Trends Come and Go, But These 5 PR Tips Are Forever

By Aisha Belagam—Jr. Communications Strategist

Twitter: @AishaBelaPR


As we get closer to 2017, amidst a flurry of new trends, it is important to remember that the traditional fundamentals of public relations are timeless and the backbone of any campaign, be it 1977 or 2017.

Here are five forever PR techniques that I always return to, no matter what platform, reporter, or message I’m working with:

1) Write well, not good
The digital age has certainly increased the demands placed on public relations professionals. As the role has evolved into a management discipline, strategy and critical thinking drive executions. However, no matter how you slice it, writing continues to be the fundamental skill one must possess to thrive in the industry. Strong writing skills are consistently the top-rated PR skill in multitudes of surveys, including this recent one from Gould and Partners.Typewriter illustration vector Free Vector

Advanced writing skills are more important than ever in today’s changing landscape, where everything is instant. Journalists and PR professionals are dealing with 24/7 deadline pressures, while citizen journalists are simultaneously posting stories, videos, rumors, and statements that can permanently damage reputations. With heightened expectations and less time for give-and-take between journalists and publicists, it is vital that a PR professional can write well and deliver content that can be published as is, if needed.

It’s no wonder why so many PR pros, including myself, have journalism degrees.

2) Do your homework
Want to gain credibility and be taken seriously by reporters? Do your research. Distribution is easy if you spend your time wisely. Rather than blindly pitching hundreds of reporters and publications, spend your time developing a highly-targeted media list with unique angles to work with. You are more likely to spark interest this way. What has the reporter written about lately? How does it relate to your client’s story? Connect the dots and show the reporter why your story is relevant. Remember what runs through the reporter’s mind: WIFM (What’s In It For Me).

3) Put the relations back into public relations
Alluding to my last point, PR/journalist relationships still rest on the rudiments. Good chemistry trumps a random, well-crafted pitch. There is no substitution for real, emotional connection, regardless of how strategic and seamless your pitch is. Behind the screens, we are all humans. Build trust, rapport and friendships with media members and make life easier for both sides. Sure, no one has time for frequent business lunches anymore. Leverage the tools of today to balance it out. A Facebook comment, Instagram like or casual chitchat over the phone can help build that relationship.

“That Facebook video of your son taking his first steps was precious, William. Did he end up making it to the chair with some practice?”

4) Man bites dogyorkshire Free Photo
That sure got your attention. You never read about the dog that bit the man. Or about the plane that did not crash. Alfred Harmsworth’s (1865-1922) words hold true to this day. Be unusual. Make your story different. Offer a unique angle.

Why? Because as New York Sun editor John B. Bogart so eloquently said, “When a dog bites a man, that is not news, because it happens so often. But if a man bites a dog, that is news.”

5) Do the right thing
Public relations professionals face many unique and challenging ethical issues. Simultaneously, protecting integrity and public trust continue to be crucial to the profession’s role and reputation. That’s why it is vital to refer to the PRSA Code of Professional Ethics. Ethics make or break careers. The power of doing the right thing is illimitable.

It’s why I’m a part of (W)right On Communications. We provide award-winning, full-spectrum communications to billion-dollar companies and small businesses alike because we live by these timeless tips as we embrace the ever-changing landscape.

What matters most to you? Let us know in the comments. Or of course, tweet, tweet!

What’s Next: Five Industry Trends for 2017

 

By Shae Geary- Senior Communications Strategist

Industry trends are always a great place to mine for story ideas, especially when working with travel and hospitality clients. Some trends, like Pokemon Go! getaways, are short lived. Others, such as eco-travel, tend to define a whole generation and can change the nature of the industry forever. As the year draws to a close, we can’t resist looking ahead and seeing what’s in store for 2017. While none of us claim to have a crystal ball, here are a few trends (W)right On is keeping an eye on for the new year.

People in social networking Free Vector

Smart Technology: Mobile technology will continue to play a significant role in making travel more convenient and streamlined. Smart companies are embracing the technology and enhancing the visitor experience by putting decision making in the palm of your hand. Expect activities such as checking in to your hotel, controlling the temperature of your room and booking activities all from your phone to become the new “normal.”

Digital Detox: While technology may be making travel more convenient, there’s also a backlash to the digital overload of daily life. The response? Innovative programs and services that allow travelers to get off the grid for a while. Wellness-focused offerings such as digital detox spa retreats, as well as activities like forest bathing, which encourage visitors to completely disconnect and revel in the natural world, will give travelers the peace and rejuvenation they seek.

Hipster Holidays: Thanks to the millennial generation, more travelers are choosing to explore lesser known cities and destinations. Along with the desire to go to unique places, this group also seeks authenticity and genuine, local experiences. While not a new trend for 2017, hyper-local activities and edgier, undiscovered venues will continue to appeal to this highly influential, independent traveler.

Glass pint tankards Free Vector

Beer-cations: Craft beer is having a moment. For the travel industry this has meant an increase in travelers who specifically seek out destinations with a strong craft beer vibe. Taprooms, beer events and other tasting experiences are the cornerstone of the beer-cation experience. However, look for the theme to show up in unexpected ways, too. On your next vacation, don’t be surprised if you are tempted by a beer-infused spa treatment or a “beer-tail” that features a unique blend of craft beer and traditional cocktail ingredients.

Solo Travel: At a recent media event, I was surprised when not one, but two female writers admitted that they enjoyed camping alone. It turns out that this may not be as surprising as it seems. According to Lonely Planet, a recent survey of 300 travelers indicated a majority of respondents planned to take a solo holiday in the coming year. Easy access to travel planning resources and the ability to stay connected while on the road are thought to be key influences in this current travel trend. Solo travelers like that they can set their own itinerary and feel that the experience enables them to more easily meet new people and immerse themselves in the local culture and surroundings.

What travel trends have you noticed that seem to be gaining in popularity? Drop us a note and let us know!

15 Truths About Working in Social Media Marketing

By Jasmine Demers, Marketing & Administrative Coordinator


Social Media Marketing; a world of clever campaigns, contests, engagement, hashtags, analytics and constant phone notifications.

If you’ve worked in public relations (or any successful business industry for that matter), you know that social media marketing has become increasingly important in engaging with consumers and improving brand awareness. While most marketers truly enjoy developing content and representing their company, it’s not always a walk in the park.

Here’s 15 truths about working in social media marketing…

1. Your family and friends don’t actually know what you do, or think that you just sit on Facebook all day.

15 truths about working in social media marketing, (W)right on Communications; a San Diego public relations agency

Ugh. We actually work very hard!

2. You always develop a strategy, even when you post on your personal social media page.

15 truths about working in Social Media Marketing. (W)right on Communications; A San Diego public relations agency

We think a lot of people could benefit from this.

3. Getting a retweet or a share is the best feeling.

15 truths about working in social media marketing, (W)right on Communications; a San Diego public relations agency

4. Your work follows you home.

15 truths about working in social media marketing, (W)right on Communications; a San Diego public relations agency

Social media can be a 24/7 job. You have to stay on top of trends and make sure you’re available to respond to any engagement.

5. You have posted a personal status on the company page by mistake.

15 truths about working in social media marketing, (W)right on Communications; a San Diego public relations agency

6. You still feel guilty when your boss walks into the room and your screen is filled with social media feeds.

15 truths about working in social media marketing, (W)right on Communications; a San Diego public relations agency

7. You nag your coworkers about retweeting and sharing.

15 truths about working in social media marketing, (W)right on Communications; a San Diego public relations agency

Sorry, not sorry.

8. You are constantly scoping out other agencies to see how they use social media.

15 truths about working in social media marketing, (W)right on Communications; a San Diego public relations agency

A little healthy competition never hurt anyone.

9. Getting zero engagement is sometimes a reality.

15 truths about working in social media marketing, (W)right on Communications; a San Diego public relations agency

When you come up with the most clever Twitter post and don’t receive a single retweet. Borderline heartbreaking…

10. Social Media is constantly changing.

15 truths about working in social media marketing, (W)right on Communications; a San Diego public relations agency

The evolving nature of social media keeps us all on our toes and makes thought leadership all the more important.

11. You have memorized every random national holiday.

15 truths about working in social media marketing, (W)right on Communications; a San Diego public relations agency

Ya, that’s right. I know when National Hot Dog Day is and I’m not ashamed of it.

12. You have your own language.

15 truths about working in social media marketing, (W)right on Communications; a San Diego public relations agency

#Engagement #Impressions #GIF #Algorithm #HTML #Avatar

13. You sometimes get tired of social media.

15 truths about working in social media marketing, (W)right on Communications; a San Diego public relations agency

Let’s be honest. Being on social media as much as we are can take a toll.

14. You always have a camera handy.

15 truths about working in social media marketing, (W)right on Communications; a San Diego public relations agency

You’re always ready to catch that perfect picture to post on social!

15. You actually love what you do and secretly think that you can use marketing to change the world.

15 truths about working in social media marketing, (W)right on Communications; a San Diego public relations agency-weekend-update-high-five

So what do you think SoMe experts? Is this list pretty accurate? Leave your comments below!

The 411 on Social Media Best Practices in 2016

By Kara DeMent, Communications Coordinator


With more than two billion active social media users today, having a presence on social media is a must for brands that want to get noticed. With “best practices” and social media platforms evolving and ever-changing, it can be tough navigating the social media landscape to create effective campaigns.  If you want to be a savvy social media communicator in 2016, here are five ways you can stay on top of the game.

1. Inspiring Visuals

Use strong visuals that leave a lasting impression. Content paired with a great picture creates 650% more engagement according to recent studies. Recently, WOC helped hospitality client partner, Delaware North, secure the win for Best Use of Visuals from PR Daily – a great example of how creating captivating visuals can help your social media presence stand out.

2. Consistency is Key

Content says everything about your brand. And if you’re not consistent with creating and producing your own content, your brand will feel it. Continuously producing good original content gives you a better chance of being seen by your audience. The more you produce, the more love you’ll receive from your audience – although this depends on what your brands/clients’ needs are, you don’t want to over produce or under produce, so always keep this in mind.

3. Follow the Golden Rule

Whether it’s a fun visual, new product launch or exciting announcement; share, like and comment on content that other brands and influencers of interest to your audience produce. This exposes you to others who in return, may also share your content and help increase your followers and help your engagement. Give and you shall receive.

4. Engage Your Audience

Those of us who are social media pros don’t post content for the fun of it. We post for the opportunity to help our clients raise awareness, drive interest and build relationships. In order to make that opportunity a reality, that means we engage with our target audience by answering questions, commenting, sharing and liking content. The more you engage on social media, the closer you’re to achieving your client’s business goals.

5. Measuring Success

Measuring your social media results only helps you better your social media strategy. It shows you what’s working and what isn’t working. It gives you the leisure to experiment with what works for your brand. If you’re not sure how best to measure your results, the “Big 4” from Buffer is a great guide to follow.

If you’re still stuck on breaking through social media, our team at WOC can get you on the right track. Give us a call or find out more about our capabilities here.

The Buzz About B Corps – Why You Should Care

Photo Credit: B Corporation https://www.bcorporation.net/
Photo Credit: B Corporation https://www.bcorporation.net/

By Kat Beaulieu, Communications Strategist

Remember when you were back in business class and it first dawned on you that the system is rigged against people who want to do good AND make money? I do. It was one of those “Wait – what?” moments where I felt another shred of my ignorance/innocence slipping away.

My big “a-ha, well-duh” moment followed this obvious nugget of truth: corporations are legally obligated to make money for their shareholders, so their decision-making is necessarily driven by profit. Non-profits on the other hand, are legally forbidden from making a profit, so they’re actually discouraged from creating wealth for their employees.

In my own selfish way, I remember thinking my choices were to either embrace a life of poverty working for a non-profit, or cobble together some financial comfort by turning a blind eye to some of my ideals and working for the big, bad corporation. I suppose I’d had enough of the starving student scene and a martyr I am not, so off to the corporate world I went.

I’m certain I wasn’t the only person faced with this decision, and fortunately there are some smarter and more committed people than me who have been working to change the system, so that now (since 2010 in Maryland and now in 30 U.S. states and the District of Columbia), there IS an alternative to choosing between non-profit or for-profit. It’s called a benefit corporation, or B Corp, and it is both shaping and shaking up how business, employee recruitment and consumer spending are going to look in the near future. Why? Because Y and Z.

Generations Y and Z, that is. Unlike prior generations, Y and Z haven’t had to sever that part of their conscience that chooses between “good” non-profit and “evil” for-profit, because they’ve grown up with companies like Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s and Seventh Generation showing us that companies can be both for-profit and good. That’s exactly what B Corps are – they are people using business as a force for good™. They have shareholders, but they’re not exclusively tied to them—they’re also legally obligated to serve their mission, which can be anything from delivering shoes to third-world children to achieving world peace.

 

The B Corp movement is one of the most important of our lifetime, built on the simple fact that business impacts and serves more than just shareholders—it has an equal responsibility to the community and to the planet.

Rose Marcario, CEO of Patagonia

 

Y and Z can choose to give their money and their brains to “good” companies, and that’s exactly what they’re doing. What this means for traditional corporations is that in order to remain competitive for Y and Z’s brains and share of wallet, they’re going to have to start upping the ante in terms of the “good” they’re doing inside and outside of the organization. And these are the stories that need to take priority in press releases. These are the stories that are going to capture media attention, get shared on social media, and ultimately drive Y and Z’s choices.

Why (or Y) is this important? Because Ys, whom we define as those ages 18-34 in 2015, now number 75.4 million, surpassing the 74.9 million Baby Boomers (ages 51-69) in the US.

Are you panicked yet? You should be! The B Corps are coming and if your PR strategy has been focused exclusively on profits and growth, it’s time to change tactics. Talk up the great initiatives your employees have been collaborating with non-profits on, and the positive impact your organization has had on your community. Turn your eyes to measure the social good you’ve achieved each quarter, rather than earnings alone.

So whose wallet and brains is your organization targeting and what mediums are you using to get those stories out? Is it time to YZ up?

Kat Beaulieu would love to repent for some of her ideal-stomping past and help you craft a YZ targeted communications strategy that profiles the social good you’ve been up to. Get in touch.

6 Tips for Stellar Marketing Results

By Chance Shay, Senior Communications Strategist

Productivity overactivity.

It’s a motto all marketers should live by. The point of marketing isn’t to do marketing, it’s to support the bottom line of a brand, which means increase sales, drive new membership and increase donations. A marketer who isn’t showing results is a marketer soon to be without a job. Of course, for some marketers it’s a bandwidth issue and for them we’ve put together a cheat sheet for improving marketing productivity by 30% in 30 days (you can download that here).

Every industry is unique and what works for one brand is different from what works for their competitors. However, there are a few guiding principles that transcend industry’s and brand’s individual market standing. To help every marketer deliver stellar results, we’ve put together this skim-able guide of six principles each with quick take-homes that you can implement in your marketing efforts today.

  1. Know your audience.
    • Focus all marketing on showcasing how you solve that problem/fit that need better than your competitors.
  2. Speak in terms of benefits, not features.
    • People care about a product that will make their lives easier and will serve to benefit them in a way nothing else can. They aren’t concerned about breakthrough/proprietary/new/cutting edge technology – they care about how it will change their life.
  3. Go where your audience is.
    • Determine where your target audience is, what stage of the purchase cycle they’re likely to be in at that place, and then tailor your marketing materials and message accordingly.
  4. If it doesn’t get their attention, it doesn’t matter.
    • You can’t bore your audience into action. If your marketing materials are full of text or your communication channels are vanilla, your audience will tune out.
    • Take your text heavy collateral and turn them into visuals. Ask yourself, “What would my audience tell their friends about,” then create that.
  5. Use content to give and give and give.
    • Provide value to your audience beyond the product you’re marketing. They don’t want to hear from you only when you’re trying to get them to buy something.
    • If you’re a manufacturer of a product meant for pools, blog about pool ownership and ways to improve the pool ownership experience. If your company produces software to automate some aspect of business, create a video series with weekly tips for being a successful entrepreneurial.
    • By producing content, you’re engaging customers to drive repeat business and creating ambassadors for your brand. You’re also creating opportunities to reach a new audience. If your content is truly hitting the mark for the audience you’re targeting, they’ll want to share with their network.
  6. Tell your audience what to do.
    • Always include a call to action for your audience to make a purchase, join an exclusive membership and follow your social channel – whatever action it is you want them to take.

 

Want to learn more about how WOC rocks client partner projects with a unified approach? Check out WrightOnComm.com or drop us a line at info@wrightoncomm.com.