Be Perennial: Three tips from PRSA Georgia’s 2018 conference

PRSA Georgia 2018

“Bloom where you are planted,” Elyse Hammett, APR, Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, says. “Plant your seed, dig hard, take on every single thing you can from every single direction because the more you dig, the more you bloom. You want to be perennial.” The room full of aspiring public relations professionals is silent as everyone listens to her speak on how to find your path.

This advice comes from a panel of impressive speakers discussing the differences between Nonprofit, Agency, and Corporate career paths at Public Relations Society of America Georgia’s 2018 Braving the New World Annual Conference on March 23.

Conferences offer ways to grow professionally while also being able to connect with likeminded people during an engaging event. I represented my local PRSSA chapter at Braving the New World and would like to share three of the major takeaways from my experience at the conference that benefit both students and professionals interested in public relations and marketing.

Corporate Social Responsibility

Companies are expected to be more than just companies in today’s market. Simply having a good product and supplying it aren’t enough anymore. Businesses need to be engaged with their audience and enact what is known as Corporate Social Responsibility, often abbreviated as CSR.

CSR is a business’ recognition of and implementation of environmental or social wellbeing causes. Research regarding Gen Z and the types of companies, products, and corporations they chose to support points toward a growing preference of social responsibility in business. Young people today are more likely to support businesses who act in part as activists and use their product or wealth to benefit causes outside of themselves.

It is no longer a recommendation but an expectation.

Businesses should brand themselves as fans of their content, with consistent personalities and voice to stand apart from the standard advertisements people avoid and scroll past on their feeds.

Building Brand Voice on Social Media

How do you brand and advertise your company in an authentic way?

In a world where social media is so prevalent, people are becoming more aware of and are producing negative reactions to advertising and losing trust in corporations. How do you brand yourself or your business in a way that reaches people? Today, businesses are not just competing with other businesses online but with friends, family, and interests consumers hold. They have to find a way to stand out against competing forms of content the average person finds more important or engaging than a typical ad or corporate social media page.

Josh Martin, the senior director of digital and social media for Arby’s, spoke about the importance of being bold and targeting niche communities online. By creating fun, visual content that feels very personal to specific groups of people, your content has a bigger impact on those specific consumers. While not everyone will get the joke or reference you are trying to convey, those that do will feel a more personal connection to your brand which strengthens the voice of that brand across all platforms.

Essentially, businesses should brand themselves as fans of their content, with consistent personalities and voice to stand apart from the standard advertisements people avoid and scroll past on their feeds.

Bloom Where You Are Planted

Public relations and marketing change daily. These fields force professionals to constantly adapt to new trends and information. With this in mind, it is important to take hold of the work you do and cultivate your craft. The best way to get better at something is to do it over and over again. PR and marketing are no different.

Focus on blooming year round in everything that you do. Maybe that means taking on a new client in an area you aren’t exactly familiar with or taking a fresh take on the work you do for current clients.

Whatever it is, bloom where you are planted. Be perennial.


Chloe Taylor is one of FACTEUR's Spring 2018 interns. She is a junior studying Public Relations and Mass Media at Valdosta State University, where she's also an executive board member of its PRSSA chapter. 

The DIY PR Project: Prep for and procure your own publicity

DIY PR

May 3-31, 2018

This spring FACTEUR PR is launching a new online program for small business owners, creative entrepreneurs, and anyone who wants to understand how to prep for and procure their own publicity: The DIY Project: Prep For & Procure Your Own Publicity.

Over the course of five weeks, virtual attendees will have the opportunity to learn the basics of public and media relations, from identifying your target audiences and outlets, to putting together a thoughtful plan, creating a press kit, perfecting your pitch, and more!

The DIY PR Project is different than any other PR or marketing workshop online. Part class and part consulting, you'll not only have access to educational videos and helpful workbooks, but also a period of thoughtful review and feedback on your efforts so that you can complete the workshop feeling confident to move ahead and do the work! Because of this special set-up, registration will be limited so we can offer each attendee ample time to review their coursework. 

Part class and part consulting, you'll not only have access to educational videos and helpful workbooks, but also a period of thoughtful review and feedback on your efforts so that you can complete the workshop feeling confident to move ahead and do the work!

Each week's workshop, led by FACTEUR PR Founder and Director, Reena S. Goodwin, will be brought to you in the comfort of your own home or office. The links to the workshop videos are delivered straight to your inbox every Thursday in May at 6 a.m. EST along with the corresponding workbook of the week. Later that afternoon, Reena will jump online at 3:30 p.m. EST to answer your questions about the week's lesson or workbooks in the private Facebook group. Between sessions, you can network and compare notes with other course attendees, as well as ask Reena any follow-up questions you might have on the course material.

At the end of the five weeks, you'll have a week to re-watch any of the videos and complete your five workbooks, which together ultimately create your Pitch Pack. You'll submit your Pitch Pack to Reena for review, and after a 2-3 week review period, you'll receive written feedback on your Pitch Pack so that you move ahead on your own PR efforts feeling assured!

Now, you may be wondering, "is the intention of this program to eliminate the need for a publicist?" The answer is "no way!" I have been working in this field for 13 years. There is no way I can share all there is to know about PR in five weeks, because nobody knows it all. We are always still learning as this industry is always evolving. 

Nevertheless, in the 18 months since launching FACTEUR PR, we have identified a segment of business owners who either cannot currently afford a full-time or contract publicist, or want to expand the skillset of their in-house team to also handle media relations. For less than the cost of hiring a publicist for a week, we're offering the chance to obtain a comprehensive understanding and the tools to be able to succeed at PR on your own time, anytime. 

What this course will not be able to provide you with is this: relationships. That is your homework during and long after this course is complete. Building relationships with media and influencers comes with time, and while we will cover how to find the right ones to cover your brand, developing genuine relationships with those people is up to you.

Ready to learn more? Hop over to DIY-PR.com for the full schedule and to register. 

Takeaways and trends from SXSW

Marketing trends from SXSW

Every year, South by Southwest (SXSW) springs upon us, and feels like it flies by. During each conference panel, festival, exhibition and networking opportunity, there is greatness that happens, and new ideas and trends that we in the creative fields need to be aware of!

This year from March 9 through 18, SXSW dedicated itself to helping creatives achieve their goals, whatever they may be. Throughout the conference, there were some definite trends that were talked about that we need to keep our eyes open to and consider so we can stay relevant in this crazy world that we live in.

SXSW covered some of the trends that they thought were most relevant from this past conference, and I want to highlight some that I think are the relevant when it comes to marketing.

The Maturing VR Market

We’ve seen Virtual Reality enter our world fast and mighty, but throughout this past year, it’s really making a name for itself. What may have been thought of as a trend or a fad, was wrong. SXSW reports VR has really matured into a potent tool in the arts, medicine, business and entertainment fields and is really accelerating into mainstream technology now.

So, what’s next after VR, you ask? It’s MR, which is Mixed Reality.

Mixed Reality is going to allow you to created environments and overlays. It is going to give you a really immersed feeling and becoming more of a mainstream technology tool.

Inclusion in Business and The Arts

During a time where the country has never felt more divided, we have seen a rise in inclusion in brands and throughout marketing. It’s 2018, so we should expect this, but now it’s actually happening and is going to continue!

We are seeing a rise of empowerment of women, people with disabilities and people from various backgrounds. It is part of our jobs in PR/marketing to further these messages.

The Rise of the Short Documentaries on Social Media

Social media is the new form of journalism. We get our news and learn new things from social media. For example, on Facebook, there is a page called 60 Second Docs. These short documents do a story about someone/something in 60 seconds.

With our short attentions spans, these short documentaries are a quick way to learn a lot about something! In PR, we are constantly looking for a way to grab someone’s attention through all of the noise, and video content is the way to do it!


Danie Minor is a recent graduate of Kent State University, where she studied public relations. She is passionate about all things having to do with social media and influencer relations.
 

Meet the FACTEUR PR spring 2018 interns

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We are so excited to welcome our spring interns to the FACTEUR PR team! 

Chloe Taylor is a junior studying Public Relations and Mass Media at Valdosta State University, where she's also an executive board member of its PRSSA chapter. She really enjoys graphic design and social media management and possesses experience in event planning and web design as well. When she isn’t working, Chloe practices yoga and loves to update her Pinterest with her favorite fashion trends. Born and raised in Georgia, she’s got southern charm and believes it’s an asset to her when working in public relations, helping her make meaningful connections with others. She’s excited to be given this opportunity and to continue learning and growing as she works with FACTEUR this season. 

Hannah Krisinski is a junior at Cleveland State University, where she studies Journalism and Promotional Communications and minors in Digital Design. She currently handles marketing, promotional work, and event planning for the CSU bookstore, where she is able to use creativity and innovative ideas to engage in campus life nearly every day. After spending a semester studying abroad in London, the native Cleveland girl has set her sights on the world (and her future). She loves to get fully immersed in new cultures and find out what’s “hot” and “not” around the world. She is excited to apply her skills to new opportunities and can’t wait to see what the future has in store for her. 

Danie Minor is a recent graduate of Kent State University, where she studied public relations. She is passionate about all things having to do with social media and influencer relations. She currently lives in Annapolis, MD, and runs a blog at definingdanie.com. This upcoming summer will be her blog's fourth anniversary. When she isn't obsessing over a new sale at Old Navy, Danie can always be found in at a coffee shop. She is excited to gain more PR and social media marketing experience with this internship with FACTEUR!

Please join us in welcoming her to the team by leaving a comment below or on Instagram! Plus, stay tuned for some blogs and other great content from Chloe, Hannah, and Danie throughout the coming months here on the FACTEUR blog! 

Hot off the presses: recent client news

recent client news

It's been a busy winter season here at FACTEUR - and for good reason! From USA Today to Food & Wine, we've been helping our clients land stories in national, regional, and local outlets. All together, that's 73 million eyeballs -- not counting social media hits! -- on FACTEUR client brands and businesses in one month alone. Take a look at the list below! 

Client: The Flying Fig
Industry: Food & Drink, Restaurants
Story: "50 Female Chefs in 50 States"
Outlet: USA Today
Timing: March 2018
Impressions: 1 million each day
Preview: Chef Karen Small has owned Cleveland's The Flying Fig for almost two decades, infusing sustainable agriculture from small farms and local food artisans into her menu. Read the full story.

Client: Oak & Honey Events
Industry: Weddings, Event Planning
Story: "5 Wedding Professionals Using Sustainable Practices"
Outlet: Brides.com
Timing: March 2018
Impressions: 4 million each month
Preview: Melanie Tindell, founder of Oak + Honey, is an expert in sustainable event planning practices. “I was working as an interior designer and doing some non-profit event planning on the side...During her first few years as a wedding planner, she was shocked by how much waste she was seeing. Read the full story.

Client: Heidi Robb
Industry: Food & Drink, Styling
Story: "How to Become a Food Stylist"
Outlet: Food & Wine
Timing: February 2018
Impressions: 27 million each month
Preview: According to Heidi Robb, a food stylist who got her start with Food Network star Michael Symon, food styling requires more than an eye for aesthetics. “A stylist needs to be well-versed in the manner with which food and ingredients behave in all stages, from sourcing raw ingredients to preparation techniques to how foods will hold and for how long to preserve maximum freshness and beauty,” she says. Read the full story.

Client: Oak & Honey Events
Industry: Weddings, Event Planning
Story: "25 Interactive Food Station Ideas"
Outlet: Bridal Guide
Timing: February 2018
Impressions: 4 million each month
Preview: Pretzels with dipping sauces – like mustard, nacho cheese, and caramel – are sure to delight your guests. It's also super easy to create an eye-catching display; event planner Oak & Honey Events created this simple display with plywood, copper pipes, and metal hooks. Read the full story.

Client: The Flying Fig
Industry: Food & Drink, Restaurants
Story: "Midwest Traveler: Northeast Ohio's Old and New Taste Traditions"
Outlet: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Timing: February 2018
Impressions: 3 million each month
Preview: Karen Small is the godmother of the Cleveland farm-to-table scene, using lessons learned from her Italian immigrant grandparents and the decade she spent raising sheep and cows and canning for the winter on a back-to-the-land homestead. Read the full story.

Client: Oak & Honey Events
Industry: Weddings, Event Planning
Story: "11 Creative Ways to Give Your Wedding a Personal Touch"
Outlet: Cleveland.com
Timing: February 2018
Impressions: 5 million each month
Preview: Northeast Ohio event planner Melanie Tindell wants everyone to walk away from a wedding thinking about how it perfectly encapsulates exactly what makes each couple special. As the owner of Oak and Honey Events, she’s always looking for ways to add one-of-a-kind elements to every big day. And often times, it’s the smallest details that make the biggest impact. Read the full story.

 

Social media and content ideas for the month of March

Who can believe it's almost March already? While you're gearing up for spring, don't overlook this important month, chock full of great events that can serve as an inspirational source for blogging. These ideas are also applicable to your social media and media relations pitches. To get you started, here are just a few opportunities this month to align your brand or business with some already note-worthy happenings online.

March is...

  • Women's History Month
  • National Nutrition Month
  • National Peanut Month
  • National Craft Month
  • Music in Our Schools Month

Daily opportunities include...

March 1: Peanut Butter Lover's Day
March 3: National Day of Unplugging
March 7: National Cereal Day
March 8: International Women's Day
March 11: Daylight Savings Time Begins
March 13: National Napping Day
March 17: St. Patrick's Day
March 20: First Day of Spring
March 21: National French Bread Day
March 23: National Puppy Day
March 23: National Chia Day
March 26: National Spinach Day
March 28: Singer Lady Gaga's birthday (had to throw that one in!)

Want more content ideas for the year? We have developed four editorial content calendars specifically for the food & drink, arts & hobbies, health & wellness, and lifestyle industries. You can find them under the Downloads tab here on the FACTEUR website (and showcased below). We've pulled together social media, blogging, and PR opportunities based on monthly and daily holidays, hashtags, and high profile events that are related to each of those industries. Also included is a list of story ideas to get you started with developing your editorial plan, as well as space to brainstorm your own ideas. We're offering each calendar for less than $10, and if you buy all four with our Blogger Bundle, you basically get one free! Plus, every time we update the calendars, we'll make sure you'll get the newest iteration (at no extra charge, of course). Happy creating!


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We're seeking a digital intern for Spring 2018!

spring-2018-marketing-internship-in-cleveland

Attention college students and recent grads! FACTEUR PR is currently seeking organized and enthusiastic candidates with a passion for PR, social media, and marketing to join our team this spring season (March-June)! Interns will receive mentoring and experience in public relations, social media, and content marketing with an emphasis on client relations, project management, relationship building, visual communications, and strategy. And a huge perk? You can work from home.

This is a digital internship. So interns have the flexibility to work remotely. Interns will be required to participate in a video meeting or call up to one day a week with their FACTEUR PR supervisor. Cleveland-based interns may be required to meet or work on-site at meetings or events as needed.

While there is no typical day, interns can expect to gain experience in:

  • Media relations: research (outlets, reporters), outreach, editorial calendars
  • Social media: research, management, news, trends, advertising, content and design, influencer outreach
  • Content: researching, writing, blogging, designing, e-mail marketing, optimizing
  • Writing: pitches, press releases, biographies

Does this sound like an opportunity you might be interested in? Learn more and apply here

Want to know what it's like to intern with FACTEUR PR? Check out our former intern Julie Hong's blog post! 

Five social media tips for 2018

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Every Friday on Instagram, we are answering your marketing and communications-related questions on Stories! That includes topics such as media relations, advertising, social media, influencer relations, blogging, content marketing, planning, pitching, SEO, and more. This week's Q&A notes are below, and be sure to follow @FACTEURPR on Instagram to see our past and present Q&As, too!

Q: How do I grow my social media following?

A: This topic is HUGE. So huge, we spend a minimum of three months with our coaching clients researching, developing a strategy, and working together on creative, narratives, schedules, measurement, and more. (You can learn more about that offering here.) However, that doesn't mean there aren't tactics you can use now to see results. The new year is anticipated to be a tough one for brands on Facebook and Instagram due to algorithmic changes, but all that really means is pivoting our strategy just a bit to focus on conversations around content rather than strictly selling. (Related: Grow your brand or business with content marketing)

1. Post more video content

For several years now, predictions about the mounting impact of video marketing have only escalated. Year-after-year, video content consistently claims the top spots of seemingly every must-have marketing list, and ours is no different. Just take a look at these incredible statistics released by Hubspot just last year:

  • Video will account for 80% of all web traffic by 2019.
  • 90% of customers report that product videos help them make purchasing decisions.
  • 64% of customers are more likely to buy a product online after watching a video about it.
  • 80% of customers remember a video they’ve watched in the last month. 

If you're looking to gain awareness for your brand and sell products, consider video as part of your marketing strategy this year. And we don't just mean fancy, expensive videos. Platforms like Instagram Stories and Snapchat were set-up to steer users away from uploading rehearsed or professional video content. Instead, consider tip number 2.

2. Go live or go home.

That's live as in live video, not living life (although hey, we should all do that part, too!). Before you changed your notification settings, if you ever did, you may have noticed that many times when a page or person goes live on Instagram or Facebook, you receive a notification. This isn't happenstance. This is a feature these platforms are pushing to encourage meaningful, real-time conversation. Make a date with your audience and take the time on Facebook or Instagram Live to announce a new product or service, or answer questions about a specific topic. (Related: Friday Q&A: Your PR and marketing questions answered)

3. Use hashtags wisely.

People are following you on social media for a reason. Never lose sight of that reason and make it crystal clear for potential followers.

Each Instagram post allows for 30 hashtags to be attached to your photo. That is 3-0 opportunities for people to find your content. Use every opportunity available, meaning all 30 hashtags if you can. Vary them up post-to-post and make sure you are only using hashtags that are pertinent to the content you're posting and/or your brand. Pro-tip: At the end of 2017, Instagram rolled out a new feature where you can follow hashtags. This is a great new way to discover content and interact with it while scrolling through your feed. Follow those hashtags!

4. Focus on relevancy and relationships.

People are following you on social media for a reason. Never lose sight of that reason and make it crystal clear for potential followers. Focus on a strong bio, solid branding, and consistency in your message and voice. For example, if your company offers interior design services, chances are the majority of the people who are following you are interested in seeing and learning more about interior design (but of course, check your analytics to confirm!). That should be the focus of your feed. It's great to break things up with a post here and there from your lunch outing or vacation, but make sure you are balancing that with the content folks signed up to see. We often suggest creating a "social media formula" for your page, and would be happy to help with that. And don't forget, engagement is a two-way street. There's nothing like building valued relationships with returned likes and comments, too! 

5. Remember quality over quantity.

We always say social media is an art as well as a science. The way you present your brand is just as important as the hashtags you use and the frequency you're posting. Be sure to spend extra attention on crafting your creative, prioritizing quality content (photos, captions) over content to post for posting's sake. Pro-tip: Hire a professional photographer once a quarter to take "stock photos" of you, your team, your newest products, your store, etc. to share on social media and use for PR. Need content ideas? Be sure to check out our curated content calendar downloads for story ideas!


Have additional tips to share? Leave them in the comments below!

Do you have a marketing and communications related question you'd like to see answered? Share it in the comments below, send an email, or head to our Instagram page and send us a direct message!

Need more assistance? FACTEUR is here to help. We would love to work with you on a tailored public relations or integrated marketing and communications strategy for your brand and business. From planning to pitching, and consulting to creating, we're as hands on as you need. Learn more here.

 

Friday Q&A: Your PR and marketing questions answered

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This new year is off to a busy start, but we want to make sure we take the time to give back with a bit of what we know and have learned! Every Friday on the @FACTEURPR Instagram Stories, we answer a PR or marketing question you've asked. That includes media relations, advertising, social media, influencer engagement, blogging, content marketing, planning, pitching, SEO, etc. The videos will stay live on Stories for 24 hours, and we will add the most recent ones to our Instagram page Highlights. 

To ask a question, send us an email, drop a comment below or leave a comment or DM us on Instagram.  

We look forward to connecting with you and hope you find this series valuable. And as always, we're always here to help with your specific public relations, social media, content marketing, and digital creative needs! Contact us here.

How to pitch an event to local media

how to pitch an event to local media.jpg

Every Friday on Instagram, we are answering your marketing and communications-related questions on Stories! That includes topics such as media relations, advertising, social media, influencer relations, blogging, content marketing, planning, pitching, SEO, and more. This week's Q&A notes are below, and be sure to follow @FACTEURPR on Instagram to see our past and present Q&As, too!

Q: What is the best way to pitch your event to local media?

A: Before you pitch your event to the media, consider these three pre-pitch points:

  • What makes my event unique?
  • Who would be interested in my event?
  • Why is this relevant right now?

From there, you'll be able to identify if there could be media interest and where to start pitching, which leads us to our first step.

1. Find the right reporters or editors at your local publications or stations who would cover an event like yours.

If you're hosting a fashion event, find the style editor. If it's a restaurant opening, find the food writer or arts and entertainment editor. Follow he or she on Twitter and Instagram, read their latest stories, engage with them online so by the time you reach out to them, it's not necessarily the first time they are hearing from you. 

2. Make contact with enough lead time.

Email is always a good way to pitch a story, but keep in mind, journalists get a boatload of email. Reach out the first time about 4-6 weeks before your event. Give your email a subject line that sounds like a headline to make it compelling enough to open. Make sure your email is as concise and to the point as possible. I always say "lead with your lead." Keep the most important information towards the beginning - it's a good idea to include the three pre-pitch points I included before step one. You can insert a press release or a JPEG of your invitation, too. I suggest an invitation because editors are very visual and will most likely want to see pictures accompanying text, which is what they will give their readers, too. 

3. Follow up once, maybe twice. 

If you don't hear back after sending two emails, you may assume the reporter is either not interested or didn't have time to write you back. If you follow-up twice with no response, cease your outreach - you don't want to come off as annoying. Depending on the event, if you did reach out to a local TV show producer and didn't hear back, try contacting the news desk and see if it can be a news segment instead of a program feature. 

4. Thank them. 

Journalists juggle a lot. Make an impression and go out of your way to send a thoughtful thank you email or better yet, a thank you card if they covered or attended your event. And there's also no better show of your appreciation than sharing the story and thanking the writer in a Tweet or Facebook post. 

5. Prepare for next time.

If you didn't receive a response or if the media wasn't interested this go-around, don't be discouraged. There could be a number of reasons- the editor didn't see a fit, the publication recently covered an event like this, resources didn't allow for coverage of the event, the timing wasn't right, etc. Be sure to take the time to evaluate the who's/what's/why's to the event you're planning (see the first point about pre-pitching). And if your first or last event was a smashing success, use that in your next pitch. Remember: media relations is an ongoing process! Good luck!

Do you have a marketing and communications related question you'd like to see answered? Share it in the comments below, send an email, or head to our Instagram page and send us a direct message!

Have additional tips to share? Leave them in the comments below!

 

Need more assistance? FACTEUR is here to help. We would love to work with you on a tailored public relations or integrated marketing and communications strategy for your brand and business. From planning to pitching, and consulting to creating, we're as hands on as you need. Learn more here.

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