Pretending to be a stay-at-home-mom, the three tiers of journalism and PR for the people.
Amid bites of line-caught Oregon salmon at SEMpdx’s Engage Conference in March, Amy got the chance to unleash her inner local PR nerd to Megan Hannay, Co-Founder & CEO of ZipSprout and host of the community-based marketing agency’s podcast, The Zip. The exchange of ideas led Megan to invite Amy on The Zip to share her knack for community public relations. The episode, which you can listen to below, digs deep into Amy’s approach and enforces Veracity’s message that anyone can learn PR — especially of the community variety.
Amy experienced the entire marketing spectrum — from buying ads in magazines to fighting for earned media coverage in exclusive publications — while working in the PR department of an advertising firm. She then turned to real estate when the opportunity to market and sell a development of 50 condominium units presented itself. However, a whopping financial crash, paired with a new baby led Amy to leave real estate, opting for stay-at-home-mom status instead. This was nothing short of a ruse, though. As someone who knows Amy, I can attest that staying at home is not in her nature.
And thus, Veracity was born from the basement of Amy’s southeast Portland home. With the help of Amy’s husband, Mike, who has a successful history in digital marketing and SEO, Veracity has continued to grow with a strong connection to community-based businesses and organizations. As Amy puts it, “We don’t try to grow too fast…we’re just taking things as they come.”
Marketing Lessons from Other Avenues:
The biggest skill Amy learned while selling real estate was how to best reach a specific audience. Marketing a product with such high financial implications taught her to ask questions like: “How do I get my audience to feel comfortable with my message? What does this person want? What do they want to consume with their brain?” Today, Amy addresses these questions with her own clients at Veracity.
The goal, Amy preaches, is to let consumers decide for themselves whether or not to engage with your client’s product or service. There shouldn’t be any explicit persuasion involved — just present the facts and let them make up their minds. Rather than shoving a sales pitch down the audience’s throat, take a journalistic, PR approach.
Real estate also taught Amy how to be her own boss. With a pay structure based solely on commission, there is a certain degree of risk involved and you have to fight to succeed — a true PR mentality. Amy took that approach to start her own business.
Three Tiers of Journalism:
Megan asked Amy about the state of journalism, and Amy alluded to the problems the industry has been facing lately — largely the result of a plummeting decline in the value of print advertising revenue. For a more in-depth look at these problems, check out my take in this blog post.
When discussing the state of journalism, Amy broke down the industry into three tiers:
- National publications, like The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times — publications like these are not going anywhere because they are so well-known and financially supported around the world.
- Local daily newspapers, like The Oregonian — these are the publications that are struggling. Papers that split their coverage between national and local news are casting too wide a net — readers who want national or world news turn to the larger publications and readers who want to know community news turn to the small papers.
- Community newspapers, like the Lake Oswego Review — here is local PR’s bread and butter, where readers still visit to find the information that is actually affecting their lives. See the list below for ways to garner coverage here.
Amy warns, though, that if local papers start closing down, the PR industry is in danger.
Getting Coverage in Local Papers:
Amy shared examples of what kinds of stories typically get ink in community newspapers. Think about writing a press release or sending a note to a community newspaper if your company or your client:
- Volunteers locally
- Joins a board or committee
- Donates to a cause
- Opens a new office
- Makes a notable hire
- Releases a new product or service
- Voices an opinion on a locally-based issue
Regardless, you could pay close attention to the news to spark ideas for your client or your company’s take on a particular topic if you want to get some PR juice.
Amy’s career has taken a few twists and turns, but all of her experiences pointed back to one thing: community-based marketing. While working in local PR is a fast-paced, highly competitive realm, it is one that you can learn to navigate with the right coach and plenty of practice. Take some of these tips into your own marketing campaigns and get in front of those community newspapers — they’re the lifeblood in the age of information.
About the guest: Amy Rosenberg
In a past life selling real estate, Amy relied on her marketing background to move high-priced properties despite the bursting real estate bubble. Realizing her true passion, the Portland PR firm Veracity was born and has since guided a wide range of clients — from destination resorts and real estate developers to technology events and nonprofit groups — through the intricacies of utilizing marketing to enhance business goals.
Connect and follow Amy on social media:
Featured image courtesy of Nina Johnson Photography