web analytics

October 19, 2019

How PR is Like a Cross-country Road Trip

Written by Jordan Garegnani, MPR Project Manager and Digital Community Manager

Like I said, I write what I know and right now I’m on a week-long cross-country road trip (mobile hotspots are MAGIC!) and I can’t help but learn a few life lessons that are highly useful in marketing and PR. I can’t express how amazing it is to have an office that lets me get away with working remotely as I traverse across the country and then lets me write about it 🙂

Flexibility

You plan and plan – the best route, but the best tag line, event layout, rest stops or hotels. And sometimes it goes off without a hitch, but more likely than not, something will always go wrong. Your water pump breaks, a vendor doesn’t show up, you get stuck in Colby, Kansas on a night that you were supposed to be in Denver or a Facebook ad isn’t performing the way you’d like. If you’re not a naturally flexible person, you might want to go on a road trip to practice bending with whatever is thrown at you 🙂

Having reasonable expectations will help you be flexible as well – like not getting mad when your friend may or may not get her phone out fast enough to navigate and you miss going to Superman’s birthplace (cough, me, cough). But it’ll also help when only a few tenants participate in a promotion rather than the whole lot.

I always like to say, “Plan for the worst, hope for the best.” If you have a plan A, B and C when something goes wrong, the going wrong feels a little less terrible.

Prioritizing Goals

When things do go wrong, it’s usually not just one thing. For example, your AC might go out and when they’re investigating it, find your water pump also needs to be replaced or else you’ll end up stuck on the side of the road. Then once the pump is fixed, you might still have a rattle in your engine. You can’t necessarily fix everything at once.

So tally up all your options and strategize what’s the highest priority, keeping a deadline, pleasing the client, staying on budget, etc. From there you can take care of immediate needs and follow up with the lower-priority goals.

Ask for Help

We all like to think we can do things on our own as competent adults, but sometimes you have to give up the wheel or ask someone on your team to cover for you when you can’t be in the office. Chances are they really won’t mind as long as you give them a big thanks.

Roughing It

Not everything can be perfect and your best effort instead of your best work sometimes has to do in a clutch. And sometimes fast food will have to suffice for a meal instead of sitting down for dinner.

No Looking Back

Second-guessing your already-made decisions only causes more stress and anxiety. You’ve thoughtfully sorted through your choices and made the best decision with the information you had. What’s done is done and you can only drive forward so there’s no point in saying “we should have…”

Bonus: Are We There Yet?
No.  You’re never “there.” There’s always ways to be better, grow and expand, so stop asking if we’re there yet. A life, work, road trip lesson all in one.

Business Etiquette Around the World: North America

Guest Blog & Infographic by Sloan McKinney

The internet may have made doing business internationally easier than ever, but there is still a human element to it – especially when it comes to PR and marketing. Whether you’re creating an international partnership or trying to attract a vendor, knowing how to handle yourself and what to expect from potential clients is key to make sure that you remain in your element without offending your colleague’s sensibilities throughout negotiation.

This graphic is a small series of primers in conducting international business. Covering the major three players in North America (Canada, United States, and Mexico), this graphic will give you a better idea of how people in these businesses approach business meetings.

From what time to arrive and how to dress, to how to best negotiate and even how close to stand, being aware of cultural business norms will make your dealings go much more smoothly. Knowing how other countries do business gives you a better shot at leaving the bargaining table with both parties achieving their goals.

TFF-M4-BizEtiquetteNorthAmerica

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sloan

Sloan McKinney is a business enthusiast and online journalist who enjoys sharing her knowledge about the impact of globalization. She also covers the areas of business communications, technology, and marketing.

Increased Sales: How Public Relations Can Help Retailers

Guest Blog by Camille McClane

Public relations is a branch of marketing that too many small businesses overlook, and if your business is not focused on the way it is perceived by the public, then it is a sinking ship. Every business has a public image, be it the local lemonade stand helmed by the ambitious 8-year-olds or the mighty retail chain with a 1,000 stores nationwide. Both of those ideas carry an identity with it, even if it is somewhat generic and nebulous. Why leave your retail business’ identity to chance when there are several reasons why good PR can help you along the path to success?

KFCImage Courtesy of BrandFreak.com

PR Can Make You Bigger Than Your Brand
People love to feel like a part of something good, especially when it’s for a cause they believe in. When people associate these positive feelings with your brand, they’re not only likely to buy from you, they’re likely to spread the good news to others. Back in 2011, KFC decided to do away with the tired old essay for giving out their $20,000 college scholarship, and put it all down on a single tweet.

Entrants were limited to the standard 140 characters, minus the required hashtag, and were asked to convince KFC why they deserved the scholarship. In just two weeks, over 2800 tweets were submitted and their twitter following jumped 20%, garnering them positive favor and increasing their social media reach.

PR Can Make People Feel At Home
Studies have shown that people are much more likely to shop with a retail brand they are familiar with, as familiarity breeds trust and trust is any business’ key quality for customer satisfaction.

In 2010, the BALSAMS Grand Resort Hotel in New Hampshire decided to offer an online promotion to select a “resorter” — someone who would live in the hotel for two months — while posting updates about all the experiences they were having. They selected the winner via social media and online voting out of entries from around the world.

The campaign was so successful that it increased bookings for the following month by 20%. They repeated a version of the campaign the following winter and by January they were completely booked, making it their busiest season ever.

People didn’t need to win to feel like they were there, and as a result when they planned their own trip, many chose the hotel they had already seen in all it’s exciting intimacy. Transparency, in the eyes of the public, can remove some of the stiffness from your public image. A customer who is familiar with your company is a customer likely to trust you with their business.

word pile

PR Firms Can Build Your Image For You
In retail, you have enough trouble worrying about how to stay connected to the customers you have and how to simplify the shopping process while managing conversion rates and inventory numbers. You may not have the time or resources to give your public relations the attention it deserves, at least not on your own.

Both of the previous examples, and a host of others, were not built solely on the creative in-house ideas of genius CEOs or innovative board members, but were created in collaboration with PR Firms. These firms exist solely to weave the public’s perception of brands, and you might find them a good fit for you too.

At this point, it ought to be apparent that PR Firms can do a lot for you in the right situations, but it would be worthwhile to take some time and determine if it’s the right choice for your business.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you know what your specific PR needs are? You should, otherwise you might not need a firm yet.
  • Can you afford to spend money that doesn’t make you money if a campaign is unsuccessful?
  • If you’ve taken some meetings, are the ideas original enough or do they feel boring to you?
  • Do you have the time to commit to a PR campaign?

camilleCamille McClane is a writer, researcher and editor, who frequently blogs about about web hosting and social media. Her favorite subject to focus on is emerging technology trends and its overall effect within business expansion and relations. She hopes the readers of Myerspr.com enjoy this article as much as she enjoyed writing it.

The Importance of Social Media in Public Relations

Guest Blog by Camille McClane

 

Public relations, like all other types of communication, needs a medium.

For many years the media was simple: Word of mouth, the newspaper, phone calls and the occasional public forum. Not only has social media upended those platforms, but they now depend heavily on social media for their distribution.

Additionally, the use of social media as a PR tool is far more complex and effective than previous systems.

The connectedness and the speed with which the Internet makes information available has given those who work in PR far more platforms and methods by which to reach their target audience and the public at large.

Now the task is to understand which mediums to target and how to effectively use them.

pr keyboard

Image Courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Understanding Where Your Target Audience Hangs Out

Social media has grown to the point where there are more than just a few options available, with each platform having its own strengths and weaknesses that a smart PR representative will know how to optimize.

Twitter and Facebook are still primary, covering a broad range of people and age groups.

But if you can narrow down your target audience, you might want to consider targeting different social media platform based on the following factors:

  • The age range of your audience.
  • The shared interests of your audience.
  • Where your audience spends the bulk of their time online.

A lot of this will depend on what you know about the people you’re trying to target; so it stands to reason that the more you know and the better you understand them, the more productive and efficient you can be in terms of which social media accounts to use.

SM user ages

Image Courtesy of http://optimiseblog.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/ukstats3-550×507.png

When You Should and Should Not Use Certain Platforms

For example, if you’re targeting middle aged folks in the business community, LinkedIn might be a better focus than Google+. At the same time, if you’re targeting a female audience primarily in their 20s and 30s, Pinterest might be a better choice.

You simply can’t target all of the social media platforms in existence. There are just too many of them, so you’re way better off figuring out which demographic you’re targeting and communicate with that audience on their preferred platform.

Besides, you wouldn’t want to target all social media platforms if you have a specific audience in mind, because as the graphs show us, different people tend to congregate within different platforms.

It may take time to narrow down your targeted audience, but in the long run it will make your marketing more effective.

What Platform for What Brand?

If you’re working for a particular brand, you need to be aware of not only an optimal platform choice, but also be ready and able to choose the correct tools within each platform.

For example, do you need to use Facebook ads or simply status updates on a fan page? How about StumbleUpon campaigns or conventional curating?

http://www.marketingpilgrim.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/campalyst-infographic-facebook.png

http://www.marketingpilgrim.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/campalyst-infographic-facebook.png

A more obvious way to answer that question is whether or not the company you’re doing PR for (yours or someone else’s) has money in the budget to spend on advertising and social media. If not, then ads quickly become a poor suggestion, but this is something that needs to be established up front so you know your options.

Determining if a particular brand can utilize a platform should consider the following:

  • Does the brand have a preexisting, established presence on certain social media accounts?
  • Does the company intend to spend money on the campaign?
  • Where does the brand’s typical audience tend to congregate?
  • The brand’s reputation (Organic business methods, personal, known for their blog, etc.).

The Importance of Strategy

PR campaigns certainly involve an element of luck, but a good campaign manager knows how to plan, strategize and set themselves up to have the best luck possible. Make sure that you don’t leave things to chance but take the time to understand the basics of your brand and target audience, in order to roll out the optimal social media PR strategy.

camilleCamille McClane is a content creator and marketer who enjoys blogging in her spare time. She particularly enjoys writing about social media, infographic design and online marketing.

 

The Strategic Value of Corporate Awards

Does your company know the strategic value of corporate awards?

Workplace Strategy

The Benefits:

Corporate awards enhance corporate performance from the boardroom to the front lines. Businesses need to plan a corporate awards strategy with corporate initiatives in mind. For example, if the company is making a push for ethical behavior or corporate leadership, then it can look for awards competitions that recognize these traits.

Reinforce Corporate Values:

Diversity Award Booz AllenThe Coca-Cola Company has embraced the philosophy to have a diverse and supportive workplace culture. Adding credibility to Coke’s commitment of diversity, are the multiple business awards the company has won for diversity. Choose your award program in alignment with your corporate direction.

For example, consulting firm, Booz Allen Hamilton Inc., prides itself on diversity as one of their core values. Year after year, their Diversity and Inclusion programs consistently earn awards of distinction. Fifteen years of consecutive placement in the 100 Best Companies for Working Mothers award by Working Mother magazine put them in the Working Mother magazine’s Hall of Fame, which adds a vote of confidence for new hires.

PublicityPublic Relations Added Value:

Corporate awards bring benefits of increased awareness, third-party validation and establish market respect. The free publicity an award-winning business receives can result in more business and new connections. Plus, when used effectively, industry awards are an excellent sales tool to attract and close new business.

What About Small Businesses?

The benefits of business awards for small businesses are similar to large corporations. Often a small business will struggle to establish recognition and credibility in the marketplace. A business award win or even a nomination can open doors and have a greater impact on the growth of a smaller company.

publicitySmall companies should consider entering competitions, especially those sponsored by business organizations and publications, just so the judges, other business professionals and often journalists, will become aware of them and their products and/or service.

Do not underestimate the power of corporate awards competitions. Even if you don’t come out a winner, your company will gain positive exposure of your core values, a challenge to improve and an opportunity for your clients, employees and future business connections to see just how good a company you really are!

Where PR and Technology Meet

picture-9There is no question that technology has changed the PR and marketing industry. Over the past twenty or so years, we’ve seen the emergence of email (does anyone remember snail mailing photos and slides with your press releases?), websites, social media, smart phones and mobile apps. We are dispersing and receiving information on multiple platforms like layers of an onion.

Many firms are diverting more of their budgets to content marketing, and the PR industry is perfectly poised for this method. The bread and butter of public relations is earned media. Earned media is content driven and traditional marketing activities do still work – in newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, direct mail and networking – for the widest possible reach to all demographics.

Social media is not a replacement for traditional marketing tactics, however it is a critical component of an effective marketing strategy. In fact, social media works best when combined with other marketing activities. Using your traditional media to direct listeners, readers and viewers to digital marketing platforms like a blog or a Facebook page is an effective way to deliver content. You then have the challenge of engaging that audience and developing your online community.

Next up: Know your online community. Where are they? How do they want to be reached? – stay tuned!

Let’s Talk About Social Media

Social media is a growing part of marketing throughout most industries and is predicted to continue taking a bigger bite out of the budget as it increases in use. A recent study by The CMO Survey says that in the next 5 years, marketers expect to spend 19.5% of their budgets on social media, which is almost three times more than current spending patterns.

Social Media Spending Prediction Chart

Jordan Garegnani
That’s why we recently hired a new Social Media Manager to coordinate the online social presence of our clients. Jordan Garegnani joined our team with PR, marketing, and social media experience and has crafted a few guidelines for any social media strategy:

Talk like a human being
Respond and react to the people around you (aka people who share your interests) in engaging ways. Also, people don’t like the person who talks all the time and doesn’t listen. So don’t always promote yourself – follow, like and reply to people you’re associated with as a way to show you’re interested in what they have to offer and hopefully they will return the favor.

Pick your platforms based on your needs instead of what’s popular
Not everyone needs a Pinterest or a Youtube channel. What platform you’re on can depend on if you’re B2B or B2C, if you’re a service or goods-based business model and many other factors.

Get organized
If you have a lot of posts to do each week, figure out a system of organizing and planning your posts to be timely and relevant.

Keep track of what people are saying about your brand
Maintaining a good image just on the social media platforms you post on won’t cut it. Make the rounds to see who is saying what about your brand in different social networks. (Be sure to respond to negative and positive comments!)

Be flexible
One strategy might work for one platform or brand, but not another. If something doesn’t work, don’t be afraid to scrap it and move on to something else.

Last of all, be creative – social media should be fun!

Dear Graduating Communications Major:

First off, congratulations for completing your studies and choosing an exciting career path.

While I hold a firm belief that your undergraduate years should be about learning what it is you WANT to learn, in this job market, you NEED to have specific skills and experience to even get your foot in the door.

I meet graduating communications majors every spring , to give them a chance to interview, learn a little about the industry, and to get some guidance on how to proceed. With few exceptions, these students are coming out with little if any experience and limited skills to contribute to a PR or Marketing firm. I’d prefer to hire a philosophy major with leadership experience and some workable skills than a Phi Beta Kappa Communications Major without it.

What I look for in an entry-level communications employee:

  • Experience: Event and festival volunteers, fraternity/sorority event planners, bloggers, amateur video or web developers, college paper editors, college radio hosts, and other leadership roles.
  • Practical skills: Good written communication skills (first and foremost), the ability to edit, social media use to spread the word about your pet project or organization (not just familiarity with your personal Facebook page), photography, videography, HTML, graphic design, web design, etc. Certainly not all of these, but SOME of these.
  • Basic computer skills including Microsoft Office Suite.
  • Bonus computer skills: Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, Fireworks, and even WordPress.

If you are looking for an internship, consider what area you are most interested in pursuing. Is it sports marketing, festival and event planning, healthcare PR, public affairs, media relations, crisis communications, community relations, or online marketing? You have lots of options.

Some ideas to beef up that resume:

  • Intern for one of your local elected officials.
  • Shadow a legislative aide.
  • Volunteer for a political campaign.
  • Volunteer at a polling site in November.
  • Write a guest column for a community newspaper.
  • Volunteer for community/charity events.
  • Work on the student newsletter/paper staff.
  • Intern with a local radio or cable TV station.
  • Maximize your scholastic or social leadership experience.
  • Start a blog about these experiences!

One last thought:
If you are not already, get on LinkedIn. AND, make sure your Facebook page is presentable to a potential employer. Yes, we will cyber-stalk you.

Good luck!

What’s the bottom line?

Welcome to the new Myers PR Blog! To kick off our blog launch, Marion Myers, President of Myers PR completes a new series, “The 5 ‘Ws’ for a Positive Reputation.”

Establishing and administering an effective PR campaign is not something done quickly or without considerable thought and planning. But, the results will be well worth it! The time and effort invested in enhancing your reputation will have a direct and positive impact on your bottom line. Consumers are naturally inclined to work with/buy from/listen to people they know, respect and trust.

The advantage of using a PR professional, versus “do it yourself” is the time ($) saved and the results ($) achieved. I can’t tell you how often we’ve been called in to “rescue” a PR effort that was being led by a busy CEO or had been tacked on someone else’s existing job description. It’s never first priority, rarely planned out in advance and the results reflect the lack of attention. A good PR professional will provide the structure, the creative thinking and the discipline necessary to stay on track and make sure what being done is working. Reputations are not built overnight, and they certainly don’t build themselves!

Future articles will discuss: Integrating Social and Traditional Media for an Effective PR Campaign and Corporate Philanthropy and PR.


 

Whom should you rely on?

Welcome to the new Myers PR Blog! To kick off our blog launch, Marion Myers, President of Myers PR continues a new series, “The 5 ‘Ws’ for a Positive Reputation.” Check back each week for the newest topic, or subscribe via e-mail or RSS!

If you choose to work with a PR professional, it’s a real advantage to work with someone local, who is well ingrained and respected in your community. There is a level of access they can provide that out-of-town firms can’t compete with. A well connected professional has established relationships with the media, and can provide high-level influence introductions. An assignment editor is much more likely to respond to someone they know and trust to bring them a good story. Local community leaders and elected officials are more inclined to listen to and support an initiative when presented by an active member of their own community. After all, it’s all about relationships.

# # #

Next week’s topic: “What’s the bottom line?”