Category Archives: Public Relations

Seven Ways How PR Made Me a Better Marketer

A few months ago, I made the transition from public relations back to marketing. Except this time I approach my marketing very differently. As a marketing communications professional, I am always entertained how both disciplines see each other differently. I would wager to say that spending time in public relations made me a better marketer for several reasons:

Always thinking in terms of your intended audience

Marketers sometimes forget that without an audience no one will know about your products. Folks need to think about their intended audience and how they consume content. PR people get this and use storytelling innately in their programs and campaigns. People will remember a story more than your products. Hello anecdote examples. Remember this, the most valued and shared stories reveal unfulfilled needs and desires.” Jon King, Managing Director, Story Worldwide Europe

Understand the importance of storytelling

The first way to bring storytelling into your business is to make your customer the hero. Not to be trite, I often see many websites with more sales sheets than client success stories or case studies. Storytelling allows you to put your customer in the limelight. Share their successes and challenges. I used video to share industry insight by the folks (clients, employees, pundits) in my former company who have been in the market and shared their experiences.

Rachel Metscher Why PR made me a Better Marketer

Image from SpinSucks.com

Writing in understandable, “real voice” is vital

Leave your marketing speak and your boilerplates at home. No jargon or buzzwords. Seriously.

Understand social Media  is an integrated approach, not a separate channel

Social should not be considered a separate entity, but an integrated approach to your marketing programs. Social Media is another opportunity to connect with your market. If your followers are not re-sharing your content, then you are missing a huge opportunity to engage and connect. When you think about content you share on social media think in terms of your ideal client. What do they want to share? What type of information they need? What do they want to hear?

Most folks want to share photos, stories, links to articles that will help or teach them something new. Be the source of information people want to engage with. Charity: Water does an amazing job of telling the story of how bringing clean, safe drinking water to people in developing nations is connected to their donation. I love the page about sponsoring a water project that in great detail shares what a contributor’s donation actually is used for. Fantastic use of images, details to tell their story and how it contributes to the greater good.

Incorporating digital such as SEO and SEM

If you are not thinking how your audience is finding your products or services, you are missing a huge opportunity. Marketers need to pay close attention of what has been happening in search. In particular, Content Marketing Institute wrote a great article about the Penguin 2.0  changes several months ago, but you want to pay close attention to point four. An excerpt from the article is what makes me smile: Takeaway #4: Earned media and digital PR can help you recover from Panda. Driving a variety of quality digital signals is a future-proof SEO strategy. Having a broad diversification of off-page signals communicates authority and trust to Google. Content marketing and digital PR folks who primarily rely on their compelling content to drive search engine traffic should be smiling now because the future looks bright for them. It looks bright because with each algorithm update, Google gets even better at rewarding good content from authoritative people and brands.

Use  Earned Media as an Opportunity to Share More

If you are not repurposing your media coverage for other opportunities, you are missing out big time. The biggest opportunity is to take the coverage that is already written by someone else and use it for promotional or other marketing efforts. Hello! It is already trusted and valued since it is coming from someone else. Extend the life of your media coverage by using earned media as your hub for content.   Boom! There goes your reach by four times.

Earned media maybe new for you, but this concept of earned media is coming up more and more in the last few years. If you’re interested in learning more, Jeremiah Owyang from the Altimeter Group, wrote about the concept of earned media last year in the report, The Converged Media Imperative: How Brands Must Combine Paid, Owned & Earned Media from Altimeter Group Network on SlideShare.

It’s about teaching not telling

I talk a lot about not talking at the market, but with your customers. In order to be a teacher you need to understand the important of listening. Listen to what is going on in your market today. Content Marketing Institute wrote an awesome article about thought leadership and address the importance of understanding what constitutes a remarkable vision, how to effectively capture attention and share it with the masses, and know the steps to take to move from idea to adoption.

Interview clients. Talk with your internal subject matter experts to find out what is going on. The teach your clients about topics that they don’t know about. Share how to make them more successful.

Rachel DiCaro Metscher  has worked with many organizations to build their communications and marketing programs, including Fannie Mae, American Psychological Association, and The Princeton Review. She is currently working in the DC metro area building content marketing programs from the ground up.

The Grinch that Stole Target’s Social Media Christmas

Target Digital CrisisThe Grinch may be just a fictitious creature, but Target is feeling a little less merry with a recent credit card breech days before Christmas. If the breech isn’t bad enough, the digital crisis brewing on their social media channels would scare anyone into the next Whoville town.

According to a recent Forbes article, buried on Target’s website was a length 1500 word statement about the “unauthorized access to payment card data in U.S. stores.” Unfortunately, Target has tried to downplay the facts that its customers most needed to hear now.

It’s get a bit scarier when you look at Target’s Facebook page with 2,206 responses and counting about what Target is not doing, but limited responses from the company. And if they do respond, it is vague.  During a crisis, limited responses or canned postings from the company on social media is bad. Really bad. Where’s the engagement? Where’s the two way conversation? Folks are concerned and there is not much information beyond the statement on their website and providing some tips.

This is where I see companies go wrong; they are ready to engage in social media when things are good, but scale back during a crisis. Transparency is key in any situation, but more importantly in a digital crisis. Why? Your digital crisis plays out for an entire audience to see not just for your customers.  Since I don’t know the strategy behind Target’s social media, there are a few things for folks to consider if your company runs into digital trouble:

  • Be more transparent. The worst thing you can do is repurpose your statement 5 different ways.
  • Prepared. Edelman has a great post on how company can leverage social media during a crisis.
  • Have a plan. Every company on social media should have a social media response protocol. Make sure your employees know what’s expected of them by providing them a framework.
  • Be ready to implement that plan quickly. Another great nugget from Edelman about having a crisis toolkit.
  • Increase in support. If you have a dedicated team for social, in time of crisis ramp that number up. On the Facebook page, angry customers are posting a lot of comments with limited responses from Target. I imagine because Target social media folks are working with multiple folks to approve statements before posting.
  • Be faster. Social media is in real time. It cannot wait until the next business day. You need to respond quickly, not in days, but in minutes.
  • Afterwards debrief. Figure out lessons learned and improve.

While I am not sure how this will play out in the coming days, I believe Target has an opportunity to wow their customers.  Folks want to interact and voice their opinion. If Target doesn’t respond, metaphorically it will  hang up on thousands of clients virtually for everyone to see. There is still time to turn this around if the company truly understands what social media is about: real people having real conversations.

Rachel DiCaro Metscher  has worked with many organizations to build their communications and marketing programs, including Fannie Mae, American Psychological Association, and The Princeton Review. She is currently working in the DC metro area building content marketing programs from the ground up.

Five Steps to Position Your Personal Brand Online

I am currently reading a book for an upcoming class that is a marketing and communications fundamental, Positioning by Al Ries and Jack Trout. It is a tremendous book for any communicator looking to learn how to cut through the noise of their respective marketplace. Reading this book, reminds me how professionals need to tap into the same principles to positioning their own personal brand online. But, how can you position your personal brand online?

Step One: Plan

Failure to plan is planning to fail.  Hillary Clinton

The first tip into positioning your personal brand is to know what you want it to stand for. My former colleague Sarah Hums, is working with her team of Oracle marketing advisors to better position themselves as leaders in their industry.

So, how do you plan?

Rachel Metscher Making Your Online Personal Brand

Image from info.brandprotect.com

They outlined what they wanted to achieve in terms of personal goals. Next up for the team was to construct their individual personal brand statement. The team also evaluated fellow marketing experts in their industry to deconstruct what were the components to their personal brand. Loved this concept because it is important for all of us to step back and ask ourselves simple, but poignant questions on what we want to achieve.

Step Two: Build Your Personal Brand Statement

Kimberly Peters, marketing advisor at Oracle, shared some of her experiences with developing her own personal brand statement that steers her online activities:

  1. Don’t get overwhelmed. Engage with like-minded folks and see how they share their personal brand online.
  2. Be conscious. Kimberly shared that sharing information online shouldn’t be on autopilot. Be conscious of the information you share and make sure to add your insight. That’s the whole point of social media. Don’t forget the social.
  3. Take baby steps. Kimberly took small steps towards building her statement. She wanted to make sure she conveyed her modern marketing expertise, but also her personality. I think her Twitter bio is a true reflection of both personality and her work style: Mom. Runner. Photographer. Crazy Optimist. 10+YRS Marketing Geek. Work @EIoqua. Inspiring marketers on choppy waters to stay calm, sail forward, and be AWESOME!

Step Three: Build the Ship

Now that you have your plan and your statement, how do you build your brand from the ground up? Start building up your personal brand within your current network. If you are the go-to person for social media, use your knowledge to perhaps write a blog on your experience. Or perhaps submit a proposal to speak at your next professional organization conference.

Part of positioning is to get into your audience mind. Their perception is reality, so you need to get their attention. Perhaps your industry is niched and you can share best practices on how to be successful? Who wouldn’t want to learn best practices to avoid pitfalls?

 

Step Four: Spread the Word

Social media is excellent for building your personal brand. You can share 140 characters of nuggets or write a blog post on helpful tips. Maybe you create a Tumblr page of what not to do in your next #PR pitch?

Whatever your content poison is, make sure you share it socially. The key to building expertise is to share your stories. Everyone has something to share.

Step Five: Monitor Your Progress

You can’t measure your success if you don’t monitor your progress. The only way to monitor your progress is to revisit your goals (see step one) on where you started and where you are today. Maybe you do this every six months. Whatever your frequency is, measure your progress to make sure you are on target. Maybe you measure this by followers on Twitter or how many conference proposals were accepted.

Rachel DiCaro Metscher, director of advocacy and communications for Hobsons, has worked with many organizations to build their communications and marketing programs, including Fannie Mae, American Psychological Association, and The Princeton Review. Currently, Rachel is responsible for Hobsons’ external communication programs, which include public relations, brand, website, and social media.

Happy Birthday Metscher’s Musing

Its been one year since I started Metscher’s Musing based on my experience in communications, social media, and public relations. The blog has been an amazing experience. I am glad that after talking it in concept  for more than a year, it went live on August 12, 2012.

Happy_Birthday_Metscher_MusingsSince then the blog has been shared not only in the States, but also in United Kingdom, Australia, and many other countries. Amazing! Thank you so much for reading and sharing my posts. There are many, many blogs to choose from and thank you for taking the time!

365 Days Later…54 Posts and Counting

Since my first post in August 2012, I have written 54 posts on a variety of topics such as social media trials and tribulations, communications best practices, and public relations trends. I listed my top posts for you, but don’t be shy. Check out my other musings.

  1. Six Reasons Why Your Sales Folks Don’t Use Social Media
  2. The Undervalue of a Thank You
  3. Fun Fact Fridays: Nine LinkedIn Tips for Introverts
  4. 16 Ways to Successfully Fuel Your Content Curation Machine
  5. Ten Questions You Should Ask Before Making the Social Media Leap
  6. 16 and One Ways on How to be a Better Storyteller
  7. Six More Tips For Building a Social Media Roadmap
  8. Why is Earned Media Important to Your SEO Strategy?
  9. 4 Reasons Why a Blog Helps Your Personal Brand
  10. #FunFactFridays: Do’s and Don’ts When Working with PR Folks
  11. How to Run an Internal Social Media Training Workshop
  12. Six Tips to Be More Creative in Your Public Relations Work (Part One)

 

 

Rachel DiCaro Metscher, director of advocacy and communications for Hobsons, has worked with many organizations to build their communications and marketing programs, including Fannie Mae, American Psychological Association, and The Princeton Review. Currently, Rachel is responsible for Hobsons’ external communication programs, which include public relations, brand, website, and social media.

20 Signs You’re a Public Relations Hipster

Last week, my friend asked for some advice with a personal brand project. Her assignment was to help her team build their personal brand within the company and crowded marketplace.

So, if you are going to tell others how to create a rockstar profile, you have to practice what you preach. Naturally, her folks checked out my profile and came up with my personal brand, PR Hipster.

Loving this concept, I did some more research. When I think of hipster, what comes to mind is someone inevitably wearing hip clothes, Ray Bans, drinks coffee often and a lot of it, and usually has a stellar vocab. Perhaps the team was right?  According to Urban dictionary,  hipster is more than fashion:

Public Relations HipsterAlthough hipsters are technically conformists within their own subculture, in comparison to the much larger mainstream mass, they are pioneers and leaders of the latest cultural trends and ideals.

So what are the other signs of a Public Relations Hipster?

  1. You know the marriage between digital and public relations is coming.
  2. You’re planning on the convergence between paid and earn media.
  3. You love social media and use it often for work and personal.
  4. While you tinker with new social media tools, you know a plan and a strategy are needed.
  5. You are the first one in a meeting to think how to repurpose content.
  6. You consider yourself a storyteller.
  7. If there’s not a plan, you put one in place.
  8. You frown upon trite media campaigns in favor of thoughtful and thought provoking content.
  9. You ask “so what” and “why” often.
  10.  You understand how Content+Social+Public Relations is a winning equation.
  11. You question the norm often.
  12. You understand short and sweet is the best kind of media release.
  13. When pitching you understand personalization and relationships are key.
  14.  You get that selling new ideas is about change management.
  15. You love your haters. They are your motivators.
  16. You have learned the art of selective hearing and ignore noise.
  17. You are sometimes a contrarian.
  18. You wear plaid and other retro articles of clothing.Of Course!
  19. You likely to share your love of documentaries or indie rock.
  20. Your don’t worry about whatever everyone else is doing. You forge ahead and build awesome public relations programs.
  21. Bonus: You are disruptive by nature.

What would you add as a sign for public relations hipsters?

Added from my colleague, Allison O’Quinn:

  1. There’s an unnatural obsession to stay on top of all the latest celebrity gossip.
  2. You tend to be the event planner in your group of friends.
  3. constantly fine tuning your organizational style and discussing it with colleagues (or anyone that’ll listen).

Rachel DiCaro Metscher, director of advocacy and communications for Hobsons, has worked with many organizations to build their communications and marketing programs, including Fannie Mae, American Psychological Association, and The Princeton Review. Currently, Rachel is responsible for Hobsons’ external communication programs, which include public relations, brand, website, and social media.

Six Tips to Be More Creative in Your Public Relations Work (Part One)

I recently spoke on the Bulldog Reporter panel about how to bring more creativity in your public relations work. Love the opportunity to share some nuggets on how I bring more creativity to my work. And let’s be honest, sometimes being creativity is hard work. So, here are my tips to bringing more creativity to your public relations work:

  •  Schedule Time for Creativity. You need to schedule time to be creative because it just won’t magically happen otherwise. Back to back meetings are not helping your creativity so make sure to budget time to brainstorm ideas. Schedule down time to do research or noodle on topics at least once a week.
  • Plan for Research in the Process. Sometimes when brainstorming, I start researching a variety of germane topics on Google. Look for the weird and opportunities outside your discipline to generate ideas. I recently spoke with one of our developers who share different articles that are funny or inspiring to jump-start her team’s creativity. For me, when I am struggling with creating content, I check out Buzzfeed or Huffington Post often because both of these publications do an amazing job of creating entertaining and engaging headlines and content.
  • Add an Incubation Period. So, when you think you have the next great idea, let it simmer first before sharing. Lifehacker wrote about the importance of an incubation period, “Especially if you have thought long and hard all day about a problem, jumping into the shower can turn into what scientist call the “incubation period” for your ideas. The subconscious mind has been working extremely hard to solve the problems you face and now that you let your mind wander, it can surface and plant those ideas into you.”
  • Find a Buddy to Bounce Ideas. Who says your boss or coworkers are the only people you should chat with about ideas? Look for likeminded people in other departments, industries or companies. Some of my best ideas have come when I have chatted with people outside my organization who have other experiences and backgrounds.
  • Plan for Naysayers, Roadblockers, and Buzzkillers. These folks dislike change and don’t want to rock the boat with new ideas. Plan for them and make them apart of creative process early. Another piece of advice worth reading is Peter Shankman’s why to love your haters .Rachel Metscher's Journal for Metscher Musing
  • Carry a Journal. I am old school and carry this journal everywhere I go. You never know when you will have an idea. If you are addicted to your iPhone look into Evernote.

This is only a short list, but starting small can lead to big ideas.

 

 

Rachel DiCaro Metscher, director of advocacy and communications for Hobsons, has worked with many organizations to build their communications and marketing programs, including Fannie Mae, American Psychological Association, and The Princeton Review. Currently, Rachel is responsible for Hobsons’ external communication programs, which include public relations, brand, website, and social media.

Why is Earned Media Important to Your SEO Strategy?

Update 6.19.13

After reading about Google’s Penguin 2.0 updates, I wanted to update my past article about earned media.  If you are keeping up on the new updates from Google’s Penguin 2.0, you have learned that off-page signals such as earned media will play a bigger role in your search engine optimization (SEO) practices. Earn media helps build authority.  I don’t think that is a surprise to most PR folks.  However, I think that this latest updates shows not only that relevant, worthy content is vital to your SEO strategy, but also supports and builds a case for your public relations work.

Content Marketing Institute wrote a great article about the recent changes, but you want to pay close attention to point four. An excerpt from the article is what makes me smile: Takeaway #4: Earned media and digital PR can help you recover from Panda. Driving a variety of quality digital signals is a future-proof SEO strategy. Having a broad diversification of off-page signals communicates authority and trust to Google. Content marketing and digital PR folks who primarily rely on their compelling content to drive search engine traffic should be smiling now because the future looks bright for them. It looks bright because with each algorithm update, Google gets even better at rewarding good content from authoritative people and brands.

So what does this mean to you?

  • Social mentions of your earn media is important. Make sure you are sharing those placements on your social channels.
  • If you have placed your earn media bets on trades, you have bet well. Keep it up! National coverage is always a plus, but building your authority in your market is equally important. No surprises there.
  • CMI mentions the importance of my favorite underused site, Slideshare. If you have presentations that have worthy, interesting points about your market or best practices, start up loading today. this will help with authority and off-page signals.
  • Authority is important to Google. Build those expertises through your content, but also getting your experts in the market through interviews, articles, podcasts, etc.

Previously published article from May 13, 2013.

Last week, I attended an amazing webinar from the folks at Vocus on earned media and how you should be using it more in your PR toolkit. I also created a Storify thread with all the great nuggets shared from the presentation.

For those of you who are not familiar with the term, earned media is what others say about you whether it is in print or online media (think Twitter, Facebook, etc.). I believe earned media is the new media for the modern PR practitioner: PR folks are now working on placement not only with reporter from national or regional publications, but also bloggers, Twitter influencers, and other new media targets.

Why is it important? Earned media, in theory, is unbiased and unsolicited. When folks go to Google and search for your company, they can find all kinds of reactions and social shares that are unfiltered and not corporate speak. By far, earned media is the most trusted place as a source of information about a company (see below chart).

Earned Media: Most Trusted

Convergence of PR and Social Media

Why is earned media getting so much attention these days? I think the biggest reason fueling the concept is the convergence of public relations and social media. PR folks traditionally have been working on messaging and with the growth of social media, it makes sense we are blending our efforts to cover both social and traditional media. What I believe is different about earned media it is no longer just about what companies put in print, but rather what other influencers such as clients or advocates are saying. It is more of a blended world where everyone has a say. Not many corporate executives understand  they do not control the message megaphone when it comes to its company’s brand online and with social media. Organizations need to understand while they cannot control, they can influence.

Use Earned Media as an Opportunity to Share More

So many things you can do with a blog post or article such as sponsor a story, post it to your Google + account, Promote it on Twitter, or Syndicate the content.

So many things you can do with a blog post or article such as sponsor a story, post it to your Google + account, Promote it on Twitter, or Syndicate the content.

What struck me about this presentation was that this concept is new for most folks. If you are not repurposing your media coverage for other opportunities, you are missing out big time. The biggest opportunity is to take the coverage that is already written by someone else and use it for promotional or other marketing efforts. Hello! It is already trusted and valued since it is coming from someone else. Extend the life of your media coverage by using earned media as your hub for content.   Boom! There goes your reach by four times.

Sold? Learn More about Earned 

Earned media maybe new for you, but this concept of earned media is coming up more and more in the last few years. If you’re interested in learning more, Jeremiah Owyang from the Altimeter Group, wrote about the concept of earned media last year in the report, The Converged Media Imperative: How Brands Must Combine Paid, Owned & Earned Media from Altimeter Group Network on SlideShare.