Fleishman Hillard’s Jennifer Kohanim: Bridging the Gap Between Media Relations and Social

We tend to talk about digital innovation and social media separately from traditional media relations. There’s the world of branded status updates and then there’s the world of the press release.

As we sat down to speak with Jennifer Kohanim – PR professional at Fleishman-Hillard – we uncovered creative points of intersections and discussed the importance of bridging the gap by striving to become knowledgeable and well-versed in a broad spectrum of media channels.

Muck Rack: Can you tell us about your role at Fleishman-Hillard?
Jennifer Kohanim: My role here is two-fold and encompasses both traditional media relations as well as social media/community management work. That means that half my energy is devoted to building media strategy, working with my team to identify media targets and opportunities and straight-up pitching. The other half of what I do here is developing social media content, community management and social media metrics. It’s a little atypical to be straddling both the social role with the traditional media relations role, but that’s where I found myself here at FH and I feel very grateful for it. 

MR: Can you tell us a bit more about your background?
JK: I guess I’ll start by saying that I’m a digital gal at the core. I first learned about marketing from a digital perspective (I started in the digital group at FH) and only after learned the intricacies of PR about a year or two into my job (when I moved into the marketing communications/consumer PR group). I think this almost backward learning is pretty cool and makes me approach my projects with a unique lens. I also studied in a music business program for my undergrad, which means I learned about marketing from the lens of promoting a musician – which means I spent a lot of time analyzing the artist-audience relationship, what made certain artists have such passionate and loyal followings and most importantly looked at a brand as a human (which is inherently the case in music – the brand is the musician who is a human being as opposed to a product of service).

MR: What kinds of projects are you working on?
JK: My two main accounts right now are Citibank and the State of Connecticut’s Office of Tourism. Yes, very different! That’s the agency lifestyle! Both accounts are very interesting. On the Citi front, I’m focused on their digital partnerships, specifically Women & Co. (their personal finance resource for women) and Connect: Professional Women’s Network (their networking group for professional women on LinkedIn, made up of 100k+ members). Both channels are meant to build communities where women can openly discuss the money and career issues that matter most to them – it’s pretty incredible how much there is a need for this information and dialogue and it’s amazing how Citi has devoted such resources to it. Definitely recommend you checking out both sites!

On the Connecticut front, our team is charged to bring awareness to everything the state has to offer from a tourism perspective – from its incredible history, to its quaint small towns with perfect New England charm, to its shoreline cities and wonderful beaches. There’s really so much to do in Connecticut – and you’d be surprised to see how many local residents don’t even know what’s in their own backyard! It’s our job to bring visibility to all the wonderful destinations and attractions. It’s been a real blast. It’s always great when you have a brand with such richness that has endless amounts of stories to tell.

MR: What tactics do you use when reaching out to reporters?
JK: There are the conventional ways to connect with reporters and then there are the unconventional ways and it’s important (and more interesting) to mix it up. I’ve reached out to reporters via email with a story idea/expert that I thought they would be interested in given past coverage. I’ve reached out to reporters just to say hello after reading an article of theirs that I really liked. And then I’ve reached out to reporters after seeing a tweet of theirs seeking help.

One fun story I have about a social media-inspired pitch, happened when I struck a conversation with a New York Times columnist after reading one of his Facebook status updates (I subscribe to his updates). Now this is a reporter that wouldn’t normally cover Connecticut because travel is not his beat, but it happened to be that he lived in Connecticut and was crowd-sourcing vacation ideas for himself and his two young boys – vacation ideas that were within driving distance. So I quickly put together an email telling him how much was in his own backyard and made a couple of suggestions of destinations that I loved and thought were perfect for his elementary school kids (Pez Visitor Center, New England Air Museum, etc). He wrote back thrilled and very appreciative for the suggestions – the hope is that this is a relationship we can build and an opportunity for us to show an influencer around Connecticut.  This is just one example of social and media relations coming together – I love when this happens. This is the new media relations.

MR: What are your thoughts on press releases?
JK: When I started here I was very digital-focused and I was pretty dismissive of press releases – they were too long considering the 140 character world we lived in. People have very small attention spans for text, and a press release is usually all text. I am a huge fan of brands that have strong corporate blogs that use their blog as a form of a press release (the best example is Google) – and of course, I absolutely love it when brands create a video to introduce their new product offering or service. Video is without a doubt the most powerful medium and when done right – it’s just so effective.

MR: What’s more important these days, being traditionally or digitally knowledgeable? What advice would you give to someone starting out in the field?
JK: More of our generation will be digitally-oriented, but I think there is a lot of value in learning traditional media relations and learning the skills of constructing a story and thinking about it from a media perspective (asking yourself – what would the headline look like? How would a journalist cover it?) That kind of thinking is invaluable and it just helps you broaden your vision of the whole media landscape. Everything at the end of the day is connected and tying yourself down to one medium, one or two channels, is not going to get you far.


Juggling Different Platforms - a Hootsuite Interview

I participated in Connect via Hootsuite a few weeks ago (FleishmanHillard is one of their first partners in the Global Agency Partner program) where I discussed the importance of being able to centralize the different platforms we need to use to drive social and digital programs. For those looking for a little daytime business video, here’s the post-event interview.



FleishmanHillard has officially launched its new brand: “the power of true.”

Am so proud to work for this company and share this video here.

You can learn more about the new brand in this New York Times piece: http://nyti.ms/16eVDah

FleishmanHillard คว้ารางวัล “Asia-Pacific Network of the Year” ณ งาน 2014 PRWeek Awards Asia

FleishmanHillard คว้ารางวัล “Asia-Pacific Network of the Year” ณ งาน 2014 PRWeek Awards Asia

FleishmanHillard คว้ารางวัล “Asia-Pacific Network of the Year” ณ งาน 2014 PRWeek Awards Asia

ฮ่องกง–30 มิ.ย.–พีอาร์นิวส์ไวร์/อินโฟเควสท์

FleishmanHillard ได้รับรางวัล 2014 Asia-Pacific Network of the Year ณ งานประกาศรางวัล PRWeek Awards Asia ซึ่งจัดขึ้นโดย PRWeek นิตยสารชั้นนำในเครือ Haymarket Group โดยงานนี้จัดขึ้นเพื่อเชิดชูเกียรตินักสื่อสาร หน่วยงานต่างๆ และผลงานในภูมิภาคเอเชียแปซิฟิก…

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Is the Dinner Table the Most Important Content Indicator? Part 2 of the interview

Here’s part 2 of Jay Baer interviewing me on FleishmanHillard’s content strategy. Full quotes are below and more great posts from Cision, which set this up and sponsored it, at their Blog


On earned media:
“Our most important metric is still earned media. You still need to earn your way into their minds and hearts.”

On measuring content effectiveness:
“The purpose is to simply put it in front of people where if they saw this story, at the right time in the right context, it’s something they want to know, and it’s something they want to discuss. And the measure is, did they discuss it?”

On looking at the whole picture:
“An often overlooked point which is we’ve become too obsessed with social metrics. That’s only one view in terms of how people think. Search is another one, news in another one. And what’s actually in their head can also have differences, and that’s where survey’s come out in terms of ‘what’s your direct opinion.’”

We can be louder than the corporations — tell the FDA to label risky GMOs now!

It terrifies me to think what is in our food these days.  Biotech companies, namely Monsanto, have been spending big money to keep us in the dark about what they’re putting in our food supply.  Considering the fact that you have to eat as well, I have to believe that you are concerned over this just as I am.  You don’t want your children and grandchildren eating chemicals and carcinogens, right?  Well, I’m asking you to step up and do something about it.  Monsanto just hired a former Senator Blanche Lincoln as their top lobbyist and a PR firm to improve their image.  Now, I have too much self-respect to work for the company that was named “most evil” in 2013, but apparently Mrs. Lincoln and the folks over at FleishmanHillard do not.  So I’m begging you to stop catering to the corporate interests of a company that is literally poisoning us all.  Biotech is not to the answer to the world’s food shortage problem.  Healthy, safe, and sustainable farming is the answer, but Monsanto is making sure that traditional farmers are buried under a pile of lawsuits and trumped up charges.  How many family farms have to be put out of business for not agreeing to poison their neighbors?  How many other countries have to reject our food exports before we realize that this is serious?  How many activists have to be assaulted and silenced before we call in tyranny?  How many people will die before you do something about it?  Please, one dead person is one too many.  If our food supply is poisoned, how can we survive?  How can you survive?

In a long-anticipated move, Facebook announced the launch of clickable and searchable hashtags to desktop users this week, beginning with a roll-out to a small percentage of users that will soon be extended to all. The new feature, already familiar for users active on competitor networks like Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest in addition to Facebook-owned […]

 A relatively seamless way to become part of the conversation without seeming invasive, monitoring organic hashtag conversations and generating brand-focused ones will undoubtedly become the norm for marketers looking to increase engagement with their audiences and highlight relevant topics authentically.

Seeing how startups can solve our challenges at SwitchPitch NYC 2015

SwitchPitch is an interesting concept. Similar to what we do in our offices but on a broader basis, companies pitch their challenges to an audience of developers and startups. They then pitch us on their solutions in a follow-up speed dating session. Here’s the video my pitch (FleishmanHillard challenges) to the startup and developer audience. Visit switchpitch.com for more information.

Fleishman Hillard from SwitchPitch on Vimeo.

Announing FleishmanHillard's Native Newsroom Powered By LinkedIn

Things are off to a great start here at FleishmanHillard. Today we announced a major newsroom  offering powered by LinkedIn.  Sure, I could post about it. Instead, why not watch the sizzle reel (we launched with with a Summit with LinkedIn, Newscred and Freshwire) and read the AdAge article and news release below.

LinkedIn Summit from Ephraim Cohen on Vimeo.

The News Release:


The AdAge Article:


The Holmes Report: