516.286.3773 robyn@owl-pr.com



Anyone who’s traveled with me knows how I tend to scrutinize a hotel. I’ll politely call it a side effect of working in the travel industry for almost 15 years. I notice things that other guests probably don’t…I pay attention to the smallest of details. And it is those small details that won my heart over on a recent trip to Boston with my husband.

We decided on a whim to take advantage of a three-day holiday weekend and for the first time, would be traveling with our dog – a five pound maltipoo who is a total brat. Automatically that limited our options, but we went ahead and booked Boston’s Hotel Marlowe in Cambridge.

I had never stayed at a Kimpton property but was curious thanks mainly to a goldfish amenity I had read about years ago (kudos to their PR team!) Plus, the price was right and they offered a great pet program for Chloe – a win-win all around.

It wasn’t the nice room that got me, how the hotel stayed true to its branding with funky bathrobes or even the complimentary amenities for Chloe. It wasn’t even the genuine interest the staff took in my dog – although impressive – it was this:

Marlowe – Update

Now let me be clear. It wasn’t about the amenity (a bottle of wine and a bottle of spring water). It was about the note. A handwritten note to be precise – and one that addressed me by name, versus the typical ‘Dear Guest’ neatly typed out with the GM’s signature at the bottom. I wasn’t a regular customer, or someone who booked an expensive suite. On the contrary, I was in the most basic room category and paid a discounted rate. I was not a VIP by any means, but the hotel made me feel like one.

I have no idea who Besart is. I’m guessing he isn’t the general manager though…or any senior-level team member on property. You know what? It doesn’t matter. Because that meticulous attention to detail won over my loyalty. And while the hotel’s acquisition cost for that was nominal, the outcome was priceless.

Think wisely.

Robyn Lanci


How To Spot A Bad PR Person

Whenever I’m speaking to a prospective client, I make a point to put myself in their shoes. PR is an investment, and with the wrong partner, your valuable marketing dollars can go to waste. On the flip side, with the right PR partner, your ROI has the potential to be limitless. So to ensure your time isn’t wasted when vetting out your PR rep, keep the following points in mind. And if your prospective partner ticks off any of these boxes, make sure to cross them off your list pronto.

Warning Sign #1: they guarantee a set number of media placements, and/or a specified date as to when you can expect to receive editorial coverage

It’s my job to try and convince a journalist to write about my client (and I’ve got a good track record for making it happen) but any good PR person will tell you that they don’t have control over how often, and by when, a client will see coverage. Good PR doesn’t happen overnight, and a consciousness rep will spend time crafting pitches that are targeted to the interests of each specific journalist. If your prospective rep promises to be in touch with say, 100 editors a week on your behalf, be assured they’re sending out mass email blasts. The media don’t care for the spray and pray strategy, so neither should you.

Warning Sign #2: they have you doing their job — or you question if something they want you to do should be their responsibility

A good PR rep should be an extension of your marketing team, and need minimal assistance from you once they’re up to speed on your account. So beyond answering questions, approving press materials, being available for interviews, and providing things like high-res images to support your rep’s PR efforts, you shouldn’t have much else to do. You’re paying good money for a professional to do it FOR you…and do it well. If you find your partner talking about having you do things like individual editor mailings yourself, it’s time to move on.

Warning Sign #3: they promise you a media placement in a specific outlet

A guaranteed placement in a specific newspaper or magazine is called advertising. Enough said. You don’t need a PR rep for that; you just need the publication’s rate card.

So before you sign on the dotted line, make sure to think wisely.

Robyn Lanci

Get a free public relations & marketing consultation.

Copyright 2018 Owl PR



Here’s a situation that opened up a big ol’ can of PR worms this week: Trump Jr’s analogy using Skittles candy as a stand-in for Syrian refugees on Twitter. Now what? Surely there are no rainbows at the candy company’s office these days.

Immediately visions of meeting after meeting amongst Skittles’ PR and marketing team crossed my mind when I heard about this incident. There were so many ways the company could’ve played this, and no matter the response, I knew judgements would flood the internet regardless. But, experienced PR folks can minimize it. That’s why it’s important to have a team that’s savvy in both public relations and social media.

Here’s what the company’s Vice President of Corporate Affairs had to say about the matter:

“Skittles are candy. Refugees are people. We don’t feel it’s an appropriate analogy. We will respectfully refrain from further commentary as anything we say could be misinterpreted as marketing.”

Four simple sentences seem easy enough, but my guess is that response took hours to draft. This is why: the company was challenged to craft a message that is (1) emotionless (2) factual (3) doesn’t demonstrate a political opinion and (4) could not be interpreted as defensive or self promotional. It takes a skilled PR professional to craft something that conveys several difficult points in one brief response, but Skittles achieved it. In fact, they could stand to teach other companies (even ones within the same industry) a thing or two.

So kudos to the PR department. We believe you think wisely.

Robyn Lanci

Get a free public relations & marketing consultation.

Copyright 2018 Owl PR



Recently a public relations vendor posted an article on its Facebook page about why outsourcing your PR might not be a clever idea. I’m sure I wasn’t the only PR person out there who was annoyed that a PR vendor was advocating not working with an agency, but it also left me wondering who is in charge of the company’s social media. My guess would be an intern, who probably didn’t know any better….which also just goes to show that you should never leave it to someone inexperienced to handle your social media in the first place. All that said, this article inspired a rebuttal.

Claim #1: You will invest a lot of time getting your PR agency up to speed about your business.

Reality: You will invest time getting any new employee up to speed about your business. Your agency doesn’t have to learn the day-to-day responsibilities of say, someone you’ve hired to handle your accounting on top of understanding your brand, so the learning curve can actually be faster.

Claim #2: Many journalists don’t like working with PR agencies.

Reality: Many journalists do like working with PR agencies because a PR agency can usually get them what they need quickly. Your PR person isn’t juggling media requests with a sales meeting or conference call with a supplier like you are. Fulfilling the writer’s request is their priority.

Claim #3: Anyone with a great idea and a bit of common sense can pitch a story to the media.

Reality: Sure, you can pitch a story to the media yourself. But can you separate yourself enough from it to know if a writer will truly find it newsworthy? And do you know who the right person to pitch it to is? While no PR agency can guarantee coverage, a good one will know what a reporter is most likely to cover – or not cover – and will make sure your news lands in the correct person’s inbox.

Claim #4: If you’re willing to invest just a few hours a week in researching publications you would like to be featured in, you can create your own PR opportunities.

Reality: While you can decide upon a ‘wish list’ of publications to be featured in easily enough, it’s going to take more than ‘just a few hours’ to work toward getting yourself included in one of those news outlets…and that’s assuming your business is the right fit in the first place. Just because YOU think you belong in XYZ magazine doesn’t mean XYZ’s editorial staff agrees. A good PR agency knows how to position your company to increase your chances for editorial exposure. It’s their job to know each publication’s readership – and it took more than ‘just a few hours’ to gain that knowledge. And regardless, with all of your other responsibilities, do even have the time to invest in all of this? Your PR agency is an extension of your marketing team, and part of their job is to make yours easier.

Ask yourself this: if you had no experience renovating houses, would you take a stab at fixing up your home yourself, or would you hire a professional? You could read a book, and painting seems easy enough. You would likely spend all of your free time doing the work and the quality won’t be the same, but hey, it will be cheaper, right?

PR is no different. And just like contractors are available to you at varying price points, so are PR agencies. Some work with mega big-box brands and charge $20,000+ a month, and others – like us – cater to small businesses and have price points that accommodate tighter budgets.

So think wisely.

Robyn Lanci

Get a free public relations & marketing consultation.

Copyright 2018 Owl PR

Get a free public relations & marketing consultation.

Copyright 2018 Owl PR