3 social media tasks that can add PR value in less than five minutes

Interesting and well-written article about how to offer excellence in client relations for your PR and Social media clients by taking a few minutes to promote your clients press releases, newsletters and announcements via your LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites.  — Pete Cento

Carrie Morgan, a 20-plus year public relations veteran based in Phoenix, specializing in digital PR and is considered an expert in PR, Social Media and Marketing. A version of this story first appeared on the Rock The Status Quo blog.


3 social media tasks that can add PR value in less than five minutes

By Carrie Morgan | Posted: February 26, 2014

4 trends affecting PR departments

4 trends affecting PR departments

4 trends affecting PR departments

By Cassie Boorn | Re-posted: February 18, 2014
PR and marketing departments have faced a number of significant changes in recent years.Bloggers have shaken up the media landscape; consumer skepticism has driven brands to be more innovative; and social media has forced companies to reach a new level of transparency.

Over the past few months, several more trends have led to major shifts in the role of the PR professional, among them:

1.The Internet is killing the “expert.” 

Leveraging “experts” has always been a proven way to garner earned media coverage for clients. Experts are trusted resources that can organically land media placements while seamlessly plugging brands into the segment. Now that anyone with an Internet connection can share their expertise with the world, the once “trusted expert” is becoming harder to find.

Consumers are realizing that anyone can declare himself or herself an expert, making it more challenging to prove someone’s credibility. In fact, some experts are beginning to question their own credibility, proving that we’re all just learning as we go. Luckily, the lessons are the most interesting part.

2. Freelancers are taking over traditional media. 

The Internet shook the traditional media world around the time the economy collapsed, driving major layoffs across publications. In the first six years of the millennium the number of freelance writers has increased more than 300 percent with no signs of slowing down, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor. Today, freelancers produce more than 70 percent of magazine content.

Not only are PR professionals challenged to seek out relationships with freelance writers, but also they are forced to create story angles that publications will buy.

3. Consumers are growing skeptical of statistics. 

The growing use of visuals in social media marketing, along with the realization that data visualization is a powerful way to break through the clutter and drive consumers to action, has inspired brands to find new ways to use data in their marketing efforts. The result is a plethora of branded statistics.

Consumers are becoming skeptical about certain claims from brands. “Green” ads, for instance, have faced mounting scrutiny from shoppers, according to Nielsen. Consumers are beginning to pay more attention to the statistics and what those stats actually mean. As a result, brands should focus on delivering quality stats that are impactful.

Companies such as PayScaleOK Cupid, and BirchBox are finding innovative ways to tap useful statistics to increase search engine optimization, drive buzz, and position themselves as experts in their field.

For example, PayScale avoids stats that say 98 percent of top executives use PayScale. Instead, it’s releasing quality stats about the state of the workforce and, in turn, making itself a leader in the field.

4. Content curation puts the success of a brand into the hands of the consumer. 

Thanks to social media and the growing popularity of content curation, everyday consumers are becoming powerful influencers. Every brand wants a viral video or a social media campaign that drives major buzz, but few brands realize what it takes.

The success of a brand’s content lies in the hands of their consumers. Companies are challenged to understand what drives consumers to share content and how they can create the content that consumers will organically want to share.

Cassie Boorn is a writer, social media specialist, entrepreneur, and PR girl who has built digital programs for Fortune 500 companies, entrepreneurs, small businesses, and bloggers. A version of this story first appeared on her blog, Ask A PR Girl.

Keeping Direct Mail Relevant in an Online World

Keeping Direct Mail Relevant in an Online World

FDMA February Meeting: Get your Direct Mail License to Kill

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Keeping Direct Mail Relevant in an Online World


Are you “killing it” at direct mail?

Do you know how to integrate the online and the direct mail worlds?

Want to add a PROVEN new (mature) channel in a 2.0 way?

February Event

Keeping Direct Mail Relevant
in an Online World

Event Speaker: Dave Lewis, President, SnailWorks

Dave Lewis is a recognized innovator in the direct mail industry. Dave was one of the creators of trackmymail.com, now a part of Pitney Bowes, and a co-founder of SnailWorks™, the first web-based company dedicated to integrating direct mail and the online world. He has been working in the direct mail industry for more than 30 years, and has held almost every possible position, from a letter carrier in the 1970’s to operations and marketing positions to a company owner.

An acclaimed speaker, Dave has spoken at National Postal Forums, dozens of PCC meetings and other industry events. In fact, in 2008 he was awarded MFSA’s Luke Kaiser Educational Award for his efforts. Dave has spoken on topics from mail piece design, to Intelligent Mail, and using Multi-Channel Marketing. His approach is casual and entertaining, but always informative.

Click Here To REGISTER

How to assemble a creative team that clicks

How to assemble a creative team that clicks

How to assemble a creative team that clicks

By Gina Smith | Posted: February 5, 2014
From graphic designers, copywriters, and website developers to media buyers, public relations professionals, and social media staff, a company’s creative team usually comprises an array of people with differing personalities and perspectives. 

Whether the team is made up of employees, outsourced talent, or a combination of both, it is important for everyone to work together as one cohesive unit to develop the most effective branding and marketing strategies for the company. 

What sounds simple can present quite a challenge when opposing personalities are trying to work together. The key is to develop a creative team that clicks despite their differences. 

Let’s look at some ideas to help you develop a productive creative team: 

Hire a creative director/project manager. 

This person brings everyone together. He or she can also help communicate the overall vision of each project and keep everyone in check. 

It is not uncommon for creative minds to sometimes go off on tangents. This can actually be beneficial in a brainstorming session, but it can be detrimental when it happens in the middle of a project with a hard deadline. 

The creative director/project manager should be someone with a keen eye for detail and ability to manage many different personalities. 

Involve the current creative team in interview/selection process. 

Most creative teams consist of a project manager, graphic designer, website developer, copywriter, public relations professional, social media manager and media buyer. Some of these skill sets may be combined; for instance, the public relations manager might also be the copywriter or social media manager. On the other hand, graphic design and website development are often their own entities. 

Whether you have in-house staff, an outsourced team, or a combination, be sure to involve your current creative team in the interview/selection process of any new talent. This can help ensure you are hiring a team that works well together and is willing to get on board with the overall vision. 

Develop a branding protocol. 

Though many larger corporations already do this, it is rare to find a small business with a branding protocol. All businesses should have this to ensure everyone is on the same page and communicating the company vision in a concise, uniform manner. 

Any branding protocol should include, at a minimum, information about: the logo (how/where it can be used and displayed, scaling, and colors); the company tagline (where it should be included and how it is to be used); and some company boilerplate to be used in all marketing materials, on your website, and in press releases. 

Meet regularly. 

The creative team should meet at least once a week. This is the time for everyone to discuss pending projects and offer their thoughts and ideas. More often than not, the website developer has no idea a new ad is hitting the airwaves, and the PR team is unaware of new website features. 

Keeping everyone informed and minimally involved with each process can prove advantageous. Perhaps the PR department will want to distribute a press release about a new website feature or some other new project. 

These meetings also help ensure consistent branding. It’s good to have a second or third eye to review ad copy and content, marketing materials, and website text. People tend to work better together when everyone is on the same page and no one feels left out. 

[RELATED: Find out how the best workplaces have the most engaged and collaborative workforces at our February conference.

Careful development of your creative team is the first step in marketing success. Once you have put together a team that works well together, the sky is the limit. 

However, a team that does not get along can be very detrimental to your business. Taking extra steps to ensure you hire a creative team that clicks will save you time, money, and headaches in the long run. 

Gina Smith writes freelance articles for magazines, online outlets and publications on behalf of a number of companies, including Global Response. Smith covers the latest topics in the business, golf, tourism, technology and entertainment industries. 

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How content marketing can kill PR

How content marketing can kill PR

How content marketing could kill PR

By Christopher Penn | Posted: February 4, 2014
We’ve written at length recently about how public relations can boost content marketing and how public relations can be an integral part of your content marketing strategy.


There is a dark side, a converse aspect to this topic: Content marketing could also kill the effectiveness of your PR efforts.

How? Public relations professionals are more frequently being asked to pitch “non-traditional” content. Gone are the days when we could simply send out a press release or three, make a few phone calls to connect an executive to a reporter, and watch the hits roll in.

Today, PR pros are being asked to pitch infographics, to get blog posts and bylines placed, to make videos “go viral,” to promote online events from chats to live video hangouts-in short, to market brands’ content marketing.

The nature of content marketing is that content must keep getting better simply to stay relevant to the same audience. What’s equally true: Because of the nature of content marketing and its perceived ease (and perceived low cost), companies will keep producing content that is increasingly mediocre, and in vastly greater quantities.

[RELATEDGet advanced brand journalism tips from Mark Ragan and Jim Ylisela.]

What could kill public relations is not the content marketing itself, but increasing pressure from brands to pitch mediocre or bad content. Reporters, influencers, bloggers, and media channels are already swamped with a rising tide of bad content. Add aggressive pitching from PR professionals, and this will only make the situation worse while accelerating the degradation of the relationships between brands and their media sources.

Imagine for a moment a media influencer’s inbox. The deciding factor between whether they even bother to open four dozen emails titled “Latest infographic from X about Y” may be who sent the email. A trusted PR source may be the only reason that an email gets opened.

Because of the increasingly valuable nature of the relationship between PR professionals and media resources, we will do better to educate a client or business stakeholder by declining to pitch a piece of mediocre content than to aggressively pitch something that will seriously damage or destroy the relationship with the media influencer, preventing us from getting anything placed for said client in the future.

In order to preserve those relationships, we must start distinguishing good and bad content and helping brands improve their content long before it is pitched. This means that we, as PR pros, must become proficient at recognizing bad data, bad analysis of data, lack of creativity, rewrites and plagiarism, and myriad other symptoms that define bad content marketing.

We also must be well read in virtually every aspect of their brands’ or clients’ industries to keep current and be able to counsel clients about their content marketing. This also means that PR will need to work in concert with marketing efforts, so that scarce resources are not wasted producing bad content that will get no traction or attention.

If we do not proactively stop bad content from being pitched, then the rising tide of mediocre content will permanently ruin the profession of public relations. No reporter, no journalist, no influencer wants to publish garbage, and the clamor to do so by inept content marketers will only get louder.


Christopher S. Penn is the vice president for marketing technology at Shift Communications. This article first appeared on the Shift Communications blog.