Tag Archives: public relations

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The Most Underused Social Media Platform

The Most Underused Social Media Platform

Reading about the upcoming 2014 content marketing trends from Crazy Egg’s blog, I was reminded how SlideShare is still underused by most social media marketers. It still surprising how often this fantastic tool gets overlooked.

Last year I spoke with PR Week’s Tanya Lewis about the use of SlideShare and PR. If you don’t know what Slideshare is, it is the world’s largest community for sharing presentations. With 60 million monthly visitors and and 120 million page views it is one of the top 150 sites on the Internet. Who doesn’t need more views to their website or content?

My presentation from PRSA event in November. Since presenting, it has been viewed more than 450 times. That is beyond the 50 plus folks in the audience who say it. Boom. Now that's what I call increasing awareness.

My presentation from PRSA event in November. Since presenting, it has been viewed more than 450 times. That is beyond the 50 plus folks in the audience who say it. Boom. Now that’s what I call increasing awareness.

I am a huge proponent of SlideShare. For any marketer or public relations professional looking for ways to build their client expertise you shouldn’t look any further. Seriously. Who doesn’t have a Powerpoint to share? How many of you have client looking to you to create content? Here is a chance to repurpose and reuse good content.

Here is my personal example using SlideShare, back in November, I had the opportunity to present to a regional PRSA conference.

Now, when I presented there was about 50 plus folks in the room. Not bad right? But, when I posted my presentation to SlideShare a few things happen:

1) More exposure. Since posting to SlideShare, the presentation has been viewed more than 600 times. Not trending on SlideShare, but definitely worth the investment of increasing my reach by 9X.

2) Someone from the presentation also blogged about it. Bonus! He blogged on Vocus corporate blog and linked to the SlideShare posting. This was a key driver of viewers to my SlideShare presentation. Bonus: a reporter from my local market also covered the story too. Love it.

3) Increased credibility. Amazing when you can share your ideas and thoughts, folks seek you out for advice and expertise. Building expertise through showing your work. Huzzah, what every PR person wants for their client: ability to leverage their expertise and get noticed.

Final thought: You or your client already have some pretty decent presentation that are probably worth sharing. Why not give it a shot?

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Part Two: How to Use Storytelling in Your Content Marketing

I recently attended a Content Marketing Institute webinar on the 2014 upcoming content marketing trends. One of the key approaches to content marketing is understand who you are creating content for. It’s not about what you want to write about, it is about what your audience cares about. I thought the webinar was timely and highlighted the importance of knowing your audience.

In the second installment of how to use storytelling in your content marketing I evaluate the importance of defining your audience and keeping organized.

Step Three: Define Your Audience

Now that you have everyone on board to be storytellers, it’s time to define your audience. If you have developed personas for your marketing use those to help develop your stories. If you do not have personas, here is why you need them: Personas help define who will consume the new content you are about to create.

Personas are profiles of your customer. They are a snapshot into what motivates that customer to buy your products or services. Questions to consider when developing personas: what makes the audience engage? Why should they care? What’s in it for them? What do you want the audience to do after reading your story?

Creating personas will take time. You will need to do some interviewing of current clients as well as stakeholders who work directly with them. A great example of how to research your audience is look at job postings in your field. I am currently working in the energy space and was having trouble understanding who works in the energy space. I started looking at job postings to find out who the utilities were trying to employ and use this as the foundation for me to build my personas. It wasn’t perfect, but with the requirements I understood what was needed in their roles which in turn helped me figure out pain points and motivators. I used this as the foundation to build the personas and peppered subject matter interviews to refine the personas.

Contribution from atlanta.iabc.com

Contribution from atlanta.iabc.com

Step Four: Get Organized

Managing multiple themes and getting your story out in the market will take planning and organization. Editorial calendars will be your new favorite tool in 2014.

Editorial calendars helps organizations organize multiple themes, platforms, team members, and manage the process of creation. Pam Dyer, a Social Media Today contributor wrote that editorial calendars should be viewed as a roadmap to ensure your content is optimized to meet your business goals and targets the right audience. It will also provide assurance that your contributors, stakeholders, and distribution channels are working in concert. I love that because as marketers we sometimes neglect the planning and organizing internal resources to create content.

As the Director of Content Marketing, as see my role as the CEO of content. I help plan, but also I make sure all folks contributing understand they are accountable to delivering the content. The editorial calendar is a great tool to work with multiple stakeholders to understand where their content will be distributed and manage deadlines. I would also stress that the editorial calendar is not static, but ever evolving. I am constantly changing themes and distribution of content based on changes of my contributors or marketplace. A great example was my firm’s recent whitepaper on the polar vortex affect the U.S. energy market ability to respond to extreme weather. Based on small changes to timing we were able to capitalize on great earned media opportunities in the national press and trade publications.

Editorial calendars also help me manage the contributors and foresee holes in the plan. It can also be a great source to help you generate ideas for future contributions and repurpose opportunities. Don’t think you can use only one story at a time, you can repurpose several content pieces for different platforms such as social and off line.

Storytelling is not a new concept, but is more challenging to use in today’s noisy marketplace. Marketers who will effectively use realize this technique will take time, planning, and executive buy in. it’s not only about the planning, but also the stories themselves. Do you have a corporate story that will resonate and cut through the noise?

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.

#FunFactFridays: Do’s and Don’ts When Working with PR Folks

For any public relations professionals who work in an internal or external capacity, it is sometimes challenging to get folks to understand what you actually do. Thinking about some of the challenges, I thought for #FunFactFridays I pull together a list of do’s and don’ts when interacting with your PR folks.

Don’t be Last Minute

So here’s the thing, while most of us get that things pop up unexpectedly there are a few things that can be planned for: conferences, speeches, philanthropy events, big deals, and the list can go on. Bottom line is if you didn’t plan for it, it is hard for the PR person to be successful. Ultimately, you are putting us behind the eight ball. Not that is different than other professions (is you don’t plan, you plan for failure), but the more time you give PR folks to do their job, the more successful your initiative will be.

Do's and Dont'sDo Bring Ideas

I love to hear ideas, but that is just that. I like to “hear” not just be told what to do. Two different approaches. The best PR programs are the ones where true collaboration takes places. No one wants to hear, “ it so easy to write this media release, all you have to do is.” While the activity seems rather easy, there is a lot that goes into a PR program and its strategy.

After publishing this post yesterday, my colleague Allison commented, “While it’s great to bring ideas, bringing fully baked ideas is key. If you haven’t fully thought out your idea, it’s best to keep it in the oven until it’s ready. But if you feel confident enough that you have a kernel of a great idea (and this would be a huge gut feeling of confidence not an inkling), collaboration with your teammates may turn it into something great.”

Don’t think I just Send Media Releases

This is my favorite. While it is true PR folks send media releases, this is just the first step. There is a lot more involved in public relations activities. Ragan did a fabulous article recently on how PR folks are like sales people. So true, there is a lot of steps and activities we engage in everyday: calling reporter, researching angles, stalking editors, changing subject matter experts, and the list goes on.

Do use PR to Story Tell

I truly believe that public relations is the corporate or master storytellers. It is your role to paint a cohesive and consist story about your organization. Storytelling is PR; it essentially boils down to connecting an organization and people through a story.

The same is true in PR — multiple perspectives make a brand story more genuine and believable. And think about, it is in our human nature to share and respond to great stories.

Mr. Fix-It’s Guide to Public Relations

Dad + Garage+ Stuff Breaking = Powerful #PR Lessons

Sitting at my desk the other day, I began thinking about how working in my dad’s garage helped me prepare for the somewhat unpredictable, stressful career in public relations. My dad was Mr. Fix It. There wasn’t anything that he couldn’t build or fix without ingenuity, duck tape, and nails. I spent many summers working with my dad on his “diamond in the rough” truck, housing projects like updating the bathroom, or anything that struck my dad as needed to be fixed.  This is exactly what every girl wants to do: get dirty, use tools, and hangout in the garage. But looking back at it now, I can appreciate some of the lessons I learned during my “on the job training” courteous of my dad.

Keep Calm and Carry On.

How many times have you picked up the phone and on the other end is some type of crisis. Big or small, it will most likely derail your day. The equlivant to this is when my mom would say, “Hey, the drain isn’t working and <insert something exaggerated>.” Calmly, my dad would go into the garage, grab his toolbox, and come back into the house. Of course, dad needed an assistant. My function was super important; I was chief flashlight holder looking on as my dad tapped, bang, and cursed his way to a solution. He didn’t complain. He looked at whatever the problem was and fixed it. Few words in between, but in the end it was completed. Now, I address challenges in the same fashion: no theatrics and maybe a few expletives along the way. You can get frustrated behind closed doors, but in front of your clients or stakeholders, calm and collected will get the job done.

Mr. Fix It PR Guide

Problems? Duck tape is your answer to everything.

Creative Solutions.

Any homeowner knows that things are bound to break. Our house was no exception, but instead of calling a professional, my dad tried to fix it himself. These were the days before you could type in “fix <insert item>” on YouTube. My dad without fail would bring the toolbox out, take a look at what ever was “broken” and attempted to fix it. Sometimes with duck tape, sometimes banging on it, or creating some type of DIY solution. Crazy enough this worked. Many times, PR folks have to make things happen and fast. Last minute interview and no expert? No problem. Creativity is one of the best assets a professional can have in their tool belt. Learn to think on your feet and be prepared for anything. Sometimes it is the crazy ideas that work and get the job done.

Be Fearless, but not Stupid.

Working in the garage had it benefits. I learned how to hammer a nail, use a level, and change my own oil. All great skills to have, right? Most importantly, I learned when to take a risk or when not to. Dad may have been Mr. Fix-It, but there where a few things he didn’t touch: electric, demolition, and electric (twice because you can’t be too careful). Similarly, you can be fearless, but don’t take unnecessary risks. Early on in my career, I definitely took some risks that I probably should have not. Like learning when not to say, ” I told you so” to your boss or sharing your “honesty” to a coworker. Like dad said, “don’t be stupid.”

I had no idea that helping my dad with his weekend projects would help me build vital skills for my  career. Thanks dad for teaching me I could do anything if I put a little elbow grease and tenacity behind it.