Author Archives: Barb Jones

As Pets Become Top Influencers, Coloradans are Getting in on the Act

Dog at Eiffel TowerAs a huge animal lover, I was intrigued by this recent story on CBS Sunday Morning about how people are making money with their pets as “influencers” on social media. Some of the popular pets represented by The Dog Agency include Ella Bean the Fashion Blogger (a four-pound Chihuahua), Atticus the Hedgehog (profiled in ads for Stainmaster carpet cleaner), and Diddy Kong and Yeti Kong, two monkeys from Miami.

According to the story, using pets as influencers is not just creative – it’s lucrative. “Influencers with millions of followers are getting around $10,000 to $15,000 per piece of sponsored content,” said Loni Edwards, owner of the Dog Agency. “Some campaigns have many pieces of sponsored content.”

In a state that loves its dogs, it seems only natural that Coloradans are getting in on the act.

Read more after the jump…

Is Traditional Advertising Dead? Not if you ask Shaq

Shaquille O’Neal in a Ring advertisementWhile traditional advertising is on the decline, now being taken over by targeted digital ads and YouTube stars, it’s certainly not dead. Just ask Shaq.

In the world of public relations, one of the primary communication vehicles to reach target audiences five to 10 years ago, the mass media, has shrunk dramatically. It’s no secret that prominent newspapers and magazines have shuttered, and those that are still publishing are a fraction of the size they used to be. News departments at TV and radio stations have downsized dramatically as well. Certainly, the decline in advertising sales, particularly classified ads for newspapers, have had a dramatic impact on the media. What’s more, how people consume news, watch or listen to music and entertainment, has also shifted. Consider a Pew Research study that showed six in 10 young adults are turning to online streaming, like Netflix and HBO go, to watch TV. What this means is that all of us are seeing advertising in a much different way than a decade ago.

That said, I was intrigued by a recent Real Sports segment that featured Shaquille O’Neal and the fortune he’s made in the nearly decade since he’s retired from the NBA as an ad pitchman.

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What Communicators Can Learn from Teen Activists

Screen Shot 2018-03-02 at 8.35.20 AMLike other Americans, I watched in horror as yet another school shooting took place, this time in Florida. If there is any good that comes out of this, it has been watching enraged teens share their voices in every possible way. I found this PR Week article: Politicians worst nightmare: Tone, Social Savvy make Parkland students authentic advocates, particularly interesting.

According to the article, what’s working is that students are not being careful and cautious and are not overly messaged. They’re being direct, outspoken and passionate. And they don’t have anything to lose, and everything to gain.

While many are speaking out about what happened, it’s the teenagers who could have the greatest impact on effecting real change. Theirs is the first generation that grew up with the internet and social media. To them, social media is allowing them to speak directly to elected officials, and rally people across the country on platforms to directly share their message.

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What You Need to Know About AP Style for 2018

As a follow-up to an earlier blog post on the importance of communicators’ adhering to AP Style, each year, in order to stay relevant, editors meet and make updates to the style book. Then we all need to learn the new rules. This year was no exception, and the following is a list of the more noteworthy AP Style changes in 2017.

  • Singular “they” – AP Style now allows the use of “they” as a singular pronoun when rewriting the sentence would be awkward.
  • “He” is no longer acceptable for gender-neutral.
  • Cyberattack – The word refers to a computer operation carried out over a device or network that causes physical damage or significant and widespread disruption.

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Everything You Need to Know About Media Interviews You Can Learn on “60 Minutes”

Everything You Need to Know About Media Interviews You Can Learn on “60 Minutes” | GroundFloor Media PR AgencyI recently caught an episode of “60 Minutes”  during which they shared the tricks of the trade by some of the most revered journalists ever, most of them now passed. As you may know, “60 Minutes” has been celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, which makes it the longest running broadcast program ever.

When the show first aired in 1967, the formula for a “60 Minutes” segment was simple: keep it timely, keep it relevant and never be dull. That same formula is as relevant today, and should be used by marketing communications professionals in developing stories and pitches for the media. It doesn’t matter if your story idea is for print, TV, radio or online – your media pitch needs to include all of those elements, and it needs to be visual, as even a good radio story can be shared online.

In the segment, they shared their rules for conducting a “60 Minutes” interview, and these are recommendations for how to prepare for them:

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What Communicators Can Learn from the White House Press Secretary

What Communicators Can Learn from the White House Press Secretary | GroundFloor Media PR AgencyAs communicators, it’s hard not to have an admiration for one of the toughest PR jobs on earth: The White House Press Secretary. Watching the current White House Press Secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, bob and weave on a daily basis, got me thinking about this challenging role and one of the most famous press secretaries, C.J. Cregg of the West Wing (I know it was a TV show, but who didn’t love watching her in action?).

It has to be one of the toughest, most stressful communications jobs as every day is a crisis of some sort. According to the International Business Times, the average White House spokesperson stays in the job for two and a half years. President Trump’s first press secretary, Sean Spicer, made infamous on Saturday Night Live, lasted just 182 days.

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Denver Startup Week: Life Lessons from Serial Entrepreneurs

Cuban Laughing at Denver Startup Week Session: Chinese Rockets and Disco Dance Lessons: The Art of Reinvention - A Night with Startup Visionaries Charlie Ergen, Mark Cuban and Brad FeldI had the opportunity to attend one of the more than 350 sessions that were part of the 2017 Denver Startup Week. Now in its sixth year, Denver Startup Week is the largest free entrepreneurial event of its kind in North America, and is one of the best resources in the nation for those looking to start or grow a business, or in my case, to learn from the best in business.

One of the sessions I attended, “Chinese Rockets and Disco Dance Lessons: The Art of Reinvention – A Night with Startup Visionaries Charlie Ergen, Mark Cuban and Brad Feld,” was highly entertaining and included a candid discussion with successful entrepreneurs.

While admittedly I’m not an entrepreneur, I’m in awe of gutsy business leaders who just go for it and live their dream. Charlie Ergen is the co-founder of Dish Network; Brad Feld runs the Foundry Group, a Boulder venture capital fund; and Mark Cuban is the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks and star of “Shark Tank.”

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What Words and Phrases Can We Eliminate From Our Writing?

Screen Shot 2017-08-23 at 10.57.36 AMHow can Twitter’s 140 character missives, and pithy Snapchat highlights get translated into our everyday writing as communicators?

Every time I reach for my AP Style Book, I am reminded of a college journalism professor who left her mark on me for a couple of reasons: First, we had weekly quizzes on the AP Style Book, which was a great way to learn and practice the rules. And if you weren’t sure there was a rule, at least we all learned to use the book to see if a rule existed.

Second, she was a stickler for writing in the simplest terms, using concise, action words and cutting out fat from our writing. Following is a list of words or phrases that should be eliminated from our writing, along with a suitable replacement word. Just like Bitly and Tiny URL help us shorten URLs for social media, this list can help tighten all of our writing. What are some of your favorite words or phrases that can be omitted and replaced with a single word?

Instead of: Use:
In order to To
Utilize Use
Very ugly, very fat, very angry Hideous, obese, furious
In the event that If
On account of the fact that

Because of the fact that

Due to the fact that

Because
In spite of the fact that Although, though, despite
In the absence of Without
In the event that If
A large proportion of Many
In a situation in which When
There is a need for Must
Subsequent to After
Impact on Affect
Along the lines of Like
At the present time Now, currently

 

 

Working From Home Trend Getting Some Push Back

digiden copyNational Public Radio and The Wall Street Journal recently did stories about how some employers are cutting back on allowing employees to work from home, citing the need to have people together to enhance creativity and collaboration.

A number of large companies in recent years announced similar measures – Yahoo, HP and IBM – all began to recall home-based employees to work in the office.

Still, teleworking is extremely widespread. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, 40 percent of employers allow employees to regularly work from home.

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One Journalist to Another: The Game Has Changed

Adele Arakawa, 9News Evening AnchorThis week marks the end of an era for one of Denver’s most beloved journalists as 9NEWS’ Adele Arakawa officially signs off on June 30. She’s been the evening news anchor for 24 years.

I couldn’t help but feel a little wistful after reading Joanne Ostrow’s article on Arakawa as it seemed clear to me from the article that she is not just ready to retire, but she may be disillusioned with the state of journalism today. If you haven’t read the article, it’s worth a read and you can draw your own conclusions.

It seemed only fitting that Ostrow wrote the piece on Arakawa, as Ostrow had bid farewell in a column less than a year ago to her job at The Denver Post. Ostrow shared her thoughts on a long and productive career reporting about the media for newspapers and magazines, and all the changes she too had seen in the news and entertainment industry.

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