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Brazen Careerist Site Launch: From A PR Perspective

Posted by Rachel Esterline on Aug 25, 2009 in Public Relations

Brazen Careerist launches its new, updated Web site today, completely reimagining how to the online community can function to benefit the users. I was able to get a sneak preview of it and interview Doug Haslam, account director at SHIFT Communications, the firm that helped with the launch.

Below are the questions I asked Doug about the launch from a public relations aspect. Feel free to ask questions for Doug to address by commenting.

1. From a public relations aspect, what is being done to promote the launch of Brazen Careerist?

Even though we are promoting a social network, getting attention through traditional media channels is still important. We are looking at publications that face general consumers (e.g. newspapers), human resources, and Internet beats, among others. Add to that the many blogs that cover careers and Generation Y issues, and the help of the Brazen Careerist community itself on their own blogs, and there are many potential touchpoint for people to hear about this launch.

2. What has been SHIFT’s approach in pitching to traditional media?

Our approach is to make sure pitches are customized, that we know who each person we pitch is, what they write and why we are pitching them. We do not subscribe to the “Spray and Pray” tactics that are still too prevalent in PR.

We are scheduling “pre-briefings” to take place shortly before the August 25 announcement date with any media person that we feel will honor the embargo. The rest will get the news as it is released (or perhaps shortly before), so that no one goes out before the embargo date.

Another important factor has been Penelope Trunk’s relationships with editors due to her long career as a columnist. We are being careful not to tread on her relationships, and in a number of cases she is making the introductions.

3. What has been SHIFT’s approach in pitching to social media? Has it been easier to pitch to social media rather than traditional?

Pitching bloggers is a lot like pitching the rest of the media, in that pitches must be customized, and we must show every one pitched the courtesy of knowing something about their blog or podcast. The difference with social media is that we (actually, Brazen) can be content creators as well, from commenting on blogs to using the Facebook page or Twitter account to communicate with them.

The other big difference is that many bloggers are not trained journalists, and we have to keep that in mind when pitching, especially as it comes to established journalistic tactics such as the embargo or even the press release itself.

4. Aside from media relations, what other tactics is SHIFT using to promote the launch?

As mentioned above, Brazen Careers has outlets, including their own site content, but also their Facebook Page and Twitter account, to communicate news. Brazen’s staff actually manages these accounts, but we are a consultative voice in helping them use these channels.

5. How many team members are working on this launch?

We have a total team of five people. There are three members doing the bulk of the media pitching (and therefore the bulk of the work), and as Account Director I am not one of them. They get all the credit for the success we hope to achieve.

6. Approximately how much time has been spent planning for the launch?

We began our engagement with Brazen Careerist in mid-July, giving us about six weeks to plan and execute.

7. Are there additional details you would like to share that a public relations student or young professional might be interested in learning about?

I have been happy in the past year to see that PR students are getting more social media in their education. It’s important, as the media world is changing, and now social media is an important concept of virtually all PR campaigns.

The thing to remember is that the industry will continue to evolve. 1999 PR was unrecognizable to the 1989 Fax/Mail/phone set, and 2009 PR, with disparate social media channels supplementing email and phone, is stranger still. You have no idea what communications and media will look like in 2019, and neither do I.

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