This fall at Citation Labs:

  1. We just launched our first website refresh in 4 years, and it seems that you all are liking the new look.
  2. We recently wrote a case study on our first PR client.
  3. Today, we completed our first Citation Labs team webinar. Garrett was missed, and he’ll certainly continue to share his expertise in future webinars and videos. But as Citation Labs grows, we hope to bring you more team members as our monthly topics align with their areas of expertise.

This webinar, presented by Ken McGaffin, our Director of PR Services, and myself – Megan Hannay – our Director of Web Experience, focused on incorporating PR into an overall content creation. We reflected on our learnings from Citation Labs’s first venture into PR as an agency service, and we offered tips for other SEOs, Link Builders or “PR Newbs” looking to branch into PR services.

You can watch the whole thing here or skim through the summary below to find the sections that interest you most.

WARNING: We had technical difficulties during this webinar* and half of it was re-recorded at a later time. If the sound jumps around a tad, it’s not you or your Internet connection. It’s us. 

0:20 – Key Takeaways from this Webinar:

1.Know “Newsworthy,” even when your client/company doesn’t.
2.Learn how to think of “PR” like a journalist.
3.Plan to be spontaneous.

2:20 – Part I: Ken McGaffin on “Knowing Newsworthy” 

  • There is no formula for what is newsworthy; it’s really what a journalist or editor considers to be newsworthy.

3:04 – 17 ways to find newsworthy pitches within a company’s existing content.

  • Learning this “gut instinct” begins when you start trying things, even if you don’t succeed at first.
  • Become a real consumer of the news to see what succeeds.

6:05 – Ken explores the story behind 7 successful editorial links from today’s news.

  • 6:12 – Portland’s Kargi Gogo food cart relaunches with new, all-khachapuri menu (link to article)
    • “Even the smallest companies can get featured in major media.”
  • 6:50 – Remember Smarties? The retro candy is thriving (link to article)
  • 7:48 – How to pick a better running shoe (link to article)
    • This was likely a story compiled on HARO.
  • 8:41 – Weddings Take Offbeat Turns, With Help From Hotels and Planners (link to article)
  • 9:35 – Business that makes square pies given legal warning by rival (link to article)
    • UK press outlets, such as the BBC or The Telegraph see themselves as global outlets, so they’re great press targets no matter where you are.
  • 10:37 – New York in miniature: artist creates storefront replicas (link to article)
  • 11:01 – A nose for innovation? Odor-detecting tech wins support from Peter Thiel’s Breakout Labs (link to article)

12:31 – Part II: Megan Hannay on “PR Like a Journalist” 

13:25 – How PR fits into our “Content Creation” Series

  • It’s another space to experiment!
  • New prospecting opportunity: Journalists.
  • The “cascade effect.”

16:14 – Citation Labs Case Study: The Ken Duval Story

Our initial anticipation of what would benefit Duval Roofing was a bit off. We were having trouble securing press until a pivotal turnaround that not only changed the campaign, but changed the way we think about PR. 

18:08 – Our first press pitches for Duval Roofing

  • The Timely Angle
    • The Boston Winter of 2015 – no one wanted to talk about it in the summer of 2015
  • The “Early Adopter” Angle
    • Journalists wanted stories of creators; not just adopters

21:15 – The wonders of HARO pitches

  • Great for securing press & links
  • Great for branding practice
  • Not a stand-alone strategy

23:27 – The Magical, Wonderful Conversation that changed our campaign

  • Used journalistic curiosity, which led to a more in-depth pitch email
  • The pitch email ended up being a story in and of itself

Won Duval Roofing the cover of a national magazine.

25:36 – Anatomy of our winning pitch:

  • It’s not just a pitch; it’s a story.

29:07 – Advice for Link Builders, SEOs, or other PR “newbs”  – Getting into a PR mindset

30:13 – Story thinking versus Process thinking

  • PR content isn’t always about utility; it’s about building an arc

32:37 – PR = a roller coaster with ever-changing tracks

  • Results may vary

33:57 – PR raises the storytelling bar

  • It’s not always the highly informational content that’s going to get attention
  • Emotion has a PR appeal

35:55 – Brand Journalism > Brand PR Rep

I had stereotypes about PR. Here’s where I repent and define Brand Journalism as the “new” PR.

40:14 – 3 Takeaways for “PR newbs”

41:49 – Part III: Ken McGaffin on “Planning to Be Spontaneous”

43:47 – What PRs can learn from Lewis Carroll.

  • What’s the visual element here?
  • What are the conversations you want to start?

45:09 – The Key Messages Matrix

Talk, observe, read up, and develop key points, soundbites and pieces of content to support clients’ stories.

48:18 – Client Example – How planning ahead lands you press

51:12 – 12-month planner. Learn how to use it from Ken McGaffin’s recent blog post.


*Thanks, Google :)

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