March 15 2023 Breakfast Meeting Notes

March 15, 2023 Breakfast Meeting Notes


Tony saved his trivia until next week.


50/50 was won by Tony

Denise won the chance to draw for the ace of spades but drew the ace of clubs instead.


Our speakers today were Marybeth Bentwood and Michael Henrich on public relations and  marketing.


Marybeth owns her own marketing firm and Mike was a commentator  and journalist for a variety of media outlets before moving into public relations. The two of them have been doing the marketing for the CommonmanforUkraine campaign. 


They started by discussing PR 101: What is it and does my brand need it? PR is a behind-the-scenes job that relies on sound underlying relationships to promote a business or nonprofit. There are a variety of types of media that you might utilize for your marketing, which fall into the categories of paid, owned, and earned media. 


Paid media is what you buy yourself, using such modalities as direct mail or advertising, in order to get the media source to promote your brand. It is the easiest to get, but the least valuable. Owned media includes your blog, newsletter, or other social media in a channel that you control.  It is a step up from simple advertising, because it engages your audience and is more likely to be shared with others. Finally, earned media (which includes things like podcasts, opinion pieces, articles, being quoted as an expert source, or broadcast media interviews) is the hardest type of media coverage to get, but can be the most effective because it gets get the broadest exposure. It is also the riskiest type of media, since you don’t control the message. Examples of recent earned media spots for the CommonmanforUkraine include segments television news, articles in Newsweek and the Financial Times, and an appearance on the Kelly Clarkson show.


It can be very helpful to have a professional PR team to make contacts with media for you and to coach you on how to conduct the interview so that you make the best impact. Essentially you are trying to tell your audience a story that makes people pay attention to what you are selling or promoting. Professionals coach you to consider what story you want to tell, and help guide your interactions with your customer or potential donor. A professional also helps you to refine your message, since it takes more work to get a journalist to plug your business than it does to simply pay for an ad.  Marybeth noted that journalists will Google you right away before they decide to run a story.


How do you translate your idea into something that media will want to share? The PR firm can identify the story that will resonate with the right outlet, help organize your assets (such as background footage), and help you to find the right outlet and organize your talking points.  You should constantly create new content, as this will allow you to engage repeatedly with the media. You  will need to speak to the right outlet and to the right person, which might be the editor, reporter, anchor or someone else. (Professionals are really helpful with this, because they have cultivated connections to the right people.) The PR firm will write the pitch, generally in a way that references another story, so that the media can connect the two and help continue a story that they have already started. Marybeth suggested calling the news desk on the weekend and asking for 1 minute to run a good news pitch. Television stations are usually eager to get such short stories. Of course, you need to be able to deliver that pitch, completed, on short notice if they request it quickly.


Mike note that news breaks first on Twitter, so they use this to contact journalists.  Different media reaches different audiences, so you want to focus your energy on a media source that your customer base is likely to respond to. For the CommonmanforUkraine,, that means Facebook and Instagram.


Media training is also a skill that professional PR people know. You might want to emphasize different angles of your story depending on the news outlet you are using. You need to repeat the message constantly and then bridge back to the key fundamental points you want to communicate. Write down our goals for this interview. Ask yourself who your audience is for this interview and tailor your message to that audience. Finally, ask yourself where the curveballs are…anticipate them, be aware that you can incorporate them into the message preemptively OR work on a response should it come up.


PR firms speak of a media pyramid. If you have a small local business, start with Instagram and local influencers, podcasts and bloggers. As you get bigger, regional newspapers and magazines are likely to take notice of these media at the bottom of the pyramid and pick up your story. Then regional broadcasts will become interested, and then finally national broadcasters like networks or national papers like NY Times, WP, etc. Coverage begets coverage. Preparing a good base layer of local and regional coverage is essential to getting to next level (national or international). 


Club announcements: this Saturday we will be de-decorating the Common, starting at 9 am. Steve bought the light string plan so that they can be put away in an organized fashion and easier to set up next year. Be sure to check the lights to ensure that they all work before putting them away. 


Greg announced that his eldest daughter was in the Junior Nationals skiing in Fairbanks. She placed 15th in one event and still has two events to go. His younger daughter Ellie was in the National Junior championship and got 2nd overall; her team won the relay with her on the final leg. Greg also noted the the SEU 48 girls’ team won the state championship last week for the 1st time in 15 years.


The Plymouth Conservation Commission has completed one trail on the PemiBaker trails and are planning trail maintenance and cleanup days this spring and summer. They are also building new trails. If you are interested in helping, send a message to The dates scheduled for trail work so far are April 6 and 29, and May 20, all from 9-12.


Denise had a Happy Dollar thanking Mike for his work at northeast PETS. She and Alex got to meet our incoming president of Rotary International and he was very supportive of our Ukraine efforts. 


Respectfully submitted,


Lora Miller, secretary