[MAPR Blog Post] The New Rules of Marketing & PR: How the Web Changed the Rules

Social Media Bullseye Graphic: PR Spam, Marketing Activities

One of my latest Kindle readings include, The New Rules of Marketing & PR – 6th Edition by David Meerman Scott.  In coming weeks, I’ll post more of a comprehensive book review, however, for this blog post I’ll highlight some of the gems highlighted in Chapter 20, New Rules for Reaching the Media. 

For a long time, public relations professionals viewed coverage as a numbers game … full-on blitz, reach out to as many journalists and outlets as you can.  The process was literally, “throwing crap against the wall to see what sticks.”  The non-targeted e-blasts and sleezy methods to lure people to open the messages are partially why strategic communicators received a reputation as spammers. 

The web changed the rules and traditional PR techniques are becoming less effective.  To provide an example and illustrate using layman’s terms; there are parallels between a PR rep securing coverage, and an individual securing a job.  I say this because in one point in time, people were able to blast resumes and play the numbers game, with hopes of landing some interviews.  Now-a-days, attempting the same wouldn’t be effective, in fact, you’d be agitating people.  The process takes time, and personalization.  You have to KNOW the company, understand what comes along with the role, research the applicants they are likely to hire, understand expectations etc.  Letters and resumes need to be customized and even then, it needs to be keyword heavy since pretty much every company has software to scan and eliminate who they deem to be unqualified.   Your resume may never even reach a human. 

Networking is key, because nothing trumps personal relationships.  You’d be surprised how many companies post positions as a formality when they already know who they want.  In both the PR example and the  individual finding a job example, it is very much a “Don’t call me … I’ll find you.”  Correspondence must be personalized, pay attention to the stories a journalist is likely to cover, develop personal relationships; send individualized pitches and target one reporter at a time.  Do what you can to build your audience and showcase your own brand in the best possible light.  This includes having a comprehensive online media room including photos and videos.  “To get noticed, you need to be smart about how you tell your story on the web – and about how you tell your own story to journalists.”

Some key takeaways are as follows:

  • Refrain from sending non-targeted broadcast pitches
  • Develop personal relationships and send an individualized pitch, tailored to the needs of the journalist
  • Target one reporter at a time and pay attention to the types of stories they cover
  • Content drives marketing … make sure your information is up to date, define your niche and use hashtags

[MAPR Blog Post] Gen Z Usage Evaluation | Social Media Strategy: Return of the MAC

There are many factors to contend with when developing an online presence, whether personally, professionally or on a client’s behalf.  Basic PR 101 prompts us to revisit the good ‘ole MAC Triad … MESSAGE, AUDIENCE and CHANNEL.  The first step in your social media strategy should be to determine your MESSAGE  Essentially, this is the WHAT and WHY of your page.  What is your page about?  What is your call-to-action or desired outcome?  Why would a visitor be interested in your content?  Next, you determine your AUDIENCE.  This represents WHO and HOW of targeted company messages.  Who are you trying to connect with?  How would they benefit from your product of service?  Last you have the channel, which represents WHERE and WHEN of message dissemination.  Where are you posting? Twitter? Instagram? Facebook? When are you posting?  Research should be conducted to determine optimal time for engagement and post frequency for each platform.

As many of you know, I manage the socials for BibbyFame Digital, LLC.  However, aside from my personal and professional usage, I was also elected to the e-Board for the Theta Mu Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.  As Epistoleus, I serve as the Chapter Historian, as well as the Social Media and Public Relations Chair.  I manage our social media accounts, with large premium placed on our Instagram and Rowan University ProfLink.  I write captions, design flyers, take photographs, produce social video etc.  In addition, I monitor engagement, use appropriate hashtags and respond to inquiries.  Since assuming the role in July 2018, I developed and implemented a strategy to foster organic growth.  Content is centered on the following objectives:

  • To promote events and programs
  • To visually document our sisterhood and the overall experience of being a Soror in Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.
  • To highlight chapter member achievements
  • To demonstrate chapter participation in volunteer and community-serving activities
  • To raise awareness for select causes

As the saying goes, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”  All Theta Mu posts are planned in accordance with the Chapter events calendar.  Some of the accounts followed include @SGRhoUpdates @SGRhoNER for our organization headquarters and region. Last summer, when working as a Photo & Video Intern for Jill Lotenberg, I filmed and edited an interview with Ryan Serhant from Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing.  During the interview, he summarized their social media strategy and explained the importance planning out company posts in advance for each week.  He also shared how he uses analytics to steer activity.  For instance, based on statistics for his company and industry, posts are primed for the most impressions and engagement during the workday.  He mentioned aiming to post around 2pm EST. 

An important takeaway from my Epistoleus work and internship experiences which include socials / digital / interactive is to maintain professionalism in the online space.  Something as simple as a spelling error can negatively impact company credibility.  If the company uses specific styling, colors and fonts, it is imperative that consistency is maintained without deviation.  The logo, crest and artwork must have the correct sizing and proportion.  We’ve all observed images that are stretched and can agree that isn’t the company impression you’d like to leave.  Social media revolutionized the way we share and distribute information; proper usage can provide tremendous value. 

Career Update: Film Production & Multimedia Intern

INSPIMIND LogoI am pleased to announce I accepted a summer internship with INSPIMIND in Paterson, NJ. In this position, my major duties include coordinating video production activities, editing footage, adding subtitles to videos, promoting on social media platforms, photography, planning & scheduling shoots, and collaborating with both the Production Team and Content Development Team.


Things kicked off to a great start last week with a video shoot at Henry P. Becton Regional High School in East Rutherford, NJ. We ended the evening with a team-building hike at Mills Reservation in Upper Montclair / Cedar Grove. One of the things that struck my interest with this organization is its ongoing commitment to the community. INSPIMIND aims to continue the cycle of higher education and foster leadership, particularly with young minorities. I’m thrilled to be able to document its activity through film and social media, while exploring SEO and developing an online visual strategy to promote INSPIMIND as it reaches out to colleges/universities, high schools, and middle schools.

Educational Side Effects: Skills Development

TV1S18W - Capture Teleprompter Dead

Take a look at my face in this pic *gasp*

I can laugh about this experience in retrospect. At this precise moment, the teleprompter became possessed in Professor Winkler’s TV Production 1 class. I was Producer [slash] Talent A in this newscast and there was no opportunity to STOP the production and have a do-over. Luckily for me, since I wrote the copy and tweaked several times … I practically had it recited. Everything turned out okay.

Even though this is a clearly a case of things going WRONG (and this semester had plenty), unintentional learning provided some of the strongest lessons I’ll take away from these experiences. My crew encountered last minute scrambling and schedule changes because our Spring semester was Winter Wonderland and we had freak snowstorms several times. We booked equipment for an outdoor shoot on GREEN environmental initiatives, but our campus was winter WHITE. Oh, and I can’t forget the clicking sound of my hard drive going dead the day before I had to submit final edits or my SD card going wonky in the middle of a photoshoot.

What skills have I developed? RESILIANCE, PROBLEM SOLVING, PERSISTANCE, FLEXIBILITY, IMPROVISATION (and countless others). These are what I like to refer to as positive side effects from the collegiate experience.

TV1S18W_TheGunDebate_01

Photo Credit: Professor Christopher Winkler, Rowan University
Date: May 2, 2018
From: The Gun Debate (Producer: Steve Nuzzo, Director: Alexander Compta)

Facebook vs Instagram, Advantages and Disadvantages – Discussion Post 7 | PR 06301 – Basic PR Writing

Many social media options exist for strategic communicators to deliver messages, and for companies to brand itself. A few options available include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Google+. Focusing on Facebook and Instagram specifically, there are advantages and disadvantages associated with each platform.

With Facebook, there are many ways a company can benefit from using this site. Recent statistics indicate Facebook exceeds two-billion users. Instagram is at about 800-million. This provides companies with incredible reach potential. On Facebook, people use their real-names and have personal connections which lend to sharing and can help from a credibility perspective. Instagram has less personal “real-life” connections, aliases are common-place and profile information is often fabricated. On Facebook, business can target users based on profile information, engage and ask questions, provide links, schedule posts for optimal effectiveness and add eye-catching visuals. Facebook also has a solid website and mobile platform, whereas Instagram is primarily a mobile destination. On Instagram, there isn’t as much of an emphasis on sharing and re-posting the way you’d find on Facebook. However, there is an opportunity to use stunning visuals and short-videos. People “read” on Facebook, but they visit to Instagram to “see.”

From a business perspective, a downside is that people don’t use social media to view advertisements. Ad placement on Facebook is easy to ignore. On Instagram, ads are integrated on the feed in a way that makes it natural to view. Ideally, both sites can be used for engagement to build relationships with target audiences by posting relevant content. While many possible benefits exist, there are also many ways social media can stand to hurt a business. For instance, there is pressure to actively use the platform. Having infrequent posts can be considered even worse than not having a page at all from a branding perspective. Also, you are giving content to each site your business is active on. For some businesses, this takes away from the time and dedication spent on developing its own company site. A business shouldn’t drive traffic to another platform for its products and services. More content on social media can translate to less e-newsletter sign-ups, less reporters utilizing its newsroom, less target audience web traffic and ultimately, less backend data it has access to. Social media should be used as a tool to drive people to the company website and events.

Another disadvantage is lost control of the message. People start to share and change the message, leave comments, create memes and so forth. Social media also forces public customer service because you have direct communication with reporters and your audiences. There is pressure to respond to items expeditiously, and during times of crisis – there is an incredibly fast pace. Analytics is an area that served as an advantage primarily for Facebook, but now the playing field is almost even. Facebook has distinctive business profiles that allowed advertisers and businesses access to promotional tools and additional information on traffic (number of visitors, time spent, links clicked, gender) etc. This information is now available on business profiles in Instagram.

It’s a LONG ROAD to Sigma Gamma Rho … NEW POODLE ALERT

I am super proud to announce that I am now part of the illustrious sisterhood of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. I gained seven sisters who are equally dedicated to the community and scholastic achievement.

I completed this edit using cell phone footage curated from a variety of sources.

How Does Advertising Copywriting Differ From Public Relations Writing? – Discussion Post 6| PR 06301 – Basic PR Writing

Public Relations and Digital MarketingPublic relations and advertising copywriting are closely related.  Strategic communicators often decide between the two, but successful campaigns generally include both.   The difference between the two is a matter of control, credibility and media use.  If a company desires ultimate control of the message, wording, graphics and channels, advertising is the preferred technique.  With advertising, emphasis is on control since this method allows you to select the audience, message and channel.  With public relations, emphasis is placed on the credibility provided by having stories picked up by a third-party source.  Public relations translate to forfeiting control of the MAC triad (message, audience and channel).  There is risk associated with this method since you lose control of the message.  You have no idea if the message will change, remain in-tact or if it’ll be covered at all.  

In the PR Writer’s Toolbox (2013), we are provided with a quote from John Elsasser, Editor of PR Tactics, “Advertising is what you pay for, PR is what you pray for” (Basso, Hines and Fitzgerald, p. 140). Public Relations is usually thought of as unpaid and “earned” while advertising is “paid-for” publicity (139).  PR writers use paid messages to advocate for a position.  The common types of public relations advertising include advocacy / issue, cooperative, house, cause-related marketing (CRM), public service announcements (PSA) and institutional.  With advocacy / issue, messages are used to take a position on an issue.  Cooperatives feature collaborative messages that mutually benefit two or more companies.  House messages are in-house.  A common example is a television station playing commercials for network programming.  CRM includes sponsorship and cases where a company aligns itself with a cause or issue impacting its demographic.  PSA is publicity for public service / public good.  Institutional refers to image ads for the company.  These messages don’t promote a specific product or service, but rather the business as a whole.

 

Media Kit Components – Discussion Post 5 | PR 06301 – Basic PR Writing

Public Relations and Digital MarketingThe media kit is a package of information that allows a company to present itself as it would like to be seen.  The public relations professional uses the media kit to make it easy for the media to use supplied stories about their clients.  Press kits can be found online in a company’s media room, however, for live events, the media kit can be supplied as a printed package. There are several components included in the media kit.  In this discussion post, I will highlight six items commonly found in a media kit – the press release, backgrounder, fact sheet, key contacts, social media links and audio / video.  Some other items that can be included are Q&A, biography and position paper.

The press release / news release is communication directed at members of the news media to announce newsworthy items.  In the media kit, the releases should be placed in reverse chronological order.  The backgrounder is a lengthy report that uses subheads.  It supplies historical perspective about a company or event for staff writers’ use in publications.  The fact sheet is a one-page document, bulleted for easy access, that lists items of interest about the company, event, product or service.  It provides reporters with details that can easily be inserted into their articles.  Key contacts must be included in media kit.  This provides the media with the contact information for a company representative if they need to clarify a point or obtain an answer to a question.  Social media links allow reporters to easily find RSS feeds, company blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram accounts and YouTube videos.  Audio / Video can include high resolution photographs, streaming video, podcasts, audio recordings, logos and PowerPoint presentations, among others.  Providing a Q&A section saves time by eliminating the need for company employees to repeatedly answer the same questions.  It is a section to provide answers to commonly asked questions.  A position paper is a persuasive editorial that provides the official company stance on an issue.  

Main Differences Between Print and Electronic News Releases – Discussion Post 4| PR 06301 – Basic PR Writing

Public Relations and Digital MarketingBoth the print press release and electronic news release are effective methods of delivering newsworthy information about a business.  They are similar in nature, and the requirements for each include effective writing, grammar, planning and critical thinking.  The main differences between a print and electronic news release are audience and channels of distribution.  Traditional press releases target newspaper reporters, magazines, radio stations and television stations.  Electronic news releases cut out the middle man and are crafted to address the end user.   Print releases pitch to media outlets, while electronic versions pitch to media and directly to consumers.

Several features distinguish the two news release types.  For instance, electronic news releases are distributed by email.  It features a strong call to action, electronic contact information and includes links to photos and biographies. The online release includes mostly summary data with links to where additional info can be obtained.  Also, electronic news releases don’t include a boiler plate paragraph.  Print releases are generally longer and tend to include more quotes.