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The Current State of CSR in America

Corporate Social Responsibility 2017 Report

Photo Credit: Cone Communications

“2017 will be remembered as the year that redefined corporate social responsibility. Although CSR will always be grounded in business operations…the stakes have gotten a lot higher. Companies must now share not only what they are doing, but what they believe in.”

 ~ 2017 Cone Communications CSR Study

Cone Communications recently released the results of its annual CSR study, and as usual, it was packed with great insights for cause marketers. While a full breakdown of the study results can be found on Cone Communications’ website, I want to focus on three points in particular.

Read more after the jump…

Content is All Around You (Even if You Think It’s Boring)

Some behind-the-scenes content, combined with "staff pics" from our clients at Elite Brands.

Some behind-the-scenes content, combined with “staff picks” from our clients at Elite Brands.

We’ve had a couple of strategy sessions with our clients recently and a recurring theme has come up: Sometimes what you consider “boring” might actually be extremely engaging content.

Anyone who works in a warehouse, production facility or “in-the-field” probably doesn’t see a whole lot of intrigue from said workspace. But time and time again, we’ve seen audiences be completely captivated and engaged with behind-the-scenes content of how things are made, how machinery works, or what people do in their daily work routine.

Read more after the jump…

This Week in Social Media: Emotions, Emoji and Bitmoji

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It turns out that Instagram might not be the best social media option if you’re looking for a pick-me-up. According to a survey of 1,500 teens and young adults in the U.K., Instagram is associated with the highest levels of anxiety, depression, bullying and FOMO (“fear of missing out”). Though it has its benefits, like self-expression and community building, Instagram users also reported feelings of inadequacy and negative body image. More reason to only follow dog accounts!

Time: Why Instagram Is the Worst Social Media for Mental Health
Though all five of the social networks (name them here) surveyed received negative marks for sleep quality, YouTube was the only one to have a positive net score for health and well-being. Read more after the jump…

Shrinking News Hole Hits the “World Leader of Sports”

ESPN | Shrinking News Hole Hits the “World Leader of Sports”Communications professionals have long accepted the shrinking news hole and the impact it has had on how we share news and information about our clients.

Newsrooms are much smaller; TV reporters shoot their own stories and regularly report using Facebook Live. Newspapers are a fraction of the size and print reporters are covering more beats and are expected to produce many more stories each day for their online and social media channels.

It took some time, but now the cable sports world is feeling the same pain. According to Sports Illustrated, ESPN, which had roughly 100 million U.S. households paying for cable in 2012, recently laid off more than 100 journalists, including some well-known, on-air talent. A hundred journalists may not sound like a lot, but that’s on top 300 in 2015, and ESPN is now in 12 million fewer U.S. homes.

Read more after the jump…

Media Questions During A Crisis

newsIt’s difficult to prepare for a crisis, particularly one that involves media coverage.

To help prepare, here is a list of the most commonly asked questions by the media to serve as a general guide.

Big? picture, journalists are likely to ask six primary questions in a crisis: who, what, where, when, why, and how. They will relate to five broad topics:

  1. What happened?
  2. What caused it to happen?
  3. What does it mean?
  4. Who is to blame?
  5. What are you doing to ensure it does not happen again?

Of course, only some will apply but this comprehensive list of questions is a good start to prepare you and your team for the next crisis:

77 Questions Commonly Asked by Journalists During a Crisis

Read more after the jump…

Lenses are the New Cool Kid on the Block

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Both Snapchat and Pinterest announced new “lenses” in the past week, aimed at improving user experience and engagement. First reactions – both concepts are very impressive. We also highlight the flip side of the coin with brands – how much is too much with creative campaigns, to the point that it turns off audiences? To be sure, we’re walking a fine line in marketing and communications.

Digital Advertising:

Wall Street Journal: The Danger of Assertive Advertising
A new study tells us that consumers are turned off when being told what to do. In fact, one aspect of the study resulted in consumers spending only half as much as a result of more assertive ads. Much like our audience-first approach at CenterTable, it’s a case in point that knowing your audience (how they behave, what they expect and what they want) is always the first strategic step in any marketing communications campaign. Read more after the jump…

Live, Baby, Live! Storytelling on Facebook Livestream

Facebook Livestream tips for on location

Facebook Livestream tips for on location

Facebook Livestream has brought communicators a fabulous storytelling tool for clients. Whether you are looking to cover an event, launch a new product, host a seminar or share news, it is a simple way to engage specific target audiences.

In fact, I recently worked with a local television station partner to amplify messaging for a public education campaign via Facebook Livestream on location and wanted to share a few tips:

• Once you determine a date/time, share that information across your social platforms to help gain an audience; repost it during and after with links to the livestream, as appropriate.
• Scout out a location beforehand and determine connections, best lighting, areas with the least noise/interruptions, etc.
• If you are outside, check on the placement of the sun and shading. Read more after the jump…

How to Submit an XML Sitemap to Google

How to Submit an XML Sitemap to GoogleYou’ve poured your heart and soul into creating a new website. The design is perfect. The content flows beautifully. The graphics are stunning. Now you’ve got to get people there.

One of the simplest, and often overlooked, steps of SEO is submitting your XML sitemap to the search engines. Although the search engine bots will eventually find your site anyway, submitting an XML sitemap can help speed up the crawling and indexing processes for your website and help to improve its ability to rank well in search results.

Steps to Submit the XML Sitemap to Google

  1. Visit your website and make note of the URL of your XML sitemap. For example, com/sitemap.xml.
  2. Create a Google Search Console account and verify that you own the website.
  3. Once verified and logged into your Google Search Console account, go to Crawl, then Sitemaps.
  4. Click the red “Add/Text Sitemap” button then add the subfolder portion of the URL to the box. For example, sitemap.xml.
  5. Click “Submit” – and you’re done! Refresh your browser to see the sitemap is now listed. You will also be able to see if there are any errors with the sitemap you submitted.

Creativity, Strategy Top Reasons Companies Work with PR Firms

Knowing the value you provide for clients is critical if you work for a public relations firm. It can be easy to fall into the trap of providing the services that you think they should value instead of taking the time to listen to them to understand how they view their needs.gfm-painting

I was reminded of that recently when I read the Global Communications Report 2017 from the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. The report examines a number of agency and in-house public relations issues, and one chart chronicled the top reasons companies choose to work with PR firms.

Among in-house public relations professionals, the highest-ranked reasons for working with a PR firm included:

  • Creative thinking (69%)
  • Strategic insights (69%)
  • Specific practice areas (62%)
  • Digital and social media (61%)
  • Specific geographic markets (56%)
  • Objective, independent perspective (53%)

Every client is different, but seven in 10 are looking for creativity and strategy. That’s a great reminder to take a step back when you feel like you have been in the tactical weeds too long. Neglecting the big picture to accomplish smaller things may allow you check action items off a list, but it may not be what the client values most.

How to Break a World Record

With sore backs and soaring spirits a group of dedicated staff and volunteers from Illuminate Colorado IMG_9991aplanted pinwheel number 2,009, completing their attempt to break a world record for most pinwheels in a line (the current record is 1,000). Illuminate Colorado, a network of four established organizations partnering to build brighter childhoods and prevent child abuse for kids in Colorado, successfully raised awareness for their cause with their world record attempt, securing local media coverage and reaching thousands of people in-person and across TV and digital channels.

Recently, GFM had the opportunity to work closely with a client interested in raising awareness for their brand and cause, but in a month crowded by other organizations looking to do the same, the real challenge was how to stand out. Together, we decided to attempt to break a Guinness Book of World Records (Guinness) record with the goal of earning media coverage and gathering content to leverage on social media.

Like digging a trench in your yard, breaking a world record can seem straightforward, but once you start moving earth you might run into unexpected gas or sewer lines. It’s best to take time to consider what you’re getting into before you dig in. Here are our lessons learned. Read more after the jump…