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Incorporating Media Relations Into Your Public Affairs Strategy

Incorporating Media Relations Into Your Public Affairs Strategy

Media relations is a critical component of advanced public affairs strategies. By effectively engaging with the media, organizations can raise awareness of their initiatives, promote their brand, and influence public opinion.

In this Wonk Week session, we explore the importance of incorporating media relations into your public affairs strategy and provide some insights from Kivvit, a full-service strategic communications and public affairs firm with over 150 employees and six offices across the U.S.

Meet the Speakers

Jonathan Sharp, Director of Insights at Kivvit, specializes in policy and data-driven public affairs, campaign development, and geopolitical risk insights. He analyzes dynamics between the private sector, the regional economy, infrastructure, and government policy to advise client strategy. Prior to joining Kivvit, Jonathan worked at the New Jersey State Chamber of Commerce as an analyst supporting the government affairs operation.

Arielle Goren, Managing Director at Kivvit, has nearly two decades of experience in political, corporate, and crisis communications, from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley and from the campaign trail to the C-suite. Prior to her current role at Kivvit, Arielle founded and ran Juno Strategies, a boutique consultancy specializing in social impact communications for startups and nonprofits. As one of Uber’s early policy and communications hires, Arielle honed her business executive and crisis communicator skills, having previously worked as a speechwriter for top elected officials. She began her career as an aide on the Senate Judiciary Committee, where she worked on three Supreme Court nomination hearings.

Why Media Relations Matters

Organizations can amplify their message by engaging with reporters, editors, and producers. Media coverage can help engage and influence key stakeholders, including policymakers and other decision-makers.

From a more defensive standpoint, media relations can also help you stay ahead of potential crises. By monitoring the news cycle and proactively engaging with reporters, organizations can address potential issues before they become major problems.

Design and Execute a Crisis Communications Plan

For Kivvit, media relations encompass many areas, including strategic communications, message development, stakeholder engagement, executive positioning, and rapid response campaign management.

An Insight-Driven Approach to Media Strategy

Kivvit’s approach to media relations is heavily data-driven, using insights to inform strategy. They also lean on social media to make their news media strategies even stronger.

To start, Kivvit uses Quorum to discover what elected officials are talking about. This helps Kivvit identify potential champions and detractors to target in their news media campaigns. In the platform, you can quickly search for keywords and phrases and see who is talking about those issues the most. For example, the below chart shows the federal legislators who have tweeted the word “childcare” the most so far in 2023:

Kivvit also uses Quorum to track what media outlets elected officials are paying attention to. By analyzing this data, Kivvit can identify which media outlets and reporters are most influential on a particular issue and target its media outreach accordingly. In Quorum, you can do this by looking at the most retweeted media outlets:

For Kivvit, once they identify the news sources or influencers attracting the attention of stakeholders, they use that information to “amplify, mitigate, or monitor” the messages being shared.

For example, Kivvit worked with a federally-funded nonprofit looking to “move the needle on appropriations” and reach key legislators in Congress. So Kivvit researched what news outlets legislators were reading online. From there, they launched a widespread local and regional op-ed strategy to get in front of decision-makers.

Another example that Kivvit shared demonstrated how data can be used to help appeal to lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. Kivvit worked with a high-tech manufacturing startup in the rare earth element space. The company is in the early stages of spreading awareness around its product as a key building block for electrification and renewable energy, among other applications. Kivvit used data-driven insights to audit how the company was talking about itself. They found that talking points about independence from China resonated with one audience while talking points about renewable applications resonated with another. So now the organization can really “pick your poison,” as Goren puts it, when putting together messaging for op-eds and reaching out to reporters. This information really helped “raise awareness of who they are and what they’re doing,” says Goren.

2022 Congressional Social Media Report

Extending the Life Cycle of Content

Another takeaway from Kivvit’s Wonk Week session is the importance of extending the life cycle of content. Anyone who has worked in media or public relations knows how hard it is to secure a great media hit. You probably also know how heartbreaking it can be when your media hit is quickly forgotten in today’s vicious media cycle.

Kivvit shared some tips on how organizations can extend the lifecycle of content to garner more attention, reach new audiences, and make the most out of your hard work.

The easiest way to extend the lifecycle of your content is through paid media. For example, if you secure an op-ed, you can then launch a paid search and social campaign to promote the op-ed. “So instead of just seeing a client’s op-ed in print, you’re then seeing it on paid Twitter — you’re getting it in front of new audiences,” explained Goren.

Building a Holistic Strategy

Ultimately, the key to effective media relations is to build a holistic strategy that incorporates a range of tactics and channels. Organizations can amplify their message and reach key audiences by using a data-driven approach that utilizes earned media, paid media, and social media.

To close out the presentation, Goren summarized three main takeaways:

  1. First, Quorum, paired with other insights tools, can identify who and what officials are paying attention to at the local, state, and federal levels.
  2. On the media side, knowing your key audience and understanding the messaging that moves them leads to more precise and robust earned media strategies.
  3. Lastly, doubling down on a data-driven approach can amplify your earned media success.

Full video transcript:

Ninia Linero (03:20):

So, welcome everyone to this session of Wonk Week. Most folks have arrived. You might see that we did a little icebreaker in the chat, so feel free to add your question or your answer to the question still. I’m excited to be here with Jonathan. Jonathan Sharp and Arielle Gorn from Kivvit. Kivvit is a full-service strategic communications firm built to help organizations meet their moment and navigate their most complex issues. Kibo has over 140 professionals across six offices, serving Fortune 500 companies, entrepreneurs, nonprofits, advocacy groups, public agencies, and institutions in public affairs strategy, excuse me, brand positioning, media and public relations, and more. Jonathan Sharp is Kivvit’s Director of Insights. Jonathan specializes in policy and data-driven public affairs, campaign development, and geopolitical risk insights. He analyzes dynamics between the private sector, the regional economy, infrastructure, and government policy to advise client strategy.

Ninia Linero (04:20):

Jonathan brings his experience in policy and data analytics to Kivvit’s Insights team and works largely on legislative energy infrastructure and economic development issues. He has played a pivotal role in several projects, including multiple statewide coalitions to invest in transportation infrastructure, energy industry communications, and Kivvit’s geopolitical advisory. Prior to joining Kivvit, Jonathan worked at the New Jersey State Chamber of Commerce as an analyst supporting the government affairs operation. Arielle Goren is a managing director at Kivvit. She has nearly two decades of experience in political, corporate, and crisis communications from Capital Hill to Silicon Valley and the campaign trail to the C-suite. Prior to her current role at Kivvit, Arielle found founded and ran Juno Strategies, a boutique consultancy specializing in social impact communications for startups and nonprofits. Working with a diverse group of clients, she helped to launch the cities of San Francisco and Oakland’s Covid-19 Relief Funds created a coalition of gig economy workers in support of expanded healthcare access and brought attention to new technologies that are preserving the stories of Holocaust survivors.

Ninia Linero (05:36):

As one of Uber’s early policy and communications hires, Arielle honed her business executive and crisis communication skills, having previously worked as a speech writer to top elected officials. She also has deep experience crafting major policy addresses, op-eds, and keynotes. She began her career as an aide on the Senate Judiciary Committee, where she worked on three Supreme Court nomination hearings. Now, I’ll pass it off to Jonathan and Arielle to get started. As you have questions, feel free to send them in the chat, and we’ll answer them at the end of the session.

Arielle Goren (06:13):

Awesome. Thank you so much, Ninia. I’m going to attempt to share my screen and let’s hope that we can all be looking at the same thing. Here we go. All right. All good?

Arielle Goren (06:33):

We’re good. We’re here. Fantastic. We’re good. So thank you everyone so much for joining us. And thank you Ninia for that wonderful introduction. We’re really excited to talk to you today about using tools like Quorum and incorporating them into your public affairs strategy. I’m gonna do this old school, I guess old school. School. I don’t know, I don’t know if it’s old school or new school. It’s a pdf. It’s just easier for me to make work cuz I’m not usually the one sliding the slides. So let me just take a very, very brief moment to tell you a little bit about Kivvit. We are about 150 plus employees strong founded in 2002. We’re a full-service strategic communications and public affairs firm. We have six offices, Chicago, New York, New Jersey, Washington DC, Miami, and Boston. I hope that wherever you are today is as perfectly pumpkin spice as it is here in New York.

Arielle Goren (07:28):

<Laugh> I’m kind of staring into the sunshine and it’s glorious. So I hope that you’re enjoying this beautiful fall day wherever you are. In terms of how we work. Kivvit is structured as one firm, and our teams are built cross-functionally, all across geographies, all across our offices to leverage the right experience for our client needs. So, in practicality, what this means is we have core account teams who work together with subject matter experts, with our service teams to specialize and to provide integrated solutions across sectors and issues. We work as one office. I lead teams with colleagues in Chicago, in Boston, in DC. And we pull together the very best team for a crisis or the problem at hand. Typically our core account teams involve some aspect of strategic communications, message development, stakeholder engagement, media relations, executive positioning, and rapid response campaign management is really kind of speaks to our roots as a public affairs firm and really takes sort of the public affairs learnings and knowledge and applying it when, when it makes sense to clients who are possibly on the corporate side or on the nonprofit side.

Arielle Goren (08:52):

But typically most of our projects kind of start in one or more of these areas. We also house a phenomenal brand strategy team that works on brand and creative consulting, script writing, et cetera. Our digital strategy team works on audience development and targeting. They do paid and social strategy and multichannel marketing. Our incredible in-house design team puts together the most beautiful campaigns beautiful and award-winning campaigns, I should say, and visual strategies and works closely with all teams to do that. And then our insights team in-house puts together some of the most compelling and interesting media impact and intelligence work that I have ever seen. They do really impressive influencer identification, competitive benchmarking audience analysis, social listening, IDIs, and the list goes on. So really all of these pieces of the puzzle come together to form a pivot and to, you know, deliver the best possible campaigns that we can for our clients. I’m gonna pass it over now to Jonathan to talk a little bit more specifically about using Quorum and how we do that to best serve our clients.

Jonathan Scharff (10:10):

Thanks, Arielle. So the point was well made that there’s an integrated approach that, that Kivvit takes across, you know, the different teams that we have. And insights play a huge role in that, and Quorum plays a big role in what we do on the insights team. So on the next couple of slides, I’m gonna highlight our insights-driven approach and how that could potentially inform media strategy and the context of a public affairs campaign. And so what we’re seeing on this slide, right, if we start with the premise that it’s best to serve our clients and organizations, we need to understand what elected officials are talking about, right? And Quorum does a great job of that, right? We could keyword search through and figure out what elected officials are talking about through all their different channels and, and get a good sense.

Jonathan Scharff (10:57):

But we also wanna know what media outlets they’re paying attention to, right? And that leads to really important tactical considerations later on when we’re planning public affairs campaigns that we’re gonna talk about later. But to start I wanted to pull some insights at a quorum that shows exactly that. And so what we have on the left of the graph, are select media outlets that have been retweeted by elected officials at all levels of government this year. And so you may be thinking, Okay, well, why retweets, right? And retweets are a great metric because it’s intentional, right? Either the elected official or their staff, they’re seeing this article, they’re hitting the retweet button, they’re, they’re engaging with it, right? It’s, it’s a decision that’s been made. And on Quorum, you could get to this data using the retweets filter and the document search.

Jonathan Scharff (11:51):

And then I just put the media handles on Twitter into the search bar, right? And so you see here New York Times by far has the most retweets this year. And then there are other outlets that we’re definitely not surprised to see on here as getting good engagement. And this is really kind of the first step I would say, right? Again, we want to know what elected officials are paying attention to, and what media outlets are they reading or engaging with. Retweets are our metric for that. But, this chart on the left is sort of just the beginning, right? And then there are additional opportunities to think through after that, right? It’s specific to if we’re looking at an elective official, right? Is there a specific outlet or a reporter that they’re retweeting that’s important Intel for us when we’re thinking through campaigns are they only really engaging with certain types of policy issues?

Jonathan Scharff (12:47):

Right? Are they really focused on energy or something else, right? And they’re only really engaging with that type of content on their social not directly related, but somewhat relevant, right? Have they received an editorial board endorsement? Some of these newspapers do, do have endorsements. That’s kind of an interesting angle as well. Within right, these nearly 4,000 or 5,000 New York Times articles that have been retweeted you know, if we wanted to only find a specific article, right? We could take the headline of that article, put it in Quorum, and see, and see what comes out, right? Those would be the elected officials that just retweeted that article. And then, of course, you know, as it relates to like Politico you know, we know that there’s kind of state-specific iterations of Politico in, in different places. So it’s, so it’s important to, to know that you know, as we kind of go about analysis like this, but really the point is, is that quorum is kind of the beginning, right?

Jonathan Scharff (13:44):

And we could start to pull going deeper, pulling different threads as we see kind of the search results come back and what different opportunities there are. And so let me show you a specific example of that on the next slide. So as was mentioned, kind of at the top, KI does a lot of work nationally, but really for me, what that means is we have a lot of clients that operate in multiple states, right? And so paying attention to the different political contexts in those states is critically important. Understanding the different dynamics and influencers is really important. And so this slide speaks to that, right? We know from some of our work that these different state-specific kind of political news type of websites are important, right? To the overall conversation and, and the policy discourse that’s happening.

Jonathan Scharff (14:35):

And so, you know, an outlet like North Carolina Policy Watch being retweeted 84 times by elected officials that’s, that’s an important kind of takeaway. And we also know that their lead reporter gets retweeted as well. And so these elected officials are paying attention to the content on this website, which is mostly around, you know, environmental issues. So it’s important to know, and these other two examples are, are very similar, right? Sacramento, being in California retweeted 175 times by officials, and Florida politics was retweeted over a thousand times by officials. And so what does that tell us, right? It tells us that these sites are potential inputs into a broader media-centric kind of public affairs strategy. And what does that mean? We might wanna do digital advertising on these sites. We might wanna place an article on these sites. We might wanna put a press release out announcing a coalition, right?

Jonathan Scharff (15:32):

There are all different ways to think through what the strategy is. But the ultimate goal, right, is to get elected officials to see the content that we want them to see for our clients. And so as I mentioned before, Quorum’s just one part of the suite of insights tools that we use. And to give you an example of how Quorum kind of fits into a broader effort is this example here. So, you know, I think everyone on the call here has probably been in a situation where they know an article is coming out about their client or their policy issue. And the article comes out and the immediate question, right, is like, are people reading this, right? Is it getting engagement? Is it getting traction? Who’s paying attention to it? You know, is it, is it getting the traction that we want?

Jonathan Scharff (16:24):

So at the moment of that happening, right? We’re able to take the article. One easy way to figure that out right away is to put it into Quorum and see if any elected officials have posted it. And then we can set up monitors to see if, if any, elected officials engage with it moving forward, right? That covers the elected official angle. But we also think through, right? Using some of our other tools, who are the influencers sharing this article, right? Are there, you know individuals online on Twitter with a huge following that are interacting, right? Are they kind of pushing the article out to their audiences and getting engagement, right? So in order to predict kind of where an article’s gonna go, we need to first identify who’s gonna share it, right? Elected officials are part of that, influencers are part of that.

Jonathan Scharff (17:14):

And then once we understand the audience that’s consuming it, right, that’s when we can start to make decisions around, you know, what’s the right messaging for, to recommend to our client around the article, right? Is it something that they should amplify, right? Cuz it’s great for the company, it’s great for the initiative or the effort. Or is it something that makes us go into a bit of a, you know, crisis communications mode and have to, you know make sure that audiences are getting the correct information. And so there’s kind of decision points that come from tracking these types of metrics that have implications for messaging reputation positioning you know, audience analysis. And then, of course, you know, as the course of an article kind of takes place constantly tracking it and seeing where it goes definitely has implications for the strategy.

Jonathan Scharff (18:10):

And so this, the last thing I’ll say about this is this could kind of take place on a one-off basis. You know, an article comes out, we need to create a report that helps under, helps the client understand where this article’s going, who’s engaging with it, or it could happen in the context of a bigger campaign, right? And we could be the drivers of that article coming out. And we want to know from a metrics point of view, how is it performing and, and is it accomplishing, you know, the broader public affairs campaign goals. And so to this point, you know, I’ve talked about some of the different insights that Quorum gets us and how we pair those with other insights on different ways we think about media and elected official engagement and article engagement. And I’m gonna turn it back to Arielle to talk about, you know, what are the practical implications of this? What does it mean when you’re running a public affairs campaign?

Arielle Goren (19:02):

Absolutely. Thanks, Jonathan. So one thing I do wanna immediately point out is that it can actually when you’re looking at sort of managing client, managing client crisis that data can, can be just as useful in sort of the reverse scenario, right? Where you’re actually trying to prove that an article hasn’t made an impact, right? That it hasn’t had the reach perhaps that they might think it has had or it isn’t you know, impacting policymakers in the way that that they might be concerned that it could be. So I’ve actually personally experienced the reverse scenario there. And so having those data and insights tools can actually be quite helpful when you have a client who might be freaking out about something when there’s really nothing to be freaking out about.

Arielle Goren (19:46):

So onto surround sound audience engagement you know, we look at all of the tools in our toolbox in a very holistic way. So in terms of how we engage with these various tools, quo, etc, you know, we’re looking at sort of building a course of support around the issues that matter and around the issues that matter to our clients and the messages that they’re putting forward. That means, you know, weaving in everything from digital strategy to earned media, and seeing how sort of all these pieces of the puzzle can work together to better inform better reach key audiences whether they may be elected officials, whether they may be constituents looking to move those elected officials. So really everything kind of fits together in, in, in one big grand strategy. Ideally. we often will, you know, engage in ab mess, ab testing, message testing, and use tactics to kind of optimize strategy on that end.

Arielle Goren (20:43):

We can analyze sentiment when we ab test we can amplify what we know to be working. And so really, you know, it, it, it’s, it’s really a question of the kind of using the data at the very beginning, at the middle through the end, right? We, the data inform the strategy it informs how we react, how we message tests, and then informs you know, how we kind of go back and present back to the client and, and update them on, on how things are working and how things are going. And it’s really an iterative process as we get to sort of see, you know, how we are moving the needle in, in, in almost real-time. And, and continue to kind of refine and contextualize everything that we’re working on.

Arielle Goren (21:28):

One of the things that we talk about frequently at Kivvit is extending the life cycle of content, right? So you know, we sort of now live in this brave new world where things aren’t necessarily squarely in and earned and owned or a paid bucket of media. So frequently we’ll see, you know, a secured media hit, and we will be able to then launch some kind of paid by you know, however minimal or extended however targeted or widespread to then really repurpose that content, make sure it reaches new audiences, and then optimize that performance, right? So instead of just seeing, you know, clients oped in print, you’re then seeing it you know, on paid Twitter you’re getting it in front of new audiences you’re sort of, again, extending the life cycle of that content.

Arielle Goren (22:20):

So that’s been a really critical tool for us as we sort of look to make the most of the insights that we’re gaining from Quorum and from, from tools like it. So let’s talk about some examples cuz I think examples are always very helpful, <laugh> and illuminating. So these are a couple of sort of clients and a couple of projects where we’ve really engaged to figure out how to either reach a policymaker reach a key constituency and how we’ve used that information to then glean whatever it was that the client was sort of really looking for. So the first one I wanna talk about is a federally funded nonprofit that we, that, that I worked with recently. They were looking to kind of move the needle on appropriations and to really kind of reach some key legislators in Congress.

Arielle Goren (23:20):

The strategy for us there was to really hone in on some key, on some constituents, look at, you know, what are they reading where are they online, where are they gathering and geo geolocate them, geofence them and target them through, through social media buys. That part of the plan did not actually pan out. We thought it was a great presentation, and they loved it. But, they decided not to go that route for a number of reasons. Nevertheless, what did work was that we engaged in a pretty widespread local and regional op-ed strategy. And then we were able to decide where to go in and where to publish those op-eds based on the research and insights that were collected for that initial digital proposal. So again, there, you know, we were able to really lean into earned media based on the insights that we had gleaned for both kinds of a paid digital strategy and an earned media strategy as well as a podcast strategy, which was also very informed by the, by the data that we had gathered there and, and all influenced by very strong micro-targeting.

Arielle Goren (24:34):

The second example is a high-tech manufacturing startup that I’ve worked with for some time now. They are really in very sort of initial stages and looking to spread awareness around their product as a very, very key building block for electrification and renewable energy among other applications. And what we learned in sort of looking at the way that they were talking about themselves was that they were leaning very strongly into they’re in the, I should say they’re in the rare earth element space. And they were leaning really strongly sort of into the idea of independence from China and rare earth elements on defense implications, et cetera. And so what we were able to sort of really prove to them was that, yes, while that is an important issue and something that is going to rally lots of folks behind you also leaning into the renewable applications, the goals for electrification that are being set at the federal level and also at the state levels that that was really also a winning strategy for them.

Arielle Goren (25:43):

And so now they’re sort of really in a place where they can take advantage of folks on both sides of the aisle pick your poison, who is really you know, very committed to sort of both those issues. So that’s been one that’s been really successful for them in sort of you know, taking some learnings that we, that we gathered online in terms of what electeds are interested in, what they’re talking about and how you know, this, this client can really use it to their favor. How they can engage in, in op-ed writing in you know, in, in reaching out to reporters on both on sort of the geopolitical stuff as well as the renewables. And, and really help to sort of raise awareness of who they are and what they’re doing, which happens to be very, very cool.

Arielle Goren (26:35):

And the third one that I wanna talk about is a, is a food startup delivery. They’re a global delivery startup. They have sort of been, had been existing in a bit of a gray area in terms of local regulations in a number of US cities. And they were really interested in looking at how local activists, both sort of activists in the traditional sense as well as elected officials looking to sort of engaging on this issue. We’re looking at labor, local labor, local state labor laws, gig employment on the whole, and then just sort of the regulatory landscape around dark stores, ghost kitchens, warehousing, and micro fulfillment and that, that sort of thing. So what we were able to do was to really stay on top of those conversations, right? That was happening you know, among activists and then as well as in city councils.

Arielle Goren (27:29):

And, really insert our client’s key messaging there. They were in a really interesting place because they were sort of uniquely ahead of a lot of the regulations that were expected to be coming down and, and that has since come down. But they were sort of in this unique area where they really supported a lot of the change. And so they were looking for ways to not be kind of lumped in with the rest of the gang as it were, who perhaps was a little bit less enthused about the burgeoning regulatory landscape. So you know, we were able to stay on top of local conversations happening again among activists, among electeds, and really get ahead of sort of what we knew would be coming and, and carve out sort of this unique space for them to talk about these issues in a positive way and highlight their own sustainability practices their own labor practices, et cetera.

Arielle Goren (28:29):

So that’s kind of the case study, if you will where we have plenty of time to dive into q and a. But before that, just wanted to say, you know, if you, if you take away three things from our talk today you know, we think this is it. Quorum paired with other insights tools can be used to identify what officials, what, or what elected officials are paying attention to. As we’ve said, we’ve seen that in a number of different insights at the federal level, at the state level, at the local level looking at social media engagement, looking at you know, who they’re reading, who they’re talking to, who they’re engaging with. On the media side knowing your key audience better leads to more precise and robust earned media strategies. I have absolutely found this to be true.

Arielle Goren (29:10):

We are able to target in a way that is just much more effective. We’re able to see better returns on, on pitches just generally better sort of product market fit, if you wanna call it that with you know, aligning key messages to key audiences. And then three, doubling down on a data-driven approach can really amplify your earned media success. And again, you know, we know this to be true, As I said, we, we really start and continue with and finish with the data, and it informs everything that we do. So with that, we are more than happy to take questions.

Ninia Linero (29:53):

Awesome. Thank you both. Again, if you have any questions, feel free to throw those into the chat, but I will go ahead and get started with a few. First question, how do any of the approaches in the presentation change leading up to or after the November elections?

Arielle Goren (30:12):

Yeah, that’s a great question. I’m sure one that’s on everyone’s minds. Jonathan, you wanna jump in on that? Sure.

Jonathan Scharff (30:19):

Yeah. I mean, look, it’s always important to be tracking what elected officials are paying attention to. And, you know, honestly, after November, right, we’re gonna have new elected officials, so we’re gonna have to learn, learn again about them. And, you know, their, their actions, right? Retweets, social media engagement the different content that they engage with are all kind of indicators that help us, you know, learn more about them and what their priorities are and, and how to adapt strategies that fit. So really the short answer is, you know, after the November election, we’ll, we’ll rerun a lot of this and, and develop some new insights and takeaways that they get built into our strategies.

Ninia Linero (31:03):

Absolutely. another question. How do you account for the increasing fragmentation of the media landscape?

Arielle Goren (31:13):

Yeah, that’s, that’s a great question. You know, I think that we are able to, yes, I think on the outset where it’s, it’s a lot more work, right? You can’t just rely on you know, landing something on Peter Jennings or Dan Rather on the evening news and everybody who is important seeing it, right? It does, it just doesn’t work that way anymore. And that might be an example that’s way over a lot of people’s heads. I hope it’s not. But I think that the amount of work that one has to put in to sort of deal with this increasingly fractioned media landscape that the payoff right, is in the metrics that we have and the tools that we have to analyze and the way that we’re able to see how things are, are working. So, or not looking and, and then, you know, go back and retool.

Arielle Goren (32:06):

So you know, we’ve seen that be really effective. And, you know, Jonathan can, can speak to that in even more detail, but I think that’s sort of really where the payoff is, right? Is that, you know, even if you’re sort of having to bifurcate your strategy or go a number of different routes or look at, you know, different kind of niche angles that at the end of the day, if you’re able to sit down and see exactly where you’re resonating that, that those are, you know, tools that we now have that are incredibly, incredibly helpful when it comes to you know, going back and making the case with your client or your boss, whoever may be, and then, of course,  to the public at large.

Jonathan Scharff (32:49):

I’ll just say, you know, like a common phrase we use, right, is the data sets us free. So, you know, the client may think that they want to be somewhere and in a certain outlet it’ll reach a certain audience, but if we have the data that shows right, it either confirms what they’re thinking or can provide a different recommendation. So it’s always good to just be able to back up strategic recommendations with data and, and different metrics.

Ninia Linero (33:13):

<Affirmative>. Yeah, that’s a great point. Okay, another question. What types of clients need the different strategies discussed in the presentation?

Jonathan Scharff (33:27):

So, so I’ll, I’ll start with that and just say that you know, the impact kind of analysis that I had described, you know, that starts with quorum and kind of builds into other, other areas is, is we’ve seen widely useful, you know, across the board for all sorts of clients, right? And, you know, whether you’re a corporate, you know, corporation and you’re directly mentioned in something, and we need to understand, you know, what the implications of that are for the brand strategy or, you know if you are an advocacy group or a nonprofit and your issue is being, you know, discussed a lot. So there’s really no I think it widely applies to kind of many different client situations.

Arielle Goren (34:07):

Yeah, I agree. I think, you know, there are clients who come to us because they know that they have a public affairs issue, right? And, the fit is sort of there from the outset. And then there are other folks who really would never really suspect it, but they realize that you know, the more they can kind of insert themselves in the conversations that, that people are having at a high level, the better off they’re gonna be. So I’d say really eventually it, it kind of applies to everyone.

Ninia Linero (34:33):

Yeah, absolutely. Okay. Another question here. What’s your advice for folks who want to stay out of the news?

Arielle Goren (34:44):

That’s a great question. Don’t talk ever <laugh>. I mean, I think that certainly, it is tricky these days. But you know, we, we definitely, I, I definitely worked with clients who want to find a way to brand themselves and to talk to who they want to talk to, right? This might be like a very sort of slim audience, but who don’t really wanna talk to anyone else. And certainly, it helps if you have a very specific mission and a specific goal for one client in particular who has in mind, they’re extremely, extremely sort of niche law firm boutique. They offer very specific services. And so they don’t really need or want new business. They just wanna know sort of how to talk to themselves and how to sort of keep the ball rolling forward.

Arielle Goren (35:42):

They’re in a good place. And, certainly, you know, I’d say staying off of things like social media is probably helpful if it’s not something you need to do, it sort of becomes this kind of you know, beast that you need to kind of keep feeding and just, you know, a place for potential pitfalls. But I’d say, you know, again, this is really where the data comes into play because if you, you know, I think you might wanna stay outta the news in general, but certainly, you know, there are people who you need to talk to, whether they’re customers, whether they’re vendors, clients, you know, what have you. If, if you are in business or you’re trying to do good or you’re trying to do any sort of work, you know, you have key stakeholders. And so engaging with these tools can help you figure out exactly where they are and then help you kind of cut out the noise or the potential for disaster as it works.

Ninia Linero (36:33):

Yeah. anything else, Jonathan, on that? I think that hits it. Okay. Okay. Let’s see here. Can you go over how your products could help advocacy and more specifically oped outreach?

Arielle Goren (36:54):

Yeah, that’s, that’s a really great question. So I think it, you know, frequently if, if you’re starting from, if you’re working with someone who is, is local and you sort of know you know, okay, we exist sort of in this specific geographic space, those and those questions, you know, have pretty straightforward answers. Other times they don’t. So, for example, with the first client that I, that I spoke about where we were really looking to sort of move the needle on appropriations we were able to engage with the tools to see, you know, who we thought was most persuasive. And obviously, you know, there’s some element too of, of talking to the client and, you know, they know who they need to move, right? But perhaps finding new folks who they weren’t aware of or who, you know, they wouldn’t necessarily kind of lump into that group that helped us to, to, to really decide, okay, like, we need to be speaking to this elected who represents the Philadelphia area.

Arielle Goren (37:52):

You know, this is, we’re gonna try and land this as affiliate choir oped, right? And then that’s where we then go and say, Okay, who are sort of the local stakeholders? Who are the local grantees who we can speak with? Where can we sort of add real-world examples to make this resonate? But, but really, you know, sort of starting kind of high level and then saying, Okay, these are the areas where we need to move people. This is where we need to engage. These are the constituents who matter, these are the electeds who matter. Can then really inform, you know, where you want to have something published and how exactly you know, you’re gonna ensure that it, it resonates with local audiences, right? And it, it has that sort of you know, it has that local feel to it. You know, you’re using local examples, you’re talking to folks who, or you’re, you’re ideally, you know, you’re engaging in, in folks who, who mean something to someone locally to, to write that oped. And you’re, you know, from there you’re sort of off to the races.

Jonathan Scharff (38:50):

Yeah, I would just say that, you know, knowing the landscape, right, is a lot of what you had, you had mentioned, right? And if you’re looking to create an op-ed or, you know, participate in some sort of, you know, advocacy conversation, it’s likely that the conversation’s either ongoing or you’re starting it, right? So you should know if you’re participating in an ongoing conversation, right? How to position what you’re doing. Or if you’re starting something new, you can get a sense of the best way to, to kind of kick off this conversation. So all that kind of goes back to, and even to the last question, right? How to state of the news just know the landscape and kind of the ongoing conversations that are happening on social and what articles are being shared and consumed.

Arielle Goren (39:34):

Yeah. And I see someone who’s asking about you know, strategies other than op-eds. Absolutely. That’s, you know, sort of one tool in our toolkit. Yeah. You know, that it’s one that is frequently important, but it’s also, it, it’s very, it can be very time-consuming. Right. And so you know, there are lots of other things that, that we do, whether it’s you know, small targeted digital buys whether it’s social, whether it’s stuff on LinkedIn, which, you know, Jonathan can speak a little more to all of that, but there are lots of other things that we do to sort of maximizing you know, in addition to sort of the straight up kind of earned media route that we feel is really effective.

Jonathan Scharff (40:12):

Yeah. And I would just say kind of an example of that with one of our clients who was trying to be more of a thought leader on energy, right? And, you know, an OPED is certainly on the table, to talk about as a tactic. But in that instance, one of the other strategies we used was a digital campaign. And instead of or I shouldn’t say instead of, but one of the Audi, part of the audience of that digital campaign were the reporters that cover the issue, right? And so through kind of digital targeting, you’re sending advertising to those reporters, you know, on the different platforms that they’re on. And it was so effective to the point where one of the reporters noticed that our client was in the ad had popped up on their computer, and then they, the reporter tweeted it as an affirmation of, Wow, the digital advertising is really targeting the people that it should, and I’m recognizing that and acknowledging it. So it was a cool little anecdotal kind of win for us in a sense that, you know, op-eds aren’t the only way to go. There are a lot of tactics on the table. So you have to kind of think through what fits best for this situation and the, and the issue area.

Ninia Linero (41:18):

Yeah. And so just add to that, you know, from the quorum side and how our products can assist yeah, I think what Quorum does really well, of course, we provide all of that data, but then it’s about how you’re able to analyze it, use our tools to organize it report on it. So taking that data and actually making it meaningful for you and your organization the insights that you, you all showed in your presentation earlier on is a great example of that are documents data set, which is like what we refer to as dialogue around, you know, the conversation related to your issues is a great way to do that. It provides very high-level graphic insights about, you know, who is, who is speaking about your issues, what is being said about your issues, and where is the conversation happening? So if you don’t already know exactly, you know, what or where you’re trying to target that message our insights can definitely help out with that. Okay. So we did touch on that, following that follow-up question on op-eds. So another one is, what is your advice for preparing executives to speak to the media?

Arielle Goren (42:28):

Great question. I think it really depends on sort of what your starting point is. And I think a key to really being able to be successful in that endeavor is, is figuring out what that starting point is, right? So I’ve worked with executives who have done plenty of live television before, and I’ve worked with executives who have asked me in a prep session, what does off the record mean, right? So kind of knowing, you know, what is the starting point and, and, and what needs to sort of being learned here, and then really keeping it as focused as possible. You know, and understanding that whether you’re working with, you know, a CEO or a CEO or whoever in the C-suite or leading an organization, they have a million in one other things that they need to do to actually move their organization forward.

Arielle Goren (43:15):

So really just kind of keeping things as the need to know as possible, I found is, is really helpful. You know, you, you don’t need to sort of launch into a whole media training for television if they’re just going to be getting on the phone with a reporter tomorrow, right? So keeping things sort of as the need to know ensuring that you’re sort of matching up your prep with the task at hand not necessarily taking things further than they need to go, and recognizing that you know, they don’t typically have a lot of extra time. Those are, those are sort of my best tips.

Ninia Linero (43:47):

Great. I can actually throw out a question. What are your thoughts around strategizing in like a crisis communication situation where, you know, the fire’s already happening and you’re trying to put it out versus getting ahead of it strategizing what you want your message to be prior to, you know, any issue getting out to the media?

Arielle Goren (44:12):

Yeah, I mean, I’d say the process is very similar. The timeline is very different. <Laugh>, right? So whether you have to sort of take the process that Jonathan can, can talk a lot about sort of how we use these tools you know, to inform strategy, but you know, it’s sort of a question of like expanding the accordion or compressing the timeline into, you know, 24 or 12 hours or whatever it may be, depending the crisis.

Jonathan Scharff (44:42):

Yeah, I would, I would say, you know, that impact report that I gave you an example of is, is a great one, right? And, even the monitoring and Quorum, right? We want to know what elected officials are talking about. If they’re talking about, you know, this article that came out, we need to know about that. So monitoring right is critically important. And then how do we assess, you know, the audiences that are seeing the content, and what do we do from there?