A Conversation with Marina Gonima & Shannon McPhee of Bender/Helper Impact
By UCLA X425 Student Eileen Hung
When our original guest speaker – Matt Meeks, Director of Bender/Helper Impact Buzz – phoned last minute to say he wouldn’t be able to appear in our class, I admit I was slightly disappointed since our instructor, Erik Deutsch, hyped him to be a communications professional from whom we would learn a great deal. But Matt didn’t hang us out to dry. He helped arrange to have two of his colleagues talk to our class. That’s when Maria Gonima (@oonceoonce) and Shannon McPhee (@ShannonMcPhee) come in.
Maria and Shannon both work at Bender/Helper Impact Buzz as Account Supervisors in different departments. Maria works more in digital and multi-platform entertainment content, whereas Shannon focuses on video game clients. Both brought great insight regarding how to manage a client’s image and present it to the media with ease. Some interesting points they brought up were:
1. Social media has become the new way to build relationships with the press.
Most journalist don’t have the time to respond to phone calls or emails because they’re either on deadline or lack the motivation to do so. However, with the introduction of social media platforms, the once hard-to-reach media outlets have become more tangible. It has become much easier to build rapport with journalists. One great bit of advice is to visit a journalist’s twitter page to learn their interests, and then use that information to develop your pitch. It’s an easy way to grab their attention.
2. You may not realize it, but public relations is closely tied with sales.
Shannon describes the video game industry to be slightly different because most game release campaigns sprinkle news bits up until the launch. The more hype there is for a video game title, the higher it will score on charts found on services like GameRankings. The score on these sites help influence how retailers will purchase a given game. That is why seeding content on appropriate websites where they can reach the widest audience is the rule of the game.
3. Sites that aggregate multiple social media platforms onto one template will make life easier.
Do you often find having profiles on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, WordPress, Foursquare and Youtube hard to manage individually? Now, there’s an easier way to manage and consolidate all of your profiles. Maria raved about applications such as Flavors.me that allow numerous social media platforms to be presented on one page. According to Maria, Flavors.me is the best way to present your brand online since everything can be viewed on one page. It’s an easy way for the media to get an idea of your brand with blogs entries, tweets, videos, and more. Maria also mentioned using HootSuite, which is a social media dashboard used to manage multiple social media profiles. Rather than going to each platform to post the same thing, you can use HootSuite to post in multiple platforms with one click. Aggregation has become the new way to save time and cramped fingers.