AJR Spin Zone

A Blog for real PR and marketing pros (and students) to discuss client and agency-related challenges ... as well as random thoughts on the biz of spin. Should be fun. alec

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Behind the Scenes of a Front Page PR Hit

All clients want to get on the front page of the paper or a major magazine cover. Here is our story a recent front-page hit, one of many we secure on a regular basis for our clients.


  • Acct team: Alec J. Rosen (strategy development) and Typhanie Thomas (media outreach and pitching)

  • Media outlet: Miami Herald

  • Strategy – tested concept first via SM then went to traditional media

  • Pitch: Toyota puts women in drivers seat, breaks glass ceiling

  • Story headline:  Auto dealers shift gears, hire more women

Idea creation

In the beginning of any client relationship we get to know the client, by visiting offices, factories, warehouses, plants, showrooms, etc. For out-of town clients or international ones, we still make the effort to visit, but sometimes we have to do it virtually in order to understand their business from A-Z.

In visiting TOSF I noticed most if not all the senior managers were women – odd for a car dealer. After all I have bought, sold, leased many cars over the last 25+ years and really couldn't recall seeing so many women in high management positions.

I realized we were looking at a major story – one the client couldn't see, because of their proximity to it – working with the same people for many years, they didn't realize they created something unique and newsworthy.

Communications Strategy

First we had to convince the client that this was newsworthy --- we did our HW on women in the auto business and had the statistics to prove we had the right story, then we pitched the client.

Once we had their greenlight we did the following:

  • Interviewed all the women executives, understood their roles and responsibility and background

  • Conducted media training and role playing with several executives to understand their approach to the business and media Q&As

  • Created a press release for online and SM distribution only as a test of our thesis and to gauge pick-up / story interest

  • We fine-tuned our pitch focusing on : TOSF puts women in the drivers seat by breaking the glass ceiling and car dealer stereotypes

Media Outreach

  • Focused on those covering w omen's issues in business and focused it locally, as TOSF is a local car dealer and at the end of the day, we need to get people to the dealership to buy cars in this economy.

  • We sent the release to just 2 media, both resulted in follow-up interviews and photo shoots : a full page piece in a weekly community paper, and the front page Business story in Miami Herald.

  • Sometimes, the right strategy and pitch does not need massive distribution, just hitting the right people with the right pitch at the right time.


  • The Social Media outreach caught attention of bloggers and car buyers, driving traffic to the website and dealership - good for sales and online SM buzz 

  • Generated twitter traffic. and grabbed about 500 new followers – mostly local women – our targeted buyer for the dealership (our SM strategy allows us to engage them separately)

  • The pitch was well received by the media as it was already vetted w/ favorable comments online and on twitter – so we knew we had winner

  • front page story Miami Herald and full page in Doral Community Papers
Link to Miami Herald click here