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Weekly Reads – Facebook Updates and the Continued Rise of Snapchat

More changes to Facebook’s News Feed algorithm, and more new Facebook features for social media managers to utilize – all while Snapchat continues to grow and grab the attention of various demographics. This week’s key stories offer several trends and tactics for your marketing playbook.
Read more after the jump…

Sometimes you have to slow down — and other lessons learned on sabbatical

Practicing yoga at Villa Gumonca on the island of Brac.

Practicing yoga at Villa Gumonca on the island of Brac.

I’ve just had the opportunity to take advantage of GFM’s generous sabbatical policy… After 10 years, employees are encouraged to take one month off to “undertake activities that promote individual rejuvenation and personal benefit.”

I did so by participating in a yoga retreat in Croatia with six Brits and a Norwegian I’d never met before, taking a two-week vacation in Croatia and Italy with my boyfriend, and then spending a week re-acclimating and getting organized at home in Denver. It was an absolutely wonderful experience and as I sat at lunch savoring my last few days off, I jotted down some of the lessons I learned that may prove helpful should you ever find yourself in the position of enjoying a month off.

1. Modifying isn’t cheating
As a former gymnast (AKA perfectionist) I feel the need to be able to bend forward and touch the ground with hands flat and legs straight when I’m practicing yoga. Thanks to a hamstring issue, I’m not currently able to, which has been driving me crazy. On this yoga retreat, our instructor encouraged me to bend my knees deeply in forward bend. Doing so not only enabled me to put my hands flat on the ground without pain, it also produced an amazing stretch that felt great. My preconceived notions of what “success” looked like in that pose and the expectations known only to me (no one else was watching to make sure I kept my legs straight) had been holding me back from true success.

Read more after the jump…

The Impacts of Emotional Intelligence

team_work_business_template_design_graphics_549234Emotional intelligence, known as EQ, is being touted as a key ingredient to surviving any working environment. Don’t get me wrong, IQ is still important and not to be dismissed. But the EQ is playing a critical role within the PR profession as digital media, client demands and no-such- thing-as-being-offline expectations seem to be the new norm. Read more after the jump…

Social Media Managers: It’s OK to Feel Uncomfortable

I’ll admit it – Snapchat makes me uncomfortable. I’ve never been one for making goofy faces into the camera, and I just can’t see the appeal in turning your head into a taco or swapping faces with a friend (well – maybe I get the humor in that one). But reading a recent Wall Street Journal article about how brands are using Snapchat to reach millennials, I had an “aha moment.”

Taco Bell’s chief marketing officer, Marisa Thalberg, recounted a pitch from her team about creating a sponsored lens on Snapchat that just wasn’t clicking for her. But she trusted her team and the results were incredible (224 million views!) – and she said “I think it’s important that sometimes I feel uncomfortable.” Bingo!I was quickly transported back to May when I heard a piece on NPR from Youth Radio in which a young reporter talked about the efficacy of brands reaching teens via social media. What struck me in the piece was the clarity from the reporter and his young cohorts that brands, their marketing managers and agencies just don’t get what it’s like to be a teen. Truth. I haven’t been a teen in, well – awhile. And while I certainly understand how to market, it’s a simple truth that I don’t know how to market to everyone, particularly demographics like teens who I’m fairly separated from.

Which brings me back to my “aha” moment: It’s okay to feel uncomfortable when developing a social media strategy. It stands to reason that marketing to a demographic other than your own will cause you to stretch and think in ways you haven’t in years, if ever, and that’s okay. Surround yourself with really smart people who have insight into or are willing to spend the time deeply researching your target market – then trust their instincts. Just because it doesn’t resonate with you doesn’t mean it’s wrong. And you never know, you just might end up with 224 million views to prove it!

PR Lessons from “Game of Thrones”

GOT logo for blog

Image Credit: HBO

While not all GFMers watch “Game of Thrones,” there are a number of us who are huge fans. We like to share articles about predictions for upcoming episodes and then rehash all of the action from the previous night’s episode on Monday morning. So when Ragan’s PR Daily put out an article today entitled “8 PR lessons from ‘Game of Thrones,’” I couldn’t help myself – I had to click on it. Their 8 tips were based on quotes by various characters from the show. See below for my take on each:

Read more after the jump…

Denver Digital Summit: Creating Great Content

The Denver Digital Summit 2016

The Denver Digital Summit 2016

My colleague Will Holden and I had a chance to attend the Denver Digital Summit last week to listen in on all things digital – trends, strategies, new tools and ongoing tactics. It’s great to see this Denver-based conference thrive and continue to grow each year, and while there was a ton of talk about Snapchat and other emerging technologies there was one constant theme from nearly every session I attended: Tailored user experience (understanding and knowing what your audience wants first and foremost) needs to be the focus needs to be the focus of every campaign.

Read more after the jump…

All I Really Need To Know, I Learned Paddling the Grand Canyon

rapidunspecifiedI recently had the experience of a lifetime rafting with friends through the first half of the Grand Canyon from Lee’s Ferry to Phantom Ranch, for a total of 89 miles.

It was six hot, wet, cold (water is 47 degrees), exhilarating days paddling the Colorado River. One of the benefits of such a trip is that you’re completely cut off from the world. Cellphones don’t work, and of course, no internet. I can’t think of how many times a discussion or question would come among the group and someone would say, “Google it.”

Read more after the jump…

Weekly Reads – Digital Summit Denver takeaways: Slow down & optimize

Digital marketing conferences tend to be all about the latest and greatest. But this year’s Digital Summit Denver, a burgeoning marcom event here in the Mile High City that wrapped up late last week, had some presenters who were advocates of slowing down, getting better at storytelling and optimizing how you’re utilizing existing platforms with significant audiences. Below are some of our favorite takeaways from presenters.
Read more after the jump…

Communications and the News Cycle After a National Tragedy

Credit: Ted Eytan

Credit: Ted Eytan

The weekend’s events in Orlando are impossible to process, whether you are following the updates through the personal lens of a mother, father, proud LGBTQ supporter or just a general American who cannot wrap his or her mind around yet another mass shooting.

But as the world stands still for those directly impacted, the rest of us have to go about our normal activities. Doors opened for work first-thing Monday at communications agencies across the country. Client meetings are taking place and new business proposals are humming along.

Yet communications professionals in the PR, digital and social media space are in a unique position, and I believe we have a tremendous responsibility to demonstrate empathy and respect, even if our day-to-day job seemingly has no ties to Orlando.

The seemingly most obvious connection is our daily interactions with the media. With shrinking newsrooms, reporters and producers will inevitably be pulled from all sorts of beats to help write, file and push out stories related to the news. The first 24-48 hours are typically the most critical in the newsroom to cover the national news from every local angle, though it will stretch on longer for relevant beat reporters. Here in Colorado, TV in particular is being pulled to Boulder given that the Orlando shooter’s ex-wife is staying there currently.

A PR pro’s best bet? Use common sense before pitching general assignment editors, producers and news desks in particular. Check out what your targets are talking about on Twitter before hitting send or picking up the phone. If you can, wait a day or two and proactively let clients know the reason for the delay. They should appreciate the fact that you have their reputation in mind as well.

The social and digital realm moves even faster, and if your social team wasn’t taking down irrelevant or possibly insensitive scheduled posts first-thing Sunday morning, you were behind. To the same end, the social universe often rebounds faster. And with sensitivity top-of-mind, a brand can move back to publishing regular content within 24 hours or so.

Curious about whether or not to create #WeAreOrlando content? As a company, you need to sit down together and honestly answer a few questions first. What have you posted after other tragedies or similar events? Who are your primary audiences and how are they personally reacting on social networks? Does any part of the content being proposed feel inauthentic in any way? If the answer is yes, scrap it immediately.

The bottom line: be a human, not a marketer. Create or withhold content through the lens of a friend, mother and father. Hold off on proactive media relations for a day or so depending on the industry of your respective clients.

Be bold in how you stay quiet and responsible on behalf of clients or your brand.