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Weekly Reads – Social Media is Just One Piece of a Bigger Puzzle

When the first brands started using social media years ago marketers saw it as a gigantic leap forward that allowed companies to begin communicating with their customers in a way like never before. But now that the costs associated with the channels have risen and customers are tuning out many of the branded messages they are bombarded with each and every day some are claiming that social is an empty channel for brands. The truth is somewhere in the middle:, social media, done correctly and as a part of a full customer experience, creates opportunities for new relationships and loyalty with your audiences.
Read more after the jump…

5 Topics To Pitch Newsrooms During the Holidays

Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 5.25.11 PMThe holiday crush affects newsrooms, too.

Our job as PR professionals is to push back against clients who want to ramp up the PR machine during the holidays as they try to boost news hits before the end of the year. But pitches without strong news hooks will probably never see the light of day.

Remind your clients that shorthanded newsrooms are even more stretched during the holidays, as editors scramble to fill programs and news pages around all those holiday ads. Here are a few topics that can legitimately be sold this week:

Black Friday. You can pitch stories for clients who are part of the shopping frenzy, but clients should be ready to offer an honest take on the day’s business. Reporters and their audiences hate businesses that paint an overly optimistic picture that is not borne out by facts.

Read more after the jump…

Lookin’ Good on Social Media

I’m no expert on social media…

I work with a bunch of talented people who are, but as GFM’s Director of Creative Development, my specialties focus more on making things look good. When I go to a business’ Twitter account, I don’t see bad tweet etiquette (of which I’m certainly a perpetrator) or better ways to incorporate a hashtag. Instead, I see missed opportunities concerning their visuals. Making social media platforms look good is incredibly simple, yet many businesses seem to ignore the importance visuals have on their success. Read more after the jump…

Social Media Policies, Even for the C-Suite

Social media makes it infinitely easy to offend customers, partners, and even bosses.

Social media makes it infinitely easy to offend customers, partners, and even bosses.

This past week a local restaurant in a small Utah town came under fire after one of its cooks posted anti-police sentiment to his personal Facebook page. By the time restaurant owners reacted (by firing the cook and offering free meals to law enforcement officers) it was too late. Local civil rights activists and police watchdogs then joined the conversation, questioning the restaurant’s decision to fire the individual.

Read more after the jump…

Weekly Reads – Tweaking Tools in Your Social Media Toolbox

Social media provides us with ways to reach, explore, engage, connect and leverage content via various channels. The challenge is how to tweak the ever-changing tools in our social media toolbox. This week’s reads cross platforms from organic reach on Facebook, handling negative reviews, Instagram updates, and yes, revisiting the use of email.
Read more after the jump…

Time-lapse vs. Hyperlapse: What’s the Difference?

The August introduction of Instagram’s Hyperlapse app gave us a new social media term, “hyperlapse,” that seemed so simple. Then I started using it interchangeably with “time-lapse,” and got myself all confused. While similar, time-lapse and hyperlapse aren’t the same – so here’s a quick primer:

Read more after the jump…

The Changing Face of PR

I came across this Ragan.com article recently and thought it spoke very well to a number of the changes we’re seeing in the PR industry – “5 outdated PR tactics and their modern equivalents.” In it, author Meredith Eaton lists the 5 outdated tactics as the following: press conferences, media tours, press kits, TV and charts. She astutely suggests that they’ve been replaced by tweetchats, phone briefings, new and interesting (vs. prepackaged) content, YouTube videos and infographics, respectively.

Read more after the jump…

Weekly Reads – Get Outside the Box

We are entering the holiday season, arguably one of the most competitive times of year for brands. Consumers are bombarded on social media, television, radio and magazines with everything from “must have gifts” to “surviving the in-laws.” Therefore, we love this week’s reads because of the inspiration and outta-the-box tactics brands are using to stand out from the crowd. What will you try before the year ends?
Read more after the jump…

2015 Planning Tips: Updating Press Kits and Online Media Rooms

Screen Shot 2014-11-04 at 11.32.30 AMPress kits and online media rooms have been a topic of discussion between my teams and several clients during the past few weeks. Some of the conversations have been related to website updates with the chance to reimagine the boring, static press room that is live currently. Others have been about organizing a tremendous amount of company and industry content into a format that is eye-catching and simple to navigate.

We field requests every day on behalf of our clients from reporters and bloggers who are searching for more information about our clients. When they come to us first we have the opportunity to help guide the discovery process. However, most reporters and many bloggers do a round of independent research before calling the company or PR agency, so it is critical that your strongest information is at their fingertips to make a solid first impression. Think of a press kit or online media room as your company’s “Hello, My Name Is” badge. At the highest level, today’s most comprehensive press materials and/or online media room include:

Read more after the jump…

Tips to Live By to Become a Stronger Writer

Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 3.27.25 PMA recent presentation to a group of juniors and seniors at Colorado Christian University reminded me of the critical skills that public relations professionals must have:

  • Relationships with media and pitching
  • Expertise with social media channels to communicate with target audiences
  • Understanding of the client’s business
  • Problem-solving
  • Strategic thinking
  • Writing

I told this class of eager, young students that being a strong writer is as important today as it ever was, and it’s the one skill that will make the difference in getting a job interview or not. The best way to become better at it is to write every day – whether it’s your own blog, a journal, or volunteering to write for a nonprofit organization. The key is to do it.

I found this this article, How to Improve Everything You Write in Three Minutes of Less, a great reminder of how to cut the “fat” out of writing and make each piece stronger.

Another worthwhile read: 7 “Tricks” to Improve Your Writing Overnight. What tips have you learned along the way to improve your own writing skills?