Make My Social Media Post Go Viral

By Kat Beaulieu, Communications Strategist


“Make my social media post go viral”

It’s what every client wants and the gold standard for measuring social media success. Plus, who wouldn’t want to be the genius behind a post that goes viral?

And yet, it is an elusive goal that faces many challenges, not the least of which is that most clients tend to want to promote their products and services, which is in stark contrast to a site like ViralNova, whose whole raison d’être is to produce “the latest interesting, hilarious, and mind-blowing stories on the Web.” Additionally, many clients are risk adverse, so what is interesting, hilarious or mind-blowing to social media consumers can be terrifying to clients.

Nonetheless, it is important to at least sustain high levels of interaction with your content and to aspire to make hitting the viral jackpot a regular mission. In the metrics-driven business of PR and marketing, raising your clients’ numbers in social media likes, engagement and “People talking about this” will rely on your ability to generate engaging content. Even if none of your posts go truly viral, getting some reaction will be critical to maintaining and growing your social media page’s engagement.

Since most of us have clients who are not ViralNova, I humbly present a formula for generating engaging social media content that fits you, or specifically: FITC U

The FITC U formula can help you create content that is relevant to your client or brand and also hits on something that is:

  • Funny
  • Intelligence massager
  • Truth
  • Cute
  • Unbelievable

To elaborate:

  • Funny: Most people share posts online that are humorous. Reinterpret your product or service in an unexpected or humorous way. Sell socks? Use a sock monkey puppet. Sell stocks? Create a faux investor report about an impending IPO for zombie repellent. Be creative, but know your audience and what will resonate with them.
  • Zodiac Pool Systems combined humor and popular culture in this relevant, funny meme.
  • Intelligence massager: You’ve seen these—“75% of people will get this wrong!” People love to let their friends know how smart they are. Create a simple puzzle or quiz that begs people to answer. By answering, they’re engaging and their engagement will get shared on friends’ feeds. Tie your quiz in with #TriviaTuesday for added visibility.
  • The Weather Channel cleverly tied in the names of winter storms with this quiz.
  • Truth: this follows similar psychology to the ‘Intelligence massager’ in terms of tapping into people wanting to share their wisdom, but instead of being formatted as a puzzle or quiz, it is a statement or set of statements. I use the term “truth” here to imply more of a personal truth than a factual one. Think of celebrity quotes or meme-friendly statements like “Not all those who wander are lost” and “Successful people forgive others.”
  • Cute: babies, puppies and kittens, plus goats in pajamas. Need I say more? #caturday #sundog
  • Tri-City Hospital Foundation’s video of Leo the dog driving an electric car was a hit.
  • Unbelievable: Think of incredible, mind-blowing things that will prompt people to use the “wow” emoji, like “A ball of glass will bounce higher than a ball of rubber” or “In 616, King Rædwald of East Anglia is conquering Northumbria (Northern England) at the Battle of the River Idle while The General Grant tree is born in Kings Canyon National Park.” Incredible photos work too.

What’s the secret to building a viral social media post? Make your post hit three or more of the formula’s elements.

And remember, if you’re having trouble creating content that FITC U, you can always switch things up a little, in which case you may end up deciding to FUC IT.

Need help killing it with social media that FITC U? Don’t give up, reach out, we can help.

Hospitality PR Pros: Interview, Don’t Pitch, Travel Writers

By Julie Wright, President

Twitter: @juliewright

What happens when 25 travel media and an equal number of hospitality PR professionals are put in a room together for lunch? First, it gets really loud.

Second, if those 25 travel media are from Vancouver and the travel PR pros are from California (including destination marketing professionals from San Diego and Palm Springs), they’ll quickly find a lot in common.

For example, Vancouver media like sunshine: we have a ready supply! They like active outdoor fun: we make great hiking, surfing and cycling buddies. They’re into fresh, healthy and creative dining washed down with a delicious craft beer: all are abundant in San Diego and California.

A couple weeks ago was National Tourism and Travel Week in the U.S., and I spent Tuesday at a Visit California luncheon at the Vancouver Art Gallery talking with Canadian travel media about our client partner Visit Oceanside.

The format of the event was a progressive luncheon where the media stayed at one of five tables and the hospitality PR representatives rotated to a new table with each course. It was a fast, fun way to make sure everyone got a chance to connect and enjoy quality time.

I have attended similar events in Vancouver and the Bay Area about a year to a year and a half ago. At those events I was representing all of our hospitality PR clients – from Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite and Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks to hotel and resort properties in Carlsbad, Del Mar, North Park, the Gaslamp, Coronado and Borrego Springs. Each has unique qualities (natural splendor, historic preservation, beach fun, desert serenity, hipster chic, family escapes, spas, wellness, fantastic dining and stargazing) and I felt such pressure to get each of their stories out and cram all of the information I could into every encounter I had. At the conclusion of those prior events, I felt like I hadn’t really made the connections or created the opportunities that I had set out to build.

With that in mind, I changed my approach for this luncheon. Instead of trying to get my story out, I focused first on the travel writer’s stories. I learned as much as I could in the time available–what do you write about, who do you write for, what drew you to travel writing, what have you written about most recently, what kinds of stories do you like to tell, what do you think of San Diego and California?

And a funny thing happened. I learned enough about each writer and TV producer to know which travel experiences and story angles would resonate with them. I now know who wants to cover skate parks and extreme sports spotlighting Oceanside’s active lifestyle opportunities. I know who wants to pursue the perfect fish taco. I know who might like to drive the Hops Highway (or at least sit shotgun for a North County beer tour). More than that, I also felt like I made some new friends and sincerely hope to welcome these folks to Oceanside over the coming year and share a future meal or drink with them.

All that is left to do now is ask them what time of year they’d like to make the trip, follow up and get it on everyone’s calendar.

At (W)right On Communications, we’re always evaluating and evolving our approach to getting our clients’ stories out. If you have a hospitality story you want promoted, we’ve got the perfect connection. Get in touch and we’ll match your story with the ideal storyteller.

San Diego Public Relations Agency CEO Joins San Diego Venture Group Board

Grant Wright joins leadership of premier venture capital community associationGrant

SAN DIEGO, March 29, 2016 – The San Diego Venture Group (SDVG) has elected San Diego public relations agency (W)right On Communications CEO Grant Wright to the Board of Directors. Additionally, Wright is leading a new sub-group of Board Directors dedicated to advancing effective communications for SDVG.

Previously Board Chairman of the Southern California Aviation Association for five years and Director for nine years, Wright was instrumental in helping grow that organization from an original small core of members to more than 600 corporate and 6,000 person members today. CEO of (W)right On Communication since 2004, he helped lead the San Diego public relations agency to become among the largest in California. In 2016, he was a finalist for the San Diego Business Journal’s Most Admired CEO awards.

“My goal with the San Diego Venture Group is to help steward the continued success of this excellent organization and introduce innovative communication methods to advance SDVG’s interests,” said Wright. “San Diego is home to one of the nation’s most exciting and growing entrepreneurial and venture capital environments. As evidence of the even stronger environment to come, Money Magazine just named San Diego the #1 US travel destination. SDVG is a great organization and I’m honored and excited to support it.”

(W)right On Communications, a San Diego Public Relations agency, specializes in public relations, marketing solutions and strategic communications services – ranging from social media marketing to multimedia and web development. (W)right On is exceptionally strong in technology public relations with experience working with the Internet of Things (IoT), major utilities, cleantech companies, and renewable energy providers.

“It’s an exciting time to invest in San Diego-based startups. We have an exceptionally strong and growing tech sector, in addition to one of the top three biotech centers globally. Just 90 minutes by air from Silicon Valley, we continue to exploit our proximity to the largest venture capital region on the planet,” stated Mike Krenn, president of San Diego Venture Group. “We are excited and fortunate to have Grant join the board. His expertise, passion for entrepreneurial ventures, and energy will help us build regional momentum.”

 

About (W)right On Communications

Founded in 1998 in Vancouver, British Columbia, (W)right On Communications is a full-spectrum communications and public relations firm headquartered in San Diego, California. Specializing in hospitality, healthcare, energy, technology and development, (W)right On has produced results-driven media relations, social media and promotional campaigns and programs for clients including hotels, hospitals, utilities, startups, developers and universities. To learn more about (W)right On, visit www.wrightoncomm.com.

About San Diego Venture Group

Founded in 1986, the San Diego Venture Group (SDVG) is a non-profit organization designed to bring San Diegans who are interested in new enterprise and the process of creating it together. With a mission to provide a networking forum for entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and advisors in an informal atmosphere where human expertise can foster new ventures, SDVG is comprised of professionals with bright ideas to share and the practical skills required to implement these ideas. For more information, visit www.sdvg.org.

Meet the Team: Keely – Design and Multimedia Specialist

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To help our audience learn who is behind the content on this blog, we’ve been releasing a series of Q&A’s from our team. In this month’s edition, you will learn all about our Design and Multimedia Specialist, Keely Smith.

Keely brings an eye for design to the (W)right On team. Her experience stretches from web to print media, designing for local businesses, schools, and corporate structures. Keely seeks to create art that motivates the audience to see and experience the world in fresh and exhilarating ways. As an artist and innovator, she engages various mediums including graphic design, sculpture, illustration, dance and music. With a passion for expression she strives to build relationships around fostering creativity and collaboration. Keely has a Bachelor of Arts with an emphasis in Graphic Design from San Diego State University.

What would you be doing if you weren’t at your current job?

My dream job would be to work as a travel journalist with my own travel show (the female Anthony Bourdain). There’s nothing better than being paid to explore the world!

What’s one word you would use to describe yourself?

Eclectic.

Fill in the blank. “If you really knew me, you’d know ____”My worst fears.

What super power would you like to have? The ability to change into any person or animal.

What would a “perfect” day look like to you?

Sleeping in, have a tasty brunch somewhere, spend time with friends/family, go for a nice walk or bike ride, end the day with a good movie and a glass of wine.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in the past year?

I’m not defined by my failures or misfortunes.

Best vacation you’ve had?irelandI went to Ireland for 2 weeks after I graduated college. Some of the most joyful and sarcastic people I’ve ever met!

What’s your most embarrassing moment at work?

After a trip to the ladies room, I was that girl who walked down the hall with my dress tucked into my underwear. Needless to say things got a little “cheeky”.

Favorite quote?

“I want people to be afraid of how much they love me.” – Michael Scott

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life, who would be cast as you?

Jennifer Lawrence – she is crazy talented and has a great sense of humor.Drew Barrymore – because people say I look like her

What’s your drink of choice?

A whiskey-ginger or a glass of cabernet sauvignon.

If you were stuck on an island and could only choose 5 CDs, what would they be?

The Civil Wars – Barton Hallow

Stevie Ray Vaughan – Double Trouble

Ben Howard – Every Kingdom

Banks – Goddess

No Doubt – Tragic Kingdom

Fill in the blank. “People would be surprised if they knew____” That I am part Hispanic even though I’m pretty much translucent.

What’s your biggest pet peeve?

When you go out of your way for someone on the road and they don’t give you the courtesy wave, you know what I’m talking about.

What tv show/movie is your guilty pleasure?

Oh man, let’s just say I watch most of the HBO, Starz, masterpiece, and Showtime series. Some of my favorites: GOT, Girls, Homeland, Outlander, Penny Dreadful, and of course Downton Abbey.coffee

What’s one thing you can’t live without?

There are 2 things I can’t live without…coffee and cheese.

Favorite line from a movie?

“You accept the love you think you deserve.” – The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Do you have an office nickname?

What is it? Yes, K Slizzle.

What’s the best/worst gift you have ever received?

Worst – a small tea light candle… just one.

Best – when I was a teen, my mom took me and 2 friends to see my favorite musical Oklahoma.

What do you like to do in your free time?

Spend time with friends and family.

Community Involvement Matters

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By Grant Wright

At (W)right On, we’re frequently asked to become engaged in community affairs of some sort – support a political cause, gauge the pulse of an issue, contribute to a worthwhile endeavor – and in as balanced of a way as we can, we often say yes.

We’ve supported at-risk youth; senior Olympics; domestic violence prevention; independent living for disabled adults; cancer prevention; youth sports programs; student academic scholarships; hospital programs; and more. Additionally, team members engage individually in support of men’s health issues, high school and college student mentoring, and a number of worthwhile causes.

Unless you live under a rock, community involvement matters… to a degree. There will always be more to be done than time or resource allows, so ‘everything in moderation’ is probably apt here. So what are considerations as you think about why and how to engage in your community?

Benefits

  • Community engagement is often smart business. It expands your brand, is a source of intelligence, fosters teamwork and enhances morale, and provides your organization a higher sense of purpose.
  • It makes a difference – to the community and sphere that is your influence. A simple effort or gift of timely wisdom can literally change someone’s life in far more profound ways than the effort or thought needed.
  • It feels good – doing the right thing always does, and in that it contributes to improving the community in which you live, it comes right back to you.
  • It provides a sense of purpose and direction.
  • It sets an example for others – your engagement can have a multiplier effect.
  • It’s fun – Involvement in the community expands your circle of relationships and can often serve as stress relief.

Potential Pitfalls

  • Community involvement can overwhelm or be extremely time consuming. It may be worthwhile to begin with something simple and consider additional support from there with better insight.
  • It can just be more work, busywork or misdirected – it is important to have reasonable understanding and expectation of the benefit you’ll be causing.
  • It can take time from professional and family growth – there are only 24 hours in a day for all of us, and if engagement involves some sort of financial assistance it’s important this is done in a balanced way with all the demands upon your time and resources.
 

At (W)right On, we take great pride in all of our community involvement endeavors. It’s the right thing to do and it’s smart business. Plus, at its core, good communications is all about creating connections and building communities. But especially as we begin to approach the “giving season,” it’s important to consider the size and scope of your community involvement.

What are some of your favorite ways to get involved in the community? Let us know in the comments.

Why PR is Becoming a Visual Game (and How to Win)

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Remember when you were a little kid and your parents asked you to pick out a book to read? Did you gravitate toward the one that was a sea of black-and-white letters, or the cool one with lots of colorful, eye-catching photos?

In high school geometry, which was the better textbook? The one that wrote out how to determine the surface area of a trapezoid, or the one that showed you?

Even now, are you more engaged and likely to retain information with presentations that are strictly verbal, or ones that have graphics and charts?

It’s a fact: human beings are visual creatures. As a general rule, we remember 80% of what we see, compared to 20% of what we read and a small 10% of what we hear, a New York University psychological study found.

Applying this to PR, an industry in which the main objective is to communicate positive messages about a brand or person, Wharton School of Business researchers determined that presentations based on visuals were found more compelling and convincing than those that were only verbal.

Furthermore, 67% of the audience in the study said that merging visuals with verbal aids were all the more effective. So how can we, as PR professionals, leverage these findings to the advantage of our brands?

Get Social

With the popularity of visually-driven social media networks like Pinterest and Instagram, there’s no time like the present to socialize your PR strategy.

pinterestPinterest is especially great since a pin can link directly back to a website. If you pin a PDF of your fresh press release and put some compelling preview text in the description, your audience will not only want to read that particular release, they’ll be taken to your news room, blog, etc. and likely read many more. And check out your team. And explore your website.

In an industry like hospitality, make sure to load your website and e-menu up with lots of great photos showcasing your space, food and amenities. With one click, users will be on your site and one step away from making reservations.

instaInstagram isn’t to be forgotten, though. Although it lacks the referral power Pinterest has (at least for now), it’s a great vehicle for furthering community relations efforts or raising awareness of your brand offerings.

For example, nonprofits can benefit immensely from showcasing their volunteer efforts and positive impact in real time, while a fashion line can post sneak peeks of their new collection and the behind-the-scenes design process to get fans excited to buy.

With a few well-placed hashtags, even non-fans will be in on the action. Networks like Facebook and Twitter, as well as outlets like blogs, can also add to your visual storytelling power in their own unique way.

Create a Better Press Release

Notice I say “create” rather than “write.” That’s because although words still rule in PR, the changing face of the industry requires a little something extra for maximum connectivity and traction from both consumers and media.

As mentioned last year in our piece on putting together a great press release, adding just one photo to a release will increase views by 14%. Applying elements like more photos and video continues the upward trajectory, culminating in 77% higher consumption when visual education tools like infographics comepolaroids into play.

This all depends on the industry, too. B2C brands will do well with high-quality photos of their products or properties, while B2B people may be more receptive to charts and graphs.

As with any PR effort, think about your target audience when adding visual elements to collateral like press releases.

Get Ready for Your Close-Up

If you’re not sprinkling video into your PR plan at least occasionally, you should be.husky

ComScore found that in the US alone, people watch more than a billion online videos every day. Why?

They’re dynamic, typically easy to consume and people equate them with entertainment. Video makes it simple and fun to showcase brand philosophy, spread the word on updates and give a glimpse at the human side of a company, which consumers love.

If you’re trying to rebrand a respected, but traditionally conservative corporation, try a regular feature showcasing employees doing volunteer work or shadowing them for a day on the job. If you’re a tech-savvy company, dabble in mixing up your written press releases with video ones.

Video is also a great tool for media relations. At (W)right On, we’ve had great success creating client b-roll and sending on to news stations for high-quality, late-breaking event coverage – plus, it allows you to pick and choose the footage you want to show off. And, video is a fast way to introduce people to who you are as a company, piquing the interest of potential customers, media influencers and even investors.

What other ways have you found visuals instrumental in a successful PR program? Tell us in the comments or find us on Twitter.