about emergency aid
"Rachel took a potential disaster and turned it around . . . it was the key to making the project work."
Marshal Granor almost fell out of his chair when a donor offered his nonprofit $500,000 for interest-free loans to furloughed government employees during the 2019 government shutdown.
Granor, past co-president of Hebrew Free Loan of Greater Philadelphia (HFL), knew these loans could keep people’s lights on, fridges full and homes heated.
Within a week, HFL was set up in donated space at The Constitution Center to hand out checks.
The problem? HFL's networking and social media hadn't been able to spread the word to those in need of the assistance.
That’s when they reached out to Making Headlines for help.
Recognizing a newsworthy, feel-good story, I quickly drafted a press release and fact sheet and reached out to a handful of media contacts.
The response was immediate. Within an hour, the story aired on WHYY and was online with WHYY.org and Philly.com. A line snaking outside The Constitution Center soon formed.
We kept the story in the spotlight by updating the media about how much money was left in the fund and with human interest tidbits about the loan recipients. Doing so, combined with a social media effort to spread the word, ensured that the entire half million dollars was quickly distributed . . . and gained national exposure for the Philly branch of this international nonprofit.
At a time when good news was sparse, we provided the media with a highly unusual story to tell and a way to help their audience: a win-win situation for the media, Hebrew Free Loan and the grant recipients.
"Our work together positioned me as a thought leader in a crowded field . . ."
Julie Cohen is a serial entrepreneur. She came to Making Headlines shortly after publishing her first book, seeking to become a media resource to enhance her second business and prepare to launch her third, Work. Life. Leader.
Cohen's ideas and expertise differentiated her from the better-known experts on work-life balance. Charismatic and intelligent, I saw in Cohen the potential to become a regular contributor in the media—a thought leader.
Strategically targeting her audience, we decided to pitch Cohen to Huffington Post as a blogger, Working Mother as a contributor, and The Philadelphia Business Journal (PBJ) as a columnist.
Together, Cohen and I brainstormed column ideas drawing upon real-life situations and the trends she forecast. Cohen drafted each piece and I served as her editor.
Within a year, Cohen had built a significant writing portfolio: monthly PBJ columns, quarterly Working Mother articles, and regular HuffPo blogs, some of which were promoted in HuffPo's reader emails.
More important, Cohen had begun to get regular queries for quotes from important national media, like The Wall Street Journal and Money.
Cohen's new "fame" increased her credibility and name recognition, easing the launch of her new business and securing her a role as national thought leader in her field.
capitalizing on the news to make national headlines
"Rachel seized an unexpected opportunity to shine a light on what makes Moving Traditions unique and valuable—and as a result, she raised our profile nationally and helped us reach and embolden more teens."
Every good media relations practitioner is a media junkie; there is nothing journalists hate more than getting a pitch from someone who has never seen their work.
I was particularly tuned in to Brett Kavanaugh's SCOTUS hearings, which is how I happened to be sitting in my car one Saturday morning listening to a story on National Public Radio about the hearings and raising boys. I found the story unimpressive, quickly realizing my client, Moving Traditions, had far more insight about the hearings’ meaning for boys.
A national leader in informal education focused on the whole teen, Moving Traditions helps 1,300+ teenage boys each year explore gender norms and cultural messages about masculinity, power and sexuality through peer group meetings that draw upon Jewish teachings to discuss modern dilemmas.
After consulting with my client, I quickly reached out to a contact at NPR to pitch our story. What differentiated my pitch was Moving Traditions’ belief that boys are inherently kind and sensitive, and the opportunity for the reporter to be a fly on the wall in one of our meetings to hear what boys will say to each other in the safe space we provide them.
My contact bit and we spent the next two days working at warp speed to develop a major story that protected the boys’ privacy while still allowing access. The story ran nationally on prime real estate: NPR's famed Morning Edition.
The results for Moving Traditions were immediate. Their phone lit up with media requests from outlets across the country and more important, program requests to expand their program into new spaces.