TRACK 1: Media Relations

Wednesday, April 4

8:15–8:30 a.m.

Welcome remarks with Mark Ragan, CEO, Ragan Communications

Ragan Communications
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8:30–9:30 a.m.

A fireside chat with Condé Nast: How to win readers and engage people

The PR and media relations landscape is changing. How can communicators adjust to ensure that their messages get heard? As the chief communications officer at Condé Nast, Cameron Blanchard has the responsibility of leading media relations, internal communications, corporate social responsibility and positioning strategies for a media organization that attracts millions of readers to its many publications, including The New Yorker, Allure, Wired, Vogue, Bon Appétit, Vanity Fair and more. In 2017, Condé Nast broke its audience records by reaching 113 million consumers across its publications in October, and saw mobile visitors increase to more than 91 million. What’s the secret to the media giant’s success—and how can you tailor those secrets to your own PR efforts? In this keynote fireside chat, Blanchard will share the lessons she’s learned, along with takeaways on growing PR and media relations trends—including managing crisis communications, finding and crafting engaging content, uncovering organizations’ stories and more.

Chief communications officer
Condé Nast
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9:40–10:30 a.m.

Inside the newsroom: Pitching tips and tricks to stake your media coverage claim

As a veteran journalist and Money editor at Reuters, Lauren Young doesn’t ask a lot of questions—she demands answers. It’s a trait possessed by reporters looking to serve their readers with news, trends and scoops—hot off the presses (or the internet). As newsrooms grow smaller and reporters’ plates are piled higher, PR pros must be more strategic than ever to connect with members of the news media and help them tell outstanding stories—while also grabbing media coverage for their organization or client. The secret to success lies in the art of the pitch. Young will share the elements of pitches that entice reporters—as well as those that make them turn away.

You’ll learn:

  • The components of outstanding pitches that can create storytelling gold
  • How to give reporters what they want, when they want it
  • Ways to tailor your pitches to ensure relevance and timeliness
  • Tips to enhance relationships and boost pitching success through social media
  • The best methods to connect with reporters
10:40–11:30 a.m.

Can your pitching prowess stand up in the “Pitch Tank”?

Are you savvy enough to pitch your story to a panel of journalists and come out on top? Flex your media relations muscles and put your knowledge—along with conference presenters’ insights—to the test in this interactive, fast-paced “Shark Tank”-inspired panel. Using the hashtag #raganPR, attendees will have the opportunity to tweet their pitches and receive real-time feedback from a panel of esteemed reporters and editors. This session only lasts for 50 minutes, so we recommend that you don’t wait to take advantage this chance to get your story idea in front of members of the media in 280 characters. Don’t have a prepared pitch? Craft one on the fly and tweet a link or image to accompany your copy and gain additional attention. Pitches will be read by a moderator, and you’ll be able to ask additional questions. Get ready to dive in, communicators—the water’s great.

You’ll participate by:

  • Tweeting your pitch (up to 280 characters) under the #raganPR hashtag
  • Including a relevant or catchy image or link
  • Listening as your pitch receives real-time feedback
  • Asking—or answering—any additional questions as your pitch is considered
Technology reporter
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11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

Networking lunch

(provided onsite)

12:30–1:20 p.m.

How PR pros can write (and think) like journalists

PR pros have always battled to catch reporters’ attention and secure media coverage. As newsrooms keep on shrinking, the fight gets even tougher. PR pros must pitch stories that reporters care about. In their press releases and email pitches, PR people must appeal to publications’ readers if they want their stories to grab headlines. What’s the secret sauce? Colleen Newvine, product manager of The AP Stylebook, reveals what it’s like to have your press release reviewed by all the editors of The Stylebook—and how you can write well enough to survive that kind of scrutiny.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Avoid common AP style errors
  • To cut out jargon, extraneous capitalization and exclamation points and get to the heart of your news
  • Write tight, compelling copy reporters can grab and go—with little rewriting or editing
  • Think like a journalist to find out if your story is newsworthy
  • Tell a story that’s either unique enough to stand out or part of a larger trend
Product manager
The AP Stylebook
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2:30–3 p.m.

Networking Break

3–3:50 p.m.

How social media can help you pitch and build relationships with journalists

If you can understand journalists’ habits and preferences, you can transform how you contact them and how they look at you—and dramatically increase your media placements. This is especially true on social media. Journalists look for news, scoops and sources on social media 24/7. However, most PR pros still don’t have a system for connecting with journalists through online channels. The result? They lose coverage to others. Avoid this by gleaning insights on how to connect with and pitch journalists on social media and beyond. You’ll learn advanced media relations techniques straight from Muck Rack’s survey of more than 25,000 journalists, and connect traditional and digital media relations strategies for ultimate success.

You’ll learn:

  • How to respond first to media queries by using social media
  • Guidelines for contacting reporters on social media without offending them
  • The do’s and don’ts of pitching on social media and by email
  • How to supply videos, photos and infographics that multimedia reporters want
  • Rapid response PR: Tools to monitor news, quickly adjust your media strategy and report on your PR impact
4–5 p.m.
Special Keynote

The future state of communications: How far the industry has come—and where it’s going next

The PR and communications landscape looks quite different than it did 20 (or even five) years ago.

Now, savvy PR pros have earned seats at both marketing and social media tables, and adjusting skill sets and best practices have enabled pros of all stripes to boost organizations’ bottom line—while also proving their worth. As brand journalism, content marketing and social media take over brands’ strategies, solid PR is necessary to take advantage of online trends, avoid crises that can hit at a moment’s notice, stand out in a sea of content and adapt to the changing nature of media relations.

In this discussion-based keynote, leaders from KPMG—one of the world’s Big Four firms—will help provide an assessment of where we stand as an industry and how your efforts are stacking up against the industry’s current best practices. See where communicators excel—and struggle—and how you can ultimately come out on top.

Chief communications officer
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Thursday, April 5

8:30–9:30 a.m.
Opening Keynote

Media relations in the face of tragedy: How Orlando Health responded to the Pulse nightclub mass shooting

At 2 a.m. on Sunday, June 12, 2016, Orlando, Florida became the site of one of the worst mass shootings by a single gunman in United States history. Forty-four victims were brought to Orlando Health’s Orlando Regional Medical Center, home of the area’s only Level One Trauma Center. The crush of press soon followed. PR pros must be ready to respond to crises like this at any time, especially in today’s 24/7 news cycle where traditional news coverage meets staggering internet engagement statistics. Kena Lewis, Orlando Health’s director of public affairs and media relations, will walk you through the timeline of events on that fateful day and discuss how the hospital’s media relations team responded to the massive news media presence. She’ll share lessons learned—and how you can take a page or two from her organization’s crisis plan.

Director of public affairs and media relations
Orlando Health
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11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Closing keynote

What’s the big idea? Brilliant campaigns have them—and you can, too

Big ideas can cut through the clutter of messages competing for your audience’s attention with something that strikes a chord—even a dissonant one.

Brigham Young University communications professor Joseph Ogden will share the secrets behind some of the best PR campaigns today and discuss the direction outstanding PR is headed. PR pros can take insights from their marketing and advertising counterparts, but only they have the unique skills to implement and amplify big ideas through traditional and social media channels. You’ll learn from the co-author of the top-selling textbook “Strategic Communications Planning” about how to tap into your personal or team’s creativity to affect your organization’s bottom line and become a catalyst for ideas that fly—even in turbulent weather. 

Professor of communications
Brigham Young University
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For event information, contact Customer Service 800.878.5331, or