Tag Archives: WBUR

Stitching together a podcast launch public relations strategy

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For the launch of Endless Thread, a new podcast by WBUR and Reddit, my team at Greenough, in collaboration with WBUR and Reddit, developed a tailored media strategy to cultivate media interest and drive awareness of this unprecedented partnership in which WBUR producers Ben Brock Johnson and Amory Sivertson delve into Reddit’s boundless communities to explore some of the most compelling stories the internet has to offer, including revelations about shared experiences and powerful, personal stories.

Although podcasts are tremendously popular with consumers, there is a lot of competition among new podcasts and a small pool of media outlets and reporters covering the medium. Thus, our media strategy was developed to distinguish Endless Thread from the competition. We did this by focusing our attention on building momentum leading up to the launch by providing advance access to the producers and to the content. This included leveraging the Third Coast Festival by hosting a pre-launch event in which the podcast was previewed by select members of the media, drafting a press release and identifying specific media targets to conduct advanced outreach prior to the official announcement of the podcast, and conducting aggressive outreach and follow-up to a comprehensive list of media whose coverage areas span business, technology, media, podcasting and culture.

As a result of executing this plan, we secured 18 pieces of coverage and generated considerable interest even if it did not result in immediate coverage. On the day of the announcement, December 5, 2017, we saw extensive coverage in Nieman Lab’s Hot Pod, Variety, Current, CNET, BostInno, Boston Business Journal and Radio Ink. As we continued follow-up with media throughout December and into January, sharing previews of the first two episodes we secured additional coverage leading up to the official launch in Vulture and Columbia Journalism Review. Following the launch on January 12, we saw coverage in the CBC’s Podcast Playlist, Refinery29, AV Club’s Podmass, the Bello Collective, Boston Globe, Harvard Crimson, The Upgrade, USA Today, and TIME.

The best part of all this coverage we garnered was that there was an amazing amount of enthusiasm and excitement about Endless Thread.

  • Vulture proclaimed that it was one of “The 12 Podcasts We Can’t Wait to Hear in 2018”
  • Refinery 29 featured it as one of “The Brand New Podcasts Of 2018 We’re Most Excited About”
  • Time named it one of “The 50 Best Podcasts to Listen to Right Now”
  • USA Today declared it is one of the “5 news podcasts you should be listening to”

I credit this success to a great idea, a fantastic product, strategic planning, and teamwork among all of the partners.

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The Evolving Print Edition: How consumer habits are impacting major publications

screenshot-of-wsj-coverageReviews of my clients, the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History and the Museum of World War II, appeared side-by-side in the Wall Street Journal in December 2016. 

To conform to shifting reader habits and the quickening news cycle, the New York Times and Wall Street Journal have both recently reorganized their publishing formats—most notably impacting the arts sections—and the Boston Globe is undergoing an audit of its editorial department.

The New York Times cut its local tri-state culture coverage in August and redesigned its arts section in December, concentrating on consumer-focused pieces such as “Show Us Your Wall” and cutting the weekly column, “Inside Art,” which had served as a “must-read” for everyone in the art market.

The Wall Street Journal launched a new print format with fewer sections in November. The publication introduced a new “Business & Finance” section which combined “Business & Tech” and “Money & Investing” and a new “Life & Arts” section which combined “Personal Journal” and “Arena.” Like the Times, the Journal also reduced its regional “Greater New York” coverage.

The Boston Globe is rethinking how the editorial department should function with today’s shortened news cycle. Rather than adhering to the deadlines demanded by the print schedule, the Globe will publish stories online throughout the day and night. To meet this end, they are creating an “Express Desk” to post breaking news and jump on trending stories.

The overarching result of these changes is reduced print coverage.

With limited space to work with, editors must decide which stories are selected for print. And not all make the cut. For example, although a recent review of the Museum of World War II’s anti-Semitism exhibition was featured in full in the Wall Street Journal’s print edition, a WSJ article on recreational marijuana in the workplace featuring Mirick O’Connell was shortened for print. In some cases, a story slated for publication gets bumped for a breaking news story, which was the case with a WSJ review of the Yale Peabody Museum when a Christie’s executive announced he was stepping down the same day. Or it may be delegated as an online only story, such as the WSJ review of the Museum of World War II’s exhibition on Pearl Harbor, which was never slated for the print edition in the first place.

In the digital age, where social media reigns, the idea that a story may only be published online is not necessarily a negative. It simply reflects our shifting news consumption habits.

With online stories, we can share content with a broader audience and bolster the reach of the coverage. As we have seen with the rise of Buzzfeed, the ability to share and “like” has a tangible, measurable and significant impact on the reach of digital media coverage.

Additionally, we are also in a golden age of video and audio reports shared through digital platforms.  Boston’s own NPR station, WBUR, continues to see strong support from its listeners and donors to expand its offerings and to report through new digital platforms. This year alone, WBUR launched a new website and mobile app which focus on the user experience of listening. It also launched the new education vertical, Edify, and received a $3 million grant from the Barr Foundation to bolster its arts and culture reporting, The ARTery. This is just one example of the kind of shift and dispersion occurring in the media landscape.

As we continue to witness the evolution of media, it’s important to understand the new limitations in print coverage, to manage the expectations of our clients and to be prepared to capitalize on the next trend in media.

This article first appeared on the Greenough blog on January 17, 2017. 

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