Faith-based media and marketing

Why Publicity Is Important – A Q&A with FrontGate Media Publicist Lori Heiselman

Here at FrontGate Media, we believe publicity is a crucial part of any marketing campaign. While some may view publicity as an old-school form of marketing, the truth is, traditional PR combined with new forms of promotion, such as social media, are extremely effective if the right tools and strategies are employed. To get a glimpse into the world of PR, today we’re talking with FrontGate’s very own publicist, Lori Heiselman.

Lori Heiselman, FrontGate Media PublicistLori has spent her career specializing in publicity, strategic public relations, and traveling PR road shows at live events. Her work has included faith-based projects, social justice and non-profit causes, and family-friendly, faith-friendly and faith-specific entertainment in music, movies, and books.  Since moving to Nashville from Los Angeles, she has been honored to work with some incredible talent in music, writing and film. This includes road show campaigns for Charlotte’s Web, Ratatouille, Amazing Grace: The William Wilberforce Story and Captain America; publicity and PR campaigns for artists such as Plumb, Anberlin, JJ Heller, Seabird, Rocket Summer and Green River Ordinance; films such as Expelled, Jonas Brothers 3-D, To Save a Life, Lord Save Us From Your Followers and The 5th Quarter; and leaders/speakers/authors such as Ted Swartz, Kenny Luck, Nicole Weider, and Zach Hunter.

Lori recently took the time to answer some questions about her role as FrontGate’s senior publicist leading the team in service to FrontGate’s clients, where PR fits into the overall marketing scheme and why traditional PR is more relevant than ever.

At its core, what is a publicist’s role?

Lori: The simple answer is, a publicist’s role is to communicate. A lot. It’s about shaping stories and presenting those stories to appropriate media, who hopefully will share the story as well. Publicists are also around to protect brands and help clients know how to share their vision and products or services with the public.

Specifically, how do you assist FrontGate’s clients?

Lori: I  bring our clients into the relationships we’ve built with media outlets, in essence using our FrontGate brand strength and history to build our clients’ brands. I build media campaigns from start to finish. I create a strategy, write press releases, service product to media, and pitch stories.

Why is PR so crucial to any marketing strategy?

Lori: One of the really great things about PR is longevity. When a writer tells a story – in print or on the web – it stays there: on front pages, in archives, on people’s coffee tables, in podcasts. A lot of marketing has a short shelf life, but I love media, as it tends to stick around for quite some time! Also, I think consumers know when something is paid media (advertising, banner ads, paid bloggers), and when something is earned media (a media outlet giving an honest opinion about a person or a product). Earned media gives credibility like nothing else. Another great thing is the value of creating a fan in the media. As the gatekeeper to their audience, creating a fan at a media outlet yields double dividends as they continue to connect their audience with our clients’ projects and products. We have seen excellent success in creating ongoing relationships for our clients with media outlets, as well as partnerships that have grown beyond traditional PR. 

PR has evolved so much in the last several years due to the advent of social media. How important is social media to your PR strategy?

Lori: Social media adds a more direct component to our campaigns. We pursue media outlets AND we go direct to fans in the social media environment.  I work closely with FrontGate’s social media services team to create engagement around our core messaging topics and goals. One benefit that FrontGate delivers is the ability to provide a comprehensive, integrated marketing team and strategy executing across PR, social media and advertising. Fans can engage with our clients through the media outlets, as well as directly through social media outlets. When a client’s social media campaign is solid, it only helps strengthen the publicity campaign.

Is there still a place for traditional PR (magazines, newspapers, TV, radio)?

Lori: Most definitely! I believe these are still the core of any good marketing campaign. Plus, most thriving media outlets now have a better reach than ever, so if you miss hearing the radio show, you can still listen to the podcast. If you missed the TV interview, you can watch it on YouTube. We can create larger impact with people who are reading newspaper and magazine articles online – even if they don’t subscribe to that publication. Traditional media can actually have more impact and longevity than ever.

What is your favorite part about your job?

Lori: Variety! I get to apply our past success and experiences to clients with new ideas, products and services. We are a boutique service, providing a custom-designed solution for each client we serve in the faith-based market. I love that we’re not just filling in templates and servicing out the same things each month.  It’s always more fun when I can work several styles of products and campaigns at once. Plus, I’m a people person so I enjoy being able to connect with interesting and creative people each day.

What advice would you give to someone who can’t afford to hire a publicist but needs to integrate PR into their campaigns?

Lori: Pay attention to the needs of the media outlet. Editors and producers know their audience, so if they say no – it’s not personal! Dig deep and find the right outlets that will resonate with your campaign.

Follow Lori on Twitter @lorilenz

To hear more about FrontGate’s PR Services, Click Here.

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