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Deconstructing Hope Solo’s Olympics Implosion

Hope_Solo_(16539697180)In public relations, it often is the small things that make big differences. The U.S. Women’s National Team goalie, Hope Solo, learned that lesson the hard way when she was suspended from the team for six months this week.

What were the little things that went so wrong for Hope?

  1. She used colorful language. Many athletes engage in sour grapes after a tough loss by complaining that the better team actually lost. They will use expressions like, “They didn’t win; we gave it to them.” Hope expressed those thoughts, too, but she made her quote more colorful by calling the Swedes “a bunch of cowards.” In my non-scientific survey, the word “cowards” appeared in 100 percent of the media coverage. Journalists love colorful, which can work for you or against you.
  2. She had priors. No criminal appearing before a judge would expect to catch a break when he or she has been convicted before. And Hope should have known that she had little margin for error based on her previous actions this year alone that included a domestic violence arrest and allowing her inebriated husband to drive a U.S. Soccer vehicle.
  3. She set the stage. A lesson that every professional wrestler learns is that it is okay if they love you or hate you; it is indifference that will end your career quickly. Hope loves the spotlight, and she established herself as the anti-hero of the Rio Olympics before she even left the U.S. by tweeting photos of herself in heavy-duty, mosquito-proof outfits. She thumbed her nose at her Olympics hosts, and she was already the center of attention when she arrived.
  4. She violated the spirit of the Olympics – When athletes are paid mercenaries (i.e., performing in for-profit leagues while being paid millions of dollars), fans tend to be pretty forgiving for lapses in etiquette. But when you act like a jerk on arguably the biggest sports stage in the world that is also synonymous with sportsmanship, it becomes a problem.

Read more after the jump…

Three Things NBC and the Olympics Reminded Us About Content

Photo credit: Brian Godfrey

Photo credit: Brian Godfrey

I’m a guy who genuinely enjoys the Olympics. When you combine a few sports I know well with several sports I know absolutely nothing about – and then roll it all up with fierce competition and patriotic undertones…count me in 11 out of 10 times.

Unfortunately not everyone feels the same, and it showed with the TV ratings from the Rio Olympics – down 17 percent from the 2012 London games. A major part of the problem, it seems, was tape delayed programming and the subsequent social media spoilers. NBC’s approach to Olympic coverage in Rio reminded us of three very important things that hold true across the board when it comes to content:  Read more after the jump…

John Oliver “Reports” On Loss of Newspapers, Journalism

John Oliver is witty, profane, irreverent and dead serious, all at the same time.
So when the host of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight” took on print journalism as his long-form topic earlier this month, the result was insightful and devastating.

His 19-minute tribute to local newspaper journalism covered what those in the industry already know, but he presented it to a wider, general audience not familiar with much more than simply the industry is on life-support. He offered the “why” and, more importantly, “what it means.” As he tells it, quite accurately, local newspapers are the bread and butter of journalism and create most if not all content for television reports.

To bring home the point of how local newspapers have changed, Oliver and his team created a comic version for a fake movie trailer based on the journalism biographical movie “Spotlight.” It’s deadly how accurate it is.

Take a look at the entire segment:

Weekly Reads – New Look, Same Formula

We’ve given Weekly Reads a CenterTable facelift. Since the news and notes revolve around social media and digital trends, it seemed appropriate to officially transfer Weekly Reads over to CenterTable, GroundFloor Media’s sister agency. It’s a new look, but the Weekly Reads formula will remain the same.

Facebook

VentureBeat: Why Chatbots Are So Disruptive
Chatbots are everywhere, and they’re only getting smarter. Advanced bots could totally change the way advertising and media agencies create campaigns. Bots give companies the ability to individually target their customers without needing tailor-made campaigns for every single person.

Marketing Land: Facebook Restricts Messenger Bots to 24-Hour Window, Adds Subscriptions
Facebook is pushing companies to build smarter bots by creating a 24-hour window after human interaction to send promotional messages. The shift means that companies will need to create more responsive bots that offer more opportunity for interaction.

Digital Trends: Facebook Now Lets You Guide Viewers Around Your 360-Degree Video
Facebook added guide functionality to 360-degree video that will completely change the way we interact with immersive video. Imagine a restaurant chain guiding you on a 360-degree tour of a new location, or a news station broadcasting a major story and showing people where the points of interest are within the video. The new features also include enhanced analytics for 360-degree videos.

Instagram

Digital Trends: Brands Leap to Instagram Stories, Find Success
For brands with a strong Instagram following, the new Stories feature provides an outlet to post content that might not have otherwise made the cut. Rather than developing a new audience on Snapchat, Stories gives brands the opportunity to reach a network they’ve already cultivated and share Snapchat-like, dynamic content.

Digital Trends: Instagram Adds Two New Rather Significant Video Features in Quiet Update
With the recent buzz surrounding Instagram Stories, a couple of new video features from the app’s latest update went mostly unnoticed. The added video functionality allows users to zoom while recording, and iPhone users can now switch between the selfie camera and the main camera during filming. The update is another example of Instagram mimicking features that began on Snapchat.

What CenterTable and GroundFloor Media Blogged About This Week:
A Coat of Many Colors
Is AP Style Still Relevant?

Is AP Style Still Relevant?

Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 11.02.16 AMIn today’s 140-character world, does AP Style still matter and why should I care? It depends who you ask. The truth is, AP Style does matter and is the standard in the U.S. if you’re a journalist, writer or work in public relations and marketing communications. If you’re not familiar with the AP Stylebook, it’s a “reference for writers, editors, students and professionals. It provides fundamental guidelines for spelling, language, punctuation, usage and journalistic style.”

While the AP Stylebook has been around since 1953, each June it releases a new printed edition and is available online for an annual subscription. For longtime AP Style followers, sometimes the updates make you crazy, like now that it’s acceptable to use “over” as a synonym for “more than” i.e. “She earns over $30 million a year” versus the old way “She earns more than $30 million a year.” It’s just as important for longtime users to stay up on the changes as it is for new writers to become intimately familiar with the guidelines.

Read more after the jump…

A Coat of Many Colors

CoatofManyColorsAh, back to school time! I am reminded of those days heading into the fall trying to coordinate class schedules and work/internships. It seems nowadays the stress is even higher with the job market demanding not only great experience with a results-driven resume, but networking just to secure an informational interview. Where does one start?

I like to ask colleagues what their majors were in college and how they moved through their careers in communications. All of us have a different story. I actually started out as an advertising major before switching to journalism. I also worked on event promotions through the Texas Tech student center, was on the yearbook staff, interned in a hospital communications department and worked for a printing company before jumping into my career. Read more after the jump…

Weekly Reads – Test and Revise. Revise and Test. Repeat.

The more things change, the more we have to test and revise. This week’s news includes how Facebook’s algorithm updates have increased attention toward video content, how hyper-targeted ads aren’t always the best approach (for large brands), how Snapchat is changing the retail experience, and how Twitter is making moves to keep up. As we’re all looking for more efficient ways to reach our audiences, remember: don’t get overwhelmed. Testing new features and revising your approach accordingly has always been part of the marketing process.
Read more after the jump…

FTC Hardens Stance on Paid Posts Not Clearly Marked as Ads

Credit: Jason Taellious

Credit: Jason Taellious

The GFM team members who oversee the majority of our influencer programs work hard to be as mindful and compliant as possible with the ever-evolving FTC regulations around social media ads and sponsored content. Last August we penned a blog post on this very topic, and here we are again with more news about how the FTC continues to crack down on brands and influencers, sometimes being very unclear in the full scope of its rules. And this conversation extends beyond creative social media content all the way to Google and SEO impact—check out our SEO expert Brooke Willard’s Google tagging instructions for bloggers reviewing free products if you haven’t already.

Read more after the jump…

The double-edged sword of social media

Pop quiz: Is Twitter an opportunity or a threat for your business? The answer, of course, is both.

Social media allows businesses to connect more directly with customers and prospective customers than in any time in history. And it also allows competitors and detractors to screw with your brand more than in any time in history.

The stakes are real, and so is the data. A recent study conducted by a professor at Belgium’s University of Leuven found:

  • 94 percent of all PR crises either started or were fanned by Twitter, and online trolls were a “key catalyst” for spreading awareness of PR issues
  • 19 percent of PR crises actually broke on Twitter, making the social media platform a bigger threat to brands than Facebook (16 percent), YouTube (4 percent) and blogs (4 percent)
  • Consumers are more comfortable criticizing brands on Twitter. Users are 17 percent more likely to send a negative Tweet than publish a negative Facebook post.

These figures are as stunning as they are frightening. If social media monitoring isn’t part of your marketing budget, you are making a serious mistake.

Read more after the jump…