Tag Archives: public relations

Mid-Year Review: Assessing Your Public Relations Strategy

20 Jun

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Now that 2017 is more than halfway finished, it’s a good time to take an objective assessment of your public relations strategy. Even if your company – like many others – reviewed your objectives, goals and solutions to ensure that your public relations were a better fit as the new year kicked off, it’s a good idea to perform this step again now that it’s been a few months since its implementation. Here’s what to look for when assessing your public relations strategy at the mid-point of the year.

1. How are you stacking up against your competition?

Whether you’re the leader in your industry or that’s a position that you aspire to, you need to know what your competition is doing. Holding your company’s performance up against other businesses within the industry is an effective measurement of the success of your public relations strategy. Knowing where your brand stands in terms of market share, online search results, and consumer loyalty shows you if and where you need to tweak your strategy.

2. Are you devoting enough time to public relations?

Boosting your brand to the kind of success you envision requires a long-range mindset. While there are exceptions to the rule, in most cases a brand doesn’t achieve household recognition from a single, well-placed mention in the media. Instead, it takes the creation of a long-term plan that’s built in realistic expectations and solutions, as well as plenty of time to implement it.

3. Do you know how your content, social media and SEO strategies are doing?

Public relations is all about getting the awareness of your brand out to as many people as possible. One of the most effective methods of doing so is by leveraging SEO, content marketing and social media. Evaluate the results of your content marketing and SEO strategy thus far this year to determine if you need to make some changes.

4. Are you measuring your results on a regular basis?

While it’s a great idea to assess your public relations strategy on a yearly – or even a twice a year – basis, it will be more effective if you do so regularly. Data such as website referral traffic, market share and increased brand engagement can be pulled as often as daily to give you updates on the effectiveness of your strategy. Before doing so, however, be sure to establish some benchmark figures so you can measure this type of data more efficiently. Plan to assess your findings at least monthly so you can gain a keener understanding of your strategy’s effectiveness.

With this list of four questions, your brand can start a mid-year public relations assessment that sets you up for better performance for the rest of 2017. Don’t feel like you have to be hemmed in by these suggestions either as they’ll likely bring up other questions that need to be addressed along the way.

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5 Ways to Improve Public Relations

18 May

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The way you and your company relate to the public is crucial to its success. Understanding the need for public relations – and that engaging in public relations is not an option – is a primary reason for the success of many businesses. If you are a manufacturer of building products, you might not realize the importance of public relations, but the landscape is changing. Here are a few techniques you can implement to take advantage of PR:

1. Identify Your Areas of Expertise

Your areas of expertise might be solely oriented to the products you sell, or they could be tied to some type of service. The important thing to remember is that you want to limit yourself to a few key areas of expertise and then deliver focused messages within those realms. 

2. Pinpoint Your Target Audience

Do you want to reach out to high-end contractors more? Or are do-it-yourself (DIY) homeowners the ones that you want to target? Being able to pinpoint exactly to whom you want to deliver your message, helps you know where to focus your public relations efforts. 

3. Practice, Practice, Practice

Practice different methods of delivering your message. This might be developing speeches and having articles with your industry-specific advice appear in publications. Speaking opportunities, providing service on a board of directors, and other community activities also provide an ideal method of delivering your message and establishing good public relations. 

4. Identify the Proper Media Outlets

Whether you are talking about digital media or more traditional outlets, the media is eager to find experts who are willing to share their knowledge and provide insight. Don’t be afraid to reach out to the media and offer yourself up as an interview subject. 

5. Focus on the Media That is Interested in You

While you want to establish a presence with the media in general, honing your focus to those within the general business sector will yield more tangible results. Don’t forget to also target those media outlets that focus on the trade issues that are important to your business. 

The above suggestions will help you hone a more focused public relations campaign. The result is that your goals will be met more quickly than if you had an unfocused plan. ER Marketing develops public relations strategies that get results. Contact us today to learn how we can partner up to reach your public relations goals. 

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Our Take From Cleveland: #CMWorld Day Two

9 Sep

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Corey and Kate spent two days at #CMWorld in Cleveland. This is the second of two posts sharing their quick takeaways from the event. If you haven’t seen the first, check it out

Our second and final day at #CMWorld. And, like day one, it was a whirlwind of fresh ideas, new friends and awesome swag. (No stress balls!)

Airborne to KC, we’re chatting about what stood out on our final day. Here’s what comes to mind.

First, a stat: For every $5 spent on content creation, marketers are spending just a buck on distribution.

Does that surprise you? It sure caught our eye. Seems like we should be investing more than four quarters to maximize ROI.

Day two gave Corey the opportunity to talk with Jeff Julian on the Enterprise Marketer podcast.

Jeff and Corey chatted about the efficiency of content being pushed through digital channels, rather than dictated by SEO. They also talked about Google updates and how the company continues to show it’s learning context, which is yielding better content as a whole.

We’ll be sure to share Corey’s interview once it’s live. So, stay tuned.

It’s easy to leave a conference like this brimming with new ideas but unsure where to start. Fortunately, Thursday’s opening panel gave some encouraging words on how to take your content strategy to the next level. Here’s a hint: start.

Stephanie Losee with Visa, fresh from Rio for the Olympics, said it just takes one piece of content to begin. Not a launch party. Not a seven-figure budget. Just one piece of content from one SME conversation.

In the same vein, Jenifer Walsh with GE reminded us that content strategy is a marathon, not a sprint. And, that it takes time to build content traction. So, take a deep breath. You don’t have to have a community of a thousand followers on day one.

Finally, Raj Munusamy with Schneider Electric, told us the mind digests visual content six times faster than text. Six times.

What we heard: Goodbye 10-page white papers. Helloooo visual content that wows! (Apparently we should be drawing you a picture, not writing this post.)

So there you have it. Our initial take on two days of all content all the time.

Would we go again? Absolutely. Would Corey remember Cleveland is hot and humid? No doubt. Would Kate pack less? For sure. (Okay, that’s a lie.)

Keep an eye out for future posts from us. In the coming weeks, we’ll share more in-depth learnings from the show.

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The 4 Cs of Change Communications

7 Sep

Communicate Cost-Cutting Measures with Care

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Guest Contributor:
Kate O’Neil Rauber, Vice President of Public Relations

It was a record year for mergers and acquisitions in 2015, and 2016 is expected to follow suit. Experts also say certain industries will be more susceptible to layoffs, including tech and oil.

Whether companies are thinning teams to avoid M&A duplication or right-sizing staff in order to regain financial footing, executives must communicate cost-cutting measures with care.

“Survivors,” or those who remain with a company after massive changes, tend to have three initial thoughts:

First, shock. They can’t believe it’s happening. They may even be worried about having lost a close work friend.

Next, survivor shock quickly shifts to me. As in: Am I next?

Finally, there’s workload. Meaning, how much more work will I have to do now that others are gone? Or, how will I get my current projects done without a critical member of the team?

Understanding the survivor mind frame, executives communicating tough change management messages should embrace the four “Cs”:

1. Compassion: Someone is either losing a job or getting more work — when they already feel overworked. Show compassion and appreciation for everyone impacted. Remember, you’re talking about someone’s livelihood.

2. Candor: The story behind why this change is being made must be crisp and paint a compelling business case. Fluff and spin have no place here. Remember, employees will be looking to executive leadership — you — for answers.

3. Clarity: Paint the vision for where the company is headed. The initial sting hurts. But, (most) survivors will get on board if they understand and believe your vision. Remember, jobs have been lost and workloads have ballooned. Overnight.

4. Confidence: Survivors need to believe you. They want to know that in your bones, you believe this change is the best thing for the company. Remember, confidence is not the same as arrogance; one attracts — the other detracts.

Cost-cutting measures should be communicated with care — whether it’s a right-sizing, restructuring, downsizing, or another corporate code word for layoffs. You can’t merge corporate cultures or right the financial ship without your survivors on board.

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The Learning Continues

27 Jun

3 Suggestions for New Grads

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Guest Contributor:

Matt Hillman, Creative Director

As I approach a quarter century working in the marketing & advertising field, I’ve begun exercising my hard-earned right to be a curmudgeon. And a recent article in AdWeek offered some interesting reflections on the latest batch of graduates headed out to “conquer” the advertising world, and that helped me get in some quality scowling.

The article’s subhead “Traditional job titles can be shackles for multitalented grads” really grabbed my attention. It got me to thinking about not only new grads coming to advertising, but to the workforce in general.

The article opens:

Meet Jason. He’s an art director/filmmaker/editor/web designer. Or say hello to Sarah. She’s a writer/art director/journalist/photographer. Over there’s Ayusha. She’s a planner/art director.

From the rest of the article, it would seem like these new grads, nurtured by advances in technology and social media-fueled collaboration, are a force of multidisciplinary wunderkind poised to change work as we know it.

But the first problem as I see it isn’t in their state-of-the-art training or access to vast information, it’s their lack of experience—or rather, their confusing of ability with expertise. The notion that graduates arrive at agencies or offices or warehouses or any full-time job with a fully functional collection of self-defined skill sets is absurd at best and dangerous at worst.

The tricky thing about experience is that it takes experience to gather it, and time to realize that knowing is not the same as understanding. One of my favorite parts of the film Good Will Hunting is where Robin Williams’ character explains life to the young, troubled genius played by Matt Damon:

“So if I asked you about art, you’d probably give me the skinny on every art book ever written. Michelangelo, you know a lot about him. Life’s work, political aspirations, him and the pope, sexual orientations, the whole works, right? But I’ll bet you can’t tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel. You’ve never actually stood there and looked up at that beautiful ceiling, seen that.”

The desire for those entering the job market to somehow bypass the vitally important experience-phase seems to have grown more pronounced in recent years, perhaps fueled by the interactivity and immersion available from the internet. But there is no substitute for actually working in a real-world environment, removed from the safety and surety of the classroom.

The second problem is the idea that job titles are “shackles.” Job titles are intended to define a function or role, but not a person. And this is not a new idea. People coming from the exact same educational program with the exact same degree would still offer very different skill sets because their backgrounds, personalities, and experiences are different.

If job titles were what defined a person’s abilities, then based on my own skills and education, I could have easily started my career 24 years ago as a “writer/editor/illustrator” or even a “designer/coordinator/announcer” or any number of combinations that would have tried—futilely—to capture what I could contribute.

But instead, I selected one job title and worked to master it. I made a decision and commitment to be the best I could in that one area before setting out to tackle any others. And in the process, I not only made valuable mistakes, but I was able to surround myself with incredibly talented people in the fields that touched mine. In other words, I continued to learn well past graduation.

And that’s where I found the idea for 3 simple suggestions for new grads—let me know if you don’t agree:

Your 20s: Find Your Strengths.

Brimming with information, ideas, theories, and youthful exuberance (do not discount the value of that!) this is the time to figure out what you’re truly good at. Choices will need to be made routinely that will impact the course of your career and life; spend this period honing your skills in the real world, daring to be bold, taking risks, and asking questions. And in that process, learn from mistakes and build on successes.

Your 30s: Know Others’ Strengths.

Once you’ve sorted out what your core strengths are, surround yourself with talented people who are different—and even better!—than you are and learn how you can benefit from their strengths. Continue to polish your craft, but figure out how it relates to those of others. Whether it’s through helping directly, anticipating needs or simply having everything accounted for on your end, focus your energies on being the person everyone else can count on—that person who “gets it.”

Your 40s and Beyond: Understand the Balance.

By this time, you’ll have had some struggles—between life and work, between the job you have and the one you want, between your role and those of coworkers, between being someone who does the work and someone who leads it. This is the stretch where applying what you’ve learned comes into play. Understanding what’s really important and what really isn’t can only come from experience, and now is when you apply what you’ve learned over the years. This is the period where those hybrid job titles aren’t so farcical because they’ve been developed over time and are backed up by tangible experience.

While having multiple talents and being versatile can definitely be an asset, there’s an inescapable truth to the term “jack of all trades, but master of none.” With the ability to move laterally in different roles, the generalist will always have a place in an organization, but being a true master of your craft is the surest way to move up instead of just around.

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