Philadelphia-based Buchanan Public Relations LLC is a full-service public relations firm that specializes in media relations, social media and crisis communications.

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September 29, 2015
September 15, 2015

End of Summer Back to the Grind: Four Tips for Increasing Your Productivity

By Jen Tedeschi, 9:00 am

Summer's EndAs the lull of summer comes to an end and fall workloads start picking up again, it might be difficult to get back into the swing of things. Do you find yourself still thinking about the beach and barbeques rather than your growing to-do list?

If you’re still feeling less than motivated, you’re not alone. According to a study by Captivate Network, productivity falls 20 percent during the summer months, and distraction levels rise 45 percent.

So, what’s the key to shifting out of summer vacation mode and back into work mode, so you can buckle down for the busier months ahead? Here are a few tips to increase productivity:

  • Set daily habits. Doing something every day out of habit is a lot easier than just using willpower to tackle your growing to-do list. Take one or two necessary tasks, such as organizing your inbox or decluttering your desk, and put them on your task list each day, until it becomes a part of your normal routine.
  • Complete your most challenging projects in the morning. It can be easy to put off a dreaded project by procrastinating with checking emails and your social media feeds over coffee. However, completing the most important task first thing in the morning gives you the greatest chance to do your best work while your mind is clear and the office is still quiet. In addition, it will set the tone for the rest of the day; you’ll feel more accomplished and have the bandwidth to take on less difficult projects that are still on your plate into the afternoon hours.
  • Write down your to-do list. Keeping the list of your daily projects in your head takes your attention away from actually completing those projects. By writing down your to-do list, you’ll have a clearer mind, allowing you to focus on your tasks at hand.
  • Take regular breaks throughout the day. Even during your busiest days, down time is essential for recharging and avoiding burnout. Actually, working non-stop can make it easier to procrastinate. So schedule a couple of 15-minute breaks in the late morning and afternoon hours to help you unwind and refocus. Use that time to get up and stretch, take a quick stroll, or even just to glance outside so that you can take your eyes off of your computer screen.

Summer schedules might be leaving a dent in your productivity. But now that the season is over, these tips will help you get back into your normal routine and leave you feeling more motivated than ever.

September 3, 2015

Importance of Creating a Symbiotic Client/PR Agency Relationship

By Rachel Neppes, 9:00 am

While every public relations firm and client hopes for the best possible outcome from their partnership, even the best laid plans can get derailed.

partnershipPerhaps it’s a product launch that had been central to the PR strategy, which gets postponed indefinitely, or a major feature story on the company that gets cut from the publication without notice due to space constraints. Whatever the challenge may be, the ability to rise above it and move forward relies on a symbiotic relationship between the client and agency. So what defines a symbiotic relationship?

When we first engage with our clients, we do our best to help them understand not only what they can expect from us, but what their roles are, as well.

Being entrusted to manage a company’s public image and brand is an honor and responsibility that we take very seriously. It’s our job to be proactive, seek out every opportunity to tell our clients’ stories, and create compelling and engaging reasons for the media and public to share those stories. To do that, we rely on our clients for a few things.

  • Share information, company news and developments with us in a timely and consistent manner. This is essential. It’s our job to act on behalf of our clients as an embedded member of their organizations. The more we know, the better we are able to seize opportunities for them.
  • Be responsive to media opportunities, which often requires quick action since journalists are typically working under tight deadlines. Reliability and promptness when responding to media inquiries can make or break a relationship with a reporter and an opportunity for coverage.
  • Be accessible for approvals on press releases and other materials. If you’re not available, designate a second point of contact so we can keep things moving.
  • Provide honest and consistent feedback. We want to meet your goals so tell us when we’re off track.
  • Recognize that earned media coverage requires time and consistent pressure on the gas pedal. As much as we may all wish for instant gratification, we appreciate your patience.

Every PR program will encounter its fair share of challenges. It’s critical that PR agencies and clients work together synergistically in order to overcome setbacks and prevail.

August 26, 2015

Blowing Up a Deflated Balloon: A Millennial’s View on Entering the Workforce

By Katherine Kuntz, 9:55 am

The other night, I found myself recalling a vivid childhood memory of going to the circus. What really stuck out was not the show itself, but rather an event that followed. As the curtains began to close and the crowd prepared to leave, a young boy sitting next to me started to cry for more. In order to silence his screams, his mother handed him a lollipop and promised to get him a balloon on the way out.

deflated balloonBelonging to the generation of instant gratification, we were always bathed with parental praise and attention. We were rewarded for bad behavior merely to keep our mouths closed, and now living in a society both surrounded and reliant on technology, we are viewed as lazy, high-maintenance and self-entitled.

Not anymore. The truth is that the face paint has come off and the balloons have popped. The millennials are all grown up, and now considered the nation’s largest living generation, we enter the workforce with wide eyes and open arms.

I believe my generation has come to grips with the impending challenges of climbing the corporate ladder. We are no longer children waiting to collect our trophies. Thanks to the Great Recession, our economy hasn’t robustly grown in more than a decade, and with stiff competition in the job market, what I think we want most is to be trusted to do the hard work on our own and to demonstrate that we can.

While we may be seen as high-maintenance, we are also high-performers. We value experience over materialistic possessions. We look to build wholesome relationships, and most importantly, we strive to make our childhood aspirations a reality. Once kicking and screaming for our way, we are now taking that energy and applying it to achieve these sought out dreams. We are, in fact, blowing up a deflated balloon.

As I face these challenges entering the workforce, I’m actually motivated to work harder with fewer expectations. This next chapter is unknown, but I am embracing it with an open heart and open mind.

August 18, 2015

All for the love of the media list

By Amee Upadhyay, 10:00 am

Media List (mēdēə/ + list/)

Image credit:

Image credit:

Practical definition: A contact list of journalists and reporters (normally specific to a certain pitch or release)

Real-Life Definition: The task assigned to what I’m willing to wager is 100% of public relations interns

Here are four ways I can compare my time as an intern at Buchanan Public Relations to the media lists I’ve completed:

  • Despite valiant attempts to keep frustrations away from work, they’re inevitable regardless of whatever job you do. In PR, I have learned what some of these frustrations look like – for example, when finding the right media contact for a pitch or press release using a media list-building software tool. It especially makes my day when I’m looking for U.S. economics editors and the media list search pulls up the economics editor at The New York Times along with the sports editor at ESPN!
  • Still, despite the countless hassles and hard work, the task of completing a media list is always rewarding, particularly when the list that I’ve created leads to meaningful coverage for our clients. Every successful hit comes from an accurate and well-researched media list.
  • The media list, what some would consider a chore, has taught me the most about public relations. As I gear up to enter the workforce this May, I will be equipped with an important lesson:  you may fail, you may succeed, but so long as your foundation is strong, you will never be without opportunity.
  • Lastly, I’ve realized that the PR world is an ever-changing realm of journalists, bloggers, professionals and clients all searching for recognition. In the same way, no media list is ever stagnant. The lists I have created have grown to serve a multitude of other purposes. How creative you are at refurbishing past lists for different situations can determine how many hits you deliver for your clients. In today’s fast-moving world, it is essential to keep your eyes and ears out for new information and the people who are at the forefront of sharing it.

The media list, what some would consider a chore, has taught me the most about public relations. As I gear up to enter the workforce this May, I will be equipped with an important lesson:  you may fail, you may succeed, but so long as your foundation is strong, you will never be without opportunity.

August 10, 2015

Don’t Drop the Faberge Egg

By Blair Kahora Cardinal, 11:09 am

Relationships with reporters are like Faberge eggs. Faberge eggs stuffed with snowflakes and feelings, wrapped in rice paper, sitting on the wings of a butterfly, floating inside a bubble.

They’re fragile.

Last month, I was pitching a big client announcement. I called one of my long-time contacts at a major national publication.  He said, “I like this. If you can get me X, Y and Z, I’d like to write the story.” We worked feverishly over the next day to get him “X, Y and Z.” The reporter even emailed my client’s CEO directly with a question. Everything seemed to be on track.

The next morning, I emailed the reporter confirmation of all interviews. He replied back with “No. Cancel the interviews. This stuff does not relate to my current assignments.” Because we’ve worked together numerous times in the past, I called him immediately to see if I’d done something that might have triggered his sudden and unexpected shift. Why had he put the kybosh on the entire story? He had little explanation and said that he should not have led me on. I said, “It’s not like you didn’t show up for our first date. You left me standing alone at the altar.” While I never got a clear answer, because of our existing relationship we were able to have a discussion that I could relay back to the client.

faberge eggSometimes, situations go awry for no apparent reason. While it’s important to remember that reporter relationships are fragile—clearly!—over the years, I’ve pinpointed six tips that have helped me with the mammoth task of building an enduring rapport with dozens of reporters.

    • Match Their Style—I always laugh when I send a painstakingly crafted, multi-paragraph pitch that is met with a curt (but welcome!), “Ok, interview after 2?” All my subsequent correspondence is written to match the tone and tenor set by the reporter. “Ok, set for 2:30. Call guy at this number.” I gauge immediately whether the reporter is friendly and funny, short and straightforward, eccentric and unconventional, or polite and formal. It’s also important to figure out whether they like to correspond via email or phone. For example, I know that I can always reach one editor with the New York Times via phone at 7 a.m. and another Wall Street Journal reporter at 9 p.m. via email. Matching their style will build comfort and familiarity.
    • Put a Face with an Email—My colleagues and I regularly take trips up to NYC to attend media panels. Fellow PR pros based in NY always comment that we’re nuts to travel two hours for a 5-minute conversation with one reporter. However, we rarely make a personal introduction that does not result in a client interview and/or story. Never underestimate the power of meeting someone face-to-face.
    • Pop In Now and Again—Yes, reporters are incredibly busy. But it doesn’t hurt to ask if they have time to grab a cup of coffee from time to time. Whenever I’m up in NY for client meetings, I email a few reporters to see if they have time for a quick hello. Last time I was up, an editor came down to the lobby for a quick “bro hug,” and we shot the breeze for a few minutes. Even if they don’t have time, I’m still keeping myself on their radar.
    • Don’t Send Crap—The beauty of an ongoing relationship with a journalist is that he will likely open your emails and take your phone calls. However, this does not mean that you can pitch him irrelevant topics or complete crap. Just because you have a reporter’s ear, doesn’t mean that you can abuse it. If you start regularly sending him unusable pitches, you may begin to annoy him and lose the privilege of that relationship. Independently, if you do send a one-off pitch that’s not the right fit, he may make an introduction to an appropriate colleague.
    • Avoid Only Need-Based Contact—I’m sure we all take care to research a reporter prior to pitching her, but it’s important to observe and ask questions. If a reporter says that she needs to do the interview this week because she’ll be on vacation the next, your follow-up note should be, “Where are you going on vaca?” Down the line, if you see an article placing her vacation spot on the top 10 beaches in New Jersey, it’s nice to send a little “love note” with the article attached. This works for check-ins regarding things like her alma mater, hobbies and pet peeves.
    • Be Yourself—And most importantly, be yourself. Reporters are people. Don’t be a robot. They tend to respond more favorably to non-scripted relations where they’re able to view you as a person too.
July 31, 2015

PR Pop Quiz: When is a Product Launch Not a Product Launch?

By Anne Buchanan, 2:37 pm

This week’s launch of Microsoft’s long-anticipated Windows 10 has sent us down memory lane. In the last two years, we have been asked to help four or five companies either launch their new business or introduce a new product.

With the exceproduct-launch-featuredption of one (more on that in a minute), these “launches” truly didn’t deserve to be called that.

Yes, they technically met Webster’s definition of a launch (“the act of starting or setting in motion an activity or an enterprise.”) And, they certainly qualified as a launch in Business Land, where the bar for launching a new company was set alarmingly low during the Internet bubble. “Hey, I’ve got a great idea for a start-up! What? No, no customers or revenue yet – but it’s a really great idea!”

But in the world of PR, where the commodity we offer in exchange for media coverage is the newsworthiness of the stories we share, the bar must be considerably higher than just a strong idea alone.

We’ve counseled countless clients over the years on the optimal time to introduce their new company or product to the market (and, sometimes, even if it should be introduced). Here are some tips to assess whether your company or product is ready for prime time:

Have some customers – preferably delighted ones. Nothing validates a new company or product for a reporter more than hearing that it already has customers. Clients don’t always want to hear this (they want media coverage to help attract customers, after all), but trust us on this one: your launch will be much more impactful if you can report customers, and, better yet, share some customer names and offer to put a reporter in touch with several of them.

The exception to this is the entrepreneur or brand that is already recognized and successful. When Yuengling’s Ice Cream announced it was (re)launching an ice cream company that had been dormant for 29 years, reporters were instantly intrigued to learn that another branch of the fabled beer family planned to revive a line of premium ice creams. That name recognition, coupled with a modest-budget media relations and social media campaign, fueled an early sell-out of product from grocery store shelves.

Work the kinks out before you go public. Take a lesson from the restaurant industry, which makes a practice of opening a new restaurant with a “soft launch” for friends and family. During that period, delays in the kitchen and wait staff fumbles can be identified and corrected, before the restaurant opens to the public.

Make sure your marketing materials are complete. One of the first things a reporter or prospect will do is visit your website. You want it – and any other collateral materials – to be up-to-date and complete. It’s often worth delaying a launch until the website reflects the new company or offering.

Be sure you can clearly explain the benefit that customers will enjoy from the new company or product. In order for you to announce something is “new,” be prepared to explain what’s different or better for customers. Sometimes a product upgrade is nothing more than a tweak – but if that tweak dramatically decreases the amount of time your customer needs to spend completing a sales form, that is probably meaningful to them.

Recognize that content sharing can be powerful without media coverage. A good PR counselor will be honest in helping you assess the chances of media coverage for your announcement. But even if your product upgrade isn’t worthy of a review in WSJ.D or Re/code, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t meaningful to your customers and can’t be shared with them through your blog, a white paper, social media and more.

So, when it comes to launching your new product or business to the media, taking the time and necessary steps required to do it the right way is definitely worth the wait.

July 21, 2015

In Defense of the “Crazy Cat Lady”

By Megan Keohane, 9:00 am

Most of you rePhoebe the cat at workading this know that Buchanan Public Relations is a dog-friendly office. And while everyone here appreciates canine cuddles, you may not know that about half of us are just as, if not more, obsessed with cats. In fact, I’ve brought my feline friend, Phoebe, into the office on several occasions (I mean, come on, how cute is she?).

And, we’re not alone. If you work in PR, you likely spend a fair amount of time on social media. So, you must know that cat memes are all the rage. And earlier this month, a study of 7,000 internet users performed by Computers in Human Behavior even revealed that watching cat videos might actually be good for you.

So, for your viewing pleasure, here are a few cats whose expressions describe some typical situations in PR – I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

1.  When you’ve been in a pitching rut and finally get an interview request

cute white brown cat

2.  What you feel like after sending a clip and your client says, “This is great!”

Cat getting jiggy

3.  When a reporter says, “I might be interested. Can you send more info?” and then disappears

Peek a boo cat

4.  Sending different announcements for a handful of clients in the same day

cat in disguises

5.  When you discover your work BFFs are just as weird as you

strange cat walk

6.  When you’re put on a new account, you are really excited about, and they want to make a big splash

ready for anything cat

7.  2:59 p.m. during summer Fridays

countdown to summer friday

 8.  Working with the coolest co-workers on the planet

cat bffs in summer sunglasses

July 8, 2015
June 26, 2015

A Beginner’s Guide to Office Feng Shui

By Rachel Neppes, 3:19 pm

It’s been an exciting week at Buchanan Public Relations – we’ve moved into our new office in Bryn Mawr. Actually, today is our first day in the new space.

feng-shui-office-desk-bagua-applicationSo as we’re all busy unpacking and getting settled in, it seemed appropriate to focus this blog post on office feng shui.

We all know the tremendous impact that our surrounding environments play on our wellbeing and state of mind. In the workplace, especially, where we spend so much of our time, don’t we owe it to ourselves to have a well-designed and organized workspace?

But feng shui is about more than just making sure your space is aesthetically pleasing and that things are in the right place; it’s designing and placing belongings in order to provoke a deeper psychological response.

With a clean slate and the smell of fresh paint and new carpet still lingering in the air, I, for one, plan to put some of these feng shui principles into action. Hopefully they’ll inspire you, too.

Placing your desk: Feng shui experts say that ideally your desk should be placed directly opposite from the front door of your office. If that’s not possible, place a small mirror on your desk to reflect the office’s entrance. The rationale? It’s a commanding position. This arrangement offers protection and symbolizes seeing opportunities that present themselves to you throughout your career.

Arranging your belongings on your desk: The first step is taking the time to keep your desk surface organized and decluttered. But beyond that, where you place your belongings can have a big impact on your mental outlook. Here are a few pointers.

  • Place a plant or a valuable item on the back left corner of your desk. It represents prosperity.
  • Put your business cards or nameplate in the center, back position on your desk. This position represents fame and reputation.
  • The right, center position is dedicated to creativity. Any piece of art or decoration that evokes creativity can be placed there. But, for instance, if you’re a writer, this is the ideal place to put a book or journal.

Lighting: The ideal office lighting, according to feng shui principles, should be soft. Take advantage of natural light wherever possible. Brightly lit lights can cause glare as well as promote irritability.

Artwork and imagery: Surround yourself with images and objects that inspire creativity and productivity. Add flowers, art and personal photos. Hang mottos and images that symbolize your aspirations. Choose furniture and accessories that represent prosperity, abundance and success.

Color choices: Different colors have different meanings. Choose splashes of color that represent your personality, the type of work you do and career goals. For instance, red and purple represent vitality, and are good choices for attracting new business. Yellow, on the other hand, evokes tranquility and positivity, making it an ideal color to offset a dark space or counteract a surrounding area that’s chaotic and loud.

If you’re looking for more feng shui office design tips, there are an abundance of resources on the Internet. Here are a couple of good ones I found.

Here’s to a healthy, happy and successful work life!


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