Archive for 2011

A Woman’s Place

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, continues to make major headlines recently, including a cover story in the May issue of Bloomberg BusinessWeek, a feature in Vogue, and a new article (link below) in July issue of the The New Yorker. Her presentation last December at the TEDWomen conference about women in leadership positions has been viewed over 650,000 times. Check out this interesting look into the life of the executive who not only made Facebook profitable, but also sits on President Obama’s advisory council on jobs and the boards of Disney and Starbucks.





Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

Two of our MSL Atlanta employees were wounded in a senseless shooting outside our office in Midtown Atlanta on Friday afternoon. Our employees, 23-year-old intern Lauren Garcia, and 24-year-old Assistant Account Executive Tiffany Ferenczy, were innocent bystanders and immediately taken to Grady Memorial Hospital’s trauma unit where their injuries were treated. Tiffany was released from the hospital on Saturday. We remain in close communications with Lauren’s and Tiffany’s families and will continue to support them in any way we can. 

The suspect is now in the custody of the Atlanta Police Department. He is in no way associated with MSLGROUP or our employees.

Please keep Lauren, Tiffany, their families and all of our Atlanta staff in your thoughts and prayers. Our primary concern is for our Atlanta colleagues, their families, and the welfare and safety of all of our staff. If you have any questions, please contact Mike Bush,,  212.468.3623.

Thanks very much for your concern. Our hearts and prayers continue to be with all of those who were affected.

Do’s and Don’ts of Pitching Media

Monday, June 20th, 2011

Top do’s and don’ts of pitching media:

Do – Read, listen to or watch the media outlets you’re looking to get into so you understand what kind of stories they cover and how they cover them. Do they do live interviews? Do they use prepared/press release copy? Do they use video footage or photos? Get to know the media outlets you want to be in and supply them the things they need. Make it easier for them to cover your story than the 100 other pitches they get each week. Reporters want to know you’re familiar with their work and their outlet and having this familiarity will help you prepare and pitch your story more efficiently.

Do — Make yourself available and keep appointments. If you get a reporter interested in your story, be flexible about when you can do the interview. Many reporters are working on five or six stories at the same time. If they’re only available to interview you between noon and 2:30 on Thursday, make yourself free then or they may just move on to another story. Once you have the interview booked, make sure you’re there in person or you’re there by the phone at the appointed time.

Do — Pay attention to what else is going on in your market or industry when you make your announcements or pitch your story. This will help you find times that are better to pitch than others. If you’re a technology company and you’re planning a major press announcement, don’t do it on the same day Apple is supposed to announce the next iPhone — every tech reporter in the world will be focused on that story, not yours. If you’re pitching a story about your company’s donation to a local charity, don’t do it on the day your city or state is having elections — all your local news resources will be focused on that story.

Do — Become a resource for reporters in your industry. Every story can’t be about you, but you can position yourself and your company as an expert resource to talk about trends in your industry. By helping reporters out with these larger trend pieces with comments, insight and expertise, those reporters will be more willing to cover your big story when the time comes.

Don’t – Hound reporters. Many people think calling and emailing reporters over and over will get them to cover your story. But being too aggressive can actually repel reporters. Know that reporters spend at least a few minutes with every pitch they get and if they’re interested, they will call you for more information. A quick follow up call a few days after you send your pitch can help, but calling day after day on the same story will just make the reporter angry. Be an ongoing resource for reporters in your space, but don’t call over and over on the same story.

Don’t — Invest in flashy press kits. Most reporters don’t have time to wade through thick, complex press kits with photos, big brochures, multiple pages, etc. to figure out what the news in there is. A simple email with a good pitch, a press release and images illustrating the products or services you’re pitching will be sufficient. If your item requires some kind of hand-on experience, follow up with a call to see if the reporter would like an in-person demo.

Let the PR tips above strengthen your pitching efforts and help you land the media attention you want.

This post was recently published on To see the full article, click here.

Merging of Media Rooms and PR Shops

Monday, June 13th, 2011

Interesting piece this morning from PR Daily (summarizing a Financial Times story) about how companies are increasingly “making the news” themselves – not in the sense of making news by just doing interesting things (which they still must do), but literally making the news casts, writing the stories, etc. and then feeding those assets to blogs, social media sites and even, increasingly, mainstream media sites that are eager for interesting, useful and easy-to-use content to fill the 24/7 news cycle and the online environment where revenue is generated by click-throughs to content pages serving ads. 

What “assets” does a media outlet need to run our story?  Is it a well-written tip sheet?  Is it a fully formed “story” they can just cut and paste into their blog or content area?  Is it photos and videos to accompany the story?  Is it all of those things and more?

When looking for content to use, media outlets of all stripes are now looking for the stories that are both the easiest to use AND the most interesting to use. By providing outlets with the assets they need up front to use our material, we make it easier for outlets to use stories from our clients vs. the other 50 pitches they get every single day. The most interesting story in the world, packaged badly or lacking key information or assets, will be tossed aside for the slightly less interesting story that comes with everything a reporter, editor, producer or blogger  needs to quickly understand it and get it into production and posted to their site, onto the TV or into their publication. The stories below illustrate really well how the blurring of lines among online, social and traditional media, coupled with the new demands on “news” providers, give groups like ours opportunities to go really be PR and communication influencers and leaders. We’re in an interesting environment where the places people get news are changing quickly and many media outlets increasingly need us to do many parts of their job for them. 

The PR Daily summary:

The full story:

Welcome Summer Interns!!!!!

Monday, June 13th, 2011

Today marks the beginning of MSL Atlanta’s summer internship program. We are so happy to welcome you to the MSL Atlanta family and look forward to watching you grow in your careers and practice your new discipline.

  • Joining our Digital team is Katherine Neunaber from the University of Tennessee.
  • Lauren Garcia, University of Georgia, joins our Corporate Team.
  • Joining our Employee Engagement team is Nancy Thomas from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
  • From East Tennessee State University, Andra Voinea will join our Consumer team.

Tomorrow is Food Truck Day in Midtown!

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

We get excited about new places to eat around the office, and this summer’s food truck movement is right up our alley! mmmmmmmmmm…….

Check out these restaurants who will be bringing their mobile delights to Woodruff Art Center, 10th & Peachtree and 7th and Peachtree.

Street Food Thursday: June 9
11 am – 2 pm (or until the food runs out)
Woodruff Arts Center:
Souper Jenny
Good Food Truck
The Pup Truck
King of Pops
Hail Caesar
Tex’s Tacos
Rattle Trap Coffee
Sweet Auburn BBQ
Westside Creamery
Slider U

10th + Peachtree:
The Pickle
Yum Yum Cupcake
King of Pops

999 Peachtree:
Pop Up Chef Shaun Doty (Yeah! Burger)
Midtown Market (new addition!)

7th + Peachtree:
King of Pops
Tamale Queen
Just Loaf’n
Mobile Marlay

My Social Tattoo

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

How much has social media permeated our lives? This user takes her most important online friends and brings them to life in a full sleeve tattoo made up of their profile pics.

“Finishing my social tattoo with 152 pictures of my Facebook Friends!  Of course I gave it a lot of thought. These are not all my friends. Just the people I care most about. I got their permission and they were very proud to be on it. To me it represents who I am right now and the time we live in. And of course I love the looks of it.”

As a lover of ink, I think it’s pretty cool, especially since since she links the significance of the age we live in to her body art. It’s also a pretty great conversation starter!

The Tattoo is designed by Pretty Social and the tattoo artist is Tattoo Dex.

The Influencer Formula

Monday, June 6th, 2011

In addition to the MSLGROUP proprietary tools to discover social and digital influencers, we reviewed others in last week’s Social Media Bootcamp that may be helpful:

Klout– enables you to look at social graphs on Twitter to track an influencer’s impact on other users. 

LinkedIn & Quora– we all know LinkedIn, but Quora is a network that collects questions and answers. The network can be used to monitor and identify influencers on a specific topic.

Mashable  – is a premier source for news in social and digital media.  Mashable has been named a must-read site by both Fast Company and PC Magazine and is ranked as the most influential media outlet by Klout.  

Follow - allows you to follow topics of personal interest and connect with other Mashable readers who share the same interest.

Tweetreach – allows you to see how far a client’s tweet (or tweet about a client) has traveled and how many people have been exposed to it. 

Zemanta – analyzes user-generated content and suggests relevant links and resources to facilitate content production.

Fancy & Svpply – places for users to aggregate all the brands, products and stores they love and opt in to receive updates on those topics.

Behind the Wizard’s Curtain: NPR Looks into the PR Industry

Monday, April 25th, 2011

Driving into work last week, I heard a teaser on NPR about an investigation its doing on the public relations industry and the influence it has on businesses and the media.

Immediately, they had my attention. It’s always interesting to hear what others think about your industry. It’s like getting a chance to eavesdrop on a conversation at the airport or a cocktail party.

NPR kicked off the series with a look at how BP handled the oil spill crisis this time last year:

To sum it up, BP and its CEO Tony Hayward made several mistakes. A retired BP communications staffer said one contributing factor to the “colossal PR missteps” was the severe cuts in BP’s public and government relations department to save money.

The story highlights BP’s failed messaging, finger-pointing at its contractors and arrogant, insensitive attitude toward local communities. However, it does give the company credit for replacing Hayward with a Mississippi native, creating an independent compensation fund, running TV ads with Gulf Coast residents and building strong social media channels.

Crisis communications situations are typically the easiest for those outside of the industry to critique. I’m interested to see what other issues NPR will look at next.

Atlanta Film Fest Offers Brain Candy for Marketing/PR Pros

Monday, April 25th, 2011

The Atlanta Film Festival kicks off this week, and there are a couple of movies, in particular, that seem pretty relevant to MSL Atlanta and our work.  The first is titled “POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold (link below).”  This documentary film is directed by Morgan Spurlock (Supersize Me), and investigates how modern advertising affects our minds, as he will attempt to raise audience awareness of  how product placement works in entertainment, sports and even schools.  Spurlock is also expected to the attend the screening, which is Friday (4/29) at 7:30 p.m. at the Landmark Cinema in Midtown.

Additionally, there is a film titled “Page One: Inside the New York Times (link below)” that will chronicle the media industry’s transformation and assess the high stakes for democracy if in-depth investigative reporting becomes extinct.   The filmmakers were granted access to the NY Times newsroom for one year to produce the film, which captures the struggles of even one of the most widely- read publications to stay vital and solvent.  This film is playing Thursday, May 5th at 7 p.m.  at Landmark Midtown.