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.
- 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 Keke Ellis, American University Grad Student, FEEL Blog Post Winner
Back in 2014, I made a comment on Facebook about the movie Dear White People. I don’t remember the exact comment, but within days an acquaintance made a big fuss over what I had said. If I remember correctly, I mentioned something to the effect of how the male protagonist (who happened to be white) was not the ‘savior’ of the film. It did not go over well, and it led to a back and forth. Honestly, I don’t even remember the virtual argument, only how it made me feel. I hated it. It was exhausting and it felt pointless (not to hurt someone, but to engage on the platform in such a negative way). I’ve never been one to fight online (or in person for that matter) and I’m proud to say that that incident was the first and last time. I graduated with my BA not too long afterwards and in lieu of me wanting and subsequently joining AmeriCorps, I spent less and less time on social media and I rarely posted in those years leading up to me deleting the apps. And as I mentioned, deleting my social media accounts was one of the best decisions I could do for my mental health, and on a smaller scale, my personal life.
Do I think I will get back on social media? No, not in any major way. But I do believe LinkedIn is important, and it may be beneficial for me to have at least one of the big accounts (Twitter, Facebook) for professional use. Never again though for personal use. There’s no FOMO here! I’ll confess my phone health did not get better. Sadly, I still spend way too much time on Google, playing computer games, checking for texts. We’re all working on it, right?
If I’m honest, I don’t think my FEEL test results surprised me. I scored lowest (love of mission) in the area that I expected and higher (or highest) in those areas that I expected (empathy and ethics), as well. If anything, it showed me where I could ‘go’ from here. There wasn’t a revelation of me being a big softie, any more than I knew I wasn’t going to score well on telling my Instagram followers about my passions. Not only because of my lack of social media, but also because I am a private person in general. It’s something that I am working on. Not that being a private person is a ‘bad’ thing, it’s just that I tend to use that privacy as a way to shut people out (i.e., a security blanket of sorts). It’s okay to be open. Isn’t that the point of the FEEL First model? To connect in a more genuine manner? To actually open up with one another without and despite any fear we may be feeling in the moment?
I would like for my love of mission score to increase and will try to implement ways to do that. If I may divulge a personal matter – my boyfriend and I and going through growing pains; you know, the ones you have as you try to plan out how to intertwine your lives. He’s a big-time extravert. There is no friend he cannot make, no person he cannot go up to and start a conversation with. An hour can go by and for him it will feel like only a few minutes. I, on the other hand, am the exact opposite. I’m awkward with small talk and get exhausted by interacting with others. His ideal Friday night is out, among the people, maybe dancing. Mine, is at home, on the couch, watching football or hockey or basketball. We could not be more different in our personalities. However, I envy his ability to open himself up so quickly; to see anyone as a potential friend. I think of him as my barometer to stretching myself beyond my comfort zone.
I can volunteer more. I can look a homeless person in the eye and have a real conversation with them instead of just ignoring them or dropping a few cents without looking their way. I can be more present in my interactions – putting my phone away, engaging and listening in a sincere manner. I can show up for myself in new ways as well, because how can I share my ‘love’ if I don’t first believe that I can accomplish the mission to begin with? I can and will be kinder to myself; easier on myself when I fail and become a better champion of who I am and where I would like to go in my life. There is so much division and hurtful language both in-person and online. I can and will counter this by trying to practice kindness no matter where I am. I know, I know, it sounds pretty hokey. This also, I believe, helps me face fears as well. It takes courage to love yourself out-loud, we can see this through the numerous bills going throughout state, local, and federal legislatures – whether they be about race, gender, sexual orientation, or reproductive rights. I think it’s easy to tear someone down. Our last President made daily entertainment out of it. It’s much harder to support and stand up. You can lose friends, family, your job, and possibly even your life for doing so. Being kind in the face of fear and hatred is radical (just ask those who fought in the Civil Rights era).
In the wake of the death of Mike Brown – which also happened in 2014 – a teenager from Missouri who was shot and killed by a police officer, I, and a group of about 30 others, peacefully marched in downtown Shreveport, Louisiana where I’m from. We were protesting police brutality, many, many months before the tragic events of the summer of 2020, and unfortunately, many, many decades after the death of MLK. I am angry, and frustrated, and saddened. How can we still be dealing with racial injustice? Suni Lee, an American gold medalist, and member of the Hmong community, was allegedly harassed recently while out with friends. Again, I ask, how can we still be dealing with racial injustices?
I understand that as one person I should not think I can make a difference, but look at the way the FEEL First Model is shaking up how communication practitioners are working in the field? Isn’t Deirdre Breakenridge just one person? That inspires me. In the ‘roadmap’ I created (see figure 1 below), in blue are the scores from the FEEL First test I took back in September. In orange are the scores I hope to achieve. Of course, I would like to continue to engage with empathy and use ethics and good judgment at high levels; at the best I possibly can. What has worked for me in the past is to try and be fair and impartial in decision making, whether that be giving both my niece and nephew the same amount of attention or listening to a coworker when they are having a bad day. These are simple things, I think.
At the end of the day, I just want to be a good person. When I’m old and gray, looking back over my life, I just want to think I was a good person. And the FEEL First model gets me closer to that goal.
Keke Ellis is a writer, researcher, and entrepreneur originally from Louisiana, who enjoys hiking, spending time with family, and a good crawfish boil. They can be reached at email@example.com.
When you think about PR and social media, you may find the two to be very different. In fact, that’s one of the reasons PR professionals didn’t really embrace social media in the beginning.
However, an opportunity has presented itself to actually combine efforts and maximize both as a result.
Think about it: public relations is all about relationships and storytelling. What better way to help companies make connections and build a reputation than with social media?
Recently, I had a great conversation with Christoph Trappe on his Business Storytelling Podcast where we dove into this further.
PR and Social Media Can Work Together
Despite their differences, PR and social media can be used together strategically to create a major impact for your brand. Approaching them as a united campaign sets your business up for increased brand awareness, more engagement, and better relationships.
First, social media offers endless opportunities to get out there and make connections.
Beyond members of traditional media like journalists and producers, you can now collaborate with social media influencers, bloggers, podcasters, live streamers, and more.
Whatever community your collaborator has, that is another way to extend the reach of your story and thought leadership.
With that said, always align yourself with those who share your values.
Beyond just brand awareness, PR uses strategic communications to engage with certain groups.
I shared with Christoph and his audience examples of customers, employees, media, and your community. It’s really up to you which group you want to engage with, and PR is the way to make that connection.
That being said, communication with your audience can no longer be one-way. PR may be the bridge to communicating your message, but listening is just as important.
Storytelling and Social Media
Social media allows voices from both directions to be heard. When you take the time to listen, yes it can sometimes feel noisy, but there are also many valuable insights ready to be discovered.
Lastly, while most people may know PR through earned media and publicity, it is so much more than that.
In reality, PR is grounded in the fact that good relationships are at the heart of a successful brand.
Social media gives citizen journalists a platform, which is why we now have so many different avenues to share stories and build those relationships.
Something we have learned from social media, however, is that you must be authentic in your storytelling. You can no longer just put your spokesperson out there and expect strong relations from it. No matter the audience, social media encourages people to be smarter consumers than ever. Therefore, always make your intentions, purpose, and values clear in any message you send.
Ultimately, social media is an extension of your public relations efforts to grow your brand and relationships. Marrying the two strategically not only helps tell your story, but build a community around that story. In doing so, you create meaning around your brand for long-term success.
For more building strategy around PR and social media, watch the full episode on https://authenticstorytelling.net/
Here’s another 555 or what I’m calling your “411” on advice, guidance, and tips to actively listen as all of us navigate a “new” normal in our professional lives.
Similar to my last two videos, the first “5” is my give to 5 pros who want to learn more about FEEL First communications with a complimentary consulting session (the getting advice part). Details are in the video below on how to contact me.
The second “5” is my shout out to elevate five pros who go above and beyond to share great content and their gifts with others. You’ll have to listen to the video to hear what these folks are doing:
– Patrice Tanaka (@sambagal), CEO of Joyful Planet
– Ryan Foland (@RyanRoland), Speaker, Author, Brand Strategist –
Dennis Shiao (@dshiao), Marketing Consultant, Content Strategist
– Susan Freeman (@susfree), CEO, Freeman Means Business
– Lindsay Griffiths (@LindsayGriffith), Executive Director, International Lawyers Network.
The last “5” is my 5 tips for actively listening. After all, if you’re not listening, then you can advise and offer guidance. Watch the video for these tips so you can build better relationships as you navigate the “new” normal. You’ll learn how being present, reducing technology, listening with your body, taking notes, and asking questions really helps you to tune in and focus.
Enjoy the 555 and let me know if you have any advice, guidance, or tips to help.
We are in uncertain times. Your customers, employees, partners, the media and other important constituents are looking to you for helpful information. Unfortunately, a lot of the communication shared in uncertain times ends up confusing and frustrating these groups even more.
As we witness the stock market lows, travel bans, event cancellations and more businesses asking employees to work from home, here are three tips to help guide your communication.
Tip #1: Stick with what you know — be direct and don’t share hunches and guestimates.
Tip #2: Show up with your Emotional Intelligence (EI) so you can respond thoughtfully and not react to challenging communication.
Tip #3: Appreciate the feedback you receive — it’s a gift — even the negative feedback helps you to learn and grow.
Here’s my video discussing these tips in more detail and how they can help you.
It’s time to FEEL First in your communication. I’ve been working on my passion project, the FEEL Model, gathering research about the type of communication that builds relationships and creates stronger bonds. In uncertain times, FEEL (facing Fears, engaging with Empathy, Using Ethics and unleashing Love) can make a difference. As the Coronavirus spreads and new cases are reported in the U.S. and globally, effective, meaningful and valuable communication requires a FEEL First approach.
Check out the tips and please share yours too. Together, we can lead with compassion and understanding, and offer helpful and accurate information to the people who matter the most to us professionally and personally in our lives.
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.
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.