0 Items

PR is no longer the red-headed stepchild of sales and marketing departments. Here’s why.

by Jessie Newburn, Atigro Digital Marketing

A decade ago, I accepted a job managing the PR function for an international software development company. I was pretty excited about the opportunity and knew the company had need for the PR function to play a bigger part in its overall game plan for greater brand awareness, increased engagement and, of course, the much-desired press coverage.

On my first day there, after being greeted by my boss, we walked toward my new office.

And walked. And walked. As we turned the final corner, there was a sign someone had taped up on the corridor: “Welcome to the Caves of (company name)”

And, indeed, it felt like a cave. This hallway was the farthest hallway from the center of the office, and it was the darkest with not a speck of natural light coming in.

My office was at the end of the end of the hallway and it was known for having a mysterious and bizarre intermittent smell that somehow seeped up through a crack in the cement floor.

To me, the placement of my office spoke to the company’s attitude about PR. And I’ve heard from many others over the years that public relations is often considered the red-headed stepchild to the all-important sales function, with marketing coming in after that and PR trailing far behind in importance.

Well, I think those days are over. And here’s why.

Where I sit now, inside an SEO-focused and performance-driven company, there’s a theme I hear told to clients again and again when they embark on improving their organic search engine rankings, and it’s this: You need more content. Not just any content. You need good content. To get page rankings (and leads), you need content that starts with well-researched strategic keyphrases. You need content that is compelling; content that addresses a potential client’s pain points; content that truly provides value.

And, who, my dear comrades in communications, who else is better prepared to serve up good content than PR firms and inhouse PR staff?

We know how to craft messages, how to reach people, how to get them to care because we understand that in order for people to care, the information provided (the content created) has to be valuable.

While SEO work has for many years been done in quiet cubicles, sprinkling magical pixie dust of keywords and meta content with a dash of occasional black-hat practices, those days are gone. G-O-N-E. You simply cannot get good SEO results nowadays without, at a bare minimum, good content. (And, of course, good content that is based on a keyword strategy and content that is then optimized for SEO, but that’s getting more into the weeds.)

So, take heart, my friends. Your role as a PR person, your profession, your position at the digital marketing table is not lessening as things become more complex and sophisticated. If anything, quite the opposite.Your role is becoming more prominent, more integral, more collaborative.

That’s how it looks from our side of the table. PR professionals are more important than ever for achieving performance-driven SEO.

Jessie Newburn manages BizDev and the Partner Program at Atigro Digital Marketing. She can be reached at 202-794-7276, or at jessie@atigro.com.

p.s. Atigro Digital Marketing is a top sponsor of the 2018 PRSA Maryland Conference on June 12. Be sure to stop by and say hi to Jessie while you’re there! 

Photo by KaLisa Veer on Unsplash

 

As Social Media Evolves, So Should Your Approach

Get the inside scoop on the latest changes to social media

by Lindsay Nelson, Senior Program Manager, imre

Remember when social media was judged by how many Fans your Facebook page had? You couldn’t go a week without someone asking, “what’s our count up to now?”

If this isn’t something that feels like a blast from the past, you may be in for a bit of a surprise…

Social media continues to evolve, not just by how many people use the increasing number of platforms, or the cool new content types you can develop, but it is also changing how brands can plan, measure, and report value and impacts the actual business.

So, as the power of social media grows, and more brands are finding themselves turning to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat, & LinkedIn to help share their story, it’s important to stay in touch with what really matters. Below is a list of just a few cataclysmic shifts in how we think about social media.

Likes, Comments and Shares are NOT the best way to measure value of your efforts: While not entirely misleading, these metrics can be helpful in understanding if people are interested in the content you’re sharing, but social has moved well beyond these measurements to really focus on driving value through site visits, tracking behaviors, understanding your audience, and even tracking sales lift.

Posting organically WON’T help us reach our fans: Long gone are the days of organic when it comes to brand content. In many instances, the time used to route, develop and publish content is not worth it’s weight in exposure if paid isn’t a part of your plan. This is why it’s critical to think through the value of your program in terms of reporting beyond channel metrics (like Fans, comments, shares, and likes) to really be responsible with your investment.

We should NOT just post it on social: While historically many have viewed social media as the place to share your content, it’s increasingly important to consider planning for social media before you even begin developing the content. With continued platform changes, and an endless list of potential placements for your content (pre-roll, mid-stream, in-feed – desktop and mobile, stories, & audience networks… to name a few) having a plan for the content you’re developing, and where it lives, as well as the audience you are targeting is essential to drive home the value social media can provide.

 

Of course, if you’re interested in hearing about these topics and more, please join me at the PRSA Maryland Conference on June 12! I look forward to seeing you there!

*Read more about Lindsay and all our #PRSAMD18 presenters by clicking here

Fake News. Influencers. PR Opportunity or PR risk?

In a world of fake news – actual fake news, not fact-based reports a particular individual doesn’t like – the need for reliable sources of accurate and insightful information has never been greater. Journalists and public relations professionals alike must be increasingly vigilant in how they collect, attribute and disseminate information in order to maintain their credibility amid considerable public skepticism about the work they undertake each day.

Add to this dynamic the rise of influencer marketing – where select individuals with wildly different backgrounds, missions and agendas – can project a digital voice as far and wide as some traditional news outlets, and it’s clear every new communications opportunity the digital/social age affords comes with its own potential pitfalls.

No brand is immune to this reality. The question is how do we, in the PR profession, navigate this. “The best way to keep pace with the various opportunities and risks that today’s market presents is to directly engage with journalists, influencers and peers,” says Dave Curley, SVP and Corporate Communications and Reputation Management Team lead at Sandy Hillman Communications.

One place to do this is at the PRSA Maryland Conference – the Rise of Influencer Communications on June 12, which includes a media panel discussing the implications of Fake News as well as a panel of Influencers and PR strategists decoding influencer marketing strategy.

Ultimately, PR teams that succeed in this environment recognize that “credibility is the ultimate currency,” says Curley, who encourages clients to embrace four communications tenets:

  • Speak with authenticity and authority
  • Don’t speculate – share vetted, fact-based information
  • Act quickly and aggressively to correct inaccurate information in public forums
  • Own your mistakes and apologize when you’re wrong (and vigorously defend yourself when you aren’t)

Is your PR team living these tenets? Are you positioned to leverage the burgeoning communications opportunities in the age of influencer communications?

 

PRSA Maryland 2018 June Conference Related Sessions

The Fake News Phenomenon with Tom Baden, Jr., editor, The Daily Record; Colin Campbell, reporter, Baltimore Sun; Kelly Swoope, news anchor, WMAR-2; Dr. Richard Vatz, professor of rhetoric and communication, Towson University; Moderator:  Debra Schindler, regional director of PR and media, MedStar Health

Explore the state of news media and the fake news phenomenon sweeping the world. Members of the media reveal how fake news impacts their work, how they report news now, and the future of journalism. Learn how communication professionals can work with members of the news media to ensure the highest caliber of information is delivered. Get a sneak peek into newsroom discussions and the editorial decision-making process in the modern age.

Rise of Influencer Communications:  Changing the Face of PR and Marketing with Christine Carter, influencer and global consumer marketing strategy analyst, McCormick & Company; Jill Smokler, founder, Scary Mommy; Margaret Nam, influencer and social media manager, Planit; and Jessica Fast, Abel Communications

Connecting with target audiences and increasing earned reach in social media is becoming difficult due to restrictive content algorithms. Enter influencer communications. Get a 360° view of social media influencer communications and learn how it’s changing the face of PR and marketing. You’ll interact with agencies and influencers to discover how and why influencers are changing how brands reach today’s audiences. Get tips on where to find influencers who are best for your brand and key how-to’s from pay v. trade, contracts, and measuring.

What PR can learn from the Tupperware

So, what does Tupperware have to do with PR in a digital world? “Indeed, 60 years later, the Tupperware business model has resurged into a ‘digital’ house party for the 21st century mom,” explains Millennial Mom, influencer and marketing exec for McCormick, Christine Carter. She has a whole lot more to say about the digital remake of Tupperware but her key message on June 12 will be how PR professionals can and should embrace Millennial Moms, the $2.4 trillion social media influencers.

Christine Carter will speak with authenticity as a Millennial Mom, Influencer, McCormick Exec. And she said in our interview, she wants to meet you! She loves to share stories.

The top reason you might want to get to know Christine Carter is because she knows black Millennials and Millennial moms. First, she’s one of the them and secondly, she’s been writing, blogging and speaking for and about Millennials for 10 years. She’s got lots to enlighten us about in terms of connecting with and meeting the needs of Millennials. Take for instance her Forbes post on “Moms Under 30 Are Changing Their Work Status & Other Millennial Mom Career Insights.” In this post dissecting research she writes: Millennial moms are proud to be working parents, but they are not defined by their careers. Rather, they believe their position contributes to their serving as positive role models for their children.

Beyond helping all of us better understand this market, you might want to get to know Carter because she is an influencer who can share her own case study as a micro-influencer for Brick Bodies. A prolific blogger and writer whose work has appeared in Time, Ebony and HuffPost, she has nearly 23,000 followers on Twitter and 35,700 on Instagram.

There’s still one more reason to connect with Carter – she is on the global marketing team for McCormick. She’s a Baltimore native so she knows a thing or two about this iconic Baltimore company. Now on the marketing team, she is connecting her influencer background and Millennial insight to corporate brand strategy.

You can read more (see below) before you met and talk with her on June 12 when she joins us for the session, Rise of Influencer Communications: Changing the Face of PR and Marketing. Joining her are Jill Smokler, founder, Scary Mommy; Jessica Fast, account director, Abel Communications; and Margaret Nam, influencer and social media manager, Planit.

The McCormick exec who inspires Millennial Moms (Bizwomen, Business Journals)

Christine Michel Carter Forbes Site

Follow her @cmichelcarter

Want to join us on June 12? Click here for more information including the full program and registration details.

5 Reasons to Use the Right Influencer

If 84% of millennials don’t trust traditional advertising (according to Forbes.com), who do they? Influencers! And by the way, 92% of consumers say they trust influencers more than traditional celebrity endorsements (MuseFind) while 49% of people rely on influencers’ recommendations when making a purchase decision (AdWeek). 

We recently chatted with social media expert Margaret Nam at Planit Agency about influencer strategy. Margaret will be one of our strategists on the Rise of Influencer Communications session at the June 12 PRSA Maryland conference. She is also a micro-influencer. One of the tips she shared is 5 things an influencer can do for a brand beginning with getting through the digital clutter.

 

Another point she made is the value of micro-influencers. “As the popularity and rates of macro influencers continue to rise, I see brands shifting toward working primarily with micro-influencers (those with followings in the thousands/hundreds) who are hyper targeted toward their audiences,” wrote Margaret in a MarTechExec post.

Check out her blog post on the topic at Planitagency.com and an interview with USA Weekly. And come to the session on the 12th to ask your questions, meet Margaret and founder of Scary Mommy Jill Smokler, Christine Carter, influencer and global consumer marketing strategy analyst and Jessica Fast, account director, Abel Communications.

Top 7 Reasons to Attend the 2018 PRSA Maryland Conference

Get Ready to Supercharge Your Professional Development Plan

PRSA Maryland’s largest communication/PR education and networking event of the year is June 12, 2018 at the Baltimore Sheraton North in Towson. This event is being built around you and your professional development needs. 

Here are 7 reasons to attend the PRSA Maryland Conference:

1. Discover more about the “Great Convergence: Redefining Brand and Our Jobs in the Experience Economy.”  Here’s a sneak peek video featuring Ed Bodensiek.

2. Learn about the “Rise of Influencer Communications and how it’s Changing the Face of PR and Marketing.”

3. Understand the “Fake News Phenomenon.”

4. Get insights into “Advanced Analytics in Public Relations.”

5. Peek inside an “Award-winning Reputation/Brand Management Campaign with the National Aquarium and Golin.”

6. Uncover the “New Role of PR: Meeting the Needs of Today’s CMOs.”

7. “Harness the Latest Changes in Social Media.”

Boost your knowledge, career, and professional network by attending the PRSA Maryland Conference on June 12, 2018 at the Baltimore Sheraton North from 7:15 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Registration includes continental breakfast and lunch. Free parking. Early bird and multi-staff discounts available. Sponsorships are still available, too. Click here to see who has already signed up! 

Click here for more details about the program and to register. 

 

Thank You to Our Chapter Sponsors

Thank You to Our Chapter Sponsors