Although they have come under some scrutiny in recent years, done well they are an extremely useful way of presenting data in a cohesive way that allows you to easily compare and contrast key findings. With good creative work, they can also be a really attractive piece of marketing communication.
When pulling your data together for an infographic, you must focus on a topic that is engaging to your target audience. However, once you have all the data, have created a beautiful image, and have it all set to go, you’ll want to maximize its effectiveness, so here are our top seven tips for doing just that:
Always provide a high-resolution version of your image. If press or bloggers want to share it, they’ll need it in high resolution, so don’t limit your options before you start.
It’s also a good idea to build a smaller version of the infographic, or an “infogram,” which will appear as a small, attractive image when shared on Facebook and Twitter. Typically an infogram is a concise part of an infographic that can be viewed as standalone content.
Though not essential, this will make outreach a lot more successful, as you can offer bloggers an infographic to host on their site and an infogram to share online. The infographic must look great, but you should make sure it is also the right size for your website.
What’s in a name?
Get your title right. The page should have a catchy title and an introductory paragraph, as well as a few more paragraphs outlining the highlights. If posting into a blog, make sure you have a catchy post title that can be easily shared on external sites and by bloggers who may want to reference your work.
Don’t go overboard with the branding; less will usually be more during the outreach process. Bloggers will appreciate being affiliated with an established brand, but they know their worth and won’t feel comfortable providing free advertising for you. Make a judgment call that makes sense for your audience.
Break it down
Breaking down the infographic into sections can help make data easier to digest. If you take this approach, you should still provide the full infographic at the bottom of the page so that users can still view your creation in all its glory. A great example of this can be seen here.
Offer your insights
Don’t leave your infographic as a standalone piece of communication. It’s the perfect opportunity for you to showcase data-led insights.
The infographic is also more likely to be shared and linked to if it offers real value to people. Adding extra tips/stats/data could turn the onsite page into a resource that would be easier to pitch to bloggers and journalists. The bonus info also will encourage people to share it.
What’s more, providing insights to back up your statistics will increase the topical relevance of the page, enhancing the chance your content will rank well in searches.
Enhance its credibility by referencing all the great data sources you’ve used to compile your infographic. Make sure you use clickable URLs so that blogs/sites can actually find all the information in case they want to add something when publishing the infographic. This includes referencing research that you may have completed in-house as well. These should be placed at the bottom of the page.
Finally, you must consider the visibility of your infographic; after all that hard work, you’ll want to tell everyone about it. Make sure you share it across your social networks, as well as engaging with your influencers to share it through their sites.
The content will generate SEO value for your brand, so ensure that appropriate links are included.
Seven Publicity Rules Every Entrepreneur Needs to Know
Robert J. Szczerba – Contributor
What if you invented a revolutionary product that replaced narcotics to alleviate pain, but you fumbled the public relations (PR) effort and your news got lost in the media echo chamber?
Startups and entrepreneurs in almost every industry must confront questions like this when deciding to launch or continue a PR campaign. However, a number of small businesses often don’t fully recognize that the world of PR has been turned on its ear. Many of the old rules simply don’t apply anymore. Journalists are leaving the venerable media brands for new social networking platforms and to build their personal brands. Unfortunately, using PR to grab headlines or market share is no longer just a matter of “getting out a press release.” It requires deft handling from a knowledgeable team.
For guidance in navigating this new terrain, I turned toShelly Gordon, Principal of G2 Communications Inc., a healthcare PR firm in Silicon Valley. These are her top seven publicity rules that every entrepreneur should know:
1. Story is king : facts are servants: Too many companies think telling the facts about their products will be riveting to the media. They expect front-page coverage after sending out a product news release, or touting their wares as being “…more effective and efficient” than a competitor’s offering. Instead, a good PR strategy crafts your company’s story to appeal to journalists and their audiences. And people tell the story. As the documentary filmmaker Ken Burns says, “… the facts are in service of the story.”
2. Keep the buzz going: Companies with cool apps may make a big splash initially, but after early adoption takes root, the buzz dies off. Then what do you do? You need different story angles to keep your company fresh in the minds of journalists, and that takes a different strategy than the one used for an initial product launch. It takes an approach that carries a company into the future with a series of PR programs combined with social media and blogs. Mine your company for ongoing stories that can be re-packaged and retold in different formats.
3. Old news is no news: Not long ago, reporters filed one or two stories a day. Today, journalists may file one story every hour, plus frequent blog posts and tweets. News has always been a perishable commodity and companies can’t expect their stories to have a long shelf life. One biotech company learned that lesson the hard way. While the company had a successful clinical trial and even saw the results published in a medical journal, it started its PR efforts two months later, which was far too late for journalists to be interested.
4. Social media is not PR: A social media strategy can run in tandem with a PR campaign, but don’t confuse the two. PR crafts a cohesive message that dovetails with media conversations. PR creates fresh, high value content and should be syndicated through your social networks, and that, in turn, may gain more fans and followers. In an ideal world, PR and social media enjoy a synergistic relationship, with each feeding the other. Pursue both PR and social media outreach. You may want to augment your PR team with a social network manager who is steeped in the nuances of building meaningful followers.
5. Fill the news pipeline: Have you ever visited the “newsroom” at a company’s website and found that the most recent article was dated two years ago? Keeping content fresh on the website includes the newsroom. If it is out of date, people will wonder about the health of the company, and you’ll risk a negative perception. While no small company is going to have constant breaking news, it is important to keep the media section fresh and up-to-date with announcements, press releases, case studies, and other articles. This gives visitors a chronology of the company. Don’t wait for the next major release of your product. There are many ways to update your target audiences with new hires, industry awards, market survey results, new partnerships, new customers, etc.
6. More does not equal better: Just because a media database lists 200 journalists who cover your industry, that doesn’t mean you should send company news to all of them. One of the main things journalists rant about when it comes to PR is getting inundated with irrelevant press releases. Vet each journalist to make sure your news is a match – otherwise, you risk being called out on social media, or permanently removed from his or her pool of quotable sources.
This last rule is probably the most difficult for entrepreneurs to comprehend:
7. Journalists are just not that into you: Few small business owners realize what life is like for journalists today. They get hundreds of emails every day from PR representatives that have nothing to do with what they write about. Additionally, tighter deadlines and greater competition mean they have less time – and patience – for listening to your story. Just because you are passionate about your product or company, that doesn’t mean you can expect reporters to share that passion. But consider the effectiveness of making the journalist’s job easier. Research the topics they have an interest in, feed them fresh stories, and give their readers what they want. Then your company stands a good chance of breaking through the media noise and getting your message heard.
5 PR and social media trends for 2014
By Jessica Lawlor | Posted: November 26, 2013
Want a glimpse into the future of what’s hot in PR, marketing, and social media for 2014? I’ll let you in on a little secret: The future is already here, and brands must get on board now.
In the past few weeks, I’ve had the privilege of attending two fantastic conferences that left me feeling inspired, engaged, and ready to take action. First, I attended the Public Relations Society of America International Conference in Philadelphia. Then I traveled to Huntsville, Ala., for the Social Media Tourism Symposium (#SoMeT13US).
At these conferences, I heard from big-name speakers including Brian Solis, Jay Baer, and Mack Collier, along with PR and social media professionals down in the trenches at agencies and tourism offices.
A few major themes emerged from both conferences. Here’s what you must know about the top five PR and social media trends for 2014:
1. Let your brand’s superfans help do your marketing/selling for you. Who better to promote your product/service/destination than the people who are already head over heels in love with it? A brand’s superfans — the people who talk about them online, advocate for their products, and spread the word however they can — are a powerful marketing and selling tool.
As Mack Collier, the founder of #BlogChat and author of “Think Like A Rockstar,” said in his Social Media Tourism Symposium keynote, “You’re marketing to the wrong people…the real money is in connecting with your biggest fans. Your fans will go out and acquire new customers for you.”
Collier encouraged the brands at the conference to love those fans right back. Connecting with your superfans, giving them the tools to best help you, and treating them like gold go a long way.
There are a few brands I am completely loyal to that I write about often on my blog. (Dunkin’ Donuts, Temple University, and FatCow immediately come to mind.) I genuinely love all three of these brands and am happy to spread the word about them on my blog and social media accounts because I love their products, am a fan of their online and offline strategy, and appreciate the ways they connect with me as a consumer.
2. Give up control of your brand. Mack Collier went on to explain that brands must give up control to get control. Kind of scary, right? As communication professionals, our job is to protect the brands we represent, so the idea of giving up control can make a marketer feel a little uneasy.
It’s an important concept and one we must accept and embrace if we want our brands and companies to succeed. A trending topic at both conferences was the idea that your fans and community own your brand just as much as you do.
Fans now have the ability to create their own content (videos, tweets, posts, etc.) about your brand. The key here is to really take a hard look at your strategy for working with your brand’s superfans (see point No. 1 above). If you create content geared specifically toward those fans (key word: fans, not customers) and give them the tools to promote you, they will do it in a way that reflects on your brand positively. Remember, it’s all about trust and giving up a little bit of control.
Coincidentally, Mack wrote a post about this very topic after attending the Social Media Tourism Symposium, so head over to his blog to learn more about this idea.
3. Think about content more strategically, and plan for the long term. After attending a session on how content is developed, curated, and promoted at #SoMeT13US, I was inspired by two tourism organizations that have an incredible content strategy. Presenters from Travel Oregonand Miles, on behalf of the Louisiana Office of Tourism, showcased their incredibly organized content calendars, all the way from big themes for the year down to the nitty-gritty daily Facebook posts and tweets.
What I took away from this session was the idea that in order to make the most impact, we must be more strategic and think ahead for the long term. We must have a content plan. But more than having a plan for what content we want our brand to share, we must have a plan for which platforms the content will be posted and shared on. One of the presenters, Theresa Overby, shared her smart “rule of three”: If you create a piece of content, you must use it on at least three different platforms/channels.
In terms of how to create all that content especially if your team is not big enough to be churn out tons of original content on a daily basis? The presenters suggested finding a balance between original and curated content. Again, we go back to No. 1 and No. 2 above about using those superfans or brand ambassadors and allowing them to create content for your brand.
4. We have to be smarter about using data. There’s a running joke among PR pros that we got into communication because we’re bad at math. In general, many of us are fonder of words than of numbers — but that’s changing.
A major theme at the PRSA Conference this year was that as PR pros, we must learn to love numbers and understand how and why using data can be an extremely powerful tool. As my friend, author of The Future Buzz and Googler Adam Singer said during the session, “Data is sexy…because data equals more money.”
Numbers can help tell a story when working with the media, and numbers can justify a larger budget and more staff/resources at an organization. Instead of shying away from analytics, statistics, and numbers, we must insert ourselves into those conversations and gain access to the tools to help us better understand the data driving the success of our organizations.
5. Just be useful. This tip is simple and timeless. In boosting our brands, we must just be useful to our customers and fans.
Jay Baer delivered the opening keynote at #SoMeT13US and explained the concept behind his book Youtility. He said, “Youtility is marketing so useful, people would pay for it.” He gave an awesome example of Youtility by showing us his Facebook newsfeed.
As he scrolled, he showed the audience a message from a company, followed by a status update from a friend, followed by another company, then an update from his wife, another friend, and another company. His point here was that everything is blended now. Messages from brands we love are mixed in with messages from our family and friends.
If you’re useful and provide information that your customers are looking for, they will respect you and, ideally, purchase from you. He urged marketers to use their online tools to provide utility first and to promote themselves second.
20 captivating marketing statistics that will drive 2014
By Kevin Allen | Posted: November 12, 2013
Because 2013 is winding down, we can start to look forward to the trends that will drive 2014.
Kudos to WebDAM for leading the look-aheads with its new infographic that looks toward next year. Here are a few prognosticative highlights:
- 78 percent of CMOs think custom content is the future of marketing
- Social marketing budgets will double over the next five years
- A third of traffic from Google’s organic search results go to the first item listed
Check out the full infographic below:
10 things you should never share on social media
By Kevin Magee | Posted: November 12, 2013
Here are 10 of them:
1. Your phone number.
There are creepy, disturbed people on the Internet with ill intentions and bad manners. They are called telemarketers. Don’t feed them—especially after midnight. It’s sort of like “Gremlins.”
2. Pictures of your credit card.
Yes, people actually do this. I know you’re proud of your new VISA card branded with the Toronto Maple Leafs logo, but showing it off on Instagram is like asking for identity theft.
3. Pictures of any bodily function.
I know where you think I’m going with this, but I’m not. I’m talking about potty training. This is one instance where “take a picture or it didn’t happen” doesn’t apply.
4. This video:
5. An invitation for someone to rob you.
Letting the one-sixth of the human population that is on Facebook know you’re in Mexico this week while that brand new 60-inch TV you posted about last week is home alone is an invitation for someone to rob you.
6. Vague posts.
“Wondering why …”
Me too. Unfollow.
7. Your password.
This should be at the top of the no-brainer pile. If your password is the name of your cat who has a Facebook account with 1,632 friends, you either need to change your password or the name of your cat.
8. Anything that happened in Vegas.
This is a rule for a reason.
9. Your Klout score, or any other social media statistic.
If you post your Klout score, you’re clearly over compensating for something.
This leads to the final thing you should never share on social media:
10. A naked photo.
If you’re an A-list celebrity taking nude pictures of yourself with your iPhone for your PR firm to leak to the media, that’s fine. Otherwise, not cool.
Not a bad way to start a Friday…Starbucks and a webinar with Guy Kawasaki!
Coffee Drinking Statistics
|Source: Live Sciene, Coffee 4 Dummies, Coffee Research|
|Date Verified: 5.6.2013|
|Coffee is a brewed beverage with a strong flavor prepared from the roasted seeds of the coffea plant. The beans are found in coffee “cherries”, which grow on trees cultivated in over 70 countries, primarily in equatorial Latin America, Southeast Asia, South Asia and Africa. Green (unroasted) coffee is one of the most traded agricultural commodities in the world. Coffee is slightly acidic and can have a stimulating effect on humans due to its caffeine content. It is one of the most-consumed beverages in the world. Many studies have examined the health effects of coffee, and whether the overall effects of coffee consumption are positive or negative has been widely disputed.|
|Coffee Drinking Statistics|
|Total percentage of Americans over the age of 18 that drink coffee everyday||54%|
|Average size of coffee cup||9 ounces|
|Average price of an espresso-based drink||$2.45|
|Average price for cup of brewed coffee||$1.38|
|Total percentage of coffee drinkers who prefer their coffee black||35%|
|Total percentage of coffee consumption that takes place during breakfast hours||65%|
|Total amount of money spent by importing coffee to U.S. each year||$4 billion|
|Total percentage of coffee Brazil produces of entire worlds output||30%|
|Total amount of cups of coffee (9 ounces) a coffee drinker consumes daily||3.1|
|Total average of money spent on coffee each year by coffee drinker||$164.71|
|Total number of U.S. daily coffee drinkers||100 million|
|Total number of U.S. daily coffee drinkers who drink specialty beverages (lattes, cappuccinos, mochas, etc.)||30 million|
|Total percentage of coffee drinkers who drink 13 or more cups of coffee each week||24%|
|Total percentage of coffee drinkers who go to premium places (Starbucks, Coffeebean, etc.) when they get coffee out||34%|
|Total percentage of people who go to lower-price outlets (Mcdonalds, Dunkin Donuts, etc.) when out||29%|
|Total percentage of coffee consumed between meals||30%|
|Total percentage of coffee drinkers who add cream and/or sugar||65%|
|Total amount of U.S. coffee drinkers who claim to need a cup of coffee to start their day||60%|
|Total percentage of coffee drinkers who say coffee makes them feel more like their self||54%|
|Total percentage of coffee drinkers who have a a cup within the first hour of waking up||68%|
|Total amount of yearly money spent on specialty coffee in the U.S.||18 billion|
You hear your professors and peers say over and over again how important it is in the marketing, advertising, public relations and communications industries to get internships while attending college.
Internships not only put you ahead of your competition for the post-grad job search, but they also provide valuable insight into the industry in which you plan to dedicate your future career.
Taking you out of the classroom and placing you in real-life settings where your studies are brought to life, internships put you in action and let you see what roles are right for you.
Getting your feet wet at an advertising agency can really show you what your future career may be like.
So, taking this all to heart, you got an internship. Now what? As a seasoned intern, I have gained countless nuggets of wisdom practicing advertising and public relations for a variety of companies. Here, in this internship survival guide, I have collected some of my top tips acquired from my own personal interning experiences.
Observe Before You Act
In the first week of your internship, hang back to get a feel of the office culture. As a new intern, you are going to be very eager to please. Often times, this eagerness can lead to interns coming on too strong and accidentally becoming annoyances. Test the waters of your new work environment first before you throw yourself in.
Every company is different, as are the people who work within each one. While some businesses love fun, friendship and exuberance, others may enjoy a toned-down atmosphere. By using the beginning of your internship to absorb your office surroundings, you will soon learn how to best handle yourself and your position.
Advertise Yourself Through Your Wardrobe
This phrase is so overused that it pains me to write it, but always dress to impress. In some offices people dress very casually, and it will be tempting to follow suit. However, you never know when a special opportunity comes up that requires professional attire.
Once during a past internship, my boss invited some of my fellow interns to attend a client meeting with her. Seeing that they were dressed casually in shorts and tank tops, like a usual day at the office, she quickly retracted her offer.
You never want to miss out on a valuable learning experience, so always dress in a way that represents yourself and the business in the best way possible. Never be an intern that the company feels like they need to hide.
Be an Independent Thinker
Something that you will discover quickly is that your supervisors are very busy people. They will not always be available to give you projects to work on.
Know how to busy yourself, but in a productive way. When you find times that you don’t have anything to do, never resort to checking Facebook or goofing off. I promise you that the one time you let yourself browse your social media pages, it will be the one time your supervisor comes over to check on you.
Instead, think of ways to improve the projects you have already done. If you finished your goals for the day, don’t be afraid to begin tomorrow’s. Impress your superiors by using your free time to better the company. Look at their social media presence (their pages, not yours) and think of ideas of how it can be improved. No one gets mad at an intern for doing too much.
Remember an Internship is an Apprenticeship
Yes, companies often use interns as free labor, but remember that first and foremost your internship is meant to be a learning opportunity for you. Because you are still learning, don’t freak out if you mess up. It happens to the best of us, and you will probably learn more from that mistake than you will from doing everything correctly. Everyone in the office has been in your shoes before and made a few flubs.
In times of need or general curiosity, don’t feel like you are being a burden by asking questions. Your supervisors are here to help you and have a lot of knowledge to share. Show that your mind is pliable and jot down the things you learn in a notebook (that you should have on you at all times!) so that nothing goes to waste.
Also keep in mind that you have a lot to offer as well. Take on extra projects and volunteer special skills that you have outside of advertising or public relations. In another past internship of mine, I volunteered my photography skills to capture company events, instead of paying money to hire a photographer. My boss loved my photos and was both impressed and very grateful for my help.
Go Get ‘Em, Tiger!
Internships are amazing. The more you do, the more you learn. You will gain a lot of long-lasting professional and personal relationships that will help you navigate through your future career.
The McRae Agency’s Jessica Pate featured in the July issue of Arizona Foothills Magazine for tweeting for Arizona nonprofits, Ivy Foundation and T.W. Lewis Foundation!
5 huge mistakes PR interns should never make
By Mickie Kennedy | Posted: May 6, 2013
An internship can be a great way to get your foot in the door in the PR industry, but if you don’t take the right approach, it can also be a sure-fire way to ruin your reputation and kill your career before it gets off the ground.
Make no mistake—you’re going to make mistakes along the way. That’s perfectly okay. That’s what being an intern is about. You’re learning; people expect you to screw things up now and again. No sweat. But honest mistakes coming from a hardworking intern are one thing; the following mistakes are ones you simply cannot afford to make.
Act like you’re above lowly tasks. As an intern, you’re going to have to do a lot of boring, lowly tasks. You’re not going to get the exciting projects right out of the gate. Your boss wants to see that you are dependable and have a good work ethic before he or she will hand you more interesting work.
Dress unprofessionally. Dress for the job you want to have, not the job you have. If you come in dressed like a casual student, no one will take you seriously. Pay attention to how the true professionals in the office dress and try to mirror that in your own dress.
Talk bad about others in the office. No one likes the office gossip, especially when he or she is an intern. Keep your mouth shut, and respect everyone around you. Not to be too harsh, but you’re the lowest person on the totem pole, and you’ll never gain respect by talking bad about others in the office.
Not thank the people who help you. A lot of people will take time to help you as an intern. It might be a co-worker showing you how to do something, your boss offering helpful feedback, or someone giving you a recommendation for a career opportunity. No matter the situation, always offer a heartfelt thank you. Show everyone just how appreciative you are for their help.
Not learn or improve. Internships are learning experiences, but you have to be committed to actually learning and refining your skills. I recommend always having a pen and notepad on you so that you can take notes and avoid asking the same questions or making the same mistakes over and over again. Write everything down. You never know when that information will come in handy. If you’re committed to bettering yourself every day, your skills will improve, and that’s all anyone can ask from an intern.
PR pros, what mistakes did you make during your internship?
79% Of People 18-44 Have Their Smartphones With Them 22 Hours A Day
By Allison Stadd on April 2, 2013 12:00 PM
Quick: what’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
Yawn? Hit the snooze button? Go to the bathroom? Brush your teeth?
If you’re like 80% of 18-44-year-olds, the answer is “check my smartphone.”
A new IDC Research report, conducted online with data from 7,446 Android and iPhone users ages 18 to 44 during a week in March, reveals some eye-opening mobile social media intel.
Facebook sponsored the report, so our sister site AllFacebook.com has the story from that angle, if you’re interested.
But here’s the lowdown from a less Facebook-specific perspective:
49% of the entire U.S. population uses a smartphone. By 2017, the percent of smartphone users is expected to reach 68%.
Four out of five smartphone users check their phones within the first 15 minutes of waking up. 80% of those say it’s the first thing they do in the morning.
79% of smartphone users have their phone on or near them for all but two hours of their waking day; 63% keep it with them for all but one hour. A full quarter of respondents couldn’t recall a single time of the day when their phone wasn’t in the same room as them.
Friday through Sunday, smartphone users spend 163 minutes communicating and using social media on their phones. Monday through Thursday, they spend 87 minutes.
So weekends are more social than ever, probably because social media is just that – social, connecting people in person and from afar online. And as Shea shared recently, another study showed that smartphone owners are considerably more social than their desktop counterparts.
The average number of social/communication apps that smartphone users have on their phones is 7.4.
The most common sentiment regarding smartphone is one of “connectedness,” far surpassing “overwhelmed,” “stressed out,” “burdened/anxious,” or “lonely.”
That connectedness engendered by smartphone use is followed closely by excitement, curiosity, and productivity.
Basically, smartphones have become pocketable personal computers rather than cell phones. And no matter the social networking you’re doing, chances are you’re doing it more deeply and often if you’re doing it on the go.
7 traits of a solid PR professional
By Scott Signore | Posted: April 30, 2013
Having been around the block a few times, I have a good understanding of the traits of a successful PR professional. At a minimum, these are the traits we seek when filling key positions at our firm. In my humble opinion, PR people need to be…
What’s the end goal? That’s what PR people need to consider more often than they do typically. The PR activities we execute daily put a company on the map or contribute to a larger initiative designed to help it do more business. While vague, that’s appropriately described. Before acting, a PR person needs to determine how the desired result contributes to the bigger picture of business success.
I can’t think of a career that requires as much flexibility as public relations and social media. Plans, particularly those of clients, change with nutty regularity. The successful PR pro needs to adapt and, throughout any transition, help clients achieve communications and business success no matter the direction.
Social media channels present the very obvious need to be nimble: One Facebook post can change the tone of a day. In addition to being reactive and responsive, PR pros need to have the ability to deal with whatever comes their way in a professional manner.
3. Strong writers
To be great at PR, one needs to have writing skills. While content development has taken on a more expansive meaning of late, the foundation of the PR agency job is still in keystrokes. The ability to articulate, think creatively, and maintain a positive personality are all obvious characteristics for any profession, but in PR above average writing skills are imperative, with colleagues and clients demanding everything from compelling blog posts to finely-crafted press releases and everything in between.
4. Sponges (early in their careers, at least)
Becoming a well rounded, consistently reliable and savvy PR person takes work. The ramp-up to achieving such a standard varies greatly depending on the individual, but no entry-level professional punches into a new job and immediately begins counseling the world’s biggest brands on high-profile communications issues.
Most newbies make an impact, but there’s a difference between that impact and the decision making of other more senior staff members. There’s so much to learn in PR on a daily basis, and that’s one of the reasons I’ve loved being a PR guy since I first interned in the field.
The best young professionals understand that experience can be gained from closely watching co-workers, carefully noting their accomplishments, and learning from their challenges.
5. Unafraid of learning more (later in their careers)
Learning is endless and that’s so true when it comes to the ever-evolving PR field. There’s so much to gain in every interaction with a colleague or a client, and in every first-hand experience—from a methodical, well laid out plan to a crisis situation. The best PR pros know to embrace all that is happening around them and best leverage that data to improve as professionals.
6. News junkies
PR people need to care about what is happening in the news in both their core sector and in the broader world. They need to be on top of news and trends, so that they can harness what they know to craft story ideas that best position their client, topic, etc., within the most timely, topical conversations in the media and on the street.
PR people get shot-down often. It’s a common occurrence and there’s nothing wrong with that. Amid great editorial success, we get turned away pitching more than our fair share of story ideas, bylined articles, and profile pieces. While we enjoy much strategic and tactical success when working with clients, we also get shot-down presenting ideas for new programs or programmatic approaches.
It’s part of the business, and you need to roll with the circumstance. Critique and criticism are common, and it is something that needs to be embraced and learned from to survive happily at any PR firm.
Facebook unveils changes to news feed: What does it all mean?
By Samantha Hosenkamp | Posted: March 8, 2013
On Thursday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and team unveiled highly anticipated changes to the social network’s news feed that put greater emphasis on images and personalizing information.
“How we are sharing is changing,” Zuckerberg told an audience of reporters at the company’s Menlo Park, Calif. Headquarters. “The design of news feed needs to evolve.”
The grand unveiling, which we had predicted would put at least some emphasis on brands’ use of Facebook, focused mainly the individual user’s experience. Here’s how the changes will affect your Facebook experience, and how it might affect your business or brand’s presence on the social network.
Stories through images
As is evident by the popularity of social sites such as Pinterest and Instagram, images are all the rage. Facebook’s new design takes this into consideration—in a big way.
“News feed has become primarily about content,” Zuckerberg said during the event. “Nearly 50 percent is visual content.”
Julie Zhou, director of design at Facebook, elaborated saying, “Outside of news feed, the rest of the content is just clutter [to users].”
Here’s how this will play out: Facebook users can expect much larger, richer images in the news feed. This includes profile pictures of people in their timeline (which will include a cover photo image) and the ability to add the person as a friend directly from the news feed.
Articles from news websites will be featured in a more visually appealing way. When someone shares an article, it will resemble the table of contents of a well-curated magazine. The logo of publishers will appear in the corner.
Additionally, Places—Facebook’s location feature that lets users “check in” on their mobile phones—will be given more distinction in the new design. As Zhou explained, “We’re giving places the prominence they deserve with a map that tells you where they [the places] are and information about the place that allows you to dive in.”
Third-party apps will also be affected by the upcoming changes. In the new design, apps that are image-driven will receive more prominence. For example, images pinned to Pinterest that are also shared on Facebook will be featured more readily.
Facebook plans to create even more of a community vibe through sharing. If a number of your friends are sharing the same video, for example, Facebook will highlight this video in your feed, allowing you to play it from the feed instantly. It will also showcase all of your friends who have shared the video. Hovering over friends’ profile images with one’s mouse will reveal their comments on the video.
Your news feed, your choice
Meanwhile, the news feed will be custom-tailored to you and your interests. You’ll see upcoming events in your news feed based on what friends are doing, and places that you’ve checked into in the past.
Zhou cited NPR as an example, saying that at the end of each day—if you’ve chosen to follow NPR—Facebook will package the most popular NPR articles on Facebook that day. As Zhou says, Facebook is trying to create, “A richer, simpler, more beautiful news feed that’s focused on the things you care about.”
Another big change to the news feed, according to Chris Struhar, tech lead at Facebook, is the addition of a “switcher” in the top right-hand corner of news feeds that will enable Facebook users to jump into different feeds. This “switcher” will feature the feeds you visit most often at the top of your list of feeds.
For example, if you’re a music-lover, you can click on your music feed where you’ll find updates from bands and artists you’ve “liked.” You’ll also find information on upcoming events as well as the events and posts your friends have shared about the artists in which you’re interested.
The “all friends” feed will show friends’ posts in chronological order and the “photos feed” will show all of the photos that your friends are posting.
Your “following feed”—are you listening, brand managers?—will show every post from pages and public figures you’ve “liked”. For example, if you follow a certain band or news outlet, you’ll see all its posts in your “following feed.” The posts will be featured in chronological order to “make sure that content publishers know that fans can see every post they make,” explained Struhar.
And for those of you who just want to see the pretty pictures, there will be a “photos feed” that will only feature images from you and your friends.
A more unified mobile/desktop experience
Facebook users can expect a more mobile-inspired Web design, meaning, that people who use Facebook’s mobile app will have an experience that’s more like that of using Facebook on a desktop or tablet, according to Chris Cox, vice president of product at Facebook.
It will be easier to navigate from page to page without having to repeatedly visit the home page, Cox explained. Additionally, on mobile, a news story “bubble” will make it possible to stay in your news feed without having to scroll off the page to look at a specific story.
The new design will feature a “tray” that lets users see who’s online and view messages from people in the side bar that was once difficult to view on mobile. This design will be consistent for developers and publishers and new users won’t have to relearn how to use Facebook on mobile.
So what does this mean for brands?
Facebook, quite intentionally it seems strayed from explaining—at least in any great detail—what brands can expect from Facebook’s new design. Nor did any members of the Facebook team mention Graph Search in any capacity.
But here are some things to consider:
• Articles: As mentioned, the new design will feature articles in a way that resembles a well-curated magazine. That means images accompanying articles will be more prominently displayed along with a description of the article. The publisher’s logo will be given more prominence as well.
• Places: When a friend checks into a business or store on Facebook, his or her other friends will see larger map pictures than before in their news feed as well as additional information about the place.
• Following feed: Brand posts will be featured in this feed, but the question is, will people switch over to check on organizations and celebrities when they’re reading updates from friends and family.
Forbes believes this new design will, “provide a richer palette for advertisers,” and that Facebook is providing more opportunities for companies to reach people in more “visually engaging” ways.
The Hidden Benefits of Social Media Marketing: Why Your Strategy May Be Working Better Than You Think
Stephanie Chandler, Contributor
Most businesses venture into social media expecting to see a big return on investment. The hope is that new customers
If you’re feeling a bit skeptical about social media marketing and whether or not it’s worth the effort, following are some reasons why it may be working better than you realize.
1. Brand Recognition – One of the most powerful ways to use social media is as a brand-building tool. With social media, you get to decide how you want to position your company and what you want people to know about what you do. With consistent effort and great content, you can build a reputation for your brand around your company’s values, benefits, and advantages.
2. Community – There is nothing like social media when it comes to cultivating a community. When your followers become part of your community, you gain instant access to them. That means you can find out what challenges they are facing and what they like and don’t like about your offerings. You can engage in ongoing dialog that can be more valuable than any kind of paid market research.
3. Repeat Exposure – There is an old marketing adage that says it takes six to eight exposures to a product before a customer decides to buy. A clear benefit of social media is repeat exposure with your network. You have the opportunity to remind them over and over again about what you have to offer, which can shorten your sales cycles dramatically.
4. Authority – For coaches, consultants, authors, speakers, and other service-based businesses, social media can be very powerful in helping you establish authority in your field—making you the go-to resource for your target audience to seek out for help. Share great content, answer questions, andserve your audience, and you will inevitably build loyal fans.
5. Influence – As your following increases, your influence grows. Having a substantial social media audience creates a snowball effect that can attract new customers, media interviews, joint venture partnerships, and all kinds of other opportunities. It’s a bit like when you see a crowd hovered around something. You can’t help but want to see what all the fuss is about, so a large audience will only attract more interest.
6. Website Traffic – Many people don’t realize that social media can be a leading traffic generator. When you share blog posts, videos and other content from your website, you give your audience a reason to click through and visit your site. Once there, you have the opportunity to inspire those visitors to take action by inviting them to sign up for your mailing list, make a purchase, or call to schedule a free consultation. Install traffic monitoring service, such asGoogle Analytics, and if you are committed to your social media efforts, you will clearly see that social media brings traffic. Also, make sure that your visitors receive a clear call to action when they visit your site so that you can convert that extra traffic into business opportunities.
7. Ahead of the Curve – Whether you realize it or not, your prospects and clients are checking to see if you are engaging in social media. I always find it a bit odd when I’m investigating a potential service provider online and I can’t locate a social media presence or worse, I find Facebook pages that haven’t been updated in months, empty Twitter feeds, and a clear lack of interest in engaging. Social media isn’t a fad and it’s not going away. Even if it’s not your top priority, if you stay current with activity, your prospects will notice.
8. Mindshare with Lurkers – There may be days when you wonder if anyone is paying attention to your social media networks. But if your efforts are consistent, I guarantee that more people are paying attention than you realize. Give it time and you’ll start to understand what’s happening behind the anonymity of the internet. You will eventually hear from people who say, “I’ve been following you on Twitter for ages. I love your posts!”
9. Competitive Advantage – The reality is that most of your competitors aren’t likely doing a very good job with social media (most companies aren’t), which gives you the chance to stand out. Also consider the flip side. If you avoid social media, you leave a big opening that allows your competitors to capture your audience.
10. Big Wins – While many businesses large and small are trying to justify the cost and time investment for managing social media marketing, an important benefit often gets overlooked: Big Wins. For example, if someone from LinkedIn connects you with a significant government contract, then that would certainly qualify as a Big Win. If a major media outlet finds you on Twitter and interviews you for a national article, then that is also a Big Win—one that you can’t measure based on revenues directly generated.
Big Wins don’t happen often, but when they do, they make it all worthwhile. It’s easy to forget results like these six months down the road you’re trying to assess whether your social media efforts are paying off. But that one contract you landed could cover your social media marketing costs for years. And that major media interview could lead to subsequent interviews and a line item on your resume that impresses a corporate sponsor three years from now. Never forget to factor in the Big Wins in social media.
10 candy hearts with your favorite jargon
By | Posted: February 15, 2013
Remember those candy hearts you handed out to your classmates on Valentine’s Day—the ones with playful sayings such as “Be Mine” and “Let’s Kiss”?
It was an early lesson in flirting. Too bad the hearts were too saccharine to enjoy.
Now that you’re all grown up and in the working world, you need a new kind of candy heart—a treat you can give to the person in your life who adores jargon.
You need jargon candy hearts.
12 things to expect from a PR firm
By Beth Monaghan | Posted: January 25, 2013
How should I choose a PR firm?
Each time someone asks me this, dozens of answers flutter to the forefront of my mind, but I always choose two fairly tangible criteria: fit and experience.
On the surface, it can be easy for all agencies to sound similar, which makes fit and experience crucial. You need an agency that understands your audience and your market, and the reporters you need to reach. Fit is equally important. You’ll be working closely with the PR agency every single day (and many evenings), so you’ll need to be able to work well with the assigned account team.
However, fit and experience alone will not make your agency successful on your behalf. Here are some important qualities you should expect form an agency that is committed to your success. You need an agency that:
1. Owns the process. You want an agency that will never say, “Well, we sent you the guidelines for the Forbes contributed article three months ago and never heard back.” Your agency should be a professional nagger—they should never let you be the reason for a missed deadline.
2. Pushes back. You are hiring a PR firm for its expertise, so find one that provides firm recommendations. If your account team is constantly nodding their heads and yessing you, there is a problem. The success of your PR program requires a team leader who can adamantly say no in the face of tough scrutiny when something just won’t work.
3. Knows when to give in. There are times when other company goals, such as sales campaigns, take priority over PR (for example, when a sales team is under the gun to meet quarterly goals and needs to push out a direct email campaign in advance of the press release). Your PR firm should tell you the optimal plan for getting great media coverage, but should also accept it when PR is not at the top of the list.
4. Makes it happen. Only clients should have the luxury of asking big questions without offering solutions, such as, “How can we maximize our attendance at an upcoming trade show?” Good PR firms know that the right response is a list of viable options, not more questions.
5. Surprises you with unexpected and creative ideas. Your PR firm should march to the beat of the PR plan, but they should also bring you unexpected and creative ideas. This demonstrates that they are paying active attention. Only intellectually hungry people will tie the right pieces together to make you relevant in a way that matters to the press.
6. Owns mistakes. If your agency needs to be right all of the time, it’s a problem. You need an agency that abides by the rules of crisis PR (even when the crisis is a very small one): tell it all, truthfully, and tell it now. This takes confidence and humility, but it is the sign of a great communicator.
7. Hustles. Look for an agency that is pushing you, not the other way around.
8. Writes well. Content marketing has changed PR forever. Adequate press release writing skills are no longer enough. You need an agency that can sift through mountains of information, zero in on the interesting angle, and ghost author an article for your spokesperson. Ask for samples, and look at the agency’s blog.
9. Listens intently. PR people are renowned great talkers. We need to be. However, we need to know how to listen, too. You need a PR agency full of the kind of analytical and open minds that can scan the conversation for points of interest, drive the discussion toward them and relate them to your broader industry.
10. Empathizes. You need a PR agency team that can imagine what it’s like to be you. What pressures do you face internally, from your board, from competitors, others? Is PR central to your role or tangential? Coincidentally, this skill also makes PR people great at media relations—we must imagine what it’s like to be each reporter if we have a prayer of selling a story.
11. Navigates options and contingencies like an attorney. There are many decisions we must make along the winding route between the pitch and the placement. You need an agency that understands the media landscape—which outlets (and journalists) compete, which reporters require exclusives, which ones care about embargoes, and which angles will compel coverage.
Sifting through these and responding appropriately when an embargo is broken or an exclusive falls through tests the skills of the best PR professionals, so make sure you have a team that can bend gracefully when a critical relationship is at stake, and hold firm when your company goals require it.
12. Thick skin. PR people sit in the middle of two constituents whose goals are not always aligned: the media and our clients. Finding the common ground that creates successful outcomes for both requires an ability to handle discord well.
Journalists identify the worst PR jargon
By Gini Dietrich | Posted: January 17, 2013
In little time, terms such as “at the end of the day,” “with all due respect,” “frankly,” and “win win” became the top culprits.
In fact, we filled up that whiteboard and added big sheets of poster paper on either side to keep the game going.
MBAs and wannabe executives were often the ones uttering these mind-numbing words, but they’re not the only professionals who speak this language.
According to a report by twelve thirty eight, PR professionals are the worst at using buzzwords that have no real meaning. Each year, the firm surveys 500 journalists to find out which buzzwords, jargon, and terms PR pros use when working with them.
The survey taps British reporters and editors from media outlets such as the BBC, The Telegraph, the Financial Times, the Daily Mail, and more.
The results of the survey revealed what twelve thirty eight calls the “hipsterization” of PR terminology, exemplified by the rise of words such as “awesome” and “super excited.” I have a journalist friend who shares this feeling; she’s fed up with “amazing” (which, of course, makes me use it every other word when I email her).
Journalists in the U.K. also bemoaned the influx of American terminology, including “circle back” or “reach out.”
Twelve thirty eight compiled this list of the top 20 buzzwords identified in the survey. The words and phrases in parenthesis are an attempt to define the meaning.
1. Issues (problems)
2. Dynamic (likely not to be)
3. Paradigm (a “silk purse” word)
4. Elite (you wouldn’t normally get to attend)
5. Hotly anticipated (never heard of it)
6. End-user (customer)
7. Influencer (a person who probably doesn’t have influence)
8. Evangelist (a tendency to tweet with loads of hashtags)
9. Deliverables (tasks)
10. Icon/iconic (use before 01.01.01 or never)
11. Rocketed (made modest progress)
12. “An astonishing x per cent” (it rarely is astonishing)
13. Marquee event/marquee client (probably “very local”)
14. Going forward (in the future)
15. Ongoing (a bit behind schedule)
16. Optimized (changed by consultants then changed back)
17. Horizontal, vertical, etc. (two words in lieu of a strategy)
18. Phygital (easy to press or swipe, we guess)
19. SoLoMo (no idea)
20. Well-positioned (hopeful but a bit scared)
And one of my very favorites: I loathe it when a business is described as “providing solutions.” We see this time and again and it tells us nothing.
4 myths about PR agencies spreading across college campuses
By Ryan McShane | Posted: January 15, 2013
During mentor sessions, students often describe their job-hunting progress and feelings toward different areas of public relations. It is evident that many myths are still looming across campuses, and I’m here to teach from my experience.
MYTH: An agency is always the best career starter
I have several arguments why most students should start their careers with an agency. Agencies help young professionals to discover their talents, broaden their knowledge, and develop relationships across the industry.
That said, several of my friends and colleagues have started their careers in-house and have achieved great success in doing so. Ultimately, agency public relations should be on your radar, but evaluate each job opportunity independently to find the right fit for you and your growth.
MYTH: Any agency will do
Again, I’ll concede that having agency experience on your résumé will help you gain future employment. As an internship director, it’s comforting to find candidates with prior agency internships under their belts, because it shows these folks likely have experienced (and survived) the fast-paced environment that faced them.
Pace aside, many agencies do not observe ethics and best practices, and some of those flaws may follow you in the form of bad habits or a “what not to do” case study. Don’t be that case study.
MYTH: Agencies are short-term jobs
This is a myth that I often hear when working with students and young professionals. It’s true that agency turnover is generally more volatile than in-house. Because of some of the things I mentioned above, agency practitioners often find opportunities to specialize in particular fields of interest.
However, many practitioners are cut out for a long-term career in agency public relations. Senior management often rewards this loyalty, as it sends a positive message to clients and the rest of the staff. A long-term agency path also enables you to maintain the fast-paced environment and diversified workload that many practitioners need to remain professionally hungry.
MYTH: Serving multiple clients will broaden my skills
Benefits of working on multiple client accounts include learning different sectors and honing time management skills. Conversely, young professionals who are staffed across too many accounts are unable to completely immerse themselves into their clients’ businesses and needs.
In addition, working with too many clients will likely limit growth opportunities. Imagine being staffed across four to five clients. After monitoring for coverage, clipping placements, and building media lists, you’d likely need to repeat the same process for your next client to keep up with the workload.
Many agencies lose great young talent, because they limited their professional development. However, other agencies recognize the importance of challenging their staff on a daily basis—limiting their accounts plays a big part of that vision.
6 PR and social media predictions for 2013
By Sandra Fathi | Posted: January 2, 2013
2. Governments (and war) go social. The 2012 election generated record-breaking activity onTwitter, and more recently, the Israel Defense Force and Hamas military used the platform to communicate to international government officials and the public about the violent Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As citizens in the U.S. and around the world demand increased transparency from governments, officials at every level from local to national will turn increasingly to social media to stay connected with their constituents. Social media will see an increase of political conversations in 2013, driving its adoption as a news source for citizens, traditional media, and the government.
3. The reputable journalist is revived. The rise of blogging and social media has increased the volume of online news and the speed at which it’s available, often at the expense of responsible reporting. Misinformation and rumors can spread quickly and trigger considerable backlash, especially when a news organization compromises accuracy in the name of speed (as evidenced by CNN and Fox News’s memorable misreporting of the Supreme Court ruling on health care reform). The citizen journalist’s 15 minutes of fame are running out and information-overloaded consumers will demand a higher standard of reporting in 2013.
4. PR goes mobile. PR practitioners have learned to draft compelling email pitch subject lines and deliver a message in 140 characters. The next step will be crafting mobile-friendly content as millions of consumers (and journalists) reach for their phones as their primary news source. The Daily taught us that it’s not enough to format a publication with a mobile device in mind; rather, the key will be developing content that effectively reaches the right audience at the right time. Delivery is king—but brevity is still queen.
5. Pictures tell the story. The rise of infographics, photo sharing, and visual storytelling will push PR pros and their clients to deploy messages visually in order to compete in a crowded content market. All Things D reported that in August, smartphone users spent more time on Instagram than on Twitter for the first time since Instagram launched in 2010. This is indicative of a broader shift toward visual content in the digital space. As the old saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words”; more important, it might also be worth your customer’s attention.
6. PR wins the social media battle. The debate over which corporate discipline “owns” social media is practically as old as social media itself; PR, marketing, branding, advertising, and customer service (just to name a few) all have skin in the game. As more businesses recognize the opportunities (and threats) that social media present to their corporate reputation, and the demand from stakeholders for direct engagement, they are reaching out to PR agencies and practitioners for support. PR pros, who have long been responsible for managing the dialogue between an organization and the public, will emerge as trendsetters in the social space by providing valuable communications counsel and achieving results that directly impact clients’ bottom lines.
A field guide to social media zombies
By | Posted: November 1, 2012
The U.K.-based price comparison website Confused.com has bravely taken on this assignment, compiling various social media zombies into an infographic to make them easily identifiable.
For instance, there’s the “foodie zombie,” who you’ll find carefully snapping pictures of a plate of food, then cropping those images and applying the perfect Instagram filter so it earns as many “likes” as possible.
There’s also the check-in zombie, who, thankfully, is the easiest one to avoid, because he lets you know his exact location: “At Starbucks, ordering my usual blonde roast with braiiiiiiiins.”
Don’t get cornered by any of these monsters. Check out the full infographic:
10 (mostly) free social media tools you can’t live without
Pete Codella, (@Codella on Twitter), VP of marketing and PR for Alexander’s, a Utah-based full-service traditional and digital marketing communications firm, has some suggestions.
He shared his top tools for social media success at our Social Media and Community Managers Summit in Chicago:
Monitor your brand
People are talking about your company. Are you listening?
- Track and measure what people are saying about your company.
- Monitor Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Digg, Google and many more.
- Receive email alerts about your brand, topics of interest and more.
HubSpot’s Marketing Grader
- Measure your marketing activities.
- Find out how your website ranks.
- Find out how competing websites rank.
Track your tweets
- Get realtime insights from Twitter conversations.
- Search links, tweets, photos, videos, what’s trending and more.
- No, not the Dutch province of Gelderland.
- Find users in a specific locations based on their Twitter bios.
Involver (paid plans available, too)
- Add branded applications to your Facebook fan page.
- Has additional paid and free apps for other channels.
ShortStack (paid plans available, too)
- Design Facebook Apps and contests.
- Schedule pins on Pinterest.
- Analyze metrics.
- Upload pins in bulk.
- Calculate the measure of your popularity on Pinterest and value of each pin.
Grovo (paid plans available, too)
- Online video training site that teaches you social media tricks and tips through quick videos.
- A great way to strengthen your team’s understanding of social media.
10 intriguing facts and figures about social media
By Kevin Allen | Posted: October 10, 2012
People suffering from Internet Use Disorder should shy away from Facebook.
According to an infographic from creative agency Arrae (featuring statistics form Socialnomics.com), the social network is the most addicting of all social platforms.
Twitter, meanwhile, continues to grab new customers.
This continued growth and stickiness of social media should give businesses reason to be optimistic, but it’s not all sunshine and lollipops for brands in this space. The infographic says only a third of people follow brands online. That’s about twice what it was in 2010, but there’s still room for growth.
Recently, a Twitter exec said that 88 percent of his platform’s users follow at least one brand.
Oh, and speaking of Twitter, most of its Twitter users are Democrats, reports the infographic. So … there’s that.
Here’s the full infographic:
And social media continues to benefit companies that use it as part an integrated marketing campaign.
All of that and more is represented in this snapshot of social media statistics from 2012 (curiously absent is mention of Pinterest):
With Hurricane Katrina still fresh in the minds of many in that region, particularly residents of New Orleans, preparedness is the name of the game for big storms such as Isaac. That’s why the city has set up a NOLA Ready website and Twitter account to get information out as it becomes available.
“If the storm does something incredibly crazy, we will react to that, but at this moment there is no plan to evacuate the City of #NOLA,” one tweet announced Monday, followed by this quote from Mayor Mitch Landrieu:
“If you plan to leave, you feel comfortable leaving and you have a place to go, don’t wait. Now would be a good time to go.”
New Orleans officials were, quite understandably, unavailable Monday (a call to City Hall resulted in a busy signal), but local communications professionals mostly said city and state social media efforts in the face of the emergency have been handled well.
What they’re doing right
“The updates are engaging, informative, and timely,” says Sara Estes Cohen, an emergency response and social media strategist in New Orleans. “The profiles also respond to questions and statements easily and quickly.”
Some of the direct responses to citizens have come from the mayor’s Twitter account, often with the intent of correcting misinformation. The NOLA Ready account has mostly been answering questions about closings and transit changes.
Estes Cohen particularly says the state’s Twitter account for the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness has stayed on top of things well.
“I’ve also noticed that most parishes have mentioned their social media accounts on the news this morning and have been encouraging viewers to sign up for notifications, to check websites, etc.,” she says.
Tripp Frohlichstein of MediaMasters Training says the social media accounts are doing a really nice job of sharing links to information.
“This is great for a large percentage of people in the area,” he says. “However, it must be remembered that there are large numbers of people that don’t have access to social media, or simply don’t use it. So it is important they also use traditional electronic media to keep people updated.”
Jeff Zehnder of New Orleans-based Zehnder Communications says the mayor’s office has done “a stellar job” coordinating communications with parish and state officials to get information out through social media. He adds that the availability of social channels makes it much easier to spread word of what’s happening now, compared with when Katrina hit in 2005.
Though the city’s social media efforts are thorough, Frohlichstein says they could be a little more personal.
“Perhaps it is implied, but I think it would enhance the efforts of the local and state governments to note that everything they are doing is to keep people safe,” he says.
For example, Frohlichstein points to a tweet from the governor’s emergency preparedness office:
“Gov @BobbyJindal: Authorized activation of up to 4,000 LA Nat’l Guardsmen if necessary for #Isaac; 700 fulltime Guardsmen working today.”
It should maybe read more like this:
“Gov @BobbyJindal: Authorized activation of up to 4,000 LA Nat’l Guardsmen if necessary for #Isaac to make sure we keep people safe and protect their property; 700 fulltime Guardsmen working today.” (That does exceed Twitter’s 140-character limit, but the point Frohlichstein raises is one of tone.)
Communications strategist and former CBS News correspondent David Henderson, who blogged about Isaac on Sunday, says he sees the NOLA Ready site and the Twitter accounts as mostly self-serving.
“The [NOLA Ready] website is too wordy, too generic, and too politically correct by presenting all the press releases of the various politicians,” he says. “It seems more about the local politicians than an emergency service for residents.”
Same goes for the Twitter accounts, Henderson opines. Most New Orleans residents will be getting their news by radio.
“Internet penetration in the region is considerably below the national norm, and social media, including Twitter, is even less effective for reaching people in the area,” he says.
Another problem? The NOLA Ready has some information available only in PDF form, which is a sure way no one will read it, Henderson asserts.
Internal emergency comms
What about how businesses in the storm’s path are communicating with employees? SAS doesn’t have any offices directly in Isaac’s immediate path, but it’s seen its share of big storms with offices in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Texas.
“As long as it is a life-safety event, all communications are handled by our safety and security team,” says Becky Graebe, SAS’s internal communications manager. “There are communication tools in place for them to automatically post alerts to our intranet home page as a top-of-screen banner. The security team also has an Emergency Notification System that can be used to notify employees in that specific location.”
After the storm, earthquake, or other event is over, communicators post regular updates to the company’s Employee Voices blog and invite employees to offer support, she says.
Matt Wilson is a staff writer for Ragan.com.
Social media has become a part of our everyday lives and continues to grow with new outlets popping up all the time and attracting instant popularity such as Instagram and Pinterest. This article highlights some interesting facts about social media and may just fascinate you!