PR Over Coffee

Freshly Brewed Newsletter – Vol. 1 No. 1


Dave’s Special Blend In this issue…
Welcome to Freshly Brewed, a monthly newsletter dedicated to helping small businesses, independent consultants and nonprofits find their voice in the media world.As you may already know, I have dedicated the past two years to helping small businesses, professionals and nonprofits connect to the Austin news media. Many of our members have been able to meet and pitch influential media professionals from a variety of media outlets including:

  • Austin American-Statesman
  • Austin Business Journal
  • KXAN
  • KEYE
  • Culturemap Austin

Now I want to build upon that mission with a newsletter. My hope is that Freshly Brewed will provide practical and timely information designed to help you raise your brand awareness here in Austin and nationally.

This is a work-in-progress, so I encourage you to participate by giving me your feedback. Have you received great media coverage and want to be a future success story? Are you a PR professional and want to contribute a blog post? We will provide you with lots of buzz plus a link to your website.

Bottom-line? It’s great way to promote yourself by sharing your ideas and successes with others!

Feel free to drop me an email at info(@) Or just pick up the phone and call me: 512-963-9924.

Enjoy this tasty blend of PR!

Dave Manzer

In our first installment of Freshly Brewed, we decided to share the unique insight from a local PR professional,Dana Marruffo, principal of Buzz Public Relations, about what steps you should follow to execute a successful PR campaign.After all, success in any endeavor comes only with planning and consistent execution.Also included is a success story written by Stephanie Puente, Director of Marketing for Heartsong Music, an early childhood music and movement program for children from birth through age 7. Stephanie shares how attending PR over Coffee meetups in the past was instrumental in helping her gain lots of great publicity for Heartsong Music.

Finally, I have listed some events, PR reminders, and other facts to help you pounce on more PR opportunities in the upcoming months.

You never know when your chance to get picked up in the news will arise so best be ready with a pitch for every occasion!


September PR over Coffee featured Austin American-Statesman reporter Michael Barnes coaching us on how to create a compelling news pitch. One team below is hard at work coming up with a pitch Michael could NOT refuse!

Heartsong Music Hits Right Media Notes
By: Stephanie PuenteI joined PR over Coffee in August of last year and since that time, Heartsong Music has been featured on Fox Good Day Austin, on the front page of the Lifestyle Section of the Austin American Statesman and in two issues of Community Impact Newspaper. What incredible success we have had!The funny thing is, prior to joining PR over Coffee, I was unsure how to approach the media, which outlets to focus on and who to even connect with. Bottom line, the monthly meetings I attended solve the mystery of doing my own PR and getting great exposure for Heartsong Music.

Through PR over Coffee, I was able to meet directly with a variety of media professionals from various outlets in Austin and learn about the stories they cover, what they are interested in featuring, how to pitch a story idea and how best to connect with them. As a result, it has been very easy for me to submit my ideas, to follow up and to be persistent (the reporters will tell you at the meetings, be persistent!).

I truly enjoy being able to talk with media professionals after each meeting, exchange business cards and let them know that I will be calling them. I have learned that the news media are friendly, approachable and genuinely interested in connecting and receiving ideas. This has helped me to feel at ease when sending an email or making a phone call to follow up.

My thanks go out to Dave Manzer and his PR over Coffee team for all the wonderful work that they do! They organize informative and engaging meetings and provide excellent tools and resources in the meetings and on the PR over Coffee website to help small businesses learn how to connect and be featured in local and national news outlets.

Heartsong Music is now better known plugged in to the local news media, and our brand has more awareness than we had prior to joining the PR over Coffee group!

About Heartsong Music

Heartsong Music teaches Music Together® , the internationally recognized early childhood music and movement program for children from birth through age 7 and the adults who love them. We offer Mixed-Age Music Together classes (birth to 5), Music Together for Babies (8 months and younger), and Music Together Big Kids™ (5 to 7 year olds). We also offer Intergenerational Music Together classes (birth to 5) that take place at 4 assisted living facilities in town. Please visit our website at, give us a call at 512-371-9506 or email us at for more information.

7 Basic Tips to Launching a Successful PR Campaign
By: Dana MarruffoUnderstanding and knowing what steps to take to carry out a successful PR campaign can be daunting, confusing and quite overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be!If you have something newsworthy and it is communicated in the right way to the rightreporters or bloggers, the chances of getting media coverage is in your favor.

Here are some fundamental steps to help get you started:

  1. Create a plan of action. Objectives are outcomes that represent the achievement of a goal. It’s important to set definitive goals and objectives of your PR campaign in order to provide a specific purpose for your communication among the audience you are trying to reach. Furthermore, by developing definitive goals—you will be able to effectively measure your campaign against business objectives.
  2. Research and build media (and blogger) contacts. Media influencers are the bread and butter of a PR campaign. You must know what each of your targeted media and blogger contacts is looking for and how your message or story idea can interest them. Learn the areas (beats) they cover, and past/current stories they’ve written so you can create the story or message angle intelligently and on target.
  3. Develop the pitch and news angle.What is the story you are trying to say? Ask yourself: Is it newsworthy? Why would the reporter care? It’s good to arm yourself with current news, industry trends and interesting statistics to develop a relevant and timely pitch/news angle that will ultimately spark interest from the reporter to cover you.
  4. Write a press release. This can be tricky—especially since a press release (aka news release) is to write with a journalistic voice that informs rather than promotes your company, product or service. A good rule of thumb is to follow the who, what, when, where, why elements. Images are ideal too. PRNewswire provides great tips on how to write a press release than can help you get started, and the Associated Press has a style guide that aligns with journalistic writing.
  5. Pitch the media. Pitching is an area that is certainly trial and error if you’ve never pitched before. Don’t get discouraged—as you engage more with journalists you will be able to gauge when deadlines are, or when the best time to call or email. In today’s digital world and real-time deadlines, reporters and bloggers are leaning more towards email to be contacted. However the phone call is not obsolete and plays well when it comes to timely news and follow up. More can be found on how to pitch media by phone in a previous blog post by Dave Manzer. By arming yourself with a strong news angle and informative press release, you’ve already created an opportunity for yourself.
  6. Follow up. Following up with a reporter or blogger once you’ve pitched is essential. Although you may get a follow up call from the media, it doesn’t always happen. Proactively call (or email if requested) the reporter or blogger, introduce yourself, ask if it’s a good time to speak, explain your message and offer to provide further information for their use in crafting a story about your news. Wait a day or three before follow up. Be pleasant, direct, helpful, and willing to answer questions.
  7. Continue the momentum. Once you’ve gotten on a reporter or blogger’s radar, it is best to continue your PR campaign with a consistent flow of news, company developments and other pertinent information about your business and marketspace. By doing so, you are building credibility, thought-leadership, and a competitive advantage among other players in your industry.

Congratulations! You are now on your way to launching a successful PR campaign! If you have any questions or need clarification, please leave a comment—would love to hear from you.

About Dana Marruffo

Dana Marruffo is principal of Buzz Public Relations, LLC, a nimble communications and branding freelance practice focused on positioning startup to late growth companies as leaders in their respective markets by cultivating and executing strategic marketing and PR campaigns consisting of education and market-validation techniques. Recognitions include: Top 100 PR Firms and Publicists for 2012 Who Know PR and Social; Top 100 Social Media PR influencers for 2009; 2008 Outstanding Austin Communicator Award; 2006 Silver ADDY Award and 2007 ADDY President’s Impact Award for Public Service for the Art From the Streets campaign. She can be reached at

Holiday Reporter Panel
Meet reporters and bloggers from the Statesman, Community Impact and Fab is the New Black to turn your holidays into a media circus! Now is the time to pitch your plans for the holidays so join us next Wednesday at the BBB at 12pm.Cost is $20 and drinks and snacks are provided. Register today by clicking here! For more information, email us atinfo(@) the Pitch
Meet Amy Flurry, former editor of Lucky Magazine and author of “Recipe for Press,” and learn how to pitch your business to the top magazines and blogs.

Event date is November 5 at 6pm. Cost is $40 and drinks and snax are provided. For more information or to register emailinfo(@)

PR Trending Topics

Use these dates and anniversaries to time your

  • Holidays: add a few media pick-ups to your stocking and you’ll have a reason to be merry in December!
  • National Book Month: are you a book publisher, a writer, a book store owner or collector?
  • Breast Cancer Awareness: are you doing something special to help raise funds for breast cancer awareness?
  • Dinosaur & Drum Month: beat the drum for your favorite dinosaur: both topics are open in October!
  • Veterans Day: November 11 is a great time to show how your biz or nonprofit is behind the troops!
  • National Candy Day: November 4 could be the sweetest time to pitch your story ideas!
  • National Cake Day: Can you believe my birthday falls on National Cake Day this year? Time to celebrate!
  • Aviation Month: this November could be your chance to pilot a course for multiple media mentions!
  • Austin Formula 1: feel the need for speed and good PR? Try this one-of-a-kind event coming up November 16-18.
Want to add an event or media tip? Email me at info(@)

Need Help with a Press Release?

PR over Coffee consultants are experts at press release writing and coaching. Whether you want to hand off the entire project or just get some solid tips, pointers and suggestions, we can help you craft the Killer Press release for your business or nonprofit.

Email me for more information at info(@) or click here to read more about our coaching services.





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