There was no audit of past video content and previous outcomes to see what worked and what did not work. Unfortunately, videos were created without an understanding of past engagement and the kind of content that created impact through a clear Call-To-Action (CTA).
The resources were not thoroughly considered, from people and process to technology and equipment that would have produced your video on time and under budget.
The role of the Video Director was not filled. No one on your team (including yourself) stepped up to fill this position. Every good video, even the informal ones, needs a director. On the surface, filling the role requires someone who is flexible, decisive, a creative storyteller and a good communicator.
Your video messaging did not pick up on what your customers were thinking and feeling. They were geared toward what the company leadership wanted to convey. The messaging did not help to solve customer problems or make their work lives better and happier. As a result, you didn’t spark their passion.
You didn’t identify and involve your internal brand champions (employees). Taking the time to uncover these colleagues and what they care about in your content creates instant alignment with your brand. When there’s employee involvement, there’s investment and the external sharing ramps up.
There was no thought process behind what creates momentum and the channels where it would occur. There was no consideration of the content people are looking for, need to know, interested to learn, and where they want to receive your content that has an emotional and a relatable appeal.
PR 2.0 Technology
- Competitive Intelligence
- Empowering Women
- FEEL Model
- Guest Post
- Integrated Communications
- Media Relations
- Media Relations
- Media Training
- Organizational Behavior
- PR 2.0
- PR 2.0 Technology
- PR Job Search
- PR Practice
- Public Relations
- Resume Writing
- Social Good
- Social media
- Social Media Planning
- Social Media Policy
- Strategic Communications
A Guest Post by Christy Maguire, Graduate Student at American University, PR Expanded Blog Contest Winner
Podcasting is the quickest growing communications medium, and it seems like everyone is jumping on the bandwagon. Research shows that there are more than 750 million podcasts and that 22% of Americans over age 12 have listened to a podcast in the past week. It’s a crowded field to be sure, but it also offers an excellent, and even underused, opportunity for businesses to increase engagement with its community. It’s an intimate medium that builds trust and authority, offers inclusiveness and provides both information and inspiration.
Universities, nonprofits, museums, law firms, associations, and small businesses have branched out into podcasting – expanding their online presence in ways that serve their business and community. Now is the perfect time to begin. Earlier this year, Google began including direct podcast links in its search results, providing an immediate opportunity for potential listeners to discover and sample podcasts.
While podcasting is a great tool for optimizing SEO and visibility, these shouldn’t always be the main focus. Businesses can get too caught up in using podcasting solely for promotion, without looking closely at building engagement and loyalty. Don’t forget that engagement can also be measured. Have you increased website traffic, comments, reviews, membership, feedback, and event participation through your podcast? Have customers mentioned your podcast on social media, in blog posts, or through referrals?
Whether your business already has a podcast, or you are considering starting one, there are several factors to take into consideration to increase engagement:
1. Invite Feedback
- Issue a Call to Action
At the end of every podcast episode, issue a call to action. The best calls to action invite your listeners back to your website to further interact with your content, obtain their email address or offer a freebie.
- Invite Listener Questions
Get listeners involved by inviting them to ask questions of future guests. This is not only an excellent way to promote a future guest or episode but encourages loyalty by making listeners feel like part of the process. A growing trend is to ask listeners to call in to leave a question, which can be directly embedded into an episode. Google Voice is easy to set up and convert into usable audio.
- Welcome Comments
Basecamp, a project management software company, encourages feedback by making each show a separate blog page with a comments section. They recently aired an episode around their new logo, which generated a mix of reactions. The company even did a blog post about how important feedback was to them by detailing their inspiration for past episodes, indicating that much of it came from listeners, coworkers, businesses and PR firms.
- Make it Easy to Connect
Some constituencies may not be familiar with podcasting, so teach them how to use the technology. For populations who may not be acquainted with podcasts, the most straightforward way to tune in is to embed a podcast player directly in a blog post.
Establish a social media account on a platform that has the best reach for your audience, and tell your listeners where they can find you. The Smithsonian has its own social media accounts, but they established a separate Twitter account for their main podcast, Sidedoor Podcast, allowing listeners to share, comment on and engage with the content.
2. Be Creative
Podcasting is personal. The medium offers a chance for your business to tell your customers how to engage with content, build your brand and tell stories. We can’t always predict what will resonate, so it’s important to not stick to a formula or rigid guidelines. Harvard Business Review offers a discussion guide for each podcast episode of Women at Work signaling that this content is intended to be discussed widely, similar to a book or article.
Trader Joe’s podcast, Inside Trader Joe’s, is fun and is filled with puns, which is perfectly aligned with its reputation. The company planned for just five episodesbut continued after gaining a quick following by customers who wanted more.
Nonprofit Save the Children did a six-episode drama series called Anywhere But Home based on true stories of children’s harrowing, yet inspiring journeys. Stories offer hope and connection on a level that direct appeals do not.
3. Leverage Relationships and Build Partnerships
- Invite Guest Hosts and Feature Client Stories
A simple way to build relationships with top executives, clients, and members is to invite them to guest host an episode on a relevant issue or to share their business story.
Membership organizations have an excellent opportunity to spotlight their members. By doing so, organizations create opportunities for its members to network and connect, immediately drawing them in and illustrating the organization’s usefulness. The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s podcast, The Bloodline With LLS, covers a range of topics, including information and resources, but also has diagnosis stories offering hope and connection to those living with blood cancers.
Clothing retailer Rebecca Minkoff hosts a popular podcast called Superwomen. Every week she interviews female CEOs, business leaders, and artists, not only promoting the brand’s values of supporting women-led businesses but sharing their platform with potential partners.
- Collaborate with Targeted Partners
The lifestyle brand goop has a successful podcast and recently partnered with the clothing brand Banana Republic on a limited series called “Women on Top.” These conversations featuring boundary-breaking women promote their joint efforts to discuss issues around women empowerment. Loyalists of both companies are introduced around shared values.
- Host Live Events
Listeners like, and are beginning to expect, live podcast events. This affords businesses the opportunity to interact with its community in real-time. There are two ways to do this. The first option is to tape a live podcast event, which could be held at a summit or conference. Be sure to advertise this before the event. The second option is to use audio from conferences, meetings, and panels to engage those who are unable to attend, widening your reach.
There are no hard and fast rules for engagement, though consistency is key. Podcasts can be as short as 5 minutes but would be better suited to daily or biweekly episodes. Longer and more complex shows might only air once a month. They can be limited to a short series or be tailored around a special event. Be sure that it’s on a schedule that allows your business to take full advantage of engaging your community in a meaningful way. Experiment, enjoy and tweak as necessary.
Christy Maguire produces and hosts the podcast Forties Stories, which amplifies the voices of 40-something women and promotes connection and compassion – one story at a time. She is currently a graduate student in American University’s Strategic Communications program. Connect with her on Twitter @_christymaguire.
A Guest Post By Emma MacKenzie, American University Graduate Student & PR Expanded Blog Contest Winner
High-quality images are key to most marketing and communications campaigns, but it can be expensive to hire photographers. How can a small organization with limited resources produce quality images? This was a question I had to answer at a very small nonprofit in rural Uganda where the annual operating budget for my department was about $10,000.00.
For me, the only answer to this question was to be the organization’s official photographer. My pictures were used in our social media, on our website, and in promotional materials sent to donors. I had to bring my A-game and produce pictures as close to professional quality as I could. I did this using three key elements: good equipment, education, and editing software. These elements came together in four quick tips that I used as a photographer.
The right camera can make a world of difference, especially for someone who has limited experience with photography. A good quality DSLR camera can be very expensive, but if your organization needs to have a constant flow of pictures, consider it an investment. If you take proper care of a DSLR camera it will last for years.
Currently, the most popular companies are Canon and Nikon, where a DSLR camera will cost between $400-$3,000. If your organization only needs a camera once a year, try renting equipment from a local camera shop.
Your phone is another piece of photography equipment to choose wisely. Phone cameras are always improving with each new release and if you know how to use different functions on your camera app you can take truly beautiful pictures and videos with . This is especially helpful with the rise of Facebook Live, Instagram Live, Instagram Stories, and SnapChat.
Editing is what takes a single picture from ho-hum to stunning. Adobe Photoshop is the big name when it comes to photo editing software, but it can be expensive for a small company.
Photoshop was designed with professional photographers in mind and can be daunting to a beginner. I took an introductory course on how to use Photoshop and it only scratched the surface of what the program can do. If your organization is able to cover the cost of photoshop I would highly recommend taking some classes on how to use this software.
In 2007 Adobe launched new software called Lightroom which offers editing and cloud storage at a much lower rate. They also have an app so you can switch from editing on your computer to your smartphone with ease and for only $9.99/month – which includes one terabyte of cloud storage.
Snapseed is Google’s answer to Lightroom and for the low, low price of free! It allows you to make edits or add filters to your pictures all from your smartphone. This is very helpful if you are taking the pictures on your phone and uploading them directly to social media. It is currently only available as a mobile app.
Practice is what will ultimately make you a better photographer. By practicing in your spare time you will begin to learn how to work with light, picture composition, and angles. It is how I picked up my top four tips for a better picture.
Rule of Thirds: imagine you are dividing your image with two vertical lines and two horizontal lines all equally spaced apart. Line up the focal point of your picture along one of those lines. This makes the image asymmetrical and, as a result, more appealing to the eye. Below you can see that the palm tree aligns with the left vertical line and the right third of the picture is left empty.
Brightness + Contrast + Sharpen: when I need to do a quick edit to a picture I only touch these three tools in my editing software. A light touch on all three goes a long way to making a picture more vibrant.
Step away from the light: try not to take pictures in direct sunlight, the result can be very harsh or overexposed. Try to find some shade where you get a soft light.
Don’t Zoom on your phone: while cameras on phones are improving, the zoom functions have their limits. The more you zoom, the more it lowers the quality of the image. If you need to zoom, try to get a telephoto clip-on lens attachments from a company like Olloclip
Achieving quality images is attainable for smaller organizations, it just takes a little research, finding the right products, and practicing I managed to go from a leisure photographer to an in-house photographer for an NGO in the course of one year. By following the strategies listed above you can also develop your own photography skills to help your organization succeed!
I started with one DSLR camera with one lens and an Olloclip for my iPhone 6s. I have since added to my camera bag by upgrading my phone to an iPhone 8+ and purchasing a macro lens for my DSLR, a tripod, a studio lightbox, and a ring light. These are new tools and skills I can now take with me to my next role.
Emma MacKenzie is a graduate student at American University in Washington, DC.
Ever wonder which tool is most effective to create infographics, manage social media channels, or record the clearest podcast? Maybe you are overwhelmed by all of the apps and options and don’t know where to begin.
On Thursday, September 26th at 12:00 p.m. ET, the #PRStudChat community will discuss how to advance your PR Toolkit with the best tools, apps, websites, and more. Leading the Twitter chat discussion, sponsored by @spinsucks, will be Syracuse University @NewhousePR Professor @GinaLuttrell sharing her favorite go-to resources.
Some of the topics/questions Gina and the #PRStudChat community will answer include:
Q1. Where do you go to learn about your favorite tools, apps, and resources?
Q2. What are some of your favorite social media monitoring tools?
Q3. What can you recommend for creative tools and resources?
Q4. With so many daily responsibilities, are you using any time-saving apps?
Q5. What tools do you use to manage content for an organization or your personal brand?
Q6. What resources provide the best measurement for social media engagement?
Q7. Are there any tools you like for content curation?
Q8. What are your favorite free social media resources?
Q9. When investing in a new tool what are some of the questions you should ask?
Q10. What apps do you have on your phone that you can’t do without?
Get ready to advance your PR Toolkit by learning about the best tools, apps, websites, and resources from the #PRStudChat community.
Hope to see you on the 26th at 12:00 p.m. ET.
Social media continues to capture time and attention. Here are some of the stats revealing how much people participate in social media; where they spend their time; what they like to do and how often.
- There are approximately 6,000 tweets shared every second on Twitter. If you were to break the numbers down, there would be about 350,000 tweets sent per minute and approximately 500 million tweets per day. Can you imagine? That’s about 200 billion tweets per year, according to Internet Live Stats.
- In November of 2018, the Hootsuite Blog stated that over 200 million people participated in Facebook Groups and there were about 150 million people who took advantage of Facebook Stories.
- In August of 2018, 99 Firms reported that Instagram supports approximately 100 million images and videos each day.
- According to MerchDope, in June of 2019, there were approximately 300 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute.
The social media numbers continue to grow. At the same time, people are still watching network and cable television, Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. They’re listening to the radio and tuning into podcasts. They’re also reading online publications, blogs and curating stories through news apps.
With all of the media available at your fingertips, if you wanted to get the attention of your customers and constituents, how would you show up and what would you share?
Let’s take a closer look at Millennials. They’re a growing population capturing approximately 50% of the U.S. workforce by 2020. With tremendous purchasing power, they are highly sought as a group when it comes to attracting and keeping their social media attention. But, what does this take?
I’ve been speaking with Millennials for the last six months, conducting one-on-one interviews as a part of my FEEL First before you communicate, Millennial passion project. Here’s what Millennial respondents told me about how business professionals and their “Leaders*” should communicate to get their attention.
- Take a stand on the issue; if there’s something happening in the world or a particular country, let me know how you feel.
- Advocate for something and show me you think beyond canned messages.
- Have more passion for the cause; leaders should always have a voice and right now it doesn’t feel authentic or connected.
- Watch out for the negative and outrageous; it gets more attention but it’s not positive or helpful.
- Understand me and my realm; be relatable to my world and what I experience on a daily basis.
- Give your unique take on something; whether you’re my supervisors or a public figure from one of the brands I like.
- Use images that evoke memories and emotions and that show they understand who I am; through this understanding, you can present powerful words and photos.
- Share personal community stories; go into the communities and get to know the social activists and well-known people who can create change.
- Listen first … really listen; it’s hard to determine if leaders actually listen because retweeting is a form of listening but it appears everyone is just trying to get their content out and this is noise.
- Communicate without remorse, and with a lot of bias and without supporting evidence; you’ll get attention but not my approval or loyalty.
- Harness a particular social media platform whether you’re strong at Instagram, Twitter or Facebook Live.
- Move to action related to your mission, so it’s not just the words on social media.
- Take the unpopular belief that’s relevant; sticky popular messages are not held by the majority of the people.
- Show empathy and be vulnerable; if I see someone sharing struggles or tough points in their career this gets my attention.
- Share videos with subtitles, which can be powerful and long posts have meaning too.
- Give the behind the scenes and things I would not see anywhere else.
- Try humor, which gets my attention, especially if you’re not someone who is necessarily humorous.
- Use a writing style that’s personal or journal-style writing.
- Catch my attention by using colors and imagery that’s fun; it gives me a feeling of happiness.
- Do an interview, on a media outlet that’s informative or interesting, such as Bloomberg and CNBC.
- Respond to people; no one ever expects the CEO of T-Mobile to respond.
What are you doing to capture and retain attention with the people that mean the most to you?
*The term “Leaders” was defined in the one-on-one interviews as professionals at the respondents’ companies, business professionals speaking on behalf of the companies and the brands they follow or care about, or their political and religious leaders.
In 2014, I started the Women Worldwide podcast to give women a voice and a platform to share their amazing stories and incredible career journeys. My goal was to have guests offer advice and insights on challenging topics and to empower listeners as they navigated the ups and downs of their own careers and lives. I’ve always said, “If the show can help listeners to feel like they’re not alone as they face obstacles, then we’ve succeeded.”
Podcasting was also a way for me to step out of my comfort zone. Today, we’ve launched Women Worldwide as a video podcast on YouTube. Once again, I’m stepping into an “uncomfortable zone” to build a video show with a team of dedicated professionals, and to experience video with my interview guests.
You can check out my launch video below, which also discusses the first episode with Rebekah Iliff, founder of WriteVest. Rebekah and I discuss creativity and problem solving through the lens of writing. In between the conversation, advice and insights are quite a few laughs. Rebekah made my job, as the host, really easy! You can check out the video interview on YouTube or visit the Women Worldwide website for show notes and the audio version.
Lastly, I’d like to dedicate the launch of the Women Worldwide video podcast to Noelle Skrobola, my stepdaughter, who passed away in September of 2018. Noelle was an instrumental part of Women Worldwide. She worked with the publicists and the guests who came on the show. In the short time that Noelle was with us, she empowered women and she always wanted to amplify their voices. Noelle … this one’s for you!
Featured Image Photo Credit: Noelle Skrobola
Communication is at the heart of your business and every relationship you build. With book titles focused on the best ways to engage including, Decency Starts at the Top, by CEO and Chairman, Larry Weber of Racepoint Global and articles focusing on “Workplace Compassion: A Trend Driven by the Changing Workforce” your authenticity, integrity and empathy become front and center at every touchpoint.
Modern communicators have a responsibility to use communication as a way to build bridges between people and groups; sharing communication to help, uplift and ignite passion and positive momentum. It’s a do “good” and do “no harm” approach. But, with a noisy communication landscape, does communication from businesses professionals, who speak on behalf of their organizations, reach the public in a “do good” manner; in a way that instills trust, expresses kindness, and creates opportunities to build relationships?
You may come in contact with leaders and business professionals every day. They are your own company executives or the senior executives who speak out on behalf of your favorite brands and social causes. Or, maybe they are the political leaders in your newsfeeds on social media. Regardless of the type of leader, do you think the communication they share is reaching, resonating and helping people, especially when it comes to younger generations? With Millennials and Generation Z experiencing more depression and anxiety at alarming rates, are leaders today meeting the communication expectations of these groups, or any group they want to reach?
Now, it’s time to reign in the communication for some self-reflection. Ask yourself an important question. Do you really know what someone else is experiencing before you tweet, blog or post on Facebook? Are you using social media to get closer with people to build your own personal brand? The data you collect and analyze on social media is based on what people want to share with you, and how they want to be seen. Of course, there’s a highlight reel on social media. What you see on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or any platform does not always give you a clear picture of someone’s life, what is going on in their world or how they are truly feeling.
FEEL is the optimal word here and what others are feeling. Your communication can either help them, or it can quickly becomes a part of the “noise” that blocks the value, which affects the end goal of any interaction.
Whether it is you, or the leaders you know, there’s a better way to approach communications when the noise is overwhelming … it’s to FEEL first. If you don’t FEEL as a first step, which means to Face Fears, connect with Empathy, use Ethics and unleash the Love of your mission, then all of your planning may fall on deaf ears. Once you can FEEL, the strategy that you’ve developed will play out not only to connect you, but also to help you engage in a way that is valued and seen as more human and open, creating those longer lasting bonds.
After a devastating family tragedy last September, I embarked on a research journey. I started to speak with Millennials about communication preferences and began analyzing Women Worldwide interviews with guests focused on leadership and communication (using text analytics). My goal was to see if what Millennials preferred in their communication from leaders is what they were experiencing on social media. Were the characteristics they preferred drawing them closer to their leaders or pushing them farther away?
Then, when I teamed up with Talkwalker to use their search tool, the themes identified around leaders, communication and emotions and different communication qualities really came to the surface. The lightbulb went on! Seeing the results (in word cloud format) based on a sophisticated Boolean search (yes, Talkwalker helped me here) it appeared that the IQ side of leadership stood out more in conversations. With more than 50% positive sentiment, about 47% neutral and only 3% negative, words such as “knowledge,” “experience,” “confidence,” “strength,” “professional” were the most prominent in discussions about leaders and communication, across blogs, Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms.
But what about the Emotional Quotient (EQ) side of the house? I was surprised that words such as “interpersonal,” “respect”, “feel,” “values,” “real,” and “commitment” took a back seat. What does this say about leaders and communication on social media, when the EQ or the soft skills were much less in the spotlight? You can take a look at a couple of graphics showing the text analytics to see for yourself.
Keeping the initial research in mind, I’ve taken the first stab at a communication model that may help to close the gap between what Millennials and Gen Z want and the type of communication that’s lighting up social media and may not really be resonating with them. The components of the FEEL First model are as follows:
• An audit process to get unstuck, which is the first step in understanding how you’ve been communicating in the past. This is usually a Fix it to Move Forward approach.
• Finding the Passion Potential with any group, to make sure that what you believe is relevant to share will actually resonate and have the potential for further engagement with them.
• Take the FEEL Test to help you engage more authentically with any audience [there are four parts focused on each piece of the FEEL acronym]
• Address your FEEL weaknesses after scoring your test.
• Apply the FEEL approach to social media, company team meetings, speaking engagements, and your media interviews.
• Measure the FEEL model to see that you’re moving toward genuine communication and relationships that encourage fresh ideas, empathy for all parties, use good judgment in all interactions and unleash a passion that becomes the DNA or the fabric of your relationships.
I’ll be building out the model in much more detail in the weeks ahead with exercises and different ways to advance your steps with the FEEL First Approach. All ideas and suggestions are welcomed!