what makes a good news story.

What Makes a Story Newsworthy?

The 11 Things That Reporters Consider Newsworthy

Presenting Your Expertise to the Media

public relations pr expertPublic relations and publicity aren’t the same thing, but they are definitely intertwined. The public must first know you exist before it can have an opinion about you. One of the best ways that professionals can be introduced to a large audience is as an expert in their industry. And for credibility’s sake, it’s best if that introduction comes from an unbiased source … a news media outlet, for example.

If you’ve hired a good PR agency—or a marketing firm that also provides well-coordinated PR services in addition to other promotional strategies—they should discuss setting you up with their media contacts as a resource for news stories covering your industry. But absent professional marketing assistance, there are a three things you can do on your own to position yourself as an expert in your field.

Be visibly active in your community. This boils down to the dreaded ‘networking.’ Join your local Chamber of Commerce or other business organizations and take an active role. Offer thoughtful, well-expressed opinions in friendly discussions when it comes to topics related to your business. Even more importantly, if your industry has a professional organization with a chapter in your area, be sure to join and work to take a leadership role. Then, if a journalist begins asking around for an expert to quote, your name may come up. And certainly, anytime you meet members of the media, give them your card and let them know you are happy to help answer questions relating to your field.

Utilize social media to establish a public presence. Blog, tweet, or have a Facebook page that speaks to issues in your industry (without an overt sales pitch). In addition to being a resource for your customers, delivering information in this way will help set you up as a public expert. First, if a reporter googles an expert to contact, your name may show up in the search results. Secondly, doing these things on a regular basis will force you to pay attention to the latest developments in your industry, so you can speak knowledgeably if an opportunity presents itself. And finally, expressing yourself through social media provides practice organizing your thoughts and speaking on the record.

Share story ideas with the media. Don’t confuse this with a press release for your business. Instead, if you see something happening in your line of work that strikes you as unusual and may be a cause of interest (or alarm) for the general public, contact the news editor of your local paper or TV station and let them know what you’re observing. (For example: You’re a CPA and you see a lot of your clients having trouble with tax information related to Obamacare.) Be concise, to the point and clearly explain why the phenomenon might be worthy of news coverage. Even if you don’t get a bite on that particularly story, there’s a chance your name could be remembered for some other article in the future.

The most important thing in becoming a resource for professional expertise is to be available. When a reporter calls you will need to answer, or if you are just too busy to break away at that moment you must return his call within a few hours at the most. Chances are that journalists will be facing a tight deadline, and they aren’t going to wait around long before moving on to someone else. And if you aren’t there for them when they need you, they’ll be less likely to come back again.

Also, if you are quoted in a story, don’t nitpick over trivial matters regarding your exact words. Yes, if you’re misquoted in a way that makes your published statement substantively incorrect, bring it to the reporter’s attention. However, if her transgression is that you said “fast” and she wrote “quickly,” let it go. And anytime you’re reasonably pleased with a story in which your expert comments appear, send the reporter a note congratulating her on her fine work and letting her know how much you enjoyed participating in their work. This way, reporters will remember you as someone they enjoyed working with.

Keep in mind that you won’t become a media-recognized expert overnight. As you may have noticed, there is a lot of groundwork to lay, and frankly, a good bit of hard work. But the good news is that once you’ve reached “expert” status, opportunities to increase your professional profile will increase exponentially with every public appearance.

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