From kitchen table start-up to the New York Times – Prepaid Financial Services
When Marie O’Riordan started as the global head of PR with Prepaid Financial services (PFS) in 2017, her first port of call was the introduction of MediaHQ to the company.
“I’m a pretty straightforward person. Either something works or it does not. I knew MediaHQ worked. I had been using it since 2009 in other companies. One of the first things I did was to bring it into Prepaid Financial Services”
Award winning journalist
The former journalist had left behind a glittering career in media which included accolades such as writing for Forbes and interviewing Mother Teresa. The Trim based company, PFS, had annual revenues of over €50m and in one of the most exciting moves in the Fintech world in 2019, PFS was acquired by Australian Fintech giant EML Payments for €253m. PFS had become one of Europe's largest issuers of e-money and the deal would grab headlines around the world from the New York Times to Forbes. Using MediaHQ, Marie spearheaded the PR campaign around the acquisition from her hospital bed having just had surgery.
The right story to the right people
Marie was able to send out all the press releases around the acquisition using the MediaHQ press release distribution tool and media contacts database. She duplicated the press releases so that she could tailor the right part of the story to the right people. This allowed Marie to focus on getting different aspects of the story in front of media outlets as diverse as the Irish Times and Joe.ie
Journalists move around a lot and can be hard to track. Marie uses the MediaHQ dashboard, specifically the 'Intelligence Update' feature, to spot media movements that are relevant to her lists. When you need to contact the right people, you need up-to-date contacts and an ability to find a specific journalist in a hurry.
“I got into this game 32 years ago. I have seen a lot of movement in the industry over the past decade but never have I seen the amount of movement in journalism that I have seen in 2020.”
The PSF/EML acquisition was a global story with many facets. On the face of it, it was what KPMG described as the biggest Fintech acquisition of 2019. It was also a story of triumph for an entrepreneur who was about to earn hundreds of millions of euros from a start-up he had started at his kitchen table. Marie and her team were able to handle this diversity of interest in the story with specific personalised pitches to specific journalists from pre-built, up to date, list templates within MediaHQ. She personalised the releases using the ‘recipient first name’ function so that each journalist got their own press release addressing them by their first name.
ListHub in MediaHQ offers a precise description of what type of stories the contacts are looking for, allowing PR people like Marie to tailor and personalise stories to journalists’ requirements giving them a higher chance of coverage and allowing the story to go further.
Dominate the news cycle
The EML/PFS acquisition dominated the business news wires for most of November 2019 taking centre stage in Bloomberg, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and the Irish Times amongst many other outlets.
MediaHQ analytics allowed Marie to track the performance of her press releases by seeing who and how many journalists had opened the press releases as well as a host of other analytics that helped her to measure the success of the campaign and where it was landing at any given time. It gave her eyes on the story as it developed so that she could focus on where it needed to go in real time.
PSF is a company that spans 28 countries and counts national governments, banks, and global blue-chip organisations on its client list. PFS operates in a heavily regulated environment and Marie knows there is no room for errors when it comes to GDPR compliance around retaining databases. She cites this as a key reason she turned to MediaHQ, a partner that could give her access to extensive media lists and 60,000 contacts, all GDPR compliant, so that she could focus on what she is good at, keeping PFS in the news cycle.
Finding the right journalist
The news cycle has been dominated by Covid19 since February 2020. Cutting through that noise has been a challenge for many PR practitioners. Marie O’Riordan has been an early adopter of the MediaHQ Topic Search feature that gives users a search tab that guides them in finding contacts in the most granular of industries.
“I have already used the Topic Search for a specialist press release today about a super niche topic. That search facility allowed me to identify the people I would like to have conversations with within that topic area.”
Marie does not have to leave the MediaHQ platform to get her news from the world of PR. She is trending at the top of her career and regularly keeps up to date with others who are trending by following the MediaHQ daily News Feed - a treasure trove of the who’s who in the world of media and PR. The News Feed dashboard helps her keep abreast of what is happening, people on the move, and things to look out for in the media. She says “there is not a working day that goes by” where she is not logged into MediaHQ.
A “systemised approach” to PR
Marie talks to journalists every day in her role as head of PR with Prepaid Financial Services. MediaHQ helps her to create “a systemised approach to PR”. Building lists, finding the right contacts who want the story, searching for topics and easily sending out relevant personalised press releases helps Marie to keep on top of the 24-hour news cycle.
“We are always on high alert, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. That is what we do. That is what PR is about. The profession of PR is like being in a state of constant military awareness.”
Marie used MediaHQ to help to create unprecedented interest in the company she represents. Marie knows that stories do not get media coverage by accident. It takes hard work, a great system, and a plan.
“MediaHQ helps me when I must think on my feet, react to a situation, kick the contingency plans into place and deal with whatever comes my way.”
Marie O’Riordan is a titan in the world of PR and knows that the one constant in the world of PR is that there are very few constants. Like all titans, she has come to depend on a network of partners that help her take PFS to the next level. Marie knows that the functions in the MediaHQ platform can help her to keep on top of the world of PR, eliminate the grunt work and focus on telling the PFS story to the right people, in the right way - at the right time.