The Stasko Agency checked out the Luke’s Diner Pop-Up Shop at Purple Door Coffee in Five Points yesterday morning. The Pop-up shop was a way for fans to interact with each other and share photos on social media for the Gilmore Girls air-date birthday celebration. The Pop-up was hosted by Netflix to promote their revival of the beloved Warner Brothers show. Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life will premiere on Netflix, November 25th just in time for the holidays. Fans enjoyed free coffee courtesy of Netflix and could take photos under the iconic “Luke’s” sign.
Pop-up shops like this one are great options for companies/brands to interact with their fans and other local businesses.
Denver7 was also there to capture the fun and shared a video for their nightly news segment!
Fans heard about this event through sources like 9News, Facebook news and sites like EntertainmentWeekly.com and HuffingtonPost.com 
 

 

 

Netflix encouraged fans to post about the Pop-up on social media.

It seems that bad news is everywhere today.  Turn on your TV, switch on your radio, pick up a paper stories of disasters, tragedies and sadness inundate us at every turn.  For some, it’s overwhelming.  For others, it’s an opportunity to reach out and help their fellow man with acts of kindness and charity.  
But can tragedy and disaster be a means to garnering good PR?  The simple answer is yes…and no.  It’s a complex issue and one that both businesses and newsrooms have been tackling for years.  The events in Oklahoma City, Boston and Newtown are devastating and yet, many organizations have jumped on these events to promote their particular ideology, product or service; and not all of them have been successful in their efforts.
Be Aware:
Recently I had a phone conversation with a local television news producer who complained that too often businesses simply don’t understand how to pitch a story dealing with tragic events.  For instance, in the immediate aftermath of the Oklahoma City tornado, his newsroom received a release trumpeting the fact that a local business was sending donated items in relief for the victims.  On the surface, it sounded like a good feel-good angle.  It was local, it dealt specifically with the big news of the day and it had excellent visuals.  However, after speaking with the business owner it became apparent that the only thing the owner wanted to talk about was the business, NOT the charity.
The producer vented his frustration noting that the story the business wanted to pitch wasn’t about their relief efforts but the business, which was not the point of the original pitch.  The producer admits that the business story, was a good story and one worthy of looking at as a package down the road, but not appropriate for the immediate tornado follow up.  
In this case, the timing was completely wrong.  Had the business owner waited, even a week, the story may have been better received.  What it came across as, though, was a business trying to capitalize on the suffering of others, even if that wasn’t the business’ intent.
More importantly, though, the big mistake this particular business made, as well as many others, is that they misrepresented their story.  Remember, one of the most important tools you have in your PR toolbox is your relationship with newsrooms and journalists.  When you misrepresent a story by pitching one story in a release, and then try to change it during the interview, you ruin that relationship.
Be Up Front:
Had the business in question simply stated in their pitch that they had a product or service that could be of great help during times of disasters, and made certain that everyone knew that was the point of their pitch and their story, there would have been no confusion, and the producers and reporters could have made a better, more informed decision.
In the end, the story never ran, and both parties left feeling slighted, which is unfortunate.
This isn’t to say that small businesses shouldn’t promote their acts of charity.  It’s important to let the community know that you are out there and working for the improvement of your neighborhood.  But be aware that it’s all in how you pitch the story and your ultimate motives for making the story pitch.
Ask yourself, is this story simply about my business donating money, or food or hands in a time of need?  Or am I promoting something else other than just my charitable efforts?  If you can’t answer that question with a “yes, it’s JUST about the charity” then wait to pitch the story another time.
Simply put, stories about charity in a time of need are just that, stories about charity, nothing else.  The last thing you want to do is come off as trying to pitch a commercial for your business when others are suffering.  Here are three very simple rules to keep in mind when considering pitching a story in the immediate aftermath of a tragic event.
1.  Is my story completely relevant to the events at hand?  If not, do not make the pitch.  Newsrooms have enough to deal with during times of crisis.
2.  How is my timing?  Don’t jump on the story the same day, or even the same week in some instances.  During the Boston Marathon bombing, the story wasn’t really over for another few days.  Newsrooms had no time to deal with the follow up stories until the primary story was fully over.  Timing in these situations is crucial and tricky, but you lose nothing by waiting a day or even two, to make sure the story has moved into the recovery phase and to make sure all of your ducks are in a row.
3.  Be clear.  Make sure you pitch the exact story you want the newsroom to cover.  Don’t hide another story under the guise of a charity story.  Pitch only the charity story and mean it.  If you think you have another story that they would be interested in, make a mention of it later if you get a chance to talk to a reporter, but make it clear that the story they are covering is only the charity story.  You can follow up later with an email to go into further detail about your other story, but don’t try to intermingle the two when all you pitched was your charitable efforts.

PR during a disaster or tragic event is tricky.  It can blow up in your face and you can come off looking like a real heel if it’s not done right.  However, when done with pure kindness in mind, it can also be a great boon to your brand and your business.  Ultimately, when in doubt, be charitable and don’t worry about the press coverage.  If you’re doing it for the right reasons, the rewards, and the press coverage will find you.
Today’s blog post is submitted by a guest blogger, Duncan Shaw, Producer at KCNC News

Ultimately, you want your story to end up here!

As a journalist my entire life, I’ve can tell you I’ve been asked one question more times than any other;  What makes a story “newsworthy”?  In other words, people are always wondering what constitutes actual news?  I’m sure that to many, the process of determining what is news and what isn’t can seem like a magical, mystical ancient ritual known only to the chosen few huddled over computers in poorly lit newsrooms.
In fact, it’s nothing like that at all.  Believe it or not, there is an actual process that takes place, first on an individual level, then on a group level, and then again on an individual level.
In order to understand how stories are chosen for broadcast, you first have to understand the structure or hierarchy of a newsroom.  While this may vary from outlet to outlet and even from broadcast to print, this is, in essence, the breakdown of most newsrooms.  
Newsrooms are a bit different today
Assignment editors are generally the first line of defense for a newsroom.  Most releases and story ideas are filtered through them first.  They read hundreds of emails and answer countless calls all day while at the same time, keeping their eyes and ears focused on banks of scanners in order to catch any breaking news that might happen.  The stories that make it past the AE’s get passed on to the potential story folder where they are discussed by reporters, producers, photographers and other editors during the daily news meetings.  A handful of stories are agreed upon by producers and managers to be included in each broadcast while other stories may end up in only one broadcast.  
Occasionally, a story will find its way to a producer without going through the meeting.  At this point, the producer responsible for his or her specific broadcast will decide if that story is worthy of being included in the rundown.  In many cases, stories are pitched by individual reporters or others in the newsroom during the meetings.  Eventually, the producers head back to their computers tasked with choosing which stories to include in their rundown and in which order they will run.
But the question remains, HOW do they decide what to include?  How do they determine if a story is really news?  
The Criteria:
In simple terms, most journalists use four basic parameters to determine if a story is news or not.  Each story that passes through a newsroom is run through this gauntlet and if they meet the criteria, the story likely will be included in the producer’s rundown.  If not, it gets set aside, most likely never to be heard from again.  If you have a story you’re pitching to a newsroom, ask yourself if your story fits these criteria:

TimelinessThis seems simple enough.  If a story or event has just happened or is happening “right now”, then it is timely.  If you are pitching a story that happened a week ago, or something that is happening two weeks from now, it is not timely.  The more timely the story, the more likely it is to be news.

ProximityRemember this, all news is local.  The majority of journalists are reporting on a local level.  This means they are reporting for an audience that cares about what is happening in its own backyard, so to speak.  The audience matters.  That’s why a car crash in Denver matters more to local viewers than a worse crash in Ohio.  Your story has to be local, or must have a local tie-in to a national story in order for most newsrooms to pay attention to it.  If you’re pitching a Colorado Springs story to Denver newsrooms, it is much less likely to be picked up than if you pitched it to Colorado Springs newsrooms.

Impact –  Who does this story impact?  Remember that the greater number of the audience that is impacted by your story, the more it is newsworthy.  For instance, while a car accident may be newsworthy, it doesn’t compare to a water main break in the suburbs.  Unless the accident shuts down the highway, the water main break impacts more of the audience.  This is one of the reasons why weather gets so much attention.  A snowstorm impacts everyone in the audience.

WOW FactorThis is where stories about celebrities or sports generally fall.  This category could also be called “uniqueness”.  How unique is your story?  If your story is similar to other stories that have run recently, chances are your story isn’t going to be picked up.  The more unique you can make your story, the better chance you have of seeing your story on TV or in print.

Of course there are other elements that go into the news decision-making process.  Things such as quality of video (hey, we live in a visual society now), national news tie-in’s and whether or not a story has “legs” or multiple levels of storytelling.  HOW you tell the story matters as well.  Does your story have a main character that can be relatable to the audience?  Does it have a protagonist?  A conflict?  A resolution?  All of these things are part of the process.  But to start, if you can start to think like a journalist and consider the four categories mentioned above when creating your story pitch, you’ll find that your stories will have much more success in being picked up by local newsrooms.