Author Archives: Carissa McCabe, APR

The Answer to Your Next Brainstorm is a Better Question

One of the most important points of message training is to avoid speculation if you don’t know the answer to a question. It’s better to say, “I don’t know” than to send reporters or audiences spiraling with potential misinformation. That said, this point can be much easier to teach than to practice.Question Mark on a Chalk Board

I, like many other senior-level professionals, take pride in having answers. After all, what is my 20 years of experience worth if I don’t know the solution to my client’s or team’s problems? But sometimes I find it particularly hard to say, “I don’t know,” or to ask additional questions rather than just jump in with an answer – no matter how preliminary or unknown that answer or solution might be. As it turns out, I’m not alone…

Why Questions Are Scary

My colleague Brooke Willard recently wrote a poignant blog post about overcoming imposter syndrome. In it, she describes that sinking feeling of being an imposter in your own field when asked a question to which you don’t know the answer.

Hal Gregersen underscored this issue in a Harvard Business Journal article about better brainstorming when he noted that people with the most senior positions and greatest technical expertise can be the most challenged when it comes to asking questions rather than offering answers when faced with a problem. Why? Because they’re often afraid of looking incompetent if they don’t have the answers. Sound familiar? It certainly does to me – so I was thrilled this article also offered some suggestions about how to handle this better. Read more after the jump…

How 3 Lesser-Known Winter Olympians Earned PR Wins in Pyeongchang

The Winter Olympics has drawn to a close leaving us with plenty of memorable moments. From Shaun White’s triumphant return to the podium to Lindsey Vonn’s final Olympics performance, North Korea’s enthusiastic cheerleaders to tension around Vice President Mike Pence’s attendance – there were plenty of headlines made over the last few weeks.Olympic Flag | How 3 Lesser-Known Winter Olympians Earned PR Wins in Pyeongchang

It would have been easy to predict many of these story lines – but what’s more notable are some of the “stories behind the stories” that grabbed some ink and airtime. Here are three examples worth a look: Read more after the jump…

Platforms Make Tweaks to Inspire More Sharing


Whether it’s adding functionality or dropping old features, a few of our favorite social media platforms were out in full force this week making tweaks to entice users to share more content. If you’re having trouble keeping up with the latest changes, we’ve got you covered – including a step-by-step guide, an introduction to a new automated tool and a “must follow” list to get you warmed up for the Winter Olympics.


Adweek: Here’s How to Add a GIF to a Story Post
Recently, Instagram added the capability for users to add GIFs to their Stories posts. Been wondering how to get in on that action? Here’s a step-by-step guide complete with illustrations. Read more after the jump…

Storytelling as a Presentation Tool

Storytelling plot example: The Quest | GroundFloor Media Public Relations Agency

Storytelling: The quest plot. Image via Quid Corner infographic.

At the core, those of us at GFM and CenterTable consider ourselves storytellers. Whether we’re developing social media content, drafting press releases or preparing talking points, we know that telling a great story is key to capturing our audience.

So, imagine our delight at finding this infographic that details seven basic storytelling structures:

  • Overcoming a monster
  • Rags to riches
  • Voyage and return
  • The quest (pictured at right, click through link above to see others)
  • Comedy
  • Tragedy
  • Rebirth

Read more after the jump…

Test Your Social Media Savvy

Giraffe Mom and Baby | CenterTable Digital Agency

Photo by Eric Kilby via Flickr

What a year it’s been for social media! Who can forget the giraffe who labored on YouTube for days on end? Twitter doubled its character limit and Finstagram was born. The president’s Twitter account was suspended for just a moment, and a certain gif topped the charts as most popular this year.

Think you’re an expert at all of these topics and more? Then we’ve got a fun quiz for you – hot off the press from The Guardian. Take the quiz and share your score!

Speaking of quizzes, are you familiar with the trivia app HQ? Suffice it to say that you’ll find any number of GFM | CenterTable team members huddled around a phone ready to play each afternoon. Just in time for the holiday break, take our tip and add HQ to your phone. We look forward to competing against you in the next round!

Time Spent on Social Media Adds Up

Think quick: how much time did you spend on social media yesterday? Perhaps a few visits to Facebook, posting a photo or two to Instagram, swinging by Twitter to catch the latest news…  If you’re like the average American, you probably spend around two hours a day on these platforms. Totaled up, that’s more than five years of your life dedicated to social media. By comparison, you’re only likely to spend about one year and three months connecting with friends and family in real life – a pretty shocking reality.

Time Spent on Social Media Adds Up | CenterTable Digital Agency

Photo by Hamza Butt via Flickr

And, on the verge of the holidays and the opportunity for lots of friends and family time – in real life and via social media – this is great Read more after the jump…

Three Things Clients Want From Agency Partners

At the Public Relations Organization International (PROI) conference held in Denver last month, I had the opportunity to hear from a panel of in-house, senior-level communications professionals who spoke about what they hope to get out of agency partnerships. Each of the panelists previously worked for creative agencies themselves, providing for unique insight and surprisingly simple answers. Below are the top three things this expert panel asks of agency partners.

What Clients Want From Agency Partners | GroundFloor Media Public Relations Agency

Photo credit: Startup Stock Photos

Read more after the jump…

Why Making Time to Think Matters

Did you know that, on average, executives spent nearly 23 hours a week in meetings? What’s more, 65 percent of senior managers say meetings keep them from completing their own work and 71 percent say the meetings are unproductive and inefficient.

Why Making Time To Think Matters | GroundFloor Media Public Relations Agency

Photo credit: AleXander Agopian via Flickr

I came across these depressing stats while reading an article from the Harvard Business Review about how to “Stop The Meeting Madness.” My husband suggested I read it after yet another dinner-time exchange that resulted in me describing my day as mostly spent in meetings. In an effort to understand more about how this meeting culture developed and how it was impacting my day-to-day, I dug a little deeper to also find some solutions. Read more after the jump…

Time to Get a 2018 Plan Underway


Nowadays things move so fast that spending time reflecting on what’s working and where you can improve on a specific strategy can feel like a luxury. Planning for the New Year? Sure – it’s possible to throw together a plan in an hour, but it’s unlikely you’ll see outstanding results. Now is the perfect time to carve out a few hours to meet with your team to look back on 2017 and talk about what success looks like for your team and your brand in 2018. It might be a challenge to find the time, but it’s an exercise that’s certain to pay off in the long run.

Adweek: 5 Social Media Content Marketing Trends to Watch Heading Into 2018

We’re just weeks away from the New Year, so now is the perfect time to evaluate how your social media content strategy performed in 2017 while considering how you might modify for 2018. Are the right team members on board? How often are you using video? Are you leveraging user-generated content? Consider these and more trends in this helpful article. Read more after the jump…

Social Media Complainers Aren’t Just After a Freebie

Social Media Complainers | CenterTable Digital Agency

Photo credit: geralt

In the early days of social media, many brands had a real concern about consumers using these new platforms to seek out freebies.

Whether it was a customer complaining about a restaurant experience or claiming that a packaged good didn’t live up to expectations, brands were often concerned about publicly offering replacements or coupons in fear of opening the flood gates to greedy onlookers.

Why Customers Complain on Social

We can now report that, in our many years of experience, customers complaining on social are rarely looking for a handout. And, recent research from Sprout Social backs that claim. Most often, complaining customers are simply looking to raise awareness among fellow consumers (70%) or gain an apology or solution (55%) from the brand they’re targeting. Less than half the time are they looking for a refund (38%) or seeking a discount (19%). Read more after the jump…