Category: In the News

Entertainment Weekly’s social media PR blitz paying off

Print vs. Digital Media

Ever since the first publication launched an online version, people have been predicting the end of print. Over a decade later, print is still with us, and many publications are legitimately flourishing. How is this possible when print has huge overhead, and the web has virtually none? Ronn Torossian has the answer.

People still love to unplug and read

This has to be said. While the entire world is going digital, there are still tens of millions who love to curl up, and read … or not take their device into the restroom.

Clever Marketing

Embracing the new media world has helped old media success stories continue to thrive. Apps, sites, and other digital content keeps the new school happy without completely abandoning the old guard.

Outstanding or Expanded Content

One of the perks of print material is that the style, and content differs from web applications. Web articles are quick, and to the point. Print stories allow for more expansive thought, consideration, and content. This often allows for “better” storytelling, and more overall enriching content.

Clever Social Media PR

This is where Entertainment Weekly, and other print publications following a similar PR plan really shine. EW has been offering daily exclusive content to fans of its publication, online. This amounts to millions in free advertising for the magazine. It also allows EW to reach consumers who might never otherwise consider picking up one of their mags off the rack. Every day the publication releases new exclusive content. So every day there is an exceptional amount of teasers, and quick views that entice readers. Plus, the magazine is teaming up with the brands it promotes for crossover marketing that really takes the PR campaign to the next level. Want to see an exclusive clip of an upcoming show? Gotta LIKE EW. Want to hear an exclusive cut off that upcoming album? Ditto. This is both brilliant PR, and brilliant crossover marketing. Take note.

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Carrie advertisement is awesome PR

In the world of movie marketing, TransMedia has become the ultimate calling card. Not just multimedia, but media that expands the story on the screen beyond what people can see at the movies. In an ultimate example of both TransMedia, and modern movie marketing, the producers of Carrie staged an incredible stunt and then put the results online for everyone to share.

The scene was set in a NYC coffee shop. One patron accidentally spills coffee on another’s computer. What happens next – sorry, no spoilers – created an internet sensation, and propelled the upcoming Carrie remake into the national conversation. How did it work…and more importantly, why?

Ronn Torossian, CEO of 5WPR, has the answers:

#1 – It grabbed your attention

The scene in the coffee shop was not only a conversation starter it, was a heart stopping exercise for all those there. Most whipped out smart phones to film what ended up being a movie commercial. They instantly interacted with the media. It wasn’t just a “hey look at this” it was “hey, I can’t look away from this.”

#2 – No revealed secrets

As far as the people in the café knew, it really happened. When they told the story later, the people they told would be looking for a true incident online. And believe me when I tell you, this was one that flat out DEMANDED people look for it. In this way, the preview created a call to action that was impossible to ignore. Hitting that sort of message out of the park, one that people are all but powerless to ignore, makes for HUGE entertainment PR.

#3 – Captured and connected

The production grabbed people where they were and shocked them out of the normal routine. For the rest of the day, if not the week or the month, they will remember where they were when they saw this happen. Connecting with your audience on that level should be the goal of every solid PR campaign. You need to capture, and connect.

This campaign created the sort of viral word of mouth that motivated people to drop what they were doing – literally in some cases – and totally focus on the message being presented. Best of all, the interacted with the content, and never even knew they were being sold. That’s the brass ring right there.

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Charlie Hunnam Leaves “Grey” In A Lurch

5W PR is a leading media relations and PR firmThis past week, the producers (and many fans) of the anticipated movie adaptation of the huge bestseller 50 Shades of Grey, had a bit of ‘splainin’ to do. Charlie Hunnam, the superstar actor known best for portraying Jax Teller in the megahit Sons of Anarchy has – once again – stepped away from the role. Though the producers were clearly caught off guard, the move could not have been a complete surprise. Hunnam had initially turned the role down, but later agreed.

The story being told now by both sides’ entertainment PR departments is that Hunnam had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts. That may have been it, or it may have been the somewhat bipolar response to the announcement that Hunnam had been tapped to play the lead character, Christian Grey.

The purpose of this article is not to toss salt in a wound, but to take a look at how both sides responded to a potential negative PR firestorm.

Fans of this book are legion, and they are rabid. The expectations are going to be off the charts. Seeing this sort of shakeup will not inspire them to positive feelings, and will not play well online.

So, what will Universal Pictures, and Focus Features say to get ahead – and stay ahead – of the story? Well, they are already talking, and there’s plenty for you to learn about how to handle “oops PR”.

1 – They made the announcement

The producers didn’t get scooped; they got there first. This is huge from a PR standpoint. You want to be as far out ahead of the story as possible. Leading the story is always best. This gives you the best opportunity to control the narrative.

2 – Embrace the embarrassment and move on

5W PR is a leading crisis PR FirmThey didn’t quibble, posture, or point fingers. They just told the truth, and announced future plans. Was it embarrassing? Likely. Was it fatal to the project? Not hardly. And it was certainly not as negative as it would have been if the producers had turned this into a circus.

3 – Remind fans what is going well

In a release, the producers were quick to remind fans that the female lead, Dakota Johnson, is still under contract, and they are moving quickly to find a replacement. The application here is to remind people that things are under control, and positive action is already underway.

You will never be able to steer clear of all embarrassing situations or PR issue. But, when you have to face the music, keep these tips in mind.

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How Will The NHL Soothe Frustrated Fans?

5W PR is a leading media relations and PR FirmThe best ways the league can reaffirm supporter loyalty after the lockout

The National Hockey League has begun preseason games and fans seem pretty excited. But the league still has to be wondering how loyal fans will be after last year’s shortened lockout season. The league still has to play the games, and it can expect the die-hards to be in the seats…but what about the fringe fans every team needs to balance the books.

Ronn Torossian, CEO of 5WPR, has some PR tips for the league to help them win back their fans.

Torossian tip #1 – Be generous

Nothing says I love you fans like opening your wallet…or, more to the point, sparing theirs. For many people, going to a professional sports game is expensive. Make it less so and they will be more encouraged to leave the flat screen at home and go to the game.

Torossian tip #2 – Be competitive

Even fair-weather fans love to support a winner. But even if you lose as many as you win, your team can fill the seats if it looks and feel competitive. This has as much to do with public relations as it does with the scoreboard.

Torossian tip #3 – Be fan friendly

This is definitely as much about PR as it is about anything. The approach and the conversation matter. If you can do things and say things in a way that conveys, ‘hey, we appreciate you!’ that will go a long way toward mending hurt feelings. But don’t skimp. Make this a culture, a reality. Some teams do a great job at this. Learn from their examples.

Torossian tip #4 – Make it about them

If the NHL can manage this sort of approach, it will bring the fans back for the long run. There have been far too many lockouts and strikes in pro sports in recent years. The fans are tired of it, and now it’s time for the league to step up and prove how much it values its fans.

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WWE Once Again on The Cutting Edge of Social Media

WWE-Undertaker - great Wrestler


Since the advent of social media, many companies have been in the vanguard of using this technology for the best possible promotional purposes. World Wrestling Entertainment has always been one of those innovators.

This, of course, is not new ground for the McMahon family. They pioneered closed circuit and pay per view programming in the 1980s and jumped ahead of the curve in cable programming domination.

Now the WWE has body slammed social media. In every episode of every televised WWE event, the TV audience is brought into the action. Viewers not only get to share match details and promote hashtags, now they are being asked to decide matches and matchups. This is genius.

Here are three ways Ronn Torossian see the WWE is using social media and how the 5WPR CEO believes you can apply it to your business in a similar way.

#1 – Keep your audience engaged

One of the key goals of any TV program is to keep their audience engaged. Even during the commercials. This is tough in a world where everyone watches TV while holding their smartphones. But, instead of moaning and groaning about the potential distraction, WWE encourages the viewers to USE the phones. They CONTROL the distraction.

#2 – Control the conversation

One of the most difficult things to control online is the conversation of your fans and detractors. Talk radio does a fair job of this by giving listeners soundbites to regurgitate on social media and in comment threads. The WWE does this by actually suggesting hashtags and telling viewers which social media pages to visit and what to ask for and when. It’s an active and direct form of control the fans actually love.

#3 – Encourage downline promotion

Sometimes you don’t get because you don’t ask. The WWE consistently asks their viewers to promote their events by, one, giving them something specific and memorable to talk about and, two, asking them directly to talk about it. When was the last time you asked your fans to discuss a specific product or aspect of your business? Has it been a while? Have you never done so? If that’s the case, you are definitely missing out on some easy PR points.

Follow these tips and you could be pinning your social media and PR goals as quickly as one, two, three. Ignore them and expect to end up counted out.

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Public Relations In The Face Of A Tragedy

Milo Meeks: Brandon High basketball player dies after collapsing during conditioning drills

Milo Meeks: Brandon High basketball player dies after collapsing during conditioning drills

A child is injured at your facility, what do you do?

Recently, a high school athlete passed away during a sports practice. This unspeakable tragedy seems to happen almost every year someplace in America. While the family grieves, other onlookers try to find someone to blame. Then there’s the organization – a school, most often – left in the nearly impossible position of protecting its name while grieving with and for the family and friends of the child.

It happens far too often, and most of the time it is the result of an accident, not an avoidable mistake. But how do you start or continue a dialog when a child is injured or killed on your watch? What can public relations teach us about what to say when there are no words?

Ronn Torossian, founder and CEO of 5W Public Relations, has the answer. “The number one factor is to communicate without accusing or pretending to understand. You can’t compare or correlate grief, so don’t try,” Torossian said.

But there are a few factors you can consider and aspects your PR communication should include.

#1 – Before anything else, express empathy

Don’t try to hurt for people, tailor your communication to be as circumspect and respectful as you would like someone to be if the roles were reversed. Sympathy in this situation will likely just come off as empty words and just drudge up hurt feelings. Empathy knows when to be silent.

#2 – Explain without accusing

Human error may be involved in the tragedy, but you have to figure out a way to communicate facts without pointing fingers. To explain the situation without accusing anyone.

#3 – Never pretend to comprehend

You do not understand what the loved ones are going through. Even if you (God forbid) went through exactly the same situation, you cannot understand exactly how they are feeling. Don’t pretend to.

#4 – Do not assume or presume

In these terrible circumstances, do not attempt to assume what the parent is thinking. Also, do not presume to understand what they know and how they feel about it. Or what they will do next. Everyone responds differently to shock and to grief.

Follow these guidelines and carefully consider each and every step in the communication process. While this may not feel like the time to be careful of your image, people will judge you and your brand by how you react.

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Miss America Gets an Unexpected PR boost

Controversy creates cool public relations

The 2014 Miss America Competition - Show
The Miss America pageant is known for showcasing the best and the most beautiful girls from each of the 50 states. The pageant is renowned for its squeaky-clean, pure as the driven snow, sweet as cotton candy young women. The kind every guy would love to have on his arm and hope to bring home to mother.

But this year, that image is getting a millennial overhaul. And it may be the best PR the pageant has received in decades.

The contestant from Kansas, on paper, looks like every other overachieving pageant entrant. College co-ed. Check. Professional career goals. Check. Sings opera. Check. Volunteer activities…military service. Check and check!
Theresa-Vail PR is great
But when she shed her clothes and donned a bikini, Miss Kansas, Theresa Vail, revealed something no other contestants have ever dared. Tattoos.

Not one, but two. The most visible is the Serenity Prayer, etched in thick lines of script along her rib cage. While, so far, pageant officials have been mum about this display, the carefully cultivated pageant world has been buzzing.

What is most clear is that, though many contestants before Vail have been inked, none have chosen to show their tats.

Ronn Torossian said this story will likely be the most press the Miss America pageant has received in years. “The Internet is an emerging visual medium, and stories like this are tailor made for the web. Particularly in the age of mobile devices and quick click page views.”

Tattoos Are In

Torossian admits the fact that Vail is not only tattooed but also gorgeous certainly play into the appeal. “Sure, but the Miss America pageant has been trading on beautiful and poised young women since its inception. It’s the tattoos that are breaking the mold. Miss Vail is inked, but she’s not a bad girl. She’s as All American as any other contestant.”

Torossian said this may signal a sea change in the perception of both tattooed women and pageant contestants.

“Tattoos don’t mean you’re a ‘bad girl’ anymore, and pageant girls have always been ‘real’ girls underneath all the illusions.”

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Who will be the next Miley Cyrus?

Entertainment media needs a vixen, so who’s waiting in the wings

While the jury may be out on this, some pop culture experts are saying Miley Cyrus may have taken it just a little bit too far. Even her target market is disgusted with her VMA performance.

The former Disney star admits she was never the clean-cut character portrayed on ‘Hannah Montana.’

Strange, since there is absolutely nothing unusual about the racy and raunchy Video Music Awards performance. And nothing new either. When nothing scandalous happens, the VMA ratings are in the tank. When Britney makes out with Madonna, the ratings go through the roof and people talk about it for – well – years.

But, if Miley is out, who’s coming next? Why ask this question? Simple, because Ronn Torossian says pop music needs a vixen.

“Pop music works best when it is promoted by type,” Torossian explains. “You have a vixen, a rebel, a bad girl, a diva, a good girl and a tough girl. Sometimes this manifests in groups – think Spice Girls or the Bangles or even Destiny’s Child. Other times you see a group of solo performers hit the scene at roughly the same time.

Consider: At one point Pink was the tough girl, Katy Perry was the rebel, Christina Aguilera was the diva, Taylor Swift was the good girl and Britney was the vixen. Then Britney married K-Fed, lost it and shaved her head. So there was an opening in the vixen department.

Christina tried to take that spot but no one was really buying. There, waiting in the wings was another wholesome Disney star, the mega popular prepackaged commodity that was Hannah Montana.

Torossian says Cyrus or someone in her camp saw the opportunity and went for it. One booty-shaking dance craze later and Miley is fondling a foam finger in prime time.

But, much like the Britney transformation, this “new” Miley Cyrus might just be too much for her fans to take. Torossian says that’s an inherent danger anytime you try to rebrand anything. People may love the last brand and might welcome the change…but not too much change. At the same time, you really have to sell that change to a potential new audience.

A recent example of an entertainment transformation is the former 90s rock singer, Darius Rucker, who was the front man in Hootie and the Blowfish. Now he’s a top-selling country solo artist, a gambit that could have failed spectacularly but turned out to be a big win.

The moral? Be careful when you try to change who customers have accepted you to be. It can be a very fine line…and crossing it can make you look like a real “twerk.”

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How the NBA Uses PR to Build Hype

nba pr

Americans love their sports.  We talk about how the year moves with sports seasons more than the actual seasons themselves.  The flowers bloom in the beginning of baseball season, the leaves fall in football season, and no one plays hockey in the first half of hockey season.  But with the daily reporting of box scores and stats, and the 24/7 news treatment given to sports by the multitude of stations dedicated only to athletics, it is sometimes difficult to not lose the big news in the deluge of information.

Ronn Torossian acknowledges that the NBA has come up with a number of different ways to keep fans interacting in between the games, and working them into a frenzy even when their favorite players aren’t balling out on the court, reaching out to them through social media and traditional media.

Step one has been to fill out traditional media.  Making sure there is plenty of coverage of every dunk and every shot blocked back into the face of a superstar is plastered across ESPN is step number one that the sports businesses have been using for over 30 years.  Replays of the best and worst of each game, countdowns of the most exciting moments of the playoffs, and interviews with the sports superstars are a great way to ensure fans relive all the moments that got their teams to the finals.

Other traditional media, like radio, print, and even the internet, which at this point can be considered traditional media, also play a big part in this. If you’re not convinced of the importance print, take a look at Ronn Torossians 3 reasons why print media matters.  Radio ensures outreach in talking about the finals when people traditionally aren’t in front of a screen, such as when they’re driving, jogging, or working away from computer access.  Print media, while in decline, is still a primary source for older fans who are significantly less likely to jump online to see what’s going on with their favorite team.

New social media outlets are being utilized to keep fans up to date as well, with twitter feeds for every team, every player, and every news source a fan would want to hear from.  Facebook updates with up-to-the-minute news reports on the health status of players, trash talk between teams and fans, and even what your favorite superstar had for breakfast to power him through the day are all available, feeding the beast of sports fan mania!

Much of this is done at the behest of the National Basketball Association because they understand that engaged fans are happy fans, and happy fans spend money.  5W Public Relations firm CEO Ronn Torossian plans to be watching, not just to see who wins the championship, but who wins the media outreach game as well.


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Five Reasons Your Press Release Got Rejected

In the world of public relations, there is no sweeter achievement than the perfectly timed, masterfully worded press release.  If done right, your story will be immediately carried to the world, and control of the news cycle will be yours. Victory means the story will be carried how you want it interpreted, ensuring PR success.

However, most press releases get filed immediately in the T-drawer (the “T” stands for trash).  Fortunately, public relations phenom and CEO of 5W Public Relations, Ronn Torossian, has highlighted the five reasons that your press release was just rejected and how to fix the problem.

Weak, Uninteresting Headline

The first thing a journalist will read when receiving a press release is the headline.  If that doesn’t immediately catch the imagination and feed the desire to read the rest of the release, it will be dumped in favor of something that does.  Like any kind of writing, you have to grab the reader instantly, or else you’re lost.

It’s Too Long

The first rule of a press release is to keep it pithy.  Depending on the size of the news agency, they could see dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of press releases on any given day.  Experienced public relation firms know that if the release is too long and involved to get a sense of in less than a minute, there’s a much higher likelihood that it gets dumped.

Not Enough Information

Most news outlets are pressed enough for time as it is.  Unless you’re release is announcing the kind of story that breaks once a decade, the media just does not have time to run down the issuer of said release and play 20 questions.  Followups on good press do happen; but if you don’t give them the full who, what, where, when, how, why, and reason it’s newsworthy, don’t expect that phone to ring.

No Quotes

A press release is almost always issued to alert the press to an event.  Whether it’s a grand opening, a political announcement, a jury ruling, or a bake sale, there is an element of human interest in it.  As highlighted in the last point, with cutbacks in the news industry, most journalists and researchers don’t have the time to follow up a story with questions and quotes.  Making sure your quote is packaged in the press release ensures that there’s article filler and makes it easier to carry the story.

Bad Writing

Spelling and grammatical errors can happen, especially when rushing to get a press release out.  Minimizing them is important, but no one is perfect.  However, if the press release reads like a fourth-grader wrote it, don’t expect the New York Times to publish it.  Writing, especially for mass consumption, is an art and requires that the effort put in reflects the seriousness of the writer and the story being pitched.


Follow these rules, and your next press release will be a public relations coup instead of a PR disaster.

Here are 4 more tips from Ronn Torossian on press release writing.


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