Posts Tagged by media relations

40% off Sept. 24 Sleek writing workshop for Harris Communications Group friends!

Our colleague Christina Inge is offering a 40% discount for her September 24  writing workshop to HarrisCom friends–Our codeword is HARRIS.  Great if you’d come…and help spread the word!

–Anita Harris, Managing Director, Harris Communications Group
The Harris Communications Group is an award-winning public relations firm based in Cambridge, MA.


Attend Sleek’s Business Writing Bootcamp
September 24th, Impact Hub Boston
It’s looking to be a busy September here in Boston! In your busy day, is writing a chore you struggle with? A lot of business and nonprofit professionals struggle to put words on paper or pixels.The idea is in your mind, but how do you get those ideas written clearly–and more importantly, so that you convince customers? 
Our experts will show you how to write every kind of business content better, with more confidence!
Get your tickets today and bring your professional writing skills up to the next level.
We really hope to see you there!
Christina Inge & The Sleek Marketing Team
A Full Day of Sessions to Improve Your Writing:
In this nuts-and-bolts session, Jeff Cutler will transform the lecture hall into a working content lab where the entire class will participate to create content for an imaginary (or real) organization. You’ll collaboratively come up with the strategy, ideas and execution necessary to reach content consumers.

Read More

“How To Write Killer Subject Lines & Get Results!”
Get their attention – get in the door – and get the response you desire. Whether you are trying to get read, realize revenue, increase your reach or inspire referrals, your subject lines are a key to your success! We’ll show you how to unlock that digital door!
Core Value PR: How to Create a Brand That’s True to Who You Are
Discover your core values and make them part of your brand personality online and offline. Learn how to blend your message and image authentically – and with power – so you can meet your marketing and PR goals.

Dick Pirozzolo on “Next Level PR”

Dick Pirozzolo

Richard Branson, Jack Welch and Mark Zuckerberg are among the savvy CEOs who get better and more powerful press coverage.

It’s because they use Next Level PR principles that rely on these factors to generate news: controversy, humor story, consistency and simplicity  – the same principles you can use to promote and grow your company.

For details log onto my latest artricle on Next Level PR strategies in First America Startup or read excerpts below.

If Your Company Wants to Make Big News Use ‘Next Level PR’

Controversy – A colleague just told me that medical PR was tough now because of all the controversy over The Affordable Care Act.

What! Now is the time to jump in with two feet and take full advantage of the controversy over the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare to generate news for those who want to become leaders.

More than anything, journalists love controversy. We recently got a cover story in The PCB Magazine on how manufacturers of printed circuit boards for medical devices and an automated medication monitoring system will benefit from the Affordable Care Act with supporting comments by the nation’s leading medical ethicist Dr. Zeke Emanuel.

Funny –

There are times when funny will get you a lot more positive exposure than deadpan. Think New Jersey Governor Chris Christie eating a donut in front of David Letterman or Michelle Obama getting her groove with Jimmy Fallon.
Washington Post humorist and syndicated columnist Gene Weingarten once interviewed our client Hilla Ovil-Brenner, founder of WhiteSmoke, a turbo-charged spellchecker.

Weingarten quipped that Ovil-Brenner probably didn’t like it when people learned to spell because it would hurt her business.
She quipped back, “If I sold plus-size fashions, that would not mean I want women to be fat, it means I want them to feel good, look good and be successful in their lives. Just like WhiteSmoke helps people….”

The interview was hilarious and got picked up by newspapers nationwide. Product sales soared.

Story – 

Too often organizations forget that their CEO is a real-life character whose heart, skills, challenges, obstacles and conflicts make for far more interesting reading than canned quotes about how, “Delighted we are to announce Jean as the new VP engineering at Techno Pants Corp.”

Stop sanitizing CEOs. Let them be human, let them talk about how they resolve conflicts with the board of directors, investors or the government and their personal and business relationships. Make them come alive. We love knowing about Ben and Jerry, Jobs and Wosniak, Bill and Melinda and Richard Branson because we see them as real people.

Quick, who knows the CEO of Dell or American Airlines?

Consistency – 

While representing institutional investment managers, a journalist once mused, “How come 75% of all money managers are in the top quartile when it comes to their performance news releases?” That’s because the poor performers hide in the weeds when their numbers are down and emerge only when their numbers are up.

Want to win the respect of journalists, build credibility and generate positive press over the long haul? Be accessible when the news is bad. Get it out, get it over with and move on. When it’s time to deliver good news, you will be far more credible and will have a bond of trust with the editors and reporters that results in positive press.

Simplicity – 

Keep it simple. How many times do we use jargon like OEM, Forex or Q4 without thinking that the journalist who makes the first cut on our news release might be new to manufacturing or finance to say nothing of the reader. Journalism critics note that The Wall Street Journal, whose readers are supposed to be mostly business types, explains every term that is likely to be unfamiliar to the layperson.

Kim Wallace of the market research firm Wallace & Washburn in Wellesley, Massachusetts, and author of “Why People Don’t Buy Things,” puts it this way. “Liken new concepts to what we already know. Let’s say you want to reach customers who had never seen snow tires before and wanted to explain their benefit. If you say, ‘They are like snowshoes for your car,’ everyone will get it instantly.

Consider these news-making tactics when it comes to creating the kind of awareness that establishes your company as an influential leader and building greater awareness and brand equity.

That’s Next Level PR!

Dick Pirozzolo is Managing Director of Pirozzolo Company Public Relations in Boston, founded in 1980, and a Media Bistro Teacher. His firm figured prominently in promoting startup companies that have become publicly held or been acquired by major public corporations. He lives in Wellesley, Massachusetts and Nantucket.

The Harris Communications Group is an award-winning PR and market development firm specializing in PR, marketing, content and thought leadership for clients in healthcare,  science,  biotech, technoilogy and energy. Located in Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA, we’re on the pulse of some of the most exciting ideas, products and technologies, anywhere.

DIA: Evado to launch breakthru cloud app 6-25-13

Effective for all sectors; first available for healthcare, clinical trials

We’re working with Cambridge Healthtech Associates on the launch of  a breakthrough business application by Evado Pty LTD (Evado  E-Clinical), an award-winning software company based in Melbourne, Australia. The launch will take place  at the annual meeting of the Drug Information Association at 8:30 AM at the Westin Waterfront Hotel on  Tuesday, June 25, in Boston.

The app provides a secure, integrative interface through which users can view, enter, manage and manipulate complex data across multiple platforms on any mobile or desktop computing device– from anywhere, in any language.

Designed for use in all sectors, the app will first be made available to the health care industries—and will be particularly useful in clinical trial

The launch will take place on Tuesday, June 25, 2013 at the Westin Waterfront Hotel in Boston at 8:30 AM. 

The Evado team will be located in booth  201 in the Boston Convention Center from June 24-26.


Evado Pty LTD, also known as Evado  E-Clinical,  is an Australia-based IT company with operations in the US and Asia Pacific. Its customers include research institutes, universities, large and small drug developers and medical device manufacturers—all of whom use Evado for pre-clinical through late stage trials and post-market studies. Evado technologies, employed successfully in numerous GCP and FDA compliant clinical trials and studies, provide significant benefits in cost, setup time, flexibility and visibility to research and commercial clients


What, exactly, is a PR agency?


I recently responded to an article in Venture Beat in which a former-journalist-turned-PR guy-turned- entrepreneur   proclaimed that startups should not hire PR agencies.  The author held that agencies are  too expensive, give poor service,  can’t write, don’t understand the media and,  basically, “don’t get it.”   To me, that seemed a vast over-generalization. Perhaps the article was geared at promoting freelancers or sole practitioners…or the author’s new startup, which is fine, I suppose.    True, I’m asking myself why I’m linking  to his piece…but  thought you might like read that I wrote,  in my own bit of  shameless self-promotion:

What, exactly, is a PR agency? I work collaboratively with a group of high-level professionals (former University Communications VP’s, PRSA Silver-Anvil winners, etc). We have low overhead, the flexibility to work on project or retainer basis, bring in other experts as we need them and work directly with clients. We don’t consider ourselves freelancers–because we prefer to build long-term relationships with clients. To toot my own horn a bit (more) I’m a former national journalist with hundreds of personal editorial connections. I agree that $12K is too much for a start-up to pay…but, as long as we’re over-generalizing, most start-ups don’t have enough news to warrant a full-time PR person. A marketing expert with PR/media relations/social media skills is  different story. But the need also depends on the start-up, its stage, its industry, whom it needs to reach, how often, and for what purposes. 

Rather than pour it on too heavily, there, I did not mention  that our senior level practitioners bring  a range of skills–but, heck, this is my own blog. We’re great at crisis communications,  media , social media and clinical relations; writing, editing, digital marketing,  and event management—in health care, life sciences, education  technology.  We bring in others with expertise in design, investor relations, web development, investor relations, as needed.

So–are we an agency? Freelancers? Consultants? A collaborative? Perhaps the label doesn’t matter: it’s our skills and versatility that count.  And our ability to get the job done.

–Anita M. Harris
Anita Harris is the founding director of the Harris Communications Group–a public relations and digital marketing agency based in Cambridge, MA. 

Tree-based biofuel company EuphorbUS to open operating site in Hawaii

Boston, October 16—-Oil seed tree-based biofuel company EuphorbUS today announced that it is expanding its global operations to the United States.  The company, which has operated for seven years in East Africa,  completed a strategic alliance with the Hawaii Agriculture Research Center in Kauai, Hawaii to begin the transfer of agro forestry protocols to the  Hawaiian Islands.

EuphorbUS, incorporated in the US in 2008, completed research and development and has been producing price competitive Pure Plant Oil Biofuel for the residential markets in three East African countries.  The company manufactures a renewable, low cost, plant-based fuel oil in Kenya for the East African market.  The fuel, which is used to replace petroleum diesel for trucks, farm equipment and industrial and small residential gen sets is produced from oil extracted from widely available nuts of the Croton tree. The tree and others of its species are indigenous to 5 regions of the world—including Africa, Australasia, Indonesia, South America, and Hawaii.

The fuel is cost competitive with petroleum diesel, burns cleaner than petroleum based fuel, can be used with little to no modification for most engines, has been used for centuries in rural regions of the world, and is derived from trees which are not cut to harvest the oil seeds according to Christine Adamow, the EuphorbUS founder and CEO.  The extraction and production technology is exceptional in that no chemical inputs are required and the processing facility is self-powered with biomass and fuel produced by the company, making the factory fully rationalized for cost and carbon savings.

“The world is facing rapidly rising costs and depletion of standard fossil fuels, increasing pollution, and a growing need for affordable, clean, safe, and scalable energy to supply the world’s burgeoning economies,” Adamow said. “We are excited to bring our experience in emerging markets and our technology back home, where we can leverage the past 6 year of boots on the ground in East Africa to the US.”

The company is positioning itself for a favorable off take by the US Navy which has a mandate to run the US Global fleet on Biofuel by 2020.    Short term, EuphorbUS will prepare the tree protocols for the US market while  seeking contractor/parners  to produce  biofuel for the Global Green Fleet. “From our years of experience we know that the local market is our sweet spot and Hawaii is ready for us. We expect to create a new market for over 120, 000 barrels of Biofuel annually, with employment for over 1000 farmers and up to 75 professional jobs on the Islands,” Adamow said.

EuphorbUS made its announcement as part of an investor presentation at the Global Clean Tech Meet up in Boston, Massachusetts.

EuphorbUS is a Delaware company that  grows oil seed trees and produces pure plant oil biofuel.


Best bang for the PR buck? Meetings! Five reasons why.

by Edna Kaplan, Guest Blogger

Clients often ask us how they can get the biggest bang for their PR dollars.  While specific goals  require specific strategies, many companies miss one of the best opportunities to optimize their communications ROI: PR representation at meetings.  It’s one of the most cost-effective  expenditures you can make–because an effective PR person can get so much done in a limited amount of time.

Here are five top reasons why PR representation at meetings makes sense:

1. Developing relationships with key reporters

 The reporters who follow your area of specialization attend your meetings, providing you with the very best opportunity to get to know them.  Reaching out, arranging to meet reporters face-to-face to provide them with industry knowledge builds coveted long-lasting relationships that can benefit you and your company in numerous ways.

2. Increasing the number of people you reach and influence

  Having a PR professional in the press room – prepared with meeting-specific news and information about your company and trends in the industry – boosts the chances that your company will be included in meeting-news coverage as well as in articles in the coming year.  News coverage reinforces your messaging and reaches potential customers or clients who did not visit your booth.

3.  Encouraging booth visits

 There is nothing more deflating than seeing  the booth next door burst at the seams with visitors while everyone in your booth is wearing a company badge.  Various PR techniques and on-site social media use can increase booth traffic – and leads.

4.  Pointing reporters to specific presentations

  Reporters and analysts covering trade shows are looking for the meeting’s biggest news stories, but they’re also seeking  insights for future coverage.  They cannot attend every session, so it’s  make them aware of specific presentations or posters, and have them meet with participants who use your product.  We called to remind a New York Times reporter about presentation we had suggested he attend.  He asked for– and we quickly provided – a physician to discuss how doctors use our client’s  technology in clinical practice.

5.  Launching products

A meeting attended by opinion leaders and media is the very best place to launch a new product.  We persuaded a skeptical  startup in a crowded market to launch its medical device  at a large medical meeting.  Coverage from the meeting by a publication read by investors helped attract post-meeting site visits by three of the largest U.S. medical companies.  A pipeline of articles arranged during the meeting by the PR representative ensured continued media coverage and differentiation throughout the year.

Trade shows provide myriad opportunities to deliver your key messages directly or through the media to critical opinion leaders, customers and prospects.  With judicious use of PR, meetings present a golden opportunity to strengthen the company’s image, heighten awareness of products and services and build important industry-wide relationships.

Edna Kaplan, a HarrisCom collaborator,  focuses on speeding the adoption of healthcare products and services. 

HarrisCom’s Anita Harris Joins Boston Globe, ABC News on Health Communications Panel

On April 5, I joined Stephen Smith of the Boston Globe and Lara Salahi of  ABC News on an Emerson College panel discussion about careers in health communications. Here’s my report:

Smith,  now the Globe’s city editor,   traced  his career as a health reporter from his early days  at the Miami Herald through his many years at the Globe--describing a drive to tell the stories of individuals  in order to bring their plight to public attention.

He pointed out that while in Massachusetts, most people have access to health care,  in other parts of the US, this is not the case.  He also described his coverage of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, focusing on the story of Reginette Cineliene  a 14-year old  girl who lost her father, a sister, her home and a leg, spent a year living in a tent encampment, was often hungry, yet still managed to study with the goal of one day becoming a doctor.

Smith said he found Reginette  inspirational–and that he was pleased that his reporting had led readers to  provide Reginette’s remaining family with money to rent a home and pay for an artificial limb.

Salahi, an ABC News  health producer, emphasized  the importance of  telling the stories of “real” people-as opposed to focusing on reports by experts. She used three brief slide/video shows to illustrate the hope and difficulties autism brings to families. One featured a young man who had wanted to be a doctor but, instead, went into radiation diagnostics; a second a  husband and wife who are raising three autistic daughters;  and the third  parents of an autistic son who died young of a seizure disorder.

I described my career as somewhat unusual–in large part due to the ups and downs of the overall economy. I became a journalist by starting  a newspaper with college friends; worked in print, radio and television in New York City,  taught college, and went into public affairs when my college downsized.  I emphasized that with economic and technologic changes, versatility is key; it’s important to have  skills in all media, enjoy change, and if you’re going to do work independently you’d better like to market yourself!

I also pointed out that  when I started out, print and broadcast journalism operated in separate silos and major  news organizations had tremendous power to control and shape  information reaching the public.  Today, increasingly, we are experiencing a convergence of media, in which news organizations are employing multiple media to reach their readers–and no longer monopolize the flow of information.  The results are both positive and negative.

Convergence of media
For example, the  Globe,  previously print only, now has online version that includes video reports.  Reporters for public radio are asked to blog and carry cameras; many reporters and editors are using social media–all of which have the potential to inform the public  in a variety of ways.  However, with staff cutbacks, many journalists are working harder now than in the past;   I’m concerned that  covering stories in multiple  media could diminish the number and depth of stories on which they report.

Dissipation of control
I think  it’s great that  anyone with access to a computer can provide information to the world.  But without vetting by bona fide, trained journalists,   this democratization makes it difficult to know where information is coming from, how good it is, and, to play on words, where the truth lies– presenting special difficulties for health communicators.

—-Anita M. Harris
Anita Harris, a former journalist and journalism professor, is president of the Harris Communications Group,  a PR and content strategy firm in Cambridge, MA.

Clarifying CIC Venture Cafe’s New Policy

Just spoke with Venture Cafe manager Chris Myles, who said he’ll  be providing more information about Venture Cafe’s new incarnation shortly–including the list of affiliated organizations whose members may attend without applying.   Those do include the Cambridge Innovation Center and various entrepreneurial groups…

Chris said the The Cafe’s new incarnation is not meant to be elite or exclusionary–but rather to encourage participation from the innovation community. More to follow.


–Anita Harris


Anita Harris is the founder and president of the Harris Communications Group of Cambridge, MA. HarrisCom is a strategic communications firm specializing in public relations, thought leadership, marketing communications and social media for emerging companies and research institutes in health, science, technology and energy, worldwide.   She also blogs at New Cambridge Observer.  

With 4 days to go, Boston filmmaker sweats it out on Kickstarter

With just four days to go, Boston independent filmmaker Bill Lichtenstein needs to raise another $34,000 in order to receive any of the $70,000 he’s raised so far for  his newest film project. He’s using a Web portal called  Kickstarter to encourage individual donors to hep  fund a nonprofit documentary about the innovative Boston radio station where,  in the 1960s, at age 14,  Lichetenstein was the nation’s youngest DJ.

And he’s sweating.

“Tell people that if we don’t get the entire $104K, we don’t get anything,” he says.

Lichtenstein chose $104K as the goal because (a) he needs the money and (b) the station was at 104. 1 on the Boston FM radio dial.

The film, entitled ” “The American Revolution: How a Radio Station, Politics and Rock and Roll Changed Everything”  documents Boston radio station WBCN from 1968  through 1974.

As reported in the Boston Herald (Dec. 5, 2011), during those years, Bruce Springsteen did his first radio interview ever on WBCN;  Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir,  of the Grateful Dead, and  the Allman Brothers’ Duane Allman stopped into the studio at 2 AM and jammed for an area. When Nixon invaded Cambodia, “BCN got local college kids to strike.
WBCN  “had tremendous national impact both musically and politically,” Lichtenstein told the Herald.

Lichenstein, who has produced TV and documentaries for ABC News and PBS, has gathered more than 50,000 photos, documents and tapes, including early performances by Led Zeppelin a, Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground.

“We changed the world one time,” Lichtenstein says. ” And we can do it again.”

But not if he doesn’t reach his goal on  Kickstarter–a nonprofit that allows contributors to get tax deductions–but gives fundraisers just a month to get the entire bundle.

Lichtenstein and Kickstarter were  featured on Boston’s WCVB-TV  “Chronicle”  on Dec. 13, 2011.

More info, the WCVB piece  and the film trailer are available at

——Anita Harris

Anita M. Harris is president of the Harris Communications Group, an award-winning public relations firm located in tyhe Cambridge Innovation Center in Kendall Square,  Cambridge, MA.   Anita  is a former national journalist who got HER start in the alternative press–as a founder of the Harrisburg Independent Press and writer for  the The Real Paper and Phoenix in Boston, MA.

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